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lioness

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lioness last won the day on September 22

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  1. Maybe "almost every lawyer I know" was an exaggeration, but I do know a lot of lawyers who train for competitive races - if not marathons, 5Ks and 10Ks. I just counted off 10 in the past few seconds and I know that there are more. It is common enough that our local bar association has races just for lawyers and teams of lawyers regularly enter the local marathon. I do consistently read for pleasure, as you can see in the books thread, but that is because it really is a necessity for me in order to turn my brain off to go to sleep.
  2. lioness

    2L Summer (2019) Recruit PFOs/ITCs

    It's called faking it till you make it/never letting them see you sweat. I'm a VM too and have often been the only one in the room also, and I honestly think that our own mental block about this is our worst enemy that we have to overcome. For some reason whenever I am faced with a room of wealthy, WASP-y people, I think of the movie School Ties, and how David worried about fitting in at the prep school because he was Jewish and working-class, and how everyone loved him before they knew he was Jewish. They thought he was "charming" when everyone else was talking about all the land their families owned and he said something like "My family has land too, but we share it with hundreds of other people" and everyone laughed, thought it was great and realized they'd been a bit douchey. Sometimes being upfront about who you are and not trying and failing to fit in is the best approach. I think your problem was that you started feeling inferior when they started talking about hockey or whatever it was and you clammed up, withdrew and allowed others to dominate. There were two things you could have done: anticipate these topics and do what you could to learn about them beforehand, and then acknowledge that this was a new area of interest for you and use that to make some jokes, get credit for making the effort to learn, and segue into what you do know about, or boldly change the conversation to something that included you - learn the art of nicely pointing out that a topic is excluding you and change gears to talk about travel, which you say you have done and which is another common topic of interest. Honestly, these are basic social skills that everyone should have regardless of race or class and if we drop the chips on our shoulders and our need to have a grievance, we should be able to see that this is all it is. Also, you may be surprised at how many lawyers come from modest backgrounds, even if they look white and mainstream and rich now, and you may be able to appeal to their past selves more than you think.
  3. To be fair, and I didn't mention this in my earlier post as it was long enough, it is not so much that you don't have 40 minutes a day, but that you may not have the mental energy for a serious artistic pursuit after a long day at work. I know that by the time I get home and take care of my kids, I may have 40 minutes, but I am sometimes so exhausted or emotionally spent that I want to spend that time vegging out and watching TV or listening to music, or running a bath and locking the bathroom door for a good cry. I may not have the focus and energy to learn a piece of music or write a chapter. The hard part isn't so much whether or not the time exists but whether you can turn your brain off from work, switch gears to something else and in my case, sacrifice the time somewhere else, such as with family, to actually put pen to paper, fingers to keyboard or whatever else you are trying to accomplish. My job gets the best part of my day, followed by my family (that makes me sad that it isn't the other way round) and everything else gets what is left. I agree that some people in this thread have overstated the demands of legal practice, but let's not understate them either.
  4. lioness

    Workload in UK

    Looks like most are entitled to 4-6 weeks and 92% take 3/4 of that, but there are concerns about the pressure on lawyers not to take all the time available to them. https://jobs.thelawyer.com/article/salary-survey-holiday-allowance/
  5. lioness

    2L Summer (2019) Recruit PFOs/ITCs

    At least at my law school, there were opportunities to attend sessions on everything from table etiquette to golf lessons for women to attending sports and arts events at a discount. I know people like to slag off their CDOs, but ours was reasonably good at that kind of stuff. If you really wanted to get comfortable with upper-class pursuits, you could do it. Many classes also had us going to law firms, interacting with or being taught or evaluated by lawyers, and many lawyers mentored extra-curricular activities or worked with the law students' association on various projects. Extra-curriculars in law school aren't just about building your resume and having fun - they also serve the important function of exposing you to lawyers and their lifestyles. Of course, there is an ease to being born to it that someone cannot necessarily develop over a year or two in law school and I am not discounting that (I certainly felt that difference.) But you can at least somewhat level the playing field and show the firms that you are willing to do what needs to be done to play ball.
  6. lioness

    2L Summer (2019) Recruit PFOs/ITCs

    To play the devils' advocate though, don't you have to chit-chat about those things with clients in practice in a biglaw firm? I know that once you are practicing and earning money you may have more capacity to go to sporting events and travel so your ability to relate to wealthy clients will be different than as a poor law student, but if your "culture" is a barrier to learning about and appreciating the things the dominant culture likes, I would think that that is a legitimate reason for a firm to not hire you (and I am a visible minority and immigrant myself in saying that.) I don't think that you have to be wealthy to have traveled, or to be interested in it and have researched destinations you want to go to, or to show interest in someone else's travels. Nor do you have to be wealthy or white to watch and appreciate sports. I think sometimes we put up our own mental barriers to these things (and I am guilty of this too) more so than other people put them up for us.
  7. If you've been studying since September, feel burned out and don't see your scores increasing on practice tests, I don't think that studying hard this week is going to make that much difference and you should take it easy. Sometimes your brain does better work when you give it a break and take the pressure off. I don't see the point in cancelling a score - if you are going to write the test, you should see how you actually did because it can be hard to tell. I also don't see the point of withdrawing - you have already paid and prepared for the test and multiple attempts are allowed. Unless any of those schools average scores, there's no downside to writing it at this point. However, I probably wouldn't rush into writing in January if you are feeling burned out and not seeing great scores now. January is not far away, and December is a hectic month for many people. I would take a break, see if there is another study method that works better for you, and see if you can do any better on practice tests after using that method. If not, it's possible that what you get in November is the best you can do and it would be a waste of money and time to re-write.
  8. lioness

    Workload in UK

    I don't think the people posting here are very knowledgeable about legal study in the UK. I am far from an expert myself and don't take everything I say here as gospel truth, but I am from the UK and have close friends who are lawyers there so I know a little about it. When you say "UK", first of all, I assume you mean England and Wales, as Scotland and Northern Ireland have different systems. First of all, secondary education in England/Wales is seven years, not six, and the last two are spent in very intense study towards A-level exams and coursework that are required for university entry. Many students will be weeded out after 5 years in high school where they need a certain result on another set of exams, GCEs, in order to continue to A levels. To get into law, you will generally need As in your A levels, maybe some Bs depending on the school. Only the top 15-20% or so (or less) of exam writers will get those grades. "High school" in the UK is not like "high school" in Canada where anyone who wants to be there can be, and you generally can get into some university or other with B and C grades in high school from classes that may not be that rigorous. I was 2 years ahead of the class when I moved to Canada from the UK. If you take AP or International Baccalaureate in Canadian high schools (I did one of those programs) you are given credit for one year of university. A-levels are harder than AP or IB and equivalent to at least 2 years of Canadian university education. So English/Welsh law students go through a selection process that is much tougher than Canadian undergrad entry, and have the equivalent of at least 2 years of Canadian undergrad under their belts when they start. There are still Canadian law schools that take students who have only completed 2 years of undergraduate study, though this is increasingly uncommon. I haven't seen any evidence that those students perform less well in Canadian schools. I have seen the coursework for English law schools, and I wouldn't say it is easier than Canadian law school work and may even be more demanding. Canadians who go to English law schools after doing their undergrad still find it tough and as far as I know, they aren't all or most at the top of the class even though they have degrees. The other thing regarding workload and travelling in Europe is that their culture is much different regarding work-life balance. Europeans think Canadians and Americans are crazy with how much we work. Many of us when we start a job get only 2 weeks vacation for the year for quite some time. In Europe, including the UK, they start at 5 or 6 weeks. They have much more robust labour laws. Their school year is longer but with more breaks. Travelling to Europe was also, pre-Brexit, encouraged as a way of getting to know your neighbours and learn their languages, and it is dirt-cheap and easy to do. The train from London to Paris for a weekend is less onerous than the 2- or 3-hour drive to the cottage that many Canadians, including lawyers and law students, do every weekend in the summer. Also, there are 3 paths to getting a legal education in England and Wales, not just one: 1) enter law school after A-levels (secondary education) 2) take a non-law undergraduate degree and then do a law conversion course 3) study through an Inn of Court (no or few prerequisites but very difficult self-study) Following that, there is an additional training course for either barristers or solicitors, followed by a training contract or pupillage (similar to articling but harder to get. Where you went for undergrad and your social class and connections matter a lot more than they do in Canada.) There is also a fast-track diploma to become a Chartered Legal Executive in certain areas of law. It is much more complex and all being reviewed now, but suffice it to say it is not so simple as assuming that legal study in England and Wales is less serious and rigorous because students enter from high school.
  9. I am a lawyer who previously studied and had a career in music and the arts, and music will always be a part of my life. It is hard to find as much time for music as I would like, but there are a few factors that go into that. First of all, I'm a sole practitioner and run my own firm, which I think may be more time-consuming than some other legal jobs. Secondly, I also have young children. It was my choice to combine starting a legal career and having children, but it does not leave a lot of extra time for extra-curriculars. If you do not add kids to the mix right away, or ever, you will have a lot more disposable time! As well, I took my art pretty seriously and it is hard psychologically to transition to a realization that I will never do it at that level again (truthfully, I probably was not good enough anyway, which is difficult to accept sometimes.) But music takes a big time commitment and is not like your drawing which you say you can do for 40 minutes a day on your own time. If I were performing in an opera, there would be day-long rehearsals which just do not work with full-time work and parenting. I do do music at a level that works with my job - I am in a couple of choirs and I do the odd performance here and there when asked, and I practice at home and do music with my children. My job is not so demanding that I can't set aside reasonable time for that, though it does take good organizational skills. I also have an interest in writing, which is more like drawing in that you can do small chunks of it whenever you want, and I don't write every day but I am slowly making progress. Drawing could be a handy thing to do while waiting endlessly in bail court or for a jury to reach a verdict or for a client to show up to their appointment or to be brought into an interview room in cells or at the jail. I am picturing some interesting sketches that could be done of various objects and happenings around the courthouse and jail! In short, I don't think that what you are proposing is unrealistic at all. You've already come to terms with the fact that this isn't going to be a professional venture, you are suggesting a pretty minimal amount of time, and it sounds very flexible. I don't really understand why you can't draw in law school. When I was in law school, people gossiped, facebooked and got drunk for way more than 40 minutes a day. It can't have changed that much! I worked hard in law school, but never as much as 70 or 80 or even 40 hours a week, and I had time for lots of other things, both law school-related extra curriculars and things that had nothing to do with law school. I worked part-time teaching music throughout law school and my grades didn't suffer at all. Also, if you are a lawyer earning good money, it can help support your art - you could afford to rent a space and hire a curator to put on an exhibition, and you would have professional contacts with lots of lawyers who want to show that they have some culture, and might be interested in attending and buying pieces. I also found that when I was doing job interviews, or even now when I'm networking, people were and are very impressed with my musical pursuits, and they stand out from the "typical" lawyer hobbies which are the things @erinl2described - cycling, running (almost every lawyer I know does marathons or half-marathons), playing in hockey or softball leagues, hiking, skiing, golf, and the old standbys of cooking, traveling and reading, and of course, being involved with boards and politics. A lot of those other things are partly done for networking and business purposes, but when you do something like draw, play the piano or write poetry, it's a solitary pursuit you do for the sheer love of it. This makes it hard sometimes, but also draws admiration for your commitment to something beautiful, not because you want to be a judge or get referrals but just because you have a passion for it. I got lots of questions about my music, even requests to sing in interviews, (which was a bit weird!) and I would think your drawing would also attract positive interest. Many bar associations sponsor lawyers' theatre productions, cabaret nights etc so clearly lawyers have time to participate in those.
  10. lioness

    2L Summer (2019) Recruit PFOs/ITCs

    It is sad that diversity is being used as a marketing and recruitment buzzword rather than as a substantive call to action. If big law firms really cared about increasing diversity, they would realize that the lack of diversity in law firms starts at a much earlier stage than OCIs, and they would focus on giving opportunities to kids in public schools in under served neighbourhoods to develop the academic skills and obtain the resources they need to attend and succeed in university and do well on the LSAT so that they can get into and afford law school. It goes far deeper than who is on your hiring committee and not asking questions about hockey. The fact is that "diversity" in law often is superficial - we want people who have different skin tones, but largely act and think the same way.
  11. lioness

    2L Summer (2019) Recruit PFOs/ITCs

    Don't most big firms assume that a lot of associates will leave after a certain time, and this is why they have a constant recruiting and hiring machine? Perhaps it is different in Ontario. In my province, plenty of very average students with B averages and not particularly impressive resumes got hired at big corporate firms, in my province and in other provinces. And there was some nepotism involved for more than a few of them. I remember hearing that in Toronto, you cannot hire your child into your own firm. Well, in my province, you can, and people do. Their friends also hire each other's kids. In my year, very few of the top students were interested in corporate law. A few did go to Bay or to big firms in other provinces, but most of the rest clerked, articled at competitive government places or non-profits, went to top boutiques, or went to grad school.
  12. lioness

    Law School or Masters (MPP/MPA)

    You're right that the career path is a lot less certain with a masters in public policy and similar areas. Several of my closest friends have that degree and they all took some time to find jobs in the field - years in some cases. They are happy with their jobs now and they earn well, though not like most lawyers, and as they work with government, they have good benefits and fairly reasonable hours (though it can still get busy at times.) But there could be a long job search, periods of contract work and so on before landing that plum gig. Nothing is ever 100% certain in life, but law is still a reasonably certain career path to a reasonably high income for those who are motivated and have a minimum level of talent. And law also still opens doors to a lot of those policy jobs and other things as well. So you need to ask yourself how comfortable you are with career uncertainty in general. I was an artist before law school which is one of the most uncertain careers there is, and as much as I loved the arts, I realized that I was not interested in the bohemian life I saw my colleagues living. I wanted to have a family and provide certain things for them. I wanted to be able to travel for fun and enjoy various luxuries. The stress and over-work of law do get to me sometimes, but when I look at what I get in return, it is the right choice. I know artists who could never work in an office or have a steady job because they love the flexibility of gigging at night, having time to create and so on, and they are willing to make less money, rent rather than own, not have kids or have them and provide a more modest material lifestyle, in order to have their freedom. Public policy will still give you a stable income but it will be lower than in law, and the work may or may not be as exciting to you as law, but you probably will have more time for a life outside of law, and less stress.
  13. lioness

    Bond University

    A few people from Bond and similar schools transferred into my law school for 2L. Some were the kids of owners of successful law firms, who all got hired by their dads and are still there. The general opinion of these lawyers is that they are lazy, spoiled, entitled, arrogant and dumb. None of them really work at hustling, networking or building a reputation. They will get clients till they die based on their firm and last name. In a way, I feel sorry for them that with everything they had handed to them in life, they lacked the talent or imagination to do better. The rest were kids who went out of their way to tell you that they were of modest means and made sacrifices to go to Bond, etc. In practicality, what that meant was they had a lot of student debt, supplemented by their parents taking out lines of credit, remortgaging their homes etc. What they failed to appreciate was that having parents able and willing to do that is still a form of privilege. They all applied for articling positions in the 2L recruit and none of them got any offers. None of them got anything throughout 3L. Of two I've kept in touch with, one eventually articled for free in a known sweat shop and one went to a northern location with Legal Aid. Both had said that they wanted to practice corporate law and neither is doing so - the first one does personal injury and the other is still doing Legal Aid up north. These were the lucky ones who were able to transfer back and did not have to deal with NCAs, etc. They were presumably near the top of their classes at Bond but were not near the top of our class. Even transferring back, there was a lot of stigma and it is worse if you graduate from Bond. I know people who did that and it took years to finish NCAs, convince someone to let them article and find a job, and they did not have much choice about type of job, area of practice etc - it was "find a job, any job." I would not want to be that limited after spending hundreds of thousands of dollars.
  14. lioness

    Dollar value of an articling student?

    For me, the economics of deciding whether to hire a student look like this: Add up necessary and fixed personal expenses Mortgage Car payments Property tax Day care Home internet/TV etc Utilities etc. Add up necessary but variable personal expenses Groceries Gas Home maintenance Vehicle maintenance Kids' winter clothing Long-term saving for retirement Helping family etc Add up important but not strictly necessary personal expenses Kids' extracurriculars Work clothes, manicures, hair etc etc Add up more discretionary but preferred personal expenses Eating out Personal clothing Vacations Saving for short-term projects (Christmas, birthdays, new furniture, emergency fund etc) Gifts for relatives etc Add up business expenses Professional licencing/fees Rent of office space Phones, internet, fax etc Subtract my husband's salary and any other sources of income (tax returns/benefits, money from side hustles, gifts etc.) What is left has to come from me (which is most of it as the family breadwinner.) I am the only one putting money into my firm, as a sole practitioner. "The firm's money" is my money. My income also fluctuates, so when I do well I need to put money aside for both personal and business expenses in lean times. I then have to look at how much is available for salaries. I have to consider whether I want a student, an assistant, or both. No offence to the brilliant students here, but I agree that an assistant is far more important, if I have to choose one. If I am paying one or two salaries, I have to look at where the dollars are going to be coming from and consider if it is worth it to reduce paying into my savings, maybe skip a vacation, buy less clothes, give less to my family, delay getting furniture, eat out less etc to pay someone, in order to have a full-time employee. I am There are other options to get some of the benefits and tasks of a student or an assistant without paying someone full-time. Students definitely do save time - but there are also lots of junior lawyers available to me who can do adjournments/routine matters for a flat fee on an as-needed basis, who can cover for vacations and school breaks and so on. There are students still in law school who can do some of those things, do research for an hourly rate, etc. There are also people who can come in and file and answer the phone at busy times on a casual basis for an hourly rate. And yes, there are also ways for lawyers to help each other out and cover for each other for their mutual benefit at no cost. Before making the huge commitment to pay a full-time salary, and invest time training people, you have to make sure that you really have enough work for that person and that you can afford the outlay of money up front on a regular and sustained basis. I agree that there are many small offices that can benefit from some help and could be more profitable with help, but that could be part-time help as described above, or it could mean combining with other lawyers to share space and pool resources. It does not necessarily mean that hiring a student is the only way to save yourself time. The exception would be the rare student who actually brings in business, but I don't think it's appropriate for an employer to expect this of a student. If you as a potential student have access to a pool of clients you are confident you can bring in to the firm where you work, you should definitely indicate this to potential employers.
  15. lioness

    Dealing with difficult judges

    To answer the questions: 1. They are basing it on their own experiences with the judge and specific things the judge said 2. The judge is definitely pro-prosecution and anti-defence. I didn't mention sexism, but you are right that that is a possibility as well. 3. and 4. I don't think I want to drag my student into this, especially if I am wrong about the racism part. Even if they are racist, it doesn't do me much good to have "proof" of that, does it? Yes, I suppose it is good that they at least make their concerns known... very vocally.
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