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General Questions about Bora Laskin


tillandsia
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tillandsia
  • Law Student

Hello all,

I wanted to start a thread where incoming or applying students may ask any questions about BL or Thunder Bay in general. Since BL is still a relatively new school (est. 2013), the alumni pool is far smaller than the bigger law schools throughout Canada. This means that the knowledge about BL and its program is less accessible to applicants canvasing for advice. However, I hope to change with this new forum and answer what I can as a 3L student from my experience and perspective. Hopefully other BL students can provide general knowledge from their experiences on this thread as well. 

Certainly things in the upcoming fall term will be different as the pandemic restrictions ease, but I can speak to my student time in person in 2019-2020 and remotely throughout 2020-2021.

Please feel free to ask anything about student life, the IPC program, living in Thunder Bay, the Thunder Bay bar, and anything else that is on your mind.

All the best with your applications!

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iamdalaw
  • Applicant

Hi there,

Thank you so much for posting this! I was wondering what are some good areas/apartments to live in for my first year. I want to live alone and know that I should stick close to BL. 

Also, what do you mean by the Thunder Bay Bar? 

 

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tillandsia
  • Law Student

Thanks for your questions! I'll try to be thorough for anyone else reading the thread.

Your first question depends on if you have a car or not because there are some great neighbourhoods near and far from the school.

No car? Try to find a place close to the law school. The vast majority of students live in the Port Arthur neighbourhood of Thunder Bay for a number of reasons, mainly because of proximity and local amenities. I recommend focusing your search within a 20 minute walk to the school. Looking at the map, stay within John st + Algoma st + River st + Algonquin ave, as kind of like a grid. The law school is built into hill with High street being the peak and Algoma street being the bottom. You will thank yourself in January and February if you can find a place near the school within this area. The houses above High street tend to be young families with not a whole lot of students, but are close enough to the school for you to be engaged with student life.
Also I must caution you to avoid living anywhere along Court street north or south; I don't know why but it's a rough area. 

There are a couple of apartment buildings near the law school which are quite nice. Waverley Park Towers is the best but the most expensive ($2000 for a 1 bedroom). The towers on 9 Regent Street and 350 Red River Road are also pretty good but not that dazzling. The brand new apartment building on 324 John looks great, it's so new that it isn't on Google maps yet. There are also newly built apartment buildings around 230 Algoma that seem good. Lastly there's a nice mini apartment building on 350 Bay street- it looks shabby on the outside but it is gorgeous inside. Those are all the buildings I can vouch for.
The most popular option however is renting a room in like a 3 or 4 bedroom house with a 8-12 month lease in the range of $400-$800 per month utilities included. Port Arthur is full of big old war-time houses that landlords have upgraded into multiple units. There is a huge variety of houses so it's tough for me to speak to every single street around the law school, but generally the houses are good quality! 

You can find rooms for rent on the Facebook BLFL groups, Rent Panda, Kijiji, and Facebook Marketplace. When I was accepted back in 2019, I found the house I currently live in around June 15th on Kijiji. I paid for August 1st and moved in September 1st.
(Aside: people in Thunder Bay absolutely love to use Facebook Marketplace, so it's a great resource for finding furniture and rentals)

If you have a car and don't mind driving to school, you can branch out quite a bit into the outskirts of Port Arthur (or even over to Current River neighbourhood or Fort William neighbourhood), but I wouldn't recommended it because as a 1L it's nice to be nestled in the neighbourhood with your classmates. There is zero traffic in Thunder Bay and it literally takes 12-minutes to drive from end to end of the city, so it won't take you long at all to get to class if you find a house elsewhere. Even in the winter! Big issue is parking... the parking lot at the school is for professors/staff only. You can park your car along Waverley Park for 2hrs or all day in the little neighbourhood streets around the school. I'm not sure if there are talks to create a parking lot for students.. but fingers crossed.
The neighbourhoods in Fort William are nice but it's more quiet with young families.
If you choose to live in the Fort William area, avoid apartments on Simpson, Syndicate, & Frederica streets. 

Aside: If you have any legal issues with your landlord, you should apply for help from the law school's legal clinic (Lakehead University Community Legal Services). I worked there all of my 2L year and if you financially qualify (i.e. broke student) then the clinic may give you advice on any landlord & tenant issues you may have!


By the 'Thunder Bay Bar' I mean the pool of lawyers in Thunder Bay. "Bar" is a term used to refer to local practicing lawyers. Like the "Toronto Bar" is 100x larger than the "Thunder Bay Bar", meaning if you practice in Toronto, you probably won't see the same opposing counsel more than once. But in Thunder Bay, you'll be seeing the same faces in the court house every day. So you need to be nice and civil to everybody to protect your reputation! 

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Socratic Ape
  • Law Student
On 6/9/2021 at 2:28 PM, tillandsia said:

Hello all,

I wanted to start a thread where incoming or applying students may ask any questions about BL or Thunder Bay in general. Since BL is still a relatively new school (est. 2013), the alumni pool is far smaller than the bigger law schools throughout Canada. This means that the knowledge about BL and its program is less accessible to applicants canvasing for advice. However, I hope to change with this new forum and answer what I can as a 3L student from my experience and perspective. Hopefully other BL students can provide general knowledge from their experiences on this thread as well. 

Certainly things in the upcoming fall term will be different as the pandemic restrictions ease, but I can speak to my student time in person in 2019-2020 and remotely throughout 2020-2021.

Please feel free to ask anything about student life, the IPC program, living in Thunder Bay, the Thunder Bay bar, and anything else that is on your mind.

All the best with your applications!

Hello,

I have two questions; 1) I know that this is not reflective of all years, but how was your weekly 1L schedule? (i.e., how long were the gaps between classes, how early were the earliest classes, and when did classes usually end), and; 2) does Bora Laskin have a on-site gym and/or showers within the facility?

And if you have the time, may I ask you some study-related questions via the messaging system?

Thank you for taking the time to help prospective students!

Edited by Socratic Ape
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tillandsia
  • Law Student

Hey there, happy to help any way I can. Please feel free to DM me if you have any specific questions about studying or whatever else! 

1)   The 1L schedule was pretty good considering you don't have any choice for course selection or timing. No class on Friday either semester! All 1L's take the same foundational courses, 8 for credit courses and 1 non-credit participatory class about Indigenous experiences in Canada.
      The timing of the 1L schedule is decent. From 9:00am-11:50am, you have two 1hr15min year long courses. Then two days a week you have afternoon classes that are 2.5hrs long. Those could get rough sometimes. The days on which your classes fall depend on if you're "Group A" or "Group B". It's not alphabetical, so I have no idea how the school splits everyone up. Each group is about 30-32 students. If 100% back to the physical classroom, the groups share the same hallway, locker space, and lounges, so you see everyone all the time.
       Classes start 9:00am SHARP. Do not be late!!! It's a small class, so it's a significant faux pas for people to walk in late to shuffle around finding a seat and setting up their laptop while the prof is starting their lecture. Your prof will be peeved.
       The gap between your morning classes is about 10-15 minutes, which is just enough time for you to pack up your bag, go to the bathroom, fill up your water bottle, then walk down the hall to your next class and set up. Fortunately all 1L classes are on the same floor of the law school. Sometimes you don't change physical rooms but rather the professors swap. 

I was in Group A, so our schedule looked a little something like this back in 2019-2020:

Fall:
Monday
Contracts (9:00am - 10:15am)
Constitutional (10:30 - 11:45am)
Foundations in Canadian Law (Online course, no specific time)

Tuesday
Criminal (9am)
Torts (10:30am)

Wednesday
Contracts (9am)
Constitutional (10:30am)
Legal Research and Writing (1:30-4pm)

Thursday
Criminal (9am)
Torts (10:30am)

Winter:
Monday
Contracts (9am)
Constitutional (10:30am)
Indigenous Legal Traditions (1:30-4pm)

Tuesday
Criminal (9am)
Torts (10:30am)

Wednesday
Contracts (9am)
Constitutional (10:30)
Property Law (1:30-4pm)

Thursday
Criminal (9am)
Torts (10:30am)

**There is also a year long non-credit course called "Aboriginal Perspectives" that you need to finish before your April final exams. You have to complete around (I think) 30 hours of community involvement in cultural, social, academic, and media Indigenous activities. It's a lot of fun and provides many wonderful in-depth learning experiences. It's life changing, especially for law students who were not fortunate enough to learn much about Indigenous peoples in Canada before coming to law school.  

2) There isn't a workout facility at the law school, but there is one on main campus called "The Hangar" that's this huge gym inside an airplane hangar on the campus. There is a gymnasium with changerooms since the law school used to be a big high school. I haven't been there, but my cohort in 1L would play basketball games of Group A vs Group B. I assume there are showers down there, but I have no idea though.

Edited by tillandsia
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missanxiety
  • Applicant

Sorry if this is in the wrong place! Was hoping for some guidance with my application for 2021. I haven’t heard anything from Lakehead since I submitted my app back in November. What do you think my chances are at this point? 3.46 CGPA (OLSAS), 160 LSAT and applied access category. 

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tillandsia
  • Law Student
On 6/27/2021 at 7:56 PM, missanxiety said:

Sorry if this is in the wrong place! Was hoping for some guidance with my application for 2021. I haven’t heard anything from Lakehead since I submitted my app back in November. What do you think my chances are at this point? 3.46 CGPA (OLSAS), 160 LSAT and applied access category. 

Hey there,

Sorry, I unfortunately don’t think I’m able to advise you or anyone about admission chances, at any time of the cycle. Lakehead is notoriously quiet about their admissions process and thresholds, so it’s anyone’s guess. They do not disclose anything about their considerations. I’ve met admitted students with hard and soft stats all over the spectrum. I think it’s about how you (humbly) sell yourself in your application. 

However, I haven’t personally met anyone who was accepted in July or August, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened before. I was admitted as an access student off the waitlist in early June of 2019 (3.25 cGPA, 3.6 B2, 161 LSAT)
 

Perhaps things will be different this year! Maybe more spots will open up after the waitlist is spent. However I doubt the school will admit more than 65 students as it prides itself on small class sizes. 

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  • 1 year later...
Ruby II
  • Law Student

Hey there! 

I wanted to get this thread back up and running for the same reasons @tillandsia started the thread. I'll do my best to answer any questions and speak from my experience. I hope that other BLFL students will also jump in as well.

Best of luck with your applications!

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  • 3 weeks later...
tillandsia
  • Law Student

Hey thank you @Ruby II- your attention to this thread is appreciated! I’m also available to interested applicants here to share an alumni perspective if wanted, but your answers as an active student are certainly the most guiding. 

Cheers!

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