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Create Your Own New OCI Process

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1 hour ago, BlockedQuebecois said:

I don’t disagree, if we accept that scooping up top talent early is a problem (I don’t, but it’s also not a hill I need to die on). But it still boils down to taking up to $50,000 out of the pocket of a law student, which I don’t think is beneficial to students. 

If we're taking the view that the system sucks and we want to start de novo, it's not taking $50,000 out of anyone's pocket.  You have to make the case that on balance that the juice of $50,000 to successful candidates is worth the squeeze of the pitfalls inherent in the entire process.

On the other side of the ledger, there are tons of benefits to punting the recruit to articles only (and drawbacks as well) that also need to be factored in.  We're probably talking about $50,000 out of the pockets of the people coming into law school with the most resources, the most impressive and business-focused resumes, the people with enough familiarity with the law to perform well in the first eight months. 

Killing the 1L and 2L recruit will also have the effect of reducing the insane pressure on new students and allow them time to make mistakes, to acclimatize to and (God forbid) enjoy the study of law for a while, and allow the headstart enjoyed by some to be mitigated over time. 

On the other hand, we could hand out $50,000 to some of these kids up front.  Also good.

1 hour ago, Rashabon said:

There's no chance they are making Bay Street salary off of Bay Street in this process, and I'm still not sure how your proposal allows for smaller firms to hire students but big firms can't?

Fair point on the second, though that's a problem only introduced by punting OCIs to the end of law school. Otherwise the time between finals and the bar is sufficient for the vast majority of students to study for and pass the bar.

I'm not sure I follow - they complete the process and then they pick up 20% from people who...just failed the process? How do they get hired? You've made it so all articling student hiring happens in the window after law school happens. If you think people are freaked out now, just wait until they have to graduate, fail the process, then try and claw their way back in. Also who is restricted from hiring? Just Bay Street firms? Can small firms hire whenever they want with no rules?

I put my students to work every summer. Summer is slow, but it's not dead. Litigators may be different because courts close and judges go on vacation and you all put everything over anyway so you don't have to work. But the rest of the market is still churning through stuff at various points. You've also now eliminated opportunities for students to figure out what they want to do. I only realized I might have an interest in securities law as a result of my first year summer where I got to try some of that out. I then took some more business courses throughout the rest of law school, alongside some other stuff I would have taken regardless. I would have had no idea about any of that going into articling. There are a lot of benefits students get out of a summer which your proposal would completely remove.

These are very good points.

First, in terms of the money, see above.  If we're starting fresh then we have to make the case that the money to students is a necessary and sufficient reason for summer student positions; otherwise it's just a factor to be weighed with the rest.  (It's your latter points that I find more compelling.)

In terms of scheduling the Bar, yes, of course I agree.  Moving the Bar exam is part of the system in this thought experiment.  If we don't like the system, then there's no need to move the Bar exam.

Some of your points on the 20% are easier than others.  No, they're not people who "just failed the process".  First of all, you don't fail this process; you just don't get selected.  There are great candidates every year that fall through the cracks.  If someone got hosed playing Stikes against Blakes and ended up with nothing, Torys might still want them at the end of the day and now they can make that offer. 

This also extends the field of participation to NCA students, to out-of-province students, to students who graduated out of the usual time, to students who were sick during OCIs and underperformed, etc.  It gives everyone that did not get a job through that process, or that did not have the opportunity to participate in the process, an opportunity to get one of those jobs.

Part of the reason why I eliminated cover letters, etc. is that there will be no need to "claw back in".  The firms that like you already have your application, and if there are other firms that might be interested, there is no more work required on your part. 

Who is restricted from hiring?  Let's say that you can either be a participating firm in the process, or not.  That would be interesting -- I wonder if some of the big firms would just beg out.  That might be an issue.

Your last point's a really strong one.  While I don't agree that we need summer students in order to survive the summer -- there are countless ways of dealing with that work -- I agree that we're significantly reducing the students' exposure to different practices.  That's a real flaw to consider, especially since participants are generally full-service firms where that kind of exposure is particularly desirable and available.

1 hour ago, realpseudonym said:

My problem with this is that it's going to delay people getting called. If someone has a bad test day now, they can rewrite during articles and then get called on schedule. There's no missed employment opportunities. And in all likelihood, no one even needs to know that they failed. But if the first write is after articling, a fail means waiting to rewrite, waiting for results, and waiting until the next call ceremony before they can practice. Without knowing when they'll be able to practice, they're stuck in limbo for that time period. That sucks, and it's also inconvenient. It means they're either going to need other employment, or will end up claiming EI (if they're even eligible). 

The simple answer is to eliminate the useless Bar exam.

I was going to write more, but why?

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Exactly.  I mean, surely it's easier all around just to cut the Law Society a $1,750 cheque and hit the pub, no?

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4 minutes ago, Uriel said:

Exactly.  I mean, surely it's easier all around just to cut the Law Society a $1,750 cheque and hit the pub, no?

Wanna talk about the fact that after that they charge us 3100 dollars in fees for the privilege of articling? Thats another major advantage of big firms, you're not paying those fees. 

Edited by whoknows

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14 minutes ago, Uriel said:

If we're taking the view that the system sucks and we want to start de novo, it's not taking $50,000 out of anyone's pocket.  You have to make the case that on balance that the juice of $50,000 to successful candidates is worth the squeeze of the pitfalls inherent in the entire process.

On the other side of the ledger, there are tons of benefits to punting the recruit to articles only (and drawbacks as well) that also need to be factored in.  We're probably talking about $50,000 out of the pockets of the people coming into law school with the most resources, the most impressive and business-focused resumes, the people with enough familiarity with the law to perform well in the first eight months. 

Killing the 1L and 2L recruit will also have the effect of reducing the insane pressure on new students and allow them time to make mistakes, to acclimatize to and (God forbid) enjoy the study of law for a while, and allow the headstart enjoyed by some to be mitigated over time. 

On the other hand, we could hand out $50,000 to some of these kids up front.  Also good.

I mean, you had a summer job. You had debt and were not one of these supposed business students with those backgrounds. I look around at the people that my firm hires and a lot of them could really use a paying job in the summer. They'd be precluded from working anywhere except small shops that are not part of your process (presumably hiring a summer student would prevent you from hiring an articling student out of your process). Money is a legitimate factor, and why should students in law school be forced to work non-law jobs if they can avoid it?

These are very good points.

First, in terms of the money, see above.  If we're starting fresh then we have to make the case that the money to students is a necessary and sufficient reason for summer student positions; otherwise it's just a factor to be weighed with the rest.  (It's your latter points that I find more compelling.)

I think you give a bit of short shrift to money but we've dealt with that.

In terms of scheduling the Bar, yes, of course I agree.  Moving the Bar exam is part of the system in this thought experiment.  If we don't like the system, then there's no need to move the Bar exam.

Some of your points on the 20% are easier than others.  No, they're not people who "just failed the process".  First of all, you don't fail this process; you just don't get selected.  There are great candidates every year that fall through the cracks.  If someone got hosed playing Stikes against Blakes and ended up with nothing, Torys might still want them at the end of the day and now they can make that offer. 

I'm still not following. We've gone through the recruit, Blakes, Stikes and Torys hired their 80%. Now they have to go at it in a free for all for everyone who is left? I'm not sure the firms or the students benefit from this process. It's also not really different from the current process. Firms can hire extra students if they need to, it's just they rarely do and if they do, they can go through the articling recruit to do so.

This also extends the field of participation to NCA students, to out-of-province students, to students who graduated out of the usual time, to students who were sick during OCIs and underperformed, etc.  It gives everyone that did not get a job through that process, or that did not have the opportunity to participate in the process, an opportunity to get one of those jobs.

Not sure I find giving a leg up to NCA students compelling. I feel for them, but they're not really a group that needs to be catered to as part of the OCI process. As for the others, I'm not seeing a ton of evidence that the current system is all that hard for out-of-province students to manage. You do a skype OCI and then spend two days interviewing. You're no worse off than a Windsor/Western/Queens/Ottawa student. Also how would being sick or underperforming during the current OCI process not also happen as part of the revised process? You're still going to have meet someone in person at some point.

Part of the reason why I eliminated cover letters, etc. is that there will be no need to "claw back in".  The firms that like you already have your application, and if there are other firms that might be interested, there is no more work required on your part. 

I don't understand this part - a student didn't get hired, presumably they need to go back to the firms and start begging for reconsideration from the firms that either passed on them in the first place or that the student passed on themselves?

On to the last question: who is restricted from hiring?  Let's say that you can either be a participating firm in the process, or not.  That would be interesting -- I wonder if some of the big firms would just beg out.  That might be an issue.

I mean that's how Weirfoulds and Blaney, etc. already operate. Why wouldn't you just shift to the end and wait for students to come to you, especially given that if you were to leave the process, you can now hire summer students again, no? Isn't that the exact pool you've left for hiring summer students?

Your last point's a really strong one.  While I don't agree that we need summer students in order to survive the summer -- there are countless ways of dealing with that work -- I agree that we're significantly reducing the students' exposure to different practices.  That's a real flaw to consider.

No we don't need them per se, but you've also now increased the burden on junior associates who will spend more time doing student work 10 months into their careers. In order to protect the anxiety and feelings of a small subset of students, you've now made the work worse for junior associates. You've also made it so students with no background in legal practice get zero exposure to an office environment. Further to my point about different practices, you've also now ensured that students really are bound to their articling firm, because they don't get a chance to work for various firms. There are occasionally 1L or 2L students who move around for articling because they didn't end up liking the firm they were at.

The simple answer is to eliminate the useless Bar exam.

Sure. I also think the Bar exam's difficulty is overblown.

I was going to write more, but why?

 

Edited by Rashabon

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57 minutes ago, whoknows said:

Wanna talk about the fact that after that they charge us 3100 dollars in fees for the privilege of articling? Thats another major advantage of big firms, you're not paying those fees. 

I think we can all agree that it is Good To Give Students Money.  Whether we should design our recruiting process around trying to ensure certain students have more of it is another issue.  I'm not sure the solution to an absurd tax is a stipend to pay the absurd tax with.  Nor am I sure that the solution to exorbitant tuition fees is a stipend to pay the exorbitant tuition with.  We don't need to enumerate the ways Giving Students Money is good.  It is good in many ways because money can buy lots of things. 

Does the availability of extra money to a narrow proportion of the primarily business-oriented students in the class justify putting the entire class through this process?  I'm hearing "yes", so maybe yes.  I'm still dubious.  Something can be good for me personally without being a good idea generally.

I'll bake my reply to @Rashabon down rather than quote-tweeting or this is going to get absurdly recursive.

  • You hit the nail on the head - I'm amalgamating the 2L and articling recruit.  I'm not sure I agree with your points as to why this is a bad idea -- if the firms are barred from taking more than 80% of their eventual complement through the OCI process, then they can't "just hire more", they'll have to hire more out-of-process candidates in that case.  And sure, the firms could opt out like Blaney and WeirFoulds and re-establish the summer program --- you're absolutely right that's the smart thing to do --- but they could opt out of the current process as well.  We're talking about a system established on consent; Goodmans could go the way of Blaney and WeirFoulds right now if they wanted to. 

    There are problems with this idea, though.  There would be a secondary market of gamesmanship and nerves, and probably most people picked up would be those that just went through the process.  It might not be realistic to think that the firms would reach outside of the OCI pool for talent, especially if, under this process, they would have to go through the work of interviewing people already fixed without articles, whereas they could just call unsuccessful candidates they interviewed and liked.  On further reflection, I think I agree this idea wouldn't work.  It should continue to be a 100% recruit.
     
  • Lawyers survived with an articling recruit only for decades and decades.  I agree that eliminating summers reduces exposure to different practices and agree that's a drawback, but I also think the idea that they will suffer for having "zero exposure to an office environment" is a little silly.  You really don't think you could have survived as an articling student without the rigors of your summer program?
     
  • I'm not putting junior associates on student work 10 months into their careers.  Let's be clear about what we're talking about here: it's due diligence and discovery work.  You can give a first-year associate a research memo and it won't be "student work", so we're talking about who is going to review documents between June and July, bearing in mind that virtually no one is reviewing documents in June anyway because the students are still being oriented.  Clerks?  Third party services?  Literally anyone with a law degree that could use a contract gig, especially now that the main articling recruit is over?
     
  • If you're not going to credit NCA students or students with anxiety or other health issues as a large enough population to warrant special consideration in this process, I have significantly less sympathy for the handful of Bay Street hires that decide they'd prefer Cassels over MacMillan after two months of cocktail parties, tax CLEs and inflatable sumo wrestling.

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Okay. I'm sold. I don't agree with every one of Uriel's suggestions, but then he knows a lot more than I do about all of this. I agree with his values and the bases of his approach enough to simply trust his developed opinions are better than my own. I move he be put in charge of all of this, and tasked with complete authority to fix everything. 

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Ah!  But also, I have not thought any of this out.  (Minor caveat.)

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15 minutes ago, Uriel said:

Ah!  But also, I have not thought any of this out.  (Minor caveat.)

Our Law Society is run by people who only thought as far as wanting to eliminate a statement of principle that was bothering them. I have faith you'll get there - far more than I have in them. 

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1 hour ago, Uriel said:

I think we can all agree that it is Good To Give Students Money.  Whether we should design our recruiting process around trying to ensure certain students have more of it is another issue.  I'm not sure the solution to an absurd tax is a stipend to pay the absurd tax with.  Nor am I sure that the solution to exorbitant tuition fees is a stipend to pay the exorbitant tuition with.  We don't need to enumerate the ways Giving Students Money is good.  It is good in many ways because money can buy lots of things. 

Does the availability of extra money to a narrow proportion of the primarily business-oriented students in the class justify putting the entire class through this process?  I'm hearing "yes", so maybe yes.  I'm still dubious.  Something can be good for me personally without being a good idea generally.

I'll bake my reply to @Rashabon down rather than quote-tweeting or this is going to get absurdly recursive.

  • You hit the nail on the head - I'm amalgamating the 2L and articling recruit.  I'm not sure I agree with your points as to why this is a bad idea -- if the firms are barred from taking more than 80% of their eventual complement through the OCI process, then they can't "just hire more", they'll have to hire more out-of-process candidates in that case.  And sure, the firms could opt out like Blaney and WeirFoulds and re-establish the summer program --- you're absolutely right that's the smart thing to do --- but they could opt out of the current process as well.  We're talking about a system established on consent; Goodmans could go the way of Blaney and WeirFoulds right now if they wanted to. 

    There are problems with this idea, though.  There would be a secondary market of gamesmanship and nerves, and probably most people picked up would be those that just went through the process.  It might not be realistic to think that the firms would reach outside of the OCI pool for talent, especially if, under this process, they would have to go through the work of interviewing people already fixed without articles, whereas they could just call unsuccessful candidates they interviewed and liked.  On further reflection, I think I agree this idea wouldn't work.  It should continue to be a 100% recruit.

Yes, your idea would be more workable if it was all or nothing. The 80% thing seemed arbitrary and didn't seem to achieve anything as far as I could stretch it out.

  • Lawyers survived with an articling recruit only for decades and decades.  I agree that eliminating summers reduces exposure to different practices and agree that's a drawback, but I also think the idea that they will suffer for having "zero exposure to an office environment" is a little silly.  You really don't think you could have survived as an articling student without the rigors of your summer program?

I would have been fine. But your revisions aren't for me, the candidate that has never suffered a serious set back and is comfortable in this environment. I think you discount the relaxed exposure to an office environment to candidates who don't come from backgrounds associated with this type of work, who now have the added pressure of having to make a first impression alongside starting their articles. People buy suits for the first time in their lives for OCIs. It's not out of the question that plenty of them have never been in an office. Summering allows for that.

Also yes, obviously lawyers survived with just an articling recruit, but you've also significantly revamped how it works, such that people looking to join some of the biggest or most prestigious boutiques have to wait until the end of their law school careers to begin that recruit. That's not how it used to work. Frankly, getting rid of OCIs and punting everything to the articling recruit achieves the same purpose, except that you still get a full year of finding out your next option if you strike out there. I really don't see how your process would do anything but make some of these students even more insane, because instead of 3 separate recruits in which they can get hired, they have one, and it's after their law school career has ended, meaning each day they don't have an articling spot lined up is a day they could have been working. The current system allows you to try your hand at Bay Street and boutiques and if you don't land a position, you have two full years to figure it out while still in the safe confines of school.

  • I'm not putting junior associates on student work 10 months into their careers.  Let's be clear about what we're talking about here: it's due diligence and discovery work.  You can give a first-year associate a research memo and it won't be "student work", so we're talking about who is going to review documents between June and July.  Clerks?  Third party services?  Literally anyone with a law degree that could use a contract gig, especially now that the main articling recruit is over?

Your students might get scut work like discovery work, but my clerks have enough on their plate that they can't handle the various things students do in a transactional practice on top of their own jobs. You really don't understand what it is your transactional colleagues do if you think it is limited to just due diligence. My students get to do work ranging from things that an articling student through to a junior associate might be tasked with. Some of it is work I'd prefer only a student do, but other work is more advanced. You gotta walk before you run, and being a student and getting to learn that stuff is valuable. As a specific aside, capital markets due diligence can't really be farmed out in an efficient manner to some third party service, and nobody would be comfortable with that generally anyway. So yes, junior associates will be stuck doing some work that students otherwise would be, because there's 2 months of the year in which articling students aren't around to do it.

  • If you're not going to credit NCA students or students with anxiety or other health issues as a large enough population to warrant special consideration in this process, I have significantly less sympathy for the handful of Bay Street hires that decide they'd prefer Cassels over MacMillan after two months of cocktail parties, tax CLEs and inflatable sumo wrestling.

Sure. But again, NCA students are adults who made a decision to leave Canada to go to law school, despite law being one of the most clearly local and jurisdictional professions. This is a separate debate that we have all the time on the forum, and I'm happy to find avenues to get them better employment opportunities (the LPP is perfectly designed for them, but candidates are choosing not to sign up for it), but if they are centered in your focus on revising the OCI program, I'd have to disagree.

Also if we try and design a program that avoids people having insane reactions to the process, we'll never get there. The reason this forum blew up over the last weeks of recruit is because certain posters had such an abnormal, outsized reaction. And that's clearly internal to them - the process is just how it manifested. But again, your proposed process isn't going to do much more to relax students. I really do think it'll make things more stressful, not less. They're going to graduate law school, still fail to get an articling job at one of these firms, and then absolutely lose their minds because they don't get to go back to class the next day - they start spending every day looking for an articling job.

 

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I’m just seeing this, but what’s the theory here? That having 3 years of your marks matter (for all students instead of some) is going to be less stress than having 1 year of your marks matter? I don’t get it.

Though given the obvious benefits to NY, I’m on board. 

Edit: Quite naturally, the effect would not be to encourage law students to enjoy law school or learning. It would be to encourage them to take the birdiest courses they can identify. There would be a rush each year to sign up for whatever classes sound like the least work. One of the defining features of 2L for me was that I enjoyed lectures, sort of - why not? I had my job locked on Sept. 1 (or around then). Lectures were more like a form of entertainment and I could take them in while leaning back.

Edited by theycancallyouhoju
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Here’s my proposal for reducing the stress of OCIs: law schools only accept candidates with 3+ years of full time work experience. I never saw a student with a career history break down in the recruit. 

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1 hour ago, theycancallyouhoju said:

Here’s my proposal for reducing the stress of OCIs: law schools only accept candidates with 3+ years of full time work experience. I never saw a student with a career history break down in the recruit. 

I completely agree. My mentality going in was much less heavy than those who hadn’t worked for many years. It’s much easier to put things in perspective when you’ve gone through employment processes before. 

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15 minutes ago, couscous said:

I completely agree. My mentality going in was much less heavy than those who hadn’t worked for many years. It’s much easier to put things in perspective when you’ve gone through employment processes before. 

Plus people would have three years to learn to fit in to a professional setting if that isn’t something they grew up with. Helped me. 

I advocate taking time to work to every law hopeful I speak to, but a lot of kids are terrified of going out into the world and law school affirms their sense of still being on “the right path”. The need to feel like you’re on “the right path” is also what causes a lot of OCI anxiety. Kicking it out of your system before law school is objectively good.

Edited by theycancallyouhoju

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2 hours ago, theycancallyouhoju said:

Here’s my proposal for reducing the stress of OCIs: law schools only accept candidates with 3+ years of full time work experience. I never saw a student with a career history break down in the recruit. 

Agreed but only if we shorten law school to two years at most. It's already longer than it needs to be, and adding mandatory work experience before increases the years of income missed at a law level. MBA's are increasingly one year long. Law can at least shorten to two in this scenario.

3 years of work experience is a lot. 2 minimum seems reasonable. 

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9 minutes ago, pzabbythesecond said:

Agreed but only if we shorten law school to two years at most. It's already longer than it needs to be, and adding mandatory work experience before increases the years of income missed at a law level. MBA's are increasingly one year long. Law can at least shorten to two in this scenario.

3 years of work experience is a lot. 2 minimum seems reasonable. 

Shortening law school - sure, that’s fine. But I don’t care about the opportunity cost part. The prelaw work will set people up to make better, more informed career decisions and I care about net happiness more than net cash.

Three years of work is nonnegotiable for me. Two years is an internship plus a lark - make it long enough that people really have to figure something out.

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8 minutes ago, theycancallyouhoju said:

Shortening law school - sure, that’s fine. But I don’t care about the opportunity cost part. The prelaw work will set people up to make better, more informed career decisions and I care about net happiness more than net cash.

Three years of work is nonnegotiable for me. Two years is an internship plus a lark - make it long enough that people really have to figure something out.

Then law school really needs to become one year with summers included, so you can squeeze more material in. Opportunity cost does matter. Weren't you just complaining how lawyers can't afford homes anymore because prices skyrocketed a decade ago?

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1 hour ago, BlockedQuebecois said:

Fuck it, just let me read for the bar and get rid of law school and the recruits all together. Problem solved. 

Nepotism and social class would govern hiring. If you gave a mark for the bar, then the wealthy could get tutors and their kid would win. A plus of 1L exams is that they’re very hard to tutor, and the only people who could tutor them very well are practicing law and already forgot most of 1L. Make the bar into the LSAT and you’ll have a whole industry pop up.

1 hour ago, pzabbythesecond said:

Then law school really needs to become one year with summers included, so you can squeeze more material in. Opportunity cost does matter. Weren't you just complaining how lawyers can't afford homes anymore because prices skyrocketed a decade ago?

That’s a complaint about the housing market and about associate pay stagnation, not about what age you get to start being a lawyer.

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The premises I’m working from are these:

1. The primary drivers of unreasonably high anxiety around OCIs are (a) inexperience with job recruitment/interviews, (b) fear of being off a set path, and (c) fear of seeing peers celebrate while you lament. These are the things people come on the forum and talk about every year: I’m lost; I don’t want to be around the other students right now; I’m out of hope; I don’t know how to hold a wine glass and talk at the same time, etc.

2. Students who went K-JD have often invested close to 100% of their public identity in their student-future-lawyer identity. This makes law school feel like it’s everything. 

These two are why both sides are right in the ‘OCIs are fine/horrible’ debate - OCI is one of the most facilitated job recruitment processes on earth, and at the most anxious schools, students have unbelievably high chances at getting some of the highest paying entry jobs around. At the same time, it really is hugely destabilizing if you’ve wrapped your identity up in being The Good Student or The One With Potential your whole life. The broader the well from which you draw your self-worth, the less any of that matters in comparison.

Experience takes out 1(a). Having other career skills/options and having seen other paths takes out 1(b) and greatly diminishes 1(c).

I just think it’s inaccurate to try to resolve student anxiety by way of tweaking the mechanics. The issue isn’t the recruit, it’s how we orient ourselves to the recruit. 

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    • I don't know enough about that school to comment, sorry!
    • thank you! I like many of these points especially the business oriented and technological aspect. And between Ryerson and Windsor, which one are you leaning towards if you don't mind me asking? 
    • I’ll go.  I wrote at the KPU testing centre in Surrey B.C.    Pros - Don’t have to drive all the way into Van if you’re from farther east.    - Next to Surrey central if you need to hit the mall or something. You can knock 2 birds with one stone and get your passport renewed.    - Not an overwhelming amount of test takers.    - Lots of parking.    - Friendly and helpful staff.  - Large and well-lit rooms, lots of natural light. Large and comfortable desks.  - Right next to the Skytrain.    Cons - Right next to the skytrain.    - It’s in Surrey so there’s lots of sirens.    - Easy to fuck up and go to the main KPU campus if you’re stupid like I am.    - Probably in a bad location for anyone not based in Surrey. Having to drive 90 minutes for an 8:30 test time wasn’t my favourite.    Overall it was fine, I’d easily recommend it if it was the only option, or the closest one, as it was for me. I only wrote once on the second iteration of the electronic LSAT, so my experience might not be representative.    Cheers, P&S    

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