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lioness last won the day on December 20 2018

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  1. I've done a fair bit of contract DC work, as well as certificate work, a lot of it on rural and remote circuits. DC are not supposed to do the same things as counsel who are retained, nor are they necessarily supposed to see most matters to conclusion. It may depend on where in the country you are, and this is not in ON, but I have had times where I have been able to assist almost all the unrepresented people in court on a particular day in bringing their matters to finality and to what I believed was their satisfaction. Other times, there are a lot of adjournments. It will depend. DC also assist people who wouldn't qualify for Legal Aid in some cases. I also don't think a cost comparison is possible between DC and clinics or private counsel, because the jobs are different, but the system would collapse without DC and they are extremely necessary, especially outside the city. There are also times when DC are more efficient than a certificate.
  2. I think the problem you may have is that if you wrote a personal statement to the school about how much you want to be a lawyer and why you are suited to the profession, you're undermining yourself by giving them the true reason you want to defer. If you had some sort of personal or medical problem or unexpected event, that is different - you are saying you're still an enthusiastic and competent candidate, but you need to take care of an intervening life event so that you can be in a better position to focus and be that wonderful law student. But you were supposed to soul search and figure out what you wanted before you applied.
  3. This may be a "biglaw" perspective because in my world, while I wouldn't say that anyone looks at people as having expertise in an area based on their Bachelors' degree or that they are decisive in hiring decisions, their degrees certainly can be highly relevant and valued. Colleagues with social work degrees are looked at at having an edge in dealing with difficult people, colleagues with English degrees are sought after to write or edit facta, colleagues with French degrees are seen as useful to speak to francophone clients, and the like. I actually do know what a lot of peoples' degrees are in, and they do post them on their profiles.
  4. The best things were having a life devoted to learning and the excitement and sense of accomplishment when new concepts became clear, having a great rapport with professors, meeting incredibly brilliant people from all over the country and making good friends with some of them, extra-curricular activities, a sense of hope and endless possibility in my life. The worst thing was living in a bit of a bubble where competition and pressure sometimes took on outsized proportions if you let them, and not having any money.
  5. Clinics are generally an easy target. I hear constant complaining about them in that people feel that they consume resources disproportionate to every other part of the system, so my guess is that they will be the first thing to cut, as doing so affects less employees and staff than if they monkey with the tariffs and affect everyone. And many private bar lawyers may even support that move. I agree this is short-sighted however as clinics make incredibly important contributions to the law. Lawyers in my province are terrified that our government will learn from this and make similar cuts. We're following this very closely.
  6. They were charged and ended up resolving with a community-based disposition. They were also fired as a Crown but I am pretty sure that there were other reasons behind that as well as the charges. I believe the law society got involved as well.
  7. Very true. As well, those in the law and order crowd clamouring for people to be prosecuted and to face the consequences of their actions need to remember that that can't happen if accused need representation and it isn't available. If a judge deems that an individual's charges are serious enough and they are unsophisticated enough (a Rowbotham application), if Legal Aid has refused to provide them with counsel, and the judge finds that the person cannot afford counsel, the trial cannot proceed until the state pays for counsel for them. As well, if there are inordinate delays in people getting counsel, the judge can stay charges for unreasonable delay. So if the government keeps cutting Legal Aid, we will likely see people walk on serious offences because they didn't get timely access to competent counsel.
  8. I would think that for most lawyers, insurance defence would be more obviously lucrative than plaintiff-side personal injury work. Insurance defence comes with a fixed, scaled salary and benefits. Like any area of the private sector, plaintiff-side work is high-risk, high-reward, so you'll always have some high-flyers billing millions. That's also true of criminal defence, but most people don't make that kind of money, or if they do, it takes many years of grinding to work up to doing so, so in general, most people will do better financially as Crowns. I have a few classmates who have been in PI for close to a decade now, and none of them is making anything more than a modest income. Most PI clients don't have the money to pay a lawyer up front and the lawyer depends on a percentage of their settlement, which is never guaranteed, while most insurance companies are very reluctant to pay out claims, so I would think there is a lot of incentive on the deep-pocketed defence side to retain competent counsel to defend claims and therefore save money, and to treat those counsel well enough that they will want to stick around.
  9. Huh? Almost all of the refugees I represent "broke the law" as in immigration law, by making irregular crossings. Not all criminal clients have actually committed the offences with which they are charged.
  10. I don't have a website, but I have a well-curated LinkedIn page. I find that people Google me after they are already interested in me and referred to me by another source, and what they see on LinkedIn will solidify their interest. I don't think that that many people find lawyers by Googling them cold; word of mouth seems to be key, at least in my market. I find that most of the lawyers who do have websites are fairly junior and tend to use those SEO searches that tell you so-and-so is "one of the top lawyers in X city" or "one of the best impaired driving lawyers in Canada" and the like. I find that so cheesy and embarrassing and would never want to be seen to be paying someone to brag for me. If I did have a website, it would just be the website. The most senior and well-respected lawyers in my city hardly ever have websites and yet they are not hurting at all for business. The main reasons I don't have a website is that if you have one, it needs to be maintained and frequently updated to be worth it, and that takes time and money, and I have limited resources and don't see it as a priority since I am doing just fine and have enough work. I think if you choose to chase more of a cash practice, which I am considering, it may start to be worth it, and I am looking at options that include not being a sole and would offer the opportunity to have a website that I personally am not directly responsible for. As a sole, it's just not something I've been able to do. LinkedIn is a bit easier to maintain and is also free, so that's my compromise. In other words, I'm pretty much agreeing with what @Diplock said.
  11. I balanced law school and mothering infants, and it was doable but certainly not ideal. I would never advise mothers to do this intentionally if they have any other choice. However, I do agree that it only gets worse in practice, so in retrospect, doing it in law school may not be as crazy as it seemed at the time. I think the considerations for dads are different (I had to worry about breastfeeding, for example) so it is hard for me to say whether you can do 1L and be a "good dad to a newborn." I think "being a good dad to a newborn" is going to entail some level of sleep deprivation, which I would not recommend in 1L. (In upper years, it is much easier to have a flexible schedule and 3L is a great time to have a baby, but I know it's too late for that.) There were a few guys who became dads at various points in 1L, and I wouldn't say any of their schoolwork or ECs suffered, but I don't know if they were "good dads" as I never specifically asked them how much they were home, how much they got up at night and the like. It appeared to me that they were far less restricted and more able to focus on school than I was, from the outside looking in.
  12. But this depends on what jurisdiction they are in. In the US, accused are entitled to have a lawyer present, and the hope in Canada, on the part of defence counsel at least, was that when that trilogy of "advice" cases went before the SCC, we would also move in that direction. I think that the analysis often overlooks or minimizes the extreme power imbalance between police and accused, and that's not even taking into account the large proportion of accused persons who are indigenous/racialized, have severe mental health and/or cognitive issues, have limited educations, and so on. The presence of counsel could redress that imbalance somewhat and prevent police exploiting clients' frailties. We allow counsel to attend for youth, recognizing the power imbalance there, which doesn't magically correct itself when an accused turns 18. Nor does having counsel at youth interviews impede valid police investigations. I know a Crown who was arrested and brought to the police station, and they told me that as a Crown, they had never really understood the sheer terror of being alone in that tiny room with a cop, and that they had to fight the feeling of just saying whatever it took of getting out of there, and they now understood how accused, with less education and understanding of the process, would feel. I find that it takes a lot of time on the phone with most clients to get them to keep their mouths shut, and most counsel or students don't spend that time, which is understandable when you consider that it's usually unbilled time, often when you are woken in the night from a deep sleep or are busy trying to have private time, but is not excusable. I will tell them what you said above as well as role-play with them, describe common police techniques and give them examples of clients who had good outcomes because they didn't talk, and the opposite.
  13. Mediation is relevant to all areas of law. At least when I was in law school, the moots were highly sought out by students and drew a lot of attention in interviews for litigation jobs. I don't think that they are necessary to get a litigation job and I would agree that clinic experience overall is probably more valuable, but I also wouldn't discount moots. OP: there are negotiation, arbitration and mediation moots as well as litigation ones.
  14. I am someone who also always had an interest in both policy and public law, so I understand where you are coming from. I think you need to ask yourself what exactly you want to spend your days doing. A policy analyst does very different work than a constitutional, criminal, immigration or international lawyer, and what each of those does is very different. I have seen it written on this forum many times, but it bears repeating that you are unlikely to have a career in public international law straight out of law school. You can certainly work in criminal or immigration law, with constitutional law being part of both of those fields. I practice in both areas and deal with constitutional issues frequently. If you do immigration law, you could either be essentially a solicitor doing paperwork for sponsorships, work permits and the like, or you could be a litigator representing refugees at various hearings. If you do criminal law, you will be spending most of your time in court, and if you develop an appellate practice, as I have, you will be doing a fair bit of research and writing as well and delving into those constitutional issues more deeply. Policy analysts obviously do not go to court. They deal with the bigger picture as it applies hypothetically to numerous people, while a lawyer represents the interests of their individual clients. I was recently encouraged to apply for a relatively high-level policy job that I would have jumped at a few years ago, and I declined to do so because I really like being in the courtroom and dealing with people in extremity, and I think that that is where my strengths lie and where I can make the most impact. That is the question you need to answer for yourself. As well, the day-to-day life of a criminal or refugee lawyer is not glamorous, and you will likely be self-employed and needing some business skills if you work on the defence side, rather than having the structure and benefits of a government job in policy, so you need to ask yourself what kind of employment structure you would thrive in. Of course, you can work for the Crown in those areas and have the best of both worlds, if you would be comfortable arguing their side of the issues.
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