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flyingfish

1L AMA (No Admissions Questions)

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1. Do you have hours of reading / work to do every night? 

2. Are you involved in any law-related extra circulars?

3. Have you made any friends / good acquaintances in law schools and if so HOW? 

Thank you for creating this thread :)

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How chaotic is law school? Do you study every waking hour and are you unable to ever find free time? Are the readings so astronomical that it takes up most of your day? Are the exams and assignments very hardly graded, significantly harder than undergrad? How important are grades in law school 1L? If you don't get top tier grades are you screwed for future employment opportunities? 

have fun answering.

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Thank you for creating this thread!

1. What is the culture like at U of A? Did you find that other students are supportive and friendly?

2. How are the courses and professors (e.g. the content and quality of teaching)?

3. Is it easy to become involved with extracurriculars in first year?

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1. How big are the class sizes?

2. How diverse is the course selection? 

3. How is campus? Law library/building? What's a nice place to hang out/study?

4. How do you like Edmonton so far? What's there to do in Edmonton?

5. What do you generally like and dislike so far? (Anything that has very positively or negatively stood out to you)

6. What equipment/tech/anything do you recommend we bring to make life easier? 

7. Living on campus vs Off campus? What do you recommend?

 

Thanks in advance for your insight :) 

 

I just realized that Zoom classes were a thing, even in law school. Feel free to disregard any of the questions you might not yet be able to answer. 😋 

Edited by samii
pandemic

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14 hours ago, flyingfish said:

Hi Forum,

I am a 1L at the University of Alberta. Ask me anything. I will do my best to answer over the break.

I can’t really speak from experience as I haven’t got any substantial marks back yet. However,  I can give some general tips.

1. Don’t fall behind. Once you fall behind on readings or assignments it is hard to catch up and everything builds upon previous concepts.

2. Work hard. Like most things in life, success depends largely on how hard you’re willing to work.

3. Don’t work too hard. Take time to watch a movie, cook a meal, or exercise. It’s tempting to pour all of your time into studying, but in my opinion that is not sustainable.

4. Make some friends in your classes who you can discuss the material with. Countless times this semester, my friends helped me understand the law better or made me aware of a concept which I had a poor understanding of.

5. Try to get involved with some extracurriculars. Volunteering with student legal services and playing intramural sports gave me something to look forward to each week.

Again, sorry that I can’t give better advice. Maybe I can give more qualified advice after I get my midterm grades back.

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12 hours ago, Candleholder3 said:

1. Do you have hours of reading / work to do every night? 

2. Are you involved in any law-related extra circulars?

3. Have you made any friends / good acquaintances in law schools and if so HOW? 

Thank you for creating this thread :)

1. I usually don’t do any work after 7:30. However I’m usually up and reading by 5:30AM. I’d say outside of class I spend about 5-8hrs a day reading or working on assignments. On weekends I usually spend more time reading or doing assignments than week days.

2. I started off the year volunteering at Student Legal Services Civil/Family Clinic and the Criminal Law Clinic. I dropped the Civil Family Clinic so I could take more Criminal shifts as that’s what I enjoyed more. I volunteered there in person all semester. I also played some hockey until it got shut down.

3. I made friends by saying yes to every opportunity available to meet people either in person or online. I also moved to Edmonton from B.C. so I could go to in person classes and in person experiences. It’s hard to make friends at Zoom U, but it is possible if you put in the effort.

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6 minutes ago, flyingfish said:

I also moved to Edmonton from B.C. so I could go to in person classes and in person

As someone who is also from B.C., I was told by my peers that Edmonton is a desolate tundra compared to some of its comparable cities in B.C. As someone who loves cold winters and snow (as long as it doesnt melt into a puddle for a few days), how true is this rumor?

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32 minutes ago, Thrive92 said:

As someone who is also from B.C., I was told by my peers that Edmonton is a desolate tundra compared to some of its comparable cities in B.C. As someone who loves cold winters and snow (as long as it doesnt melt into a puddle for a few days), how true is this rumor?

Not a UofA student, but I lived just outside of Edmonton for a number of years. Its definitely long winters in Edmonton, and a big part of it feeling long is the lack of any reprieve. Whereas somewhere like Calgary gives you breaks from the winter in the form of Chinooks, Edmonton does not get that to the same extent. Its also a very dry cold, so depending on where youre from in BC that could make a difference to how adaptable it is.

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I have some questions if you don't mind answering! 

1. Is it hard to balance a social life and studies? For instance, are you able to maintain a part-time job like many of us did during undergrad. 

2. What has been the biggest adjustment from undergrad to law school? 

3. If you could tell advise your 0L self anything, what would it be? 

Thank you! 

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5 hours ago, Thrive92 said:

As someone who is also from B.C., I was told by my peers that Edmonton is a desolate tundra compared to some of its comparable cities in B.C. As someone who loves cold winters and snow (as long as it doesnt melt into a puddle for a few days), how true is this rumor?

I did my undergrad at U of A then my master's at UVic and will be moving back to Edmonton for law school in 2021. It is Northern Alberta, so it is cold, but as someone else mentioned it is a dry cold. I always tell my Vic friends I would take an Edmonton -20 over a Victoria -8 any day.

Depending on where you live in BC you may notice an increase in sunlight. I found it difficult to adjust to the grey-ness of the coast because although Edmonton is very cold, you also get a lot of clear, sunny days, even in the dead of winter. 

My advice to fight the winter blues in a cold climate is to live centrally. People criticize downtown Edmonton but it really is a lively place with so much to do (pre-COVID, of course). If you live near an LRT station you are essentially walking distance from all the cool things going on in Edmonton on any given day. Whyte/University area is lovely too, but beware of limited LRT access in some spots. 

Hope to see you in September!! Feel free to reach out if you have any more questions :)

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What's something you particularly enjoy about law school so far?

Thanks for sharing your insights, we'd understand if you couldn't answer all of them.

Edited by TheMidnightOil

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On 12/22/2020 at 10:21 PM, Mihael said:

How chaotic is law school? Do you study every waking hour and are you unable to ever find free time? Are the readings so astronomical that it takes up most of your day? Are the exams and assignments very hardly graded, significantly harder than undergrad? How important are grades in law school 1L? If you don't get top tier grades are you screwed for future employment opportunities? 

have fun answering.

1. Chaos/Time

The chaos of law school is manageable. Buy a planner and use it. Every Sunday night I will usually take 20 minutes to fill out my planner for the week so that I can manage my time well. I could certainly sink all the hours of my day in to law school, but I make a conscious effort not to do so. If I can't do well in law school without pouring every waking moment into it, I don't want to do well. Don't get me wrong I work very hard and put a lot of time in to studying, but I also have other interests that I am not willing to sacrifice for my studies. 

2. Grading

All 1st year courses in the Faculty of Law must have an average between 2.7-3.0 (B- or B) on a 4.0 scale. I have only gotten one midterm back so far. When I handed it in I thought I crushed it. The mark I got back placed my exam as marginally above average (I have written a few other assignments, but they were not worth much). Law school grading is tough because every single person who you are competing against, and your are competing no matter what people say, is an academically capable person. So yes I would say it is significantly harder to do well in law school than in undergrad. However, I think doing well in law school is any mark that places you around or above the average.

3. Grades/Opportunities

The importance of grades depends on what your career goals are. If you want a 1L summer job you will need, at a minimum, average first semester grades. Most 1L jobs are at big national firms with 30+ lawyers or academic. Obviously if you don't get top notch grades clerking at a court is probably out of the question. Likewise if you don't have average grades Big-Law internships will probably be out of reach.

However, hustling and networking can lead to good job opportunities and make up for grades to some extent. I want to be a small town lawyer in the interior of BC. I have spent the last few years making connections with members of the bar in my home town. I think I have a strong network in place that will help me find an articling position even if I have average or slightly below average grades. Grades are not everything, but they do matter. Grades might count for more or less depending on your career aspirations.

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On 12/22/2020 at 11:20 PM, legallybound said:

Thank you for creating this thread!

1. What is the culture like at U of A? Did you find that other students are supportive and friendly?

2. How are the courses and professors (e.g. the content and quality of teaching)?

3. Is it easy to become involved with extracurriculars in first year?

1.

The student body is very supportive and friendly. Although law school is a competitive endeavour,  most people want their classmates to do as well as they possibly can; you can always get notes, CAN's or resources just by asking. Upper years have also been quite supportive. However, I can't really comment beyond the confines of Zoom and the limited in person interactions that I have had.

2. 

Mostly good. Most of my profs are legitimately experts in the field they are teaching and amazing teachers. A couple of my profs primarily teach upper-year courses only tangentially related to the introductory course they are currently teaching and it shows to some extent. However, I think this is probably pretty standard for first year classes.

3.

Yes. Even with Covid, it was relatively easy to get involved. I imagine it is even easier without Covid.

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On 12/23/2020 at 4:14 AM, samii said:

1. How big are the class sizes?

2. How diverse is the course selection? 

3. How is campus? Law library/building? What's a nice place to hang out/study?

4. How do you like Edmonton so far? What's there to do in Edmonton?

5. What do you generally like and dislike so far? (Anything that has very positively or negatively stood out to you)

6. What equipment/tech/anything do you recommend we bring to make life easier? 

7. Living on campus vs Off campus? What do you recommend?

1. The first year class of ~180 is divided into three cohort groups (even in non-covid times) of approximately 60 students. There are no cohorts in upper years and I believe the classes are 60 or less.

2. I can't really comment but I think the course offering's are posted on the faculty's website.

3. The law building is ugly on the outside and surprisingly nice on the inside (given its brutalist exterior). I can't really speak to the hangout/study aspect as I have only been in the classrooms.

4. I moved from BC in September and Edmonton is a new city for me and it is mainly closed due to Covid so I can't really comment. I am really enjoying walking in the river valley though.

5. This is a very broad question. Please be more specific.

6. The sad reality of Zoom U, and law school in normal times I imagine is that one spends most of their day sitting at a computer. I could not emphasize enough how useful having dual monitors is for school. 

7. I live off campus. I have friends who live on campus. I like living off-campus because it is more affordable and presumptively more quiet.

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On 12/23/2020 at 4:51 PM, keepgoing11 said:

I have some questions if you don't mind answering! 

1. Is it hard to balance a social life and studies? For instance, are you able to maintain a part-time job like many of us did during undergrad. 

2. What has been the biggest adjustment from undergrad to law school? 

3. If you could tell advise your 0L self anything, what would it be? 

Thank you! 

1. What social life? All jokes aside, it depends on the person. One could definitely work part-time during school. Heck I have people in my class who are raising kids, working and going to law school full-time. However, doing well in law school is difficult in and of itself and working a part-time job might make it more difficult. I for one, only volunteer weekly and imagine any more responsibility would take away from non-related school activities I enjoy like exercising or playing video games.

2. I am not one of the "smartest" people in the room anymore; I have to work really hard to be average now.

3. Write the LSAT earlier? Apply for the 2021 cycle? Take more time off from work before law school? Always be kind to yourself? Probably nothing. I like where I am right now. Tips for a 0L:

On 12/23/2020 at 11:18 AM, flyingfish said:

1. Don’t fall behind. Once you fall behind on readings or assignments it is hard to catch up and everything builds upon previous concepts.

2. Work hard. Like most things in life, success depends largely on how hard you’re willing to work.

3. Don’t work too hard. Take time to watch a movie, cook a meal, or exercise. It’s tempting to pour all of your time into studying, but in my opinion that is not sustainable.

4. Make some friends in your classes who you can discuss the material with. Countless times this semester, my friends helped me understand the law better or made me aware of a concept which I had a poor understanding of.

5. Try to get involved with some extracurriculars. Volunteering with student legal services and playing intramural sports gave me something to look forward to each week.

 

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