Jump to content
wcbc

Ask an Upper Year!

Recommended Posts

I remember around this time last year, I had so many questions about law school and what it's actually like to be a law student. Although my knowledge is limited to the University of Calgary, I thought this would be useful for incoming 1L's and prospective law students wanting to come to U of C!  :-P

 

Feel free to ask any questions you have and I'll try to answer them the best I can!

 

(Edit) I know previous upper years have done this, but I thought it'd be useful to start a topic that'll have more updated info (Especially with the new curriculum).

Edited by wcbc
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not that any of us need any reason to be more excited, but (if you have the time) could you just speak generally about what you expected 1L at UofC to be like, and then what the experience was actually like? Maybe things that surprised and disappointed you?

 

Thanks for doing this! I'm sure I'll have more specific questions as the conversation progresses :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not that any of us need any reason to be more excited, but (if you have the time) could you just speak generally about what you expected 1L at UofC to be like, and then what the experience was actually like? Maybe things that surprised and disappointed you?

 

Thanks for doing this! I'm sure I'll have more specific questions as the conversation progresses :)

 

 

For me, coming into law school, I expected there to be lots of readings and endless nights spent studying. I was quite nervous about going to law school because I did not have any prior experience, nor did I have any substantive knowledge of the law. Now at this point , I can tell you that yes, there are A LOT of readings (like spending several hours a day trying to get all your readings done). However, I found that many upper years are happy to help and if you can get some good CANs (condensed annotated notes), they summarize the case nicely for you and you can really depend on them for some classes more than others.

 

In terms of a social life, because U of C has a smaller class, I really liked the fact that the first 3 weeks was spent really getting to know everybody and really becoming comfortable with the idea of law school. Once regular classes started, I found that the profs were quite open to answering any questions and meeting with me during office hours to discuss whatever issues I may have had.

 

In a nutshell, so this post isn't too long, the surprises for me were how supportive everyone is and how manageable it all actually is. Coming into all this, I was nervous because I thought I wouldn't be able to understand the material, the exam questions or what not, but honestly, you manage to get through it and because everyone's going through it together, it's not all too bad (plus, it's curved so that's awesome).

 

For disappointments, I don't have any glaring ones. I think most students go through the same emotional rollercoaster: not having enough time to study, going through classes that don't interest you, doing assignments in block week that don't seem all that helpful, etc. If you want me to go into detail on any of these, feel free to let me know.

 

Hope this helps!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for doing this!

Im curious to know what the winters are like

Or the weather in general? Does the campus become a big swamp when it rains? Should i be buying heavy winter coats??

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for doing this!

Im curious to know what the winters are like

Or the weather in general? Does the campus become a big swamp when it rains? Should i be buying heavy winter coats??

 

 

So Calgary winters are USUALLY pretty brutal. That being said, last year wasn't all to bad. Although I wasn't there for the majority of late-December, I've heard from friends that last year's winter was unusually warm. However, it does get pretty chilly and you may be cold, especially if you're from a warmer province. I would suggest buying at least one thick winter coat for days that do go down to -25~-30. For all the other days, I just wore 'winter jackets' I already had and I was fine. In terms of rain, it doesn't rain a lot in Calgary and it's quite dry there. It only rained about 3-4 times during the past school year, which is nice, especially if you're from Vancouver.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for doing this!

 

1. How helpful would you say doing toastmasters would be for success in 1L and beyond? Heard of anyone who has done this? I can't say I am as comfortable with public speaking as I would like to be at this point. Or better yet, will I even have the time during 1L to attend these meetings?

 

2. Can you comment on if there are any opportunities to make connections to Vancouver firms?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for doing this!

 

1. How helpful would you say doing toastmasters would be for success in 1L and beyond? Heard of anyone who has done this? I can't say I am as comfortable with public speaking as I would like to be at this point. Or better yet, will I even have the time during 1L to attend these meetings?

 

2. Can you comment on if there are any opportunities to make connections to Vancouver firms?

 

 

1. I actually know someone who's doing toastmasters and she seems to really enjoy it. She doesn't go to U of C but she does go to a law school in Canada. If you're not comfortable with public speaking, doing this would definitely help. In terms of having time, I think that's all up to you but for me personally, I had time to study and work a part-time job so I didn't find managing everything to be too overwhelming. You should be able to commit to something at least once a week or so with no problem. Toastmasters may be more helpful if you're interested in mooting and being a litigator, etc.

 

2. In terms of making Vancouver connections, in April there is a Vancouver firm hop which I also attended that was really helpful as you got to tour all the big firms in Vancouver and connect with various lawyers. Definitely sign up for that if you're interested in working in Vancouver.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you so much for doing this! I have so many questions, but I'll start with one for now.

 

If one is interested in working for a smaller or mid-size firm after school, as opposed to a large national firm, are there opportunities to network, and how is the process different? I understand the 2L summer process may be different...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you so much for doing this! I have so many questions, but I'll start with one for now.

 

If one is interested in working for a smaller or mid-size firm after school, as opposed to a large national firm, are there opportunities to network, and how is the process different? I understand the 2L summer process may be different...

 

 

Of course there are more events for big firms, but there are definitely opportunities to be exposed to smaller firms as well! There are several events throughout the year where you'll get to meet lawyers from small to mid-size firms and several clubs will host certain events too that are more focused on certain practice areas. There are also firm hops in various cities near Calgary if you are looking to work in a smaller city (those usually happen at the end of the school year).

 

The process may be different because smaller firms don't always do OCIs (on campus interviews). Most big firms have set deadlines and certain procedures that they follow but it's a lot more flexible for smaller firms. If you are looking to work at a smaller firm after either 1L or 2L, I would recommend you researching firms you're interested in and just contacting them and asking them if they hire summer students, etc. With smaller firms, it's more difficult because quite a bit of them don't hire students, but there are still a bunch that do so it's all about reaching out to them and letting them know you're interested.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Of course there are more events for big firms, but there are definitely opportunities to be exposed to smaller firms as well! There are several events throughout the year where you'll get to meet lawyers from small to mid-size firms and several clubs will host certain events too that are more focused on certain practice areas. There are also firm hops in various cities near Calgary if you are looking to work in a smaller city (those usually happen at the end of the school year).

 

The process may be different because smaller firms don't always do OCIs (on campus interviews). Most big firms have set deadlines and certain procedures that they follow but it's a lot more flexible for smaller firms. If you are looking to work at a smaller firm after either 1L or 2L, I would recommend you researching firms you're interested in and just contacting them and asking them if they hire summer students, etc. With smaller firms, it's more difficult because quite a bit of them don't hire students, but there are still a bunch that do so it's all about reaching out to them and letting them know you're interested.

Thank you so much!  :)  I am so looking forward to the fall, and I really appreciate how welcoming and helpful all of the current students have been!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For me, coming into law school, I expected there to be lots of readings and endless nights spent studying. I was quite nervous about going to law school because I did not have any prior experience, nor did I have any substantive knowledge of the law. Now at this point , I can tell you that yes, there are A LOT of readings (like spending several hours a day trying to get all your readings done). However, I found that many upper years are happy to help and if you can get some good CANs (condensed annotated notes), they summarize the case nicely for you and you can really depend on them for some classes more than others.

 

I just want to chime in that in addition to upper years sending you their notes (CANs), they will also happily sell you their textbooks - so don't rush off to the bookstore immediately and spend all your beer money. Since the Foundations course takes 3 weeks, there really isn't much rush to buy them before the regular courses start and there were certainly loads of people waiting last year. Just make sure you're buying a current edition or one older (for example I bought an entire suite of books off an upper year in my 1L and having books out of date by one edition was no problem at all, you just have to grab a couple cases online or from a buddy).

 

On that same train of thought, there will be a huge amount of CANs floating around on USBs and in Dropbox/Google Docs etc, and some will be quiet out of date. Make sure when you're hunting around for notes in the style you like (and ones that are accurate - don't assume that just because an upper year gave you a CAN that it's a good one) that they are from the last couple years or so.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you for doing this! How did you prepare for classes in Law School? How is it different from your undergraduate days?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you for doing this! How did you prepare for classes in Law School? How is it different from your undergraduate days?

 

So I feel like preparing for law classes is very different from preparing for other classes (like the ones I took during my undergrad) but I guess this all depends how you personally studied during undergrad. I found it very helpful to actually do the readings ahead of time and prepare a short outline for each case. During class, under each of my outlines, I would insert class notes (from slides, etc) and anything else that prof said that I found to be useful. Having this system going was very helpful when it came to actually studying for exams. 

 

The most important thing, I found, was to be prepared and have a general understanding of the materials ahead of time. This really helps when the professor is going through it in class and really solidifies what you may have already learned through self-study (or may also clarify anything you found confusing).

Edited by wcbc
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Do you find most people are using laptops during class for notes/is it sometimes necessary to reference online materials during class? I've always preferred taking notes by hand and then typing up later. It's probably a weird thing to worry about but I'd hate to be the only old fashioned one showing up with a notebook instead of my laptop.

 

Also on the list of weird things I worry about - how do people dress? Is it normally pretty casual unless there is a networking event? And are you usually given cues as to how formal you should dress for networking events?

 

And thanks for doing this!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Do you find most people are using laptops during class for notes/is it sometimes necessary to reference online materials during class? I've always preferred taking notes by hand and then typing up later. It's probably a weird thing to worry about but I'd hate to be the only old fashioned one showing up with a notebook instead of my laptop.

 

Also on the list of weird things I worry about - how do people dress? Is it normally pretty casual unless there is a networking event? And are you usually given cues as to how formal you should dress for networking events?

 

And thanks for doing this!

 

So in terms of taking notes, most people do use their computers during class but there are still a handful of people who do take notes by hand. It is sometimes necessary to reference online materials during class but most of the time the profs will tell you what to bring ahead of time or they'll hand out printed copies during class.

 

In terms of what to wear, it's quite casual if there are no events. During class, there are lots of people who wear sweatpants, etc. and you don't have to worry about dressing up everyday. For networking events, you can wear a suit, a dress or a blouse and dress pants, etc. (as long as they're business-like). Again, it isn't too strict and there is some flexibility in terms of what you can wear (just make sure it looks professional).

Edited by marciaxo
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Do you find most people are using laptops during class for notes/is it sometimes necessary to reference online materials during class? I've always preferred taking notes by hand and then typing up later. It's probably a weird thing to worry about but I'd hate to be the only old fashioned one showing up with a notebook instead of my laptop.

 

Also on the list of weird things I worry about - how do people dress? Is it normally pretty casual unless there is a networking event? And are you usually given cues as to how formal you should dress for networking events?

 

And thanks for doing this!

 

Just want to add to what marciaxo said. You can always ask around and ask upper-years if you're not sure of what to wear. There are also threads on this forum that talk about what to wear during networking events, interviews, etc. so I would recommend those.

Edited by wcbc
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Do you find most people are using laptops during class for notes/is it sometimes necessary to reference online materials during class? I've always preferred taking notes by hand and then typing up later. It's probably a weird thing to worry about but I'd hate to be the only old fashioned one showing up with a notebook instead of my laptop.

I am also an old fashioned notes by hand gal, so you won't be the only one :)

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Do you find most people are using laptops during class for notes/is it sometimes necessary to reference online materials during class? I've always preferred taking notes by hand and then typing up later. It's probably a weird thing to worry about but I'd hate to be the only old fashioned one showing up with a notebook instead of my laptop.

 

Also on the list of weird things I worry about - how do people dress? Is it normally pretty casual unless there is a networking event? And are you usually given cues as to how formal you should dress for networking events?

 

And thanks for doing this!

As other people have said itt not everyone uses a laptop. All that matters is that your system of note taking works for you.

 

Networking events in my opinion should always be business formal, those dipping towards business casual stand out. Make sure you have a suit before you start school because it will be a pain to try to fit that into your schedule during the first week or two.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As other people have said itt not everyone uses a laptop. All that matters is that your system of note taking works for you.

 

Networking events in my opinion should always be business formal, those dipping towards business casual stand out. Make sure you have a suit before you start school because it will be a pain to try to fit that into your schedule during the first week or two.

 

Just to follow up, note taking in class might work by hand, but I highly recommend writing exams via laptop. Half the battle is just spewing words onto the page in first year exams (maybe law school exams in general??)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Do you find most people are using laptops during class for notes/is it sometimes necessary to reference online materials during class? I've always preferred taking notes by hand and then typing up later. It's probably a weird thing to worry about but I'd hate to be the only old fashioned one showing up with a notebook instead of my laptop.

 

Also on the list of weird things I worry about - how do people dress? Is it normally pretty casual unless there is a networking event? And are you usually given cues as to how formal you should dress for networking events?

 

And thanks for doing this!

 

On the point of what to wear to law school, if there is no event or anything going on just wear what you would wear around town on a normal day. Some students coming from the work force dress business casual, but they are the exception. Most people where jeans, etc... There will be the occasional person wearing a suit to school because they just came from court (b/c of SLA) or from a coffee with a lawyer. For a networking event, I don't know what your gender is, but I wore a suit and tie to almost every thing. It's easy to ditch a tie if you're overdressed, and if you networking with lawyers they will all at least being wearing suits, maybe without ties. Once you get a feel for these things you start to learn what would be appropriate to wear.

Edited by BortSimpson
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

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

Create an account

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

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.


  • Recent Posts

    • Your grades are quite good so I would apply broadly and cross my fingers. The only Canadian law school I've seen that accepts a lot of US transfers from bottom tier schools is U of T. But your grades have to be really good. I'm not sure how they will view your B's. Good luck. 
    • yeah it was a mistake. I posted this in law students when I meant to post in articling students and lawyers and I couldn't delete it after it had been posted. I think I mentioned it in this thread or the one that you linked. 
    • There's been a lot of focus here on IQ but one of the things that makes a good lawyer is a heavy measure of EQ and our friend here McGillicutty has demonstrated why many of my former STEM colleagues lack even a smidgen of EQ.
    • The only thing that matters is that you can get funding at a good interest rate. Scotia has the best offerings, but that doesn't mean that you're out of options if they decline you. In my experience, the bank that you have the longest history with is the one that usually helps you out in situations where your credit isn't up to snuff. 
    • I think you are slightly confused maybemaybe, so I can clear this up for you:  2 year applicants are those that are in their second year of their undergrad degree (will have 60-89 completed credits) by the time they enter law school and they are the ones who require exceptional stats (3.7 and 90th percentile); see excerpt from https://apps.admissions.ualberta.ca/programs/la/la020 ("There is no direct entry from high school into the Juris Doctor program (JD). Exceptional students may be admitted to the program after completing two years of university study with a minimum GPA of 3.7 and 90th percentile Law School Admission Test (LSAT) score. All other students must have completed at least the first three years of a degree before being admitted to the JD."). This applies when you apply in your second year of undergrad.  3rd year applicants are those that are in their 3rd year of university and who will have 90 or more credits by the time they enter law school and they are treated the same as those with degrees. Excerpt from same website " All other students must have completed at least the first three years of a degree before being admitted to the JD." This applies when you apply in your third year of undergrad.  Hope this clears everything up! 

×
×
  • Create New...