Jump to content
benschnell

Ask a 1L student

Recommended Posts

On 3/18/2019 at 8:15 AM, georgecostanzajr said:

It really depends on the moot. The actual "session" of the moot lasts no longer than one-hour typically. However, the preparation can be far more than that. There are intensive moots in upper years that teams use weeks to prepare for. But, there are also simple moots such as the Cherniak cup which shouldn't take more than a few hours to prepare for.

Thanks. Makes sense. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi everyone,

I have some questions, hoping for some 1L input here.

 

1) how are first year classes graded? Does class participation and midterms count or is it mostly finals? What is the percentage breakdown like?

 

2) how hard is it to get all A’s in Western? Is that even possible?

 

3) how hard is it to volunteer for the Western Journal. I have some background in academic research, would that be sufficient?

4) are there any dance/sports/art clubs for law students?

4) I don’t drive at all. I rather not take the public transit if I can help it. Are there accommodations close to the law building that are relatively new (I.e like Clare hall) or close to grocery places etc?

 

Will really appreciate your input! thanks guys

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Snowflakes said:

Hi everyone,

I have some questions, hoping for some 1L input here.

 

1) how are first year classes graded? Does class participation and midterms count or is it mostly finals? What is the percentage breakdown like?

 

2) how hard is it to get all A’s in Western? Is that even possible?

 

3) how hard is it to volunteer for the Western Journal. I have some background in academic research, would that be sufficient?

4) are there any dance/sports/art clubs for law students?

4) I don’t drive at all. I rather not take the public transit if I can help it. Are there accommodations close to the law building that are relatively new (I.e like Clare hall) or close to grocery places etc?

 

Will really appreciate your input! thanks guys

1) Mostly based on the final.  The midterm will generally be around 30% and the final around 70% of your final grade.  Some classes, particularly your small group class, will have a ~10% participation grade, but participation grades aren't significant. 

2) Basically impossible.  There are undergrad gold medallists who don't have straight As.  I'm sure there are a couple people who have straight As, but no more than a couple.  It's also worth noting that you don't really need straight As for anything.  

3)  I don't know how hard it is to get onto the journal, but I know there are quite a few spots.  The research background probably helps, but it won't get you a spot by itself.  They basically test everyone interested in the journal at the beginning of the year (they give you part of an article and you're asked to identify the errors) and then I believe the ones who did well are either interviewed or offered spots.  I don't remember if there was an interview process or not.  

4) Yeah, lots. 

4(2)) Kinda, but I wouldn't recommend them because that's where all the undergrads live.  Everyone I know either takes the bus or drives.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 3/20/2019 at 8:23 PM, Snowflakes said:

2) how hard is it to get all A’s in Western? Is that even possible?

I am not a 1L. One might say I am a "5L" (good grief where did the time go). But I thought I'd chime in and help you out, and also provide this information to others who may not understand how law school grading works.

Law school classes are graded on a curve, generally curved to a "B" (specifically in 1L). What this means is that your individual level of achievement is relatively meaningless; what matters is how you compare against the rest of your class.

For example - let's say you get a 75% on your first year criminal law exam as a raw score. In an undergrad program, that would compute to a "B". But in law school it's not so simple! If everyone else in your class scored in the 50s, and you got a 75, you might have an A+. If everyone else got a 77, and you only got a 75, you may end up with a C.

Different classes and different professors are known to have different "curves". Some classes have a "flat curve" (e.g. out of 60 people, maybe 40 get Bs, 10 get a B+ and 10 get a B-). Others may have a very "steep curve" (e.g. out of 60 people, maybe 10 get Bs, 10 get a B+, 10 get a B-, 10 get an A-, 10 get a C+, 5 get a flat A and 5 get a flat C). You can picture how the same person taking these two classes could end up with wildly different grades.

So to answer your second question, in order to get A's in every class, you would have to perform better than basically everyone else in every one of your classes. That's statistically improbable, because law school is full of smart, hard-working people, all of whom want to be top of their class. And the fact is, you simply cannot ALL be top of the class.

I'd note that while different schools may have slight differences in how they handle grading, every Ontario law school grades on a curve like this. This is not a Western-specific phenomenon.

Hopefully that helps.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

2 quick question: 

How much reading is (typically) exepcted per class/per week? I know classes will have a lot of variety but what is the average?

 

Does the law building have lockers? if so, how much are they to rent?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, lawgirl1234567f said:

2 quick question: 

How much reading is (typically) exepcted per class/per week? I know classes will have a lot of variety but what is the average?

 

Does the law building have lockers? if so, how much are they to rent?

The building has lockers. I believe they were free in 1L, and then something like $5 a year in upper years? It might even be a refundable deposit.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 4/13/2019 at 3:03 PM, lawgirl1234567f said:

2 quick question: 

How much reading is (typically) exepcted per class/per week? I know classes will have a lot of variety but what is the average?

 

Does the law building have lockers? if so, how much are they to rent?

(1) You are correct in that the classes have a significant amount of variety. Some classes have 10 pages a week while others have 50. On average per class per week I'd say 20-30 pages.

(2) Yes, they do, and they're provided for free to 1Ls. Not sure about upper years. But as the poster above mentioned, they're available as well.

Edited by georgecostanzajr

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Since we have to submit our final transcript in June, does that have any effect on your acceptance? Or is that simply to show you have completed your term and courses? I was not told with my acceptance I had to maintain a certain average I was just checking to see if one course is not on par with the rest if that will affect my admissions.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, lawgirl1234567f said:

Since we have to submit our final transcript in June, does that have any effect on your acceptance? Or is that simply to show you have completed your term and courses? I was not told with my acceptance I had to maintain a certain average I was just checking to see if one course is not on par with the rest if that will affect my admissions.

I doubt they will ever rescind acceptances based on final grades except in extraordinary circumstances. Unless you failed all of your classes, you're good to go. Many people slack in their final semester and law schools generally don't care (particularly the ones who don't attach conditions to acceptances).

Edited by georgecostanzajr

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Can anyone speak more about the clinic opportunities at western? I'm interested in crim, so I've been looking at the pro-bono one and CLS. I've been hearing that Western has less spots available in their clinics than other schools but also that because of the small class size this isn't always an issue. What are the odds of getting a spot in one of these clinics in first year?  I don't have any law background and have a more unconventional work background so I'm worried that the lack of experience will affect my chances of getting a spot in one of these clinics. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 4/22/2019 at 10:17 AM, Rose12 said:

Can anyone speak more about the clinic opportunities at western? I'm interested in crim, so I've been looking at the pro-bono one and CLS. I've been hearing that Western has less spots available in their clinics than other schools but also that because of the small class size this isn't always an issue. What are the odds of getting a spot in one of these clinics in first year?  I don't have any law background and have a more unconventional work background so I'm worried that the lack of experience will affect my chances of getting a spot in one of these clinics. 

I also have similar question. I wish to get involved in any of the clinics in the first year but do not have much of relevant school experiences. I did volunteer at a law firm for few months and published a law booklet both in English and Korean but nothing more than that. From my undergrad experience, I feel like you need to start 'networking' to get those spots early on so was wondering if anyone has experiences working at clinics from 1L. And if so, any insights about the experiences and how competitive it is to get a spot would be much appreciated. :)

Also, on a different note, how difficult is it to find an internship position right after 1L? At this point, I am mostly interested in corporate law and to get an internship at Bay street from 2L, I heard that you need to have any kind of experiences in even a small boutique law firm starting from 1L. Is this true? And if so, what kinds of aids do Western provide for students to find their internships as early as in 1L? 

In addition, I believe Western has a quite close relationship with Torys LLP. Does this help you as a student in finding internships at Torys necessarily? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 4/22/2019 at 10:17 AM, Rose12 said:

Can anyone speak more about the clinic opportunities at western? I'm interested in crim, so I've been looking at the pro-bono one and CLS. I've been hearing that Western has less spots available in their clinics than other schools but also that because of the small class size this isn't always an issue. What are the odds of getting a spot in one of these clinics in first year?  I don't have any law background and have a more unconventional work background so I'm worried that the lack of experience will affect my chances of getting a spot in one of these clinics. 

I don't know for sure, but I thin Western does have fewer clinic spots than other schools.  I think there is in the neighbourhood of 40 1L clinic positions.  Twelve of those are at the Business Law Clinic and a few others are the Sports Clinic.  The rest would be in areas related to what you're interested in.  In terms of odds of getting a spot, almost everyone applies to almost everything because almost everyone is a super eager student in the first month of 1L.  I believe resumes are reviewed anonymously, but asking the 2Ls involved in the clinics about what they're looking for would be helpful before you apply. 

 

6 hours ago, sunshine59 said:

I also have similar question. I wish to get involved in any of the clinics in the first year but do not have much of relevant school experiences. I did volunteer at a law firm for few months and published a law booklet both in English and Korean but nothing more than that. From my undergrad experience, I feel like you need to start 'networking' to get those spots early on so was wondering if anyone has experiences working at clinics from 1L. And if so, any insights about the experiences and how competitive it is to get a spot would be much appreciated. :)

Also, on a different note, how difficult is it to find an internship position right after 1L? At this point, I am mostly interested in corporate law and to get an internship at Bay street from 2L, I heard that you need to have any kind of experiences in even a small boutique law firm starting from 1L. Is this true? And if so, what kinds of aids do Western provide for students to find their internships as early as in 1L? 

In addition, I believe Western has a quite close relationship with Torys LLP. Does this help you as a student in finding internships at Torys necessarily? 

You don't need to do any sort of networking to get those positions, but see what what I said above about the clinics.  

As for your other questions, very few 1Ls get summer law jobs.  As I'm sure you can see from that, having a 1L summer position is far from required to get a 2L position.  The OCI process is based very much on grades.  

In terms of help from the school, the careers office is pretty good.  I've never been, but I haven't heard a bad thing about them. 

Torys hosts the reception and sponsors a moot.  Read less than nothing into that, it's meaningless. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, sunshine59 said:

I also have similar question. I wish to get involved in any of the clinics in the first year but do not have much of relevant school experiences. I did volunteer at a law firm for few months and published a law booklet both in English and Korean but nothing more than that. From my undergrad experience, I feel like you need to start 'networking' to get those spots early on so was wondering if anyone has experiences working at clinics from 1L. And if so, any insights about the experiences and how competitive it is to get a spot would be much appreciated. :)

Also, on a different note, how difficult is it to find an internship position right after 1L? At this point, I am mostly interested in corporate law and to get an internship at Bay street from 2L, I heard that you need to have any kind of experiences in even a small boutique law firm starting from 1L. Is this true? And if so, what kinds of aids do Western provide for students to find their internships as early as in 1L? 

In addition, I believe Western has a quite close relationship with Torys LLP. Does this help you as a student in finding internships at Torys necessarily? 

The part I've bolded is a complete lie. Law firms don't expect you to have any legal experience. In fact, the majority of those who get jobs through the OCI process don't have any legal experience. What firms care about is grades and your "fit" with the firm. You don't need to do any networking before law school for sure. It's advisable to do some before the OCI process for firms you want to target so you can customize your cover letter to firms you're targeting, but it's not necessary.

It is difficult to get 1L law jobs at any school, though not impossible. But most people don't, and for good reason. Your 1L summer is the last time you'll have a summer to do whatever you want for the foreseeable future. Travel and enjoy life. Work somewhere more casual if you need to.

Also, Western has the WLIP (western law internship program) which offers stipends to 1Ls/2Ls for certain placements. They are quite competitive (12 spots internationally). I would check out the WLIP page for details. But I wouldn't rely on that to get a position.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 4/26/2019 at 12:24 PM, sunshine59 said:

I also have similar question. I wish to get involved in any of the clinics in the first year but do not have much of relevant school experiences. I did volunteer at a law firm for few months and published a law booklet both in English and Korean but nothing more than that. From my undergrad experience, I feel like you need to start 'networking' to get those spots early on so was wondering if anyone has experiences working at clinics from 1L. And if so, any insights about the experiences and how competitive it is to get a spot would be much appreciated. :)

 Also, on a different note, how difficult is it to find an internship position right after 1L? At this point, I am mostly interested in corporate law and to get an internship at Bay street from 2L, I heard that you need to have any kind of experiences in even a small boutique law firm starting from 1L. Is this true? And if so, what kinds of aids do Western provide for students to find their internships as early as in 1L? 

 In addition, I believe Western has a quite close relationship with Torys LLP. Does this help you as a student in finding internships at Torys necessarily? 

 

On 4/22/2019 at 10:17 AM, Rose12 said:

Can anyone speak more about the clinic opportunities at western? I'm interested in crim, so I've been looking at the pro-bono one and CLS. I've been hearing that Western has less spots available in their clinics than other schools but also that because of the small class size this isn't always an issue. What are the odds of getting a spot in one of these clinics in first year?  I don't have any law background and have a more unconventional work background so I'm worried that the lack of experience will affect my chances of getting a spot in one of these clinics. 

I started as a 1L Volunteer/Associate Casework at Community Legal Services which is the most general clinic Western offers (compared with Business Law Clinic/Sports Solution/Dispute Resolution Clinics) so I thought I'd add my two cents!! You will get bombarded very early on in September/O-Week with opportunities to apply to the clinics and as others have said almost everyone applies to at least some if not all of the clinics. As with other schools, there is a level of competitiveness as there are not enough spots for everyone. Everyone applying also generally has similar experiences and are all very smart and capable so I would just suggest to make sure your applications are very polished and show a genuine interest in what the clinics do. If you don't think your background is particularly relevant, I wouldn't worry as most people don't have any legal experience and just focus on explaining in your cover letter how your experiences could be of value. For example experience working with underprivileged individuals, and even any sort of customer or client facing roles could be really valuable. Usually the clinics host an open house type event in O-week where you can talk to students working in the clinics- you should go to this to help get advice on your application and find out what type of work they do to tailor your cover letter!

Regarding the 1L jobs, I echo what others have said that is the exception not the norm and you are by no means expected to have any sort of law firm experience going into the 2L recruit. I would, however, add that many of your peers will have worked in clinics over the summers, for profs as a research assistant, in internships, or gone back to jobs they had before law that has transferable skills so while many people do choose to travel and enjoy their 1L summer - I would advise to try and get some type of relevant work experience if you have the opportunity, particularly if you don't have a lot of previous work experience! 

Hope this helps! For now though just enjoy your time off before starting law school, there will be a big information overload when you start but nothing is as scary as it seems :) 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, qwerty123456789 said:

I was wondering the living situation for first year is it primarily off campus or is there a law school residence?

There's no law school-specific residence. You can live in a Western residence, but you'd be with undergrads and I don't know anyone who chose that. Everyone lives off campus.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 3/29/2020 at 12:49 PM, qwerty123456789 said:

I was wondering the living situation for first year is it primarily off campus or is there a law school residence?

The majority live off campus, but there are a significant number that live on campus.

There are a few upper year residence which are available to law students. One of the most popular ones is Bayfield hall - there dozens of law students in the building. It's very popular with students due to the proximity to campus (10 minute walk) and the fact that it is a 1 bedroom apartment (especially for most of us that don't know anyone coming into the program). There are also some more affordable residences across from Bayfield but you would need a roommate. Some law students live there too. There are also the university apartments on Platts Lane which has some law students living there.

On 3/29/2020 at 2:07 PM, lewcifer said:

There's no law school-specific residence. You can live in a Western residence, but you'd be with undergrads and I don't know anyone who chose that. Everyone lives off campus.

As a 2L at Western, I can say that this is inaccurate. There are plenty of law students living in the upper year residences. Most people in the upper year residences are masters/PhD/professional students. I'd say a small minority are undergrads, as they typically live in houses/apartments with friends from years prior.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, georgecostanzajr said:

As a 2L at Western, I can say that this is inaccurate. There are plenty of law students living in the upper year residences. Most people in the upper year residences are masters/PhD/professional students. I'd say a small minority are undergrads, as they typically live in houses/apartments with friends from years prior.

My mistake then, I guess I don't know of anyone who does.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Can someone recommend some good neighbourhoods and apartment complexes to look into? Do most law students live alone or in groups? I’d figure grad students wouldn’t live in a house with undergrad frat boys lol

 

Also, if anyone is looking for a clean, serious and respectful housemate next year, my DMs are open 😝

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, HopefulLawyer97 said:

Can someone recommend some good neighbourhoods and apartment complexes to look into? Do most law students live alone or in groups? I’d figure grad students wouldn’t live in a house with undergrad frat boys lol

 

Also, if anyone is looking for a clean, serious and respectful housemate next year, my DMs are open 😝

Cherryhill Village has quite a few law students living there, there's a mall with a Shoppers and a Metro right there so it's really convenient if you won't have a car. There's also a bus route with several stops in the neighbourhood that will take you straight to the law school, the ride is about 10-15 minutes.

Some law students live with roommates, others live alone. Lots of law students who want roommates find them in the Facebook group, so I'd recommend posting in there and seeing if anyone is interested. Upper years who need someone to pick up their lease sometimes post in there as well, and there's an apartment spreadsheet that an upper year made a while back that generally gets passed around to incoming students, so that should be in the Facebook group (though prices on it are probably outdated, but it's a good place to start). You can also check the Western off-campus listings (https://offcampus.uwo.ca/listings/) but you're more likely to end up with undergrads as roommates there, although when I was looking I remember seeing a few listings specifying that they were looking for graduate/professional students so you might be able to avoid that.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.


  • Recent Posts

    • Not a UOttawa student, but I was accepted to Osgoode this cycle. Law admissions in Ontario through OLSAS utilize a standardized GPA conversation formula based upon your grades received, the credit worth, and length of the classes you have taken across all years of undergraduate. This is called your CGPA, and it is the value you will see many prospective law students citing on this website. I would first recommend inputting your grades into a calculator like the one constructed by the creator of this site (link below) to see your CGPA, and facilitate making comparisons between accepted students and your current stats easier. Citing the Ontario Universities Application Centre (link also below): "OLSAS uses a 4.0 scale. Refer to the OLSAS Undergraduate Grading System Conversion Table to determine the grading scale used for each university that you attended/are attending. The law schools equate university work on the basis of the Ontario traditional academic year system. For universities operating in the semester system, 2 semesters are combined as the equivalent of an academic year (i.e., semesters 1 and 2 are combined for first year; semesters 3 and 4 for second year). Co-op semesters are grouped similarly." Note: Your CGPA is likely to be lower than your university GPA based on how the calculation is done.  https://lawapplicants.ca/grade You will also get L2 and B3 values, which means your CGPA for your most recent last 2 years, and best (highest grades) 3 years of undergrad. Some law schools utilize these values, but not necessarily all nor even most. Also, here is some information on how your CGPA is calculated differently than your university GPA.  https://www.ouac.on.ca/guide/olsas-gpa-calculations/
    • Same. I was planning to re-write it for the 2021 cycle and now that I am finally getting a decent score, the test date is not so certain anymore 😭
    • Hello guys, I hope you are all safe during this period. I am interested in applying to Ottawa University for the civil law program.My GPA is like 3.4/4.3 but I am planning on retaking about 4 classes to boost it up. May I hear a few stats about people who got accepted GPA on 4.3 pls Thank you !
    • I’d advice against this totally.    iPads are extremely expensive (particularly the pro and the keyboard you’d need). I have an iPad Pro with Magic Keyboard and Pencil (the previous Gen). It’s not bad for occasional emails or reading or watching content but for day to day use and heavy typing forget it. The keyboard is much smaller and condensed and you will hate your life. You’re also going to then buy a bother monitor, keyboard and mouse to plug into your Desktop. Not to mention there’s an issue as to whether iOS is even compatible with UT’s exam software.    If you like Apple but you want a desktop like experience, I’d pick up the new MacBook Air. The specs are much more improved then a few years ago but it’s more affordable then a pro. Very lightweight, great battery life, and ideal for taking notes on in class and studying at the library.    You can always buy an external monitor and hook up your Mac to it so when you’re home you have a bigger screen to work on.    That’s what I’d do if I were you today. iPads are not bad don’t get me wrong but they’re a far cry from a computer.    Skip to 0:54 for the super cringy classic arrogant Apple comment which I’m sure you’ve seen:  
    • Paying back six figures of loans will also be very bad for your mental health, just fyi.

×
×
  • Create New...