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Pros and Cons of Studying Law at U of Ottawa?

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Hi! I recently got admitted to U of Ottawa's common law program - which was quite surprising to me because i had a low LSAT score (156) but high GPA and good ECs! 

 

I was just wondering if current students could weigh in on their experiences at the school. Ideally, I would love to practice law in Toronto but I understand that some people say finding jobs in Toronto big firms is tough after graduation.

 

My particular interests are in health law - which is a big part of the school...Can you guys give me any other insight into studying law here? Why is it better and/or worse than studying at other schools? (U of T, Queens...)]

 

Finally, I love living in big cities (originally from Toronto) but i've also lived in small cities in Ontario - whats life in Ottawa like? :) 

 

THANKS ahead of time!

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I love Ottawa, have lived here for almost 10 years, and plan on staying here for the long term, so keep these biases in mind.

 

First, here are some useful threads that probably answer a lot of your questions:

Discussion on 'health law'

Life in 1L

And probably Ottawa's most useful thread, Going Into 2L in September, Ask Me Anything

 

Second, the general advice on LS.ca is to go to school where you want to practice. You'll meet people in law school and start to build a network. If you want to work in Toronto, then it's more beneficial to have that network in Toronto.

 

Third, I don't like Toronto so I can't relate to you on that point. From what I hear, people find that "there isn't as much going on in Ottawa". I find that there's plenty going on from sporting events, to music, to recreational activities. I think Ottawa is good for people who like city life, but also like to get out of the city and be active (for example by heading to nearby Gatineau Park). Ottawa has its own big events like Winterlude and Bluesfest, but sometimes you need to leave the city for big cultural events (for example, big bands often skip Ottawa, but Montreal is not too far away). Overall, I love Ottawa and think it's a great place to live, but I also know that a lot of people go back to Toronto several times a month (so you could go to school in Ottawa, and still spend time in Toronto if you chose).

 

Finally, the school itself. I've had a great time here academically. My professors have been intelligent, but also passionate about teaching and eager to help students with the completely foreign world of law. One of the main drawbacks professionally is that the school does not have the same reputation as others which can be a hurdle to overcome in interviews. However, more often what I found was that employers weren't concerned with the school, but rather with where you want to live (again, this goes to going to school where you want to work). Employers invest money in training students so they can sometimes be a little skeptical when they're not clear where a student wants to be, especially those employers in smaller markets that are more risk averse. The last thing that I'll mention is the administration which has a pretty bad reputation. Most people I've talked to who have attended other universities say that the administration causes all sorts of headaches. For example, people don't like the course selection tool as it can be a bit of a game of chance and people can get burned by not getting the classes they want. Overall, I enjoy UOttawa a great deal despite the occasional administrative hiccup.

 

That's all I have for now. Good luck. 

 

Apologies in advance for any typos.

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In addition to all the stuff that Nutty said I'll add a few things

 

1. Ottawa as a city is a great long-term city for those that wanna live in a downtown-core but haven't deluded themselves yet to think they can afford a $600k+ house or condo. Honestly, if you like downtown living, you gotta think what's going to happen 20 years in the future. Do you think you will still be able to afford living at Yonge and Bloor? Maybe. .  maybe not. Ottawa is still super affordable compared to Vancouver and Toronto. We also have so much going on. Ottawa is in a bit of a growth period right now with the LRT being put in, the 2017 celebrations coming soon, and a generally strong arts and culinary scene. Come be part of something that is growing rather than just being part of something that's big. Seriously, Ottawa's music scene is exploding right now and I imagine that with the relative cheapness of Ottawa's cost of living versus Toronto, it's going to continue for a while still.

 

2.UO law is a great place to learn. We're a huge school so there's lots of course variety but at the same time I can say for sure that I had at least 5 classes with 20 people or less (let alone those who showed up to class) so the profs will know your name. We're big and small at the same time. Just like our city!

 

3. UO is dirt cheap compared to most of your other Ontario law schools

 

4. Bilingualism opportunities. SO MANY. Have a little French that you wanna improve? Take a law class in French and see how ridiculously fast you learn (I am not being sarcastic here. This is seriously one of the best things I ever did at this school). Have no French but want to learn? No problem, UO has FREE language classes! You can take a free French course on top of your law stuff or if that's a bit too heavy, participate in free discussion groups leads by translation & education students from the Arts and Education faculties respectively. Top notch, professional, free language classes is a great sell. I mean, imagine how hard UofT or Queens would be selling free classes (in any subject!) if they offered them?

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Hey there, I am a 2L, originally from Montreal, and let me tell you a few things about our nation's capital, Ottawa...

 

It is incredibly homogeneous and racist. 

 

I attribute this to the fact that it is a city of government workers and their children. Most educated ethnic minorities (usually first and second generation) do not aspire to be bureaucrats, so they generally gravitate to cosmopolitan urban centres with greater economic opportunities. 

 

What is left is a cesspool of over-educated middle-class people of European descent who give ethnic minorities dirty looks and cough in their direction.

 

I AM DEAD SERIOUS. I have never seen such prejudice and blatant racism in my entire life, even when I visited my relatives in Savannah, Georgia.

 

It appears as if the homogeneity within Ottawa has inculcated within this community a siege mentality and sense of ethnic superiority over anyone who appears "out of place" (I.e. non-white people).

 

I am from an affluent family of University professors, dress well, am well groomed, and yet am subject to racist coughing, and looks of disdain as I walk down the street.

 

The plus side is that I have done very well thus far, since I choose not to go out in public and be subjected to racial prejudice by the hostile white majority :)

 

Racist coughing in 2016... Wow.

Edited by Negropontiff

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I am from an affluent family of University professors, dress well, am well groomed, and yet am subject to racist coughing, and looks of disdain as I walk down the street.

 

 

Assuming that the rest of this post isn't pure fiction... are you suggesting that if you, Negropontiff, member of LS.ca since ~45 minutes ago, were poorly groomed, poorly dressed, and didn't come from affluence that such racism would be understandable?

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Hey there, I am a 2L, originally from Montreal, and let me tell you a few things about our nation's capital, Ottawa...

 

It is incredibly homogeneous and racist. 

 

I attribute this to the fact that it is a city of government workers and their children. Most educated ethnic minorities (usually first and second generation) do not aspire to be bureaucrats, so they generally gravitate to cosmopolitan urban centres with greater economic opportunities. 

 

What is left is a cesspool of over-educated middle-class people of European descent who give ethnic minorities dirty looks and cough in their direction.

 

I AM DEAD SERIOUS. I have never seen such prejudice and blatant racism in my entire life, even when I visited my relatives in Savannah, Georgia.

 

It appears as if the homogeneity within Ottawa has inculcated within this community a siege mentality and sense of ethnic superiority over anyone who appears "out of place" (I.e. non-white people).

 

I am from an affluent family of University professors, dress well, am well groomed, and yet am subject to racist coughing, and looks of disdain as I walk down the street.

 

The plus side is that I have done very well thus far, since I choose not to go out in public and be subjected to racial prejudice by the hostile white majority :)

 

Racist coughing in 2016... Wow.

I am a visible minority from a non-university educated family from small(ish) town South West Ontario and my experience of Ottawa has been the exact opposite of this.

 

I will personally meet and speak with anyone who wishes to dispute this perception of Ottawa. That is how strongly I believe in my stance.

Edited by Myrand
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I am a visible minority from a non-university educated family from small(ish) town South West Ontario and my experience of Ottawa has been the exact opposite of this.

 

I will personally meet and speak with anyone who wishes to dispute this perception of Ottawa. That is how strongly I believe in my stance.

 

 

I will personally meet and speak with anyone to substantiate my claims as well. That is how strongly I believe in my stance.

 

To Ottawa's credit, minorities are safe on campus. It is diverse enough to blunt any bigoted tendencies from surfacing.

 

But if you dare venture from the confines of the University of Ottawa campus and immediately adjacent areas you are in for a wake up call that racism is alive and well in our nation's capital, likely because of the reasons I have noted above.

 

Here are articles attesting to the climate of racial prejudice in Ottawa, I am not making unsubstantiated claims:

 

 

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2014/09/09/tim-uppal-racist-incident-multiculturalism_n_5790766.html

 

http://www.dailyxtra.com/ottawa/news-and-ideas/ottawa-mural-defaced-with-hate-messages-157118

 

http://www.torontosun.com/news/canada/2011/03/10/17561111.html

 

http://www.ottawasun.com/2015/06/09/ottawa-among-worst-cities-for-hate-crimes-statscan

 

http://www.ottawasun.com/videos/1886430084001

 

Again, it is my theory that these expressions of bigotry emanate from the high level of homogeneity in Ottawa, which incubates a virulent form of racial prejudice and ethnic nationalism which does not exist in other urban cities in Canada.

Edited by Negropontiff

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My insights and the linked articles speak for themselves.

 

Ottawa residents are fully aware of the manner in which non-whites are antagonized on a daily basis by the hostile majority. 

 

Hopefully my posts will raise awareness of the racist bigotry in Ottawa and allow its residents to engage in introspection regarding the way it is perceived by the outside world, and maybe adjust their behaviour.

 

Thank you, and God bless Canada. 

Edited by Negropontiff

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I honestly believe that you, Negropontiff have a mistakened or skewed perception of Ottawa.

I urge future readers to discount the contributions of Negropontiff. Ottawa is a great city with very good (but by no means perfect) cultural integration.

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Hey there, I am a 2L, originally from Montreal, and let me tell you a few things about our nation's capital, Ottawa...

 

It is incredibly homogeneous and racist. 

 

I attribute this to the fact that it is a city of government workers and their children. Most educated ethnic minorities (usually first and second generation) do not aspire to be bureaucrats, so they generally gravitate to cosmopolitan urban centres with greater economic opportunities. 

 

What is left is a cesspool of over-educated middle-class people of European descent who give ethnic minorities dirty looks and cough in their direction.

 

I AM DEAD SERIOUS. I have never seen such prejudice and blatant racism in my entire life, even when I visited my relatives in Savannah, Georgia.

 

It appears as if the homogeneity within Ottawa has inculcated within this community a siege mentality and sense of ethnic superiority over anyone who appears "out of place" (I.e. non-white people).

 

I am from an affluent family of University professors, dress well, am well groomed, and yet am subject to racist coughing, and looks of disdain as I walk down the street.

 

The plus side is that I have done very well thus far, since I choose not to go out in public and be subjected to racial prejudice by the hostile white majority :)

 

Racist coughing in 2016... Wow.

 

 

Hyperbole at its finest. 

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Wow! This post generated A LOT of controversy! 

 

Now that we're talking about this. I have on occasion been reminded that I am nothing more than my appearance/skin colour for some people in this city. It is nothing most of my ancestors didn't deal with, in fact they put up with a lot worse. Fortunatley that did not hold them back from what they wanted to do. So you shouldn't let a few intellectually compromised people dictate how you should live Negropontiff, hang in there! If anything, you can use these experiences when you're done with law school to your advantage. Not easy being a person of colour in the law. Any lawyer who is of colour will tell you that, let's not sugarcoat the truth. However, these experiences should not cast a dark cloud over your law school experience. Idiots are everywhere, you shouldn't pay attention to them when you have more pressing matters - like law school - at hand.  

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Wow! This post generated A LOT of controversy! 

 

Now that we're talking about this. I have on occasion been reminded that I am nothing more than my appearance/skin colour for some people in this city. It is nothing most of my ancestors didn't deal with, in fact they put up with a lot worse. Fortunatley that did not hold them back from what they wanted to do. So you shouldn't let a few intellectually compromised people dictate how you should live Negropontiff, hang in there! If anything, you can use these experiences when you're done with law school to your advantage. Not easy being a person of colour in the law. Any lawyer who is of colour will tell you that, let's not sugarcoat the truth. However, these experiences should not cast a dark cloud over your law school experience. Idiots are everywhere, you shouldn't pay attention to them when you have more pressing matters - like law school - at hand.  

 

 

Thank you Sixth for your genuine and kind words of solidarity.

 

The trivialization of my experiences by other forum members further corroborates my sentiments.

 

I would like to reiterate that the University of Ottawa campus is by no means a reflection of the city of Ottawa more broadly, and that my experiences at the law school and with UOttawa students has been wonderful.

 

But everyone should be aware that Ottawa is a very racist city. It's the sad truth :(

Edited by Negropontiff
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Many people have mentioned the great things about uOttawa (in this thread or others) so I won't rehash, but one thing I haven't seen mentioned are the paid opportunities for students.

 

Now, I can't say if other law schools are like this, but if you're about to go to law school and would like the opportunity to work 5-10 hours a week in a law-related job you shouldn't find it a problem at uOttawa. I do recommend not working for at least the first semester of 1L (maybe volunteer a bit instead to get your name out there). But, many profs seek research assistants and there are opportunities at the two clinics, as well as other random jobs that come up (check your email!). You also shouldn't rely on RA jobs from The Source as your only 'source', because some research gigs can be created by speaking with a prof and offering to help out where you see they could use it.

Edited by cdc
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Many people have mentioned the great things about uOttawa (in this thread or others) so I won't rehash, but one thing I haven't seen mentioned are the paid opportunities for students.

 

Now, I can't say if other law schools are like this, but if you're about to go to law school and would like the opportunity to work 5-10 hours a week in a law-related job you shouldn't find it a problem at uOttawa. I do recommend not working for at least the first semester of 1L (maybe volunteer a bit instead to get your name out there). But, many profs seek research assistants and there are opportunities at the two clinics, as well as other random jobs that come up (check your email!). You also shouldn't rely on RA jobs from The Source as your only 'source', because some research gigs can be created by speaking with a prof and offering to help out where you see they could use it.

 

Another option is a government job through FSWEP. For example, you could work at one of the many administrative tribunals in Ottawa doing legal-type work.

 

Like cdc said though, I would strongly recommend against working in 1L.

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I vehemently disagree with any remarks about Ottawa being a racist city.

 

All the articles that the individual posted are either from the Sun or Huffington. 

 

In other words none were written by a reputable journal. I stray far far away from these tabloids namely the Sun. If you want to find a conservative and backward way of thinking that's certainly the place to go.

 

All of this being said I've never met anyone who was racist in Ottawa. And the statement that all of the "progressive" people leave town to go to more affluent cities? Oh spare me there's more to Ottawa then the federal government. Alas people choose to believe stereotypes. Have fun living in a sheltered and close-minded perspective.

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^ I agree with this sentiment, I have visited Ottawa on many occasions, and found it to be extremely friendly towards minorities, as I am of Asian descent. This is one of the reasons that Ottawa is one of my first choices of law school this September.

 

I will not believe any claims made by the Sun and Huffington Post Canada, though the US version is much more reliable. 

 

I am inclined to believe that Negropontiff suffers from a persecution complex and is hellbent on claiming racism at every turn.

Edited by yye1

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It's upsetting the way Negropontiff is being bullied on this forum. He/She has a right to their opinion. 

 

Yye1, I'm delighted that you've had such a positive experience visiting Ottawa. However, his opinon and mine is that of a law student. We study highly sensitive issues, and interact with our peers in ways that are not regularly expected of people. Since you haven't even embarked upon law school yet, you should make your accusations carefully. I'd be interested to hear your opinion after your first year in law school. I repeat that it is not easy being a person of colour in law school, and in the law, and you will learn this on your journey. Keep an open mind. 

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Thank you again Sixth. It appears that my detractors haven't even sought to fully read or even appreciate the substance/purpose of my posts... smh.

 

^ I agree with this sentiment, I have visited Ottawa on many occasions, and found it to be extremely friendly towards minorities, as I am of Asian descent. This is one of the reasons that Ottawa is one of my first choices of law school this September.

 

I will not believe any claims made by the Sun and Huffington Post Canada, though the US version is much more reliable. 

 

I am inclined to believe that Negropontiff suffers from a persecution complex and is hellbent on claiming racism at every turn.

 

1) The articles cited focus upon REAL EVENTS which occurred in Ottawa, the "reputability" of the news source is irrelevant in this context.

 

I vehemently disagree with any remarks about Ottawa being a racist city.

 

All the articles that the individual posted are either from the Sun or Huffington. 

 

In other words none were written by a reputable journal. I stray far far away from these tabloids namely the Sun. If you want to find a conservative and backward way of thinking that's certainly the place to go.

 

All of this being said I've never met anyone who was racist in Ottawa. And the statement that all of the "progressive" people leave town to go to more affluent cities? Oh spare me there's more to Ottawa then the federal government. Alas people choose to believe stereotypes. Have fun living in a sheltered and close-minded perspective.

 

2) This comment regarding a supposed "exodus of progressives" is based upon a failure to appreciate the nuances of my analysis of ethnic homogeneity in Ottawa. Furthermore, not all ethnic people are progressive, and vice versa  :wink:

 

Alas, I am sorry for rubbing anyone the wrong way... I can appreciate that they have never experienced what I have (thankfully), and never will (hopefully).

 

If it is any consolation I suppose this is all a matter of "degrees." From my experience Ottawa is more racist than Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver. Just my two cents! 

 

Again, I am glad my posts have stimulated discussion. This appears to be a conversation Ottawans are uncomfortable in discussing. 

Edited by Negropontiff
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