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Uriel

Fourth-year Bay Street Litigation Associate - AMA

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What makes a good or bad principal:  I'd say empathy is the main factor.  I've had three "formal" mentors at this point --- we rotate based on evaluations --- and the good ones were the ones that followed up about whether I was actually okay with the hours in a given month or if I was just being a cheerful soldier; that introduced me to their families and gave me a sense of what it would be like joining the partnership.  

 

The less good, but still not bad one, I valued for his blunt honesty about the nature of the legal business.  But I wasn't too keen about his "more hours is objectively better no matter what" approach.  That being said, I did get a really, really important piece of advice out of him to the effect that people quit Biglaw too soon.  First you work for everyone at a moment's notice, which is stressful and frantic, and then you're sandwiched between being everyone's monkey and being responsible for students that might be terrible (this is where I am now), which is even more stressful --- and at that point you start getting offers to leave.  But right after that phase is the part where you're in charge and really just collaborating with senior counsel that trust you and include you in scheduling and strategy.  He was of the view that you should always stick it out for five years, because that's how long it takes to get a sense of what it's actually like.  Not sure I buy it 100%, but it's been a valuable viewpoint.

 

Best questions:  Anything that suggests (respectfully) that you're actually using your brain and getting engaged in your own career.  85% of students at OCIs and firm tours ask the three or four questions that their CDO recommends.  I've had tough questions asked of me by students about the firm's prospects and exposure to certain subjects; or fairly blunt questions about hireback or articling, and I've appreciated that because it shows someone that doesn't just float from task to task like a robot.  It shows someone that is really trying to plan out what career move to make.  

 

But, I would refrain from prefacing such a question with "Let's cut the bullshit though, bro".  That was less of a glowing moment.

 

Thank you.

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I'm sure it's going to be a great read, but please, I beg of you, change your avatar before this happens.

 

Kittyshark makes me want to simultaneously run away in fear and vomit. Seeing it ten times on a single page...bad things might happen.

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How much would you say your answers translate to big firms outside of Toronto (say, Ottawa)?

 

I'm keeping in mind your disclaimers that you are not a mega authority on any specific issue and that your answers revolve around experience in a big firm in Toronto. But I'm curious if your experience working in a firm, or in dealing with firms, that have offices nationwide, means you can say with any degree of confidence that the circumstances you describe are likely similar in big firms in other big cities.

 

I work at a big firm (for SK) and my experience has been surprisingly similar to what Uriel has described. I'm junior to him (2014 call), but I've got enough experience under my belt to compare notes. I am also a civil litigation associate, doing primarily commercial litigation.

 

One of the things he's said that resonated with me is how, as an articling student or junior associate, you have the least control over your schedule. As an articling student I worked 2-3 nights a week and never knew what nights it would be in advance. I often wouldn't know until late afternoon. This is for a variety of reasons, including the time lag caused by the telephone game of instructions, the fact that the lawyers instructing you might not be the most organized, and the simple fact that nobody really cares if they're making you stay late (well, some people do, but that doesn't mean much when something has to get done for the client in 24 hours).

 

It does get noticeably better with time. I already have much more control over my schedule and what I do day-to-day. Like Uriel, I can usually know on Monday morning if I'm going to have to stay late, and if so, on which days. It's become easier to plan things on weeknights. I work less on weekends now. But I still get surprised sometimes, and I still often end up working late a couple of nights a week.

 

That is not reassuring, haha. I figured things would get better in time; at a large firm, I am supposed to 'know' what I'm getting myself into. I guess my question is how much of your life do you have to sacrifice in order to do well at your work (as a student and young associate)? I fear I may have to miss out on a lot of my life with my friends, family, relationships, etc. in order to truly excel in the early stages of my career at a large firm. Is this accurate?

 

What about relationships? Are they even remotely possible as a student or young associate? Would you have to essentially live with your partner in order to ensure you saw them more than once every two weeks?

 

How did you approach the early stages of your work - as a summer student, articling student, and as a young associate? Did you just never make plans with friends or family out of concern something may come up at work? Did you miss out on a lot? Were you unable to do a lot of the stuff you wanted to do (i.e., go to the gym daily, play a sport, etc.)? I realize my question is quite vague and I'm doing my best to phrase it in a way that's easy to respond to. I'm just concerned about maintaining a balance in my life from the get-go but I fear it's not possible.

 

It is a significant sacrifice. You will not be able to spend as much time with your loved ones as you (or they) would want, and when you are spending time with them you will often be tired, stressed out, and distracted by your phone. You can set time aside for things, and tell people at work that you are unavailable, but if you get a reputation for being unresponsive or unavailable you will stop getting work and you will eventually be asked to leave (or just not get hired back if articling). I can't say where the bar is, and I'm sure it varies from firm to firm.

 

I just put my head down and did the work that was given to me.

 

This year is the first year since I started articling in 2013 that I thought I could maybe sign up for a weekly thing in the evening, like a team sport or golf lessons. I don't think I worked out at all as an articling student, and that was extremely important to me for years before articling. I didn't start again until last spring.

 

Articling was difficult for my wife and I. I'm lucky she is as supportive and understanding as she is. I used to do almost all of the cooking  and most of the dishes, as well as all the home maintenance and repair stuff. While I was articling she had to do the vast majority of the work around the house and I would try to play catch-up on the weekends (she has a 9-5 type job and never has to do evenings or weekends). It's not as bad now, but she still has to do more around the house seeing as I just don't have time most weeks. Quality time was another issue. I think it would be difficult to maintain a non-live-in dating relationship while articling. It's hard enough even when you sleep in the same bed.

 

It's tough for friends and family to understand too, especially if you don't have anyone with a similarly demanding job in the family or circle of friends. People will tell you that you work too much, that you should put your foot down and refuse to take the office home with you, refuse to answer calls after X time, etc. But the fact is that if a client has entrusted you with a time-sensitive matter, you are the one facing a Law Society disciplinary committee if you don't get it done on time. It's not the client's fault if you've got 40 other files demanding your attention. Unless and until we have entity regulation, it's not even the firm's fault for assigning you more work than you can do (speaking more about junior associates here than articling students).

 

That is a big question.  You could write a book on it. 

 

I'm probably not the right person to answer.  I did a terrible job of balancing it all out.  I worked a lot more than I probably had to.  I still don't see my friends as much as I'd like, but I'm at the stage now where I don't feel like I'm being a bad father that's gone too often, and I feel good about having achieved that small measure of balance.  I see Urielette every morning for two or three hours and we hang out two nights a week and all weekend long.  It's pretty good.  

 

Of course, to get that kind of time with her I have to really do a dance to fit in friends and the gym.  Every minute is taken up with something.  There's not a lot of Netflix going on over here.

 

Everyone's got stories about the toll the hours can take on relationships.  And yet, virtually everyone winds up in a relationship and with kids somehow.

 

You'll get a lot of different advice.  Some people will say, just bite the bullet.  You're going to put your head down for one summer, and then for 10 months.  That's nothing in exchange for the kind of career you can strive for if you do that successfully.  That was basically my school of thought, and it worked and I'm pretty okay with it.  

 

Others are going to say you have to defend your personal time jealously.  That might work, but I've also seen it not work.  When everyone else in the office has been working around the clock and giving up important things in order to respond to a crucial client emergency, it's not going to go over well when you dump the rest of your work on someone else because you have a family brunch every Sunday.

 

So much of this depends on your firm, and who you work for.  If you're working for organized, reasonable people that care about your sanity for the most part, you might have an easier time of it.  I made a conscious decision to work for the partners that are tough to get along with, who are very demanding and very brilliant and who are absolutely dedicated to their practice.  I'm learning more than I ever thought possible from these people, but at this point Mrs. Uriel knows what it means when I tell her I've been "Michael'ed"* at 5:00 when court lets out, with orders to have a fresh affidavit to respond in court the next morning.

 

Anyway.  I should probably stop prattling about that.  I have friends on Bay Street that bill 1900 hours and roll their eyes at how much I work, so I really am probably the very worst person to give that particular kind of advice.  I'll probably only scare you.  I'm the only person in the office right now, that probably tells you all you need to know.   :)

 

* Names changed to protect my bosses

 

I bolded a couple of things that I whole-heartedly agree with (and the "Michael'ed" thing, which I also often find myself saying to my wife...).

 

I'm also probably not the right person to ask about this kind of stuff either, but I'm answering it nonetheless! I usually bill considerably above my firm's target (and considerably more than the friends Uriel mentions, but I'm sure still a couple hundred hours less tham him!) and there are other associates around my level that work a lot less than I do. As in hundreds of hours a year less. I think it stems from the fact that I pretty much never turn down work, which is in part due to the fact that I don't want to get squeezed out of the areas I'm interested in because I turned something down once. I'm not sure if I'm more ambitious than them, more insecure, or if I'm just slowly becoming a bona-fide workaholic. Hmm.

 

 

I have found that several people regret having left the firm, apparently having come to discover that when they said "I don't like working here" what they actually were feeling was "I don't like working".

 

If you've never had a real job before, you should give any legal job extra latitude to be crappy.  All jobs are.

 

So true. Everyone complains about their jobs. Working sucks in general. The actual work of law is better than most jobs I've had, and the pay is much better. The trade-off is the general expectation of availability and the unpredictable demands on your time.

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Is this the general consensus?: If you're not married and/or living with your significant other, it's probably best to just not date someone seriously during articling and even as a very new associate at a large firm(?)

Edited by SpecterH

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Its odd that it's a consensus but also in your opinion. I'm not making a dispute over anything you've said, I'm just enjoying the language.

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Its odd that it's a consensus but also in your opinion. I'm not making a dispute over anything you've said, I'm just enjoying the language.

 

It very clearly meant that in my opinion, I felt the general consensus illustrates: 

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Articling was difficult for my wife and I. I'm lucky she is as supportive and understanding as she is. I used to do almost all of the cooking  and most of the dishes, as well as all the home maintenance and repair stuff. While I was articling she had to do the vast majority of the work around the house and I would try to play catch-up on the weekends (she has a 9-5 type job and never has to do evenings or weekends). It's not as bad now, but she still has to do more around the house seeing as I just don't have time most weeks. Quality time was another issue. I think it would be difficult to maintain a non-live-in dating relationship while articling. It's hard enough even when you sleep in the same bed.

 

It's tough for friends and family to understand too, especially if you don't have anyone with a similarly demanding job in the family or circle of friends. People will tell you that you work too much, that you should put your foot down and refuse to take the office home with you, refuse to answer calls after X time, etc. 

 

Can confirm. 

 

We are both articling. Our offices are 5 minutes from each other. But we have yet to have lunch together (she eats at her desk). We try to devote Saturday but the need for sleep takes about half of that. Sunday is left to prep for the following week (laundry, make lunches, personal time).

 

It's not that bad. But compared to every single other couple I know, comparatively it feels like we're doing long distance. My friends see their partners every other day, even if they don't live together. The life of my 8-4PM friends is vastly different than anyone I know doing 8-6PM* where * = usually 6pm but could be 6:30PM, 7PM or even later, and a few weekends here and there.

 

You just become perpetually at work. You're tired and irritable. Things that would otherwise not bother you just make you snap. Keeping up a certain kind of work "face", where you are positive and professional all the time, even if that's your default, it gets tiring.

 

That's why they look for "fit." That's why that whole "be yourself" is important. You need to be that version of yourself for a whole lotta time. You can't keep up being anyone else at these hours, with this kind of stress.

 

Edited by Another Hutz
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SpecterH, I know, I just enjoy the idea that something is a consensus and your opinion. Even if it is your opinion of a consensus or what it is.

 

Again, I'm not ripping on you, I just thought the wording was funny. Not like OMG, haha funny, but brief and barely audible chortle funny.

 

Edit: aw you changed it, so the joke won't make sense now.

Edited by celli660
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This is stressing me out and I haven't even summered at my firm yet.

 

As long as people aren't breathing down your neck or your office is a hostile environment, it's generally NBD. Don't worry until you have to worry. When you are summering, you'll never say, "thank God I was so bummed out and worried about this job during law school!"

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Is this the general consensus?: If you're not married and/or living with your significant other, it's probably best to just not date someone seriously during articling and even as a very new associate at a large firm(?)

 

Despite the difficulties noted above, I think it's still worth a shot. If your significant other understands that you might have to cancel plans sometimes without much notice, and that you might be too wiped out (or just unavailable) on weeknights to do anything, I think it can still work. In fact, I've seen it work on numerous occasions.

 

I wouldn't deliberately put my love life on hold if I were starting over. Life's too short.

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Hi Uriel, First I want to say thanks so much for taking the time to answer all these questions -- very helpful! 
 
I have been thinking about what practice area I would like to practice in for a long time now, but as my law school career comes to an end, it is getting more urgent. I completely agree with your "lifestyle" comment. That is a factor that is heavily weighing in my analysis. (In general, no matter what practice area, I don't think scheduling stability comes until you are further into practice anyways, maybe a third or fourth year...) 
 
What would you say about natural aptitudes. For example, if a student thinks commercial litigation is more interesting a subject area, but finds the work more challenging -- has difficulty quickly grasping complex legal concepts and thus takes longer to produce memos for their associate bosses/partners. Or, a student who is more "solicitor" oriented (detail-oriented, very organized and can handle a high volume of documents), but may not find the business law work as interesting. Is it better to go with the route that you are naturally inclined towards ... so that you don't have to struggle through your work day-in, day-out and be stressed out that you can't meet time deadlines?
 
Also, can you tell me what skills you think are essential for litigators versus business lawyers. What personalities do you see go in to one versus the other? 

 

I missed this one, and it's a good one!

 

The trick is, different practice areas bring with them totally different lifestyles.  M&A is very up-and-down, lots of vacation here and live-in-the-office there.  Class actions are consistently, endlessly busy while rarely giving rise to emergencies.  Regulatory work is stable and predictable, except in the rare case where it's an absolute tire fire.

 

What I'd recommend if you have no clue at all is to come up with a list of things you don't want to do.  That could be an area (like competition law) or an activity (like "talking in court" or "working with criminals").

 

Then, make a list of all the must-haves and nice-to-haves that you'd like to see in your career.  If "high pay" is a must-have, or upon reflection "business law" is only a nice-to-have, it might narrow down the kind of lifestyle you want.  Then, if you're not too keen on any particular area, you can start looking into whether or not you'll be interested in the areas that offer you the most of what you want.  A lot of people don't really consider tax planning law, or bankruptcy and insolvency, until they see how great that lifestyle can be and then start making inquiries into whether it's as hard, obscure, or boring as it might sound.

Edited by 1960

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Regulatory work is stable and predictable, except in the rare case where it's an absolute tire fire.

 

Just saw this now...would you mind describing what a regulatory tire fire looks like?

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According to the UBC website, only 10% of UBC students end up articling in Ontario. Is this because students from Ontario are preferred or because not many people from UBC tend to apply to Bay Street firms?

 

I guess it's probably a combination of both factors?

 

I'm planning on staying in Vancouver but I am curious.

Edited by Starling
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Just saw this now...would you mind describing what a regulatory tire fire looks like?

 

I do a fair bit of work involving certain administrative tribunals / regulatory bodies, so I can speak to this a bit. Most of them have rules for their proceedings with nicely spaced out timeframes, like the courts. However, some of them can vary their procedure - for example, to require further submissions. I've worked regulatory files where we had to file detailed additional submissions within 24 hours. If the proceeding involves multiple parties (e.g. quasi-judicial proceedings), this can get really messy with a bunch of submissions, responses, replies, etc. on very short timelines. But even just something like a show cause order can require you to do a ton of work in a very short time frame (e.g. show cause why Regulator X shouldn't slap your client with a giant administrative monetary penalty or order them to spend a bajillion dollars on something).

 

Or say a regulatory body decides to change a rule out of the blue, resulting in new ongoing costs to the players in a particular industry. All of a sudden, everyone in the industry is going to be calling their lawyers, and they are going to want results fast because the new rule is costing them $[insert big number here] every day. This can be fun, but also a ton of work. Challenging something done under a regulation-making power isn't exactly easy.

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Hi Uriel, First I want to say thanks so much for taking the time to answer all these questions -- very helpful! 
 
I have been thinking about what practice area I would like to practice in for a long time now, but as my law school career comes to an end, it is getting more urgent. I completely agree with your "lifestyle" comment. That is a factor that is heavily weighing in my analysis. (In general, no matter what practice area, I don't think scheduling stability comes until you are further into practice anyways, maybe a third or fourth year...) 
 
What would you say about natural aptitudes. For example, if a student thinks commercial litigation is more interesting a subject area, but finds the work more challenging -- has difficulty quickly grasping complex legal concepts and thus takes longer to produce memos for their associate bosses/partners. Or, a student who is more "solicitor" oriented (detail-oriented, very organized and can handle a high volume of documents), but may not find the business law work as interesting. Is it better to go with the route that you are naturally inclined towards ... so that you don't have to struggle through your work day-in, day-out and be stressed out that you can't meet time deadlines?
 
Also, can you tell me what skills you think are essential for litigators versus business lawyers. What personalities do you see go in to one versus the other? 

 

 

Happy to help!  Sorry for the wait; just wrapped up a trial on some very short notice.  Phew!  (Part of the fun of being a litigator.  Lots of people think they can handle trials on their own, and then freak out the week before and call you in.  Pro tip: they didn't produce any of their best evidence.)

 

I agree completely about the fact that stability doesn't come until a few years in, but the kinds of emergencies you deal with vary greatly.  There are some practice areas in big firms and many smaller practices, period, where you can have a predictable lifestyle soon after articling.

 

Now on to the main question.  To give you a perfectly dull answer, it's a combination.  If you do something you're naturally skilled at, but that you find boring or stressful, you'll be unhappy.  The inverse is also true.  There's enough of a range of practices that you're going to be able to find something that doesn't cause you too much heartache (though being a lawyer is a lot of responsibility no matter what you do) and doesn't make you dread going to work in the morning.  

 

If anything, I think I'd lean away from natural inclination and towards lifestyle a little bit at your stage, because you honestly don't know what you find interesting yet.  I would have never thought I'd find municipal and insolvency law as interesting as I do.  I don't practice much in those areas, but I think they work as a good example.  If I'd held my nose and gone to a municipal law boutique despite having no intellectual interest in it, I would have found myself developing an interest in it.  That might not be true for all areas of law, but do expand your scope in terms of what you might potentially find to be neato.

 

I could tell from the lifestyle --- going to court on occasion, working with professional clients that nevertheless really need you, generally stable work, lots of time spent in the library and in consultation with experts --- that I'd probably like being a municipal lawyer, but would I like municipal law? I still don't find the law itself super interesting --- a lot of it is kind of fuzzy and public law-ey --- but I enjoyed the clients and their bizarre problems were really interesting to solve.  I felt like I was really accomplishing something for these people that, in some cases, were just small-town volunteers that had no idea if they had done anything wrong or not.  I would have happily carried on doing that.  I had no particular knack for it, no particular love for the law, but the lifestyle it offered made the job a very pleasant one that still carried most of the benefits of the litigation job I ultimately wanted.

 

Every year there are litigation keeners that go through a crisis and realize that really what they want is to make a ton of money and be well respected, but they really do not enjoy the constant conflict involved in litigation and they wind up going into a complex solicitor's practice.  And they flourish there.  They might not have thought organization was a strength of theirs, but they're extremely intelligent people and they adapt.  Every now and then they wish they could go do something fun like go to court, but then they see us preparing for trial at 3 AM and the "nope" on their faces is discernible.

 

I'll leave it to someone else to say what skills are essential for business lawyers.  For litigators, the following comes to mind:

  • Curiosity/scepticism: If you're easily fooled, you can last a long time in this job but you won't be any good and you won't win.  When your client tells you they terminated an employee for incompetence, and the incompetence seems fairly run-of-the-mill, you've got to start poking around into what people were saying about her behind her back, who she pissed off, what she threatened to do at the summer party, etc.  When the other side tells you they have no money and can settle for a maximum of $100,000, here look at these bank statements, you've got to have an instinct to say, "Great!  Then you'll sign this letter that we'll send to the bank authorizing full disclosure."
  • Imagination: Might be part and parcel of the above.  You have to try to experience past events in your mind, and raise your own red flags when you have a hard time making someone's story play out as though it happened in real life.  Like, hang on a minute.  This was your best customer and you turned the file over to the new guy with no supervision?  That doesn't sound like a thing that would happen.  Or, "Wait a minute, if he stayed five hours late after that meeting he must have texted his wife to let her know."  
  • Here, let's do a quick exercise.  Someone falls from a 10th storey window onto the sidewalk right in front of you and dies on impact.  There's at least one piece of evidence you can gather from the street that will rule out suicide.  If you like this puzzle, and especially if you can solve it, you're in good shape.
  • Attention to detail: Hey, why does this e-mail have a later "sent" time than the e-mail forwarding it?  Because it's a forgery.  Also, getting citations right and accurately describing cases is key.  I can't tell you how many times I've been in court as opposing counsel started waving a case around claiming that it defeats my client's claim; only for me to endorse the case wholeheartedly, reading the section her articling student misunderstood because the appellant was the plaintiff, not the defendant.  I always feel bad seeing that glare from counsel to her student.  Like, dude.  It's your job to read the case.  The student's just there to help.
  • Exhaustiveness: You have to be willing to read all the e-mails, to make sure there are no cases that help you, to make sure there are no pieces of evidence that are going to hurt you.  And you need to stay awake and interested while you do it.  It's a really tough combination of being a big-picture strategist and a microscopic analyst at the same time.  It's very demanding.
  • Abstract relations: You have to be able to look at a situation and come up with a good analogy for it.  Oh, this company did X, Y, Z?  Well... I guess what they really did was extinguish your right not to A, B, C.  The rogue director did what?  Well... in an odd way, he actually misappropriated a corporate opportunity, didn't he?  It's hard for me to come up with good ones I haven't used in court.  :)

Overall, though, I find that a lot of litigators are easily bored, jack-of-all-trades types that need a lot of deadlines and variation in their daily routines to stay interested.  When I go too long without a deadline or a confrontation I start to lose focus and my hours drop, and I don't think that's an unusual condition.  I find that solicitors tend to be people better able to maintain an organized routine.  All the litigators out there: how many times have you been a little late to the office because you were reading an interesting article or decided to respond to something right away instead of waiting to get to the office?

 

Just saw this now...would you mind describing what a regulatory tire fire looks like?

 

Sure.  You spend a year dealing with the rates your client charges, representing them in negotiations and compliance presentations to the regulator.  You vet their reports and make sure they all comply with standards and meet the regulator's expectations.  Then, suddenly, complaints flood in that your client has been triple-billing people and the regulator has ordered them to suspend all sales immediately.  They are losing hundreds of thousands of dollars daily and the regulator will hear representations next Tuesday.  There's outrage in the press and rumblings of a class action.  Your client explains that there was a glitch in the accounting software for approximately 6000 customers because of the leap year and isn't there anything you can do to get us back on? We can fix this right now!  We won't be able to make payroll!

 

According to the UBC website, only 10% of UBC students end up articling in Ontario. Is this because students from Ontario are preferred or because not many people from UBC tend to apply to Bay Street firms?

 

I guess it's probably a combination of both factors?

 

I'm planning on staying in Vancouver but I am curious.

 

Very few applicants by comparison.  To some extent you always wonder if that UBC person just applied everywhere and might not actually want to come out here to stay, but that's something you can interview them about.  I'd say it's largely because we just don't see that many applications.  It's a real pain for people to fly themselves out here for four days and stay in a hotel just for interviews they might not even have.

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  • Here, let's do a quick exercise.  Someone falls from a 10th storey window onto the sidewalk right in front of you and dies on impact.  There's at least one piece of evidence you can gather from the street that will rule out suicide.  If you like this puzzle, and especially if you can solve it, you're in good shape. 

 

Is there shattered glass on the street in front of you? (I do like these kinds of puzzles, but I don't know what would rule out suicide)

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Very few applicants by comparison.  To some extent you always wonder if that UBC person just applied everywhere and might not actually want to come out here to stay, but that's something you can interview them about.  I'd say it's largely because we just don't see that many applications.  It's a real pain for people to fly themselves out here for four days and stay in a hotel just for interviews they might not even have.

Thanks so much for answering! :)  I wasn't sure how to interpret the 10% Ontario placement rate so it is very helpful to get an insider's perspective.

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Is there shattered glass on the street in front of you? (I do like these kinds of puzzles, but I don't know what would rule out suicide)

 

Pretty close, yeah.  Might not rule it out completely (though probably).

 

I think the preferred answer is, "are all the windows closed?"

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    • Law has its benefits, as others have mentioned - well-defined path to a middle or upper-middle class life, intellectual work, "cool" opportunities outside law (e.g., galas, events), less uncertainty than many other "office jobs" (I have friends who have languished on the corporate ladder for a long time and have no idea what their next move will be), but it definitely has downsides too. Essentially saying "how high?" when a client asks you to jump to can get exhausting (although this isn't unique to law), the billable hour can get tiring fast, and sometimes you do just feel like you're pushing paper (particularly if you're in a business law role where the major deal decisions are being made by the business people). As others have mentioned, at larger firms, you also tend to associate with clients and partners who have far more money than you, so even a good associate income can make you feel underpaid. Part of the problem is sampling bias - you're generally dealing with the business people and senior lawyers that succeeded - not the entrepreneurs who failed or the middle managers who work longer hours than you do for a lower salary and more career uncertainty.
    • Writ large? Certainly not.  Within the confines of Part 23.1 of the OSA? Maybe. The cause of action is still relatively new and certainly has not been heavily considered by the courts. I consider myself fortunate to get to deal with it. It’s not something that comes up in every practice.  
    • I'm not distorting the argument - the original argument made no mention of degree or anything else. It simply took the absolute stance that white people can't understand why POC would feel a certain way. That which I still maintain is an absurd position.
    • I had pretty much exactly these stats. I got into Western and Ottawa and waitlisted at Queens and Osgoode.
    • No one is arguing that it isn't an important determinant (not me, at least). The initial point amounted to: white people can't understand why POC would feel a certain way. To some degree this is true and to some degree it is false. There's not much else to it. I can't help that you're not good at empathizing with others who share different backgrounds than you, which is essentially what your final point shows. 

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