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10 reasons not to go to my school.

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On 12/22/2016 at 1:53 PM, East said:

I'll take a stab at UNB. I'll preface this with the fact that I really enjoyed my time there and would definitely recommend the school.

 

1. Fredericton is brutally cold in the winter. I'm from NL and used to the wind whipping in off the water and ice driving through your skin like daggers and yet still found the cold in Fredericton more than I was used to.

 

2. You're stuck with the same people everyday. There are 90 people in your year and classes of 20-30-45 people, so you pretty much have to like who you're going to school with. One person in law school hooks up with another person or 2 in law school and things can get kind of awkward socially in a real hurry. Especially when names are drawn from a hat for a group assignment and you have to work with someone who hates your very existence. Yikes.

 

3. Your reputation precedes you. If you're that gunner who leads off with a dumb question or makes an ass of yourself on day 1 of foundations, you don't escape that.

 

4. Public transit is a no go. Freddy buses are notoriously awful and unreliable. Their weekend schedule is a bare bones operation (only 6 days a week) and everything routes through an empty mall downtown. You either have to have a car or live on campus.

 

5. The political leanings of the faculty as a whole. Everyone has their own political ideas and law students are highly opinionated in this field. The faculty at UNB is generally really left. I'm not saying I'm right or left leaning, but sometimes you feel that if you ever muttered outloud that you even considered voting Conservative, or that Harper wasn't the root of all evil, there are a couple of profs that might challenge you to a tree hug-off or boxing match.

 

6. The lack of a Dean/Prof turnover. Historically, UNB has retained the same faculty for their entire careers and it's evident when you look at the class composites hanging up that the same people taught there from the 60s through the 00s. Since a lot of the old guard have moved on there seems to be an issue with retaining faculty, and during my time there some courses were offered inconsistently or not at all (Real Estate Transactions, Insurance Law). That said, there have been a bunch of new hires so that's working itself out, I think. Dean Williamson agreed to take that position for a 2-3 year term while they look for a permanent replacement and a new Associate Dean was named last summer. It's definitely improved, but there is going to continue to be some turnover when a new Dean does finally take over, that's just the nature of the game.

 

7. The library washrooms. This might seem kind of silly but we took to calling the 3rd floor men's washroom "The Outhouse" because it was both tiny and horrible smelling. 

 

8. That everybody in Fredericton hates law students. There is not a bar in the Fredericton capital region where the entire staff won't roll their eyes at you if you say you're a law student. Historically we've been destructive and have had ourselves banned from locations such as the Fredericton Inn and the city Playhouse due to rather destructive social events (law ball and one wild talent show that result in full bathroom renos and the cancellation of a ballet recital the following day). The east coast lives up to the rowdy rep, especially when the NL and PEI crowds cross paths and you mix in a couple spoiled kids from Ontario.

 

9. You have to remind people where you live and go to school. It's been around since 1892 but despite dating from the Victorian era, most people don't realize that UNB law A) exists, and B) is in Fredericton. Most people thought I was in Halifax or Saint John for 3 years... nope, Freddy Beach baby.

 

10. All your socializing is with fellow law students. Really, it's not as bad as it sounds. The Fredericton area is only home to about 100,000 people, so you only get a couple of people actually from the city. Most come from elsewhere in Atlantic Canada. Because of that, everyone is in the same boat of being kind of lonely, kind of out of their element and you have to kind of band together. This can really suck if you let the wrong person into the social circle who wants to make law jokes all the time but, generally speaking, outside of class we're all sick of school and someone shuts down that chatter when it pops up and you find other things to be interested in and talk about. It leads to some real lasting friendships, but there's also a handful of people you hope to never see again because they kept bringing up torts at 2 am.

 

Edit:

11. The curve. I know everyone has it, but UNB curves 1L to a B- instead of a B. The result is that if you're not in the top 3rd of the class you're probably a C student, which can terrify you and make you question your life if you come on this forum and see some kid at Osgoode losing their shit over a B or B- on their transcript. So C and C+ grades are very much the norm for 1Ls.

As someone who just finished my first year at UNB I would like to endorse this post, as everything stated in here is completely accurate. In particular I would like to emphasize #6, because since this post was made two years ago this has only gotten worse. The law faculty has a very big faculty turnover problem as no body new who they hires wants to stay here for very long. Your observation about the 'old guard' of professors who taught from the 70s to the 00's is remarkably accurate, theres only a few guys left from that old guard (McEvoy, Siebrasse and Bell have been here since the early 80's and they are the only ones left) and once those guys leave, the law faculty is truly screwed. The simple truth is that the profs they are able to attract to a small town in New Brunswick are not the best, and the good ones that do happen to wind up here leave after 3-4 years (Kislowitz this year for example). I think it has to do with the fact that any well qualified law professor would not want to come to a small town in a largely rural province. I think it also has to do with the fact that they don't pay as much as other law faculties, because NB as a province is in financial troubles, and the law faculty charges among the lowest tuition in the country.

Anyways, The jist of what I am trying to say is that UNB has been going downhill fast during the last 10 years and from what I can see it is only going to get worst. My understanding is that the faculty ousted the last dean because he wanted to increase enrolment, presumably because they wanted to extra money to try and attract better faculty, and there doesn't seem to be anyone in this administration who is capable of turning this ship around. And its all truly a shame, you can tell that back in the day (as early as late 90's early 00's) UNB was truly a top notch law school. It was ranked 3rd in the country in a 1998 ranking and during that period the school routinely won national and international moot competitions. And it makes sense because they literally had the same people teaching the same courses for 30 years, and from what I seen thats left of the 'old guard' they were really good at it. Im gonna try and transfer out this summer, as I don't think UNB will be able to coast of whatever previous reputation it did have for much longer. 

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A couple of observations.  Not about UNB (so in that way, my post doesn't really contribute to this thread).  But more general observations about some things in the previous post that I want to push back on for future readers of this thread and people considering UNB. 

First, I can't disagree with the fact that faculty frequently transfer from UNB.  I don't have stats on that.  I can think of two people who moved from UNB to somewhere else.  One of them, I'm not sure why she moved, and the other wasn't because of the factors mentioned here (the city or the pay), but rather for personal reasons.  But that is all anecdotal.

The comments about the "old guard" seem to equate experience with quality of teaching.  Although it seems that the previous poster preferred his or her "old guard" faculty to newer faculty, anything empirical I've seen on the topic (or even more comprehensive anecdotal information) suggests that this isn't true more generally, even if those specific profs at UNB are excellent.  Although teaching evaluations are certainly flawed, anything that I've seen from the law school context does not show people who have been teaching for 30 years receive the best evaluations.  On occasions when I've had access to the teaching evaluations for the full faculty, what I saw confirmed this.  I've heard the number that you hit your sweet spot between 5 and 10 years of teaching experience from several people.  Maybe that came from some sort of study?  I don't know.  But people seem to throw that range around all the time.  At least at the institutions in which I've worked, some of the "old guard" crowd have been very resistant to change, which is not always a good thing.  So I'm not sure about the assertion that the law school will be "screwed" when the old guard departs. 

The other thing that I'm going to push back on, to some extent, is the argument that UNB isn't able to effectively recruit faculty.  I will completely agree with you that they would struggle with lateral hires, but I don't agree with respect to entry-level faculty hires.  Yes, of course, most people would rather live somewhere else, but you are likely overestimating the number of people who have multiple offers from different schools and thus can afford not to accept UNB.  There are some stars who do have several offers, but most of the people I can think of only had one offer.  You note that UNB isn't able to pay top dollar.  While this (along with the city itself) may contribute to faculty retention problems and lateral hiring difficulties, given the lack of multiple offers, I highly doubt that it plays much of a role in the initial recruitment of entry-level faculty.  Also, the cost of living may play into this.

The notion that UNB isn't able to recruit top professors (from a teaching perspective) seems to assume that at the initial hiring stage there is some way to identify teaching potential (and thus UNB, due to its poor pay and location, is unable to compete to get those better teachers).  I don't think this is true.  Most hiring is based on research rather than teaching.  Given that the vast majority of law faculty are coming out of PhD programs these days, there is some ability to identify research potential at the initial hiring stage.  So with respect to top research faculty, yes, I wouldn't doubt that UNB is unable to recruit top researchers.  But the context of the post was teaching and not research, and law schools don't have much to go on to determine whether someone will be an effective teacher at the initial hiring stage.  The school that I currently work at didn't ask to see my teaching evaluations from my previous job.  At another school that I interviewed with, it seemed clear to me that they hadn't looked at them.  And my experience isn't unique among my colleagues.  In addition, unlike PhD programs in other disciplines, many if not most law PhD graduates won't have teaching experience at all (and thus no evaluations).  You do give a presentation to the faculty when you interview for a job, but I'm not sure that a brief academic presentation gives much of a window into one's teaching abilities.   

The final thing that I want to disagree with is the claim that UNB, unlike other schools, is unable to attract "qualified" law professors.  I can't think of a way of measuring "qualified" that would make this statement true.  UNB currently has 4 assistant professors.  The first one on the list, Kerri Froc, may be a total garbage professor, but she is certainly as "qualified" as anyone else, including people working at more prestigious and higher paying law schools.  She has a doctorate, was a Trudeau and a Vanier scholar (both of which are very prestigious), had a SSHRC post-doc, had teaching experience before UNB, she has a solid publication list and, unlike many law professors these days, she had a bunch of practice experience.  I don't know her at all, so I have no opinion of her research or teaching abilities, but I don't see how she wouldn't be as "qualified" as anyone else being hired that year (across Canadian law schools--not just among UNB faculty).  Withing delving into the CVs of the other 3 assistant profs, but merely glancing at their bios, they are still more than "qualified."  

Edited by ProfReader
Extra bracket and another typo!
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I don't need 10 reasons. I only need 1, and here it is:

 

Don't go to McGill, to save yourself 3/3.5/4 years of headache, serious stress, and possible psychiatric harm as a result of the incomprehensible levels of incompetence present in the faculty - from professors to admin staff. It's not worth the tuition savings.

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27 minutes ago, pzabbythesecond said:

I don't need 10 reasons. I only need 1, and here it is:

 

Don't go to McGill, to save yourself 3/3.5/4 years of headache, serious stress, and possible psychiatric harm as a result of the incomprehensible levels of incompetence present in the faculty - from professors to admin staff. It's not worth the tuition savings.

Going into specifics usually help build your argument.

Edited by lawgurrl

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On 18/07/2017 at 11:28 AM, bunnnnnnn said:

I also just graduated from Queen's so I can comment on these as well.

 

#1 - yes, this is very true. I know many people who tried out for mooting in 2L and 3L and did not make it, yet there were a few people who got to moot in both years. I think they should have allowed people who had never had the opportunity a chance before someone who already did. The same for the clinics. I know a few people who did one clinic in 2L and another in 3L. 

#2 - this is absolutely a huge issue. Many courses were offered at the same time as legal ethics, which is mandatory and poses a real problem if you have to take it 2nd term of 3L. For me, it clashed with an advanced course that is only offered every other year, so I had to scramble to change my schedule. 

3# - Now that access is restricted for sending emails on the ListServ (where you can send it to everyone at QL or everyone of a particular year) the emails aren't nearly as bad (back in 1L, people would send emails about selling textbooks - that was horrible). 

#4 - I personally found the career development office helpful, but I only ever had 1-on-1 appointments. I would recommend using them to polish up your cover letter and resume, it was beneficial to me (again, in a 1-on-1). 

#5 - This is true for many students (not myself), but I didn't find it an issue. No one really flaunted what they had or who they knew. I'm sure a few people here and there did, but I didn't find it a problem or interfering with my Queen's experience. 

#6 - I have noticed the trend toward corporate focus, which I am sure many people enjoy/wanted. As someone not interested in corporate, the only way it affected me was a longer list of classes to scroll through when picking courses. Although I am sure it will have an affect on the availability of non-corporate courses in the future. 

#7 - I also did not have to take ILS but I agree, I have heard bad things. It sounds like a LOT of work and it is not worth many credits. But people also had issue with the Intro to legal research we had to take at the beginning of 1L, so I assume Queen's is trying to find a happy medium. It still sound's much better than Osgoode's ethical lawyer program (which I have heard bad things about). 

#8 - I found barely any classes had these (besides the small section class in 1L). In upper years, some profs said participation could increase someone's grade up from a B+ to an A- or B to B+ for example, but if you didn't participate you weren't penalized. 

#9 - I almost never had problems with the buses, even in the winter. Maybe only 2 or 3 times they did not show up, but then I just waited for the next one or walked. I would definitely recommend going to the stop 5 minutes early, because sometimes they arrive 1-5 minutes ahead of schedule and just keep going, they don't stop and wait for the marked time. 

#10 - I had a bike stolen, so I can relate. Princess street has many homeless people and people begging for money. There is a lot of low-income housing and people addicted to hard drugs. A homeless man even pooped in the ATM room of a bank downtown.... 

 

I agree with you. Queens is a business center that wants to survive in a remote city by doing things and advertising things that attract students. Famous practiioners who are accomplished normally would rather teach at a law school closer to Toronto, so attracting them is hard too.

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2 hours ago, bigfudge2017 said:

anyone wanna do a current one for U of A

1. Dean is kind of a pain but he's on his way out. There were issues with him and a few students as well as the Women in Law speaker series.

2. The building is old and boring.

3. Edmonton isn't everybody's cup of tea.

4. I feel like once every couple months the student body picks something to be outraged about. Again, maybe not your cup of tea.

5. The upper year course selection is pretty bad. A lot of the stuff that they claim is available isn't and there are a LOT of overlapping courses in the schedule.

I don't really have much to say beyond that. I can say that I really enjoyed my time at U of A. It's a great school with amazing faculty and people. So maybe someone else can chime in with 5 more reasons.

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4 hours ago, setto said:

1. Dean is kind of a pain but he's on his way out. There were issues with him and a few students as well as the Women in Law speaker series.

2. The building is old and boring.

3. Edmonton isn't everybody's cup of tea.

4. I feel like once every couple months the student body picks something to be outraged about. Again, maybe not your cup of tea.

5. The upper year course selection is pretty bad. A lot of the stuff that they claim is available isn't and there are a LOT of overlapping courses in the schedule.

I don't really have much to say beyond that. I can say that I really enjoyed my time at U of A. It's a great school with amazing faculty and people. So maybe someone else can chime in with 5 more reasons.

#0. TLDR. Edmonton is a shithole, especially in the winter (8/12 months). And in the summer it's too hot, dry, mosquito infested, and boring.

1. Dean, there's a new one coming, but the old one didn't do much except try to raise tuition by 50% over a summer and then get shut down by the NDP. The one thing he did do was hire a lot of research heavy profs in areas like ocean/whale law and aboriginal/colonial/feminist theory. New tenure track profs who then teach a bunch of overly theoretical and academic courses in those prof specific research areas while eliminating more useful practical practitioner courses. The new profs are also on the young side and purely academic in esoteric subjects (aka whale law and international ocean conservation law in Edmonton).

2. The building is old and small with no real seating areas (minus the nice faculty "professional development" area that is within the faculty office space, years ago taken from the library, that students can't access). But you can always just go to HUB, Business building atrium or somewhere else via pedways. Can't recommend spending any more time in the law building than you absolutely have to.

3. See point #0. Correctomondo. First summer in Edmonton might seem kind of neat like small town like, but after that it's just same old same old. Breaking news usually involves road construction updates, lost cat, or downtown water main break that shut down transit. Or a murder.

4. I think this is accurate. There was the classic drunken law gurl "DLG" (officially titled "Desperate Drunk Girl Finds Self at Hal-LAW-ween" and ironically more fact than fiction) satire article in the law student paper that resulted in some students ratting on and telling on the writer publicly and directly to the local news media and making a huge deal out of it. I mean DLG was funny and rang true for some, but no one ever mentioned the even more outrageous "I’m Out of Ideas – Law School Just Isn’t Funny Anymore" article. That one was a true epic Animal House classic that got no coverage at all even though the very first line literally read "Normally, I like to do this type of thing in a church with my pants unbuttoned...and, like magic, out would pop some satirical take on this wonderful rollercoaster that we’re all on called law school." Several paragraphs later, the article ended with "The new Macbook I don’t need that I’m buying with daddy’s credit card? Tim Cook should be on his knees sucking my balls right now. I guess things aren’t so bad. The world is stuck with me like I’m stuck with herp…I mean, cold sores."

Anyway, back to the famous article, then it became national news after the author was complained about by fellow students directly to the media by name. Initially they used a public social media and the law official course blog to do this and get credit for it too. Easy A. Later it turned into a media circus with actual interviews and national coverage. Then soon after that there was overemphasis on all the feminist speaker events. There was probably a few other things but those are the only ones that come to mind recently. Before that probably party alcohol student lounge use issues and ski trip drunken debauchery stuff. 

5. The course selection is far superior to anything Calgary could muster, but it certainly falls short of what U of A had several years ago. And the new courses will probably only get worse given the new timetabling rules as well as the new profs who will be teaching in their research specific esoteric subjects.

6. Job market in Edmonton sucks and will only get worse compared to what it was in the glory days.

7. NCAs (foreign trained lawyers or grads) are ever present in the same courses in 1L and upper years, like 20-30 a year and they also compete for articling spots.

8. Almost all the social events put on by LSA are alcohol focused and last year were at something called "Beercade". Basically a low class crowded grindy country bar packed with 18 year old college students.

9. LSA has good CANs but anyone can access them for free on the LSA website without having to go to U of A. Not much exclusivity there and most are several years old of varying quality.

10. The vast majority of grads don't stay in Edmonton so unless you're going to Calgary, Vancouver, or Toronto you will probably never see your successful go-getter classmates ever again.

11. My high school wasn't cliquey, but U of A was very cliquey. There's the LSA crowd, A List Dean's list research assistant crowd, LRW Fellows group, Alberta Law Review peeps, law show crowd, Calgary hockey jock group, rugby group, party drinking bar crowd, SLS peeps, older married second career/retired dudes group, exchange students, older NCAs, socially awkward clique, and Asian leadership club (they made an actual club and they're almost all Asian and female but focus on "diversity" guest speakers). There's a lot of cliques or small groups and they don't mix much after 1L.  

12. Law House. It's like Animal House, but in reality an undergrad infested tragic drama. Unless you find constant problems with  facilities and maintenance humorous, while being grossly overcharged by residence services.

13. Library SNAIL infestation.

I don't really have much to say beyond that. I can say that I'm glad the law school nightmare is finally over now. And winter too. Best was convocation (the degree parchment looked lame) and one-way ticket outta Deadmonton.

Byeeeee!

Edited by StudentLife

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4 hours ago, setto said:

1. Dean is kind of a pain but he's on his way out. There were issues with him and a few students as well as the Women in Law speaker series.

2. The building is old and boring.

3. Edmonton isn't everybody's cup of tea.

4. I feel like once every couple months the student body picks something to be outraged about. Again, maybe not your cup of tea.

5. The upper year course selection is pretty bad. A lot of the stuff that they claim is available isn't and there are a LOT of overlapping courses in the schedule.

I don't really have much to say beyond that. I can say that I really enjoyed my time at U of A. It's a great school with amazing faculty and people. So maybe someone else can chime in with 5 more reasons.

 

3 minutes ago, StudentLife said:

#0. TLDR. Edmonton is a shithole, especially in the winter (8/12 months). And in the summer it's too hot, dry, mosquito infested, and boring.

1. Dean, there's a new one coming, but the old one didn't do much except try to raise tuition by 50% over a summer and then get shut down by the NDP. The one thing he did do was hire a lot of research heavy profs in areas like ocean/whale law and aboriginal/colonial/feminist theory. New tenure track profs who then teach a bunch of overly theoretical and academic courses in those prof specific research areas while eliminating more useful practical practitioner courses. The new profs are also on the young side and purely academic in esoteric subjects (aka whale law and international ocean conversation law in Edmonton).

2. The building is old and small with no real seating areas (minus the nice faculty "professional development" area that is within the faculty office space, years ago taken from the library, that students can't access. But you can always just go to HUB, Business building atrium or somewhere else via pedways. Can't recommend spending any more time in the law building than you absolutely have to.

3. See point #0. Correctomondo. First summer in Edmonton might seem kind of neat like small town like, but after that it's just same old same old. Breaking news usually involves road construction updates, lost cat, or downtown water main break that shut down transit. Or a murder.

4. I think this is accurate. There was the classic drunken law gurl (officially titled "Desperate Drunk Girl Finds Self at Hal-LAW-ween" and ironically more fact than fiction) satire article in the law student paper that resulted in some students ratting on and telling on the writer publicly and directly to the local news media and making a huge deal out of it. I mean it was funny and rang true for some, but no one ever mentioned the even more outrageous "I’m Out of Ideas – Law School Just Isn’t Funny Anymore" article. That one was a true epic Animal House classic that got no coverage at all even though the very first line literally read "Normally, I like to do this type of thing in a church with my pants unbuttoned...and, like magic, out would pop some satirical take on this wonderful rollercoaster that we’re all on called law school." Several paragraphs later, the article ended with "The new Macbook I don’t need that I’m buying with daddy’s credit card? Tim Cook should be on his knees sucking my balls right now. I guess things aren’t so bad. The world is stuck with me like I’m stuck with herp…I mean, cold sores."

Anyway, back to the famous article, then it became national news after the author was complained about by fellow students directly to the media by name. Initially they used a public social media and the law official course blog to do this and get credit for it too. Easy A. Later it turned into a media circus with actual interviews and national coverage. Then soon after that there was overemphasis on all the feminist speaker events. There was probably a few other things but those are the only ones that come to mind recently. Before that probably party alcohol student lounge use issues and ski trip drunken debauchery stuff. 

5. The course selection is far superior to anything Calgary could muster, but it certainly falls short of what U of A had several years ago. And the new courses will probably only get worse given the new timetabling rules as well as the new profs who will be teaching in their research specific esoteric subjects.

6. Job market in Edmonton sucks and will only get worse compared to what it was in the glory days.

7. NCAs (foreign trained lawyers or grads) are ever present in the same courses in 1L and upper years, like 20-30 a year and they also compete for articling spots.

8. Almost all the social events put on by LSA are alcohol focused and last year were at something called "Beercade". Basically a low class crowded grindy country bar packed with 18 year old college students.

9. LSA has good CANs but anyone can accesses them for free on the LSA website without having to go to U of A. Not much exclusivity there and most are several years old of varying quality.

10. The vast majority of grads don't stay in Edmonton so unless you're going to Calgary, Vancouver, or Toronto you will probably never see your successful go-getter classmates ever again.

11. My high school wasn't cliquey, but U of A was very cliquey. There's the LSA crowd, A List Dean's list research assistant crowd, LRW Fellows group, Alberta Law Review peeps, law show crowd, Calgary hockey jock group, rugby group, party drinking bar crowd, SLS peeps, older married second career/retired dudes group, exchange students, older NCAs, socially awkward clique, and Asian leadership club (they made an actual club and they're almost all Asian and female but focus on "diversity" guest speakers). There's a lot of cliques or small groups and they don't mix much after 1L.  

12. Law House. It's like Animal House, but in reality an undergrad infested tragic drama. Unless you find constant problems with  facilities and maintenance humorous, while being grossly overcharged by residence services.

13. Library SNAIL infestation.

I don't really have much to say beyond that. I can say that I'm glad the law school nightmare is finally over now. And winter too. Best was convocation (the degree parchment looked lame) and one-way ticket outta Deadmonton. Byeeeee!

 

 

 

can you say polar opposites much, holy! I am from edmonton so a lot of what Setto and Studentlife said about the city is old news (north side can be one scary mf). What stood out to me was: 

a) job market conditions- is the shittyness exclusive to edmonton right now or is it pretty pervasive across the industry? because i dont mind moving tbh, I did a lot as a kid- kinda kept things fresh.

b) course selection and conflicts- heard this was pretty shitty but what school actually has decent course selections, if one exists please let me know. 

p.s: man ive been to beercade many times (hate it so much) but i never got a country vibe like the ranch. funny how that works haha. 

 

 

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9 hours ago, bigfudge2017 said:

 

can you say polar opposites much, holy! I am from edmonton so a lot of what Setto and Studentlife said about the city is old news (north side can be one scary mf). What stood out to me was: 

a) job market conditions- is the shittyness exclusive to edmonton right now or is it pretty pervasive across the industry? because i dont mind moving tbh, I did a lot as a kid- kinda kept things fresh.

b) course selection and conflicts- heard this was pretty shitty but what school actually has decent course selections, if one exists please let me know. 

p.s: man ive been to beercade many times (hate it so much) but i never got a country vibe like the ranch. funny how that works haha. 

 

 

a) Colloquially, at least at this moment, this seems to be true across the country.

b) I didn't attend, but I hear that Osgoode really does in fact deliver when it comes to breadth of opportunities, from course selection, to clinics, to intensives, or other opportunities to gain practical experience. Can someone please confirm this?  

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10 hours ago, bigfudge2017 said:

 

can you say polar opposites much, holy! I am from edmonton so a lot of what Setto and Studentlife said about the city is old news (north side can be one scary mf). What stood out to me was: 

a) job market conditions- is the shittyness exclusive to edmonton right now or is it pretty pervasive across the industry? because i dont mind moving tbh, I did a lot as a kid- kinda kept things fresh.

b) course selection and conflicts- heard this was pretty shitty but what school actually has decent course selections, if one exists please let me know. 

p.s: man ive been to beercade many times (hate it so much) but i never got a country vibe like the ranch. funny how that works haha. 

 

 

I'd say the job market is pretty strong/consistent in Edmonton. I know my firm has been trying to hire more and I've heard the same elsewhere. Also, there is a salary bump happening at the articling level this/next year that should flow through the market.

 

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4 hours ago, lawgurrl said:

a) Colloquially, at least at this moment, this seems to be true across the country.

b) I didn't attend, but I hear that Osgoode really does in fact deliver when it comes to breadth of opportunities, from course selection, to clinics, to intensives, or other opportunities to gain practical experience. Can someone please confirm this?  

https://www.osgoode.yorku.ca/programs/jd-program/clinics-intensives/https://www.osgoode.yorku.ca/programs/jd-program/internship-programs/

https://www.osgoode.yorku.ca/courses-and-seminars/

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3 hours ago, Deadpool said:

U of A has a lot of listed programs as well. But the problem is whether or not they are actually offered when registration season rolls around.

The clinics/intensives are much less flakey and pretty awesome from my understanding.

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5 minutes ago, setto said:

U of A has a lot of listed programs as well. But the problem is whether or not they are actually offered when registration season rolls around.

The clinics/intensives are much less flakey and pretty awesome from my understanding.

Almost all of these courses were available during my 3 years at Osgoode. Now whether you can fit them into an ideal time slot was a different story, but they're available for the most part. 

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On 8/3/2018 at 8:11 AM, setto said:

I'd say the job market is pretty strong/consistent in Edmonton. I know my firm has been trying to hire more and I've heard the same elsewhere. Also, there is a salary bump happening at the articling level this/next year that should flow through the market.

 

Yeah it's consistently shitty. Look at Dentons, numbers of associates and articling students right now compared to 3 years ago. Massive drop.

Sure some small firms hire an extra person or two but those are crim/family firms and they'll pay like 30-40k for articling and forget about good benefits. Salary bump? The salaries are low and not going up because firms know there is way more supply than demand. 3 years ago there were about 175 or less U of A students graduating every year, now there are 190+ AND at least 20+ NCAs on top of that. Meanwhile commercial office vacancies are all time high. And more and more law students coming from out east looking for jobs. As for government, also reduced hiring only to get worse when UCP wins in the spring and slashes spending. Pay wise, freezes and cuts across the board and into the future. Ontario government froze hiring altogether completely when conservatives won.

Edmonton is a small market to begin with. But between January 2017 and August 2018 for articling 2018-2019 there were something like at most max 10 (or less) postings in Edmonton and area (Edmonton only more like 5). Others found things informally or by cold calling I suppose. The articling placement rate right now is something like 85%, not counting NCAs and people no longer looking which is an additional 30+ people. Even for last year the rate never went above 95%. The Dean claims 99% or something but we all know that was total BS. Probably why he's getting the boot. And if you want to work for a fancy larger firm you have to move because the big players are in Calgary, Vancouver, and Toronto.

I dunno about you, but if you have to beg, know someone, or cold call strangers just to find a posting or interview, then the market is not good.

Edited by StudentLife

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28 minutes ago, StudentLife said:

Yeah it's consistently shitty. Look at Dentons, numbers of associates and articling students right now compared to 3 years ago. Massive drop.

Sure some small firms hire an extra person or two but those are crim/family firms and they'll pay like 30-40k for articling and forget about good benefits. Salary bump? The salaries are low and not going up because firms know there is way more supply than demand. 3 years ago there were about 175 or less U of A students graduating every year, now there are 190+ AND at least 20+ NCAs on top of that. Meanwhile commercial office vacancies are all time high. And more and more law students coming from out east looking for jobs. As for government, also reduced hiring only to get worse when UCP wins in the spring and slashes spending. Pay wise, freezes and cuts across the board and into the future. Ontario government froze hiring altogether completely when conservatives won.

 

You've posted about Dentons a couple of times, so surely you must know what's going on with their Edmonton branch? I wouldn't say their hiring practices are reflective of the market.

And no. I'm talking full service. The salaries at my firm at least are shifting upwards and I know of a few other firms as well. The supply/demand think doesn't really dampen that - literally every legal market in North America is saturated (well, not literally...) and salaries are moving upwards.

Sure, salaries are relatively lower in Edmonton than they are in Calgary, but so is the cost of living and the expected billables that come along with that (BJ and Dentons being the exception).

EDIT: maybe I should qualify for any prospective students reading, I did not take part in anything other than the 1L recruit and largely ignored articling week/2L stuff. So @StudentLife likely has a better knowledge of the market for law students. I'm just saying, for Lawyers it's pretty good from my understanding.

Edited by setto

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A full list for U of M hasn't been done since 2014. There will probably be some overlap with the old list, but nothing wrong with shaking off the dust with an update. N.B.: I am from neither Winnipeg or Manitoba in general--my views, to my knowledge, greatly diverge from many of my colleagues who hail from here. 

1) The driving/roads/public transit in Winnipeg: The driving here is cartoonishly bad. I have lived in and visited, and more importantly driven in, major centres all across Canada, and in Europe. I have never seen anything quite like Winnipeg. I have written this before but I will post it again verbatim: drivers in Winnipeg are apparently most comfortable cruising at 15 - 20km under the posted limit. Unless you're in a parking lot. In which case, they drive as though they're manning an M4 Sherman and the war effort literally depends on aggressively stop-starting every several metres. 

The roads throughout the city have the level of quality one would expect of a bombed-out Chechen war zone. In terms of city planning with respect to roads, well, there is literally an area called "Confusion Corner", which throws off even the locals now and again. Couple that with the above, and you have something that resembles a Ren and Stimpy cartoon. Except you aren't watching it. You're in it. 

If driving in general in Winnipeg is a Ren and Stimpy cartoon, then public transit is its own special episode wherein the bus drivers have conspired to dictate their own timetables while they drive. Maybe this happens everywhere, but I literally once had a bus driver stop at 7-11 to buy a Slurpee. 

2) Beer selection: I don't know why, but the beer selection here is, uh, pretty narrow. Manitoba Liquor Mart stocks a few local craft beers, a whole lotta uncle beer, and then a few other Canadian craft beers. If you're looking for something a bit different, well, you're SOL. There is something an illusion of plenty but you'll come to as soon as you wanna try that sweet sweet sweet honey wheat beer like you did on a beach on the West Coast, or an East Coast watermelon blonde. The local beer is passable, and better than, say, Bud Light, but if you're a bit of a snob, or at least stubborn in your tastes, it is generally going to be lacking.

3) Weather/climate: Not much to say that hasn't been said already. This year we've ranged from -40 degrees up to 37 degrees. Fall and spring seem to last about two-and-a-half weeks. If you can't handle seasonal extremes, you will be unhappy here. 

4) Insular social culture (at least to start): At least to start, "Friendly Manitoba" generally means Manitobans are friendly to other Manitobans. Once you're in, you're IN but, hoo boy, attempting a normal conversation or a little banter for the first little while is a bit of doozy. It'll be acutely noticeable if you're from a place where quality customer service is part of the broader social culture. 

5) Manitoba Public Insurance: I just really hate dealing with public auto insurance. A lot. It would seem as though a lot of people do but there isn't really any political inertia to do anything about it. 

6) Regionally-focused job prospects: This has been touched on before, but it's worth noting that this hasn't really changed.

I am not sure it's necessarily the fault of the administration or the career development office since the vast majority of law students here are from Manitoba and want to stay in Manitoba. At least with my year, a number of Calgary full-service firms had intended not to participate in OCIs given the studentry's extremely low-level of interest. The reality is that U of M is a regional law school meant to service Manitoba, and, again, the majority of the students here are from Manitoba and at least SEEM like they want to stay here.

If you're from out-of-province and intend on returning home, recognize now that the law school isn't particularly focused on or interested in helping you leave. I don't really subscribe to the notion of the career office handing you a job (or even really mapping everything/anything out) but just be prepared to hustle hard if you intend to article in another jurisdiction, especially if you aren't interested in or able to find work at major firms with the resources and capacity to participate in OCIs.

7) Narrow elective/clinical offerings: This has also been touched on but is also worth confirming. I suspect (to be clear, I am speculating) this is largely because the faculty turnover rate seems quite high here, and probably understandably so. The faculty members who would normally teach a particular elective might be gone by the time you get around to taking it. Sometimes the faculty hires practitioners to teach that courses, sometimes it doesn't.

8) Location: The school is way the hell away from the downtown and any of the nicer areas of town. It's a 25 minute drive from campus to the courthouse and the rest of the downtown, which is going to matter to you if you're volunteering or working for the University Legal Aid Clinic. 

9) The building: If you're expecting an exterior of dignified red bricks and ivy to summon up the spirit of Chief Justice Dickson, or an interior of sleek frosted blue-green glass windows as you stare unto the (pretty crap-looking) Red River, haha, too bad; you get concrete. From an architectural lens, the campus is a microcosm for the entire city, which is sorta this weird hodge-podge of beautiful old (retrofitted) colonial buildings, complex geometry and transparent glass aesthetics, and Brutalism. Unfortunately, the law school is just pure functional Brutalism. It looks less like a law school, and more like an imitation of one. Granted, this will be the least of anyone's concerns, assuming you notice at all, but if you are dreaming of something aesthetically/cosmetically pleasing, haha, too bad, you get concrete.

Also, the law school is basically stuck with one thermostat with two settings: too hot, and too cold. There is no in-between.

10) SNAILS: Snails are a phenomenon at all law schools. I personally don't mind them since I work in my office or off campus, and also I don't really care, but, wow, is it apparent how many of them there are at U of M. Part of that stems from the fact that the law school, I guess, rents out one of its classrooms for ESL classes. So they don't occupy just the law library, but the common room, lounges, and empty classes. 

Edited by rziegler
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