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HuggyBear

Coop benefits?

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Maybe there's something that I'm not considering, but what exactly are the benefits of the law coop program as opposed to simply finding summer positions on my own? I realize that coop would probably make the job search a fair bit easier.

Thanks folks.

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A lot of people underestimate how hard it is to find a law related job on their own, especially in 1L summer. Unless you're willing to move to a different province, it's almost impossible to get one at an established firm that actually involves you working with active files. This extends to 2L summer as well if you don't participate in OCIs or didn't get a job from OCIs. A fair amount of students can end up articling and starting their career with an employer who originally hired them via co-op. A bigger benefit would probably be flexibility. Co-op operates every semester, so you have options for picking and choosing when you want to work and when you want to study. There tends to be less competition and more jobs in the fall term. You can't really find this at other law schools, your only opportunity to work tends to be in the summer when competition is at its highest. 

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1 hour ago, NavAcid said:

A lot of people underestimate how hard it is to find a law related job on their own, especially in 1L summer. Unless you're willing to move to a different province, it's almost impossible to get one at an established firm that actually involves you working with active files. This extends to 2L summer as well if you don't participate in OCIs or didn't get a job from OCIs. A fair amount of students can end up articling and starting their career with an employer who originally hired them via co-op. A bigger benefit would probably be flexibility. Co-op operates every semester, so you have options for picking and choosing when you want to work and when you want to study. There tends to be less competition and more jobs in the fall term. You can't really find this at other law schools, your only opportunity to work tends to be in the summer when competition is at its highest. 

And if you're not looking to work in a firm? I assume a lot of that still holds true, but would it be to the same extent?

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I am also curious about co-op - hopefully someone here can share some insight.

Would it be harder to make/keep friends in law school if you do co-op? As in, would you feel left out coming back to class from a co-op term?

Also,  I believe doing co-op would extend the time it takes to complete your degree by one term. Does this have a negative impact on finding articling positions? Or do some people only do co-op for 1L, 2L? 

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3 hours ago, lmnv3 said:

Would it be harder to make/keep friends in law school if you do co-op? As in, would you feel left out coming back to class from a co-op term?

Also,  I believe doing co-op would extend the time it takes to complete your degree by one term. Does this have a negative impact on finding articling positions? Or do some people only do co-op for 1L, 2L? 

Also curious to know how coop might impact your relationships with your classmates.

As far as the timeframe goes, on the handbook here (page 3) it does show an option (Option 1) where you can be done in the normal amount of time with two coop terms. I have also heard other places on this forum that people do coop for first year and do the summer coop term and then drop out of coop to do OCIs in second year... so it is possible (I think).

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1 hour ago, lawfacade123 said:

Also curious to know how coop might impact your relationships with your classmates.

As far as the timeframe goes, on the handbook here (page 3) it does show an option (Option 1) where you can be done in the normal amount of time with two coop terms. I have also heard other places on this forum that people do coop for first year and do the summer coop term and then drop out of coop to do OCIs in second year... so it is possible (I think).

Thanks for that link! Good to know that it is possible to complete the degree in the same timeframe.

I think doing the 1L coop and then dropping out for OCIs sounds like a good option. All of these coop options require working in the spring and/or fall term which is when I presume the non-coop classmates will be studying. So I'm definitely still curious what kind of an impact that would have on classmate relationships...

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8 hours ago, lmnv3 said:

I am also curious about co-op - hopefully someone here can share some insight.

Would it be harder to make/keep friends in law school if you do co-op? As in, would you feel left out coming back to class from a co-op term?

Also,  I believe doing co-op would extend the time it takes to complete your degree by one term. Does this have a negative impact on finding articling positions? Or do some people only do co-op for 1L, 2L? 

Most serious friendships are formed during 1L. Even if you go on a co-op term during the fall or spring terms, you're still going to be in constant contact with your friends, it's not like anyone is going to completely forget about you. And they're still going to be there when you come back.

Co-op potentially might increase your degree length. If you really want to avoid this, and many students do, then you can always drop out after one work term. It's incredibly easy to do, it just requires a quick email. Even if you want to complete the full program and get a co-op designation, you can still do this and graduate in a regular time frame if you don't take a summer off, which is the handbook example that was mentioned above. I've also heard from students that do take a longer time to do their degree that this isn't much of an obstacle to finding articles or jobs, especially if they end up articling at the co-op firm they worked at any

16 hours ago, HuggyBear said:

And if you're not looking to work in a firm? I assume a lot of that still holds true, but would it be to the same extent?

Many co-op jobs are government or public interest, these jobs will still be harder to get if you're not in co-op and try to find them on your own in 1L.

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10 hours ago, lmnv3 said:

Also,  I believe doing co-op would extend the time it takes to complete your degree by one term. Does this have a negative impact on finding articling positions? Or do some people only do co-op for 1L, 2L? 

 

Co-op postpones your degree by the number of terms you did. So if you do 2 co-op terms, you're 2 terms behind, 3 terms, 3 terms behind, etc. What you may not be taking into account is that UVic has summer school (and co-op students are required by the rules to attend academic class in at least one summer), so if you do the two terms to get the designation you could be one term behind (one summer off, one summer co-oping, one summer studying), or on the same graduation time as everyone else in your year (one summer studying, one summer co-oping). 

 

If you just want the experience but not the designation, you can do co-op 1L summer and then drop out. Which is a very common abuse.

18 hours ago, HuggyBear said:

And if you're not looking to work in a firm? I assume a lot of that still holds true, but would it be to the same extent?

There are several public sector jobs (eg government, agencies, municipalities) that are only available to co-op students, and sometimes only uvic co-op students, for which competition is vastly lighter than it would be in any other context (or occasionally have no applicants at all, and are incredible opportunities to earn & learn & get a resume line that go wanting).

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It's cool to hear that there are lots of fairly unique work experiences available in the co-op program. As someone who is interested in potentially "just" doing a small retail-type practice, however, I wonder if more 'run-of-the-mill' types of job are available: Is it possible to have co-op terms with, say, a real estate + wills sole pracitioner in Duncan, a small criminal defence shop in Esquimault, etc?

Thanks for any insights!

-GM

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Does anyone know how easy it is to get into the coop program? I spoke with someone the other day who had graduated from UVic a few years ago and he said that less than half the class gets access to the program, and that it is determined by a random lottery. Is this still the case? I’m in crisis mode deciding between UBC and UVic over here, and I think access to the coop would inch UVic ahead of UBC, but I’d prefer UBC otherwise. I would be pretty bummed if I couldn’t take part in the main reason I chose a school in the first place...

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22 minutes ago, PlatoandSocrates said:

Does anyone know how easy it is to get into the coop program? I spoke with someone the other day who had graduated from UVic a few years ago and he said that less than half the class gets access to the program, and that it is determined by a random lottery. Is this still the case? I’m in crisis mode deciding between UBC and UVic over here, and I think access to the coop would inch UVic ahead of UBC, but I’d prefer UBC otherwise. I would be pretty bummed if I couldn’t take part in the main reason I chose a school in the first place...

I really forget where on this forum I saw it, but someone from UVic said that that was changed so that anyone who wants to participate in coop, can.

Someone else can probably better confirm than me, but I was under the impression that if you want coop, you got it. Of course, actually landing a position is up to you.

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k, we should probably link to the handbook, at https://www.uvic.ca/law/assets/docs/coop/coophandbook2017b.pdf which explains some of these questions (eg timing, eligibility, obligations). 

 

There is not (currently) a lottery, and co-op in the last year or so has been very undersubscribed (I know for a fact that MAG posts in Vancouver went unfilled due to lack of applicants). You can either find your own posting, or apply for ones that come through the co-op office - obviously the first is more work, but takes away from the risk of not successfully interviewing for one that's made generally available. 

 

Worth noting, the backdoor into co-op if you don't want to sign up at the start, is that unfilled posts are made available to the general student body, and if someone not registered for co-op applies for one of these, interviews, is offered the job and accepts it, they enroll into co-op for that term. If a person does this twice, they've done two co-op terms, and become eligible for the 'with co-op' designation on their JD.

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3 minutes ago, lawfacade123 said:

 

@PlatoandSocrates

Found it:

 

Wow that’s awesome! Thanks for finding that. Perhaps I’ll be putting down a deposit at UVic soon then. I’ve heard some good things about island life anyhow 🌴

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2 hours ago, PlatoandSocrates said:

Wow that’s awesome! Thanks for finding that. Perhaps I’ll be putting down a deposit at UVic soon then. I’ve heard some good things about island life anyhow 🌴

No problem! :) I know I found that post helpful so I wanted to share haha. 

I'm also 99% sure I'm putting down my deposit to UVic. Just waiting to check it out in person at the end of the month. So maybe see yah in September!

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59 minutes ago, lawfacade123 said:

No problem! :) I know I found that post helpful so I wanted to share haha. 

I'm also 99% sure I'm putting down my deposit to UVic. Just waiting to check it out in person at the end of the month. So maybe see yah in September!

I think you’ll like it a lot! I went last month and thought it was a really nice campus. Good amount of green space. It was also really small and intimate, which is a plus for me. It’s not as flashy as some of the other schools but it’s got a great homey feel. 
 

maybe I’ll see you there indeed!

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