Fighting the fight against a lack of information on Canadian Law Schools.
UG CGPA: ###
LS Class: ####
Saturday, September 28, 2002
Let the Waiting Game Begin
For all of you who thought that waiting to get into law school was bad, get ready for this. I finished my on-campus interviews with the Calgary law firms I would like to work with yesterday. I will find out if I get a job Jan. 21. Isn't that a bit ridiculous. The one advantage I have is that at least I know for certain when I will find out if I get a job. It is still a bit of a long time to be anxious about this. In the meantime, I guess I better buckle down and get some school work done. Especially because I could submit these grades to the law firms before they make decisions and a couple of 80s in Corps and Tax could go a long way to changing their opinion of me.
In a totally unrelated and "truth is stranger than fiction" note...Regular readers may remember my Registration Frustration posts where I noted some problems with the registration system. To make amends for this mix up (which the faculty repeatedly contends is not their fault) the faculty is bringing in a Neil Diamon impersonator. I could not make this up, even if I tried. Nearly Neil will be performing Oct. 4 at the UBC Law School Alumni Day festivities. Well, I feel much better about my registration system now.
Wednesday, September 25, 2002
The Regional Nature of Law Schools in Canada
If there is one thing that has changed from when I was applying to law school to now that I am approaching half way done, it is the importance of the region of your law school. When I was applying I must have spent too much time following the American model where all of those top law firms could place students in any city in Canada. There are real barriers to getting jobs in other parts of the country from UBC. Although there are certainly opportunities made available to apply to more distant regions. They are few and far between compared to the amount of interaction with the Vancouver firms here at UBC. There is one night for all the firms from Vancouver to schmooze for students to hire, one for firms from the rest of BC (and smaller Vancouver firms) and then one night for firms from everywhere else in Canada, err, Calgary and Toronto. Even at that, only the biggest corporate firms from Calgary and Toronto show up there. I can't imagine if you wanted to work in another city like Edmonton, Winnipeg or even Montreal. Even the Dept. of Justice reps that come have a complete focus on Vancouver. Ask them a question about working in Ottawa or Calgary they just refer you to the website.
I only say this because there is still alot of people who worry about how their school is ranked. I really can't see it mattering. I am further convinced that the main reason Toronto is ranked number one is solely because it is so closely linked to the Toronto Bay St. market. Since this is the largest concentration of lawyers, with the largest influence on the Media (anyone ever read Sandra Rubin in the National Post?) they consistently manage to perpetuate the idea that U of T is so much head and shoulders above everyone else. There would certainly be no need for anyone who wanted to practice outside of Toronto to feel disadvantaged against a U of T applicant.
In any case, the first interview is Thursday morning and then I will be going to dinner with Blakes with 4 more interviews on Friday. You probably won't hear from me until then. I wish luck to any other students out there doing the job thing. Let me know if there are any good stories.
Sunday, September 22, 2002
Sorry to have taken so long to update, but there is a good reason which I will explain to you right now because it is also an important lesson about law school and life (I think). As you all read earlier I had submitted my resumes to the Career Development officer at UBC here for applications to 5 Calgary firms. I was thinking that this was all fine and good. Until last Thursday when I got an e-mail from Blake Cassels and Graydon in Toronto advising me that they had received my application for Calgary there. Arrgghh. So I thought only one, that isn't so bad. They were forwarding it on and the Calgary office would consider it. So I went in to the Career office at school and asked the Development officer if the rest of my applications had got in and if she could confirm if Blakes had got the one she had mistakenly sent the wrong way. She assured me the rest would get there ok. She also called Blakes and left a message asking if they had received my application yet. The next day the list of students who had got interviews went up for Burnet Duckworth Palmer (BDP), Macleod Dixon and McCarthy Tetrault and I only get an interview with BDP. Now my mind goes into overdrive. Do I suck that badly? Did every place get my resume? Am I never going to get a law job? Add to all this a general consensus that three quarters of the students who got articling positions for next year had summer jobs the year before and my general worry is becoming much enhanced.
Some of my worry becomes alleviated when Blakes in Toronto, the one that I didn't want to work at, invited me out for dinner the night before the interviews. I'm thinking, well if they want me for dinner, I must be slightly attractive as a candidate. My worries increased the next morning at 7 am though when McCarthy in Toronto called notifying that, you guessed it, they had also received my application for Calgary. So now I am in real tizzy. I wait a couple of hours and put in a call to Bennett Jones, they had got my resume, and Macleod Dixon, they also got my resume, but they didn't want to interview me. I then put in a call to McCarthy in Calgary asking fo they had got my resume from Toronto and if they would consider it. The Career director there assured me they would. So I go into the Career office at school with my application to Blakes in case they hadn't got it yet and to tell the Career Officer a piece of my mind. I tell her that another one of my applications ended up in Toronto and she doesn't even apologize. Unbelievable. She calls Blakes in Calgary though and they still hadn't got my application from anywhere so she faxed in a copy of the one I brought with me.
The next day interview lists went up for Bennet Jones and Blakes. I got an interview at BJ but not at Blakes. Later in the day the interview list was amended to add me to McCarthy Tetrault's list as well. This caused me to send out an e-mail gushing thanks to them. At least I now had three interviews which was not bad. This also brings us to about Friday afternoon. (Their my be some discontinuity in the timeline back up there. What can I say, I'm a law student not an author.) I am still holding tight that Blakes may add me to their list. Borden Ladner Gervais is also accepting applications on Monday for interviews on Friday so I will be applying to them.
I am also sorry I haven't posted in so long but I have been running around doing this stuff and keeping up my studies and stuff so what can I say. I'll try not to be so long in between. Any one got any better career stories send them on and we'll put em up. Good luck everyone.
Thursday, September 12, 2002
Another half a week of class down. I have now been to all of my classes after attending Natural Resources on Monday. This class seems like it will be really good. The prof is breaking it down into a number of case studies and using them to teach the material and then there are also group projects we have to do on one of four major subject areas for a big part of our grade. Should be fun. On the job front, I'm just kind of hanging out and waiting for word on which firms are going to interview me. The first rugby practice was Tuesday and there was a super crop of first years out. The one thing that drove me crazy today was that I stood in line for used books today, only to find out that they ran out of the Corporations book I wanted after being in line for 45 minutes. What a waste of time.
Saturday, September 07, 2002
Let the Drinking Season begin
UBC's annual salmon BBQ was this Friday. Unfortunately I was unable to fully partake in the beverages myself because I had to work later, but it was still pretty fun.
On another unrelated note, it seems that there have been some problems with some of the current batch of third years getting their articles lined up. I don't know if this is because the class is weak, the economy is weak or both but the unofficial tally is that somewhere around half of the 3rd year class does not have articles. This is somewhat troubling news, although I like to think it won't affect me too much since I am going to Calgary, but you never know.
This of course will lead to my new web poll question. The results on the last one were 50/50 although the response rate has slowed somewhat. So make sure you take a look at the new one and cast your vote just for interests sake.
Friday, September 06, 2002
Resumes are in, for now
The first round of resume's are in. I finally ended up applying to Bennett Jones, Macleod Dixon, McCarthy Tetrault, Burnet, Duckworth and Palmer and Blake Cassels Graydon. I will find out which firms are interested in interviews on the 17th. Here's keeping my fingers crossed until then. In the mean time I have to decide which other firms I want to apply to, figure out when resumes are due with them and then get applications ready for them. This is really starting to seem ridiculous in the first week of school.
I have now also been through the first run through of Tax, Corporations and EU law. They all sound pretty good. Tax actually sounds more interesting than I thought it would be and should lead well into international tax next semester. EU law is a 100% paper class, the other two are one final exam, 100% for Tax and 80% for Corps with the other 20% for class participation.
Other than that, the Salmon Barbecue is tomorrow, I have yet to meet my legal buddy, but she has my e-mail and I only have her name so I guess I'll track her down tomorrow. Life goes on.
Happy to here how anybody else's first week is going. Don't be shy.
Wednesday, September 04, 2002
First Day Back
So, it has begun again. My first class was International Commercial Disputes which is largely focussed on arbitration of disputes between companies located in different countries. The prof seems very cool. I also have a legal buddy which I guess is pretty cool. I haven't met her yet but I hope I can help her.
In other news, I just recently had a couple of questions about first year summer job prospects and tuition differences between schools in Canada, my answers are below.
The tuition differences are largely a result of different school policies. In BC the tuitions were frozen for 6 years or something as part of a general tuition freeze. That freeze was lifted last year and tuition went up this year so look for them to be closer to Alberta's next year. Alberta's tuitions were not frozen, but they did remain linked to general undergraduate tuition which stopped them from rising as fast as Ontario whose tuitions were not frozen or linked to general undergrad tuition. This let them rise the fastest (Dalhousie also has a high tuition). Another factor in Ontario is the U of T theory that higher tuition equals a better school and this puts pressure on all the other schools to raise their tuitions.
First year summer job opportunities are sparse to be diplomatic. There really isn't all that much out there. In Calgary there were maybe 5 or 6 openings in the whole city, in Vancouver maybe 2. There just isn't a demand for first year law students out there. I don't know anyone from UBC who was working for a firm, although I heard someone was. Toronto I think might have around a dozen spots open. It is possible to get one, but don't count on it.
To all those starting law school today, congrats and have fun. To those already in law school, welcome back. To those looking forward to law school, hang tough cuz law school will come up soon enough.
Sunday, September 01, 2002
Right now I've just been preparing resumes and jazz for the upcoming job season. The firms I'm looking at applying at so far are Bennet Jones, Blake Cassels and Graydon, McCarthy Tetrault, Macleod Dixon, Burnet Duckworth and Palmer and Fraser Milner Casgrain. This list may grow and all of these firms except Fraser Milner are doing on campus interviews (OCIs for short).
On a totally unrelated note, did Vancouver not get the memo that fanny packs are not cool. Until I moved here I honestly don't think I had seen one person wearing a fanny pack for years. This summer though EVERYONE (not quite but alot) of people are wearing them. Is this happening in other Canadian cities? Somebody let me know if I am so out of touch with reality or what the deal is.