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Osgoode vs. Toronto

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Hi everyone,

 

I recently got accepted to Osgoode and Toronto but I would like to know a little more about the differences between the two schools. UofT has been my top choice for a very long time, but I've read other threads that compare the two schools and the difference (according to some) is not that significant. On the other hand, more UofT students attain jobs with bigger law firms, even though the school has a smaller class size. I'm not sure which type of law I'm most interested in yet, but I'm mainly looking for the school that will provide me with the best employment prospects - especially in larger firms. 

 

Also, the cost of tuition is fortunately not very important; I'm mainly interested in the advantages and disadvantages of attending the two law schools. 

 

Thank you!

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The major advantages to Osgoode are that it is right on the subway line, close to many Toronto landmarks, and in the winter the wind tunnels can lift you right up and take you directly to your next class, provided that class is due north. Plus the frequency of armed robberies taking place on campus has plateaued, we think.

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Hi everyone,

 

I recently got accepted to Osgoode and Toronto but I would like to know a little more about the differences between the two schools. UofT has been my top choice for a very long time, but I've read other threads that compare the two schools and the difference (according to some) is not that significant. On the other hand, more UofT students attain jobs with bigger law firms, even though the school has a smaller class size. I'm not sure which type of law I'm most interested in yet, but I'm mainly looking for the school that will provide me with the best employment prospects - especially in larger firms. 

 

Also, the cost of tuition is fortunately not very important; I'm mainly interested in the advantages and disadvantages of attending the two law schools. 

 

Thank you!

Generally from what I understand UofT is more corporate focused while Osgoode is more social justice/ public interest focused. Now you can easily do either from either school. Still I would say UofT just because the location is great, being able to walk out of the campus and literally be on bay street is a huge plus if you decide to go corporate. 

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Generally from what I understand UofT is more corporate focused while Osgoode is more social justice/ public interest focused. Now you can easily do either from either school. Still I would say UofT just because the location is great, being able to walk out of the campus and literally be on bay street is a huge plus if you decide to go corporate. 

 

Not sure if this is true anymore (or if it ever was). Osgoode has a strong business law course offering, plenty of profs who focus on the field and practicing lawyers who teach seminars, and several business-related clinics and intensives. What I would say is that while Oz has a large contingent of social justice focused students, there's probably as many business-law-interested students as at Toronto.

 

I never applied to U of T, but what would have probably swayed my decision to attend there would be its location. Plus the U of T campus is a gorgeous (although with all the construction at Falconer Hall, I'm not sure you'd be able to enjoy this to the same degree as past graduates). Also its proximity to Bay Street firms is pretty advantageous, allowing you to pop in for an interview or coffee or whatever, and then go back to class or the library.

 

That being said, Osgoode is a pretty awesome school, so I wouldn't write it off simply because it's been dropped in the middle of one of the Fallout maps. You should have a look at the intensive programs and their course offerings and go from there.

Edited by Ryn

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Hi everyone,

 

I recently got accepted to Osgoode and Toronto but I would like to know a little more about the differences between the two schools. UofT has been my top choice for a very long time, but I've read other threads that compare the two schools and the difference (according to some) is not that significant. On the other hand, more UofT students attain jobs with bigger law firms, even though the school has a smaller class size. I'm not sure which type of law I'm most interested in yet, but I'm mainly looking for the school that will provide me with the best employment prospects - especially in larger firms. 

 

Also, the cost of tuition is fortunately not very important; I'm mainly interested in the advantages and disadvantages of attending the two law schools. 

 

Thank you!

As because Osgoode and UofT its really potatoe/potato, overall there isn't much to choose between them in terms of school quality (especially if you're interested in business law). Osgoode probably offers a wider range of courses, just by virtue of its size, and its business law intensive course is, I understand, very well regarded (I've known people who have both taken it and taught it and both are impressive - Davies teaches it, which is part of the reason Davies generaLly hires more Osgoode students).

 

Yes, UofT places more students on Bay Street, but I really think that is a function of (a) Osgoode having a larger portion of its student body not interested in Bay St and (b) UofT having slightly more selective admission standards (if you admit stronger candidates, it's not surprising that they do better in the job market). If you'd get a Bay Steet job if you went to UofT you'd probably get the same job if you went to Osgoode (we hire people, not schools).

 

The elephant in the room, of course, is that Osgoode might as well be located on planet Hoth. York is a cold, unpleasant place which, unless you were hiding from imperial forces, you wouldn't willingly visit. Granted, you can commute to school by TTC rather than Tauntaun, but I think you'll find the Tauntauns are both less smelly and more comfortable. [Ed: That's probably probably enough with the Star Wars references]. The comparison is, in one sense, a bit unfair - Hoth is probably safer.

 

Oh, sure, they've made signficant improvements to the original neo-Stalinist architecture of the place (no really, it used to be MUCH worse) and someday there will be a subway there, but there's only so much lipstick you can out on the pig. Plus, the faculty and teaching assistants at York are militant communists who have few compunctions about jeopardizing the academic year of their students by striking in order to "stick it to the capitalist oppressor" (who, in their demented worldviews, apparently take the form of the heavily indebted 20-something students who pay for their services).

 

All those are compelling reasons for choosing UofT over York, but it's possible to overstate them. For people who live in the north end of the city or who live in the suburbs the commute can be easier (if they own or have access to a car). The distance from Bay Street isn't all that relevant since "networking" with Bay Street lawyers isn't a meaningful thing (It really isn't done, and to the extent it is, it tends to be in the summer anyhow, and doesn't really have an impact). And if you're saving $24k in tuition, do you really care that the law school is located in an industrial wasteland?

 

Personally, I took UofT over Osgoode in a heartbeat, notwithstanding the different in price (which, at the time, taking into account scholarships was probably $8k a year). But I was also a Toronto boy who didn't want to leave the downtown ("Civilization ends at Bloor St!") and didn't know shit about law schools. I'd probably make the same decision again, but it doesn't seem so obvious now. You might make the same choice, but I would take a close look at their respective course offerings before you do, because Osgoode size does have some advantages. Either way, you can't make a bad choice.

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Honestly I struggle to find a single reason why someone would pick Osgoode over U of T.

 

U of T has:

-A better location.

-An even stronger reputation.

-A brand new law building

-A smaller (more intimate) class

-An even richer roster of professors

-A superior evaluation system

-And so on.

 

Osgoode is a great school. You could do far worse than Osgoode, and you would get an excellent legal education there... but I mean, they're both swimming in the same waters, except Toronto is geographically closer and has several advantages over Osgoode that make it hard for me to imagine many cross-admits favouring North York over University and Bloor.

 

EDIT: Also, anecdotally, maybe the employers tell this to all the applicants, but was frequently told that U of T students were evaluated on a different standard from the point of view of cut offs then students from other schools. I don't know if this is true or not, but it's what I was told, more than once... which is odd, because I had good grades.

Edited by Pyke
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Honestly I struggle to find a single reason why someone would pick Osgoode over U of T.

 

U of T has:

-A better location.

-An even stronger reputation.

-A brand new law building

-A smaller (more intimate) class

-An even richer roster of professors

-A superior evaluation system

-And so on.

 

I'm at Osgoode and I would choose UofT in a heartbeat for most of these factors (if I had the choice, which I didn't. And don't).

 

I will however temper some of those points:

-A better location - indisputable
-An even stronger reputation - probably true
-A brand new law building - Osgoode is also a brand new law building. Additionally, New/=/Improved. Thus, I wouldn't include this in any comparison unless there were a reason to.
-A smaller (more intimate) class - Smaller more intimate classes can be dull, awkward and lead to an echo chamber if everyone in the class has a similar viewpoint.
-An even richer roster of professors - I don't really think this is true. There are some amazing profs at both schools and there are some absolute duds at both schools, from my understanding and experience.
-A superior evaluation system - I know U of T has an alternative grading nomenclature, but is it still curved? Like, what actually is the difference between a "pass with merit" and a B, or "Honours" and an A? Aren't they just the same product packaged differently?
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Honestly I struggle to find a single reason why someone would pick Osgoode over U of T.

 

U of T has:

-A better location.

-An even stronger reputation.

-A brand new law building

-A smaller (more intimate) class

-An even richer roster of professors

-A superior evaluation system

-And so on.

 

Not really quibbling with the substance, based on location alone, but I'm not sure some of the other purported advantages of UofT are necessarily true.

 

Reputation:  Within the legal community both are esteemed.  Outside the legal community people think Osgoode IS UofT.

Brand new law building:  Meh, you don't have to live there.

A smaller (more intimate) class:  Maybe, but as between 160 students and 300 I'm not sure that's a huge difference - I'd been working with a guy at my firm for 4 years before I realized we'd graduated from UofT together.  Does UofT have smaller classes than Osgoode?  That would be the test for me.

A richer roster of professors:  Yeah, I don't know about that.  UofT and Osgoode both have their share of "star" Canadian law professors (that I can't think of anyone off the top of my head right now tells you what that's worth), and given the movement between the two over the years, I'm not sure there's a huge edge on that front.

A superior evaluation system:  Superior?  On the theory that there's a difference between an ordinal ranking system that goes A A- B+ B C (or whatever) and one that goes HH H P LP?  I know, I know, that's how Yale does it, but its not its grading system that makes Yale better, it's the fact that its a better school with better students.  UofT's change was just an exercise is pompous wankery to try to justify its hefty sticker price  I guess if you think you're a solid C+ student, the vague "p" may let you hid among the B students - that seems to be awfully disadvantageous to the far more numerous B students.  

 

UofT clearly has Osgoode beat on location for most (though not all) people. Beyond that?  Hard to say 

Edited by maximumbob

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Just a comment on class size: At Osgoode, 1L is split in to 4 sections of 75 students each. In 2L and 3L, you are mostly taking smaller seminars (~20–30) or the occasional lecture that has no more than about 50 students. I know people look at the 290-sized class and think that it must be massive but you really just end up sticking with your section and after 1L it doesn't even matter. I know U of T classes are even smaller, given the number of students, but as a graduate of a small university where I regularly had classes of 10–15, it's "okay" but can probably use a bit of diversity. There are parts of the small class size that I miss, though, like the professors knowing you better, but with the seminar courses I feel like that's just as likely to happen.

Edited by Ryn

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I'm at Osgoode and I would choose UofT in a heartbeat for most of these factors (if I had the choice, which I didn't. And don't).

 

I will however temper some of those points:

-A better location - indisputable
-An even stronger reputation - probably true
-A brand new law building - Osgoode is also a brand new law building. Additionally, New/=/Improved. Thus, I wouldn't include this in any comparison unless there were a reason to.
-A smaller (more intimate) class - Smaller more intimate classes can be dull, awkward and lead to an echo chamber if everyone in the class has a similar viewpoint.
-An even richer roster of professors - I don't really think this is true. There are some amazing profs at both schools and there are some absolute duds at both schools, from my understanding and experience.
-A superior evaluation system - I know U of T has an alternative grading nomenclature, but is it still curved? Like, what actually is the difference between a "pass with merit" and a B, or "Honours" and an A? Aren't they just the same product packaged differently?

 

 

I'm a U of T alumnus, so I admit a bias. I also admit that I think U of T's tuition is silly, but Osgoode is also ridiculously expensive. 

 

In terms of your specific remarks:

(1): I will agree that new does not necessarily mean better. That said, the new building looks fantastic. I've been at Osgoode's "new" building (it's newer, not brand new), and it is nice enough, but I don't know that it can compare to the views of Philosophers Walk or the proximity to Queens Park, but that's just me.

(2): The thing about the smaller class is not whether it's "intimate" classes (there's a solid mix for first year courses, some one hundred person classes and some twelve people ones, and everywhere in between. We never had an issue with a "weird echo chamber" but admittedly, this is subjective. My remark was more driven towards knowing your peers (connections and networks are hugely important), and the fact that it means for things like OCIs and the like, there are the same number of spots for U of T students as Osgoode students (same number of days) but less students. 

(3): I acknowledge that Osgoode has fantastic professors, notably in Constitutional Law. That said, at least when I was a student (I have not looked in a long while) it was not all that close in the other disciplines. It might have changed. That said, I was not trying to denigrate Osgoode's professors with the remark. They are great too, of that there's no doubt.

(4): The grading may be curved, but the biggest thing about the letter grades is that they suggest to employers a certain thing, which is a percentage understanding of the material. The reality is that a "B" is a letter, yes, but it corresponds (notionally) with a certain level of understanding. This is, and always has been, silly in the law school context where, students are getting grades not reflective of either their comprehension levels or abilities. That is to say, a student might well write an exam which was fantastic, but other students wrote better exams. The new grading scale, in my view, hammers home this point, and I think is preferable to students. I did not ever participate in the new grading evaluation while there, so I can't say if this is correct or not, but it's my belief based on what I have seen and heard.

 

In any case, I do think Osgoode is a great school, I just think that in a one to one comparison, there's no overwhelming reason to pick Osgoode. It's not like comparing two equal schools in different provinces or different legal markets, but instead a direct comparison with basically as many controlled variables as is actually possible. 

Edited by Pyke

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Just a comment on class size: At Osgoode, 1L is split in to 4 sections of 75 students each. In 2L and 3L, you are mostly taking smaller seminars (~20–30) or the occasional lecture that has no more than about 50 students. I know people look at the 290-sized class and think that it must be massive but you really just end up sticking with your section and after 1L it doesn't even matter. I know U of T classes are even smaller, given the number of students, but as a graduate of a small university where I regularly had classes of 10–15, it's "okay" but can probably use a bit of diversity. There are parts of the small class size that I miss, though, like the professors knowing you better, but with the seminar courses I feel like that's just as likely to happen.

At least when I was there UofT's upper year classes weren't that small.  Sure, there'd the odd one with 5-10 people, but equally there'd be ones with 100 students, with most somewhere in the middle.  

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Why is OP overthinking this? They say U of T has been their top choice for a while, they were accepted there, and money's not an issue. So just go already, unless there's some undisclosed personal reason for revisiting the preference (e.g. SO admitted to Osgoode or something).

 

EDIT: say

Edited by epeeist
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At least when I was there UofT's upper year classes weren't that small.  Sure, there'd the odd one with 5-10 people, but equally there'd be ones with 100 students, with most somewhere in the middle.  

 

OK I just checked because now I'm curious. I can see enrolment numbers in all the upper year courses so I ran a calculation:

 

The average class size in lecture courses is 47 with a median class size of 43. The average seminar class size is 15 with a median of 13.

 

Edit: This is for Osgoode, in case that wasn't clear.

Edited by Ryn

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Why is OP overthinking this? They say U of T has been their top choice for a while, they were accepted there, and money's not an issue. So just go already, unless there's some undisclosed personal reason for revisiting the preference (e.g. SO admitted to Osgoode or something).

 

EDIT: say

 

Just wanted a second opinion. I don't want to pick UofT solely because I've wanted it for a long time. And it doesn't hurt to ask does it?

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Just wanted a second opinion. I don't want to pick UofT solely because I've wanted it for a long time. And it doesn't hurt to ask does it?

 

It's true. Rory really wanted Harvard her entire life but ended up at Yale after making a Pro-Con list.

 

Look at the class offerings. Anything at Osgoode thrill you? U of T is going to be much more theoretical/philisophical. Is that something of interest to you? All things to consider!

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Just wanted a second opinion. I don't want to pick UofT solely because I've wanted it for a long time. And it doesn't hurt to ask does it?

 

The reality with picking most things in life is almost never in their comparisons or better qualities/selling points. Often the best way to decide is to find out the worst qualities of all choices and decide which you can live with.

 

As I think you can gather from above, the two schools are quite comparable. From my perspective, the worst quality of Osgoode is its location. For U of T it is the giant firebreathing dragon whose puzzle you have to solve every time you enter the building. Which one can you live with? Taking the TTC to downsview and beyond takes forever, but the station is maybe almost done (or maybe not). Conversely, the dragon's fire hurts, but his question is easy, and he asks the same question every day so once you get it, its like...you got it. On the other hand, he's always bickering with the bridge troll who also blocks the door until you answer his riddle and the troll can be really testy before he's had his coffee. Take your pick.

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(although with all the construction at Falconer Hall, I'm not sure you'd be able to enjoy this to the same degree as past graduates). 

 

The building is scheduled to be done this coming September, which means it will probably be done in time for OP's second year.

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The building is scheduled to be done this coming September, which means it will probably be done in time for OP's second year.

man! I was really hoping for February! 

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The building is scheduled to be done this coming September, which means it will probably be done in time for OP's second year.

 

September 2016? 

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