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@Toby1994, you cast doubt on @FortifiedEight's initial post by stating this: 

13 hours ago, Toby1994 said:

Just want to point out that both the two people who have warned you about Windsor have used anecdotes from one person that they know, a sample not representative of all Windsor Law graduates. 

...and then you did this: 

33 minutes ago, Toby1994 said:

I don’t want to hijack this thread and turn it into a Windsor debate, but I’ll just say thank you for sharing those threads...because if you read the replies from practicing lawyers they seem to prove my point

Pick a side. @FortifiedEight is providing you with valuable information and attended UofT as a mature student - if you're going to discredit their experience and insights by pointing to a fallacy, back that up with data.

Edited by Tagger
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@Toby1994 They're not arguing that Window is bad - they're saying that the reputation of Windsor, rightly or wrongly, coupled with the stigma of being a mature student, may make things difficult. This is especially true coming from a poster that wants to do 9-5 in criminal law and earning more than 70k off the bat. 

 

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Just want to comment that I started law school (UBC) in my late 30's and got out in my early 40's. Hands down the best time of my life. I don't think any one treated me differently, although my antics and immaturity probably made me look/seem less old. But I digress.

I got lucky and landed a dream 9-5 job doing solicitor's work even with below average grades, but that took some outside-the-box thinking and pure luck. I pretty much turned a random networking opportunity into a summer job and then into a permanent gig, so it's not impossible. I wouldn't say the route I took was common at all among new grads and mature students though. Even with the hours, there were times we had deals to close and I would put in some extra hours here and there. When I'm at work, I work hard too. It's just the nature of the job.

On the other hand, OP, I don't think many crim/family lawyers have a 9-5 job. I don't think a reasonable trial lawyer would say, "I still haven't finished prepping for the trial/hearing/mediation tomorrow, but hey it's 17:00 now, so let's get the hell outta here and we'll just deal with it in court tomorrow". You might be able to plan your days in a way to accommodate the 9-5 hours when you're a more senior lawyer, but good luck during your articles if a 40-hour work week is a must.

I understand OP wants some work-life balance. I get that. But the thing is that whatever a lawyer does has consequences to your clients' future, and with great privilege to practise law comes great responsibilities.

Edited by Tamago
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On 2/15/2021 at 3:44 AM, curiousandauthentic said:

I've got a BA (political studies) and have taught English in Asia for several years.

  1. High salary is not my top priority (as long as I make at least the same as a public school teacher in Ontario I am happy).

Not sure if anyone has asked this but why not just become an Ontario teacher?

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I'll be 46 when I graduate next year from law school.  Few random points from my perspective...  I've always wanted to do law, I love law school and I can't wait to practice.  The study of law is challenging, interesting and often times all consuming.  First semester of law school felt like a tidal wave hit...you have to dig deep and adapt where necessary to get through.  I have made some great friends who are 15+ years younger than me.  I treat it like a workplace - there are people of all ages at work, you find your people that you connect with.  I've worked in a legal environment for many years so I'm familiar with the work, expectations, etc.  There are lawyer jobs that allow you to work less hours for less pay, but if you see it as just a job and not a profession that you really want to practice...there are many other alternatives.  The opportunity cost can be atrocious, but that's fact specific.  I have an articling position with a former employer, so I can't comment on the unique position of looking for a job as a mature student.  However, as others have noted, it is very competitive and you'll have, by the sounds of it most other students in your class hungrier than you to get the available jobs...just because that's the culture/nature of the beast that is law school/legal world.

As previous poster said, you really need to examine your why.  I can't imagine doing anything else, but it is not for the faint of heart.  If its not something you really want, it will be a slog.

Edited by 2019hopeful
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1 hour ago, BringBackCrunchBerries said:

Not sure if anyone has asked this but why not just become an Ontario teacher?

It's possible that the OP has already considered this. If they have applied in this cycle for law entry in September, but not for teachers college, deadlines for education programs have mostly passed. A few have extended their deadline but if one is considering this, they need to get on it ASAP. The other issue is that no one knows what the outlook for employment for teachers will be three years from now. Generally speaking, for a long time now, a larger percentage of education grads will graduate without a position, than that of law grads. Both professions, in my opinion, are not ones to pursue without a true understanding and purpose. 

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This thread is super depressing as someone that is about to finish at 34. The majority of the posts seem to be assuming that OP wants to practice in Toronto when they have stated they're cool with basically any market. I assume a Windsor JD is fine for the OP's goals. That said, I'm sure UofT would be a better way to get a job in Toronto if you can stomach almost 200k debt. On ageism, I can't speak to Fortified's experience in Toronto, but I'm sure at larger firms it probably exists. The interviewer who interviewed me at a tax firm off Bay St. didn't leave me feeling like there was age bias - so YMMV. On bias in general, I can add that there are younger students doing the Toronto recruit from my school that have reported that they feel school brand (or more likely, alumni/lack of alumni relationships in that specific market) is effecting the amount of interview offers they are receiving compared to peers at UofT. That is not to say they aren't getting interview offers, but they are receiving fewer offers, despite having higher grades. 

Anyway OP, if you want to go this way then it sounds like a position in government would probably meet your needs best rather than the private market.

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On 2/17/2021 at 8:45 AM, QuincyWagstaff said:

I think you missed his point. 160 may be enough to get you in, but as a middle aged law student, that’s not going to be enough. You need to be exceptional to have a reasonable chance at succeeding. You need to have much more going for you than your younger peers. 

I would give the same advice. Being an average law student at 40 years old, you are at serious risk of a very bad outcome. And you don’t have the years left to recover. 

The following post is not directed at the OP, but regards mature law students in general.

You and others seem to assume that older people are less capable of taking on challenges and working hard than younger people.

Maybe I am missing something here, but what is the basis for this assumption?

My assumption would be that a 23-year-old K-JD might struggle with a heavy work load because they have never truly experienced the workforce while those of us who are older have.

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43 minutes ago, SNAILS said:

You and others seem to assume that older people are less capable of taking on challenges and working hard than younger people.

Maybe I am missing something here, but what is the basis for this assumption?

The assumption is that mature students tend to have more personal obligations that impede their ability and/or willingness to work the long hours that most first-year positions demand. 

Edited by Tagger
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I would be interested in hearing more from @FortifiedEight (if they care to comment some more) about the age discrimination that was experienced with some of the major TO firms. I remember on OCI day that you got the lion's share of TO interview invitations on the forum. Were your interviewers simply challenging you to describe how your greater level of experience could be an asset to the firm? OR were they outright telling you that they didn't think that there would be any point in investing resources to train you; or what happened?

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11 minutes ago, bonkers said:

I would be interested in hearing more from @FortifiedEight (if they care to comment some more) about the age discrimination that was experienced with some of the major TO firms. I remember on OCI day that you got the lion's share of TO interview invitations on the forum. Were your interviewers simply challenging you to describe how your greater level of experience could be an asset to the firm? OR were they outright telling you that they didn't think that there would be any point in investing resources to train you; or what happened?

I never ended up doing the articling recruit in Toronto (as I took a job in Vancouver before they occurred), but I did do the 2L recruit. In that recruit, I had interviewers counting up how many years I had worked and indicating that was a problem. I had the interview go totally cold when they found out I had a daughter in university. They rarely confronted the "you're too old" point directly, but you could tell once they figured out my age the interview was over. There was not a boutique/small firm which did not do this to some degree.

The GOOD interviewers asked me whether I could start at the bottom again and take instructions from people younger than me (which is an excellent question that I welcomed). They asked me how my past experience would benefit me as a lawyer. They wanted to hear that I was in my forever career and looking for a home to practice from. Sadly, that was the minority of firms, BUT they were some of the larger, full-service firms, so that's at least positive. It was NOT any of the seven sisters though, I did not even get interviews with them.

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51 minutes ago, Tagger said:

The assumption is that mature students tend to have more personal obligations that impede their ability and/or willingness to work the long hours that most first-year positions demand. 

For big law, I think the other part of the equation is that you’d make less money for the firm over your career. 

If you’re 40 when you start law school, you’re 43 when you end and 44 when you wrap up articling. 8-10 years later, when you’re up for partner, you’re 52-54. If the firm has a compulsory retirement age, you’ve got a decade or two, max, before you’re forced out. The other problem is that, at a lot of firms, partners don’t start really driving the business until they’ve been partners for 5-10 years. 

Contrast that with someone who goes to law school at 23, and could give the firm four decades of service as a partner, including the peak earning years. The younger person is clearly the better investment, assuming all else is equal.

These structural problems are less prevalent in other practice areas, particularly ones which encourage people to set up their own shop shortly after they’re called. Because of that, I imagine any age discrimination is reduced. Others are better situated to comment on that, though. 

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@BlockedQuebecois I don't have first-hand experience with this, but my impression is that in terms of the formal recruit, mature students face more barriers with respect to "fit". Many firms prefer not to hire the older candidate who likely has less in common with their immediate colleagues, may not be as eager to tow the company line, and whose years of experience in an unrelated field might give them an unearned sense of superiority over younger colleagues and bosses.

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We like money just as much as you Tagger. I don't think towing the company line or not getting along with colleagues is an issue for most people generally, lol. I will concede on Block's earning potential point, though.

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9 minutes ago, bonkers said:

We like money just as much as you Tagger. I don't think towing the company line or not getting along with colleagues is an issue for most people generally, lol. I will concede on Block's earning potential point, though.

I'm not arguing that mature students aren't capable of doing so, but that these concerns and biases contribute to the overall stigma against mature students. Cool your jets, it's not a personal attack. 

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8 minutes ago, bonkers said:

We like money just as much as you Tagger. I don't think towing the company line or not getting along with colleagues is an issue for most people generally, lol. I will concede on Block's earning potential point, though.

In my experience, interviews with most OCI-participating employers are about “fit.” This is less true of government employers though.

 

Edited by Psychometronic

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6 minutes ago, legallybrunette3 said:

Do these concerns apply to anyone over low/mid 20's? If someone is starting law school at 30/35 is it the same deal? 

Not until mid thirties.

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The tone of the post was not intended to come off as defensive - I am just pushing back because I disagree with the point (read: I'm currently procrastinating other things). :)  You can look at my post history to see that I am a pretty chill poster. I agree with you Pyro about the importance of fit during interviews. I think fit is actually the primary consideration since most firms seem to assume competence. However, I think claiming that it's a common bias (I'm sure there are some examples of it existing, of course) for employers to assume a mature articling applicant is going to be more uncooperative than other applicants is off base and not really a defensible assumption - unless there's a study on the Canadian legal market dealing with the issue? I'd concede the point if there was proper evidence to support it. That's why I tend to give a lot more weight to Block's point on the economic rationale.

I do think that arguing that an interviewer wants to suss out an applicant's attitude in general to determine how they would fit would be a much easier argument to make. Career Services has mentioned in the past that employers expect mature students to just want to get to work. I think that is supported by a rereading of the OP's post - he clearly doesn't want to make any waves at all (for better or worse).  I've never encountered, or at least detected, ageism or assumptions on my character in that way at the start of or after a fair number of interviews.  Of course, a lot of this is derived from my own personal experience interviewing (Toronto, Calgary, & the East Coast) - attach as much weight to that as you feel necessary.

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19 hours ago, legallybrunette3 said:

Do these concerns apply to anyone over low/mid 20's? If someone is starting law school at 30/35 is it the same deal? 

In my 2L year, it seemed to affect anyone over 27. It may differ by year, school, firm, etc.

I'd also like to say that I think while all of the reasons why "old people don't work here" mentioned in this thread are truly held by firms, all of them are bullshit because they're so hyper-individualized. A mature worker may end up bringing in more money, or fitting exceptionally well, or having less outside work obligations and distractions. That doesn't mean the firms consider that when negating an applicant based on their age. We also can't debate them merits of these beliefs because they are merely beliefs. So as you read this thread, it should just help you understand why mature students are looked down upon by firms, and there's no point in getting into whether the beliefs held are true or not. I think delving into the latter leads us to make hurtful and often inaccurate generalizations which are unnecessary to settle the topic at hand.

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