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What are the job prospects with a Ryerson degree?

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39 minutes ago, conge said:

I don't really agree that ppl are being shallow or stupid by deciding to go with a school that is located in downtown TO; it might be a good choice for them because of family support, because they want to live in Canada's largest city for 3 years, because they want access to the opportunities in TO, etc. TO has large population, a lot of ppl from TO apply to law school, a lot of ppl would prob be wiling to go to a new law school in TO.

I think making a decision based on those factors is better than making a decision based on perceived prestige.

Your argument is not consistent. 

You are arguing that Ryerson due to its location in downtown Toronto will soon become one of the top law schools "second only to U of T". In order to do that it would have to surpass among others Oz, Western and Queens. 

You then argue that this will happen because Ryerson will attract a strong pool of candidates that would otherwise go to "the other new schools in rural areas"

In order for Ryerson to rise to the top of law school rankings to be "second only to U of T" it has to attract the students that otherwise would have gone to Oz, Western, Queens, McGill, ect, not the students that otherwise would have gone to Lakehead. 
 

As others have pointed out, we already have a case study. All of the factors you cite as location advantages in law would also be location advantages in business, maybe even more so. If your theory was correct the Ryerson business school would now be ranked ahead of Western (Ivey) and Queens (Smith). That has not happened. 

 

 

 

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Anyone who would choose to go to a school that has literally zero alumni practicing law at all, just so that they could live in Toronto for three years, deserves whatever they get re: job prospects.

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1 hour ago, conge said:

because they want to live in Canada's largest city for 3 years

I'm sorry, but this is a stupid reason to select a law school to go to, given all the other things going for the various other law schools in Ontario. If this is solely your criteria in deciding where to go to school, I cannot help but say it is a dumb reason.

The other stuff you mentioned have value, namely proximity to family and support systems (including financial support). Those are valid reasons for wanting to stay in Toronto. The opportunities piece is tired, because it's frequently brought up in these discussions but I don't think has demonstrable value. I don't think a person would have better access to biglaw opportunities coming out of Toronto versus not. I mean, just look at the background of the lawyers in the largest law firms in the city; I think you'll see a healthy group of them are going to be from Queen's, Ottawa, and Western. But even if we grant, for a moment, that going to school in Toronto gives you a substantial leg-up in getting into one of these coveted firms, I doubt Ryerson grads would start appearing at the top of any list for quite a while simply because no one knows who they are, making this consideration largely irrelevant for the moment.

1 hour ago, conge said:

I think making a decision based on those factors is better than making a decision based on perceived prestige.

I barely mentioned prestige. I even put an "ugh" after it to signify how little it mattered and how unfortunate I thought it was that we were even bringing it up. I think you should focus on the other considerations I've now recited at least twice, which I think are far more important. They certainly outweigh, in my opinion, proximity to downtown Toronto by a huge margin.

Edited by Ryn

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There is fairly good evidence that we're walking to a Brave New World of law given that venture capital has started mobilizing into our field and most companies would gladly do away with opaque pricing models by law firms. Most of what an ordinary lawyer does; in reading endless amounts of texts and crunching things together and memorizing things are skills that are easily replaceable by machine learning, and the most treasured skills like issue-spotting, piecing together caselaw, writing memos, are things which can and are being automated. Meanwhile you have a dozen companies promising to use data analytics to predict judicial decisions; alter how litigation is done, etc. 

Ryerson Law promises to teach coding, technology-integrated and essentially designing everything from what people are saying the future of law will be like. No idea what it will be like but if folks here believe they chose a tech immune field and only prestige matters then boy will they be surprised. 

I can really imagine a future scenario were some Ryerson Law 2023 grad just starts having like 5 screens and doing law work like a financial trader meanwhile the law student from elsewhere including myself will still try to pitch our ability to memorize case law and legal tests to the dinosaurs. 

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2 minutes ago, mazzystar said:

There is fairly good evidence that we're walking to a Brave New World of law given that venture capital has started mobilizing into our field and most companies would gladly do away with opaque pricing models by law firms. Most of what an ordinary lawyer does; in reading endless amounts of texts and crunching things together and memorizing things are skills that are easily replaceable by machine learning, and the most treasured skills like issue-spotting, piecing together caselaw, writing memos, are things which can and are being automated. Meanwhile you have a dozen companies promising to use data analytics to predict judicial decisions; alter how litigation is done, etc. 

Ryerson Law promises to teach coding, technology-integrated and essentially designing everything from what people are saying the future of law will be like. No idea what it will be like but if folks here believe they chose a tech immune field and only prestige matters then boy will they be surprised. 

I can really imagine a future scenario were some Ryerson Law 2023 grad just starts having like 5 screens and doing law work like a financial trader meanwhile the law student from elsewhere including myself will still try to pitch our ability to memorize case law and legal tests to the dinosaurs. 

That's about as accurate as me making equity partner at Paul Weiss in 2023.

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11 hours ago, beyondsection17 said:

Anyone who would choose to go to a school that has literally zero alumni practicing law at all, just so that they could live in Toronto for three years, deserves whatever they get re: job prospects.

Law schools are essentially teaching us things that they taught a decade ago, in the same way as a decade ago. I literally have used summaries from 2003 and they are almost always the same. It was a straight up walk backwards going from how they taught us in my previous programs which did integrate 21st Century curriculum. 

Law is a service profession and we are going to be subject to strong external pressures to adapt. Ryerson is promising to be ahead of the curve by doing away with old school ways of teaching. How well they do it; who knows. 

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15 minutes ago, pzabbythesecond said:

That's about as accurate as me making equity partner at Paul Weiss in 2023.

Believe what you want. The kinds of things a lawyer can do or the type of thinking they engage in is not really any different from fields already going through turmoil and disruption. Its already starting to disrupt harder fields like medicine which requires a lot more skill-based learning and already started changing banks and the financial industry.

Law will not be immune and the big-team hierarchy models cannot expect to survive.

Dunno why so many people close their eyes to how much our economies are changing in law especially as its a service profession dependent on other industries. 

Edited by mazzystar

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14 minutes ago, mazzystar said:

 

I can really imagine a future scenario were some Ryerson Law 2023 grad just starts having like 5 screens and doing law work like a financial trader 

Y'all are laughing at zhir using the like button, but I use three screens when I am lawing.  One of our younger staff uses 5 and has a second computer so he can run R and do data analytics.  I think he may vape as well.

Edited by kurrika

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Okay since I am getting laughs here. Fine, here's a fairly "primitive" model of how natural language processing algorithm can be used. Read this, its an open-source Python library designed for building legal tech software:

https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3192101

This is an easier to digest thing describing how AI is reshaping law. 

https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3381798

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I don't think that people are necessarily laughing at the essence of what you are saying.  What you are saying isn't completely crazy.  The pace at which you are suggesting this will all happen is likely, in part, what they are doubting.  The reactions may also be partly attributed to the fact that you haven't (I don't think?) actually practiced law at this point.

I just don't think the legal profession will be completely revolutionized as imminently as your comments suggest.  While I (and probably others) can appreciate arguments that computers will replace certain functions currently done by humans and that some of Ryerson's tech-forward training could be helpful (if well executed), I think it will take time to get there. 

While I do appreciate the need for lawyers to have more technical skills and to better integrate technology into law schools (whatever that means...I'm old), I don't understand how this translates to what seems to be your critique of the substance of law school (i.e. what is taught not the way it is taught).  I do think that law school, especially 1L, should continue to include the case reading, making legal arguments, etc. that you seem to criticize, both because I can't imagine a scenario where humans interacting with AI technology don't need a baseline level of knowledge of the law and because I don't think these changes are going to come all that quickly.  It is also pretty absurd to claim that summaries from 2003 are "the same".  75% the same?  Sure.  But actually the same?  Doubtful.  Even if they were "the same", that doesn't demonstrate that law school curricula are dated or make them irrelevant.  If that is the current state of the law, then that is the current state of the law.

Edited by ProfReader
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1 hour ago, ProfReader said:

I don't think that people are necessarily laughing at the essence of what you are saying.  What you are saying isn't completely crazy.  The pace at which you are suggesting this will all happen is likely, in part, what they are doubting.  The reactions may also be partly attributed to the fact that you haven't (I don't think?) actually practiced law at this point.

I just don't think the legal profession will be completely revolutionized as imminently as your comments suggest.  While I (and probably others) can appreciate arguments that computers will replace certain functions currently done by humans and that some of Ryerson's tech-forward training could be helpful (if well executed), I think it will take time to get there. 

While I do appreciate the need for lawyers to have more technical skills and to better integrate technology into law schools (whatever that means...I'm old), I don't understand how this translates to what seems to be your critique of the substance of law school (i.e. what is taught not the way it is taught).  I do think that law school, especially 1L, should continue to include the case reading, making legal arguments, etc. that you seem to criticize, both because I can't imagine a scenario where humans interacting with AI technology don't need a baseline level of knowledge of the law and because I don't think these changes are going to come all that quickly.  It is also pretty absurd to claim that summaries from 2003 are "the same".  75% the same?  Sure.  But actually the same?  Doubtful.  Even if they were "the same", that doesn't demonstrate that law school curricula are dated or make them irrelevant.  If that is the current state of the law, then that is the current state of the law.

Its mostly hyperbole for the pace of it part, I don't really see myself holding a tin can and a sign that reads "Will review contracts for Food".  There is nothing wrong of course with teaching fundamental skills. Just borrowing a page from say, physics. They teach fundamental theories and its very important to. But its laterally supplanted with learning how to use sophisticated machinery, and now supplanted with learning how to design and program simulation models.

We spend like, an hour a week learning to use Westlaw and Quicklaw which are the tools of yesterday. We learn nothing about how these tools are going to operate. But yes, case summaries have not changed. It literally went unchanged for over a decade. Not for criminal law obviously, but the summaries I looked at were virtually identical to mine in teaching ratios and so-on with the same cases used. My point wasn't that it isn't useful; but the way of teaching it has not adapted yet and this is IMO problematic. 

Sorry I seem very bitter and so-on, but I am just kind of frustrated with how archaic some of the curriculum for law schools generally seems to be entering my second year. 

Edited by mazzystar

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@mazzystar I think you are failing to realize the context in which you are making your comments. 

We are speaking about a court system where the cutting edge of technology is the fax machine. If you doubt me just try e mailing a document to the court. 

With respect to Ryerson specifically, every law school ever opened was going to teach law in a new, unique and better way. Ever law school ever opened ends up teaching law in the same way that all other law schools that came before it taught and teach law. 

Maybe I am old and cynical and don't look at the world with the bright eyed enthusiasm of a newly minted L1. But in my defence I am still waiting for the paperless office promised to me so many years ago.  

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10 hours ago, mazzystar said:

Most of what an ordinary lawyer does; in reading endless amounts of texts and crunching things together and memorizing things are skills that are easily replaceable by machine learning, and the most treasured skills like issue-spotting, piecing together caselaw, writing memos, are things which can and are being automated.

You are confusing what a law student does in school with what an "ordinary lawyer" does in practice. These two things are very different.

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On 9/19/2019 at 12:59 AM, mazzystar said:

Most of what an ordinary lawyer does; in reading endless amounts of texts and crunching things together and memorizing things are skills that are easily replaceable by machine learning, and the most treasured skills like issue-spotting, piecing together caselaw, writing memos, are things which can and are being automated. Meanwhile you have a dozen companies promising to use data analytics to predict judicial decisions; alter how litigation is done, etc. 

I have a tech background, so I can say with relative confidence that we are a long way off from being able to automate many of the processes that lawyers do. Natural language processing is one thing, but even that is struggling with a lot of simple concepts. We can make it work on a low level ("oh hey, I see that this email says something was shipped to you, so I'll put it on your calendar" or "I get that you asked me what time it was in a really round-about manner, so I'll say the time I suppose") -- and I'll grant you that even this low level is exceptionally impressive compared to a decade ago. But the kind of analytics required to fully automate things like contract drafting, discovery, writing memos or pleadings, and so on, is quite a ways off. All of those things require nuanced understandings of tons of relevant facts, case law, and critical thinking.

AI can superficially make surface-level connections in language, but it is not yet capable of abstract thought, which is what is necessary to automate these things (and many other service professions or knowledge-economy careers). I'd say we're at least two generations away from that, if we'll even see it in our lifetime. It's incredibly difficult to accomplish this with our current level of tech and understanding of the science behind it. I mean, we don't even really know how neural networks work. What I mean by that is, we obviously understand the math behind the concept, but once you train a neural net, the result is so incredibly complex that we don't actually know, to the fine detail, how it's getting the answers it gets. We're just happy that the answers are correct.

Now, obviously, no one could have predicted that we'd get so good at even the low-level machine learning stuff we're doing now in such a short period of time. We may be surprised in a decade or so -- maybe we will make leaps and bounds of progress. But while I'm optimistic about the advancement of this kind of tech, I am also a realist, and my sense is that we'll make it there eventually but not for a good long while.

Even if we do, there's the human element. Market forces are one thing, but part of the practice of law is dealing with the government, and the government works at its own pace. As others have said, all you need to look at is how "automated" courts are today. Which is to say that they're not. They're like, 15 years behind. And they will continue to be.

On 9/19/2019 at 12:59 AM, mazzystar said:

Ryerson Law promises to teach coding, technology-integrated and essentially designing everything from what people are saying the future of law will be like.

I am happy that they are doing this, but I think it's ultimately just a marketing ploy. Teaching coding takes time, at least to the point that it becomes a useful skill you'll actually leverage. And you won't be taking the time in a law school, not really. Two or three courses in three years is not going to do it. A bootcamp is definitely not going to accomplish anything.

As I said once before when this topic came up, I don't think you need a CS degree to write macros in Excel, but a bootcamp course in programming isn't going to teach you how to do it usefully, either.

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I have a question for all of you.  This isn't in response to any particular post, but rather two general themes on this site.  The first theme is a condemnation of the status quo that, at extreme, is along the lines of law school doesn't teach you anything useful, law schools are stuck back in the 1800s, all law schools want to do is maintain the status quo, etc.  The second theme is a critique of law schools trying to do things differently.  X law school shouldn't require mandatory Indigenous law because that is just virtue signalling, Ryerson's coding and cultural/emotional intelligence bootcamps are stupid, etc.  Similarly, when schools try to incorporate more skills-based content into the 1L curriculum (more written assignments instead of just exams or that sort of thing) instead of merely having 100% exams, those assignments attract bitter complaining. I've seen that happen at multiple schools. 

I find it difficult to reconcile these two themes. 

So my question for all of you whippersnappers is how would you change the 1L curriculum to fix the first critique but avoid running into the second one?

Edited by ProfReader

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53 minutes ago, ProfReader said:

I have a question for all of you.  This isn't in response to any particular post, but rather two general themes on this site.  The first theme is a condemnation of the status quo that, at extreme, is along the lines of law school doesn't teach you anything useful, law schools are stuck back in the 1800s, all law schools want to do is maintain the status quo, etc.  The second theme is a critique of law schools trying to do things differently.  X law school shouldn't require mandatory Indigenous law because that is just virtue signalling, Ryerson's coding and cultural/emotional intelligence bootcamps are stupid, etc.  Similarly, when schools try to incorporate more skills-based content into the 1L curriculum (more written assignments instead of just exams or that sort of thing) instead of merely having 100% exams, those assignments attract bitter complaining. I've seen that happen at multiple schools. 

I find it difficult to reconcile these two themes. 

So my question for all of you whippersnappers is how would you change the 1L curriculum to fix the first critique but avoid running into the second one?

Get them 100k/annum paying jobs without having to study.

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On 9/20/2019 at 10:32 AM, Ryn said:

I have a tech background, so I can say with relative confidence that we are a long way off from being able to automate many of the processes that lawyers do. Natural language processing is one thing, but even that is struggling with a lot of simple concepts. We can make it work on a low level ("oh hey, I see that this email says something was shipped to you, so I'll put it on your calendar" or "I get that you asked me what time it was in a really round-about manner, so I'll say the time I suppose") -- and I'll grant you that even this low level is exceptionally impressive compared to a decade ago. But the kind of analytics required to fully automate things like contract drafting, discovery, writing memos or pleadings, and so on, is quite a ways off. All of those things require nuanced understandings of tons of relevant facts, case law, and critical thinking.

Its already taking the low-hanging fruit for a few years, e.g. automation of document discovery, due-diligence and so-on. There is increasing automation of contract review already exists. Machine learning for example can already automate the task of tax law and predict tax court rulings, exists to generate predictive portfolios of judge decision making and so-on. All this stuff you mentioned already exists. 

Machine learning being able to abstract patterns from thousands of cases at once, is not super difficult compared to its broader uses else where. E.g. with relative ease it can analyze fairly consistent disease patterns and so-on. 

Quote

AI can superficially make surface-level connections in language, but it is not yet capable of abstract thought, which is what is necessary to automate these things (and many other service professions or knowledge-economy careers). I'd say we're at least two generations away from that, if we'll even see it in our lifetime. It's incredibly difficult to accomplish this with our current level of tech and understanding of the science behind it. I mean, we don't even really know how neural networks work. What I mean by that is, we obviously understand the math behind the concept, but once you train a neural net, the result is so incredibly complex that we don't actually know, to the fine detail, how it's getting the answers it gets. We're just happy that the answers are correct.

Now, obviously, no one could have predicted that we'd get so good at even the low-level machine learning stuff we're doing now in such a short period of time. We may be surprised in a decade or so -- maybe we will make leaps and bounds of progress. But while I'm optimistic about the advancement of this kind of tech, I am also a realist, and my sense is that we'll make it there eventually but not for a good long while.

Well no, this is wrong though. Machines can parse patterns humans cannot understand when we talk about big-data insights. Its why its fundamentally changing business operations, and I've personally seen it alter science disciplines and fields more complicated than law. Natural language processing as an offshoot does not need to understand cognitive aspects of grammar but it can replicate human understanding in its weird machine way. Neural networks as a process is beyond our understanding yes, but understanding the theory and process behind it is understandable and necessary to fully grasp it.

Interpretation of insights will require humansI do agree. Human elements from law cannot be replaced.

Quote

Even if we do, there's the human element. Market forces are one thing, but part of the practice of law is dealing with the government, and the government works at its own pace. As others have said, all you need to look at is how "automated" courts are today. Which is to say that they're not. They're like, 15 years behind. And they will continue to be.

I am happy that they are doing this, but I think it's ultimately just a marketing ploy. Teaching coding takes time, at least to the point that it becomes a useful skill you'll actually leverage. And you won't be taking the time in a law school, not really. Two or three courses in three years is not going to do it. A bootcamp is definitely not going to accomplish anything.

As I said once before when this topic came up, I don't think you need a CS degree to write macros in Excel, but a bootcamp course in programming isn't going to teach you how to do it usefully, either.

Technological competence will be necessary, its just unavoidable in order to ensure parameters and outputs aren't faulty. Deep technical skills are not necessary but understanding underlying theory will be at some point necessary. 

There is strong talk that the field of law will bifurcate, there will be a rising group of technolawyers or legal tech professionals who provide auxiliary support much like how it is in other industries. The trend if anything, will just create more specializations within law, especially once predictive analytics starts getting deployed widely. 

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On 9/19/2019 at 11:44 AM, OWH said:

@mazzystar I think you are failing to realize the context in which you are making your comments. 

We are speaking about a court system where the cutting edge of technology is the fax machine. If you doubt me just try e mailing a document to the court. 

With respect to Ryerson specifically, every law school ever opened was going to teach law in a new, unique and better way. Ever law school ever opened ends up teaching law in the same way that all other law schools that came before it taught and teach law. 

Maybe I am old and cynical and don't look at the world with the bright eyed enthusiasm of a newly minted L1. But in my defence I am still waiting for the paperless office promised to me so many years ago.  

Agreed on this. Courts will always be behind, but technophobia of this field however won't last especially as the field shifts towards the digital natives. 

On 9/20/2019 at 11:41 AM, ProfReader said:

I have a question for all of you.  This isn't in response to any particular post, but rather two general themes on this site.  The first theme is a condemnation of the status quo that, at extreme, is along the lines of law school doesn't teach you anything useful, law schools are stuck back in the 1800s, all law schools want to do is maintain the status quo, etc.  The second theme is a critique of law schools trying to do things differently.  X law school shouldn't require mandatory Indigenous law because that is just virtue signalling, Ryerson's coding and cultural/emotional intelligence bootcamps are stupid, etc.  Similarly, when schools try to incorporate more skills-based content into the 1L curriculum (more written assignments instead of just exams or that sort of thing) instead of merely having 100% exams, those assignments attract bitter complaining. I've seen that happen at multiple schools. 

I find it difficult to reconcile these two themes. 

So my question for all of you whippersnappers is how would you change the 1L curriculum to fix the first critique but avoid running into the second one?

There are some great papers on this, but teaching emotional intelligence and technological competence as parallels to theory is a start. There are a lot of papers out there now coming out, my favorites are the Delta Competency Models and T-Model of Law. 

Shifting away from deep digestion of caselaw and strict pedagogy where 70% of your time is ensuring there are no typos, is a backward view which some schools still practice. At my school, literal font and font size was the difference between a C and an A for one of my courses and I hated every second I spent having to do this sort of double-checking. 

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1 hour ago, mazzystar said:

Agreed on this. Courts will always be behind, but technophobia of this field however won't last especially as the field shifts towards the digital natives. 

There are some great papers on this, but teaching emotional intelligence and technological competence as parallels to theory is a start. There are a lot of papers out there now coming out, my favorites are the Delta Competency Models and T-Model of Law. 

Shifting away from deep digestion of caselaw and strict pedagogy where 70% of your time is ensuring there are no typos, is a backward view which some schools still practice. At my school, literal font and font size was the difference between a C and an A for one of my courses and I hated every second I spent having to do this sort of double-checking. 

Yes, I am aware of those sorts of papers.  I can imagine a law school teaching those things.  I just can't imagine a law school successfully evaluating students on those sorts of skills without attracting a great deal of complaining from students.

I highly doubt that the only difference between an A piece of writing and a C piece of writing was a difference in font and font size.  That's not believable.  Neither is the comment about 70% time being spent ensuring there are no typos.

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