Jump to content
DukeOfJoe

Do Lawyers of Indigenous Descent Receive Better Job Opportunities?

Recommended Posts

Posted (edited)

This coming September I will be attending Law School as a first year. I have been accepted by TRU and Lakehead but I have not recieved anyword from the other schools yet. Lakehead accepted me as an indigenous applicant. I did not apply as an indigenous applicant anywhere else. Although Lakehead is lower on my list of ideal choices, I have heard rumors that graduating as an Indigienous Applicant and therefore becoming a Lawyer of Indigenous descent, can be very very very beneficial in relation to job oppertunities. Please help me understand if what I heard is fact or fiction. Thank you. 

Edited by DukeOfJoe

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is likely to be a controversial thread, but I will just say this: there are government job postings that literally and explicitly set aside a certain amount of slots specifically for Indigenous candidates. Putting aside any debates on the merits of this, it is a fact that being Indigenous will open up certain doors for you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

I don't know of the legal market overall. If Canada is even remotely like the United States, certain positions will almost certainly have a bias in favour of upper-middle and upper-class white people with the extracurricular history and polish that tends to come with that sort of background.

In terms of law-related summer jobs outside of big law, I'd say being indigenous is an advantage. Sometimes I wonder if there are more law summer jobs for indigenous law students than there are indigenous law students.

Edited by Toad
  • Like 6

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If your question is whether you will have better/more options at graduation, having applied  in the Indigenous category, the answer is likely no. The category of admissions is unlikely to have any influence/effect at job recruitment.

However, if your question is whether you will have those better/more options at graduation because you are Indigenous, then, as mentioned, you will have access to positions that specifically require Indigenous status, that others will not.

  • Like 6

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It may give you an advantage for some government, social justice, and aboriginal, environmental, municipal, and energy related legal jobs, but that's really more to do with what you can bring to the table with your real life experiences as an indigenous person than to just tick a box. 

It could also be a disadvantage in some cases if you don't have that polished resume/background that Toad mentioned.

Overall though, I wouldn't pay attention to this. Focus on your own goals and why you're going to law school in the first place. Your career will last for a lifetime, so make sure you shape it in the way you want to and not because you think it's easier to get into. 

Lakehead is a fine school. Congrats on your acceptance.  

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, leaving aside the actual content of this question - the entire original post is premised on the idea that how you got accepted to a school somehow changes your status as a graduate. As in, you'll either graduate with a degree from Lakehead-Admitted-As-Indigenous or else Western-General-Admission. And that's just...nuts. You degree isn't different based on how you gained admission to law school. You'll be in the market as a graduate from whatever law school you attend, and as an indigenous person, with whatever status you happen to hold as such.

Very generally, it may be that government positions favor Indigenous candidates in some roles. For those specific avenues, it will give you some opportunities not available to others. I'd be very surprised to learn that being Indigenous is an advantage to any degree in the private legal marketplace, outside of a very few jobs that may specialize in Aboriginal law - and then only if you actually learn this area of law and want to practice in it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Not with that many typos in a title. 

Moreover, do you want your colleagues to forever question whether you got your job based on merit or on race? Can you live with that at nagging thought at the back of your mind for the duration of your career?

Edited by harveyspecter993
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Diplock said:

Yeah, leaving aside the actual content of this question - the entire original post is premised on the idea that how you got accepted to a school somehow changes your status as a graduate. As in, you'll either graduate with a degree from Lakehead-Admitted-As-Indigenous or else Western-General-Admission. And that's just...nuts. You degree isn't different based on how you gained admission to law school. You'll be in the market as a graduate from whatever law school you attend, and as an indigenous person, with whatever status you happen to hold as such.

Very generally, it may be that government positions favor Indigenous candidates in some roles. For those specific avenues, it will give you some opportunities not available to others. I'd be very surprised to learn that being Indigenous is an advantage to any degree in the private legal marketplace, outside of a very few jobs that may specialize in Aboriginal law - and then only if you actually learn this area of law and want to practice in it.

Thank you for the response. It seems most individuals on this thread are suggesting that being an indigenous lawyer would create only a small advantageous position in relation to practicing private market place/Big law. Once again I appreciate the insight and this was helpful. However, for the sake of further context, if I attend Lakehead I will likely graduate with the goal of praciticing indigenous law. 

2 hours ago, harveyspecter993 said:

Not with that many typos in a title. 

Moreover, do you want your colleagues to forever question whether you got your job based on merit or on race? Can you live with that at nagging thought at the back of your mind for the duration of your career?

Haha, I apologize for the typos, typing on forums at such a late hour was probably not the best idea. Regarding your question, I thought most individuals would assume that the nature of my designated status for one school would not play a significant role in my dedication to killing law school. Therefore, like every student, I have full intentions of achieving an application that is as strong as can be by the time I graduate. Futhermore, I think it is important to take into consideration a few facts regarding aboirignal status and law. (1) It seems fairly unanimious that aboriginal individuals have to fill seemingly less stringent requirements in order to be accepted into both Uni and Law school. (2) There is a million academic studies demonstrating how the combination of an unfortunate colonial history+lower levels of income+experience with stigma (among other poor socioeconomic standings), negatively affect educational oppertunities for indengious people in Canada. It is arguable that point #1 exists entirely because point #2 exists. In this case, I think many would agree that one`s indigenous race (I.E. a marginalized race) ehances their overall merit. The fact that those individuals who have poorer social standing were able to both attend and graduate from law school can be viewed as an reflection of their dedication to becoming a lawyer. Now to actually answer your question, the answer is I will not feel ashamed in the slightest if my aboriginal status enhances my overall merit/potential job oppertunities IF I feel like I have put in the necessary work and I am capable of doing a good job. 

Edited by DukeOfJoe
  • Like 6

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The law schools do not have the ability to give you a degree that formally recognizes your indigenous heritage. It will be the same degree everyone else gets. 

Moving forward you can choose to apply for positions that make note of a preference or requirement of indigenous heritage - by the time you are done law school and applying you’ll have a much better idea of what you want. 
 

Finally, be wary of advice or information you get from people who are neither law students nor lawyers - there is a lot of “common knowledge” out there, oft repeated, which is completely false. 
 

And welcome to the board!

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
55 minutes ago, DukeOfJoe said:

I will likely graduate with the goal of practicing indigenous law. 

What do you actually mean by this? Like are you intending to provide legal services to members of an aboriginal community? Are you looking to bring land claims to the Supreme Court? Are you interested in bringing indigenous legal practices into the Canadian legal system? Do you want to write aboriginal policy for the Canadian government? These are all very different career goals that might be best served by different law schools.

My actual advice would be to find someone who's doing what you want to do and reach out to them with questions. Don't just assume that you can do whatever type of "indigenous law" you want if you go to Lakehead.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm almost certain this has been discussed here before but:

Just because there are positions exclusively available to law students who are Indigenous, doesn't mean it's easier to be employed as an Indigenous law student.

Those positions exists for a reason. One of which is to realize that the market place unfairly disadvantages Indigenous students and lawyers in traditional employment opportunities. To say those positions create additional opportunities is to implicitly say all the other positions are no longer advantaging other candidates. We're not anywhere near that yet.

  • Like 9
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
50 minutes ago, Thinking said:

What do you actually mean by this?

Also worth bearing in mind there is a difference between "indigenous law" and "aboriginal law". The former isn't just updated terminology for the latter.

Edited by whereverjustice
typo
  • Like 3
  • Thanks 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 minutes ago, Thinking said:

What do you actually mean by this? Like are you intending to provide legal services to members of an aboriginal community? Are you looking to bring land claims to the Supreme Court? Are you interested in bringing indigenous legal practices into the Canadian legal system? Do you want to write aboriginal policy for the Canadian government? These are all very different career goals that might be best served by different law schools.

My actual advice would be to find someone who's doing what you want to do and reach out to them with questions. Don't just assume that you can do whatever type of "indigenous law" you want if you go to Lakehead.

Lakehead offers a very limited amount of Law streams. I am assuming (prior to being immersed in Law school) that if I attend Lakehead, upon graduation the bulk of my focus and dedication in the legal field will be slanted towards the stream dedicated to indigenous and aboriginal law. I am unsure of what I want to do specifically within that stream at this time. I am sure 1L will help me determine my focus on these specifics. Keep in mind, It is still probable that I will end up at a different school and will not be practicing indigenous Law. Only time will tell. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, pzabbythesecond said:

Those positions exists for a reason. One of which is to realize that the market place unfairly disadvantages Indigenous students and lawyers in traditional employment opportunities. To say those positions create additional opportunities is to implicitly say all the other positions are no longer advantaging other candidates. We're not anywhere near that yet.

With all due respect do you have any concrete examples of how indigenous law students do not have the same career opportunities as white law students? Virtually every large law firm has some sort of diversity and inclusion committee that is dedicated towards making sure that their hiring practices are unbiased. 

Not to mention that if law is the cutthroat competitive environment that certain people on this forum claim it to be, why would firms hiring a white student who wasn't as good of a lawyer over a racial minority? Why is it that no firm (in Canada) has been sued for racial discrimination/hiring practices in recent years? 

You can argue that things aren't perfectly 100% equal, fair enough, but to that say that we aren't anywhere close or to suggest that this isn't something that traditional employers don't take seriously is a gross exaggeration. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 minutes ago, Jaggers said:

But we are men on the internet! We must sealion!

It is entirely your fault that “Men In Tights” song is now earworming through my head. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, erinl2 said:

And to criticize someone for spelling errors? That is just low. Do not go there again. 

If a student wrote that they were "excited about pursuing oppertunities" with your firm in their cover letter or initial email, would they get an interview?

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.


  • Recent Posts

    • ACCEPTED!  Received the call at 10:28am and received the email at 10:45am. cGPA - 3.46 LSAT - 153 I'm beyond excited to join you all in September. Its been a stressful journey, so a massive thank-you to everyone for the support and advice throughout this process 😀 Best of luck to everyone still waiting!
    • It's kind of impressive how bad this advice is.
    • yeppers. got mine last night and got hit by a car while driving my bike 5 minutes later, what a day! (i'm fine, no broken bone) i'm wondering why they closed it so early too, but oh well. keep us posted if you end up calling!
    • After graduating, i decided to study for the LSAT while volunteering. My first score was pretty bad (due to nerves i think), but the second time around (June 15th) i was able to score a 154. I know that a 154 is still lower than the current minimum for law schools in Canada.. Now, while doing PTs, i usually score around a 157-160. I have a CGPA of 3.5, and my B2 would roughly be around a 3.6. Again, just shy of the minimum. I know that law schools look at your application holistically. Just to give you an idea of my work/volunteering experience, I interned for the federal government in Ottawa as a policy analyst for around 2 years, and will be working for the government again in the next month or so. I volunteered at a Non-profit as a policy analyst and advocacy director, as well as other noteworthy volunteer positions such as working with ex-convicts, and helping immigrant refugees integrate into Canadian society. Submission of applications for law school begin in September and i don't want to wait any longer. I'm unsure whether i should take the LSAT for the third time in August and risk getting a lower score, or if i should apply and try my luck. I feel like some of you folks would have a better idea as to whether I have a shot getting in with these scores if i have a strong application (personal statement, resume, ECs, etc.). I think it's the risk of getting a lower score that scares me, because if i do, that would look pretty bad on my application and i think it would ruin my chances of ever getting in. Thanks so much!!  
    • I dont think any schools will look at the two tests differently. I think it is important to recognize that waiting for a regular test to be administered (if that is what you prefer) will probably not happen for a few months, so if you're looking to apply this cycle, I wouldn't wait until the end of the year in hopes of avoiding the flex. You don't want to feel like you're studying or taking the test too last minute... especially if you have to take the test again! 

×
×
  • Create New...