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Went to uOttawa law, graduated, and got an articling position, AMA

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This question is likely a bit silly, but something that is genuinely concerning me and the only thing holding me back from accepting at uOttawa.

 

I love the city, the students, where the school is situated, and how much cheaper it is than going to school in Toronto, but I don't like the school's reputation so much as being a "B school". I know this is kind of a myth, and all law schools are law schools and you get the same degree, but I'd love it if someone could shed some light on this.

 

What's the overall feeling about this amongst students at uOttawa? Is there a sort of underdog mentality? Does it have an impact on finding summer positions and securing work in the future, or is it strictly an ego thing?

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Just going back to what you said about articling and going to 45 different interviews. Were these opportunities across a variety of different types of law? Or was there one particular field you were interested in?

 

I did have specific interests, and ultimately ended up at the perfect firm for those interests, but my interviews were a full gamut of almost every type of law imaginable.  

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This question is likely a bit silly, but something that is genuinely concerning me and the only thing holding me back from accepting at uOttawa.

 

I love the city, the students, where the school is situated, and how much cheaper it is than going to school in Toronto, but I don't like the school's reputation so much as being a "B school". I know this is kind of a myth, and all law schools are law schools and you get the same degree, but I'd love it if someone could shed some light on this.

 

What's the overall feeling about this amongst students at uOttawa? Is there a sort of underdog mentality? Does it have an impact on finding summer positions and securing work in the future, or is it strictly an ego thing?

 

There is unquestionably an underdog mentality to the school. I don't necessarily think that's a good reason not to go, but I'm not going to sugarcoat it. School spirit is almost nonexistent. Given the huge size of the school in the relatively small city of Ottawa, local kids like myself (for whom uOttawa was a first choice) are a surprisingly small minority. The majority of the student body are people from the GTA who couldn't get into U of T/Osgoode and are varying degrees of bitter about this. 

 

I have no idea what effect this has on securing a job. Is going to a more "prestigious" school going to give you a slight leg up? Maybe. I'm not going to pretend that there's no chance this is true, because I have no idea what goes into employment decisions. However, I don't know of any firm that would look at uOttawa on your resume and pitch it directly into the trash for that reason alone. I know uOttawa students who got jobs in all sorts of different environments, including Bay Street and even New York (as I mentioned previously). Real law firms (in Canada anyway) don't seem to discriminate based on law school to anywhere near the degree students think they do. Talented students get interviews and find jobs no matter where they go to school. 

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What is the marking format for first year? Are the rumors that the exam for each course is worth 100% of your final grade true?

For the most part yes, you will have 100% finals. It's a little daunting at first, but you'll get used to it. Eventually you'll appreciate only having one test to study far. Don't worry about it, because if you've made it this far, you have at least some of the study skills necessary so that you won't fail. Also keep in mind that the vast majority of exams are open book, so if you forget a key piece of information you can have a summary as a crutch.

 

With respect to grading, UO doesn't curve per se, but the average for any given course has to fall within a certain range (5.5-6.5, ideally 6.0, with 6 being a B, 5 being a C+, and 7 being a B+). You can read the full academic regulations here. Some courses courses will have a really tight distribution (almost all Bs), while others will vary more widely. It's likely that only a handful of students in a given class will get grades in the A-range.

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What is the marking format for first year? Are the rumors that the exam for each course is worth 100% of your final grade true?

 

Not for property, either torts or crim (depending on which one is your small group), legal research, and possibly your thematic course. My first year contracts course also had a mid-year assignment that was worth a fair chunk. Big group torts or crim, Con Law I, public law were 100% I think. That was 2012, could be different now.

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What is the marking format for first year? Are the rumors that the exam for each course is worth 100% of your final grade true?

 

Use this link and filter for all the first year courses. If you scroll through the description it will tell you the evaluation method. I don't know for sure, but I think they should be similar for next year.

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

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

 

People often ask this. I didn't speak or read a word of French in my three years at the school.

 

The people in the French program will actually complain sometimes because they have very strict quotas about how many French classes they need to take, and there are so many more English options that it can be a real pain for them to complete their program while actually getting to take classes they want. French is an option, not a necessity. :)

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I put this exact thing in the other AMA thread for UOttawa, but thought this would be a good place as well.

__________________________________

 

So in about a month all of us who are going in to first year at UOttawa will be instructed to plan out our first year, course wise (as much as one can plan courses in this year at least). It seems though that in all the discussion that happens on this forum regarding the interesting opportunities, everyone finds a way to lament on Rabaska and course selection (I think that's what it's called). My sister is in her undergrad at UOttawa and just the other day she mentioned she'll have to either overload her courses next year or stay an extra semester because of course planning issues on the administration side (though I suspect it may be her fault as well, don't tell her though). Nonetheless, this issue with courses and administration seems to be a common theme.

 

I was hoping that some current/past students can comment on what to expect with regards to Rabaska/course selection for first year in particular (or any other observations) and what we should expect come course selection time. Should we buckle down and set an hour or two aside to grind through it? Is it not as bad as some would say? 

 

As well, looking down the road, are there any particular classes that always seem to fill up and people get 'locked-out', so-to-say? (This last question is just general interest).

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I put this exact thing in the other AMA thread for UOttawa, but thought this would be a good place as well.

__________________________________

 

So in about a month all of us who are going in to first year at UOttawa will be instructed to plan out our first year, course wise (as much as one can plan courses in this year at least). It seems though that in all the discussion that happens on this forum regarding the interesting opportunities, everyone finds a way to lament on Rabaska and course selection (I think that's what it's called). My sister is in her undergrad at UOttawa and just the other day she mentioned she'll have to either overload her courses next year or stay an extra semester because of course planning issues on the administration side (though I suspect it may be her fault as well, don't tell her though). Nonetheless, this issue with courses and administration seems to be a common theme.

 

I was hoping that some current/past students can comment on what to expect with regards to Rabaska/course selection for first year in particular (or any other observations) and what we should expect come course selection time. Should we buckle down and set an hour or two aside to grind through it? Is it not as bad as some would say? 

 

As well, looking down the road, are there any particular classes that always seem to fill up and people get 'locked-out', so-to-say? (This last question is just general interest).

 

I just finished 3L as well.

 

Fortunately, you won't need to use Rabaska to register for 1L. I understand the registration process has changed slightly from when I was a 1L, but the basic premise is the same. You fill out a document stating your preferences for sections and your thematic topic, then the admin registers you. In my year, they picked forms on a lottery basis so it was pure luck if you ended up in the sections you wanted. Perhaps a incoming 2L who experienced block registration this past year could comment on whether this still happens.

 

Down the road, there are definitely classes that tend to fill up quicker than others. You're at a disadvantage registering for 2L. With the exception of Con Law II, every other upper year course is a mix of 2Ls and 3Ls. Since the 3Ls get to register about a week before the 2Ls, some of the classes will be full before registration for 2Ls is open. The classes that I found filled up quickly were the oral advocacy classes such as Interviewing and Counselling, Negotiation, and Criminal Trial Ad. Specialized courses such as the Supreme Court Seminar, OCJ Clerkship, and the Crown Attorney Assignment also filled up fast. I usually tried to make a habit of confirming my registration in these types of classes first.

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This question is likely a bit silly, but something that is genuinely concerning me and the only thing holding me back from accepting at uOttawa.

 

I love the city, the students, where the school is situated, and how much cheaper it is than going to school in Toronto, but I don't like the school's reputation so much as being a "B school". I know this is kind of a myth, and all law schools are law schools and you get the same degree, but I'd love it if someone could shed some light on this.

 

What's the overall feeling about this amongst students at uOttawa? Is there a sort of underdog mentality? Does it have an impact on finding summer positions and securing work in the future, or is it strictly an ego thing?

 

I personally don't think there was much of an underdog mentality. During 1L, I think a lot of people still buy into the idea that you need the prestige U of T to get a job. As you move through law school, people realize this isn't true. I met a lawyer who is a sessional instructor at Osgoode and U of T who told me that she finds nothing special about those students. She told me that she barely considers the name of the school when hiring. Quite honestly, I didn't really meet many people who felt themselves to be an underdog. Though, you'll certainly meet a few students here who think they are God's gift to legal practice....haha.

 

UOttawa students definitely hold their own in certain areas of the job market. We have excellent IP courses, and students tend to do quite well during the IP OCIs. To my knowledge, UOttawa students also secured a fair number of the articling positions in Crown offices throughout Ontario. 

Edited by MirandaHobbes
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I was wrong when I previous said you wouldn't need to use Rabaska for 1L registration. The process has changed since I was in 1L. Please see the following link for info on registering.

 

https://commonlaw.uottawa.ca/en/students/academic-affairs/registration/overview-registration-process-first-year-students

 

Thanks for this. For some reason I was under the impression one could only take crim or torts in small group, but Introduction to Public and Constitutional Law is an option as well.

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Thanks for this. For some reason I was under the impression one could only take crim or torts in small group, but Introduction to Public and Constitutional Law is an option as well.

 

That's new this year I believe (no one will be able to offer insight on small group Pub/Con). If I remember (or someone reminds me), I'll look at the small group Pub/Con profs when course search engine is up and try to offer some insight. 

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That's new this year I believe (no one will be able to offer insight on small group Pub/Con). If I remember (or someone reminds me), I'll look at the small group Pub/Con profs when course search engine is up and try to offer some insight. 

 

If you want to take small group public/con and Adam Dodek is teaching one of the sections, take it with him 100%.

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That's new this year I believe (no one will be able to offer insight on small group Pub/Con). If I remember (or someone reminds me), I'll look at the small group Pub/Con profs when course search engine is up and try to offer some insight. 

 

Assuming that CML1206 is small group Con Law, unfortunately I haven't had any of those Profs so I can't offer any insight.

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I've only had Professor Forcese for another course and I looked at the Con Law small group's course outline for his section. He will have podcasts and readings. He will also have active learning exercises, meaning that he'll give you hypotheticals and you will be expected to participate in class. He is very smart, organized, and meticulous. He also sets time for students to meet with him if you have any questions.

 

You will definitely work very hard in his class because the podcasts and readings are heavy. I would recommend his class if you like learning through doing and don't mind doing a bit more work. For students that learn better through lectures or the typical Socratic method where the professor asks about the facts of the case and the ratio, this small group may not work in your favour. (I haven't had Michael Pal yet, so I can't comment about him.) 

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Can anyone comment on the bike lanes in Ottawa? I have a room in 'the Glebe' according to my sister/roommate of that helps.

 

And how about trails inside/outside the city too if you can. Biking is part of my exercise that sustains my horrible eating habits.

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