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legallybrunette3

What's the deal with school rankings?

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Here's the other thing to consider - the assumption people tend to operate under, often to protect people's feelings, is that every legal employer is perfectly rational and unbiased and accepts the conventional wisdom that every school is equally good and every education is equally good.

But legal employers are just as fallible as anyone else. If 0Ls have a misplaced sense of what school is better than another, you can expect that law students, legal professionals and employers also may have that same bias. So while maybe some of the larger firms will actively correct for that, others might not, and so a UofT degree could carry someone further than a degree from another school. I have seen this happen with senior lawyers at a smaller firm being impressed by the UofT candidate because those lawyers did think UofT had some level of prestige. The flipside is that some lawyers carry a chip on their shoulder or an affinity for their own in-group, and so you may find a smaller firm run by say Ottawa grads (to pick a school at random) either prefers fellow Ottawa grads or has an active dislike for UofT - it could all come out in the wash as a result, but who knows.

All that is to say, there's no magic bullet for employability. I will agree that all schools probably prepare you equally as well as another for practicing a lawyer, but as BQ notes, there are disparate outcomes in employment statistics, which means either the students themselves or the institutions they attend school at are having an influence. And there's no question that attending UofT makes the average student more likely to land an OCI job with a Bay Street firm. That's only a small slice of the legal employment pie, but there's no point pretending it is not the case.

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1 hour ago, blackwidow said:

Another thought I had - not to derail this thread - is how/why does UofT seem to win awards at nearly every moot? Is there something they do that other schools don’t? I realize it’s a difficult question that students most likely won’t be able to answer because only a student would know their school’s mooting practices but I’m genuinely curious. 

This could be totally off base and it’s solely based on my own experience with one moot, but UofT also seems to do quite a few more moot run throughs than other schools (my experience at UofT was 3-4x a week since January, and some people at other schools told me they were doing them once a week). As was said earlier, there also may be a factor that UofT’s name brand + connections allow us to get top experts as coaches and run through judges. 

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2 minutes ago, subwaysandwich said:

This could be totally off base and it’s solely based on my own experience with one moot, but UofT also seems to do quite a few more moot run throughs than other schools (my experience at UofT was 3-4x a week since January, and some people at other schools told me they were doing them once a week). As was said earlier, there also may be a factor that UofT’s name brand + connections allow us to get top experts as coaches and run through judges. 

Toronto is also the largest legal market in the country so beyond just the name brand and connections, you're got a larger pool of potential coaches, etc. to pull from.

I never really paid much attention to moots but the person you're responding to might just have some confirmation bias from having seen it in a few spots. The Davies Corporate and Securities moot is one in which you'd expect UofT to have somewhat of an advantage and yet Alberta was the top school by far and Dal/Saskatchewan placed fairly well despite both jurisdictions being relative backwaters for the practice of securities law. https://www.dwpv.com/en/Insights/News/Announcements/2020/Davies-Law-Moot-2020

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37 minutes ago, legallybrunette3 said:

So basically what I have achieved with this thread is rounding up all the various opinions I've heard on this topic that confused me to begin with, and gathered them into one place to read one after another. Perfect. 

You're in 0L right? Well, reading conflicting opinions is basically what reading case law is like haha. 

22 minutes ago, Rashabon said:

...The flipside is that some lawyers carry a chip on their shoulder or an affinity for their own in-group, and so you may find a smaller firm run by say Ottawa grads (to pick a school at random) either prefers fellow Ottawa grads or has an active dislike for UofT - it could all come out in the wash as a result, but who knows.

All that is to say, there's no magic bullet for employability...

OMG, this 100%. Thank goodness I don't have many stories about this, but it does happen. Still, I wouldn't say that its impact is a "wash". Anecdotally, most lawyers will either have a neutral or positive opinion, so in the end it's a net positive. However, I am totally aware that maybe things are different behind the scenes.

Edited by Twenty
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1 hour ago, Twenty said:

OMG, this 100%. Thank goodness I don't have many stories about this, but it does happen. Still, I wouldn't say that its impact is a "wash". Anecdotally, most lawyers will either have a neutral or positive opinion, so in the end it's a net positive. However, I am totally aware that maybe things are different behind the scenes.

Sometimes its easy to spot by looking at a firm's website and checking where their students are from. In Vancouver you'll see some firms have 10 students and they're all from UBC/U of T, meanwhile another firm has 8 students and they're from TRU/Calgary/Sask.

Other times there's no way to tell. My current firm hired 4 TRU grads in the past year. I asked the hiring committee if that was a coincidence, they told me it was a preference. Turned out a partner is BFFs with a prof at TRU.

Edited by canuckfanatic
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18 minutes ago, canuckfanatic said:

-snip-

Other times there's no way to tell. My current firm hired 4 TRU grads in the past year. I asked the hiring committee if that was a coincidence, they told me it was a preference. Turned out a partner is BFFs with a prof at TRU.

I can't help but wonder whether those hiring decisions are reflective of a preference for TRU in general, or a reflection of the partner's relationship and level of trust with that specific professor.

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Just now, PlayALawyerOnTV said:

I can't help but wonder whether those hiring decisions are reflective of a preference for TRU in general, or a reflection of the partner's relationship and level of trust with that specific professor.

A mix of both. The firm hired a TRU student on the recommendation of the prof. That student performed very well for the firm, so the firm hired another. Then another.

The partner visited TRU personally to see if it was luck of the draw and ended up being sold on the quality of the law program and its graduates.

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2 hours ago, Rashabon said:

But legal employers are just as fallible as anyone else. If 0Ls have a misplaced sense of what school is better than another, you can expect that law students, legal professionals and employers also may have that same bias.

 

48 minutes ago, canuckfanatic said:

My current firm hired 4 TRU grads in the past year. I asked the hiring committee if that was a coincidence, they told me it was a preference. Turned out a partner is BFFs with a prof at TRU.

I found these comments on the same page pretty funny. 

 

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7 minutes ago, Mal said:

 

I found these comments on the same page pretty funny. 

 

Biases are bad unless they are in my favour

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2 hours ago, Rashabon said:

Toronto is also the largest legal market in the country so beyond just the name brand and connections, you're got a larger pool of potential coaches, etc. to pull from.

I never really paid much attention to moots but the person you're responding to might just have some confirmation bias from having seen it in a few spots. The Davies Corporate and Securities moot is one in which you'd expect UofT to have somewhat of an advantage and yet Alberta was the top school by far and Dal/Saskatchewan placed fairly well despite both jurisdictions being relative backwaters for the practice of securities law. https://www.dwpv.com/en/Insights/News/Announcements/2020/Davies-Law-Moot-2020

I don't mean to come off too much as "hoorah UofT" but I think your example with the Davies Corporate/Securities Moot might actually go the other way – UofT has won the Davies Moot every year since 2011 except for 2014 when they placed second and 2020 when you caught 'em slipping (though UofT got second place oralist!). I guess even Lebron James misses the playoffs once in his career! :rolling:

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OP, I think the takeaway here is that a prospective student should go with the best school they get into all else being equal.

Where "best" is a loaded term informed by the rankings you were looking to interrogate. 

Rankings that are in underpinned by among other things;

  • the reputation of the school,
  • Bay Street employment numbers,
  • clerkships, 
  • reputation of professors, 
  • frequency at which mooting teams destroy competitions and grab trophies, 
  • the whims and fancies of employers great and small,
  • the opinion of your peers, 
  • the opinion of your parents,
  • the opinion of strangers on internet forums,
  • the cost of tuition,
  • and of course the location and size of bathrooms.

Good luck! 

Edited by TheAEGIS
grammar
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4 minutes ago, TheAEGIS said:

OP, I think the takeaway here is that a prospective student should go with the best school they get into all else being equal.

Where "best" is a loaded term informed by the rankings you were looking to interrogate. 

Rankings that are in underpinned by among other things;

  • the reputation of the school,
  • Bay Street employment numbers,
  • clerkships, 
  • reputation of professors, 
  • frequency at which mooting teams destroy competitions and grab trophies, 
  • the whims and fancies of employers great and small,
  • the opinion of your peers, 
  • the opinion of your parents,
  • the opinion of strangers on internet forums,
  • the cost of tuition,
  • and of course the location and size of bathrooms.

Good luck! 

Gotta watch out for those bathrooms 🤣

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19 minutes ago, PlayALawyerOnTV said:

Which Canadian law school has the best bathrooms? Inquiring minds want to know!

Well, if it was back when I was there, the answer wouldn't be U of T!  Thankfully, for those of you applying today, U of T has a new building. 

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20 minutes ago, PlayALawyerOnTV said:

Which Canadian law school has the best bathrooms? Inquiring minds want to know!

Actually though. Which bathrooms have paper towels not just those fans that dry nothing? 

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5 minutes ago, legallybrunette3 said:

Actually though. Which bathrooms have paper towels not just those fans that dry nothing? 

Asking the important questions...

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4 hours ago, PlayALawyerOnTV said:

Which Canadian law school has the best bathrooms? Inquiring minds want to know!

Not Windsor... 

But we expect to challenge for the title after the 2025 redesign. Our old bathrooms were premised on the assumption you only needed to cater to 2 women.

I wish I was joking.

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