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LegallyBlind77

How much do law firms monitor your outside behaviour?

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I am in law school now and have always been into making youtube videos as a side hobby. I've decided recently that I want to take this side hobby (or break from my studies rather) a little more seriously and make pretty detailed skits which would include my face. They would be light humoured and for amusement purposes. But I don't know where it will take me down the line- I was thinking of uploading videos talking about some of the struggles I've dealt with, and some of these struggles could look pretty bad (i.e I used to be pretty addicted to marjuana before i got it together). One account I follow is from an American lawyer and he posts quirky cultural critique videos. Its nothing too serious or political but he will make some biting remarks about society at times. He shows his face often.  I was always wondering why the firm he works at doesn't care.  Is this something that law firms would feel reflects poorly on them? Have their been instances where lawyers are fired for their outside behaviour? How would law firms view this hobby if i brought it up in an interview? Would it be a negative for being too time consuming? Do law firms prefer people with small hobbies that won't retract from their work too much? Any advice or wisdom is appreciated, thank you.

Edited by LegallyBlind77

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I would not do this. It’s got a lot of potential to limit your opportunities and almost no potential to increase them.

If Law is what you want to do then maybe find another outlet. 

Once you have established yourself as counsel maybe revisit. But not as a student. You would present as a liability to a lot of firms who don’t have the inclination to take a chance. 

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3 minutes ago, Hegdis said:

I would not do this. It’s got a lot of potential to limit your opportunities and almost no potential to increase them.

If Law is what you want to do then maybe find another outlet. 

Once you have established yourself as counsel maybe revisit. But not as a student. You would present as a liability to a lot of firms who don’t have the inclination to take a chance. 

Interesting. So you would say its taking a chance because it reflects poorly on the firm if a client sees the videos, or is it because it just seems like time is being invested elsewhere?

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Cannabis is still pretty taboo among lawyers - a lot of my friends smoke (and I would too if I could) and most of them are still in the closet even though it’s legal. And we’re in a pretty liberal/relaxed area of law. When I get to start, I will likely keep it between me and my smoking friends. Even my husband would prefer I not do it. I cannot see a firm being happy with a student making a video saying they were “addicted” to it. 

Edit: having a hobby is not the issue. There's a thread on hobbies somewhere. The issue is the potentially inappropriate content that may reflect badly on you.

Edited by providence
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People automatically put you to a higher standard once you're a law student/lawyer. Humour is too subjective, and once something is published it's out there forever; someone might take offence to some video you publish and realizes you're a law student. Maybe nothing comes out of it, but maybe something big does and you get screwed. As Hegdis said, not a risk I'd take if I were you. You're entering into a boring, conservative and highly competitive profession where any black mark may make the difference between you and the next person getting hired.

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1 hour ago, providence said:

Cannabis is still pretty taboo among lawyers - a lot of my friends smoke (and I would too if I could) and most of them are still in the closet even though it’s legal. And we’re in a pretty liberal/relaxed area of law. When I get to start, I will likely keep it between me and my smoking friends. Even my husband would prefer I not do it. I cannot see a firm being happy with a student making a video saying they were “addicted” to it. 

Edit: having a hobby is not the issue. There's a thread on hobbies somewhere. The issue is the potentially inappropriate content that may reflect badly on you.

Cannabis is, in my experience, shockingly not taboo amongst corporate lawyers right now. I was at a firm on legalization day, and all anyone could talk about is smoking pot. I’ve had partners / associates at major firms even ask me if I plan to grow any plants. 

I don’t think I would tell a firm that I smoked pot, and I definitely wouldn’t make a YouTube video about it, but I don’t think it’s “taboo”, necessarily. 

For greater clarity, OP, don’t read this as disagreement with the other posters. Making YouTube videos is a bad idea as a law student, unless you’re sticking to wholly inoffensive (and therefore boring) content. 

Edited by BlockedQuebecois
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It isn't the subject, exactly, that's the problem. It's entirely something you could bring up on a social occasion among colleagues. It's just that imagining your personal life belongs on Youtube at all - that's the failure in judgment. Everything you do that could make you unpalatable to clients is potentially a problem. It's not what your colleagues care about that you really need to worry about. It's what they know or believe that any sizable percentage of clients might care about.

Law isn't quite politics, but it's also a visible profession where your public image matters. The more you aspire to in the profession - bigger firms, bigger files, bigger clients - the more it's going to matter. Some hobbies are more acceptable than others, obviously. If you have a public profile devoted to golf or sailing, that's likely fine. If you want to moonlight as a commentator on super nerdy video games, it's going to affect the way clients may perceive you. Right, wrong, or otherwise - that's the profession.

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34 minutes ago, BlockedQuebecois said:

Cannabis is, in my experience, shockingly not taboo amongst corporate lawyers right now. I was at a firm on legalization day, and all anyone could talk about is smoking pot. I’ve had partners / associates at major firms even ask me if I plan to grow any plants. 

I don’t think I would tell a firm that I smoked pot, and I definitely wouldn’t make a YouTube video about it, but I don’t think it’s “taboo”, necessarily. 

For greater clarity, OP, don’t read this as disagreement with the other posters. Making YouTube videos is a bad idea as a law student, unless you’re sticking to wholly inoffensive (and therefore boring) content. 

If anyone needs to get stoned to make it through another day, I would think it is corporate/securities associates. 

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Law firms as well as lawstudents.ca monitor everything you do. Everything. 

(Please go back to using your primary account). 

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The safe bet is to keep your head down. But if you’re passionate about something, there’s a price to pay for not doing it too. Maybe consider a balance where you keep your YouTube persona separate from law. Still a risk if you get popular, but if you get popular it may be worth it. Totally up to you, but yes the risk is real. 

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29 minutes ago, Morgan said:

Law firms as well as lawstudents.ca monitor everything you do. Everything. 

(Please go back to using your primary account). 

lawstudents.ca monitors everything you do lol? what does this mean

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6 hours ago, LegallyBlind77 said:

lawstudents.ca monitors everything you do lol? what does this mean

If you don’t know don’t ask. 

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8 hours ago, Diplock said:

It isn't the subject, exactly, that's the problem. It's entirely something you could bring up on a social occasion among colleagues. It's just that imagining your personal life belongs on Youtube at all - that's the failure in judgment. Everything you do that could make you unpalatable to clients is potentially a problem. It's not what your colleagues care about that you really need to worry about. It's what they know or believe that any sizable percentage of clients might care about.

Law isn't quite politics, but it's also a visible profession where your public image matters. The more you aspire to in the profession - bigger firms, bigger files, bigger clients - the more it's going to matter. Some hobbies are more acceptable than others, obviously. If you have a public profile devoted to golf or sailing, that's likely fine. If you want to moonlight as a commentator on super nerdy video games, it's going to affect the way clients may perceive you. Right, wrong, or otherwise - that's the profession.

Jordana Goldlist would disagree. :) 

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There was one lawyer that did YouTube while articling for/working at a “seven sister”. I think she talked about fashion or something - didn’t seem too controversial so it looks like it can be done. Perhaps it depends on the topic you chose? There are other law students and lawyers who have blogs about vanilla topics ... with anything you put out there you have to ask yourself “would I be embarrassed if my employer saw this? Or if I was asked about it in an interview” 

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8 hours ago, LegallyBlind77 said:

lawstudents.ca monitors everything you do lol? what does this mean

Read the fine print in Morgan's post. 

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13 hours ago, LegallyBlind77 said:

I am in law school now and have always been into making youtube videos as a side hobby. I've decided recently that I want to take this side hobby (or break from my studies rather) a little more seriously and make pretty detailed skits which would include my face. They would be light humoured and for amusement purposes. But I don't know where it will take me down the line- I was thinking of uploading videos talking about some of the struggles I've dealt with, and some of these struggles could look pretty bad (i.e I used to be pretty addicted to marjuana before i got it together). One account I follow is from an American lawyer and he posts quirky cultural critique videos. Its nothing too serious or political but he will make some biting remarks about society at times. He shows his face often.  I was always wondering why the firm he works at doesn't care.  Is this something that law firms would feel reflects poorly on them? Have their been instances where lawyers are fired for their outside behaviour? How would law firms view this hobby if i brought it up in an interview? Would it be a negative for being too time consuming? Do law firms prefer people with small hobbies that won't retract from their work too much? Any advice or wisdom is appreciated, thank you.

OP, unfortunately the legal profession has a serious problem with substance abuse.  And now with marijuana being normalized through legalization, that problem is not going to go away.  Talking about your former marijuana addiction might not be popular in some circles, but it might be well appreciated in others.

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13 hours ago, providence said:

Cannabis is still pretty taboo among lawyers - a lot of my friends smoke (and I would too if I could) and most of them are still in the closet even though it’s legal. And we’re in a pretty liberal/relaxed area of law. When I get to start, I will likely keep it between me and my smoking friends. Even my husband would prefer I not do it. I cannot see a firm being happy with a student making a video saying they were “addicted” to it. 

Edit: having a hobby is not the issue. There's a thread on hobbies somewhere. The issue is the potentially inappropriate content that may reflect badly on you.

Why put the scare quotes around addicted?

I think it's fairly well known that while it is not physiologically addictive in the way, say, opiates are, one can definitely be psychologically addicted to marijuana.

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13 hours ago, LegallyBlind77 said:

...I was thinking of uploading videos talking about some of the struggles I've dealt with, and some of these struggles could look pretty bad (i.e I used to be pretty addicted to marjuana before i got it together). ...

[portion only quoted]

I cannot, and am not, advising regarding US law. But before putting anything on the Internet connecting you with past marijuana use, that might be findable in a search, one might want to seek competent advice (i.e. not necessarily trusting what either the US or Canadian governments say...) about what the potential for difficulties is - there have been recent news stories about lifetime bans from entry.

Also, there is a huge difference between deciding that it is important to reveal personal things publicly knowing there are potential consequences (e.g. someone might reveal a past addiction or health issue or sexual orientation as a deliberate choice even if, sadly, some might hold it against them) versus revealing things with potential consequences as a sideline to the hobby. From what you've said your situation is more the latter, so I strongly agree with those (who are more in the thick of things in terms of law firm environments than me) dissuading you from such a course of action.

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20 hours ago, easttowest said:

Maybe, as a general rule, don't tell the world about your personal life? 

People who have gone through things are often an inspiration to others who may have felt alone in a particular issue, which can bring healing for both. As mentioned, lawyers have a substance abuse issue generally and perhaps talking about it could be a good thing. This all has to be balanced with career of course, but a strict rule one way or the other may not be the answer. 

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