Fighting the fight against a lack of information on Canadian Law Schools.
UG CGPA: ###
LS Class: ####
Monday, July 29, 2002
A Question About Laptops
I recently received a question about laptops and their usefulness in law school. Below is my response, but if anyone out there is a law student and has used one please post a comment because I am coming from an observer position only on this.
Laptops, good question. In terms of prevalence I noticed a definite upswing in use throughout the year. At the start there was probably about 10-40% of the students using one in class everyday and by the end it was closer to 40-50%. I don't think you should feel pressured to buy a laptop if you already have one, but you may want to consider the advantages if you are buying a new computer before law school.
The biggest advantage lies in the fact that exams are open book in most subjects (at least at my school and most others from discussions I have had with others). That means you can bring in any notes you take. This has led to the development of what are CANs at our school (Condensed Annotated Notes but also referred to as outlines or simply notes). These are essentially everything you discussed and learned distilled down to the bear essentials. People often save these on their computers and then pass them down year to year. Those with laptops frequently use one of these as a kind of template for their notes and then add and subtract from those notes based on specific things covered in class. The cans also usually contain a summary of all the cases you cover, so you don't actually have to read the cases if you have the CANs in front of you to outline the case. You can also keep files with cases on them and articles on topics being covered in class and all kinds of fun stuff like that. And of course there is always solitaire.
That being said, many of the best students that I knew didn't have a laptop and they largely acted as a crutch for those who were not otherwise willing to put in extra time transposing notes and things like that.
I definitely think that laptops are much less prevalent or expected in Canadian schools than in American ones, especially the schools that the PR board posters are heading to, or even the JD2B posters.
My own personal solution was to go for the Palm Pilot-keyboard combo. This didn't really give me the entire CANs in class advantage and stuff like that, but it did help me to keep my notes neater and more organized, which I found to be very useful and a lot cheaper. And Palm Pilot's are super cool anyways. :)
Sunday, July 28, 2002
New Poll and Results
So I've put a new poll up. Please vote again, if for nothing else my own personal interest. If you think I should have included an answer that isn't there, let me know and I will add it, within reason. The results from the last poll were 1 vote each for U of C, U of A, U of S, U of M and U of T, 2 votes for Western, 3 votes for UBC, 4 votes for Queen's and 3 undecideds. I'm pleased to see some diversity in the people that are visiting this site, although it seems like my 700 visits are the result of a few dedicated visitors. That's ok, glad to have you. Anyways, thanks for voting, vote again and as always feel free to send me any ideas for polls you would like to see or anything else.
Saturday, July 27, 2002
I'm Back, and to hell with Registration
Sorry to be gone for so long, but the weather in Calgary was great. On return it was time to finish off registering for up to the maximum credits for the year. Officially we weren't supposed to be able to register until 7 am on the 23rd so you can imagine my surprise when I was "just testing" and managed to register for the vast majority of my classes late on the 22nd. What a wonderful system. Despite my early access it was still a frustrating process. I got nearly all the classes I wanted, but not anywhere near the lectures I wanted. Since this site is all about curiosity, here is my course list for next year. In the first semester I have European Union Law, Corporations I, Tax I, Administrative Law and International Commercial Disputes (this is a full year course. The second semester I have International Law, International Tax, The Charter, Federalism (these two classes make up Canadian Constitutional Law) and a seminar on Problems in EU law. It's kind of a bit of mix with Corporate law, Tax law and a hefty dose of international mixed in. The one notable missing class that I wish I would have taken is Evidence which is required but I can hopefully take next year before I take off for exchange. So those of you following along with this little journey will get to learn what these classes are all about. Fun, huh?
Tuesday, July 16, 2002
For What it's Worth
I recently received some questions from a potential Canadian Law student. I have posted my answers here for information for those looking for the same stuff and for comments from those with an opinion. I figure the best way to dissipate the effect of bad advice is to have somebody else open up with their own advice. So send me an e-mail or some comments on what I have written below and let's see if we can't bring a little summer heat to our small online Canadian Law Student Community.
1. can i have the information on the ranking of canadian law school? whether it is officially released or not doesn't matter.
OK, but just remember that rankings are not nearly as important for Canadian Schools as American Schools because there are so many fewer and they are all very close in terms of the admittance numbers and quality of faculty and what not compared to the American Schools.
That being said, University of Toronto is considered the de facto best law school in Canada. After that UVic, UBC, McGill, Dalhousie and Osgoode are considered the next best. After that, any of the rest are about the same.
Be sure to consider geographic factors when considering a law school. A school close to where you want to work may be better for getting a job in the city you want than a "better" school.
2. what's the strength(for example, the field of law, payment, registration fee....) of canadian school compared with american's?
Canadian schools are cheaper in general. The very best American schools (The top six or 10 maybe) are probably more rigorous than all Canadian schools but all the Canadian schools would probably rank between 10 and 25 in the US. Canadian schools offer a different range of topics ( things like the Charter are obviously different than Con Law in the US) but they both teach basic common law methods.
3. as far as i know, it's getting difficult to enter law firm in america and it seems the future of law market is not so bright. is it also true in canada?
Not so much, the market isn't as cranked up as it was in the mid to late 90's but there hasn't been as much slow down up here as down there. If you are only going in right now I wouldn't worry too much about the market because in three years there is no telling what the economy will be like.
And one more thing, I will be off on a quick jaunt home to Cowtown so I may not publish for a few days. And Congratulations to Kelly Sutherland winner of the Rangeland Derby's Dash for Cash!
Saturday, July 13, 2002
And their off...
Well, the first day of registration for up to 18 out of the 34 or so credits you take in second year. One of the classes I wanted (Federalism with Prof. Elliott) was close to getting full after the 3rd years registered so I knew I would have to get in right at 7 am and hope for the best. So, bright and early I logged on, signed on every 30 seconds until 7 am when it actually let me on and do you think I got into the lecture I wanted. No. I also didn't get the lecture on Evidence I wanted. My original schedule plans didn't work out but I do get to take EU law this year now so you lose some you win some. One thing I was very impressed with was the tracking of seats left in the classes so you knew how to prioritize those first few credits. This also marks only like 8 weeks until back to school. Hope all you Law I's to be are getting excited.
Thursday, July 11, 2002
Canadian Diversity Reigns Supreme
I must say that I was very impressed to find law students (or within 2 months of being so) had visited my site from U of S and U of M. (Which I have since learned is the appropriate abbreviation the University of Manitoba) I hope these individuals get in touch with me about how they find their law schools. These are two of the law schools that almost no discussion takes place on and whose reputations often get neglected, probably because of location more than anything. In any case, I hope these visitors come back during the year and leave some comments or e-mail me some info on their schools so that more students can learn about the value of two of these lesser known schools. And thanks for visiting and voting.
Monday, July 08, 2002
It's a slow time these days for news on law schools. Anyways, I have updated the poll below, thanks to everyone who voted the first time around. Seems the largest body of my viewers are going into first year this year. Good luck to you guys. One thing students entering first year may want to look into is what kind of schedule you are going to have. Browsing through the law school sites, most of the schedules for first years are up. Although you won't be able to tell exactly which schedule you will have, you should be able to get a pretty good idea what the schedule will look like. I have also been noticing some interesting differences in the curriculum of first years at different schools. For example at U of T you take a course called Civil Procedure which I can only assume is close to the Evidence class that is required of upper years here at UBC but has no apparent equivalent in first year. I hope the online law student community (what is there, 3 or 4 of us now? ;) ) will discuss some of these differences so we can all get a better feel for what works and what doesn't. Hope those of you in Toronto get out of the garbage strike soon.
Thursday, July 04, 2002
The first day for selecting classes for second year students at UBC is July 12 and the scheduling of classes is driving me insane! I thought my days of having to cobble together crazy schedules would be over when I moved into one faculty so that they could schedule their classes more independently. But no. The faculty has scheduled 9 count 'em 9 classes between 10:30 and 12:30 on Tuesday and Thursday. Ridiculous. Sure, another Evidence class is offered, and another Tax class but still 9 classes offered in the same time slot in one faculty is a bit ridiculous. Don't worry future first years, you won't have to deal with this bullsh*t. Most first years have their schedules mandated to them by the faculty. Happy 4th of July to any Americans out there.
Tuesday, July 02, 2002
Happy Canada Day
What can I say, I waited until the end of my day to post this. Hope you all had a good Canada Day.