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Umpalumpa

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  1. This is just nonsense. The top MAG positions and clerkships take Canadianns from US law schools. Look up some MAG departments, you will see foreign grads. You can also look up the OCI results, there are usually a few US law school acceptances each year.
  2. "Essentially 100%" is a long way off from 100%. If you do the math, there is a certain percentage who failed to get articling and a certain percentage - as a consequence - who took low pay/no pay articling. Whether that adds up to 1/10 or 1/20 students, who knows. It is a bit of a disconcerting stat. Have your colleagues not shared the fact some were desperate for articling and willing to take undesirable positions? What a shocker.
  3. I was in almost your exact position a few years ago. I listened to similar advice and made the wrong choice. Equality of Schools You are in an unusual position, you have fantastic stats. Most law students in Canada don't have great stats and I believe this allows the idea of "equality among schools" to flourish. What makes it convincing is that the idea is half true. If you do well - top 20% - in any of the top 4 Ontario schools, UBC or McGill then your school does not matter a whole lot. All the career options are pretty much open to you and you will probably land a great job in crim, civil or MAG. However, if you are not part of the top 20%, where you go to school matters A LOT. As you go down the class ranking the only school which is safe - even marginally safe - is UofT. All others have significantly curtailed your opportunity for good employment. This is not bad per say but if you are going in with high stats, with other options in life, why take such a huge risk? Law school grades are not random, but your ability to predict how well your grades will be is quite low, LSAT and GPA have low predictive value. Think of it this way. Look at the articling rate. If it is not 100%, there is a sizable portion that are taking unpaid/no pay articling positions. Think about that for a bit. Best Advice If I were to do it again I would go to a top US school and work in big law doing white collar defence until my debt was payed off. At that point I would come back here. I would suggest you consider this. US firms, unlike Canadian firms, have large criminal defence practices. You can do work you are interested in and make money ($200 000/yr). You don't have to do it for longer than a few years to pay off your debt and then you can switch to other work in Canada. The secret is that grades and prestige matter a huge amount in law. Interest and clinic work are a pennies on the scale. This is evidenced in OCIs and the articling recruit. Also, there is not even a guarantee you will get the programs offered by these schools. You usually have to apply for them; they are not particularly competitive but sometimes people don't get them. If you happen to get into HYS then just accept and relax in their private loan programs which are very forgiving. Canadian Schools UofT is actually quite amazing if you want to do crim. Everyone I know who went there and wanted public interest work ended up with a great position. They have a couple great programs, they just don't publicize it much. The secret is that school rank matters and firms and government will hire you based on a quota system AGAINST your class mates. So if crim is not popular at UofT they will just take the best X students from UofT who applied, which is a small pool. The debt you take on is actually a lot more manageable than most people think. Even if you make something like 40k, you can pay off a 100k loan. It sucks but it is doable. But it does not seem that you even have this problem as you are able to pay off some Ontario schools tuition? Conclusion Apply to the US. Go to UofT if you feel like it. Otherwise reconsider law, it is probably not worth the risk for you. Pursue other opportunities and come back in a few years if you cant find another path. This is the unpopular opinion but hopefully it will shed some light.
  4. Have any other Crown officers set interview dates? I would have thought they would take another week or so to get back since the deadline to apply was Monday.
  5. That makes sense. Thanks for the information. To be clear, and for anyone else who stumbles across this Q in the future, I assume I will/would be doing the necessary hustle. It was the other part I am really curious about; how to actually get clients and income expectations. I take it for given I will be on call 24/7 and putting in oodles more time than I bill Legal Aid.
  6. @BringBackCrunchBerries Getting hired at a stable salary would be great. It is nice that those people landed positions. I am probably considered a "competitive" candidate at this point but I am not going to count my future on it. Especially now with the blow COVID has done to trial work. Although the courts are opening up, it will be a slow bleed for a long time. @[email protected] Thanks for the inspiration. Now that I took a more careful look through your thread things are beginning to clarify. It appears that it is possible to make a decent living. But that income is entirely dependent on referred work. And the referred work is dependent on other defence counsel liking me and/or respecting my work. I guess I just assumed this field would be too saturated to make anything out of it. I thought that the flux of new calls - predominantly foreign grads - all carving out their small client base of legal aid would make it hard/impossible to make a decent income. But - as you outline - it seems it is just dependent on referred work. Which makes sense since brand/advertisement is not really a thing for new calls. And respected defence counsel who have surplus work are going to be reluctant referring clients or extra work to: no-name joe who is only taking crim files because he has to. It looks like my best hope is making connections and landing a chambers style arrangement where I would have a more formal referral source. I have a few questions from this: Is my summary correct? How do I go about looking for an arrangement of this sort? Also, if I chat to defence counsel and let them know I am starting my own practice and will take any referred work would that be considered too uncouth? Clearly a lot depends on context but I know lawyers can be quite territorial. Also - my latent question in the first post - how many fail at this? Obviously it would be a quick crash-and-burn exit but it would be helpful to know what the body count is of solo defence practitioners actually is. How stacked the odds are.
  7. Hey guys, it looks like I will be finishing my articles in criminal law but will likely not have a job after that. Do you know how hard/doable it is to hack it as a solo criminal defence lawyer in Ontario; and for specifically the GTA? I have spoken with several defence counsel who are more senior and they basically all say the same thing: it will be rough but it is getting worse as the years go. This is due to the the massive glut of lawyers and how legal aid defence work is low hanging fruit; yada-yada. But I do not know how much stake to put on their evaluation. They are at a much higher level of success than what most defence lawyers would expect. It is hard to say if there evaluation it accurate; by that I mean they are not a fresh grad by any stretch and their salary expectation is quite high. Obviously cash clients are out of the question as a fresh solo, but how hard is it to survive on legal aid certs? I understand running a business is a highly individualized thing but I am asking as someone with a modest network in criminal law and a personality that is outgoing. There must be a certain percentage who succeed and fail in this era but I do not know if the odds are like 10:1 or 1:20. Again, I am not asking for great success, just a modest salary to live and pay of my loans. Is 20k-40k a realistic expectation? Or should I start lining up at the food banks?
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