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Current Canadian Law School Rankings??

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3 hours ago, erinl2 said:



No, the fairest way is to not try to rank schools. Seriously, I don't get why people are so focused on imaginary rankings. And to go by whatever type of ranking that the banks do for their LOCs, is just silly. I'm not sure that those bank lists really mean anything anyway. I haven't seen students from schools other than those in Group A have difficulty getting approved for LOCs.

Nothing wrong with ranking. Should be more of it. There’s nothing imaginery about them. I know many people who selected law schools based on ranking and it impacts hiring and about everything else you can imagine about a legal career. 

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Ironically, I've found that the people who generally say rankings don't matter fall into two extreme spectrums - those that went to U of T law (many of the ranking naysayers on this forum are U of T law grads), and Windsor/Ottawa/Lakehead/ and other lower ranked law schools. Maybe the students at U of T underestimate how much the reputation of their school has actually helped them in the job market. Rankings may matter depending on the practice and industry you're going into. If you think industries outside of law don't rank law schools, then you're mistaken. The banks are doing it and so are many corporations. Big law firms certainly rank law schools based on OCI hiring rates. They generally don't matter for public interest jobs and small-mid sized firms. But there is nothing wrong with people wanting to know about how law schools are perceived in comparison to one another. Are people calling out business school rankings as imaginary rankings? Are people comparing Waterloo engineering with Guelph engineering and saying that it is an imaginary ranking? Torys has fewer than 10 lawyers from Windsor. Going through some of the litigation giants like Paliare Roland, the majority of lawyers are from U of T, Osgoode, and McGill with some UBC and Dalhousie sprinkled in. 

Edit: Rankings may or may not matter depending on a) the firm and practice area of law you're trying to get into b) industry (people do leave law to enter the business and tech sectors and not all law schools are viewed equally by these employers)

Edited by Grinch
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it is near impossible to not get approval for students attending say, U of T or Osgoode, where it can be more challenging to get approval for say, Thompson River. I could be wrong though.



If this is true, then how do you explain Windsor Dual JD students getting approval for $150,000?

Ironically, I've found that the people who generally say rankings don't matter fall into two extreme spectrums - those that went to U of T law (many of the ranking naysayers on this forum are U of T law grads), and Windsor/Ottawa/Lakehead/ and other lower ranked law schools.



The fact that I'm a U of T grad has nothing to do with my previous comment. To base any decision on a list from financial institutions would be silly. I know probably hundreds of lawyers, and likely some from every law school across Canada. I clerked with grads of many law schools, and knew even more at other levels of the courts. I've now been involved in interviewing and hiring for six years at my firm, and have colleagues and friends doing the same at all kinds of employers. There are good candidates and bad candidates from virtually every school. The only time I've seen school making an impact is if the applicant attended a foreign law school.

Big law firms certainly rank law schools based on OCI hiring rates.



There's much more to OCI hiring figures than what schools students attend. Look, no one is claiming that the school you attend is not of some consequence but I have yet to see any specific, scientific rankings of Canadian law schools that was of much, if any, value.

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45 minutes ago, erinl2 said:

There's much more to OCI hiring figures than what schools students attend. Look, no one is claiming that the school you attend is not of some consequence but I have yet to see any specific, scientific rankings of Canadian law schools that was of much, if any, value.

That’s the point it is of some significance. No one is claiming it’s the only consideration. 

Of course not because the ranking of law schools is inherently at least in part subjective. Like of hard science to ranking doesn’t mean it has no utility  

I’ve hired many law students. For me school attended was and will continue to be a material consideration. 

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3 hours ago, Constant said:

That’s the point it is of some significance. No one is claiming it’s the only consideration. 

Of course not because the ranking of law schools is inherently at least in part subjective. Like of hard science to ranking doesn’t mean it has no utility  

I’ve hired many law students. For me school attended was and will continue to be a material consideration. 

Yea, this was what I was trying to get across. For full disclosure, I went to Windsor and I will never make the claim that my alma mater is equal (at least in terms of reputation) to other law schools like U of T, McGill, Osgoode, UBC, etc... not even Western and Queen's. Most people were here because they didn't get into any other Ontario law school. There are definitely people who succeed in terms of OCIs, clerkships, etc., but the numbers are much lower than it would be at other schools. I feel like everyone erinl2 knows are probably very accomplished people, given the fact that she went to U of T, clerked, and works at a reputable litigation boutique herself. I can tell you that for every 1 accomplished Windsor student you meet, there are probably 9 others who are overall rather mediocre and struggle in the job market. There are strong students at every school, but on average, the stronger and more capable students attend a handful of law schools. Law school rankings are subjective but this does not mean that it is non-consequential or non-existent. This forum is quick to crucify anyone who asks this question, but it's a very valid concern to have. There are still students from Windsor looking for articling positions right now. Can we say that there are still many U of T, Osgoode, UBC, McGill, Dalhousie students searching for articles?

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12 minutes ago, Grinch said:

Yea, this was what I was trying to get across. For full disclosure, I went to Windsor and I will never make the claim that my alma mater is equal (at least in terms of reputation) to other law schools like U of T, McGill, Osgoode, UBC, etc... not even Western and Queen's. Most people were here because they didn't get into any other Ontario law school. There are definitely people who succeed in terms of OCIs, clerkships, etc., but the numbers are much lower than it would be at other schools. I feel like everyone erinl2 knows are probably very accomplished people, given the fact that she went to U of T, clerked, and works at a reputable litigation boutique herself. I can tell you that for every 1 accomplished Windsor student you meet, there are probably 9 others who are overall rather mediocre and struggle in the job market. There are strong students at every school, but on average, the stronger and more capable students attend a handful of law schools. Law school rankings are subjective but this does not mean that it is non-consequential or non-existent. This forum is quick to crucify anyone who asks this question, but it's a very valid concern to have. There are still students from Windsor looking for articling positions right now. Can we say that there are still many U of T, Osgoode, UBC, McGill, Dalhousie students searching for articles?

I can confirm that there are students from these schools that are still searching for articles. Whether the percentage is lower, I'm not sure.

I do think it's silly to pretend that choice of law school doesn't matter. It does. I don't think we can make a definitive ranking list the way US schools are able to because there is a much tighter range of stats needed to get into any Canadian law school. With that said, there is a bias in the market (at least from what I've observed through first hand experience). Every year we see that recruiters will reach farther into the class at some schools than at others. And this makes sense. Many (some?) of the law students and 0Ls who obsess over rankings eventually grow up to become the associates making hiring decision .. unsurprisingly those biases stay with them and influence the way they hire

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You cannot really rank schools by student success though (defined for the sake of argument as employment prospects) because that is a function of the student more than the school. Let's say Student A is Eddie Greenspan incarnate and Student B is Saul Goodman. Eddie goes to UofT, does great, and gets a great job. Saul goes to Windsor, doesn't do very well, and struggles to find employment. Ranking schools from that sample size, you would say UofT = job, Windsor != job. But that is not entirely accurate. The reality is that Eddie = job and Saul != job.

Whenever someone tries to rank schools their list generally mirrors admission standards. That is, the hardest schools to get into are at the top and the easiest are at the bottom. The students who have the stats to get into UofT are going to get a job whether they go to UofT, Windsor, wherever. If Ryerson sets their minimum admission standards as near-perfect LSAT + undergraduate/graduate medalists, then you can bet that all of their students will get hired and quick.

The reality is that Canadian schools are all extremely similar in their actual qualities. There certainly are variables involved, e.g. different clinics, locations, philosophies, non-core course offerings, etc. Generally speaking, the regular posters on this forum tend to suggest that people pick their law schools on the basis of those variables. I agree. If UofT has more money and therefore more clinic placements than Windsor (wouldn't know on either end), that is a reason to pick UofT over Windsor. But if all the UofT clinics are business related and you want to do criminal law, that is a reason to perhaps not pick UofT. Another example, maybe you don't give a crap about social justice and want to wheel & deal on Bay Street. Again, my understanding of the differing philosophies of the schools suggests that you should pick UofT over Windsor. But that choice has nothing to do with which is ranked higher - it is simply a matter of which school is likely to be a better fit for the individual applicant.

This leads to the overarching problem with school rankings: rankings profess to be objective, but an individual's school preference is subjective. Eddie may have very good reasons to choose Windsor, and anybody who then looks at his job application and thinks his school choice reflects poorly on his ability is doing nothing but hurting their firm.

Edited by Queensberry
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15 hours ago, Grinch said:

Yea, this was what I was trying to get across. For full disclosure, I went to Windsor and I will never make the claim that my alma mater is equal (at least in terms of reputation) to other law schools like U of T, McGill, Osgoode, UBC, etc... not even Western and Queen's. Most people were here because they didn't get into any other Ontario law school. There are definitely people who succeed in terms of OCIs, clerkships, etc., but the numbers are much lower than it would be at other schools. I feel like everyone erinl2 knows are probably very accomplished people, given the fact that she went to U of T, clerked, and works at a reputable litigation boutique herself. I can tell you that for every 1 accomplished Windsor student you meet, there are probably 9 others who are overall rather mediocre and struggle in the job market. There are strong students at every school, but on average, the stronger and more capable students attend a handful of law schools. Law school rankings are subjective but this does not mean that it is non-consequential or non-existent. This forum is quick to crucify anyone who asks this question, but it's a very valid concern to have. There are still students from Windsor looking for articling positions right now. Can we say that there are still many U of T, Osgoode, UBC, McGill, Dalhousie students searching for articles?

Potentially related depending on your definition of accomplished, but there's a surprising amount of Windsor students who work as law clerks in 1L summer. I've been really impressed by the Windsor CDO and the overall opportunities. 

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1 hour ago, Queensberry said:

You cannot really rank schools by student success though (defined for the sake of argument as employment prospects) because that is a function of the student more than the school. Let's say Student A is Eddie Greenspan incarnate and Student B is Saul Goodman. Eddie goes to UofT, does great, and gets a great job. Saul goes to Windsor, doesn't do very well, and struggles to find employment. Ranking schools from that sample size, you would say UofT = job, Windsor != job. But that is not entirely accurate. The reality is that Eddie = job and Saul != job.

Whenever someone tries to rank schools their list generally mirrors admission standards. That is, the hardest schools to get into are at the top and the easiest are at the bottom. The students who have the stats to get into UofT are going to get a job whether they go to UofT, Windsor, wherever. If Ryerson sets their minimum admission standards as near-perfect LSAT + undergraduate/graduate medalists, then you can bet that all of their students will get hired and quick.

The reality is that Canadian schools are all extremely similar in their actual qualities. There certainly are variables involved, e.g. different clinics, locations, philosophies, non-core course offerings, etc. Generally speaking, the regular posters on this forum tend to suggest that people pick their law schools on the basis of those variables. I agree. If UofT has more money and therefore more clinic placements than Windsor (wouldn't know on either end), that is a reason to pick UofT over Windsor. But if all the UofT clinics are business related and you want to do criminal law, that is a reason to perhaps not pick UofT. Another example, maybe you don't give a crap about social justice and want to wheel & deal on Bay Street. Again, my understanding of the differing philosophies of the schools suggests that you should pick UofT over Windsor. But that choice has nothing to do with which is ranked higher - it is simply a matter of which school is likely to be a better fit for the individual applicant.

This leads to the overarching problem with school rankings: rankings profess to be objective, but an individual's school preference is subjective. Eddie may have very good reasons to choose Windsor, and anybody who then looks at his job application and thinks his school choice reflects poorly on his ability is doing nothing but hurting their firm.

This reply is very well put.  I don't think there's more to add tbh.  I am not in law school yet, but from my understanding, someone who is top of their class, regardless of where will succeed.  It's about one's ability, not the school's reputation, albeit it may factor due to overarching biases of a potential employer.  Glad I read this thread nonetheless because I want to go to Windsor and have no interest in its reputation.

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I went to school in the US, so I'm pretty familiar with the obsession of ranking schools. At the end of the day, what really matters is employment prospects. Biglaw + fed clerkship numbers are used as a proxy for "good" employment, simply because these jobs are viewed as the most prestigious (lol) and, more importantly, are the only jobs that will give you a shot at paying off your massive debt load. And with how oversaturated the US legal market is, low-key jobs like state gov and small firms are a lot harder to get, even for people at t14s. 

So in terms of obtaining high-paying employment, I think it's fair to say that UofT is a cut above the rest, with the other Canadian law schools clumped together in a mushy middle ground, and maybe the newer law schools placed at a rung just below that. So people aren't far off by saying rankings don't matter, since the majority of Canadian law schools are effectively peers. 

Like in the US, these rankings fall apart when we start discussing more niche outcomes like local government or small firms. The local PD in Orange County isn't going to care about your T14 degree - they're going to care about your commitment to the cause and willingness to stick around in the long term.

In regards to employment prospects being determined by the student and not the school, I think it's hard to say. Like, a student at Berkeley would probably do just as well at Emory (ranked in the 20s) and end up securing biglaw anyways, simply because Berkeley attracts stronger students. Still, a lot of people (at least on US law forums) subscribe to the idea that you can't predict law school performance. So not many would recommend Emory over Berkeley at similar costs (probably because when you take out a lot of debt, you need every little perceived advantage you can get to avoid debtors prison).  

Just my 2 cents. 

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10 minutes ago, GodotXVII said:

So in terms of obtaining high-paying employment, I think it's fair to say that UofT is a cut above the rest, with the other Canadian law schools clumped together in a mushy middle ground

By using your own proxy, McGill is just at where u of t is in terms of placement into big law. A weak way to determine ranking (as you agree), but I just wanted to clear that up. Since tuition is roughly 1/4 that of u of t, the paying off massive debt factor ends up being far more in favour of McGill too. 

 

Ontario students who speak French, apply!

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14 minutes ago, GodotXVII said:

Still, a lot of people (at least on US law forums) subscribe to the idea that you can't predict law school performance. 

Statistically speaking, they're somewhat accurate. The highest number I've seen was around 50 percent. Certainly, I don't like assigning my fate to a coin toss odds when I can chase the better employment outcomes by school.

Edited by pzabbythesecond
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23 minutes ago, pzabbythesecond said:

By using your own proxy, McGill is just at where u of t is in terms of placement into big law. A weak way to determine ranking (as you agree), but I just wanted to clear that up. Since tuition is roughly 1/4 that of u of t, the paying off massive debt factor ends up being far more in favour of McGill too. 

 

Ontario students who speak French, apply!

I didn't lump McGill in with UofT because I couldn't find any employment statistics for their law school (could you link it if you have it?) I know UofT places 60% into biglaw + clerkships and another 10% or so into market-paying boutiques, as published here: https://www.law.utoronto.ca/student-life/career-development-office/career-statistics. If McGill is hitting these numbers as well then I agree with your point (if you're looking at both schools at sticker). 

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1 hour ago, GodotXVII said:

I didn't lump McGill in with UofT because I couldn't find any employment statistics for their law school (could you link it if you have it?) I know UofT places 60% into biglaw + clerkships and another 10% or so into market-paying boutiques, as published here: https://www.law.utoronto.ca/student-life/career-development-office/career-statistics. If McGill is hitting these numbers as well then I agree with your point (if you're looking at both schools at sticker). 

McGill is similar. McGill doesn't publish its CDO numbers so I don't feel at ease doing so here. But combining NY Toronto Montreal and clerkship numbers, never mind leading boutiques, it hits similar numbers. Especially since McGill also places some percentage in European firms and courts which often gets ignored. 

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I just think this discussion is becoming a bit silly. I am sorry if anyone’s sensibilities are offended, but saying rankings don’t matter at all, or that it is “impossible” to rank Canadian law schools is just patently false. 

 

The fact of the matter is that prospective law students visit this board and deserve an honest account of how the schools stack up against one another. It benefits nobody to claim that a JD from Windsor Law or Ottawa Law or Thompson River Law will carry the same weight as a JD from U of T, Osgoode Hall, or McGill. 

 

Yes, of course it is true that someone who finished second in their class at Windsor will likely make more money, have more opportunities, and a generally easier life than someone who finishes second last in their class at U of T. But on the *aggregate* students who hold JD’s from U of T, Osgoode, UBC, McGill, Western etc will be *generally* better off than those with JD’s from Windsor, Ottawa, Lakehead, TRU, Calgary, etc. 

 

If rankings don’t matter, then again, why would Canada’s two largest financial institutions (and two largest companies) rank them? Why would TD Bank make the distinction between UBC and TRU? Osgoode Hall and Lakehead? These banks not only rank the schools, but they do so transparently and all it takes to get their rankings is a five minute phone call. 

 

With that said, it must also be made clear that a JD from ANY Canadian law school is solid. We are not nearly in the same boat as the USA or Britian where there can be a massive disparity between the top schools and the worst. Like much of post-secondary in Canada, the quality of our schools is far more closer to parity than it is in other parts of the world. Love where you went to school, but let’s keep honesty as part of the discussion! 

 

Edited by LibertyAndJustice
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4 minutes ago, LibertyAndJustice said:

JD from U of T, Osgoode Hall, or McGill

Certainly. Seeing how McGill doesn't grant JDs, I'm certain a JD from Ottawa TWU and Windsor would carry more weight.

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9 minutes ago, LibertyAndJustice said:

If rankings don’t matter, then again, why would Canada’s two largest financial institutions (and two largest companies) rank them? Why would TD Bank make the distinction between UBC and TRU? Osgoode Hall and Lakehead? These banks not only rank the schools, but they do so transparently and all it takes to get their rankings is a five minute phone call.

While it may be true that law schools can be ranked, why would we put so much stock into the way that a couple of banks rank them?  To my understanding, we don't know how or why they chose the ranking that they did.  To the extent that their ranking is methodologically sound, it is probably all about future economic prospects and other economic factors, which wouldn't be the only variable that most people would use to rank schools. 

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47 minutes ago, ProfReader said:

While it may be true that law schools can be ranked, why would we put so much stock into the way that a couple of banks rank them?  To my understanding, we don't know how or why they chose the ranking that they did.  To the extent that their ranking is methodologically sound, it is probably all about future economic prospects and other economic factors, which wouldn't be the only variable that most people would use to rank schools. 

I think for many prospective, current, and past students, “future economic prospects” is likely a very massive factor in their choosing a law school....

 

Also, it isn’t just “a couple banks”... it’s the two largest companies in the entire country...

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