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unemployableBA

Do you have to do articling and the bar right after graduation?

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I want to do law school in 2020 but I don't want to start working in the field immediately after I graduate, I want to travel and work for a few years before working as an actual lawyer. Does anyone know anything about this or have any advice? Is it practical not to do articling right away or can I do articling in another country for example? Is there a limit to how long you have to take the bar? Basically I want to be a lawyer but not in my early 20's

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I imagine it would be a bit of a pain in the ass to convince someone to hire you as an articling student 3 years removed from law school (meaning you're both rusty and not up to date on the latest law).

I echo the sentiment that it's more practical to do all that stuff before law school.

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18 minutes ago, McSweeney said:

I imagine it would be a bit of a pain in the ass to convince someone to hire you as an articling student 3 years removed from law school (meaning you're both rusty and not up to date on the latest law).

I echo the sentiment that it's more practical to do all that stuff before law school.

While agreeing, not everyone will have the money to travel before law school. Of course, if they have money to travel after graduation and before working as OP seems to anticipate, yeah, I guess they have money to spare!

Anecdotally, I knew multiple people who didn't immediately article (or clerk) after graduation, and from what they said, it made it much, much more difficult for them to find anything. I think I've read (but I am PT solo, pay more attention to opinions of people FT in firms) that lawyers with at least one year experience post-call find it much easier getting work (or changing areas of law) than calls with zero experience after articling.

No articling but US, when economic downturn meant one year far fewer hires of graduates, that year had permanently blighted careers.

 

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Yeah, this is what I was afraid of. I've been travelling and working abroad for the past year but my S.O . is going back to school in Canada for 2 years so I wanted to do law school at the same time and then continue travelling afterwards. Unfortunately law really doesn't seem like a career you can travel with so I thought I might do the schooling and then come back and article/ write the bar afterwards when I'm ready to stay in Canada. But I'm worried that's not going to be possible or that its going to make it incredibly difficult for me to find a job in my late 20's. Ugh. Thanks for all the responses!

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What if I did articling and the bar immediately after and then took a couple years off from the profession. Would that make finding a job a bit easier?

 

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34 minutes ago, unemployableBA said:

What if I did articling and the bar immediately after and then took a couple years off from the profession. Would that make finding a job a bit easier?

 

Law school involves an investment of $100,000 or more once you factor in opportunity costs. Why would you spend that kind of money until you are able to make use of it? Interest costs alone makes this a dumb idea. 

To answer your specific question, generally the market for lawyers is bad until 2-3 years experience post-call. While having articled might help a little bit, you are still going to be competing for relatively scarce jobs while simultaneously demonstrating a lack of commitment. Leaving the profession for a couple years whether immediately after law school or a year later to travel is going to cause significant harm to your career. 

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10 hours ago, unemployableBA said:

I want to do law school in 2020 but I don't want to start working in the field immediately after I graduate, I want to travel and work for a few years before working as an actual lawyer. Does anyone know anything about this or have any advice? Is it practical not to do articling right away or can I do articling in another country for example? Is there a limit to how long you have to take the bar? Basically I want to be a lawyer but not in my early 20's

 

One of the problems is the hiring process for articling students is almost entirely focused on students enrolled in law school.  Firms pretty much exclusively recruit at law schools.  First rounds of interviews can be done on campus.  Formal articling recruitment happens one year before your start date, and informally starts even earlier than that when hiring for summer jobs after first year law.

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1 hour ago, Mal said:

Law school involves an investment of $100,000 or more once you factor in opportunity costs. Why would you spend that kind of money until you are able to make use of it? Interest costs alone makes this a dumb idea. 

To answer your specific question, generally the market for lawyers is bad until 2-3 years experience post-call. While having articled might help a little bit, you are still going to be competing for relatively scarce jobs while simultaneously demonstrating a lack of commitment. Leaving the profession for a couple years whether immediately after law school or a year later to travel is going to cause significant harm to your career. 

I realize it's not the ideal path but I don't think it's necessarily 'a dumb idea', but thank you for your input, I will look into it further.

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15 minutes ago, unemployableBA said:

I realize it's not the ideal path but I don't think it's necessarily 'a dumb idea', but thank you for your input, I will look into it further.

It's a financially dumb idea, since you'll be paying monthly interest on your debt while you're off travelling. You wouldn't have to if you travelled before incurring the debt.

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I was expecting a different question from the title than was given, which leads me to largely agree with the others.

 

I mean, check the law society rules (and this is definitely not advice, to avoid any risk of which I won't cite any locations) as this will sometimes vary by Province, but generally no, if you have a qualifying law degree, you can probably article 2, 5, 10 years after you graduate. But that's a you can - so if eg you go to school, but while there have a breakdown and can't face work for a few years, that means you're still eligible to. Or if you find your dream JD-advantage job (which are rare, but do exist) you can do that and still likely be eligible to become a lawyer later.

 

But those are all what you can do situations, that you don't have to article immediately - which is the headline question. The main post question is about the viability of starting a degree with the intention of becoming a lawyer (the main thing the degree leads to) with a planned gap in the middle, and that's a worse idea. If you're thinking of that, it would be a better plan to insert the gap before you do school, rather than after it, which would put you at a needless disadvantage when you came to wanting to start your career, and needing to pay for it (literally) in the interim.

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Echoing everyone above. But I will say it’s VERY possible to travel during school (of course, depending on your financial situation). I have many friends and classmates that travelled for their 1L summer, got law-related UN internships during the summer, went on exchange, etc. I even have a friend that didn’t go on exchange during 3L but took a few weeks here and there during classes to do some pretty major trips (they don’t call it 3LOL for nothing..). Depending on when articling starts for you, you may have a few months or the summer off following graduation and you can travel then. School is to prepare you for a career you will be going into at that time - and the barrage of networking opportunities, recruits, etc. do their best to streamline you into a career track for articling right away. I don’t think you would make the most out of a very expensive education to veer from that timeline. 

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On 12/14/2019 at 6:03 AM, artsydork said:

@Stark perhaps you can give insight? If I recall, you worked a law-adjacent job post law and pre articling?

You are correct. Good memory! OP, I graduated law school and then worked in a law-adjacent field but not as a lawyer for 3 years. I then went back and did my articling. I got lucky though as I articled and later worked as a lawyer for the same employer that I was with after law school which is really the only reason I got in.
 

You’d need to check your province’s law society rules to see how long the gap can be between law school and starting articling. It’s definitely doable but you’d be at a major disadvantage in getting articles unless you have some sort of connection. With the market the way it is these days, you’d have a hard time demonstrating that you’re more qualified and a better fit than someone fresh out of law school if you’ve been out of the game for several years. 

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