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pennypp

Life After the Community Legal Clinic

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Posted (edited)

Hello!

I'm seriously considering an offer to article at a community legal clinic, but am a little worried about the low-hire back rate. I'm curious to know about the areas of law/type of practice others have pursued after articling at a community legal clinic?

Thanks!

Edited by pennypp

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I know of a couple of people went to duty counsel positions. A Toronto friend got into the contract world of the various clinics until she got a fulltime gig. 

Try to meet some small practitioners so that you can enter crim or family. Tribunal work transfers well as does the negotiation and client interviewing/case management.

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I know someone who was review counsel at a clinic for a couple of years and then went in to private practice doing mostly legal aid work. Obviously very transferable experience, although it could be tricky to go solo right after the clinic with limited experience in accounting and running the business. 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, ericontario said:

I know someone who was review counsel at a clinic for a couple of years and then went in to private practice doing mostly legal aid work. Obviously very transferable experience, although it could be tricky to go solo right after the clinic with limited experience in accounting and running the business. 

Review counsel is different than community legal clinic. You were at Western, eh? Think NLS or Elgin- Oxford doing landlord- tenant, ODSP appeal and Criminal Injuries board. Admin law work.

Review counsel oversees the students doing the criminal and family clinics. They tend to want people with some experience in the field to oversee the students. They're often associated with the university.

Edit: Each community clinic operates independently so experiences can vary widely.

Edited by artsydork

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38 minutes ago, artsydork said:

Review counsel is different than community legal clinic. You were at Western, eh? Think NLS or Elgin- Oxford doing landlord- tenant, ODSP appeal and Criminal Injuries board. Admini

Review counsel oversees the students doing the criminal and family clinics. They tend to want people with some experience in the field to oversee the students. They're often associated with the university.

Nope, I was at Ottawa and worked at the clinic for a year. Can't speak to how other schools run their clinics but I don't think the job of review counsel at UOCLC was much different than the community clinic in Ottawa. The lawyers from the community clinic actually came and did a couple of training sessions for us and we had overlap at the LTB for duty counsel services too. The supervisory role of review counsel didn't lessen their responsibility for the files we had at all. 

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At this stage in looking for articles, anywhere you might consider will have doubtful hireback prospects. Look at it this way. Some employers hire articling students as a planned strategy towards filling anticipated employment gaps in the future. They are large enough to know they will need to hire for and replace vacancies in their associate ranks, or whatever in-house or government positions may exist within their structures. But those employers hire early in the recruiting cycle. Employers who are hiring for articling students now are hiring to fill work they just need done. And those jobs may at least potentially be interesting and/or fulfilling for you, if you find the right one. But you should expect to be on the market again after any articling job you find at this point. That's just the reality. Anything else represents extremely good luck.

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On 2018-05-12 at 7:11 PM, pennypp said:

Hello!

I'm seriously considering an offer to article at a community legal clinic, but am a little worried about the low-hire back rate. I'm curious to know about the areas of law/type of practice others have pursued after articling at a community legal clinic?

Thanks!

I think it’s more important that you consider whether you are interested in the type of work the clinic does. Most people working in poverty law are either working with clinics, employed by legal aid, or have their own practices. You can always have your own practice and wait for an opportunity to open up in a clinic - having articling experience there would be an asset in the hiring process. 

If you are not interested in this type of career long-term, this may not be good for you. But if you are, then clinic experience is a great way to start it. There is no certainty or steady paycheque or a guarantee of anything in poverty law. 

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4 hours ago, Diplock said:

At this stage in looking for articles, anywhere you might consider will have doubtful hireback prospects. Look at it this way. Some employers hire articling students as a planned strategy towards filling anticipated employment gaps in the future. They are large enough to know they will need to hire for and replace vacancies in their associate ranks, or whatever in-house or government positions may exist within their structures. But those employers hire early in the recruiting cycle. Employers who are hiring for articling students now are hiring to fill work they just need done. And those jobs may at least potentially be interesting and/or fulfilling for you, if you find the right one. But you should expect to be on the market again after any articling job you find at this point. That's just the reality. Anything else represents extremely good luck.

If the poster just finished 2L, aren't most major articling prospects, including the major city recruitments, still on the table?

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1 hour ago, bernard said:

If the poster just finished 2L, aren't most major articling prospects, including the major city recruitments, still on the table?

They haven't. Sometimes I check posting history for context. Also, it would have been too early in the 2019 cycle for that to be true, though by a small margin. And the idea that community legal aid clinics would be recruiting this early in the cycle is highly unlikely, for the same reasons I cited above.

In summary, this is someone looking to article now, and not a year from now.

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18 hours ago, Diplock said:

At this stage in looking for articles, anywhere you might consider will have doubtful hireback prospects. Look at it this way. Some employers hire articling students as a planned strategy towards filling anticipated employment gaps in the future. They are large enough to know they will need to hire for and replace vacancies in their associate ranks, or whatever in-house or government positions may exist within their structures. But those employers hire early in the recruiting cycle. Employers who are hiring for articling students now are hiring to fill work they just need done. And those jobs may at least potentially be interesting and/or fulfilling for you, if you find the right one. But you should expect to be on the market again after any articling job you find at this point. That's just the reality. Anything else represents extremely good luck.

I understand that hire-back is low for most places that are hiring for the 2018-2019 term, but my main concern is whether students who article at clinics will be pigeon-holed. I don't mind poverty law work, but it's not an area that I want to remain in post-articling. I don't want to open a sole practice anytime soon, but I do want to work in-house or at a firm that practices admin. law.

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3 minutes ago, pennypp said:

I understand that hire-back is low for most places that are hiring for the 2018-2019 term, but my main concern is whether students who article at clinics will be pigeon-holed. I don't mind poverty law work, but it's not an area that I want to remain in post-articling. I don't want to open a sole practice anytime soon, but I do want to work in-house or at a firm that practices admin. law.

Poverty law in a clinic will give you great experience handling a variety of admin files. As a student, you will likely have a high degree of control and decision making on the files as your articles progress. You will gain a lot of client management and interview skills as well. These are things that lawyers with an admin practice will value. I don’t think you have to worry about that - this sounds like a great opportunity.

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I share providence's take on this, though from a less optimistic viewpoint. When students are at this point, and scrambling for any articles that will get them called, hoping for a job that will allow you to immediately transition into exactly the jobs you've just struck out on is a long-shot. I mean, I agree. Getting any sort of litigation experience is the best case scenario at this point, if you're hoping that a firm might pick you up as a new call to litigate for them. But I'm telling you - this might be a good time to adjust your ambitions. It sounds like you're being pretty specific about the sort of law you want to practice and about the sort of place where you want to practice it. And it's fine to know what you want. But planning for only that, at this stage, is probably the wrong approach. 

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Define Admin law? Do you mean the theoretical judicial review at high level appellate courts litigation? That's likely out of reach for the start of your career. There are fields that give you experience relevant to that, such that maybe after 5-15 years you can join a bigger sized firm doing that. Think more along the lines of immigration/refugee law. I'm not sure what the clinic does, but if it does any of that work it may actually be a great fit for you to article in, then try lateraling to an immigration firm. 

 

Again though as Diplock said, keep your ambitions in check. You'll probably not get picked up by one of the big immigration firms. There are plenty of smaller firms that do immigration/refugee law though. Those will give you experience, and even chance at arguing some potentially interesting admin cases. 

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I don’t disagree with Diplock. People focus too much on hirebacks too early in the process. Most articles do not guarantee hirebacks and yes, the ones that do generally hire early. The focus should be on getting quality articles in an area in which you have an interest, and then working hard, doing a good job, exploiting any possible hireback opportunities and networking. 

I understand anxiety over debt etc but I still think the importance of hirebacks us over emphasized. Yes, it may take a bit of time to find something or set up a successful practice afte Call and you should plan for that, but it’s not the end of the world.

 

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Posted (edited)
13 hours ago, pzabbythesecond said:

Define Admin law? Do you mean the theoretical judicial review at high level appellate courts litigation? That's likely out of reach for the start of your career. There are fields that give you experience relevant to that, such that maybe after 5-15 years you can join a bigger sized firm doing that. Think more along the lines of immigration/refugee law. I'm not sure what the clinic does, but if it does any of that work it may actually be a great fit for you to article in, then try lateraling to an immigration firm. 

 

Again though as Diplock said, keep your ambitions in check. You'll probably not get picked up by one of the big immigration firms. There are plenty of smaller firms that do immigration/refugee law though. Those will give you experience, and even chance at arguing some potentially interesting admin cases. 

ODSP appeals is admin law. I did it as an articling student at the poverty clinic. The staff lawyers do it routinely.

Edited by artsydork
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