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cbee

Negativity on this forum!

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It's interesting.   I work in a situation where I meet top Toronto law professionals all the time.  When talking to them about my ideas and goals during and after law school, they are encouraging and positive.  Every time I've posted a question for advice or guidance here I'm met with negativity and ridicule.  

"there will be, like, no jobs doing THAT kind of thing"

"that's a pipe dream"

"the number of people who do that sort of thing could fill one boardroom in Canada"

Wow.  Dream big everyone!  

I'm a realist.  I've owned three restaurants in Toronto.  I know what the real world is like.  I also know that and of you can do anything you want.  So don't let the negativity get you down!

Just a thought.  

Cheers!

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23 minutes ago, cbee said:

It's interesting.   I work in a situation where I meet top Toronto law professionals all the time.  When talking to them about my ideas and goals during and after law school, they are encouraging and positive.  Every time I've posted a question for advice or guidance here I'm met with negativity and ridicule.  

"there will be, like, no jobs doing THAT kind of thing"

"that's a pipe dream"

"the number of people who do that sort of thing could fill one boardroom in Canada"

Wow.  Dream big everyone!  

I'm a realist.  I've owned three restaurants in Toronto.  I know what the real world is like.  I also know that and of you can do anything you want.  So don't let the negativity get you down!

Just a thought.  

Cheers!

To be fair, I don't think that's what MP means at all. It's not that you can't find work serving that group of people, but it's not necessarily an area of law you can specialize in. Also, MP is supernice so I doubt he was trying to be negative. If Diplock was having a go at you, then you might have a case (jk of course...mostly...)

Edit: or I may be wrong about what MP is trying to say, but stand by the fact that he's saying it for your benefit. 

Edited by kiamia
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8 minutes ago, kiamia said:

To be fair, I don't think that's what MP means at all. It's not that you can't find work serving that group of people, but it's not necessarily an area of law you can specialize in. Also, MP is supernice so I doubt he was trying to be negative. If Diplock was having a go at you, then you might have a case (jk of course...mostly...)

Edit: or I may be wrong about what MP is trying to say, but stand by the fact that he's saying it for your benefit. 

Not just about that post.  

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10 minutes ago, beentheredonethat4 said:

Cool story, bro

How old are you?

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39 minutes ago, cbee said:

It's interesting.   I work in a situation where I meet top Toronto law professionals all the time.  When talking to them about my ideas and goals during and after law school, they are encouraging and positive.  Every time I've posted a question for advice or guidance here I'm met with negativity and ridicule.  

...

I'm a realist.  I've owned three restaurants in Toronto.  I know what the real world is like.  I also know that and of you can do anything you want. ...

[portion only quoted, emphasis added]

If you're encountering "top Toronto law professionals all the time" then I presume it is in a work or social context. They don't want to offend you, and that limits how blunt they will be. Here, anonymity supports honesty. Especially when one is considering several years and tens of thousands of dollars in expenses at least (hundreds of thousands, if foregone income during law school is also factored in).

That doesn't necessarily mean advice you receive here is correct, either prospectively or ultimately with the benefit of hindsight, but one shouldn't reject advice merely because it's not what one wants to hear or is not couched in the politest terms.

As for being able to do anything you want, no. Even in the sense you mean, unless one is both wealthy and smart, you have limited options. If you graduate law school with so-so marks and the only paid articling position you can find is in insurance defence, that's what you do. For some people, they'll get to do what they want; for others, they can't even volunteer for an unpaid articling position at an elder law firm, because (1) they have no positions; (2) if they do, they have more qualified applicants than you, because there are lots of people who want to do social justice legal work; and (3) you can't afford to work for a year unpaid.

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5 minutes ago, realpseudonym said:

First, it's a free, anonymous internet forum - it's bound to be negative sometimes. Second, you're reading selectively. There is definitely encouragement on this forum(e.g., Uriel on first law school exams, but also countless other posts and messages exchanged everyday). Third, when I ask a question here, I'm asking people for their honest opinion. People in real life have a tendency to hold back. I certainly do. When I'm talking to people, I have other concerns. I want them to like me, I'm worried about hurting their feelings, or I'm busy, and don't want to invest a lot of time into someone else's problems. So I'm trying to present myself in a certain way. My advice might reflect that.

When people post here, they're giving you a different range of perspectives that are more detached from social and relational pressures. You're right, insofar as you don't have to accept advice you get here. If you want to go law school and find a career in international elder law, then you have every right to try. But you're wrong to discount the discouragement as just "negativity and ridicule." When you post, you're asking for peoples' perspectives. The responses that I've seen you get, reflect the honest perspectives of practicing lawyers and of law students. Again, it doesn't mean that they're necessarily right, or that you have to accept their words. But they're not the responses of people just trying to put you down or something (that does sometimes happen here - it's human nature). They're taking the time to tell you what they think.

Trashing everyone for being negative doesn't make this forum more positive. It just adds to the negativity. If you want to have a positive influence (not saying I do this - just that it's how I'd like to behave), then try receiving others' opinions with grace and respect. Then help out others when you can.

Or a different example, say going to law school overseas. Many people discourage it given bias against such applicants. But if someone has already graduated from a foreign law school, then people will try to be helpful, while acknowledging the difficulties. If someone who had graduated law school were seeking advice about how to get some social justice type work, there would be helpful replies. But planning on a career solely founded on such before one has even attended law school nor heard back on admissions, is definitely putting the cart before the horse.

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10 minutes ago, Diplock said:

The difference between advice you receive in person and advice you receive on the Internet (here or elsewhere) can be summarized very easily. When you know someone personally, you are special to them to at least some degree, and often to a a very high degree. When taken as a special case, it's easy and even responsible to say "sure, chase your dreams!" and "you can do anything!" But when you don't know someone personally, you aren't special at all. And in that case, reality says that most kids are not going to be astronaughts and professional ball players, no matter how much they might want to be. And pretending that every kid is going to space one day isn't just irresponsible, but willfully stupid.

I can't tell whether the misspelling of 'astronauts' was intentional or not (I really, really hope it was), but had to say that the irony of the implied negativity that 'astronaught' evoked made me smile: "Kid, you may have dreams, but it's futile to think you'll ever become an astronaught." Although urban dictionary tells me 'astronaught' is a kind of sex act so I will reserve final judgement on the intention of the poster...

This comment not to be taken as a critique or endorsement of the subject matter in the quoted post, only as a reflection on what I thought was a humorous component therein.

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2 minutes ago, PWNWP said:

I can't tell whether the misspelling of 'astronauts' was intentional or not (I really, really hope it was), but had to say that the irony of the implied negativity that 'astronaught' evoked made me smile: "Kid, you may have dreams, but it's futile to think you'll ever become an astronaught." Although urban dictionary tells me 'astronaught' is a kind of sex act so I will reserve final judgement on the intention of the poster...

This comment not to be taken as a critique or endorsement of the subject matter in the quoted post, only as a reflection on what I thought was a humorous component therein.

Love the analysis. But honestly, I just misspelled astronaut. Though now I'm a little curious to figure out what kind of sex act an "astronaught" might be, but I'm not sure that googling that would be safe for work.

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Alright.  Point taken everyone.  

And really, no sarcasm, thanks for being honest and trying to push people (and me) into realistic expectations.  

The thing that has upset me isn't about not thinking I'm special (I'm not) and it isn't about my dreams being shattered that I can't help children in Africa with my law degree.  The thing is, when I'm asking earnest questions on a form that is often very useful, and only getting responses that are basically 'don't even consider that job' as defeatist.  I'm not asking if I can be the prime minister, I'm asking HOW does one become the prime minister.  Well, first you go to law school (or snowboarding school), then you volunteer at your local MP's office bla bla bla.  We are all (theoretically) adults here that can make up our own minds about what is realistic and once we have the tools to make a decision, then we can do that.  Let me give you an example from something I know a lot about.  

People ask me about opening a restaurant all the time.  I never think it's a good idea.  Ever.  But if someone asks to sit down with me and have a coffee to talk about it (this happens often btw), I tell them everything they need to know in order to open that restaurant.  I tell them that they should work in one first, I tell them that they should talk to other restaurant owners, and I tell them what kinds of things are really, really important to do before opening (like having a lawyer look at the lease...biggest mistake I ever made....cost me over 100k).  Anyhow, after all of that is said and done, I ask them if they want to know what I think of their concept personally, and then I tell them that they should know what they are getting into, and probably not open it.  

The point is, I am answering the question they are asking, and then I slip in my personal feelings about their odds and what kind of a life they are looking to have in the future.  

What makes this even more frustrating is that it's true that none of you know me, but I'm not financially motivated at all.  I want to work in an area of law that will be rewarding, but I'll be happy to make 50-60k for the rest of my life.  I'm not rich, I just don't want to be.  I'm also going to be lucky enough to finish law school mostly debt free (if I go to UofM) or just a bit in debt (if I get into Ottawa).  So I'm less worried about landing a job right away than some people might be. 

It's true that people in person might be nicer than on forums, but it might also be that online people can be condescending and dismissive because they aren't face to face with someone.  The people I'm talking to at work are all regular customers whom I've known for years.  And they have told me where I'm being a total idiot, so I feel that I can trust some of the opinions I get.  

I am very grateful that people are trying to be helpful, but until MPs last post, it didn't really feel like that.   I'm believe that people SHOULD be encouraged to be their best, and what that is is different for everyone.  Sure, if I get shitty marks in law school, I'm not going to be able to have my choice of jobs.  My question was more about what kind of courses should I be taking at which law school to achieve the goals I'm looking to achieve.  And if I fail?  Fair enough. 

MP, thanks for trying to give me the advice that you wish you had gotten.  I really do appreciate it.  Sometimes face to face conversations are better than these online ones because we can react in real time and not in posts, with you turning to sarcasm, and me rage posting about negativity.  

Now, how the hell do I get on the supreme court? 

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11 minutes ago, cbee said:

The thing is, when I'm asking earnest questions on a form that is often very useful, and only getting responses that are basically 'don't even consider that job' as defeatist.

I agree that the forum has trended a bit away from actually answering people's questions / telling people how to find the answers and more into interrogating the question itself, which is at this point a fully explored genre. 

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20 minutes ago, Diplock said:

Love the analysis. But honestly, I just misspelled astronaut. Though now I'm a little curious to figure out what kind of sex act an "astronaught" might be, but I'm not sure that googling that would be safe for work.

 

 

From what I've been told, the experience is otherworldly.

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10 minutes ago, cbee said:

Alright.  Point taken everyone.  

And really, no sarcasm, thanks for being honest and trying to push people (and me) into realistic expectations.  

The thing that has upset me isn't about not thinking I'm special (I'm not) and it isn't about my dreams being shattered that I can't help children in Africa with my law degree.  The thing is, when I'm asking earnest questions on a form that is often very useful, and only getting responses that are basically 'don't even consider that job' as defeatist.  I'm not asking if I can be the prime minister, I'm asking HOW does one become the prime minister.  Well, first you go to law school (or snowboarding school), then you volunteer at your local MP's office bla bla bla.  We are all (theoretically) adults here that can make up our own minds about what is realistic and once we have the tools to make a decision, then we can do that.  Let me give you an example from something I know a lot about.  

People ask me about opening a restaurant all the time.  I never think it's a good idea.  Ever.  But if someone asks to sit down with me and have a coffee to talk about it (this happens often btw), I tell them everything they need to know in order to open that restaurant.  I tell them that they should work in one first, I tell them that they should talk to other restaurant owners, and I tell them what kinds of things are really, really important to do before opening (like having a lawyer look at the lease...biggest mistake I ever made....cost me over 100k).  Anyhow, after all of that is said and done, I ask them if they want to know what I think of their concept personally, and then I tell them that they should know what they are getting into, and probably not open it.  

The point is, I am answering the question they are asking, and then I slip in my personal feelings about their odds and what kind of a life they are looking to have in the future.  

What makes this even more frustrating is that it's true that none of you know me, but I'm not financially motivated at all.  I want to work in an area of law that will be rewarding, but I'll be happy to make 50-60k for the rest of my life.  I'm not rich, I just don't want to be.  I'm also going to be lucky enough to finish law school mostly debt free (if I go to UofM) or just a bit in debt (if I get into Ottawa).  So I'm less worried about landing a job right away than some people might be. 

It's true that people in person might be nicer than on forums, but it might also be that online people can be condescending and dismissive because they aren't face to face with someone.  The people I'm talking to at work are all regular customers whom I've known for years.  And they have told me where I'm being a total idiot, so I feel that I can trust some of the opinions I get.  

I am very grateful that people are trying to be helpful, but until MPs last post, it didn't really feel like that.   I'm believe that people SHOULD be encouraged to be their best, and what that is is different for everyone.  Sure, if I get shitty marks in law school, I'm not going to be able to have my choice of jobs.  My question was more about what kind of courses should I be taking at which law school to achieve the goals I'm looking to achieve.  And if I fail?  Fair enough. 

MP, thanks for trying to give me the advice that you wish you had gotten.  I really do appreciate it.  Sometimes face to face conversations are better than these online ones because we can react in real time and not in posts, with you turning to sarcasm, and me rage posting about negativity.  

Now, how the hell do I get on the supreme court? 

I don't know what to say to be honest because I am in a similar position going into 1L. But I feel and I've always felt that you can prepare the sh*t out of your life, and you should, but that there's also a difference between being encouraged to be the best you can be and seeking advice on a specific outcome. I think that is what you seemed to be poking at and what I think is the key issue with this forum: A lot of people come here asking for magic formulas to get where they want, but no one is a soothsayer and we (I include myself looooooosely) can't tell those people what they need to do. Forums like these are more helpful from a process-based perspective but I think that gets missed by a lot of eager, hyperventilating (pre-)students, which makes it frustrating for people who are trying to help.

It's a matter of perspective. So when someone asks how to become a Bay St lawyer or a Supreme Court justice, sure there are some courses that will be helpful to one side or the other, but the fact is it will still take hard work, ambition, networking, and a healthy dose of luck, which you would already know. People are just sometimes lying to themselves about what it takes and want someone to give them a nice, clear roadmap answer, so the impulse on here is to beat the OP with a shovel to knock that crap out of their system (I know the supreme court thing was in jest, but it's still within the realm of the stuff that causes this).

Just my thoughts although I feel very mansplain-y about them :P

30 minutes ago, Diplock said:

Love the analysis. But honestly, I just misspelled astronaut. Though now I'm a little curious to figure out what kind of sex act an "astronaught" might be, but I'm not sure that googling that would be safe for work.

DEFINITELY NSFW

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5 minutes ago, PWNWP said:

I don't know what to say to be honest because I am in a similar position going into 1L. But I feel and I've always felt that you can prepare the sh*t out of your life, and you should, but that there's also a difference between being encouraged to be the best you can be and seeking advice on a specific outcome. I think that is what you seemed to be poking at and what I think is the key issue with this forum: A lot of people come here asking for magic formulas to get where they want, but no one is a soothsayer and we (I include myself looooooosely) can't tell those people what they need to do. Forums like these are more helpful from a process-based perspective but I think that gets missed by a lot of eager, hyperventilating (pre-)students, which makes it frustrating for people who are trying to help.

It's a matter of perspective. So when someone asks how to become a Bay St lawyer or a Supreme Court justice, sure there are some courses that will be helpful to one side or the other, but the fact is it will still take hard work, ambition, networking, and a healthy dose of luck, which you would already know. People are just sometimes lying to themselves about what it takes and want someone to give them a nice, clear roadmap answer, so the impulse on here is to beat the OP with a shovel to knock that crap out of their system (I know the supreme court thing was in jest, but it's still within the realm of the stuff that causes this).

Just my thoughts although I feel very mansplain-y about them

DEFINITELY NSFW

I'm not sure you can put "Bay Street Lawyer" up there with "Supreme Court Justice". Many people become Bay Street lawyers. In fact, about 20% of law students leaving Ontario schools will be a Bay Street articling student. We have quite a few current (Uriel) or former (Jaggers) partner track associates at Bay Street firms on this forum that can and do offer advice to students. I'd argue this forum is well equipped to handle questions regarding Bay Street hiring and jobs  

What we don't have, as far as I can tell, is a judge. It's not that we don't have a Supreme Court Justice, it's that we don't have a single representative from the judiciary on this forum (at least openly outed as a justice). Hell, I don't even think we have anyone that clerked at the SCC. For that reason, along with a host of others, this forum is not well equipped to explain how to become one of the 9 most powerful members of the legal profession in Canada.

I'd say this also extends to issues like elder law, which make up a microscopic subsection of the legal profession. We don't have an elder law lawyer, and most of the people on this board have never met someone that practices elder law as their main focus. We do know that there are maybe a dozen or two lawyers in the country that practice that kind of law, but we have no idea how they got there, what their practice is like, etc. For that reason, the best advice this forum can give is the same advice we can give for becoming a Supreme Court justice: do really fucking well in school, do really fucking well in your career, and hope the right people like you. 

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35 minutes ago, cbee said:

Alright.  Point taken everyone.  

And really, no sarcasm, thanks for being honest and trying to push people (and me) into realistic expectations.  

The thing that has upset me isn't about not thinking I'm special (I'm not) and it isn't about my dreams being shattered that I can't help children in Africa with my law degree.  The thing is, when I'm asking earnest questions on a form that is often very useful, and only getting responses that are basically 'don't even consider that job' as defeatist.  I'm not asking if I can be the prime minister, I'm asking HOW does one become the prime minister.  Well, first you go to law school (or snowboarding school), then you volunteer at your local MP's office bla bla bla.  We are all (theoretically) adults here that can make up our own minds about what is realistic and once we have the tools to make a decision, then we can do that.  Let me give you an example from something I know a lot about.  

People ask me about opening a restaurant all the time.  I never think it's a good idea.  Ever.  But if someone asks to sit down with me and have a coffee to talk about it (this happens often btw), I tell them everything they need to know in order to open that restaurant.  I tell them that they should work in one first, I tell them that they should talk to other restaurant owners, and I tell them what kinds of things are really, really important to do before opening (like having a lawyer look at the lease...biggest mistake I ever made....cost me over 100k).  Anyhow, after all of that is said and done, I ask them if they want to know what I think of their concept personally, and then I tell them that they should know what they are getting into, and probably not open it.  

The point is, I am answering the question they are asking, and then I slip in my personal feelings about their odds and what kind of a life they are looking to have in the future.  

What makes this even more frustrating is that it's true that none of you know me, but I'm not financially motivated at all.  I want to work in an area of law that will be rewarding, but I'll be happy to make 50-60k for the rest of my life.  I'm not rich, I just don't want to be.  I'm also going to be lucky enough to finish law school mostly debt free (if I go to UofM) or just a bit in debt (if I get into Ottawa).  So I'm less worried about landing a job right away than some people might be. 

It's true that people in person might be nicer than on forums, but it might also be that online people can be condescending and dismissive because they aren't face to face with someone.  The people I'm talking to at work are all regular customers whom I've known for years.  And they have told me where I'm being a total idiot, so I feel that I can trust some of the opinions I get.  

I am very grateful that people are trying to be helpful, but until MPs last post, it didn't really feel like that.   I'm believe that people SHOULD be encouraged to be their best, and what that is is different for everyone.  Sure, if I get shitty marks in law school, I'm not going to be able to have my choice of jobs.  My question was more about what kind of courses should I be taking at which law school to achieve the goals I'm looking to achieve.  And if I fail?  Fair enough. 

MP, thanks for trying to give me the advice that you wish you had gotten.  I really do appreciate it.  Sometimes face to face conversations are better than these online ones because we can react in real time and not in posts, with you turning to sarcasm, and me rage posting about negativity.  

Now, how the hell do I get on the supreme court? 

I agree with almost all of this post, and I believe there is a reasonable middle ground here. That is, I don't think that this forum should be about blind affirmation. But there is a point at which negativity for negativity's own sake can and does become a problem. On a bad day I can be guilty of that myself, and I try to avoid it. Correction is welcome if I dig too far in that direction.

Here's where I'm going to disagree with eeeee above (how many e's do I need?) and point out that when you add details like your financial situation and your willingness to earn less it does impact the quality and the nature of the replies you'll receive. I don't want to deconstruct whatever exchange you had with MP elsewhere. I wasn't paying attention. But I know from experience that a lot of questions on this board (not necessarily yours) start out as very general inquiries and then on receiving answers that presuppose no other specific factors and treat the person asking "X" as a typical example of anyone asking "X" the outraged reply is often some variation of "how dare you pretend to know me - don't you realize X, Y, and Z and don't you feel stupid now?!?" (Where X, Y, and Z may or may not change the advice already offered, but were certainly not stated along with the original question).

Interrogating the question isn't done to death. It will never be done to death. It isn't just a way to screw with people. It's a vital part of giving meaningful advice. Again, I know people don't really come here as "clients" and my role here isn't to be a "lawyer" per say, but there's a certain logical framework within which all lawyers operate and there's a reason we became lawyers in the first place. I can't break out of it even if I wanted to, and I don't think my advice would be better if I could. My clients constantly ask the wrong questions, and if all I did for them is provide a straight, factual answer then my reply would be useless at best, and dangerously misleading at worst. A lawyer must dig deeper into any question to determine the assumptions and the intentions behind it, in order to give a meaningful reply.

Honestly. We all know this. We all know this. I don't think almost anyone here would imagine that when someone comes and says "if I attend Bond can I still practice law in Canada" that a full and complete answer starts and ends with "yes." If anyone really thinks that's what this forum should be, and that's all this forum should be, it could be replaced with Yahoo Answers. We might debate on exactly how much and how strenuously that hypothetical someone should be warned about foreign legal education. And that's a continual debate. But I don't think anyone believes the whole thing ends with "yes." So unless you do believe that, you endorse interrogating the question whether you realize it or not.

I think treating anyone here as special is a bad plan. But I'm willing to treat people as more specific case examples, provided they supply the required information. I'll even suspend class judgment as much as I can to give meaningful advice. If you want to work in International Human Rights Law and you family is so mother fucking rich that it never matters if you ever earn a living wage doing it, your chances of doing that kind of work are going to go drastically up. I'm willing to embrace that advice. And if you're willing and able to self-employ then the risk of attending a foreign law school, going the NCA route and maybe even the LPP ... that does lead to a career, in the end, if you have the financial and personal wherewithal to start your own practice. The "ifs" matter a lot here.

Anyway, I don't think we disagree so very much. But I feel this forum is very constructive, all else allowed for. I sure as hell wouldn't go back to what it was 10 years ago, when it was mainly wannabe law students encouraging each other to study hard for the LSAT, score 175+, and overcome their 2.something GPAs, because you know, hold on to your dreams and all that. I'll take a hard reality check over that bullshit any day of the week.

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