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Ozorut

Osgoode or U of T for public sector

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I was recently admitted to both U of T and Osgoode. Though I was pretty adamant about Oz, I'm not so sure anymore. 

I know we have all heard about the corporate vibe at UT, and that most people are likely to say that Oz would fit my interests (human rights, immigration, domestic violence) better. But I'm really wondering if I should decline UT for Oz, given that Oz also has a large number of corporate law courses and UT also has excellent social justice related courses as well as clinicals I'm interested in. Though UT is famous for is corporate focus, from what I've gathered it's not as if Osgoode also isn't corporate focused at all either.

So please don't answer with the typical "U of T is all Bay Street or bust." I know that is the focus of the program and many students. I want to hear from people interested in social justice at both schools about what their program offers and doesn't. 

I should mention that fortunately finances are not an issue.

Thank you so much!

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1 hour ago, Ozorut said:

my interests (human rights, immigration, domestic violence)

Can you elaborate on what you'd like to be doing in the public sector? Based on these interests, it sounds like you're more oriented toward NGO work than government, yes?

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46 minutes ago, whereverjustice said:

Can you elaborate on what you'd like to be doing in the public sector? Based on these interests, it sounds like you're more oriented toward NGO work than government, yes?

Hi yes I would say so.  Should also add that I'm also interested in potentially pursuing graduate legal studies.

Edited by Ozorut
edited my interests

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8 hours ago, Ozorut said:

Though UT is famous for is corporate focus, from what I've gathered it's not as if Osgoode also isn't corporate focused at all either.

I'm not sure either of these is true. Like, both law schools will offer decent coverage of "corporate" topics (by which we really mean "big business topics", right?), and that's really standard to all law schools. To call it a 'focus' would be a bit much, I think, and FWIW, AFAIK only Western actually brands itself as focused on business law. Like, here are the fall and winter exam timetables at Osgoode. What proportion of those courses are specifically 'corporate'?

Anyway, that aside. My first instinct is that this might be a case where going to UT for lay prestige might have some value: Eventually you get hired by an NGO, and the NGO needs to justify your expensive salary to their donors, so it helps them if they can add that Ozorut, JD, LLM graduated from the prestigious U of T law school. That said, I'd think more important will be the next sentence in your bio: "Ozorut articled at X, and then practiced Y law for five years at Z, appearing in numerous cases before the Superior Court of Justice and the Court of Appeal for Ontario." So, like, one step at a time, right?

Regarding graduate studies, conventional wisdom is that it doesn't matter where you get your JD, so that's no help either.

Anyway, it sounds like you have looked at the courses and clinicals and prefer U of T. That is a perfectly reasonable basis to choose a law school. There's no "wrong choice" here.

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I very much agree with what @whereverjustice said above. That being said, a very social justice oriented family member of mine was accepted to U of T a few years ago, and left after her first semester because of how much she disliked it, reporting that she didn't like how "all anyone cared about was money." I don't know how valid her perspective is, but I thought I'd share. She transferred into a M. Ed. Program at Harvard and is now developing educational initiatives for children in the Philippines and she's loving it. 

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1 hour ago, Prospero said:

I very much agree with what @whereverjustice said above. That being said, a very social justice oriented family member of mine was accepted to U of T a few years ago, and left after her first semester because of how much she disliked it, reporting that she didn't like how "all anyone cared about was money." I don't know how valid her perspective is, but I thought I'd share. She transferred into a M. Ed. Program at Harvard and is now developing educational initiatives for children in the Philippines and she's loving it. 

I don't go to U of T and disagree with this mentality. Why can't someone want a career that pays well and provides financial stability, while also being a very social justice oriented individual on a personal level? Why do both of these concepts have to be at extreme ends? Just because your family member wants to work for the UN while others at U of T want a Bay Street job, does not mean that these two parties need to shun one another based on their respective career goals. Law school is a collaborative environment where you meet people from different walks of life. People may not share your same views and career aspirations, but most can respect it and still want to be friends with you. It sounds to me like perhaps your family friend just didn't like the culture of law school overall (and the legal profession), because why transfer into an education masters program instead of another law school altogether? Anyways, I'm not here to admonish your family member, only providing a different perspective on this particular topic. 

On another note, U of T's tuition is the highest in the country at 34k/year, so I think it is perfectly understandable that students there would care about money. 

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6 hours ago, Deadpool said:

I don't go to U of T and disagree with this mentality. Why can't someone want a career that pays well and provides financial stability, while also being a very social justice oriented individual on a personal level? Why do both of these concepts have to be at extreme ends? Just because your family member wants to work for the UN while others at U of T want a Bay Street job, does not mean that these two parties need to shun one another based on their respective career goals. Law school is a collaborative environment where you meet people from different walks of life. People may not share your same views and career aspirations, but most can respect it and still want to be friends with you. It sounds to me like perhaps your family friend just didn't like the culture of law school overall (and the legal profession), because why transfer into an education masters program instead of another law school altogether? Anyways, I'm not here to admonish your family member, only providing a different perspective on this particular topic. 

On another note, U of T's tuition is the highest in the country at 34k/year, so I think it is perfectly understandable that students there would care about money. 

People are fully entitled to want a career that pays well and provides financial stability. At the same time, other people are fully entitled to dislike people who want to spend their social, political, and educational capital in pursuit of making money instead of in pursuit of "social justice." Both views are fair. 

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On 1/14/2018 at 1:09 PM, Deadpool said:

I feel like I haven't properly examined the U of T page but it's surprising that Osgoode has more business clinics/intensives, given the perception of U of T, at least of the class, as being more bay street focused. 

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It shouldn't be that surprising. Clinics/intensives are not the only way to get what you need for any particular path. Keep in mind that you have a certain amount of time to do what you want/need to do in law school. Course selection will/should be the primary way for you to experience/learn what interests you and , although I haven't looked at each school's recently, when I was at U of T, there wasn't a lack of any particular type of course availability at either school. Practical experience through clinics will be helpful in some areas of the law but not all. Not everyone participates in these clinics/intensives/programs.

In addition to that, it's a mistake to think that the students at U of T are more Bay St focused than those at Osgoode. Have a look at the websites of many Bay St firms and you'll see many Osgoode grads. It has always been that way, and likely always will. Typically, in the OCI recruitment, the two schools have a similar number of students who are hired. The difference is that Osgoode has ~100 more students in each cohort. You'll find varied student interests at both schools, as you likely will at most Canadian law schools.

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Both U of T and Osgoode Hall are large general purpose law schools.  You can get a quality legal education at either, even if your interests are corporate, criminal, family, or if you aspire to work in the public sector.

However, U of T's tuition is $36k per year, while Osgoode Hall is $26k.  Mind you both those numbers sound ridiculous - I won't bother telling you how much I paid for tuition back in the 90s.  But that difference adds up to $30,000 over the course of your degree.  Working in the public sector can be very rewarding, but it's not going to make you rich (speaking from experience here), so I'd be strongly tempted to consider Osgoode.

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43 minutes ago, Malicious Prosecutor said:

Both U of T and Osgoode Hall are large general purpose law schools.  You can get a quality legal education at either, even if your interests are corporate, criminal, family, or if you aspire to work in the public sector.

However, U of T's tuition is $36k per year, while Osgoode Hall is $26k.  Mind you both those numbers sound ridiculous - I won't bother telling you how much I paid for tuition back in the 90s.  But that difference adds up to $30,000 over the course of your degree.  Working in the public sector can be very rewarding, but it's not going to make you rich (speaking from experience here), so I'd be strongly tempted to consider Osgoode.

IMO if you’re going to make the money argument in a U of T vs Osgoode debate I don’t think the conclusion should be “pick Osgoode”, I think the conclusion should be don’t go to either school. 

If you have the stats to get into U of T and Osgoode you can get into every other Canadian law school as well. And if you’re interested in lesser paid employment and money is a concern both McGill and UBC are equally well regarded and are much much cheaper than either U of T or Osgoode, which are the two most expensive schools in the country. I think if you’re concerned about debt you should go to one of those schools instead. 

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1 hour ago, DenningsSkiTrip said:

IMO if you’re going to make the money argument in a U of T vs Osgoode debate I don’t think the conclusion should be “pick Osgoode”, I think the conclusion should be don’t go to either school. 

If you have the stats to get into U of T and Osgoode you can get into every other Canadian law school as well. And if you’re interested in lesser paid employment and money is a concern both McGill and UBC are equally well regarded and are much much cheaper than either U of T or Osgoode, which are the two most expensive schools in the country. I think if you’re concerned about debt you should go to one of those schools instead. 

Assuming that OP wants to stay in southern Ontario to practice I do think he or she would be better off going to school in the region.

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7 hours ago, Malicious Prosecutor said:

Assuming that OP wants to stay in southern Ontario to practice I do think he or she would be better off going to school in the region.

I hear you, I just get a little lost in this whole debt discussion. If $105k from U of T is going to absolutely break someone moving forward then $82k from Osgoode, in a practical sense, isn’t any better. In such a situation (based on the argument being made) this hypothetical student really can’t afford either. And when there are other schools in Canada that you can attend for $35k for 3 years, an amount of money that won’t destroy this hypothetical student’s future finances. It starts to make sense that this student may want to move, regardless of the fact that you should go to school where you want to work. 

I agree with everything you’re saying except for the suggestion that Osgoode is a more reasonable financial decision than U of T is. It’s $105,000 vs $82,000. That really isn’t enough of a difference to say that Osgoode is a good value bet. Both are extremely expensive, especially in light of other options in Canada. The value play is one of the excellent Canadian JD programs that costs roughly a third of the amount of the two Toronto schools. 

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