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Suzanne

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  1. So, I obviously don't want to keep working for this guy, if I'm terminated or not. What would people suggest I say to prospective employers about why my articling fell apart?
  2. I need advice with my articling situation. I'm mid-way through articles in BC, and am currently attending PLTC (BC's bar ad course). I've had some problems with my principal all along, largely to do with a serious lack of communication from my principal. Anyway, I had to move to attend PLTC, and the Law Society recommends that students not work for their firm during PLTC because it's a heavy courseload. My principal told me before that he wants me to work during PLTC, and I told him I didn't want to make any promises since PLTC is a) a lot of work and b) a Law Society requirement. At our last in-person conversation, he said that I should focus on PLTC. A week into PLTC I called him, said I was swamped with coursework and really couldn't work for the firm and expect to pass PLTC. It was a light, friendly conversation. A few days later, he emailed saying he assumed my saying I couldn't work during PLTC meant I was quitting articling, that working during PLTC was an employment condition (he never said or wrote such a thing), and that he thought it best if I end my employment with the firm. Plot twist: the lawyer acting as my principal is not my official principal. I haven't heard from my official principal, so I believe I am not actually terminated at this point. So far my plan is to look for new articles and possibly contact an employment lawyer if my firm tries to stop paying me without actually terminating me. The contract was that I would be paid through PLTC. I've had some problems working for this firm, but I was trying to make it work and certainly didn't want to leave without having another place to go. I've contacted the law society but it seems to be more of an employment law issue than a law society issue. Has anyone experienced something like this? I am honestly baffled that it's even possible for a principal to terminate a student due to prioritizing PLTC obligations. There was more to it than that, but honestly most of the problems would not have occurred if my boss were better at communicating. His assumption that because I said I didn't have time to work during PLTC meant I was quitting, even though in the same breath I talked about coming back in August, is a good indicator of the degree of miscommunication. I'm a little hesitant to post so much sensitive info online, but I'm at a complete loss for how to make any sense of my boss's actions. I don't know what to say to this guy. Please help.
  3. Possibly a stupid question, but can anyone articling in BC tell me where on earth I can find the articling student portal on the law society website? I logged into the member portal no problem and proceeded to scour the website in search of the student portal, but with no success. I read an article saying there's useful info on the student portal which can be accessed by "following the links" on the law society website. Problem: no such links in sight. Do I need to wait until I begin PLTC to access the student portal, or is it just hiding somewhere? Thanks
  4. I went to Robson and I loved it! The main con about Robson is that the course offerings are limited due to its small size. The pros (also due to small size) are that it's easy to be on first-name terms with your profs, you can walk into any prof's office to discuss course work or even personal issues if you want, and the student community is friendly and supportive. It's also good if you're interested in Aboriginal issues - a good percentage of the profs are Aboriginal and are deeply involved in Aboriginal research and advocacy. And no, you're not stuck in Manitoba afterwards, if you want to go somewhere else. Most U of M grads stayed in Manitoba, but several of my classmates went to other provinces for articling or got associate jobs out of province after articling.
  5. Yeah, it's not a firm where I want to stay, largely because I don't want to work with someone who doesn't tell me squat. I know I shouldn't look for another firm for articling because it's nowhere near bad enough that the law society would let me switch and because the articling job market is not good, but as soon as I have my call to the bar I'm out of there. I think repeating instructions via email would help - that way at least there's a paper trail to reference later if the boss replies with yes, that's what you're supposed to do. Man, I'm a little baffled at how many people can get that far in education and life in general and not learn the concept of speaking intelligibly. I guess it's not my problem, as long as I get through the year.
  6. Hi everyone, I need some advice on improving communication with my principal. I'm articling at a small firm and for the most part it's good: the lawyers and assistants are nice, I get to do some interesting work, and my hours are reasonable. The problem is communication with my principal. So many times he'll say one thing and later it turns out he meant something else. Sometimes I catch it right away, sometimes I start an assignment and go down a useless rabbit hole before finding out he wanted me to do something else. I only found out at my three month review that when he asks me to do a specific task for one file he actually means he wants me to do everything else on the file too, until it's closed. And yes, when I finish a task I ask him what he wants me to do next. I've tried a few times to explain to him that I have a hard time understanding what he wants me to do and asking him to be more clear in his communication. A couple times he threw this back at me saying that communication is a two-way street. Obviously that's true, but he's told me this in the context of me asking him a specific question and him not following up - I call bullshit on him implying that I'm not doing my part to communicate. I'm super frustrated at the situation, but I want to do whatever I can to stick it out and hopefully make it a more productive, less frustrating work relationship. I feel bad for pointing fingers, but given that I don't have this problem with the other lawyer (who also gives me work) or with the assistants, I'm pretty sure the difficulty is mostly due to poor communication on his part. I'm his first articling student, so I think he actually just doesn't know how to delegate and instruct. Does anyone have tips on what I can say or do to improve the lines of communication? That is, besides yelling at him that I can't read his mind and good luck finding a student who can, as I don't want to get fired. I get that articling students have to do a lot of figuring stuff out, but there are some things where I absolutely need him to tell me what's going on, like if he changes his mind on what strategy he wants me to pursue on a file. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.
  7. Also, firms must get some value from students because there are firms that take an articling student but expressly communicate that they will not hire the student back as an associate. I'm sure some firms say this just to avoid getting their hands tied before testing out the student, but it also suggests that there is some value to having a student even without the long-term investment in a future associate.
  8. Hm, well this was an enlightening thread to read. I definitely see the sense in not making presumptions about a firm's finances, since I can't know any of that. I do like the point about articling students doing tasks such as remands which free up time for experienced lawyers to do well-paid tasks.
  9. Hi all, For context, I'm looking for an articling position post-grad! I've seen a few people advise grads looking for articling to have numbers ready to show firms about what value a student would bring, but I have no idea how to research this. Can anyone tell me how to calculate an articling student's worth, in terms of billable hours, how much research and writing we can do and what that's worth, etc? All I know is the standard salary range. Thanks!!
  10. Also, does anyone have tips on cold-calling firms? My strategy so far is to call reception, ask to speak to whoever would be responsible for hiring articling students, then briefly tell that lawyer that I'm looking for articling, I'm interested in their firm because of X, and ask if they'd consider hiring an articling student.
  11. You guys may be right about me needing to narrow my search more. I know what I want to do, I want to advocate for justice for the less fortunate, so criminal defence, aboriginal law, and other social justice-related areas are my top choice. At first I applied only to firms involved with those areas, but when I didn't get a job I decided to search more broadly, hoping I could get into something I loved after getting my call to the Bar. Recently, I've been going back to only applying to places I'm really interested in. Thanks for the interview tips! Hegdis, your example of a bad interview response was hilarious
  12. Allow me to clarify. I've had twelve interviews, so I think the issue is my interviews rather than my application documents. Does anyone have good advice for interviews? I'm fairly reserved just naturally, and sometimes I can be very shy. Obviously, this is an obstacle when I'm trying to convince a firm that I'm the best candidate for the job and that I really really want the job. Even if it's there on paper, it's much harder to demonstrate that in person if I'm super anxious. Does anyone with a similar issue have advice for interviews?
  13. Hi everyone, I'm still looking for articling a few months after grad. I'm getting really discouraged and frustrated because everyone I know has already started articling and I have no clue why I haven't found anything yet. I have a B average, volunteered for Legal Aid at law school, yada yada. I've had interviews where the employer told me I was a great candidate but they also had 40 other good candidates, and then they didn't hire me. I've been cold-calling, cold-emailing, and applying to job posts from across the country. Can anyone give me advice or encouragement? Please not the generic "I'm sure you'll find something" or "you're great, you'll find a job easily", since obviously it's not easy. I just want an articling job so I can get on with everything!
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