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stark9696

D+ average in 1L: Feel Broken

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37 minutes ago, Hegdis said:

(A C in Criminal, however, would be a problem. If you can't understand criminal law and apply its principles to real life situations, you aren't good for much more than the above.)

Yeah, but even that can be overcome right? Clinic work, a great reference from said clinic and/or a crim prof you RA for and/or acing crim pro/evidence in 2L.*

 

*note though I'm only a student with crim experience under my belt. I defer to all the practitioners on here of course.

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18 hours ago, PerniciousLaw said:

You mentioned average grades. Is a B average with a couple C+s considered average?

I’m not interested in Bay Street. I’m interested in criminal law. 

Let’s just say I maintain these exact grades. Will they close the door to criminal law work?

One midterm I got the C+ on was worth 60%. However, if I do better on the final in April, it will be worth 60% and the midterm from fall will be worth 40%. And like I mentioned above the other midterm I got the C+ on is for a fail safe course.

Torts?

60% fall?

40% final?

 

Don't worry, intentional torts is easier than negligence. Learn Bruce's law, not just what's in the book.

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14 hours ago, Hegdis said:

As a bonus round, top 4 things an articled student needs to know how to do when working for a criminal defence lawyer, by type of appearance:

1. All:

- is the client (supposed to be) here and if not, is counsel designation filed so you can appear on their behalf? Who is counsel of record on this file? You need to be clear. It is entirely possible to have to say this by way of intro: "Your Honour, it's Dis, first initial H, articled Student for Mr. Moore Gann, appearing as agent for counsel of record Ms. Provi Dance, and on behalf of the accused Mr. Dip Lock, pursuant to filed counsel designation notice."

(And then the court will screw it all up and say "Could you spell your name again, counsel?" And then you'll be like "It's D-I-S, your Honour, I'm an articled student for...") 

2. Adjournments: 

- why and for how long, and do you have explicit instructions to waive delay per Jordan? Do you even know what that means? If you don't, learn it before you walk into court or you're in for a lot of judicial grilling. And make sure you ask your principle lawyer because holy God you never ever ever wing it when you are waiving client rights. That stuff is important. Smart defence check in with Crown to see if they are going to oppose the adjournment ahead of time.

3. Trial Adjournments:

- when was the first Information sworn (the -1 is the first in time, and then numbers and letters get added as the Crown alters / adds charges: you want the -1 because it starts the Jordan clock which you now know all about, right?), when was the matter arraigned, what is the current trial date, whose fault is it, if it's yours' are you waiving delay, if you aren't what did you as the defence do to keep this on the rails as much as possible, and when is the earliest trial date you can set according to the courthouse schedulers that you talked to this morning? You never go in to this application without having talked to Crown and knowing exactly what their position is ahead of time because this might be a soft sell or a hard sell and you don't want to find out it's the latter last minute. 

4. Fixing Dates / Arraignment:

- arraignment is making an election and entering a plea. Crown has an election and defence has an election and you'd better know what both of them are for your file. If Crown is proceeding indictably you have to know whether you want a provincial court judge or a superior court judge or a jury. Don't wing it. You need to know if you can waive the reading of the charges and enter pleas on behalf of your client or if it's actually a good idea for this client to hear the whole thing read out and then answer himself on the record (ie the CYA against an application to withdraw the plea later). You need to know if you have all disclosure, and preferably if you'll be bringing a Charter application that would affect the time estimate, and the time estimate itself. You need to have the lawyer's calendar or at the very least be able to call the office while you set the dates to ensure your lawyer is available - oddly, some students forget this.

 

Anyway, this is really just an illustrative list and is in no way advice for any particular file. But for students checking in, this is the kind of knowledge you want lined up that maybe no one is going to teach you. A clinic will teach you a lot of it. These are basic appearances most students need to do in their first week of articles and certainly in their first month. And none of that has a damn thing to do with your C in Torts. (A C in Criminal, however, would be a problem. If you can't understand criminal law and apply its principles to real life situations, you aren't good for much more than the above.)

Hi, 

Sorry for the delay. And again, thank you for all these detailed posts. 

I just want to bring up three points. 

First, I think I am more interested in the Crown side. How, if at all, does this change your advice? 

Second, let's just assume that the couple of C+s that I got on my midterms were final grades. I do believe I can raise my average to higher than a B, where it currently stands, by the end of law school. How badly will those C+s come back to haunt me? I know you said the C in torts (which was actually a C+ lol :) ) doesn't matter, but I am not sure if you are giving that advice on the basis of it being a final, or a midterm grade. 

Third, I am applying to the Legal Clinic at school for 1L summer. I have the following questions about cover letters:  

  1. What do you suggest I put in my cover letter?
  2. Should I try to "explain away" the couple of C+s? 
  3. You mentioned service earlier. I have some retail experience from before law school. I also have some pro bono experience from before law school as well. Are these the kinds of experiences you are referring to? Should I even bring this up in my cover letter? 
  4. If there is one thing I absolutely must, must, must include, what would it be?

Thanks Hegdis :) 

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For the legal clinic letter you should note your intention to work in criminal law and your goal to get as much experience as you can assisting clients and managing files and attending court. Speak to whatever star student is currently in the clinic, learn what the clinic needs, and ask if you can drop their name in the letter. 

Other current students may have more or better advice. 

For Crown stuff we should page @Malicious Prosecutor

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On 1/19/2018 at 2:48 PM, Hegdis said:

For the legal clinic letter you should note your intention to work in criminal law and your goal to get as much experience as you can assisting clients and managing files and attending court. Speak to whatever star student is currently in the clinic, learn what the clinic needs, and ask if you can drop their name in the letter. 

Other current students may have more or better advice. 

For Crown stuff we should page @Malicious Prosecutor

@PerniciousLaw I'll always come when summoned, but at this stage I've got nothing to add to Hegdis' excellent posts.  If I understand correctly you're applying to your schools legal clinic.  The fact you're ultimately more interested in a Crown position later on down the road doesn't change anything.

Only question I have: at least based on my local law school's program, there are two different ways of participating in a law clinic.  For starters I think any student who is interested can participate and get a file or two to manage.  Otherwise however there are supervisors (or whatever their term is) - this is a paid position where you work over the summer for the clinic, and you oversee a great many more files, even during the school year.

It sounds like you're applying for that paid position.  That's an excellent position to take, and certainly gives you a leg up in getting a crim law job.  However, it will mean you won't be able to get a Crown summer law job.  Now there are very few Crown 1L summer jobs, but those that do get them are seemingly all but guaranteed to get a Crown articling position.  But still if you get the paid clinic job I think it would be foolish to turn down.

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Hegdis has said everything I would have and 10 times better - as a sole practitioner in criminal and poverty law, I sign on to all of it. I would add one thing or maybe just sum up what has been said: just because you feel limited by bad grades, don't make the mistake of feeling that you can't hone in on a particular practice area or that you have to keep your options open. There is nothing more transparent than meeting a student looking for articles who is trying to find out what they do so they can look interested and impress you but would do the same whether you practiced criminal, family or wills and estates. I know sometimes in law school you truly aren't sure what you want to do or have multiple areas of interest; I was like that to an extent. But I would say that if you have bad grades, that's all the more reason to commit to a specific area of interest that is realistic given your grades, and go all-out in that area. That definitely gives you an edge over someone with average grades who is hedging about what they want to do. 

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1 hour ago, Malicious Prosecutor said:

@PerniciousLaw I'll always come when summoned, but at this stage I've got nothing to add to Hegdis' excellent posts.  If I understand correctly you're applying to your schools legal clinic.  The fact you're ultimately more interested in a Crown position later on down the road doesn't change anything.

Only question I have: at least based on my local law school's program, there are two different ways of participating in a law clinic.  For starters I think any student who is interested can participate and get a file or two to manage.  Otherwise however there are supervisors (or whatever their term is) - this is a paid position where you work over the summer for the clinic, and you oversee a great many more files, even during the school year.

It sounds like you're applying for that paid position.  That's an excellent position to take, and certainly gives you a leg up in getting a crim law job.  However, it will mean you won't be able to get a Crown summer law job.  Now there are very few Crown 1L summer jobs, but those that do get them are seemingly all but guaranteed to get a Crown articling position.  But still if you get the paid clinic job I think it would be foolish to turn down.

Thanks for the message. 

You are correct. I am applying at my law school's legal clinic. It is a paid position. Students basically work on files with review counsel. 

I was already viewing the crown summer positions for 1Ls and 2Ls, but there were no positions in the city I live in. I don't know how feasible it would have been to move during the summer to work. Plus, I only came across I think only 1L position. The rest were 2L positions.  At any rate, I decided against applying because I figured I could apply to my school to work at the legal clinic. 

I am in the process of making my resume and cover letter :) 

And @lioness - thank you for the post. However, I have been told that that my grades are not necessarily 'bad'. This confusion was the reason why I initially posted in this thread. I thought a B average was horrible. I am not sure if you read what my average was elsewhere, but if you did, is a B actually bad? (if you read this maximumbob - I am sorry. I know you said a B average is average, but this post reignited my fear). 

Edited by PerniciousLaw

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25 minutes ago, PerniciousLaw said:

Thanks for the message. 

You are correct. I am applying at my law school's legal clinic. It is a paid position. Students basically work on files with review counsel. 

I was already viewing the crown summer positions for 1Ls and 2Ls, but there were no positions in the city I live in. I don't know how feasible it would have been to move during the summer to work. Plus, I only came across I think only 1L position. The rest were 2L positions.  At any rate, I decided against applying because I figured I could apply to my school to work at the legal clinic. 

I am in the process of making my resume and cover letter  

And @lioness - thank you for the post. However, I have been told that that my grades are not necessarily 'bad'. This confusion was the reason why I initially posted in this thread. I thought a B average was horrible. I am not sure if you read what my average was elsewhere, but if you did, is a B actually bad? (if you read this maximumbob - I am sorry. I know you said a B average is average, but this post reignited my fear). 

is the average law student at your school "horrible"? Because that's the logical conclusion of your statement. No, a B average is not horrible.

 

However, thinking a B average is horrible can be horrible, because if someone gets an idea of that they'll think you think their B average when they were at school wasn't good enough (so don't come off thinking this).

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10 minutes ago, pzabbythesecond said:

is the average law student at your school "horrible"? Because that's the logical conclusion of your statement. No, a B average is not horrible.

 

However, thinking a B average is horrible can be horrible, because if someone gets an idea of that they'll think you think their B average when they were at school wasn't good enough (so don't come off thinking this).

Yeah, I agree. Maybe using the word horrible was a bit extreme. I should be more humble about this stuff. Thanks for your input :) 

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6 hours ago, PerniciousLaw said:

Yeah, I agree. Maybe using the word horrible was a bit extreme. I should be more humble about this stuff. Thanks for your input :) 

 

Many 1L students are not used to seeing B or C+ in all their undergrat years.

B average from law school is not as bad as you think. 

 

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11 minutes ago, Luckycharm said:

Many 1L students are not used to seeing B or C+ in all their undergrat years.

B average from law school is not as bad as you think. 

 

I can definitely attest to your statement. Thanks for the encouragement :)

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