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Mandy555

Am I missing out on anything by not attending U of T?

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Hi everyone, 

Here's just a little background information: I took the LSAT over the summer. I ended up with a 160 which I know is not terrible but it's not what I was hoping for either, especially since U of T was my first choice. I didn't retake it because I knew that, due to my work and school schedule, I would have no time to study and improve my score and I didn't want to risk retaking it and getting a lower score (I know schools generally take the highest, but I've still heard that scoring lower a second time generally doesn't look great). 

My cGPA is 3.96, I have a fair amount of EC activities. But even so, I know my chances with U of T are pretty low, if not zero because of my LSAT. I decided it wasn't a big deal since there are many other great law schools in Canada, and so far I've been accepted to Osgoode, Western and Ottawa. I also tried to make myself feel better by reminding myself that U of T is pretty damn expensive and that affording any law school is already going to be a difficult thing for me. 

However, I'm now starting to have second thoughts and I'm wondering if I made a mistake by not trying harder for U of T. Do you think going to U of T would genuinely allow me better career opportunities and a better education in general? I will say that I am ambitious but I'm most likely not interested in corporate/bay street jobs which I know people associate with U of T. I just don't know if I'm really going to missing out on anything.

-Mandy

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At least $30,000 in debt. 

Less sarcastically, U of T likely offers marginally better opportunities in select areas – Bay St, NY, maybe clerkships. But realistically, you're not going to miss out on those opportunities because you went to another school (particularly if you go to Osgoode). If you're good enough to go to NY from U of T, you're probably good enough to go to NY from Oz. If you're good enough to clerk at the SCC from U of T, you're likely good enough to make it there from a different school. 

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The only advantage that UofT gives you with respect to career opportunities is in corporate/Bay Street type jobs, which you say you're not interested in.

What will you miss out on? The higher debt (as previously said), higher cost of living, cursing at the TTC (although you could get the same with Osgoode), and maybe the passive hatred of your cohort, which is a UofT specialty regardless of faculty. 

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Thank you guys for your response. I also just want to clarify that while I'm not particularly interested in Bay Street type jobs, I do hope to practice in the GTA and I am probably going to accept my offer to Osgoode

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When you are discussing how there are potentially better career opportunities at the U of T, what specifically would this look like? 

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3 minutes ago, clithridiate said:

When you are discussing how there are potentially better career opportunities at the U of T, what specifically would this look like? 

I guess I mean being able to practice in Toronto, maybe higher salaries (though I would prefer more flexible working hours and know that generally the more you work, the more money you make), being able to practice in my interests (social-justice related law or family law). 

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3 minutes ago, clithridiate said:

When you are discussing how there are potentially better career opportunities at the U of T, what specifically would this look like? 

NY BigLaw, and Bay street to a lesser degree, favours UofT way more heavily than anywhere else (except maybe McGill). 

To be honest, the quality of your legal education is what you make of it. At any school, you can be the student who focuses and aces on their corporate/family/criminal/etc classes and clubs and clinics. 

Unless you are looking at the stats of hiring in BigLaw, the differences in what you get are fairly minor, subject to the actions you take within each school.

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It would be helpful if someone could elucidate on the form these apparent advantages take. For instance, are there more opportunities (relative to other law schools) to network? Better exchange or employment opportunities with international organizations? Stronger support from the career office? 

 

I'm also trying to better understand the advantages offered by this faculty beyond prestige and location. 

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6 minutes ago, Mandy555 said:

I guess I mean being able to practice in Toronto, maybe higher salaries (though I would prefer more flexible working hours and know that generally the more you work, the more money you make), being able to practice in my interests (social-justice related law or family law). 

sorry! I thought you were asking what I would consider to be advantages for me personally

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Question related to this: after I got into Osgoode I started to seriously look at what all this would cost and if I get into McGill  it is way more financially feasible for me.

Does this still make me capable of practicing family law in Toronto, or am I at a disadvantage because I'm not near Toronto? I was under the impression that the fact that it was considered a bachelors degree would be to my detriment and so I would have to get a masters after but it sounds like that is not the case. Any insight?

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9 minutes ago, Megbean123 said:

I was under the impression that the fact that it was considered a bachelors degree would be to my detriment and so I would have to get a masters after but it sounds like that is not the case.

What? You absolutely don't need an LLM after McGill, any more than you need it from any other school in Canada.

 

As to your family law question, your disadvantage will be in the form of difficulty networking, and any clinic opportunities Oz has directly related to family Law (Don't know if they do, but I know McGill doesn't). Aside from that you are at no disadvantage coming from McGill.

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Just now, pzabbythesecond said:

What? You absolutely don't need an LLM after McGill, any more than you need it from any other school in Canada.

 

As to your family law question, your disadvantage will be in the form of difficulty networking, and any clinic opportunities Oz has directly related to family Law (Don't know if they do, but I know McGill doesn't). Aside from that you are at no disadvantage coming from McGill.

Yeah a former student told me that she needed to get one so that is why I thought that but maybe it was particularly for her case or the type of law she wanted to pursue in Toronto (IP)

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2 minutes ago, Megbean123 said:

Yeah a former student told me that she needed to get one so that is why I thought that but maybe it was particularly for her case or the type of law she wanted to pursue in Toronto (IP)

This is just patently untrue (pun intended).

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Osgoode has family law related opportunities through CLASP. 

That said, I'd rather be a McGill grad trying to get into a family law firm in Toronto than an Osgoode one, if you're paying any substantial amount of tuition out of pocket. Osgoode's total tuition is likely to be ~100k for you, assuming you enter next year and tuition keeps increasing steadily. It will depend on your circumstances, but the debt load you may be taking on to attend Osgoode will limit your options or make life difficult for quite a while post-grad. I have a friend who worked at a family law shop this summer, loved it, and just took a big law job she'll probably hate because she's afraid of the debt. 

When I was deciding, it was really between Osgoode and UBC (tuition ~12k/year). I chose Osgoode because I wanted to work in Toronto and thought I had a realistic shot at the type of jobs I wanted. It's worked out well for me (I think I'm actually coming out ahead after this year), but that's a rarity. I wouldn't have made that same choice if I wanted to pursue another field of law. 

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Agreed with @BlockedQuebecois. My tuition has remained the same at around 10 grand for the past 3 years. 

However, keep in mind McGill is a 3.5 year regular track program, so you're a year further removed from practice than if you went to osgoode. You can accelerate your degree to 3 years but this is really exhausting because of how many credits you need to take per semester, so it's not recommended.

But further consider if you have housing with parents or relatives in Toronto. Housing costs are still a significant chunk of my budget, even though I live in Montreal.

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58 minutes ago, Megbean123 said:

Question related to this: after I got into Osgoode I started to seriously look at what all this would cost and if I get into McGill  it is way more financially feasible for me.

Does this still make me capable of practicing family law in Toronto, or am I at a disadvantage because I'm not near Toronto? I was under the impression that the fact that it was considered a bachelors degree would be to my detriment and so I would have to get a masters after but it sounds like that is not the case. Any insight?

The thing about family law is this: 1) You need to be in Ontario in order to learn about Ontario family law, and 2) most family lawyers/law firms are small, which requires a greater connection to the city and more hustle on your part to get a job. Being in Montreal is a disadvantage.

These considerations are not determinative. Good grades and an established commitment to the field will still land you interviews in Toronto, IMO.

That a McGill degree is an LLB instead of a JD means nothing.

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1 minute ago, thegoodlaw said:

You need to be in Ontario in order to learn about Ontario family law

Not true. McGill teaches the law on family law generally, and both statutory/CML wise of Quebec and Ontario.

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Some general points:

1. U of T will provide you with a better chance to place in NY or top Toronto full-service firms. That better chance is probably marginal. I would guess that the bottom 1/3rd of a given class at any law school in Canada would struggle to place in a top-ranked firm; not so at U of T. As well, people with average grades at U of T get jobs in NY -- generally speaking, those that make it to NY biglaw from other schools are in the top tier of their class. And so if you're set on corporate law, U of T is probably worth it. 

2. U of T will provide you with a far, far better opportunity for longer-term non-law options in business. Of course, this applies to a tiny subset of individuals that may be going to law school but are not convinced that law -- in a law firm setting -- is not what they'd like to do long-term, but are convinced that business/general corporate is their path. This doesn't sound like it applies to you.

3. If you are not interested in corporate law, I would have trouble recommending U of T to you. If you are very interested in family law, I would advise against U of T.

4. Many law students come into law school thinking they have no interest in corporate transactional work, and wind up being very interested in it. The inverse is also true. 

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1 minute ago, jwms said:

2. U of T will provide you with a far, far better opportunity for longer-term non-law options in business. Of course, this applies to a tiny subset of individuals that may be going to law school but are not convinced that law -- in a law firm setting -- is not what they'd like to do long-term, but are convinced that business/general corporate is their path. This doesn't sound like it applies to you.

What makes you say this? 

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Placement of U of T law alumni in investment banking, private equity, consulting, venture-backed startups, and venture capital relative to alumni of other law schools. There's a heavier emphasis on those alternative routes being available, and there is a strong, pre-existing network that makes them highly achievable. I have looked at other schools, and haven't seen much that compares. Heavy caveat that this is not something that applies to 95% of applicants, but is something I would note as being unique to U of T for those weighing their options.

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