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ZineZ
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5 hours ago, Darth Vader said:

Just wondering - what are the litigation offices you're mainly referring to? Crown attorney, MAG Crown Law Office - Civil and Ontario Securities Commission? Because I do see a lot more people leaving these places than the other provincial departments. 

I've actively recommended for students to do their research/consider all their options before accepting a position with CLOC for articling. They weren't the best at looking out for their students/controlling how many hours students ended up working. I knew multiple folks who ended up working an intense number of hours without much support. That being said, CLOC students do get to do significantly more advanced work early on compared to some students in private practice. Comes with the turf. 

I don't know if this still holds true, or if the situation is similar for fully licensed lawyers. But I can see why there may be higher turnover - the demands of litigation are very different (and in demand).

People I know in OSC are a happier bunch, though. 

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TheDevilIKnow
  • Law Student
22 hours ago, Deadpool said:

Recruiters are not hiring Canadian lawyers for public interest jobs abroad.

Thanks @Deadpool. This distinction makes sense. I'm relatively certain that public sector work aligns better with my values and priorities, so that remains my preference. I guess it's just hard to shake the thought that there's a big difference between making, say, 70% of what my private sector colleagues make and, say, 49%. But maybe that's just me. Definitely don't want to underplay the other advantage (mainly stability) of government work.

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Judgelight
  • Lawyer
On 12/3/2021 at 12:40 PM, Darth Vader said:

Just wondering - what are the litigation offices you're mainly referring to? Crown attorney, MAG Crown Law Office - Civil and Ontario Securities Commission? Because I do see a lot more people leaving these places than the other provincial departments. 

Yes exactly.

 

  

On 12/3/2021 at 6:26 PM, ZineZ said:

I've actively recommended for students to do their research/consider all their options before accepting a position with CLOC for articling. They weren't the best at looking out for their students/controlling how many hours students ended up working. I knew multiple folks who ended up working an intense number of hours without much support. That being said, CLOC students do get to do significantly more advanced work early on compared to some students in private practice. Comes with the turf. 

I don't know if this still holds true, or if the situation is similar for fully licensed lawyers. But I can see why there may be higher turnover - the demands of litigation are very different (and in demand).

People I know in OSC are a happier bunch, though. 

 

CLOC is an excellent place to article (from what I've seen/heard from friends). All of them have found their way at private firms (or jumping ship to other crown offices). Its just not a great place to work as a lawyer long term. Precarious contract work, high stress environment, significant pay cut. The only reason to stay is because of the type of work and volume of work.

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20 minutes ago, Judgelight said:

CLOC is an excellent place to article (from what I've seen/heard from friends). All of them have found their way at private firms (or jumping ship to other crown offices). Its just not a great place to work as a lawyer long term. Precarious contract work, high stress environment, significant pay cut. The only reason to stay is because of the type of work and volume of work.

It's an excellent place for the experience, but the stress of articling has burned out several people I know well. My advice is usually something along the lines of "you will get a phenomenal experience, but be aware of what you're going into in terms of hours/support".

16 minutes ago, GreyDude said:

Are you unionized workers? Do you have a collective agreement?

Ontario is pseudo-unionized depending on where you work. ALOC exists and bargains on behalf of a civil counsel + articling students and there's a couple of other associations. The other places are handled differently, but I don't know enough to comment about them. There is a central agreement. 

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bolobao
  • Lawyer
On 12/5/2021 at 4:38 PM, GreyDude said:

Are you unionized workers? Do you have a collective agreement?

For Ontario, see the following from ALOC's website at http://www.aloc.ca/About-ALOC.aspx: 

Quote

The Association of Law Officers of the Crown (ALOC) represents lawyers and articling students employed by the government of Ontario, with the exception of lawyers in the Criminal Law Division, who are represented by its sister organization, the Ontario Crown Attorney's Association (OCAA). ALOC has approximately 750 members located in legal service branches across government as well as in various agencies, boards and commissions.

 

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On 12/5/2021 at 1:38 PM, GreyDude said:

Are you unionized workers? Do you have a collective agreement?

This is a hot button issue amongst BC Government Lawyers. Lawyers in the non-criminal side of government in BC are not unionized. For a while there was an agreement with the Crown lawyers association that we would essentially get the same deal as them with their agreement, but this was severed a couple years ago. So right now, for example, we didn't get the same pay increase as Crown the past year. I can't really say more about this but it is an issue. 

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On 12/3/2021 at 3:26 PM, ZineZ said:

I've actively recommended for students to do their research/consider all their options before accepting a position with CLOC for articling. They weren't the best at looking out for their students/controlling how many hours students ended up working. I knew multiple folks who ended up working an intense number of hours without much support. That being said, CLOC students do get to do significantly more advanced work early on compared to some students in private practice. Comes with the turf. 

I don't know if this still holds true, or if the situation is similar for fully licensed lawyers. But I can see why there may be higher turnover - the demands of litigation are very different (and in demand).

People I know in OSC are a happier bunch, though. 

I know some people who worked at CLOC (Ontario) and I think a lot of it has to do with certain people in leadership positions creating a toxic work environment.  This is no secret, the Star reported on this:

https://www.thestar.com/news/investigations/2018/02/22/bully-bosses-issue-swept-under-the-carpet-until-junior-government-lawyer-sent-email.html

This was a few years ago so I don't know how much of it is still relevant and if things have changed in terms of the culture. 

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Judgelight
  • Lawyer
On 12/8/2021 at 10:04 PM, bolobao said:

For Ontario, see the following from ALOC's website at http://www.aloc.ca/About-ALOC.aspx: 

 

There needs to some reform here IMO.

There are a select group of lawyers that pay dues and negotiate collectively, then there are a bunch of lawyers (legislative offices) that benefit from that (and sometimes get better agreements from what I've seen - more sick days, etc) and DON'T pay dues.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Posting these on behalf of someone who asked me to.  I can't answer them today, but will sometime soon 🙂

Was there anything at your school that you felt really prepared you personally for government work? Anything the interviewer really looked at favorably? Was there anything you regret not doing while you were there, in hindsight?

Would Ottawa open up substantially more doors in terms of the non-crim government opportunities one could get as opposed to your school, assuming an above-average but not quite medalist candidate at both?

Would someone with average to very slightly above average grades at your school stand any kind of chance of landing something, assuming they effectively demonstrated interest in the job itself and in public service and had a few interesting extracurriculars? Or would you have to be an absolute rockstar on top of that?

Also, a few more miscellaneous questions:

Are there any personality types/skillsets that tend to do well in government as opposed to the private sector?

In most big-city positions, could you get along reasonably well day to day without a driver's license?

Is there any kind of emerging specialty that the Ontario government is likely really going to be needing to have covered in the next five years or so?

How do you feel about how the MAG handled mentoring? Is it generally representative of how most governmental bodies work with articling students?

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socialjusticewarrior
  • Law Student

Hi! I was curious if anyone would know the typical starting salary for a first year-call with the MAG (Ontario)? I thought this would be easily accessible as salaries generally are, but Had a hard time finding it!

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Deadpool
  • Lawyer
On 12/29/2021 at 2:13 AM, ZineZ said:

Posting these on behalf of someone who asked me to.  I can't answer them today, but will sometime soon 🙂

1) Was there anything at your school that you felt really prepared you personally for government work? Anything the interviewer really looked at favorably? Was there anything you regret not doing while you were there, in hindsight?

2) Would Ottawa open up substantially more doors in terms of the non-crim government opportunities one could get as opposed to your school, assuming an above-average but not quite medalist candidate at both?

3) Would someone with average to very slightly above average grades at your school stand any kind of chance of landing something, assuming they effectively demonstrated interest in the job itself and in public service and had a few interesting extracurriculars? Or would you have to be an absolute rockstar on top of that?

Also, a few more miscellaneous questions:

4) Are there any personality types/skillsets that tend to do well in government as opposed to the private sector?

5) In most big-city positions, could you get along reasonably well day to day without a driver's license?

6) Is there any kind of emerging specialty that the Ontario government is likely really going to be needing to have covered in the next five years or so?

7) How do you feel about how the MAG handled mentoring? Is it generally representative of how most governmental bodies work with articling students?

I'll offer my thoughts on these, as I've worked for both the federal and provincial governments (in Ontario). 

1) My clinic experience came up in every single one of my interviews, including my interviews with private law firms. I participated in upper year clinics for academic credit, and employers viewed me as having relevant and practical work experience, and a demonstrated interest in public sector work. 

In hindsight, I regret not getting some kind of international experience in law school, whether that is through an exchange or an intensive program. In addition, although I did more social justice clinic work than most people in law school, I still think I could have done more.

2) The hiring process for government positions is standardized in the OCI and articling recruitment, and everyone has equal access to those jobs. Some uOttawa students might be able to turn their federal government internships into an articling position, which can lead to counsel jobs after, but this is not common. uOttawa's main advantage is its location, and the federal government primarily recruits law students through the standard DOJ Legal Excellence Program, which everyone can apply to even outside of Ottawa. uOttawa has a lot of good clinics and government opportunities though, which can help your resume stand out.

3) This depends on the department you are applying to. Showing a general interest in public sector work is enough for the DOJ, as you have the opportunity to do rotations in your 2L summer and articling and then to choose your main practice group after -- or they will choose for you depending on the vacancies available.

In contrast, the MAG and Legal Aid want to see a demonstrated interest in their practice areas. The MAG Family Responsibility Office, Ministry of Indigenous Affairs, Ministry of Finance, etc. will each have different requirements. Most of the MAG divisions hire anywhere from 1 to 4 students. The MAG Crown Law Office - Criminal and Crown Law Office - Civil hire the most students at ~10 each. They are more grades-heavy than some of the other divisions. The Constitutional Law Branch is also very grades-heavy.

Depending on where you apply, you might find yourself competing for spots with stellar candidates who are able to show a strong and demonstrated interest. For example, Osgoode JD/MES students always do well in the hiring process with places like the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry and Ministry of Energy, that work on indigenous and environmental issues. Most of the opportunities at the MAG are in criminal law and litigation, so if you do not want to do these, then your best chance of getting in there as an average to above average student is to focus all your coursework and extracurriculars in one or two specific practice areas. For example, someone that has done a lot of labour law clinics and relevant coursework will be attractive to the Ministry of Labour and Treasury Board Secretariat, even if their grades may not be very competitive. The crown corporations and divisions such as the Ministry of Finance like to see corporate and tax backgrounds.

Legal Aid Ontario tends to hire summer and articling students with a strong and demonstrated interest in family, criminal, and indigenous/aboriginal law. The legal clinics hire articling students that have a lot of clinic and social justice experience. The municipalities like City of Toronto will hire primarily based on grades and a general interest in the public sector. Showing an interest in labour and employment, criminal law, real estate law, municipal law, environmental law, etc. will also be helpful. 

In my opinion, you need to narrow your interests fairly quickly at the end of 1L and beginning of 2L, so that your coursework and clinic/experiential education aligns with the government departments you are applying to for the 2L summer and articling recruits. This is especially important if your grades are only average to above average.

4) Government hiring processes are substantive, so academic personality-types will perform the best in the formal testing stages. However, if you are invited to any dinners or socials after, you will want to demonstrate your social skills and personality. Once you start working, you need to be a good people person in order to build relationships and seek out promotions and opportunities. The government is a tight-knit group of people, so being a team player and personable is important. There are all kinds of personalities in the government, just as there are all kinds of personalities in the private sector. 

5) You would probably need a driver's license if you are travelling to different courts, but it isn't a requirement for most positions.

6) Privacy, technology, and cannabis law are growing areas of practice. There are a lot of law adjacent roles and policy analyst jobs that lawyers go into in the government. I see a lot of lawyers working as investigators and Early Resolution Officers with the Ontario Ombudsman, for example. Tax law is also beneficial as the DOJ Tax Law Division is always hiring. 

7) I articled in the federal government and had a fantastic experience. I think that because getting into the government is so structured and highly selective, and fewer law students are brought on than in the private sector, there is more of an effort made to provide a good articling experience and mentorship. 

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Marco
  • Applicant

Hey,

A couple of questions.

  1. Are there any practice areas where the conventional wisdom of superior work life balance (vs. private sector) does not hold true? Or where the discrepancy is markedly less substantial?
  2. How valuable is French proficiency for acquiring public sector jobs? Are there many roles where it is essential?
  3. In general, how difficult is breaking into the public sector during OCI / articles? How many people who tailor their coursework and experiences with a view to acquiring these jobs get shut out completely?
  4. Are there any particular practice areas that are notably more competitive to acquire than others?
  5. Does law school 'ranking' or 'prestige' matter at all in the public sector?
  6. Are there more opportunities for jobs in some provinces vs. others?

Apologies if my questions are overly general or tough to answer. If it's any help, suppose the person asking is an aspiring transactional lawyer and wishes to practice in the GTA or Ottawa region.

Thanks

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Deadpool
  • Lawyer
9 minutes ago, Marco said:

Hey,

A couple of questions.

  1. Are there any practice areas where the conventional wisdom of superior work life balance (vs. private sector) does not hold true? Or where the discrepancy is markedly less substantial?
  2. How valuable is French proficiency for acquiring public sector jobs? Are there many roles where it is essential?
  3. In general, how difficult is breaking into the public sector during OCI / articles? How many people who tailor their coursework and experiences with a view to acquiring these jobs get shut out completely?
  4. Are there any particular practice areas that are notably more competitive to acquire than others?
  5. Does law school 'ranking' or 'prestige' matter at all in the public sector?
  6. Are there more opportunities for jobs in some provinces vs. others?

Apologies if my questions are overly general or tough to answer. If it's any help, suppose the person asking is an aspiring transactional lawyer and wishes to practice in the GTA or Ottawa region.

Thanks

1. Criminal law/litigation and corporate law. As mentioned above, places like the Ontario Securities Commission, Crown Law Office - Civil and prosecutor offices have high attrition rates and demanding work hours. Solicitor positions in the government are rare outside of the Ottawa region. For the MAG specifically, you need to summer/article with a solicitor department to realistically have a chance at working as a solicitor there. Most external positions I have seen that are open to the public are in criminal law.

2. French is mainly essential for certain federal government positions. LP-03 are often team lead positions and have bilingual requirements. Bilingualism is required for all positions above LP-03 in Ottawa. Outside of Ottawa and Quebec, you can make it to General Counsel level without being bilingual. 

3. It is pretty difficult. Private firms hire hundreds of students while public sector employers hire only a handful. UBC's Class of 2020 career services report shows 3 in federal, 3 in provincial, none in municipal, and 2 in "Public Interest / Social Justice / Human Rights". U of T's class of 2020 placed 11% in government and public interest jobs. This figure is about the same for my year at Osgoode as well. I don't know how many people are applying and being shut out, but I think if you have decent grades and a strong resume, you have a good chance of getting in. 

https://canlawforum.com/topic/1704-how-difficult-is-it-to-get-a-job-in-toronto-from-an-out-of-province-school/page/2/#comment-17442

https://www.law.utoronto.ca/student-life/career-development-office/career-statistics 

4. Any of the niche practice areas like indigenous law, environmental law, immigration law, municipal law, health law, privacy law, etc. are more difficult to break into than criminal law, corporate law, tax law, real estate, labour and employment, and civil litigation. There are fewer positions available for the former because they are not as widely practiced as the latter.

5. Law school ranking or prestige doesn't matter. Windsor has consistently placed better at the DOJ and PPSC in the past decade than even U of T and Osgoode. These are only 2-3 positions every year, but this is still better than the 0 students that U of T and Osgoode has placed in some years. Having decent grades and a strong and demonstrated interest is more important than the school you attended. Many foreign trained lawyers have been landing government jobs in recent years because of their experience.

That being said, when my department was deciding who to hire back after articles, the fact that I went to Osgoode and many of the senior lawyers and managers had also gone there in the 80s and early 90s worked in my favour, I think. It was easier for me to build rapport with them than for the other students. If anything, this illustrates the point that going to law school in the location where you want to work can be helpful.

6. For the federal government, most jobs are in Ottawa and Quebec. For the provincial government, there seems to be more jobs in Ontario than anywhere else. The Yukon and Northwest Territories have also been doing a lot of hiring recently. 

 

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Kibitzer
  • Lawyer
14 hours ago, socialjusticewarrior said:

Hi! I was curious if anyone would know the typical starting salary for a first year-call with the MAG (Ontario)? I thought this would be easily accessible as salaries generally are, but Had a hard time finding it!

First year calls start at Step 0. For the most part, 01CCB Lawyers (Junior Lawyers) move up the following steps every six months:

Step 0: 90,290

Step 1: 92,919

Step 2: 95,639

Step 3: 98,473

Step 4: 101,408

Step 5: 104,465

Step 6: 107,635

Step 7: 110,926

Step 8: 114,369

Step 9: 120,663

Step 10: 124,284

 

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Judgelight
  • Lawyer
35 minutes ago, Kibitzer said:

First year calls start at Step 0. For the most part, 01CCB Lawyers (Junior Lawyers) move up the following steps every six months:

Step 0: 90,290

Step 1: 92,919

Step 2: 95,639

Step 3: 98,473

Step 4: 101,408

Step 5: 104,465

Step 6: 107,635

Step 7: 110,926

Step 8: 114,369

Step 9: 120,663

Step 10: 124,284

 

This can't be right, I made 86k my first year.

 

Less than 5 years out.

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BlockedQuebecois
  • Lawyer
13 minutes ago, Judgelight said:

This can't be right, I made 86k my first year.

 

Less than 5 years out.

This is pretty easily verifiable, but I can confirm first year crowns make 90,260 in Ontario. It’s the pay for ONCA clerks who are called to the bar. 

I’m sure if you poke around for a few minutes on Google you can find the 2019 collective agreement to confirm the other numbers. 

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whereverjustice
  • Lawyer
37 minutes ago, Judgelight said:

This can't be right, I made 86k my first year.

 

90290 is 5% more than 86000. Remember that the salary grid has an annual adjustment (bargained increases or inflation, depending on the year).

(Also this is before deductions including the employee pension contribution.)

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azure
  • Lawyer

Thought I'd throw in my 2 cents on a couple of these questions. Though I'm with the BC Gov and these seem Ontario-centric, but I think there's some useful overlaps.

On 12/28/2021 at 11:13 PM, ZineZ said:

Are there any personality types/skillsets that tend to do well in government as opposed to the private sector?

I'm with Legal Services Branch (LSB) on the Solicitors side and I would say most lawyers in my group are introverts and not super social. Compared to private sector (well, pre-pandemic, at least), you don't have to do the same sort of networking/schmoozing as private firms. Your clients are built-in, you don't have to recruit them, wine and dine them, go to networking events, etc., so I think it attracts more introverted people. But of course there are all kinds in government just like private practice. I think solicitors in general are more introverted than litigators but that might be a controversial opinion 😉 

On 12/28/2021 at 11:13 PM, ZineZ said:

Would someone with average to very slightly above average grades at your school stand any kind of chance of landing something, assuming they effectively demonstrated interest in the job itself and in public service and had a few interesting extracurriculars? Or would you have to be an absolute rockstar on top of that?

For what it's worth, I was an average student (B/B+ overall) and got an articling job with government. I had some interesting extracurriculars and clinical experiences. I think one of the things that sold it is that I had work experience from a former career before law school that was really beneficial to the area I wanted to practice, which maybe put me ahead. Demonstrated interest in public service specifically is a big plus. 

 

On 12/28/2021 at 11:13 PM, ZineZ said:

Was there anything at your school that you felt really prepared you personally for government work? Anything the interviewer really looked at favorably? Was there anything you regret not doing while you were there, in hindsight?

Not really. Government interviews are an unusual beast, where everyone gets the same questions and are scored on an established rubric. The questions are generally competency based as well as some subject matter questions. I've sat on the other side of the table for interviews and people can score really well on competency interviews even if their experiences are not related to government work. For example, I had someone nail a question about leadership and teamwork based on their experiences working on a fishing boat! 

In terms of courses, I would recommend taking Administrative Law since a lot of solicitor work involves that. Aboriginal law would also be a good idea given the increasing importance of reconciliation to government work. 

On 12/28/2021 at 11:13 PM, ZineZ said:

How do you feel about how the MAG handled mentoring? Is it generally representative of how most governmental bodies work with articling students?

In BC, on top of your principal you also get a "buddy" who is a junior call who is available to show you the ropes. There are also regular lunchtime sessions for articling students on a variety of topics, such as practice management. It is hard to form mentorship relationships generally since the articling students rotate between groups so it's hard to get to know lawyers. Especially since we are all remote now. But it's better than it once was, and the articling student committee is making efforts to make it better. 

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ZineZ
  • Lawyer
On 12/29/2021 at 12:13 AM, ZineZ said:

Posting these on behalf of someone who asked me to.  I can't answer them today, but will sometime soon 🙂

Was there anything at your school that you felt really prepared you personally for government work? Anything the interviewer really looked at favorably? Was there anything you regret not doing while you were there, in hindsight?

Would Ottawa open up substantially more doors in terms of the non-crim government opportunities one could get as opposed to your school, assuming an above-average but not quite medalist candidate at both?

Would someone with average to very slightly above average grades at your school stand any kind of chance of landing something, assuming they effectively demonstrated interest in the job itself and in public service and had a few interesting extracurriculars? Or would you have to be an absolute rockstar on top of that?

Also, a few more miscellaneous questions:

Are there any personality types/skillsets that tend to do well in government as opposed to the private sector?

In most big-city positions, could you get along reasonably well day to day without a driver's license?

Is there any kind of emerging specialty that the Ontario government is likely really going to be needing to have covered in the next five years or so?

How do you feel about how the MAG handled mentoring? Is it generally representative of how most governmental bodies work with articling students?

Finally in a place where I can take a stab at these questions, as well! Sorry for the delay. 

Was there anything at your school that you felt really prepared you personally for government work? Anything the interviewer really looked at favorably? Was there anything you regret not doing while you were there, in hindsight?

  • Similar to @Deadpool, I found that my experience working in a legal aid clinic came up often in my interviews. Government interviewers often look for why you want to work in government over the private sector, and being able to show a genuine interest in public interest work is helpful. In the case of one particular office, my experience in working around poverty law played in heavily for why they were interested in interviewing me. 
     
  • The courses I took related to admin law and labour law were exceptionally useful. I found myself relying on my old summaries and what I had learned during school more often than I had expected. In addition to my electives, State and Citizen, which is mandatory, was the best course I took at Osgoode. My particular professor covered far too much ground for a single course and left me feeling very overwhelmed, but did more to prepare me for upper-year courses and practice than anyone else at the school. I'd also take statutory interpretation - it's absolutely worth your time. 
     
  • I didn't take legal drafting (it was full), and I really regret it. While it's not my area of practice, I'd like to highlight that there is a lot of corporate-commercial work in government and not enough lawyers who do it. You can make yourself a really attractive candidate by showing an interest (and taking courses in) corp-commercial work that is related to government. I'd also echo what @Deadpool said about a semester abroad. I was lined up to do one and couldn't make it work at the last minute - and I still regret it. 

Would Ottawa open up substantially more doors in terms of the non-crim government opportunities one could get as opposed to your school, assuming an above-average but not quite medalist candidate at both?

  • In the context of Osgoode, I don't think so. The school has a really decent reputation for public-interest work and the proximity to MAG's offices is beneficial. I don't know much about federal processes, but in the case of Ontario I didn't see a huge difference.

Would someone with average to very slightly above average grades at your school stand any kind of chance of landing something, assuming they effectively demonstrated interest in the job itself and in public service and had a few interesting extracurriculars? Or would you have to be an absolute rockstar on top of that?

  • I'll also echo what @azure said. While government does care about grades, I found that they were more interested in my previous work experience (I had spent time around the public sector) and my reasons for wanting to be in public service work. The above-average/medalist considerations play in more heavily if you are interested in clerking. 

Are there any personality types/skillsets that tend to do well in government as opposed to the private sector?

  • I don't necessarily think so. I agree with @Deadpool that folks who are academic in personality can thrive, but it also depends on the office and the practice area. You can find all types of folks in government offices - the ones in MNRF are typically pretty outdoorsy, the litigation shops can be...very broey (apologies for that term, I don't know how else to put it) and the arms-length offices can have a Bay Street vibe. I don't think the people I met and worked with fit one typeset - they had varied experiences and varied personalities. 

In most big-city positions, could you get along reasonably well day to day without a driver's license?

  • If you're in litigation, a driver's license is helpful. You may need to drive to prep a witness or to attend court in a different city (Labour sometimes did this). My office was all solicitors, and I can't remember a single time I needed access to my car. 

Is there any kind of emerging specialty that the Ontario government is likely really going to be needing to have covered in the next five years or so?

  • It's not emerging, but I'm going to highlight corporate-commercial work again. There is a need for public sector lawyers who aren't afraid of transactions, of funding agreements and of taxation. Outside of this, I think what has been covered by other folks is more than sufficient. 

How do you feel about how the MAG handled mentoring? Is it generally representative of how most governmental bodies work with articling students?

  • I had a phenomenal experience. My principal was in the same office, and she worked hard to ensure that I was well taken care of. She, along with the other student's principal, went as far as to organize a virtual Call To The Bar ceremony for us when our actual call got cancelled by the pandemic. It meant a lot, and I'm still grateful for it. Outside of my formal mentor, I also found my branch to be generally helpful and willing to provide mentorship. If I had interest in their work, they'd willingly bring me onto their files. I don't know how to answer the question about whether it's representative. IMHO, for this you'd likely need to talk to students at different branches and see how they fared.

 

 

 

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WhoKnows
  • Lawyer
On 1/5/2022 at 1:35 PM, ZineZ said:

I'd like to highlight that there is a lot of corporate-commercial work in government and not enough lawyers who do it.

@ZineZ and I have admittedly chatted a bit in PMs about this, but I figured I could ask this in a more public sense and try to illicit some answers from folks here. If anyone can shed some light on this, particularly in the federal context (though other jurisdictions are fine too, obviously) I would be all ears. There's often very limited information out there regarding what a solicitor can do in the government, so if anyone has information, I would love hear it - entry options, pay, quasi-legal jobs like competition bureau, etc. 

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Judgelight
  • Lawyer
On 1/2/2022 at 5:46 AM, Marco said:

Hey,

A couple of questions.

  1. Are there any practice areas where the conventional wisdom of superior work life balance (vs. private sector) does not hold true? Or where the discrepancy is markedly less substantial?

I'll echo what Deadpool said - its especially disheartening during the pandemic, where we're working comparable hours to many of my private sector friends (and doing administrative work that they'd never dream of doing) while not getting a comparable salary (40-60k less, and no bonuses); no benefits; no gym membership perks. Hell, on of my friends gets to expense breakfast if he starts working on a file early enough, and gets to order uber eats if he works late enough. Just imagine trying to do that as a government lawyer... 

OK - that's my daily rant done with, I promise!

On 12/29/2021 at 2:13 AM, ZineZ said:

Was there anything at your school that you felt really prepared you personally for government work? Anything the interviewer really looked at favorably? Was there anything you regret not doing while you were there, in hindsight?

My non-legal government jobs were of immense value (ok, didn't happen during law school, but prior to law school). It demonstrated work ethic (I wasn't someone bumming around  on my parents dime every summer, but hustling, working at the airport, tim hortons, doing every odd job I could) and it demonstrated a genuine interest in public service. Everyone I interviewed with appreciated how that history of work experience would make me a good candidate for my position.

 

On 12/29/2021 at 2:13 AM, ZineZ said:

Are there any personality types/skillsets that tend to do well in government as opposed to the private sector?

How do you feel about how the MAG handled mentoring? Is it generally representative of how most governmental bodies work with articling students?

This doesn't really go to personality necessarily - but having strong social skills has become more and more important for government work. I've noticed there are a few "odd ducks" in the government, but they're ALL older. The younger lawyers getting hired are generally pro-social (note: that doesn't mean extraverts) and treat everyone (including non-lawyers) with respect and courtesy and treat them as equals. 

If you lack the ability to socialize, I think that'll hurt your chances in the public sector. Many people can do well on the interview - the tie breaker can often be what your boss has heard of you. Are you an asshole that treats all of the support staff like shit? Or do you get along with everyone and does everyone have nothing but good things to say about you (not talking about your legal abilities).

On 12/29/2021 at 2:13 AM, ZineZ said:

How do you feel about how the MAG handled mentoring? Is it generally representative of how most governmental bodies work with articling students?

Mentoring is great. When I was an articling student I was told I was there to learn, and not work. Every lawyer I worked with wanted to ensure I got a holistic experience and went out of their way to ensure I got every opportunity to do what I wanted. That also included having me shadow other lawyers in different offices.

I've had the same lawyers who mentored me as an articling student tell me that subsequent articling students have been absolute disasters (and the examples they've provided to me makes me believe them),  so obviously your experiences may vary. The more you put in, the more you will get out.

 

On 12/29/2021 at 2:13 AM, ZineZ said:

How do you feel about how the MAG handled mentoring? Is it generally representative of how most governmental bodies work with articling students?

Edited by Judgelight
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azure
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On 1/10/2022 at 4:07 PM, WhoKnows said:

@ZineZ and I have admittedly chatted a bit in PMs about this, but I figured I could ask this in a more public sense and try to illicit some answers from folks here. If anyone can shed some light on this, particularly in the federal context (though other jurisdictions are fine too, obviously) I would be all ears. There's often very limited information out there regarding what a solicitor can do in the government, so if anyone has information, I would love hear it - entry options, pay, quasi-legal jobs like competition bureau, etc. 

I work for the Province, but can still provide some insight. For corporate/commercial, a huge part of it is government procurement and contracting. Government is one of the biggest buyers of goods and services, everything from consultants, to IT solutions, to industrial equipment, construction, road work, etc. These can be complex, multi-million dollar contracts. Government has specific rules it must follow with contracts, with the procurement model (contract A/contract B), where it has to competitively procure most contracts (with exceptions). Government solicitors are responsible for reviewing the procurement documents and drafting contracts, as well as providing general advice on contractual matters. Solicitors also advise on issues of contract interpretation and contract management. E.g. issues with non-performance, contract termination, as well as specialized areas such as intellectual property. As @ZineZ said, there is a ton of work in this area. Since government has special procurement rules it has to follow that is different that private contracting parties, if you can specialize in this you won't find a shortage of work.

In terms of government solicitor work generally, it is incredibly broad. Basically we are the government's in house lawyers, so any area that government covers, we can advise on. For example, it could be questions on statutory interpretation, legal risks associated with a program/policy, legislation/regulation drafting, advising on Indigenous consultation obligations, advising statutory decision makers on administrative law questions, lands questions, intellectual property, freedom of information and privacy law, procurement, drafting legal instruments such as orders, leases, etc. Personally I think it's some of the most interesting legal work out there. 

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Dood
  • Articling Student

Did my discussion comparing zoning litigation in Canada and the US get moderated?

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I checked - looks like your last three posts were essentially asking for legal advice ie for some one to give you a definitive statement re how the law applies in a given scenario. 

Can’t help you out with that stuff, sorry!

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