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artsydork last won the day on December 22 2020

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  1. ...you have a 3.53 and a 170. I don't get the question? Jokes aside, you're fine. And can probably recognize that too.
  2. You're applying to the school. You know the criteria. While McGill is holistic, the median gpa and LSAT are both still very competitive. I get that rejection sucks but complaining about the criteria will get you no where. re: pure numbers vs whole package. How the heck do you think grad school applications go? Job interviews? All of that is gleaned with a cover letter and a short research statement. Add in references from people that know you and there it is. I can create a new thread if y'all want to continue to ponder whether McGill's system is fair or not.
  3. I'm trying to remember the case, but there is a family law case from the 60's where the judge muses whether it's possible for adultery to be committed by 2 women. It's also a great read.
  4. It's not yield protection. McGill routinely has people with high stats accepted. Stop the fake news. McGill has all their admission criteria online. Numbers alone won't get a person in. People apply to other schools. McGill doesn't give AF if you've applied elsewhere. It's normal to apply to multiple schools.
  5. Fwiw, I had 4 Ws sprinkled throughout my undergrad (minor hopped). I didn't explain them at all when I was admitted to McGill back in the day. Re: everyone else surprised by other stats. McGill is not just a numbers school. CV, references and letter of intent are all very important.
  6. Most schools operate on rolling admissions. Application deadlines closed due quite some time ago and classes are already filling.
  7. I am adding the caveat that my advice is largely from an Ontario-centric perspective! There are common generalities across the provinces, but Office of the Children's Lawyer, Child Protection agency stuff, and even how pleadings are drafted vary across the provinces. Each province has their own unique quirks (dower in Alberta is weird to me) that you would want to find out more from a practitioner in your province. Same down to what students can do - what a McGill student is allowed to do is different than the experiences Ontario students can do (as I said in a thread about McGill v Osgoode :P) is different than what UAlberta students can do.
  8. There ARE ways for you to be more of a "child focused" lawyer. Gain experience in the field and you can apply to become a Children's Lawyer, representing the children's voice in custodial/parenting time. They also act for children in child protection matters and can even assist with secure treatment orders and the like. In house counsel positions for Children's Aid Societies are akin to Crown counsel, and believe that they're acting in a child-focused manner. Many family lawyers do want to do right by the children. That sometimes delves into emotionally-driven submissions and can create its own issues. We try to be mindful of children when drafting, and focusing on the future, but our duty is owed to our client. Keeping healthy boundaries is important for all family lawyers. Burnout and compassion fatigue is real.
  9. Geez, I've been a member here for a while and haven't seen such an interest in family law as much as we have lately! There is a lot of overlap, so I recommend looking at the recentish posts as well as anything that is said here. That said, always happy to talk about family law. Responding both to OP and Sad World Order. It seems like me, Calc, and Aurelieuse have fairly different experiences but, despite the different clientele, seem to share many of the same thoughts on the field. Also jumping from their contributions as well. Recommendations for opportunities during law school that would assist in experiencing the field as a student General client management and litigation skills are crucial to build. Family positions that are purely solicitor based are rare - most family lawyers start in the high conflict/high drama litigation before expanding. Get your feet wet by gaining experience with people. I know Western used to place students in the local Duty Counsel office and had students draft family pleadings in pairs. Other schools did the same. That is practical experience as well. You'll want to take relevant course work as well. Tax, criminal, mediation/negotiation, wills/estates, trusts, bankruptcy, law & poverty, litigation courses, evidence, etc. Basically, the core family classes + the tangent areas that you'll touch upon +- more solicitor style family law or litigation style. 2) High-level pros/cons of family law It's an evolving field with an active/friendly bar. I've made appearances in 7 or 8 different jurisdictions throughout my time. Save for dealing with the "big city lawyers" (seriously, dealing with GTA counsel is garbage for the most part), the bar is willing to chat about files, give mentorship advice, etc. It's refreshing compared to dealing with other civil lit lawyers. Family law is constantly evolving. Collaborative law, mediation, arbitration, med-arb, parenting coordination, etc. are various ways for lawyers to expand their practice areas. People have their thoughts about these areas (private justice for the rich) but it adds a nuanced approach to law and separation. It's also addressing the clinical aspect of the job. A good family lawyer can zealously advocate for their client while de-escalating conflict. Some lawyers send the nastiest letters that I have to essentially do a trigger-warning for my clients. Others attempt the "hard on the issue, soft on the person" approach, which the judiciary appreciates. I agree with Aurielese in that the first couple of years of practice is finding your voice as it's a very delicate balance. That rides into a con of family law - it's emotional AF. It can be hella messy. Clients are often in distress. People are broken. There are also terrible people that use their children as pawns, refuse to pay any support for their children, or have very inflated sense of what they did in a relationship. Some people are reexperiencing trauma from the relationship and it's hard for them to open up. And others are flat out liars. Clients can be downright assholes. I've never actively hated that many people before but certain opposing parties or even my own clients *shudders*. I usually get off record if it gets to that point, though I do have some clients that I dislike that I can still objectively advance their interests for. 3) Reality of having a positive impact on children in this field - I would be entering this field, with some hope that I could assist in lessening the impact of major disruptions in family life on children, is this approach misguided or naive? It's kinda naive and that's ok. The children aren't your clients. Your role is to get your clients to understand their rights and obligations. You can encourage your clients to be the best parents they can be, and encourage to de-escalate the conflict, attend therapy, and social work the fuck out of them - if a parent doesn't want to change, however, that's not our role and you're just going to burn yourself out. I warn my clients about the law and try to come up with realistic plans that work in their situation. Ultimately, it's not our life so I try to craft orders that are forward thinking to avoid future litigation/motion to changes. You can be the lawyer to help someone out in a very distressful time of their life. You can help them understand and navigate a confusing process and try to guide your client into how to be more neutral in their discussions, to create healthy boundaries and the like. You can also help family dynamics by not being that douche lawyer that are yelling in court about negligence 4) Any other advice or things you wish you knew before entering the field of family law! Family law itself is not that complex. The Family Law Rules are simplified from the Rules of Civil Procedure. It's pretty organized and easy to pick up the basics of the field. Higher level practice is neat as there are intersections between criminal, estates, trusts, bankruptcy, immigration, child protection, etc. The Bench and Court Staff know who the good lawyers are. Reputation is very important. We're officers of the court but building a good reputation is important. Judges in my jurisdiction know that I am generally very resolution/solution focused. 2 judges in particular really listen when I press hard on some points as they trust that I've made numerous attempts to get the other side on board/offered creative approaches towards resolution. It takes time to build reputation and your voice. It's a fine balance. I've learned a lot about how I deal with stress, interruptions and my own issues stemming from coming from a divorced family. I've learned to walk away from some issues and have grown from tit-for-tat. It's hard, especially when some senior counsel like to throw their weight around. Or, asking for a follow up and the lawyer lashes out. One of my concerns about family law is the nature of payments. I've read that some clients can be reticent to pay up and can be quite vindictive. Is this behaviour common? Does it make family law more difficult to practice as a solo practitioner? No money in trust = no work done. I mean, I struggle with that, especially as conferences are coming up. I've gotten better at reminding people that I don't work for free and get past their emotional manipulations. Most clients DO want to pay for your services though. I often explain how a retainer works and compare it to gas in the tank. No gas means I can't drive. Get your money up front! That's on you as a business person. There are creative ways, such as getting a credit card on file and the proper designation. SPs still have admin assistants who can chase people down/send out top up requests. You'll need someone to separate you from your clients - my practice became much more efficient once I had a competent assistant that could handhold some clients and free me to work on pleadings, solicitor work and litigation. Does family mirror some other areas of law where larger or more competitive firms exist, drawing more heavily on high performing students? Or is it a more decentralized practice with few large players? Depends on where you are. There are amazing family lawyers that are doing primarily legal aid work and some amazing family lawyers that deal exclusively with high networth individuals. Family law is largely done by SPs and small firms. I again agree with Aur in that it's hard to tell whether a candidate will be good based on grades - you either have people skills or you don't. There are heavy hitter names, such as Epstein, and some larger firms that have their token family lawyer and some high end boutiques. Sometimes it's simply because a lawyer has been in the area for a while that they get the bigger files. Be available and your reputation will grow. There are mills out there that are equivalent to criminal lawyer dump trucks. I recall a certain firm that seemed to have been hiring new associates for over a year in the Ontario Reports (Edit. Just checked OR and they're still seeking associates 🤣) I can't fathom what the turnover rate was for them given how long they advertised for. I also see some snakey lawyers forcing young calls into fairly abusive situations. I've been fortunate that my experience was in duty counsel, SP and a great small firm that respects me and wants me to grow. How much of a family lawyers job is more rote (filing certain papers or motions) and how much involves research (trying to find an approach for a certain case or issue)? Depends on the practice! I primarily focus on decision-making/parenting time issues so my pleadings are fairly routine. I rarely have to delve in factums as my motions tend to be short, or it's a very basic regurgitation on the law. There are routine family cases that don't need to be attached in a factum. Legal Aid Ontario has updated memos that you can look to for research (if you're on the panel). Many pleadings are routine. It makes the job easier and helps keep track. Judges don't want to read about how garbage the other parent is - they want to know why your client's plan is in the children's best interest. Your client might love all the jabs that you take but the bench won't. I keep updated with interesting cases from corollaryrelief and LAO Law. Re: Child Protection I disagree with Calc on one issue though - child protection is not formally "family law". There are intersections but most family lawyers are fairly ignorant about Child Protection issues/laws. It's more akin to criminal law as it's the intersection between between the State. Except, well, a good chunk of CAS lawyers I've dealt with have very little understanding of hearsay and permittable evidence. And Charter need not apply! It's also surprising at how ignorant some of the CAS supervisors are about family law, despite having access to legal counsel... It can be very gratifying working on CP files. It can also be very sad. There can be really interesting triable issues with some fairly sophisticated legal arguments presented. It also can leave you speechless at how cold the State can be, and also give you hope when the State really does work with the family for the better of the unit. It's not for everyone (and certainly don't fault Calc for not enjoying the work. There are many areas of law that are not for me, just as CP is not for them) - just wanted to clarify on that point.
  10. Anxiety is awful. I speak from experience. Identifying that you're experiencing a level of anxiety is insightful. Now it's important to remember the tools that your counsellor worked with you about, whether it's mindfulness to help re-center your focus/thoughts, re-establishing boundaries, remembering your intentions of the day, etc. Deep breathe in and out. It's early in the cycle. There are complicating factors in your file. You WANT adcoms to look deeper instead of looking at you at face value - this will require more time and that's ok. It's hard not to have something in your control and that's ok. Refocus your thoughts on things that you can control right now. Focus on yourself and your continued health. I'm locking this thread. You can message me when you're ready to see whether further discussions can be useful - focus on you and remember the tools that you worked so hard to establish over these past 4 years. This site isn't going to help - breathe, refocus.
  11. Quick! Trademark lawyers assemble and get a TM on that! Alternative suggestions would be all lawyer band named Force Majeure. Or a legal drag queen named Ms. Trial.
  12. Yes, and you finished in 3.5 years, as do the vast majority of students . What I've seen on this site, and from all the convos from potentials, is that they, in theory, plan on overloading and graduating in 3 years. Few opt to do it. That extra half year in tuition and not working is an added cost to consider. Osgoode has some pretty great clinical components that McGill is sorely lacking on. This *may* change as QC is set to allow legal clinics the ability to actually do more than just recite the civil code. Moot teams at other schools have designated research people while students pay for the tuition credit to moot. You can fairly easily get to Toronto/Ottawa from McGill. Or to Alberta or even back east - McGill students, as Pzabby pointed out, are from across the country and aspire to (and get hired to) go back home. Whenever I see "McGill vs (Not McGill)", though, the biggest considerations should be. 1. Do you want to learn civil law? If not, no to McGill. If you do want to learn civil law, go to McGill; 2. Does learning the law in a transsystemic way excite you? If not, don't go to McGill.
  13. McGill grad working in Ontario. You won't have any issues landing in the Ontario market. It's easy enough to get to T.dot and Ottawa from Montreal. Basically, do you want to learn civil law also? If yes, go to McGill. If not, go to Osgoode. Remember opportunity cost too - you'll have an extra semester from Mickey G (don't count on completing in 3 years).
  14. @epeeist Weren't you varsity back in your law school days?
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