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cbee

Save Money in Manitoba, or go to Ottawa?

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Not that I've gotten into Ottawa yet, but I'm still hopeful....

I want to work with people, not corporations, and something on the social justice side of things.  I'm into Poverty Law, Immigration/Refugees, First Nations issues, Elder law.  I've also gotten into UNB, but am not sure about summer jobs out there.....

Any advice?

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You've described a very vague set of career aspirations.  "Poverty law" is an academic concept, but is not a practice area in the real world.  Same goes for "Elder law".  Immigration law is a real area, but is probably different from what you're expecting, and can certainly involve working with corporations.  "First Nations issues"... again you can certainly have a law practice where aboriginal people are primarily your clients, but again the work can sometimes be surprisingly "corporate" as well.

 

Anyways... you haven't given us many details.  Where do you live now?  Where do you want to work after graduating?  Why do you think Manitoba will be cheaper than Ottawa?

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I've been vague because my aspirations are vague.  I've spoken to quite a few lawyers about my future, and they all agree to have a general idea of where I'd like to be, but to leave my options open.  I'd disagree that poverty and elder law are concepts; I had coffee with the founder of a Toronto based lawyer who started a law clinic that helps seniors (not for profit) against family members, hospitals, the government, and exploitative corporations.  She also pointed me towards clinics in toronto that work with first nations people, and low-income people.  When I say I want to work with people not corporations, that's my way of saying I don't want to work in corporate law, not that I never want to deal with corporations.  

I'm a mature student who lives in Toronto.  I want to work in Ontario; but again, my law contacts all tell me that I shouldn't be geographically motivated regarding my law school because I'm not interested in corporate law (one of those contacts is a judge and teaches at Osgoode).  I think Manitoba will be cheaper because of last year's tuition (about 8000 difference) and cost of living research I've done.  

Thanks for your reply, and for any comments! 

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I think that by "not a practice area in the real world" MP more meant "is not a practice area where a significant number of people are employed". In fact, that tends to be why clinics like the ones you cited exist: there aren't enough lawyers working in those areas to service the community because clients are too sparse and so is the money. 

That said, MP, feel free to correct me if I interpreted your comment incorrectly.

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1 hour ago, BlockedQuebecois said:

I think that by "not a practice area in the real world" MP more meant "is not a practice area where a significant number of people are employed". In fact, that tends to be why clinics like the ones you cited exist: there aren't enough lawyers working in those areas to service the community because clients are too sparse and so is the money. 

That said, MP, feel free to correct me if I interpreted your comment incorrectly.

I meant it more like this: if you are a lawyer that helps poor people in criminal court you are a criminal lawyer, not a poverty lawyer.  If you help out old people in civil court  you are a civil litigation lawyer, not an "elder law" lawyer.  If you represent First Nations families in family court you are a family law lawyer.

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3 hours ago, cbee said:

I've been vague because my aspirations are vague.  I've spoken to quite a few lawyers about my future, and they all agree to have a general idea of where I'd like to be, but to leave my options open.  I'd disagree that poverty and elder law are concepts; I had coffee with the founder of a Toronto based lawyer who started a law clinic that helps seniors (not for profit) against family members, hospitals, the government, and exploitative corporations.  She also pointed me towards clinics in toronto that work with first nations people, and low-income people.  When I say I want to work with people not corporations, that's my way of saying I don't want to work in corporate law, not that I never want to deal with corporations.  

I'm a mature student who lives in Toronto.  I want to work in Ontario; but again, my law contacts all tell me that I shouldn't be geographically motivated regarding my law school because I'm not interested in corporate law (one of those contacts is a judge and teaches at Osgoode).  I think Manitoba will be cheaper because of last year's tuition (about 8000 difference) and cost of living research I've done.  

Thanks for your reply, and for any comments! 

Manitoba is cheaper, but having to pick up and move a few thousand kilometers away for three years is expensive all by itself.

 

So it sounds like you've been accepted into Manitoba (and UNB), and waiting to hear back from Ottawa.  I think the first thing is to wait and see if you get accepted in anywhere else or not.  It might make your decision up for you.

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Trying not to be argumentative, but elder law is a real thing:

http://www.osgoodepd.ca/upcoming_programs/the-osgoode-certificate-in-elder-law-2/

http://www.cba.org/Sections/Elder-Law

http://www.advocacycentreelderly.org/who_we_are.php

And quite a few lawyers used that term to suggest going into this field.  As far as first nations goes, I wasn't talking about being a family lawyer that represents first nations people, but rather Aboriginal law in the sense that the government of Canada defines it: 

Aboriginal Law

Counsel provide litigation, policy and legal advisory services, primarily to Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, on the broad and rapidly developing area of Aboriginal law, including Aboriginal rights, specific and comprehensive land claims, self-government, and Indian residential schools. The Aboriginal Law Section has functional responsibility within the Department of Justice to ensure consistency in policy and practice in Aboriginal law matters.

(http://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/abt-apd/recru/ap-dp.html)

 

and you can read more about poverty law here:

 

https://www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca/english/about/pubs/olar/ch11.php

 

 

 

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As I understand it, elder law isn't really a distinct area of law so much as an umbrella term for different areas of law as they relate to the interests of elderly people. What MP is getting at, I think, is that "elder law" is not an independent set of legal doctrines that you learn and apply and then practice. Rather, it's a lens through which you apply legal doctrines from other areas. You'd want to have a sound understanding of areas like tax, estate planning, trusts, wills, etc. Notice that these are their own areas of law. If your elderly client is being discriminated against for his/her age by a prospective landlord, you have a landlord/tenancy and human rights issue centring on ageism. Generally, certain legal issues are going to come up more often for elderly people because elderly people as a broad demographic have their own sets of legal needs and concerns. That doesn't mean there's a singular area of law called elder law--it's sort of the tag applied to elderly peoples' general legal concerns, which are manifold. Certain firms consider elder law to be a subset of estate planning. Others see it as a kind of general practice that's directed at the elderly. Just generally saying you want to practice elder law sorta means you want your clients to be elderly people, which is vague. Wealthy elderly people are going to have pretty different concerns from financially disadvantaged elderly people; healthy elderly people are going to have different legal needs than sick elderly people.

In any event, there have been discussions at MB of raising tuitions fees although I don't know by how much or if or when that would take place. Otherwise, I'd echo MP's comments on waiting to hear back.

 

Edited by rziegler
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16 hours ago, cbee said:

Trying not to be argumentative, but elder law is a real thing:

Here's what I actually said:

 

""Poverty law" is an academic concept, but is not a practice area in the real world". Same goes for "Elder law"."

 

These are multidisciplinary issues that are worthwhile to study.  I'm not trying to diminish the fact that the elderly, the poor, First Nations and visible minorities, LGBTQ groups, don't have their own unique challenges in the legal system.  What I am saying is that these are not areas you can build a career practicing as a specialist in.

"Aboriginal law" - I once worked at DOJ, so I did know some lawyers that worked exclusively on big aboriginal title and treat claims.  My understanding though is that, as a dedicated specialty, it really only exists within DOJ, and probably a group of lawyers in private practice across the country that could comfortably fit within a small boardroom.

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I think we are all talking past one another here.  I understand that 'elder law' is not it's own branch of the legal system.  There are firms and clinics set up solely for the purpose of aiding the elderly in matters that are specific to their needs.  A friend who works for a major Bay street firm, graduated top of his class at U of T recommended I look into 'Elder Law' as a possible focus of practice.  He said it's a growing field, and there are jobs available.  I asked a Judge friend who teaches at Osgoode about it too, and we talked for about an hour.  

Similar story for poverty law.  Those are the focuses I'd like to have after I finish law school.  

Why are we arguing semantics?   

Thanks for trying to help.  

 

Edited by cbee

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They are an amazing clinic.  They've broken new ground in Ontario for elder rights...changing law regarding rent control in old age homes, and are in constant fights with hospitals for discharging patients too early.  They have a paid staff of around 9 lawyers now.

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3 minutes ago, cbee said:

They are an amazing clinic.  They've broken new ground in Ontario for elder rights...changing law regarding rent control in old age homes, and are in constant fights with hospitals for discharging patients too early.  They have a paid staff of around 9 lawyers now.

 

9 Lawyers.  

That's great.  Sounds like a wonderful organization.  I will now change my opinion of Elder Law from being "something that no one practices" to "something that an incredibly small number of people practice".

Look, this is something that I think law school does a bad job of teaching students about the practice of law.  There are a huge range of courses offered.  The CBA will list a ton of different practice areas.  In fact let's use that - my local CBA chapter lists 33 different sections.  One of them is Elder Law.  A little way down is Insurance Law.  It makes it seem like they're both equally valid practice areas.  But they're not - there's probably 1000x, maybe 10000x as much work going on in Insurance Law.

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5 minutes ago, Malicious Prosecutor said:

 

9 Lawyers.  

That's great.  Sounds like a wonderful organization.  I will now change my opinion of Elder Law from being "something that no one practices" to "something that an incredibly small number of people practice".

Look, this is something that I think law school does a bad job of teaching students about the practice of law.  There are a huge range of courses offered.  The CBA will list a ton of different practice areas.  In fact let's use that - my local CBA chapter lists 33 different sections.  One of them is Elder Law.  A little way down is Insurance Law.  It makes it seem like they're both equally valid practice areas.  But they're not - there's probably 1000x, maybe 10000x as much work going on in Insurance Law.

I appreciate that you are advising me to go into an area where I will have a good chance of getting a job.  That's not what my original question was about. :)

Only one PM of Canada.  Does that mean no one should go for it?

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4 minutes ago, cbee said:

I appreciate that you are advising me to go into an area where I will have a good chance of getting a job.  That's not what my original question was about.

Only one PM of Canada.  Does that mean no one should go for it?

Come back in 3-4 years and let us know how you're doing.  Good luck in your studies!

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I might also agree with MP.

But since I don't know any about Canadian law, can you provide with more supporting claim about elder law, poverty law, first nations. I can really hardly find one. From link you provides,  I still find those law are so conceptual. You career goal can be more like a research group and probably can be capable of teaching sociology law   if you are interested in that type of laws or cultivate that interest long enough. , But for practice, I also have some degree of doubtfulness. But since I don't know  know about law in Canada, I could be wrong.

In my country in Asia, we don't have poverty law, we have personal bankruptcy law for a natural person. One can declare bankruptcy, living in highly limited  financial condition. I  don't know if that's poverty law you imply. Or you mean poor people are eligible to access to legal aid. I think poverty law is probably something unavoidably correlated with  social justice and basic right of human right law. It's more like conceptual law or ideal law. Tramp may just transfer from one spot to another and may have hard time pay you since they are really poor already. 

Or you mean basic shelter for tramps. It's more like promoting social justice or basic human right law, it's more like promoting the concept for better human right. I think if I saw the course lists in law school opening in Asia, I might just intuitively and directly think it may be conceptual type of courses too.

Elder law, euthanasia, it's already consent and become law.  So this part probably be less likely to practice able. Or you mean getting elder pension regularly and consistently. Then it would be more close to social security law. Government with money will pay on regular and consistent basis.  It's more about government funding and policy, that type of thing. Or elder criminal offence? then it's criminal law.  or elder received malpractice?, Then it's probably still a civil dispute and it's still civil law regardless of their age group.

First nation law, in Asia, we probably also have land reserved for first nation. They can purchase vast amount of land limited areas, sometimes in distant mountain range , at much lower price or cost. 

 

 I can see those type of law may be still conceptual. It may be in developmental stage. It may be practicable one day. But it  still need more building blocks. 

Edited by akulamasusu

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On 4/26/2017 at 0:56 AM, cbee said:

I appreciate that you are advising me to go into an area where I will have a good chance of getting a job.  That's not what my original question was about.

Only one PM of Canada.  Does that mean no one should go for it?

I'm a 0L in a similar boat, cbee -- that is, I'm considering studying something like immigration or aboriginal law in order to work with people and "be a lawyer" without serving corporate interests, etc. But I'm also now strongly leaning towards backing out of the whole thing for the reasons pointed out in this thread: the money that pays people to be lawyers comes from people who have money.

From what I gather, there are exceptions, but the rareness of those opportunities is not like aspiring to be the prime minister, and I think it might be helpful (for both of us) to consider why the PM analogy is flawed: Only one person can be the PM, but thousands can be civil servants and elected officials at all levels of government. It's not fool-hardy to pursue a singular dream like head of state, because there are degrees of success, and failure to reach the pinnacle is an incremental failure, not a total one. Whereas (and someone please correct me if I'm wrong, because I know this is more complicated than I realize or am making it sound) there are no increments between being one of the handful who get paid to use their JD for the little guy and the vast majority who know they're lucky to get paid to be a lawyer, period.

So you should definitely, obviously go for those ideal (and idealistic) jobs if you go to law school, but you should only go to law school if you're OK with (or better yet, enthusiastic about) competing for the far more common alternatives.

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