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Law as a career choice in Canada

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Can you suggest some affordable schools with relatively good quality programs and employment stats ? I am from Toronto but am willing to move anywhere. I like McGill and I read and write French so I guess that is one with good value. What about U of A or Calgary?

It really depends on where you want to work. If you are looking for a good school for relatively cheap tuition, UBC, Uvic and McGill are the way to go. However, I would be a little wary about the advice that going to Queens, Windsor or Western is the same as UofT/Oz. All are fantastic schools but there is defiantly a preference for the latter two in the city. UofA and Calgary are also great (although the downturn in the oil market might make these schools slightly less attractive).   

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It really depends on where you want to work. If you are looking for a good school for relatively cheap tuition, UBC, Uvic and McGill are the way to go. However, I would be a little wary about the advice that going to Queens, Windsor or Western is the same as UofT/Oz. All are fantastic schools but there is defiantly a preference for the latter two in the city. UofA and Calgary are also great (although the downturn in the oil market might make these schools slightly less attractive).   

 

But does that preference show more the quality of the students attending U of T/Oz, or the quality of the students themselves? Or maybe it's the perception of quality that gets the firms a'hiring, or the proximity to the Toronto legal market, etc. 

 

I'm not saying all programs are equal, or that there's NO difference in quality (If pressed, I'd say Canada has something approaching a two-tier system, with the bottom tier being TRU, Lakehead, and Windsor, with UNB floating somewhere in between) I'm more saying that I think that Oz and U of T (especially) play on the whole 'ranking' shtick to attract top students and artificially inflate tuition. Students, too - I'm at U of T now (grad school) and a number of my law school friends have drunk the kool-aid re:how great U of T is/how little it's worth going to  any other school.

 

Personally, I feel like it's rooted in post-hoc justification for the absurd amounts of debt they've taken on, but that's just me.

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It really depends on where you want to work. If you are looking for a good school for relatively cheap tuition, UBC, Uvic and McGill are the way to go. However, I would be a little wary about the advice that going to Queens, Windsor or Western is the same as UofT/Oz. All are fantastic schools but there is defiantly a preference for the latter two in the city. UofA and Calgary are also great (although the downturn in the oil market might make these schools slightly less attractive).   

 

Could you explain why you think there's a preference in Toronto for Osgoode students over Western and Queens?  I think it's generally accepted that U of T is in a class of its own in that regard, but OCI hiring statistics in past years have consistently shown that roughly 22-27% of the class at each of Osgoode, Queens and Western receive OCI jobs.

 

If anything, I think it's more likely that a greater number of Osgoode students are hired simply because of the huge class size, and I certainly don't think it's indicative of firms' preferences.  The pool of students to choose from at Osgoode just happens to be 50% larger than those at Western and Queens.  Naturally, a greater number of students will be hired, even though the relative proportion of hires to class size is probably close to identical at each school.

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Law is a good career choice. Go for it, most of us did! All the factors you listed are very context based and variable dependant. There isn't much certainty for a prediction 8 years from now, and you should probably revisit this in your second and third year rather than committing to a firm decision right now.

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Could you explain why you think there's a preference in Toronto for Osgoode students over Western and Queens?  I think it's generally accepted that U of T is in a class of its own in that regard, but OCI hiring statistics in past years have consistently shown that roughly 22-27% of the class at each of Osgoode, Queens and Western receive OCI jobs.

 

If anything, I think it's more likely that a greater number of Osgoode students are hired simply because of the huge class size, and I certainly don't think it's indicative of firms' preferences.  The pool of students to choose from at Osgoode just happens to be 50% larger than those at Western and Queens.  Naturally, a greater number of students will be hired, even though the relative proportion of hires to class size is probably close to identical at each school.

 

Osgoode typically has 290-300 students a year while Western has 175-180 and Queen's has 200. How is the class size for Oz 50% larger than Queen's and Western?

 

Also keep in mind that there are more students looking to go into public law fields and social justice at Oz than Western. Citing Western's OCI placement rates don't account for much when the majority of their class is aiming for corporate law, while only a quarter of Osgoode's class is aiming for that. 

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Osgoode typically has 290-300 students a year while Western has 175-180 and Queen's has 200. How is the class size for Oz 50% larger than Queen's and Western?

 

Also keep in mind that there are more students looking to go into public law fields and social justice at Oz than Western. Citing Western's OCI placement rates don't account for much when the majority of their class is aiming for corporate law, while only a quarter of Osgoode's class is aiming for that. 

 

Sorry about my ignorance, what does OCI stand for?

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Sorry about my ignorance, what does OCI stand for?

On-Campus-Interviews, its where firms come to school and hire students and is usually the responsible for the largest proportion of students being hired.  

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But does that preference show more the quality of the students attending U of T/Oz, or the quality of the students themselves? Or maybe it's the perception of quality that gets the firms a'hiring, or the proximity to the Toronto legal market, etc. 

 

I'm not saying all programs are equal, or that there's NO difference in quality (If pressed, I'd say Canada has something approaching a two-tier system, with the bottom tier being TRU, Lakehead, and Windsor, with UNB floating somewhere in between) I'm more saying that I think that Oz and U of T (especially) play on the whole 'ranking' shtick to attract top students and artificially inflate tuition. Students, too - I'm at U of T now (grad school) and a number of my law school friends have drunk the kool-aid re:how great U of T is/how little it's worth going to  any other school.

 

Personally, I feel like it's rooted in post-hoc justification for the absurd amounts of debt they've taken on, but that's just me.

Yea thats fair, I think its a really complex topic. Personally, I think the fact that UofT attracts top tier students is a huge bump to its reputation but its also the caliber of the faculty that really pushes the students. I also don't really buy the notion that an average UofT student would probably be top of their class at Queens and therefore it does not really matter where you go to school. I feel that academic skills before law school don't always translate into high academic skills in law school so the fact that firms hire deeper into UofT takes alot of pressure off. 

 

But then again, this is just my opinion and I've said before (multiple times) that I really love Uvic and UBC (especially UBC).  

Edited by TheLawStudent

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Osgoode typically has 290-300 students a year while Western has 175-180 and Queen's has 200. How is the class size for Oz 50% larger than Queen's and Western?

 

Also keep in mind that there are more students looking to go into public law fields and social justice at Oz than Western. Citing Western's OCI placement rates don't account for much when the majority of their class is aiming for corporate law, while only a quarter of Osgoode's class is aiming for that. 

 

50% of 200 is 100, 200 + 100 = 300, therefore the Oz class is 50% larger than the Queens class.  I was just approximating to get a round number for argument's sake, but it's perfectly accurate.  Actually, Oz's class is more than 50% larger than Western's, if we're being really precise.

 

I used OCI placement rates because it's really the only metric for which we have objective data to counter the other poster's claim that firms in Toronto prefer Osgoode students to Queens/Western students.  That data supports the fact that U of T places a much greater percentage of its class into OCI jobs than other schools, which suggests firm preference, but it also shows Osgoode's placement rates are equivalent to those of Western and Queens, which suggests no preference.

 

I'd also dispute the fact that only a quarter of Osgoode's class is interested in an OCI job, but there isn't really any data to draw a conclusion one way or the other.  If that was actually the case, though, it would mean virtually every Osgoode student that wants an OCI position ends up getting one, which I don't think is true.

Edited by Teence

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Does the data specify on whether the jobs require bar passage?  Because the even the worst law schools in the US were claiming 95% employment even if those jobs included stocking shelves at Wal-Mart or various other low quality jobs which didn't require a law degree at all.  They weren't technically lying, they had 95% employment.

Only when the ABA starting requiring law schools to disclose employment data in a specific way did the people who hadn't yet been scammed really see how bad it was.

Canada, unfortunately, doesn't collect the type of data that the ABA does. That being said, it is generally accepted that the vast majority (90% is probably a good first order approximation) end up practicing as lawyers (compared to, what, 56% in the us). But recall we don't have the same proliferation of terrible law schools as in the US and our law schools are more selective, so we crank out fewer graduates and they tend to have the skills neccesary to actually pracice law.

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