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KilgoreTrout

Graduated 2016 – Questions About McGill Law?

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What would you say is most important for applicants? I'm still waiting on a response, so I don't think it's looking good for me.

I'd also like to know about the environment is general. I'm coming from a competitive environment where people can be underhanded with each other and don't want to be in that type of environment again.

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My question is, well before I get my other million questions organized and coherent:

 

I hear a lot about international opportunities at mcgill law. Summer internships working at human rights ngos or human rights subsidiaries of the UN, etc I hear a lot about. Now.. after you do an internship, is there actually work you can pursue in the field as a new grad? Or is the door closed to you until you build up your name domestically?

 

Also, is it true that McGill students sometimes article at the ICC or ICJ or ICTY? If so, what do they do afterwards for career? Come back to Canada and set up a crim job with the crown or a sole practice defense? Or are they offered jobs over there? Or some other international organization?

 

Also, how useful are the majors they offer in international human rights/international alternative dispute resolution? Does it help you secure a job in that field, or are you still largely barred from those fields as a new call?

 

Thank you :).

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What would you say is most important for applicants? I'm still waiting on a response, so I don't think it's looking good for me.

I'd also like to know about the environment is general. 

 

It is difficult to say what is "most" important for applicants beyond what McGill advertises on its Admissions' website.  I don't work in Admissions, so I'm not of much use to you there.  As you probably already know, the average student whom McGill admits has a GPA around 3.7, LSAT around 161 (if he or she decided to take the LSAT) and a variety of extracurricular activities and/or work experience.  A well written personal statement will also help to distinguish a successful applicant. There are also outliers such as splitters, mature students and CEGEP applicants.  French language ability is assessed minimally to ensure that the applicant is at least able to listen to and read French at an intermediate level.    

 

I'm coming from a competitive environment where people can be underhanded with each other and don't want to be in that type of environment again.

 

 

It takes two to tango.  That's the short answer to your question.  I could, however, spill a lot of ink on this subject.  

 

Any law school with a curved grading system, such as McGill's, is designed to be competitive.  First, you take a bunch of accomplished "A" students with bright futures ahead of them and congregate them into large first year classes (three sections of around 55 students).  Second, you curve each section so that one student will receive an "A", two will receive an "A -", ten will receive "B+" and the rest will be split evenly between "B" and "B-" (with the occasional "C" for good measure).  An excellent 90th percentile GPA at McGill Law is 3.37.  Third, you throw in the fact that employers tend to prioritize good grades.  Fourth, you add in the reality that on top of good grades, employers also want to see demanding extracurriculars and relevant work experience.  Fifth, you note that the job market for summer and articling positions is itself competitive.  Where does this leave you?  There is inevitably competition between law students.  Particularly, competition is fierce for "prestigious" gigs like "Big Law" (principally New York, Toronto and Montreal), judicial clerkships and research assistant positions with certain professors. 

 

On the other hand, if not realistically then in an ideal world, you don't have to care one iota about any of that.  I know a fair score of McGill law students who chose not to care about grades and simply chose not to compete.  It depends upon your personality and your career ambitions.  If you have to clerk at an appellate court or work at a large firm in NYC, then you will experience competition.  If your dream job is to work as a sole practitioner after articling, then much of the pressure to impress employers will dissipate.  

 

Yet, fundamentally, none of this means that you will experience underhanded behaviour.  I certainly didn't.  In fact, my most rewarding learning experiences involved collaborating with other students.  If you can find a group of students that you like and trust, then studying together for exams and proofreading one another's assignments will both make you a stronger student and help you to forge amazing friendships.  

Edited by KilgoreTrout
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Can agree. I had terrible grades, but shared notes (to the delight to peers who missed class for whatever reason) and received notes. There are also summaries freely shared between students, and loaded online. And in one class I did where students had to do presentations on the readings, a fellow classmate organized an email exchange where we all shared the notes we created to prepare for our presentation. Most laid back exam ever.

 

Sure, there were a couple of students who did not enjoy the "group assignments" where we had the same grades. This did not represent the vast majority of students though.

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Thanks for making this thread! :)

 

My question is in regards to summer jobs. From what I hear, McGill 1Ls are considered as 0Ls by firms and recruiters. Hence, it's quite uncommon for them to land law-related summer jobs during their 1L summer. Is this true? If so, would McGill 2Ls be eligible to apply for 1L summer jobs the following year? I ask because I am interested in maybe applying to summer at the Superior Court of Justice or even the Minister of the Attorney General's Office. These positions are only open to 1Ls. If I go to McGill, would I miss out on these opportunities?

 

Also, what does one do if they don't land a law-related summer job during 1L? Would it hinder my chances of landing a job during 2L?

Edited by tswizzle

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Also, is it true that McGill students sometimes article at the ICC or ICJ or ICTY? If so, what do they do afterwards for career? Come back to Canada and set up a crim job with the crown or a sole practice defense? Or are they offered jobs over there? Or some other international organization?

 

 

I'm going to preface this by saying I am not yet a McGill law student  (I will be attending in Fall 2016).

 

It's true that McGill students clerk for international courts and tribunals, namely the ICJ, Permanent Court of Arbitration, and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. To the best of my knowledge, these courts have a partnership with the university and thus these positions are reserved for McGill law students.  You can find out more information about the application process here : https://www.mcgill.ca/humanrights/clinical/clerkships.

 

In regards to the ICC, I think that they have a separate application process. I did a quick linkedin search using "ICC and McGill Law" as keywords and I found a few former students who either summered or clerked at the ICC. It's pretty rare though but I think that's just a testament to how competitive and rigorous the selection process is.

 

In terms of what you do afterwards, I think that depends on you and where you see your career going. "You do you booboo."

Edited by tswizzle
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My question is, well before I get my other million questions organized and coherent:

 

I hear a lot about international opportunities at mcgill law. Summer internships working at human rights ngos or human rights subsidiaries of the UN, etc I hear a lot about. Now.. after you do an internship, is there actually work you can pursue in the field as a new grad? Or is the door closed to you until you build up your name domestically?

 

Also, is it true that McGill students sometimes article at the ICC or ICJ or ICTY? If so, what do they do afterwards for career? Come back to Canada and set up a crim job with the crown or a sole practice defense? Or are they offered jobs over there? Or some other international organization?

 

Also, how useful are the majors they offer in international human rights/international alternative dispute resolution? Does it help you secure a job in that field, or are you still largely barred from those fields as a new call?

 

Thank you :).

 

I agree with what tswizzle wrote above.  

 

If you aspire towards a clerkship at an international tribunal, then the Faculty's Career Development Office ("CDO") should be able to put you in touch with graduates who have gone that route.  Connect with graduates who are a few years out of law school.  Their insights will be invaluable.  The CDO will also be able to clarify what you will need to be competitive for those clerkships -- grades, work experience, languages, publications, reference letters and other qualifications.   

 

There is no simple answer as to whether or not you will find work in international human rights straight out of law school.  You might have to be very flexible in terms of where you work, how much you earn and the type of work that you do.  You will have a better sense of the type of work that you want to do after a couple of summer jobs.  For instance, if you decide that you really want to be a litigator, then the job hunt will likely be a challenging one, if only because there are few international tribunals that adjudicate human rights issues.  On the other hand, if you are willing to do any type of work, in any country, regardless of the pay, you will have an easier go at it.  For instance, you could be a human rights observer in a country at civil war.  Or you could be a project manager for an NGO with a human rights mandate.  In any event, it is likely that you will forego a degree of job security and you will not benefit from the organized recruitment processes that bring employers onto campus (other than the clerkships that tswizzle mentioned).  On the other hand, there is also domestic work that will allow you to work in human rights while developing legal skills.  The quality of that work experience and the training you will receive domestically might very well exceed that offered by an international NGO.  At the end of the day, there will be trade-offs that you can only now speculate about.  Keep an open mind and check back in on yourself throughout law school.  Take advantage of the CDO.       

 

In addition to pursuing summer internships, it will be beneficial for you to connect early on with professors who research international human rights law and see if they need a research assistant.  Outside of formal recruitment processes, and particularly for clerkships, references from well known professors go a long way.

 

As far as I know, very few people ultimately fulfill the majors which you mentioned.  On paper, it seems like it couldn't hurt, but an extra 18 credits is a serious commitment.  That's an additional semester at full capacity.  Also, if you don't pursue the major, then you can allocate your 6 non-law credits (in the standard B.C.L./LL.B.) towards any course(s) offered at McGill.  That means you could spend a year learning a language or taking a couple of survey courses that will guarantee you "A" grades.     

 

-----------------

 

Edit: Also, once you are accepted to McGill law and have a Minerva login you will have free access to the CDO's career guide in International Law. 

 

http://www.mcgill.ca/cdo/careerresources/career-guides

Edited by KilgoreTrout
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Thanks for making this thread! :)

 

My question is in regards to summer jobs. From what I hear, McGill 1Ls are considered as 0Ls by firms and recruiters. Hence, it's quite uncommon for them to land law-related summer jobs during their 1L summer. Is this true? If so, would McGill 2Ls be eligible to apply for 1L summer jobs the following year? I ask because I am interested in maybe applying to summer at the Superior Court of Justice or even the Minister of the Attorney General's Office. These positions are only open to 1Ls. If I go to McGill, would I miss out on these opportunities?

 

Also, what does one do if they don't land a law-related summer job during 1L? Would it hinder my chances of landing a job during 2L?

 

Those are great questions tswizzle.  

 

As a McGill law student, you have to decide whether to complete the degree in 3, 3.5 or 4 years.  

 

If you choose the 3 year path, then you are eligible for 1L summer jobs after 1L.  You are in the same stream, set to graduate at the same time, as law students from other universities.  Yet, to accrue 105 credits in 3 years, you will have an aggressive course load throughout.  Keeping in mind that 1L jobs are scarce and that taking fewer courses sometimes allows you to perform better, many who pursue the 3 year path take summer courses after 1L to lighten the load.  One great option is to write a supervised Term Essay (~10,000 words) over the summer.  You will then have a writing sample for employers and might also try to have it published.  It is worth trying to work for a professor as a research assistant after 1L. Most students find non-law employment after 1L to make some money and continue to expand their CVs.  

 

The most common path is 3.5 years; that's what I did.  Students on the 3.5 or 4 year path only rarely secure law-related summer employment after 1L and 2L.  As you mentioned, on this path, 1Ls are deemed to be 0Ls in employers' eyes.  If you do find a summer law job, it will be through your own ingenuity.   You will become eligible for advertised 1L jobs (such as the two which you mentioned) as a 2L.  The application deadlines tend to be in January.  To secure one of these positions is extremely difficult.  You will need to have top grades (i.e., ~90th percentile) and/or excellent work experience to secure an interview.  Typically, the Ontario SCJ will hire two 1L clerks (usually from Ontario schools).  MAG in Ontario will hire around 15-20 into various branches (also mainly from Ontario schools).  For the first and second summers most students will: work a non-law job to make some money; work as a research assistant; take summer courses; participate in a human rights internship as a 2L; do a summer exchange for credit to China; or work abroad to improve a second language.  If you are set on working in Ontario after graduation, your options will increase dramatically during the "2L" OCI recruit, which takes place during Fall of 3L.  

 

If you are willing to work in Quebec, course aux stages is a totally different ball game and begins in February of 2L, with certain firms offering two summers of employment in addition to part-time work during the school year.       

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Those are great questions tswizzle.  

 

As a McGill law student, you have to decide whether to complete the degree in 3, 3.5 or 4 years.  

 

If you choose the 3 year path, then you are eligible for 1L summer jobs after 1L.  You are in the same stream, set to graduate at the same time, as law students from other universities.  Yet, to accrue 105 credits in 3 years, you will have an aggressive course load throughout.  Keeping in mind that 1L jobs are scarce and that taking fewer courses sometimes allows you to perform better, many who pursue the 3 year path take summer courses after 1L to lighten the load.  One great option is to write a supervised Term Essay (~10,000 words) over the summer.  You will then have a writing sample for employers and might also try to have it published.  It is worth trying to work for a professor as a research assistant after 1L. Most students find non-law employment after 1L to make some money and continue to expand their CVs.  

 

The most common path is 3.5 years; that's what I did.  Students on the 3.5 or 4 year path only rarely secure law-related summer employment after 1L and 2L.  As you mentioned, on this path, 1Ls are deemed to be 0Ls in employers' eyes.  If you do find a summer law job, it will be through your own ingenuity.   You will become eligible for advertised 1L jobs (such as the two which you mentioned) as a 2L.  The application deadlines tend to be in January.  To secure one of these positions is extremely difficult.  You will need to have top grades (i.e., ~90th percentile) and/or excellent work experience to secure an interview.  Typically, the Ontario SCJ will hire two 1L clerks (usually from Ontario schools).  MAG in Ontario will hire around 15-20 into various branches (also mainly from Ontario schools).  For the first and second summers most students will: work a non-law job to make some money; work as a research assistant; take summer courses; participate in a human rights internship as a 2L; do a summer exchange for credit to China; or work abroad to improve a second language.  If you are set on working in Ontario after graduation, your options will increase dramatically during the "2L" OCI recruit, which takes place during Fall of 3L.  

 

If you are willing to work in Quebec, course aux stages is a totally different ball game and begins in February of 2L, with certain firms offering two summers of employment in addition to part-time work during the school year.       

 

You're not quite equivalent even doing the program in 3 given that you're not taking the advanced civil and common law obligations...

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You're not quite equivalent even doing the program in 3 given that you're not taking the advanced civil and common law obligations...

 

There's a funky curricular reform being implemented that will shift things around. I think crim will finally be moved to 1L and property will be only one (transsystemic) class. Obs isn't usually an issue for Ontario gigs, but for Quebec maybe...

Edited by jjbean

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There's a funky curricular reform being implemented that will shift things around. I think crim will finally be moved to 1L and property will be only one (transsystemic) class. Obs isn't usually an issue for Ontario gigs, but for Quebec maybe...

 

Speaking of the curriculum reform, can someone please expand on this? What does the new curriculum entail? What are its major changes and improvements? Thanks :)

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Speaking of the curriculum reform, can someone please expand on this? What does the new curriculum entail? What are its major changes and improvements? Thanks :)

 

Here are a couple of links to check out.  I didn't participate in the consultations or Faculty Council so I can't offer anything else.  There doesn't seem to be much online about it yet.  

 

February 2015:

http://www.quidnovi.ca/issues/2014-2015/v36no13.pdf

 

June 2015:

http://publications.mcgill.ca/droit/2015/06/01/curriculum-renewal/

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What would you say is most important for applicants? I'm still waiting on a response, so I don't think it's looking good for me.

I'd also like to know about the environment is general. I'm coming from a competitive environment where people can be underhanded with each other and don't want to be in that type of environment again.

 

I study law at McGill. There are some highly competitive individuals who can be unpleasant at times (they do not seem to have many friends though), but the general environment at the faculty is not cut-throat. I know a bunch of very nice people who share notes and other useful information, many students form study groups to split the readings, etc. Also, I spent a summer working in Toronto with 2Ls from Ontario Schools. What can I say... McGill crowd is way more chill than the UoT people that I met. I mean no offence to the latter. 

Edited by Student5000

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Thank you for starting this thread! 

 

I had questions pertaining to student attire.

 

1) How casual/professional do students dress on a day to day basis?

 

2)  Are backpacks okay to carry around or are they considered juvenile? Would you recommend backpacks over messenger bags considering textbooks et al?

 

I ask because I am currently cleaning out my closet and plan on going shopping for clothes that I will be able to work with throughout law school...

Edited by Nayaab02

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1) I've seen people wearing outfits on both ends of the casual/professional spectrum.

2) I haven't actually paid attention to what other people do but I've always used a backpack. I'd be surprised if I was in an extreme minority position.

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Thank you for starting this thread! 

 

I had questions pertaining to student attire.

 

1) How casual/professional do students dress on a day to day basis?

 

2)  Are backpacks okay to carry around or are they considered juvenile? Would you recommend backpacks over messenger bags considering textbooks et al?

 

I ask because I am currently cleaning out my closet and plan on going shopping for clothes that I will be able to work with throughout law school...

 

I'll chime in.

 

1) As was mentioned, people dress at all ends of the spectrum. That being said, it's no different than how people dress for any university or cegep studies. Wear what you want.

 

2) Backpacks are definitely the most popular bag type. Law school is really just like any other studies.

 

Cheers,

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Hi,

Can you please tell us of the difficulty of McGill law ? I have seen the grade distribution and it is slightly harder than other law schools. Is it possible to graduate with a GPA in the range of B+'s? I have heard that in the first year they are very tough and regardless of how much you try you end up with a B-. Is there a GPA cutoff to be eligible for OCI?

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Hi,

Can you please tell us of the difficulty of McGill law ? I have seen the grade distribution and it is slightly harder than other law schools. Is it possible to graduate with a GPA in the range of B+'s? I have heard that in the first year they are very tough and regardless of how much you try you end up with a B-. Is there a GPA cutoff to be eligible for OCI?

 

Grade distribution doesn't denote "toughness". McGill just operates on a heavy B curve. If anything, it's actually somewhat simple in the sense it's like impossible to fail.

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Do you know if firms are aware of this? If they're comparing a McGill student against one from another school, do they take McGill's curve into account?

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