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SANTICLAWZ

Is UofT Law Worth It If Not Going Into A Lucrative Law Career?

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17 hours ago, Liavas said:

I hope I'm not derailing the topic too much, but is it normal for financial aid programs to need parental income information? I don't mean federal/provincial loans, I mean bursary programs and the like from Ontario law schools directly. (Or law schools in general, if it doesn't vary provincially.)

My parents are terrible about filing their taxes. I was so looking forward to actual financial independence from them. 

I'm only aware of UofT financial aid's program asking about parental income. Many law school financial aid program ask if your parents will be giving you money for law school and take that into account into their financial aid calculations. UofT controversially assumes your parents will give you $X for law school per year based on their income. 

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32 minutes ago, Policywonk said:

I'm only aware of UofT financial aid's program asking about parental income. Many law school financial aid program ask if your parents will be giving you money for law school and take that into account into their financial aid calculations. UofT controversially assumes your parents will give you $X for law school per year based on their income. 

Supplementing Policywonk's point, see Page 17-19 of https://www.law.utoronto.ca/utfl_file/count/documents/financial_aid/jd_financial_aid_booklet_2020_2021_v4.0.pdf to see how much parental income will cut against your financial aid, regardless of whether or not they're helping. UofT makes some....bold assumptions

Edited by masterofnut
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On 2/8/2021 at 10:53 PM, Snowflakes said:

I can’t speak to Windsor but UofT has very generous financial aid (if you qualify). There’s a calculator on their website which gives you a rough estimate. Maybe worth checking out

Hello!

Thank you for pointing out this financial aid calculator to me, I've done some very, very rough math but I think I got a ballpark figure of where my parents and my financial situation will be in 4 years and the calculator said I'd get 17K in financial aid. That sounds pretty good and something that I can work with.  Even if it was a little less, as much as 5K less (+/- My math was actually trash) that is something that might sway my eventual decision and has motivated me to work harder.

I wanna thank everyone who has posted their opinions. I learned a lot!

Kind regards,

SANTI CLAWZ

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Just to round off one point that I have not seen discussed, given your long time horizon for this actually mattering you should consider UofT's tuition increases. Their website currently says that for domestic students annual fees may increase by up to 3% next year for domestic students or 5% for international students.

Assuming the 3% rate holds over the next four years, by the time you get there your tuition as a 1L would be just shy of $40,000 (~$38,980.32). Again assuming this rate continues, by your 3L year it would be $41,354.22. This amounts to an approximate total tuition cost of $120,500 assuming a three year program, non-inclusive of financial aid or other expenses like textbooks (I think for me ~$800/year), etc.  I have no idea of whether their financial aid has increased at the same rate as their tuition but there is probably an Ultra Vires article looking at this somewhere out there.

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When I attended the University of Toronto, the tuition was under $20,000 a year in my first year. The tuition went up the maximum prescribed amount every year. We had access to a student line of credit and generous financial aid policies, but I still ended up with pretty significant student debt which I have not yet completely paid off.

I really enjoyed my time at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law. I think it is an excellent school and the peers are truly world class. I made some great friendships there and think it was a valuable thing to do. I have lots of great memories - and some silly, non-repeatable ones, like being in the intersection of Yonge and Bloor jumping up and down with a law school classmate after Team Canada won gold in hockey in 2010 (which definitely dates me)... Obviously those memories would be completely different if I had gone elsewhere, and therefore, I don't "regret" the decision... but, if I was to go back in time, and advise myself on what I should have done, no question I would have recommended to go to McGill. Unless you're sure that you want to work in downtown Toronto at a big law firm (and, honestly, how could you be sure of that?), the opportunity cost is just too high, in my opinion.

I will say this though, whether you decide to enroll there or not, you'll never know if your life would have been better if you had picked the other path. You may be able to guess it would have been different, but better? Impossible to say, and dependent on so many small variables. Maybe the love of your life is at place X and you go to place Y, or maybe by being in place X you get hit by a car on your 3rd week of your 2nd year... It's impossible to speculate what the future holds or what, objectively, would have been better, because that isn't how life works. The post on the first page about how, the poster makes the same as their colleagues on Bay Street despite paying half as much, maybe had they gone somewhere else they would have had a different career, or maybe if their colleagues had gone elsewhere, they wouldn't have made it to Bay Street. All you can really do is pick the one that you think is going to be right for you, and then dive in. After all, most of the time, the pool will at least have water, even if it ultimately turns out to be different than what you expected.

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9 hours ago, HammurabiTime said:

Just to round off one point that I have not seen discussed, given your long time horizon for this actually mattering you should consider UofT's tuition increases. Their website currently says that for domestic students annual fees may increase by up to 3% next year for domestic students or 5% for international students.

Assuming the 3% rate holds over the next four years, by the time you get there your tuition as a 1L would be just shy of $40,000 (~$38,980.32). Again assuming this rate continues, by your 3L year it would be $41,354.22. This amounts to an approximate total tuition cost of $120,500 assuming a three year program, non-inclusive of financial aid or other expenses like textbooks (I think for me ~$800/year), etc.  I have no idea of whether their financial aid has increased at the same rate as their tuition but there is probably an Ultra Vires article looking at this somewhere out there.

You're absolutely correct in that assessment. I want to thank you as well because you've given me a new perspective that UofT doesn't have to be THE place to go for law school. You also helped sober me up a little about the prices. 100K+ is absolutely no joke and it is a serious financial commitment that would definitely hover over my head for years.

Have a good night.

Kind regards,

SANTI CLAWZ

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On 2/9/2021 at 3:32 PM, xdarkwhite said:

UofT actually has quite a comprehensive financial aid program that I'm honestly grateful to have benefited from.

Along these lines, I also want to plug Osgoode's financial aid programs. They not only have an option for an income contingent loan program (note, there are only so many slots each year but it's still better than nothing!), but their bursaries are fantastic. In my final year, bursaries effectively paid half my tuition fees. Bursaries are granted based on need, up to as much as $10k if you meet certain criteria. In 3L you can qualify for even more money. Even the lowest amount people get is pretty generous. On top of this, there are many scholarship programs, awards, and many other ways to get financial assistance.

14 hours ago, SANTICLAWZ said:

$40,000 (~$38,980.32)

That is a crazy sum. I can't believe it's that much now. When I started 1L back in 2016, U of T was closer to $30k!

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1 hour ago, bonkers said:

40k a year is so excessive lol, wow.

I don't get it. 3% per year is way higher than inflation. How can this be sustainable?

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1 minute ago, HappyJDStudent said:

I don't get it. 3% per year is way higher than inflation. How can this be sustainable?

The 8000 threads on this site with people asking "I want to do public interest work making $30k/year but I want to go to UofT, is that possible?" and then later posting about how they accepted their UofT offers illustrate how it's sustainable. From the perspective of the school, at least. Young people who don't know any better and can't bring themselves to go to a "worse" school in order to cut their tuition by two-thirds.

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7 minutes ago, HappyJDStudent said:

I don't get it. 3% per year is way higher than inflation. How can this be sustainable?

Many people that go to UofT are from a family that is objectively wealthy by most standards. This Statcan note has, as of 2018, the median income of "Canadian families and unattached individuals" pegged at $61,400 (this page has economic families at $83,000). This Ultra Vires recruitment special at p. 13/18 has 50% of respondents disclosing an annual family income of over $125,000 and about 14% with over $300,000 (notably almost a quarter preferred not to disclose). If you're not footing the bill, or you have a significant financial safety net if you can't foot the bill down the line, it matters less. Granted not a perfect survey but you've got about half the people responding (about 2/3 of the people willing to disclose their family income) at ~1.5x the national median for an "economic family" and a pretty significant number at 4x that number.

Even if you're not wealthy, it's super easy to get a fat line of credit that'll take you forever to pay off. The banks just keep upping the limit and the faculty/staff at recruitment day encourage attendees not to worry about it because Scotia/TD/whoever has a booth there will take care of it. These are the people who end up feeling trapped by their decision by the time the recruit and graduation rolls around.

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6 minutes ago, HammurabiTime said:

Many people that go to UofT are from a family that is objectively wealthy by most standards. This Statcan note has, as of 2018, the median income of "Canadian families and unattached individuals" pegged at $61,400 (this page has economic families at $83,000). This Ultra Vires recruitment special at p. 13/18 has 50% of respondents disclosing an annual family income of over $125,000 and about 14% with over $300,000 (notably almost a quarter preferred not to disclose). If you're not footing the bill, or you have a significant financial safety net if you can't foot the bill down the line, it matters less. Granted not a perfect survey but you've got about half the people responding (about 2/3 of the people willing to disclose their family income) at ~1.5x the national median for an "economic family" and a pretty significant number at 4x that number.

Even if you're not wealthy, it's super easy to get a fat line of credit that'll take you forever to pay off. The banks just keep upping the limit and the faculty/staff at recruitment day encourage attendees not to worry about it because Scotia/TD/whoever has a booth there will take care of it. These are the people who end up feeling trapped by their decision by the time the recruit and graduation rolls around.

Man, even if you’re folks make good coin $40k in tuition alone is insane.

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On 2/10/2021 at 9:47 AM, pzabbythesecond said:

McGill asks for your parent's income and not how much they're helping you.

They didn't for me? I just had to go through really sad interviews when applying for bursaries through McGill. Told to quit photography and get my weekly food budget to ~40/week. Won a couple of bursaries this way, so totally worth the 2 hours of lecture from someone with no understanding with budgets. 

Mind you, I was already in receipt of QC loans and bursaries. QC residents are deemed independent for loans purposes following completion of a degree. I did have to provide parental income when I first applied in undergrad, even if I didn't live with them.

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1 minute ago, artsydork said:

They didn't for me? I just had to go through really sad interviews when applying for bursaries through McGill. Told to quit photography and get my weekly food budget to ~40/week. Won a couple of bursaries this way, so totally worth the 2 hours of lecture from someone with no understanding with budgets. 

Mind you, I was already in receipt of QC loans and bursaries. QC residents are deemed independent for loans purposes following completion of a degree. I did have to provide parental income when I first applied in undergrad, even if I didn't live with them.

Was your bursary conditional on eating Cup Noodles for every meal in order to meet the $40 / week food budget?

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7 minutes ago, artsydork said:

They didn't for me? I just had to go through really sad interviews when applying for bursaries through McGill. Told to quit photography and get my weekly food budget to ~40/week. Won a couple of bursaries this way, so totally worth the 2 hours of lecture from someone with no understanding with budgets. 

Mind you, I was already in receipt of QC loans and bursaries. QC residents are deemed independent for loans purposes following completion of a degree. I did have to provide parental income when I first applied in undergrad, even if I didn't live with them.

I was asked for parental income going back several years. And assets. 

They didn't ask for liabilities so it was clear they didn't understand what the hell they were doing, or did and were trying to be as exclusionary as possible.

 

And yes. It was hilarious being told in the follow up that I should eat Mr. Noodles for dinner several nights a week to keep my budget down.

 

Edited by pzabbythesecond
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Posted (edited)

I know that I'm a bit late to the party, but I'd like to play devil's advocate a bit. U of T gets a lot of hate, sometimes for good reasons, sometimes for horribly misguided reasons by people who know very little about the school. The goods reasons to hate on U of T are that the school is absurdly expensive and that the administration is a little too prestige oriented. To the latter point, the administration puts a ton of resources into helping the top students attain clerkships and Bay Street positions, and not nearly enough resources helping the mid-tier (or just those uninterested in Bay Street and clerking) to secure alternative types of jobs. To that end, if you aren't interested in clerking or Bay Street, you may struggle to get adequate support in your journey to a different sort of employer.

That being said, your odds of securing a private practice job, an academic position, or a clerkship are far higher at U of T than most places, especially Windsor. Our job numbers are unrivalled, due to a combination of high entry requirements, strong marketing by the administration, and location. As a comparison, about 50% of U of T students secure a job at the 2L Toronto recruit, as opposed to less than 15% for schools like Windsor. That doesn't include the NY recruit, at which about 10-12% of U of T students secure employment, and the Western Canadian recruits, which take another 10%~ of our students. So, over half of U of T students secure a job by 2L, with the vast majority of the rest securing employment by 3L.

On the tuition note, I would add that the price tag is misleading. U of T's tuition rate is predicated on your ability to pay. I'm on the poorest end of the faculty, so I only paid about $13,000 this year. Couple that with the fact that I secured an NY job, and I'll be debt free by the end of the summer. That said, I know you suggested that you weren't looking to go into a "lucrative" area of the law, so your calculus might be a bit different. But at the end of the day, regardless of your calculus, you do want to be employed. And I hate to say it, but at a lot of law schools, a huge proportion of the class will not get jobs for some time after graduation. I didn't realize that coming in, but it's a blood bath at the recruit. So regardless of your decision as to compensation, keep in mind that some schools might even struggle to get you into a job.

All that is to say, U of T is great for particular kinds of people. Namely, highly ambitious people looking to secure prestigious but exhausting jobs at courts and in major financial centres. U of T is also not that bad tuition-wise if you lack money to begin with. I'll add that, while the competition of U of T is much derided, I cannot stress how high the quality of individual is here. That's not to say that there aren't great students elsewhere, but I am habitually shocked at awed at the quality of my peers' minds.

 

Edited by UTorontoLit
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51 minutes ago, UTorontoLit said:

I know that I'm a bit late to the party, but I'd like to play devil's advocate a bit. U of T gets a lot of hate, sometimes for good reasons, sometimes for horribly misguided reasons by people who know very little about the school. The goods reasons to hate on U of T are that the school is absurdly expensive and that the administration is a little too prestige oriented. To the latter point, the administration puts a ton of resources into helping the top students attain clerkships and Bay Street positions, and not nearly enough resources helping the mid-tier (or just those uninterested in Bay Street and clerking) to secure alternative types of jobs. To that end, if you aren't interested in clerking or Bay Street, you may struggle to get adequate support in your journey to a different sort of employer.

That being said, your odds of securing a private practice job, an academic position, or a clerkship are far higher at U of T than most places, especially Windsor. Our job numbers are unrivalled, due to a combination of high entry requirements, strong marketing by the administration, and location. As a comparison, about 50% of U of T students secure a job at the 2L Toronto recruit, as opposed to less than 15% for schools like Windsor. That doesn't include the NY recruit, at which about 10-12% of U of T students secure employment, and the Western Canadian recruits, which take another 10%~ of our students. So, over half of U of T students secure a job by 2L, with the vast majority of the rest securing employment by 3L.

On the tuition note, I would add that the price tag is misleading. U of T's tuition rate is predicated on your ability to pay. I'm on the poorest end of the faculty, so I only paid about $13,000 this year. Couple that with the fact that I secured an NY job, and I'll be debt free by the end of the summer. That said, I know you suggested that you weren't looking to go into a "lucrative" area of the law, so your calculus might be a bit different. But at the end of the day, regardless of your calculus, you do want to be employed. And I hate to say it, but at a lot of law schools, a huge proportion of the class will not get jobs for some time after graduation. I didn't realize that coming in, but it's a blood bath at the recruit. So regardless of your decision as to compensation, keep in mind that some schools might even struggle to get you into a job.

All that is to say, U of T is great for particular kinds of people. Namely, highly ambitious people looking to secure prestigious but exhausting jobs at courts and in major financial centres. U of T is also not that bad tuition-wise if you lack money to begin with. I'll add that, while the competition of U of T is much derided, I cannot stress how high the quality of individual is here. That's not to say that there aren't great students elsewhere, but I am habitually shocked at awed at the quality of my peers' minds.

 

Bear in mind though that the 2L recruit is largely focused on Big law jobs and like you mentioned, not everyone is interested in those positions and the OP does not appear to be interested in these roles either. If we are talking about private practice jobs outside of Big law, then any law school in Canada will do just fine and most students land on their feet coming out of law school.

I disagree about U of T's supposed advantages with the courts unless you're referring strictly to clerkships. If we're referring to summer and articling positions with the government, then it doesn't really matter which law school you went to as even Windsor and Ottawa do fairly well in these recruits. In fact, U of T and Osgoode's DOJ placements are pretty dismal in comparison to Ottawa. 

I also understand that most Canadian law schools have an over 90% articling rate and those that cannot find articles eventually find something or do the Law Practice Program and get called within 1-2 years out of law school. I have not seen large chunks of graduates from any Canadian law school struggling post-graduation. 

There is no doubt that if you are aiming for Big law, you should go to U of T, UBC, McGill, etc. Things just are not as clear cut when we are talking about other practice areas and employers, and people will look for different things when choosing their law school than brand name and which school is the hardest to get into and has the most studious students. 

By the way, congrats on the New York job! 

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