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Any tips to prepare for the first leg of 1L? I'm coming in with a BSc. so I don't wanna be a fish out of water in the first few weeks of school. I usually get most of August off so is there maybe any preparatory reading I can do or materials I should look at? 

 

I came into law school from an engineering background without having done any prep and I don't think I was really at a disadvantage compared to anyone else. Meaning pretty much everyone is a bit of a fish out of water. 

 

If you feel the need to look into cases to get a head start, I'm sure someone can give you a list of some cases that will be covered in first year (read: feel free to message me if you want), but I wouldn't consider it at all necessary. There's also definitely a steep learning curve when it comes to reading cases, and certain judges can be harder to follow than others (McLaughlin's usually fairly easy to follow, even if you don't agree with her stance, but I'd avoid starting with Iaccabucci if possible, for example). 

 

I'm in 1L as well and since I'm currently procrastinating I thought I'd chime in and offer to answer questions. I'm also working at a big firm in Calgary for the summer, so I might be able to answer some some job search related questions. 

 

Just to address the question regarding the major factors in getting a job in 1L, I don't think it's quite as mark heavy as Darknight mentioned. Almost none of the firms I interviewed with asked me for my midterm grades. That being said, my marks from my undergrad were high and they saw those. 

 

I didn't summer with a firm, but I have it on pretty good authority that grades are basically a check box - if your grades are below a certain GPA, they won't interview you. If they're above, the will (assuming you have whatever other things they're looking for). Once you're above the cut off it doesn't really matter if you blow it out of the water or were just barely made it. Obviously the impact (and cut off lever) will differ a bit from firm to firm.

 

Once you get into the interview, as far as I can tell it's basically just they're gut impression of you. I didn't get asked a single question about substantive law or work experience. I had a club or two get brought up, but barely and not in every interview. I got asked more about my hobbies, and veiled questions about how serious I was about staying in Edmonton (as someone from the west coast). The firm interviews I've done have been more them talking about the firm and answering my questions rather than them asking me questions. 

 

Government's a bit different. The feds ask everyone the same questions, and only those questions. I think the province asked me a few more questions, but more about what I knew of the program, and what kind of law I wanted to practice.

 

My question is why does rugby help you get a summer job? Is it just being 'involved' in a program or school event?

 

I feel like some of the comments on rugby may benefit from a bit more context. It's one of the largest clubs, which also means that a large number of alumni have been involved. So if you're interviewer happens to be from U of A law, it, along with other large clubs/events like law show, is one of the highest likelihood of bonding over shared experiences. I think being involved helps, but my guess is that's part of the reason those keep coming up.

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I'm sure the academic learning curve thing could be said about any law school though am I right?

 

Without having attended any other law school, yes, based on the fact that students from other schools report similar experiences regarding learning curve etc.

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I came into law school from an engineering background without having done any prep and I don't think I was really at a disadvantage compared to anyone else. Meaning pretty much everyone is a bit of a fish out of water. 

 

If you feel the need to look into cases to get a head start, I'm sure someone can give you a list of some cases that will be covered in first year (read: feel free to message me if you want), but I wouldn't consider it at all necessary. There's also definitely a steep learning curve when it comes to reading cases, and certain judges can be harder to follow than others (McLaughlin's usually fairly easy to follow, even if you don't agree with her stance, but I'd avoid starting with Iaccabucci if possible, for example). 

 

 

I didn't summer with a firm, but I have it on pretty good authority that grades are basically a check box - if your grades are below a certain GPA, they won't interview you. If they're above, the will (assuming you have whatever other things they're looking for). Once you're above the cut off it doesn't really matter if you blow it out of the water or were just barely made it. Obviously the impact (and cut off lever) will differ a bit from firm to firm.

 

Once you get into the interview, as far as I can tell it's basically just they're gut impression of you. I didn't get asked a single question about substantive law or work experience. I had a club or two get brought up, but barely and not in every interview. I got asked more about my hobbies, and veiled questions about how serious I was about staying in Edmonton (as someone from the west coast). The firm interviews I've done have been more them talking about the firm and answering my questions rather than them asking me questions. 

 

Government's a bit different. The feds ask everyone the same questions, and only those questions. I think the province asked me a few more questions, but more about what I knew of the program, and what kind of law I wanted to practice.

 

 

I feel like some of the comments on rugby may benefit from a bit more context. It's one of the largest clubs, which also means that a large number of alumni have been involved. So if you're interviewer happens to be from U of A law, it, along with other large clubs/events like law show, is one of the highest likelihood of bonding over shared experiences. I think being involved helps, but my guess is that's part of the reason those keep coming up.

 

Quick question, what would they expect in terms of a response for staying in Edmonton if you're not from there and don't have connections to the city? I've heard that Edmonton firms are pretty worried about flight risks.

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Quick question, what would they expect in terms of a response for staying in Edmonton if you're not from there and don't have connections to the city? I've heard that Edmonton firms are pretty worried about flight risks.

 

Firms definitely are worried about flight risks. I think the number one thing I've heard anecdotally that separates two candidates is the lack of connection to Edmonton, or almost worse, a connection to Calgary. I'm not sure if it's just because it's the closest and therefore most likely place to move, or because there's a rivalry there, but Edmonton firms are especially touchy about losing people to Calgary.

 

As far as how to answer, I think you just need to be able to point to some reason why you want to stay in Edmonton. By the time articling interviews came around my husband had moved and was working in Edmonton, and my family/friends back home had dispersed a bit so I was pretty much able to say that I had as much connection to Edmonton as the west coast. It also really helps if you can say you only applied for positions in Edmonton, and I'm guessing it also helped that I worked in Edmonton both summers. I would be really careful not to say anything that's not true or is too much of a stretch - it's a really small legal community, and there's a good chance they'll find out if you lie.

 

I didn't spend a lot of time addressing it (I had about a sentence in the intro paragraph of my cover letter), and in the end I don't think it really hurt my chances, it's just something you have to be able to deal with.

 

It may also be something you want to deal with if you went away for law school and want to apply for jobs in your hometown (at least if there's a law school in town).

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^^ This brings up a question I had about applying for summer jobs and articling.

I will be attending UofA, and my preferences in terms of summer jobs/articling (in descending order) are Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton.

 

I know my chances are limited in Vancouver and probably my best chances are in Edmonton. So that being the case, would I be able to apply to all 3 cities and decide based on acceptances? Or will firms know that I am pursuing multiple cities and therefore black ball me as a candidate to all of them?

I.e. will I need to pick a city of focus and only apply and interview with firms from that city.

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^^ This brings up a question I had about applying for summer jobs and articling.

I will be attending UofA, and my preferences in terms of summer jobs/articling (in descending order) are Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton.

 

I know my chances are limited in Vancouver and probably my best chances are in Edmonton. So that being the case, would I be able to apply to all 3 cities and decide based on acceptances? Or will firms know that I am pursuing multiple cities and therefore black ball me as a candidate to all of them?

I.e. will I need to pick a city of focus and only apply and interview with firms from that city.

 

If I remember correctly, OCIs can be juggled between all three cities, but actual in-firms take place at the same time (at the very least Calgary and Edmonton were the same couple of days).  So you could apply broadly, then make you decision following OCIs based on where you get interviews/how you feel about firms.

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^^ This brings up a question I had about applying for summer jobs and articling.

I will be attending UofA, and my preferences in terms of summer jobs/articling (in descending order) are Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton.

 

I know my chances are limited in Vancouver and probably my best chances are in Edmonton. So that being the case, would I be able to apply to all 3 cities and decide based on acceptances? Or will firms know that I am pursuing multiple cities and therefore black ball me as a candidate to all of them?

I.e. will I need to pick a city of focus and only apply and interview with firms from that city.

 

I wouldn't say you'd be black balled. I certainly know of people who applied in more than one city, and got offers, or who have articles lined up in Edmonton without having worked in law here in summers. I think the connection to a specific city was more of a tie-breaker. So saying you've only applied in one city is helpful, and may increase your chances, but not required.

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OK, parallel to this discussion, what if I get an articling offer early on (1L or 2L)  in Edmonton and I accept it.

Am I then locked in, or can I still pursue articling in other cities and dump the Edmonton acceptance if I am successful elsewhere?

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It can happen though. I know someone who had interviews for Vancouver firms lined up and applied to Calgary firms. They asked if she was participating in Vancouver interviews (she was from Vancouver) and she said yes. It was pretty much over from that point on. 

 

So it can happen. But definitely not necessarily. 

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OK, parallel to this discussion, what if I get an articling offer early on (1L or 2L)  in Edmonton and I accept it.

Am I then locked in, or can I still pursue articling in other cities and dump the Edmonton acceptance if I am successful elsewhere?

 

I'm sure technically you can but it's pretty bad form. You're essentially breaking a contract, which technically is illegal. The firm now is one articling spot short when they thought they were done with the process. Now they're scrambling to find another student after the hiring process is over. Now you're known as that guy.

 

In short, I'd really recommend you not do it. Think hard before you accept, but once you accept, you've accepted and should accept the fact that you've accepted.

Edited by brokebloke
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^^ This brings up a question I had about applying for summer jobs and articling.

I will be attending UofA, and my preferences in terms of summer jobs/articling (in descending order) are Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton.

 

I know my chances are limited in Vancouver and probably my best chances are in Edmonton. So that being the case, would I be able to apply to all 3 cities and decide based on acceptances? Or will firms know that I am pursuing multiple cities and therefore black ball me as a candidate to all of them?

I.e. will I need to pick a city of focus and only apply and interview with firms from that city.

 

  Just something to consider for 1L hiring, the Calgary and Edmonton recruitment/interview period happens over the same 2 1/2 days so it's really not feasible to do interviews in both cities. I know of one person who did a skype interview with a Calgary firm from Edmonton and one person who flew to edmonton and back for a couple hours. Its technically doable, but it might interfere with dinners or second interviews so it'd be rough. 

 

OK, parallel to this discussion, what if I get an articling offer early on (1L or 2L)  in Edmonton and I accept it.

Am I then locked in, or can I still pursue articling in other cities and dump the Edmonton acceptance if I am successful elsewhere?

Just to emphasize what brokebloke said, you really can't do this. If you accept the article and then back out just to pursue Vancouver you've misled the firm and there's the larger issue of breaking your contract. The bar is a much smaller community than you imagine. This is very bad behaviour that would not lend well to getting a job in Vancouver.

     That being said, if you want to summer at a firm in Edmonton and pursue Vancouver later, I know someone who had a 1L  summer position in Edmonton and opted not to sign the contract at the end of the summer. They ultimately did land a Vancouver spot for articling so it worked out, but it was a gamble that they were willing to take.

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I figured as much. So then if say I did a 1L/2L summer job in Edmonton and they offered me an articling position.

Is it commonplace to say thanks for the offer, but I will have to get back to you next year when I can fully commit (seeing if I can get a better offer).

 

Of course you can say it, but I guess the question is what is the likelihood they would be open to extend the offer again down the road.

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Commonplace, no.  Most people take the secured articling spot and coast it out for the remainder of school.  You also likely wouldn't do so for a 2L summer as articling week happens during that summer and it would be difficult to work in one city and do articling week in a second.

 

If you got offered an articling contract at the end of 1L you could always ask for time to consider it, but this may not be an option and "some time to consider" will likely not be long enough for you to track down a different articling position.

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I figured as much. So then if say I did a 1L/2L summer job in Edmonton and they offered me an articling position.

Is it commonplace to say thanks for the offer, but I will have to get back to you next year when I can fully commit (seeing if I can get a better offer).

 

Of course you can say it, but I guess the question is what is the likelihood they would be open to extend the offer again down the road.

 I can't say that it's impossible since I haven't heard of it ever happening, but I think there's a 99.9% they'd say no. Firms don't want to feel like they're your second choice and if you make that explicit with them, they'll feel used. From their perspective, there are tons of students who'd love to work for them and if you make it seem like they're your disposable backup, they're not going to want you working there. 

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Also, it seems like your imagining a marketplace where there are lots of job options for you to choose from, and they will all bend over backwards to do exactly what you want.  They wont.  If you pass on a job there will be a lineup behind you of people who will say yes to it.

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No, I don't imagine that. I will probably be happy to take whatever I can get.

Just contemplating the what if's to determine how best to land a job in my desired city without jeopardizing the whole thing.

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Hey guys. I'm from Vancouver and I want to work here after graduation. I was just wondering what percentage of the class is from Vancouver and what portion of those students actually end up articling in Vancouver after graduation. Is it true that Vancouver firms only offer 2L summer positions? If that is true, what should I do in 1L summer to maximize my chance at landing a 2L job in Vancouver?

 

Thanks for taking the time to do this. I really appreciate it!

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On a slightly different note... Do any of you remember when you get your schedule for 1L?

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On a slightly different note... Do any of you remember when you get your schedule for 1L?

Couldn't say exactly, but I feel it was likely mid to late summer.

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Hey guys. I'm from Vancouver and I want to work here after graduation. I was just wondering what percentage of the class is from Vancouver and what portion of those students actually end up articling in Vancouver after graduation. Is it true that Vancouver firms only offer 2L summer positions? If that is true, what should I do in 1L summer to maximize my chance at landing a 2L job in Vancouver?

 

Thanks for taking the time to do this. I really appreciate it!

 

There's a decent number of Vancouverites. I couldn't give you percentages or anything, but you'll run into them frequently. (BTW Vancouver = Greater Vancouver). A decent number of them find work back in Vancouver. I think of about 12-15 or so who went on the big firm tour during 1L summer, 5 or 6 landed jobs. As for the unofficial recruit, again, can't give numbers, but I've run into enough people who have found work there to know it can definitely be done. 

 

Yes it's true Vancouver hires for 2L summer. There isn't much you can do in 1L to increase your chances very much. You can do some things, of course, like find a legal research position, maybe work for SLS, try finding some kind of work with transferable skills/experience, but to tell you the truth, people get 2L biglaw in Vancouver while working a mindless construction job during 1L, so I wouldn't put too much emphasis on 1L.

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