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Hi guys. 

So here's my concern: I did horribly in 1L first semester exams. 

I got a C+, C and D+. Yes I know. Horrible. 

Anyway, I am in Osgoode and due to the strike and fear of getting more Cs, decided to pass/fail all my other second semester exams. I passed all of them. 

Now, heading into OCIs, what should I be doing? I don't expect to be getting offers from Bay Street jobs, in fact I never wanted them to begin with. My question is mainly about mid size/small firms. 

Should I be addressing it? Should I be explaining my strengths while trying to tell them that despite my grades, I will be a strong worker and a good candidate (I have a lot of prior experience in and out of Canada). Is it a no go and I'm pretty much doomed not to get a job for summer of 2L?

Thoughts?

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I think it's going to be really difficult to get any OCIs during the 2L recruit. You'll likely need to do quite well in first semester of second year and hope to work that into a 2L job during the informal recruit that occurs throughout the spring. 

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39 minutes ago, concernedlawstudent said:

Hi guys. 

So here's my concern: I did horribly in 1L first semester exams. 

I got a C+, C and D+. Yes I know. Horrible. 

Anyway, I am in Osgoode and due to the strike and fear of getting more Cs, decided to pass/fail all my other second semester exams. I passed all of them. 

Now, heading into OCIs, what should I be doing? I don't expect to be getting offers from Bay Street jobs, in fact I never wanted them to begin with. My question is mainly about mid size/small firms. 

Should I be addressing it? Should I be explaining my strengths while trying to tell them that despite my grades, I will be a strong worker and a good candidate (I have a lot of prior experience in and out of Canada). Is it a no go and I'm pretty much doomed not to get a job for summer of 2L?

Thoughts?

If that is the case I would work on having an absolutely stellar CV and cover letter. As well I would beef up/talk up my extracurriculars as much as possible. You should also try to focus in on an area of practice and make sure you pick courses and activities that complement that area. But I think it is going to be tough to get any interviews with those grades. You could still get a summer job but you'd have to improve your 2L grades and target small firms that don't participate in the organized recruitment or may not even advertise at all.

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Unless it's a clinic or something, you are very unlikely to find a 2L summer job. Your main thing, for the future, should be to develop experience and exposure in the specific area(s) of law that you are interested in. No matter when, down the road, you don't want to be going into interviews with nothing to say but "I'll work really hard and despite what my transcript suggest, I'm really smart." Everyone says that. And most students will have that and far better grades than you. The way you can set yourself apart is with relevant experience and demonstrated interest in specific area(s) of law. It's concerning to me that you can't seem to nail that down. Fix that issue asap. 

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14 hours ago, concernedlawstudent said:

Hi guys. 

So here's my concern: I did horribly in 1L first semester exams. 

I got a C+, C and D+. Yes I know. Horrible. 

Anyway, I am in Osgoode and due to the strike and fear of getting more Cs, decided to pass/fail all my other second semester exams. I passed all of them. 

Now, heading into OCIs, what should I be doing? I don't expect to be getting offers from Bay Street jobs, in fact I never wanted them to begin with. My question is mainly about mid size/small firms. 

Should I be addressing it? Should I be explaining my strengths while trying to tell them that despite my grades, I will be a strong worker and a good candidate (I have a lot of prior experience in and out of Canada). Is it a no go and I'm pretty much doomed not to get a job for summer of 2L?

Thoughts?

That was a terrible decision.

If you got poor marks in your first semester, you should've sought advice and tried new techniques to improve your grades. By making your exams pass/fail, you hid from your troubles rather than confronting them. 

You need to have 1L grades. Pass/fail are not grades. Even in a small firm, you're going to be questioned on the fact that you have no grades for 1L. Your answer (if answered truthfully) will be: "Because I was scared of getting poor grades". That's not going to go down well.

You've really fucked yourself over on this one. Good luck.

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6 minutes ago, thegoodlaw said:

That was a terrible decision.

If you got poor marks in your first semester, you should've sought advice and tried new techniques to improve your grades. By making your exams pass/fail, you hid from your troubles rather than confronting them. 

You need to have 1L grades. Pass/fail are not grades. Even in a small firm, you're going to be questioned on the fact that you have no grades for 1L. Your answer (if answered truthfully) will be: "Because I was scared of getting poor grades". That's not going to go down well.

You've really fucked yourself over on this one. Good luck.

It’s really kind of stupid that the school offers that option - I can’t see how it helps anybody. If the point is supposed to be reducing anxiety, it’s really just deferring it, as we’re seeing here. 

Be that as it may, OP can’t undo that decision, so s/he has to move forward with the pass/fail grades, and start by figuring out how to do better in 2L, and by picking an area of practice and developing a CV. 

 

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OP may want to consider looking into firms with cycles in the winter, when they'll have their 2L Fall grades. If you have Cs/Ds in 1L, but have Bs in 2L, you'd have a legitimate 'I struggled, but have worked to find a better strategy' story to tell. I'm pretty sure non-TO markets (Ottawa [non-IP], London, Hamilton) have recruitment cycles in January

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1 hour ago, providence said:

It’s really kind of stupid that the school offers that option - I can’t see how it helps anybody. If the point is supposed to be reducing anxiety, it’s really just deferring it, as we’re seeing here. 

 

Could it be designed for 3Ls who already have articles lined up, who just need a degree but don't need to maintain certain grades?

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13 minutes ago, 3rdGenLawStudent said:

Could it be designed for 3Ls who already have articles lined up, who just need a degree but don't need to maintain certain grades?

I had to take the P/F option on 2 courses. I had articles lined up already. 

 

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30 minutes ago, Luckycharm said:

I had to take the P/F option on 2 courses. I had articles lined up already. 

 

I figured, that makes more sense. Thanks for confirming!

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On 2018-06-11 at 12:48 PM, providence said:

It’s really kind of stupid that the school offers that option - I can’t see how it helps anybody

It was because of the strike, and mainly to help students who were materially affected by it. Obviously, you can't drop the courses, so as a compromise, the P/F option was given for all second semester courses. But it was an all-or-nothing deal, so if you only had one or two classes materially affected, well, too bad.

Anyway, it was basically highly advised not to take it unless: (1) you were in third year; (2) you had articling already lined up; and (3) your grades were otherwise good. Not to mention, you should only have taken it if you were materially affected by the strike. Taking the option in 1L is pretty crazy if you want to go for OCIs, even if you were affected by the strike, unless the effect was so substantial you were at risk of getting a ton of bad marks.

OP - you're gonna be in for a huge challenge. I don't think you will succeed at getting OCIs. With your low grades and an entire other term of CRs, I don't know if a firm will want to use one of its interview slots on you. My advice would be to figure out why your grades were so poor in first term, improve your approach to studying and taking exams, and do better next year so you can participate meaningfully in the articling recruit. If you have an entire year of even average (B) grades, your chances will vastly improve in getting something out of the recruit.

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Posted (edited)

Agreed with @Ryn. Also, if it's possible, I would go see your exams that you pass/fail optioned and see how you did, see if you improved from first term, see how else you could improve, etc.

 

I warn that it may end up really shitty and stressful for you if you did do Well. But at this point that's a sunk cost. Just go see how you've done and try to fix the scenario. You're not lost by a long shot. Lots of employers in the articling recruit next year. Just gotta pull up your bootstraps and organize your next steps.

Edited by pzabbythesecond

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4 hours ago, Ryn said:

It was because of the strike, and mainly to help students who were materially affected by it. Obviously, you can't drop the courses, so as a compromise, the P/F option was given for all second semester courses. But it was an all-or-nothing deal, so if you only had one or two classes materially affected, well, too bad.

Anyway, it was basically highly advised not to take it unless: (1) you were in third year; (2) you had articling already lined up; and (3) your grades were otherwise good. Not to mention, you should only have taken it if you were materially affected by the strike. Taking the option in 1L is pretty crazy if you want to go for OCIs, even if you were affected by the strike, unless the effect was so substantial you were at risk of getting a ton of bad marks.

OP - you're gonna be in for a huge challenge. I don't think you will succeed at getting OCIs. With your low grades and an entire other term of CRs, I don't know if a firm will want to use one of its interview slots on you. My advice would be to figure out why your grades were so poor in first term, improve your approach to studying and taking exams, and do better next year so you can participate meaningfully in the articling recruit. If you have an entire year of even average (B) grades, your chances will vastly improve in getting something out of the recruit.

May be a stupid question but how would the strike “materially affect” law students such that they couldn’t get a decent letter grade?

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3 hours ago, pzabbythesecond said:

Agreed with @Ryn. Also, if it's possible, I would go see your exams that you pass/fail optioned and see how you did, see if you improved from first term, see how else you could improve, etc.

 

I warn that it may end up really shitty and stressful for you if you did do Well. But at this point that's a sunk cost. Just go see how you've done and try to fix the scenario. You're not lost by a long shot. Lots of employers in the articling recruit next year. Just gotta pull up your bootstraps and organize your next steps.

Would a pass/fail exam be marked that way though? Or would you need to go through it with the prof?

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3 minutes ago, providence said:

Would a pass/fail exam be marked that way though? Or would you need to go through it with the prof?

Valid point. I assumed it's marked and then just translated on the transcript because that's how my school does it. Good catch.

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9 minutes ago, providence said:

May be a stupid question but how would the strike “materially affect” law students such that they couldn’t get a decent letter grade?

I guess that would be your own judgement call. Some of my courses were affected quite substantially (e.g., one switched completely online and the instructor had difficulty making the tech work). If you drove to campus, you sometimes had to wait an hour to get in because of the picketers, prompting a lot of people not to come and therefore be forced to miss class. That sort of thing.

9 minutes ago, providence said:

Would a pass/fail exam be marked that way though? Or would you need to go through it with the prof?

The prof marks you normally. He or she has no idea you elected P/F, as the grade is changed by Student Services. So, presumably, you could review your exam with the prof. Though, I recall being told in some official communication regarding the P/F option that we weren't allowed to solicit our grades from the professors if we chose to opt into P/F. I could just be misremembering, so it might make sense to double check.

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The strike did not materially impact law students unless you were looking for excuses to skip classes and/or take the C/NC option.

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I've been less than union-friendly on this discussion elsewhere, so let me fly the flag now. The strike did, at least potentially, affect law students very significantly unless they were willing to cross union picket lines. Which some people, quite legitimately, are not willing to do. In fact I consider it one of the great ironies of Osgoode and the supposedly social-justice-committed cohort they brag about that they care about everything in theory, but in practice, as soon as it gets in their way, they stop giving a shit. That's another topic, I guess, but I'd be very conflicted about those picket lines. As I said elsewhere, I'd probably end up standing on the edge of the picket telling everyone their union was run by idiots and they should be embarrassed by it. But still - you either believe in collective bargaining or you don't. And if you do, you sometimes need to live with people using their power in ways you don't approve of. Otherwise, you're that guy who believes in democracy until everyone else votes in someone you don't like.

So, yeah. Policies at Osgoode take in the possibility - even if it's true in few cases - that students may be unwilling to cross the picket lines. And truly, good for the ones who won't. Agree, disagree, think they are right or think they are wrong - law students who are willing to pay a price for what they believe in should be applauded. Law students who believe in the theory but reject the practice as soon as they find it inconvenient should confront some hard truths, when they start applying for those jobs at union-side law firms and try to pretend they actually believe in this stuff.

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Why would crossing a picket line (especially as a consumer!) suggest that you don't believe in collective bargaining? I firmly believe in collective bargaining, but have crossed picket lines both as an employee and a consumer. I believe in collective bargaining, but don't believe it's my job as an outsider to the bargaining unit to weigh in on who should get the better bargain. Let them fight it out.

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19 minutes ago, Diplock said:

I've been less than union-friendly on this discussion elsewhere, so let me fly the flag now. The strike did, at least potentially, affect law students very significantly unless they were willing to cross union picket lines. Which some people, quite legitimately, are not willing to do. In fact I consider it one of the great ironies of Osgoode and the supposedly social-justice-committed cohort they brag about that they care about everything in theory, but in practice, as soon as it gets in their way, they stop giving a shit. That's another topic, I guess, but I'd be very conflicted about those picket lines. As I said elsewhere, I'd probably end up standing on the edge of the picket telling everyone their union was run by idiots and they should be embarrassed by it. But still - you either believe in collective bargaining or you don't. And if you do, you sometimes need to live with people using their power in ways you don't approve of. Otherwise, you're that guy who believes in democracy until everyone else votes in someone you don't like.

So, yeah. Policies at Osgoode take in the possibility - even if it's true in few cases - that students may be unwilling to cross the picket lines. And truly, good for the ones who won't. Agree, disagree, think they are right or think they are wrong - law students who are willing to pay a price for what they believe in should be applauded. Law students who believe in the theory but reject the practice as soon as they find it inconvenient should confront some hard truths, when they start applying for those jobs at union-side law firms and try to pretend they actually believe in this stuff.

I’d walk through without a second thought. Not my battle. 

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