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RonMexicoVarietyHour

Current UOttawa 1L, AMA

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Hey, just wanted to say thank to everyone who took the time to share their experiences. I found this thread tremendously helpful, sure filled many info gaps on the UofO website. I have talked to a couple of people who graduated from UofO and both said their first year was absolutely tough - curving, crazy hours, tonnes of reading and getting used to the fact that they have to compete with the big fish. After getting used to the A average during their undergrad it was difficult to cope with Bs and such. Apparently, quite a few people end up dropping off during the first semester. So yes, reading this thread sure made me feel much better! Keep it up. 

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14 hours ago, alberno said:

Hey, just wanted to say thank to everyone who took the time to share their experiences. I found this thread tremendously helpful, sure filled many info gaps on the UofO website. I have talked to a couple of people who graduated from UofO and both said their first year was absolutely tough - curving, crazy hours, tonnes of reading and getting used to the fact that they have to compete with the big fish. After getting used to the A average during their undergrad it was difficult to cope with Bs and such. Apparently, quite a few people end up dropping off during the first semester. So yes, reading this thread sure made me feel much better! Keep it up. 

I think this might be a bit exaggerated. I certainly don't remember too many people dropping my first year. There are a percentage of transfer students - but that goes for every school (probably an equal number coming in as going out). 

There is a quick learning curve to first year but it's not that bad. Keep engaged, have fun, and most importantly - don't be an asshole dust-bag - it will bite you later in life. 

 

*Edit* - if you mean "dropping off" as in - going into their own holes to study, not "dropping out" - then yes you are correct - some students tend to freak out and hibernate with fun reading materials like their property text book. I pity these students, remember a lot of being a lawyer is about being social. You're going to want to make connections in law school - not only for your social health but also for your future career. Don't hibernate, join study groups, help each other out and say hi to Mike at FnS. Law school is impossible to do by yourself (especially in a hole with a property text book) 

Edited by TheScientist101
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On 5/1/2017 at 11:06 AM, TheScientist101 said:

I think this might be a bit exaggerated. I certainly don't remember too many people dropping my first year. There are a percentage of transfer students - but that goes for every school (probably an equal number coming in as going out). 

There is a quick learning curve to first year but it's not that bad. Keep engaged, have fun, and most importantly - don't be an asshole dust-bag - it will bite you later in life. 

 

*Edit* - if you mean "dropping off" as in - going into their own holes to study, not "dropping out" - then yes you are correct - some students tend to freak out and hibernate with fun reading materials like their property text book. I pity these students, remember a lot of being a lawyer is about being social. You're going to want to make connections in law school - not only for your social health but also for your future career. Don't hibernate, join study groups, help each other out and say hi to Mike at FnS. Law school is impossible to do by yourself (especially in a hole with a property text book) 

1L here. We lost 4 in my small group throughout the year, and I know a few others who left from other small groups. I am sure there may be some who do not come back after the summer as well. Maybe my small group was the exception though.

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On 2017-5-5 at 8:45 AM, bananasamana said:

1L here. We lost 4 in my small group throughout the year, and I know a few others who left from other small groups. I am sure there may be some who do not come back after the summer as well. Maybe my small group was the exception though.

Weird. I just finished first year as well. We had one leave from medical problems, and that's all I heard about. Though I can say a lot of people are very disinterested after this first year and at least two don't have any intention of practising when they're done.

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Hi,

I'm curious how much control we have over our schedule in first year? Do we get to choose our classes or are we just assigned to a group and given a schedule?

Thanks!

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2 hours ago, OBA1207 said:

Hi,

I'm curious how much control we have over our schedule in first year? Do we get to choose our classes or are we just assigned to a group and given a schedule?

Thanks!

You have a choice over a number of different set schedules. All first year law students in common law schools across Canada have substantively the same stuff to learn. At U Ottawa you can choose two main things that affect your schedule: what your small group is, and what your thematic is. 

Small group is ~20 students in either torts, criminal law, public/constitutional law, and also new last year was torts from a first nations perspective.

When you pick a small group professor, all your other classes are with the people who also chose the same subject as you as a small group, but a different teacher. I think each group has about five different professors from the small groups to choose from. Depending on who you ask, the professor you have can make a huge difference. 

Thematic are first come first serve and only affect your second semester. From what I could tell, they were all twice a week and took place in the afternoon one day, and either 8:30 or 9:00 am on another day. So not much choice scheduling wise.

So really, not much to choose from scheduling wise. But no classes really went too late. And also the early classes are evenly spread across every different group so we were all effed equally.

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46 minutes ago, FunnyLawName said:

You have a choice over a number of different set schedules. All first year law students in common law schools across Canada have substantively the same stuff to learn. At U Ottawa you can choose two main things that affect your schedule: what your small group is, and what your thematic is. 

Small group is ~20 students in either torts, criminal law, public/constitutional law, and also new last year was torts from a first nations perspective.

When you pick a small group professor, all your other classes are with the people who also chose the same subject as you as a small group, but a different teacher. I think each group has about five different professors from the small groups to choose from. Depending on who you ask, the professor you have can make a huge difference. 

Thematic are first come first serve and only affect your second semester. From what I could tell, they were all twice a week and took place in the afternoon one day, and either 8:30 or 9:00 am on another day. So not much choice scheduling wise.

So really, not much to choose from scheduling wise. But no classes really went too late. And also the early classes are evenly spread across every different group so we were all effed equally.

 

This is really helpful - thanks :) Other than obviously googling each of these, are there any good resources to help students choose their small group? I have a pretty strong interest in social justice, and as of now I'm leaning towards crim or public/constitutional law, but I feel like there is much to learn before making that decision.

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16 hours ago, OBA1207 said:

This is really helpful - thanks  Other than obviously googling each of these, are there any good resources to help students choose their small group? I have a pretty strong interest in social justice, and as of now I'm leaning towards crim or public/constitutional law, but I feel like there is much to learn before making that decision.

I don't recall exactly what happened last year, but you'll get some more information closer to choosing your classes. Last year first year students licked in the first week of July.

In my experience choosing classes was split in to two groups: people who avoided 'Socratic' teachers, and people who didn't mind.

I have the 'public interest' orientation as well - but that's really only relevant in upper years. Best thing to do when choosing a small group is to pick a subject you wouldn't mind writing about. The small group also doubles as the legal writing seminar and you have more, smaller assignments. The larger classes will for the most part marked based on two things: midterm (paper or exam), and a final. So ask yourself: "do I want to feel bad about my writing in Crim, pub-con or tort"? (That's a joke... But has some truth).

 

Also since I didn't answer your question, no there really aren't any resources other than course evaluations: https://www.uottawa.ca/vice-president-academic/quality-assurance/evaluation-teaching-and-courses-undergraduate-and-graduate-programs

Those really aren't that informative I find though. 

Edited by FunnyLawName
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6 hours ago, FunnyLawName said:

I don't recall exactly what happened last year, but you'll get some more information closer to choosing your classes. Last year first year students licked in the first week of July.

In my experience choosing classes was split in to two groups: people who avoided 'Socratic' teachers, and people who didn't mind.

I have the 'public interest' orientation as well - but that's really only relevant in upper years. Best thing to do when choosing a small group is to pick a subject you wouldn't mind writing about. The small group also doubles as the legal writing seminar and you have more, smaller assignments. The larger classes will for the most part marked based on two things: midterm (paper or exam), and a final. So ask yourself: "do I want to feel bad about my writing in Crim, pub-con or tort"? (That's a joke... But has some truth).

 

Also since I didn't answer your question, no there really aren't any resources other than course evaluations: https://www.uottawa.ca/vice-president-academic/quality-assurance/evaluation-teaching-and-courses-undergraduate-and-graduate-programs

Those really aren't that informative I find though. 

Thanks so much, this is super helpful!

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Is anyone willing to share what their class schedule for an entire week in 1L was?

I'm curious to know how long the days are, if you get any days off, etc.

 

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15 minutes ago, candidlycarter said:

Is anyone willing to share what their class schedule for an entire week in 1L was?

I'm curious to know how long the days are, if you get any days off, etc.

 

https://commonlaw.uottawa.ca/en/students/student-centre/registration/first-year-block-timetables-2016-2017

these are the blocks for 2016-2017 if that helps you. 

The speaker series just mean you don't have class during that time and can attend talks... where you can usually find some free lunch.

The thematic course time slots will depend on which section of thematic you choose (A, B, C etc)

--

this is where I found this: https://commonlaw.uottawa.ca/en/students/student-centre/registration/overview-registration-process-first-year-students

the process might be different this year with the new site, so stay tuned until early June for thematic and block choices / how to enrol.

Edited by mariec
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On 2016-04-10 at 11:51 PM, bgmagic said:

Do you think not speaking french will negatively impact me if I decide to attend Ottawa?

Speaking French is always an advantage in Ottawa, but you don't need it for the English Common Law program. There are a few bilingual electives which are obviously only available for bilingual students, though. Otherwise, the law school is a little bubble of uni-lingualism in an otherwise bilingual world.

If you're interested in working in the federal government, you can get hired into entry level professional jobs as a unilingual anglophone. You cannot be promoted to jobs supervising others in the National Capital Region unless you speak both official languages. Many firms would consider French an asset, but its absence doesn't seem to be a deal breaker. 

If you're interested in becoming a judge, building up your French now is a good idea, though.

You can take French language courses at no extra change at Ottawa U: https://olbi.uottawa.ca/ESL-FLS 

The federal government offers a very generous bursary for students to go learn the other official language in immersion in the summer: http://www.myexplore.ca/en/page/?bursary

 

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Unsure if this question has appeared elsewhere... But are there any opportunities for 1L regarding clinics? If so, when do you apply/how do you apply for these?

 

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Just wondering if anyone can comment on the overall environment of the Ottawa English common law program. Is it overly competitive that it lacks a community atmosphere? Past students, have you had an easy time meeting people and making friends? Is help easy to acquire?

I am debating on going to Ottawa or Manitoba. I am drawn to Manitoba's smaller community atmosphere, but I believe Ottawa would be an incredible opportunity. 

HELP!

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On 5/15/2016 at 6:16 PM, jyubie said:

What to expect with Rabaska? 

 

A potential series of unfortunate events? I have to admit that I don't remember all the details of this course registration because it was a year ago and everything happened so quickly that I was left wondering what the heck had happened. From what I can remember, I had signed into Rabaska earlier than the registration time. I was on that page where you can register for your small group. I clicked register but Rabaska wouldn't let me register for some reason. Then, I clicked on some other page and something wouldn't work. I figured I'd log back in and try again. That took around five to ten minutes? By the time I got my main courses done, there were only several thematic courses left. I had to make a spontaneous decision and just picked one that didn't seem too horrible.

 

If my memory serves me right, I think you have to register for each course, so you have to make sure you have the right selection of courses based on your small group. (Please someone correct me if I'm wrong. I'm not 100% sure about this part.) 

 

I don't think Rabaska is extremely hard to understand how to use it, but it isn't very user friendly. I browsed that page for around 10 minutes and could understand how to use it.

 

My tip is that you should have 3-5 small group blocks that you wouldn't mind being in. I was a bit paranoid, so I made a ranked list of nearly all the small group blocks. (I usually don't have that much luck when it comes to course registration.) Indeed, my top three choices were all full, so I ended up with my fourth (small group torts).     

 

I'm pretty sure even if courses fill up, they will put you somewhere after you email them. Luckily, I didn't need to do that. Don't panic too much if you don't get your top choices. You'll be put somewhere. If you don't like your thematic, you also have a couple of chances to change it. The thing is you can't change it yourself online. You have to fill out a form and give it to Academic Affairs.

STEP 2 - ENROLL FOR YOUR COURSES ONLINE

  • Log into uoZone and, under Applications, click Student Center. Under Academics, click on Enroll. You will only be registering to the small group course associated to your block and a thematic course.  Once registered to the small group course, the Common Law Student Centre will proceed with the enrollment of the rest of your block. 
  • You are guaranteed enrollment to the rest of the block once registered to the small group course.

This is from the program website for 2017-2018: https://commonlaw.uottawa.ca/en/students/student-centre/enrollment/first-year-english-jd-programs

Looks like we only enroll for our small group course and the thematic course (unless the info for 2018-2019 ends up being different, once updated). Keep in mind that if you're in program other than strictly the J.D. - a particular thematic course may be mandatory. I only say this because I'm in the M.A/J.D. program and I'm required to take Public International Law as my thematic.

Please feel free to correct me if I'm wrong about any of this. I'm trying to get as much information as possible before the enrollment date, as I have a little one starting kindergarten in the fall and will need to know my schedule sooner rather than later!

 

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On 5/1/2018 at 8:22 PM, Cc17 said:

Just wondering if anyone can comment on the overall environment of the Ottawa English common law program. Is it overly competitive that it lacks a community atmosphere? Past students, have you had an easy time meeting people and making friends? Is help easy to acquire?

I am debating on going to Ottawa or Manitoba. I am drawn to Manitoba's smaller community atmosphere, but I believe Ottawa would be an incredible opportunity. 

HELP!

You are entering a professional program where grades may play a significant role in determining what opportunities are available to you at the onset of your legal career. This will produce a sense of competitiveness at any school, especially amongst those vying for "big law". It is silly for anyone to say otherwise. 

That said, I had no issues meeting people in 1L. Everyone was friendly. Very collegial environment.

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One nice thing about being so large is that you can avoid the ultra-competitive types if that turns you off. 

You won't have problems meeting all kinds of people. 

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I am currently in the middle of choosing my block schedule and was wondering if it really matters which professor you get when using summaries from upper year students? Do we necessarily have to take the same professors they had for their summaries to be useful? Or can summaries from a particular course and professor be used broadly with any professor among that course. For ex: can a summary from Stephen Blair in contracts be applied to the contracts course by Ian Kerr? 

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37 minutes ago, Sprizzy said:


I am currently in the middle of choosing my block schedule and was wondering if it really matters which professor you get when using summaries from upper year students? Do we necessarily have to take the same professors they had for their summaries to be useful? Or can summaries from a particular course and professor be used broadly with any professor among that course. For ex: can a summary from Stephen Blair in contracts be applied to the contracts course by Ian Kerr? 

The short answer is that it matters.  

Your professors may use different cases or textbooks, or teach a different interpretation of the law altogether. 

My torts class learned all about pure economic loss. Others didn't touch it. My crim class used a casebook prepared for our course by the professor. 

I can see how another course's summary could be useful for reference, or to augment an area... but you're not writing that professor's exam.

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