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mett

Western vs Osgoode

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I haven't seen a recent one of these so I figured I'd make a thread to get some feedback. I'm currently struggling to choose between Western and Osgoode, and have under 2 weeks to make my final decision. 

Background info: I'm from London so I will save quite a fair bit of money if I choose to go to Western, as I won't need to find living accommodations. I also own a vehicle so transportation will not be an issue. After doing some quick maths (tuition, rent, transportation) it appears that I will be paying over $14K more per year at Osgoode than I would be at Western, so the debt will be much more significant when tacked on to the student and car debt I already have.

Education-wise, I'm interested in entertainment and sports law which is definitely a niche specialization here in Canada. I know Western offers a specialization in IP that has a lot of focus on that area of law, but Osgoode offers a ton of courses as well. I'm also open to the idea of moving to Toronto for articling and beyond (and potentially moving to NYC or California after that), and am curious about how my chances are to do that if I opt to stay home for another 3 years to mitigate some of this debt. I'm also strongly interested in getting involved with volunteer opportunities with whatever school I go to and any relevant clinics that they offer.  

Any information is greatly appreciated!

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I've been accepted to Western (coincidentally also interested in sports and entertainment law) so I've done a fair amount of research on them. From what I've read they're the only law school with a both a dedicated sports law clinic and sports law internships. Their largest recruitment market also happens to be Toronto, so that clearly would be in your favour. I can't offer much else unfortunately, but it does seem like they have some of what you're looking for

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Western has classes in sports law, and the Sport Solution clinic (where you are actually assisting athletes in disputes). Plus, they have Richard McLaren on staff, who is a prominent sports lawyer.

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It's useful to be in Toronto especially when you're interviewing for summer jobs. I can't imagine driving in from London just for a one hour interview.

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Richard McLaren, along with being a pretty accomplished lawyer and sports arbitrator, is the Western Law professor who was responsible for spearheading the investigation into the Russian doping scheme at Sochi 2014. He hires groups of students every year to work for him, so if you're interested in that sort of work, that's definitely a good option for you.

It sounds like you're pretty set on Western, and are just considering Osgoode because you feel like you should. Western is a great school, you'll lessen your debt load and will gain exposure into the areas of law in which you're currently interested. Why not go?

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Just to provide some Osgoode context, we have the Entertainment and Sports Law Club that also runs the annual Entertainment and Sports Law Conference, a well attended event that puts you in front of Cassels Brock, Goodmans and a lot of in-house counsel that practice in the entertainment and production space in Toronto (since so many movies are filmed here - Entertainment One, Boat Rocker Media). 

https://oesla.ca

There's also an upper year course for the subject: https://www.osgoode.yorku.ca/courses-and-seminars/entertainment-sports-law/

I think Osgoode will allow you to network more with people in the practice, just because you are in the city (if you are the type that knows how to take advantage of networking). Like the others have mentioned, Western is an excellent choice too. 

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Go to Western. You'll save a boatload of money, and it sounds like Western has a better set up for your interests than Osgoode does. 

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I definitely would not pick a law school based on your interest in a niche specialization like sports and entertainment law which less than 10% of lawyers practice in Canada. 

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On 4/15/2019 at 6:11 PM, Deadpool said:

I definitely would not pick a law school based on your interest in a niche specialization like sports and entertainment law which less than 10% of lawyers practice in Canada. 

For sure. I included my interests in my post because I would like to have the opportunity to take classes/get involved with things that is tailored to what I'm interested in--which I think is fair for a huge investment like this--but in no way did I say that I was basing my entire decision on it. 

There are a lot of different things that I'm trying to take into account for my decision (too many to want to write in a quick advice post), but I think the scariest one right now is the additional boatload of debt. So if you're able to answer this, what aspects of Osgoode makes the premium worth it over Western for a person in my situation? I want to make a decision that will give me the best opportunities and student experience, but I also know that an extra $42K+ is no joke. 

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, mett said:

For sure. I included my interests in my post because I would like to have the opportunity to take classes/get involved with things that is tailored to what I'm interested in--which I think is fair for a huge investment like this--but in no way did I say that I was basing my entire decision on it. 

There are a lot of different things that I'm trying to take into account for my decision (too many to want to write in a quick advice post), but I think the scariest one right now is the additional boatload of debt. So if you're able to answer this, what aspects of Osgoode makes the premium worth it over Western for a person in my situation? I want to make a decision that will give me the best opportunities and student experience, but I also know that an extra $42K+ is no joke. 

A lot more opportunities to immerse yourself in:

https://www.osgoode.yorku.ca/programs/juris-doctor/experiential-education/internship-programs/

https://www.osgoode.yorku.ca/programs/juris-doctor/jd-program/clinics-intensives/

https://www.osgoode.yorku.ca/pro-bono-students-canada/

https://www.osgoode.yorku.ca/courses-and-seminars/

https://www.osgoode.yorku.ca/programs/juris-doctor/student-clubs-organizations/

Also, this may or may not matter to you but Osgoode is more diverse than Western in terms of its student body, even going beyond race and ethnicity; there are a lot more mature students in the class with interesting work and life experiences. 

Edited by Deadpool
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I disagree with @Deadpool. I don’t think Osgoode’s additional clinical opportunities are worth 42k. 

Western also offers internships, works with PBSC, has a wide range of courses and many student organizations. The only place I would give Osgoode the edge is re: clinics. I’ve done five clinics or intensives at Osgoode now, and I don’t think they’ve added 42k in value to my degree. 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, BlockedQuebecois said:

. I’ve done five clinics or intensives at Osgoode now, and I don’t think they’ve added 42k in value to my degree. 

As a 2L, how have you been able to do 5 clinics/intensives? Is that even possible?

Edited by harveyspecter993

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1 hour ago, harveyspecter993 said:

As a 2L, how have you been able to do 5 clinics/intensives? Is that even possible?

Yes, it’s possible. I think you can fit in a maximum of 7 if you apply to the right ones at the right time. I got offered two others for 3L, but turned both down (however, I only could have fit one of those into my schedule, not both). 

And obviously involvement in clinics in 1L is much different from the clinics and intensives in upper years. 

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26 minutes ago, BlockedQuebecois said:

Yes, it’s possible. I think you can fit in a maximum of 7 if you apply to the right ones at the right time. I got offered two others for 3L, but turned both down (however, I only could have fit one of those into my schedule, not both). 

And obviously involvement in clinics in 1L is much different from the clinics and intensives in upper years. 

Do you get FOMO from having fewer credits available for regular courses? I'm the type of person who would regularly max out my credits in undergrad just to take as many courses as possible so I'm deeply saddened by how many 2L credits my clinic is eating up.

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2 minutes ago, harveyspecter993 said:

Do you get FOMO from having fewer credits available for regular courses? I'm the type of person who would regularly max out my credits in undergrad just to take as many courses as possible so I'm deeply saddened by how many 2L credits my clinic is eating up.

I used to. But then I realized how utterly useless most courses are to practice.

Unless you want to be an academic, there's nothing to worry about.

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1 minute ago, harveyspecter993 said:

Do you get FOMO from having fewer credits available for regular courses? I'm the type of person who would regularly max out my credits in undergrad just to take as many courses as possible so I'm deeply saddened by how many 2L credits my clinic is eating up.

No, but I think law school is, post-1L, largely a waste of time. 

 

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12 minutes ago, pzabbythesecond said:

I used to. But then I realized how utterly useless most courses are to practice.

Unless you want to be an academic, there's nothing to worry about.

 

11 minutes ago, BlockedQuebecois said:

No, but I think law school is, post-1L, largely a waste of time. 

 

Why are upper year courses a waste of time from your respective viewpoints?

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Posted (edited)
13 minutes ago, harveyspecter993 said:

 

Why are upper year courses a waste of time from your respective viewpoints?

Aside from a handful of "core" courses, I legitimately believe you're better off learning the courses on your own. But I'm going off of my (admittedly limited) exposure to practice at this point, along with speaking to lawyers.

Remember I said the trade off between clinical work and courses should lean towards clinical work in your upper years. I wouldn't go as far as saying 2L is a waste of time. Maybe 3L.

Edited by pzabbythesecond

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3 hours ago, BlockedQuebecois said:

I disagree with @Deadpool. I don’t think Osgoode’s additional clinical opportunities are worth 42k. 

Western also offers internships, works with PBSC, has a wide range of courses and many student organizations. The only place I would give Osgoode the edge is re: clinics. I’ve done five clinics or intensives at Osgoode now, and I don’t think they’ve added 42k in value to my degree. 

This may depend on the person. Were any of the clinics you're involved with directly related to the area/s of law you want to pursue? Did it help you land a competitive position in that field? It did for me which is why I give them a huge boost here. 

For example, I know the CLASP division leaders in family and criminal landed jobs at the Crown, MAG, and competitive boutiques due to their experience. Many of them landed at Biglaw firms as well and spoke extensively in their interviews about their 1 or more years of experience working on actual files and leading the division. Parkdale Worker's Rights students snagged jobs at competitive labour and employment firms. Osgoode is one of the only schools that offers immigration clinics and this helped students in my year land immigration jobs as well.  

I would say that if you were more interested in personal services and public interest, the clinics are certainly worth the extra 42k in my books. It may not be as helpful in the job recruit if you're gunning for business law, though there are plenty of opportunities through the Business Clinic, Advanced Business Law Workshops, IP Law & Technology Intensive Program, and Investor Protection Clinic.

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Pretty much what pzabby said.

The law isn’t terribly complicated. You could learn everything you learn from a law school course in 4 days if you needed to. 

You could easily design a first-year curriculum with enough courses to be actually difficult (say, 7 per semester) and enough electives to allow for specialization and you’d spit out essentially identical law students. Hell, they might be able to handle stress a bit better, too. 

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