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University of Saskatchewan graduate and practicing lawyer. AMA


DennisNextDoor

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DennisNextDoor
  • Lawyer

As the title states, I am a U of S graduate from the class of 2020 and am currently a practicing lawyer! Feel free to ask general questions, questions regarding law school, or questions regarding the practice of law here in Saskatchewan. 🙂

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DennisNextDoor
  • Lawyer
2 hours ago, kdiddy said:

Hi @DennisNextDoor

Thanks for doing this. What area of law do you practice in? 

My previous experience includes family law, foreclosure, and debtor/collector.

I have recently transitioned to government work and am currently working exclusively in Constitutional law and Admin law. 

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brokenegg
  • Law School Admit

Hi! Firstly, congrats on becoming a lawyer. It’s definitely not easy! 

I have a few questions, if you don’t mind 😌:

1. On a scale of 1-10, can you rate your experience at Sask (i.e., social life, curriculum, supports, etc.)?

2. Did you feel like you had enough articling and EC opportunities, if any? 

3. Did you move to Saskatchewan or were you already living there before law school? Asking this because I’m an out-of-province applicant & would like to gauge what the settling in process would be like. 

4. Is Sask very focused on the prairies? In other words, do you think that your education/experience has prepared you well enough that you could practice anywhere in Canada?

5. Would you recommend Sask law? 

 

I know these are quite a few questions, and thanks in advance, hehe! 

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DennisNextDoor
  • Lawyer
6 minutes ago, brokenegg said:

Hi! Firstly, congrats on becoming a lawyer. It’s definitely not easy! 

I have a few questions, if you don’t mind 😌:

1. On a scale of 1-10, can you rate your experience at Sask (i.e., social life, curriculum, supports, etc.)?

2. Did you feel like you had enough articling and EC opportunities, if any? 

3. Did you move to Saskatchewan or were you already living there before law school? Asking this because I’m an out-of-province applicant & would like to gauge what the settling in process would be like. 

4. Is Sask very focused on the prairies? In other words, do you think that your education/experience has prepared you well enough that you could practice anywhere in Canada?

5. Would you recommend Sask law? 

 

I know these are quite a few questions, and thanks in advance, hehe! 

1. I would say a 10, but take my rating with a grain of salt since I am very much an introvert. I found Sask to be a very collaborative school. Our students often take pride in helping each other out and try not to bolster that hyper-competitive mindset a lot of other schools seem to have. The social aspect of it was nice. Saskatoon is a fair sized centre but is not huge like Toronto, Vancouver, or even Calgary. Our college had a lot of social events and clubs so there was always something to do if you liked to be busy. As far as supports go, all of our profs allowed us to email them (some even text) and visit them either at their office at the college, or office at their firm if they were practicing lawyers to ask for help. The college also offers a TON of support for mental health awareness and supports. If you bring up a concern, they will do their best to help you out (free counselling for an example).

2. So, my articling was a bit of a mess because I was in the class that graduated, quite literally, right as Canada shut down for Covid. I feel this impacted every school across the country. In saying that, I was able to get my articles prior to graduation and start right when I was done classes. As far as I have heard, essentially everyone from my class who wanted to get articles either got them right after graduation or within a year after. The idea here is everyone who wants articles will eventually get them.

3. So I am from Saskatchewan, but originally am from Regina so I had to do the whole moving process once I got accepted. I will note that rent is a lot cheaper in Saskatoon than most other larger centres in the country. Saskatoon has a lot of places for rent around the University. The University also "provides" (paid for in your fees), you with a UPass which allows you to ride transit for free. I think my door to door from my apartment to the College of Law was 8-15 minutes via public transit.

4. Simply put yes. Our class had individuals (I think two), clerking at the Supreme Court, a few in BC and Toronto, and lot in Calgary. I think we even had someone end up at a Wall Street Firm in New York. I find with most degrees, you are able to practice pretty much anywhere as long as you apply and keep communications open with firms that interest you. 

5. Absolutely. Again, Saskatchewan is home for me so it was an easy choice. I find the program to be very collaborative and have that "small school" feel (even though U of S really isn't that small), with everyone from classmates, professors, staff, and even lawyers across the province will reach out to help if you ask. I would recommend it very highly. 

Hope these answers are at least semi-coherent and make sense. 

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brokenegg
  • Law School Admit
47 minutes ago, DennisNextDoor said:

1. I would say a 10, but take my rating with a grain of salt since I am very much an introvert. I found Sask to be a very collaborative school. Our students often take pride in helping each other out and try not to bolster that hyper-competitive mindset a lot of other schools seem to have. The social aspect of it was nice. Saskatoon is a fair sized centre but is not huge like Toronto, Vancouver, or even Calgary. Our college had a lot of social events and clubs so there was always something to do if you liked to be busy. As far as supports go, all of our profs allowed us to email them (some even text) and visit them either at their office at the college, or office at their firm if they were practicing lawyers to ask for help. The college also offers a TON of support for mental health awareness and supports. If you bring up a concern, they will do their best to help you out (free counselling for an example).

2. So, my articling was a bit of a mess because I was in the class that graduated, quite literally, right as Canada shut down for Covid. I feel this impacted every school across the country. In saying that, I was able to get my articles prior to graduation and start right when I was done classes. As far as I have heard, essentially everyone from my class who wanted to get articles either got them right after graduation or within a year after. The idea here is everyone who wants articles will eventually get them.

3. So I am from Saskatchewan, but originally am from Regina so I had to do the whole moving process once I got accepted. I will note that rent is a lot cheaper in Saskatoon than most other larger centres in the country. Saskatoon has a lot of places for rent around the University. The University also "provides" (paid for in your fees), you with a UPass which allows you to ride transit for free. I think my door to door from my apartment to the College of Law was 8-15 minutes via public transit.

4. Simply put yes. Our class had individuals (I think two), clerking at the Supreme Court, a few in BC and Toronto, and lot in Calgary. I think we even had someone end up at a Wall Street Firm in New York. I find with most degrees, you are able to practice pretty much anywhere as long as you apply and keep communications open with firms that interest you. 

5. Absolutely. Again, Saskatchewan is home for me so it was an easy choice. I find the program to be very collaborative and have that "small school" feel (even though U of S really isn't that small), with everyone from classmates, professors, staff, and even lawyers across the province will reach out to help if you ask. I would recommend it very highly. 

Hope these answers are at least semi-coherent and make sense. 

Thank you so much for this response!! This gives me stuff to think about. All this has shown me is that I underestimated the school, haha. 

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Vegantoady
  • Law School Admit

Hey thanks for the offer!!

I was accepted for next fall and may end up going 🙂 I was born in Saskatoon and have family there, and ties to the U.

I am wondering if there is much focus on social issues, environment and animal law? How about human rights, refugee issues, Indigenous issues?

You can probably tell whatI  am interested in, haha (especially animal law - I want to focus on animal rights as much as possible as a lawyer).

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DennisNextDoor
  • Lawyer
17 hours ago, Vegantoady said:

Hey thanks for the offer!!

I was accepted for next fall and may end up going 🙂 I was born in Saskatoon and have family there, and ties to the U.

I am wondering if there is much focus on social issues, environment and animal law? How about human rights, refugee issues, Indigenous issues?

You can probably tell whatI  am interested in, haha (especially animal law - I want to focus on animal rights as much as possible as a lawyer).

Hey! First off, congrats for the acceptance, that is very exciting. In terms of focus, I would say there are classes pertaining to many different social issues and environmental law. In my opinion, most of the profs were rather conscious of social issues, so they would often talk about these issues in classes, even if the class was not expressly about the said issues. In saying that, the college did offer specific classes on environmental law, refugee law and multiple classes on human rights law. The college also focuses a lot on indigenous issues in the legal system and nearly every class you take discusses indigenous issues in some capacity. I would say, the U of S law program focuses on indigenous issues more than probably any other law school in the country or at least very close to. 

I will note I do not recall any classes on animal law. In saying that, the college is very (and I mean VERY) open to upper year students applying to do an IDR (which would be like an independent research class). What the college offers is for a student to pick a topic they are passionate about or want to learn about, and do class materials on that specific topic under the supervision of a professor. It is a great way to dive into a topic that the college may not have, and get credit and guidance on learning about the topic. 

Hope this helps, and congratulations again!

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WyattDerp
  • Lawyer
9 hours ago, DennisNextDoor said:

(especially animal law - I want to focus on animal rights as much as possible as a lawyer).

This is a quick way to enter perpetual poverty.

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Vegantoady
  • Law School Admit
On 12/14/2021 at 7:20 PM, WyattDerp said:

This is a quick way to enter perpetual poverty.

Good thing I'm not becoming a lawyer to become rich :P. 

Realistically, I realize I will likely need to practice in another area as well, but I am familiar with multiple AR lawyers and they are doing fine.

On 12/14/2021 at 9:43 AM, DennisNextDoor said:

Hey! First off, congrats for the acceptance, that is very exciting. In terms of focus, I would say there are classes pertaining to many different social issues and environmental law. In my opinion, most of the profs were rather conscious of social issues, so they would often talk about these issues in classes, even if the class was not expressly about the said issues. In saying that, the college did offer specific classes on environmental law, refugee law and multiple classes on human rights law. The college also focuses a lot on indigenous issues in the legal system and nearly every class you take discusses indigenous issues in some capacity. I would say, the U of S law program focuses on indigenous issues more than probably any other law school in the country or at least very close to. 

I will note I do not recall any classes on animal law. In saying that, the college is very (and I mean VERY) open to upper year students applying to do an IDR (which would be like an independent research class). What the college offers is for a student to pick a topic they are passionate about or want to learn about, and do class materials on that specific topic under the supervision of a professor. It is a great way to dive into a topic that the college may not have, and get credit and guidance on learning about the topic. 

Hope this helps, and congratulations again!

Thanks so much, and for the info! I would definitely be interested in an IDR, especially if there was no animal law courses on offer. Sounds great about the other topic coverage, too.

Thanks again 🙂

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DennisNextDoor
  • Lawyer
7 hours ago, Vegantoady said:

Realistically, I realize I will likely need to practice in another area as well, but I am familiar with multiple AR lawyers and they are doing fine.

This^ You can hit any practice of law and be fine if the work is there. Like you mentioned, you can work in Animal Rights and also practice in different legal sectors as well and make a good living doing something you are passionate about. I know my personal interests changed about 100 times during law school and practice. I would say almost all law students (as well as practicing lawyers) have their legal interests change as they get familiar with different types of law. 

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Vegantoady
  • Law School Admit
On 12/22/2021 at 7:42 AM, DennisNextDoor said:

This^ You can hit any practice of law and be fine if the work is there. Like you mentioned, you can work in Animal Rights and also practice in different legal sectors as well and make a good living doing something you are passionate about. I know my personal interests changed about 100 times during law school and practice. I would say almost all law students (as well as practicing lawyers) have their legal interests change as they get familiar with different types of law. 

Thank you 🙂 That is reassuring and comforting! I am definitely looking forward to seeing what I find interesting during law school, and some of what I anticipate I might find interesting keeps changing even now, haha.

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LilLawbb
  • Applicant
On 12/13/2021 at 7:55 AM, DennisNextDoor said:

As the title states, I am a U of S graduate from the class of 2020 and am currently a practicing lawyer! Feel free to ask general questions, questions regarding law school, or questions regarding the practice of law here in Saskatchewan. 🙂

Hi! Thanks for doing this. 

I received an admission offer from USask. However, I am a BC resident and plan on practicing in my home province. Were there people from BC in your law class who returned to BC after completing their JDs? Would you advise me to remain in BC? Admittedly, I am also worried about the winter weather!

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DennisNextDoor
  • Lawyer
On 2/15/2022 at 7:36 PM, LilLawbb said:

Hi! Thanks for doing this. 

I received an admission offer from USask. However, I am a BC resident and plan on practicing in my home province. Were there people from BC in your law class who returned to BC after completing their JDs? Would you advise me to remain in BC? Admittedly, I am also worried about the winter weather!

Hey! First off congrats on the acceptance. That is a huge hurdle. Our class had a few people from BC. I would assume maybe around 15 people from the 120 positions (very rough assumption). I know we have people working across BC including some BigLaw in Vancouver. I would say that as long as you apply yourself, you would have a good chance to land where ever in BC. I also know BigLaw in Vancouver also participates in some recruitment on campus and posts their job openings to the U of S. 

 

I can't advise you on what to do. You know your circumstances and what you want in a law school better than I do. I can advise that the U of S grads do currently work in BC and that if you keep your lines of communication open with BC firms, you should have a decent shot to land a job back out there. 

 

As far as winter, yeah, it is cold, very cold. But you get climatized pretty quickly. Layers definitely help. 

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  • 2 weeks later...
شخص غريب

Hi,

How employable did you find your USask law degree to be? Did you find it hard to secure an articling position, and after that, find a job as a lawyer, or was it relatively easy for you to do these things?

Also, how were your grades in law school? We’re you an average student, above average, or below average? 
 

Thanks in advance!

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DennisNextDoor
  • Lawyer
11 hours ago, Linen said:

Hi,

How employable did you find your USask law degree to be? Did you find it hard to secure an articling position, and after that, find a job as a lawyer, or was it relatively easy for you to do these things?

Also, how were your grades in law school? We’re you an average student, above average, or below average? 
 

Thanks in advance!

I don't think there is a huge stress on finding articles and employment post articles. I believe nearly everyone in my graduating class who was looking for them, got articles. Additionally, the job market is quite hot here in Saskatchewan. From my own personal experience, I got my articles with a sole practitioner. Following that I decided I wanted to try something else and had 6 job offers within a month, mostly by word of mouth. I think there is a good market for lawyers (at least in the cities), that produces rather good job prospects.

 

My grades in law school were aggressively average. I was never the student getting the best grades in classes, but I also was never getting anywhere near the lowest. Hope this helps!

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Lawhpefl10
  • Law School Admit

First off thanks for doing this as it really helps out when making decisions about what school to go to.

1. First, what is the community like at USask and what are the professors like?

2. Do you think the career office and OCI's are well done and help place student's in jobs they're interested in?

3. What are the best/your favourite extra-curricular available for law students to get involved in (could be academic or non-academic)?

4. Finally, were there a lot of people from Calgary/Alberta in your class at USask and do you know if they had any trouble finding the jobs they wanted in their home markets upon graduation? I'm interested in the Calgary market specifically.

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LegallyTired
  • Law Student
On 3/11/2022 at 10:30 PM, Lawhpefl10 said:

First off thanks for doing this as it really helps out when making decisions about what school to go to.

1. First, what is the community like at USask and what are the professors like?

2. Do you think the career office and OCI's are well done and help place student's in jobs they're interested in?

3. What are the best/your favourite extra-curricular available for law students to get involved in (could be academic or non-academic)?

4. Finally, were there a lot of people from Calgary/Alberta in your class at USask and do you know if they had any trouble finding the jobs they wanted in their home markets upon graduation? I'm interested in the Calgary market specifically.

I’ll just jump in as a current 1L at USask. This is just my opinion obviously, results may vary:

1. First, the community is amazing. Usask was not my first choice but I’m so glad I ended up here. The 2021/22 cycle was exceedingly competitive, but the class members itself are awesome people who are genuinely supportive. The LSA is awesome and hosts a ton of great events. 
Second, these professors are some of the most incredible and smart people I’ve ever met. If you can ever take a class with Von Tigerstrom or Hoehn, your life will be forever enriched. They genuinely care about their students. The Dean is also one of the friendliest and most supportive people. 

2. There’s weekly career info sessions and all the previous session recordings are also accessible. They walk you through exactly how to format your application docs for summer jobs and articles. Many students in our year have secured summer positions. I can’t speak to OCIs as a 1L, so will leave that to the OP. 

3. There are a ton of clubs and athletic extracurriculars through the College of Law and USask as a whole. There’s the law student newspaper (Caveat Lector - you can google it) which is super fun. Also sports intramurals and law specific clubs.

4. I would say 30-50%+ of the current 1L class are Albertans (myself included). Quite a few have already secured summer positions in Calgary, Red Deer and Edmonton, etc. Alberta is the second largest market for USask graduates after Saskatchewan. You’d have no issue getting articles in Alberta with a USask degree. 
 

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Lawhpefl10
  • Law School Admit
2 hours ago, LegallyTired said:

I’ll just jump in as a current 1L at USask. This is just my opinion obviously, results may vary:

1. First, the community is amazing. Usask was not my first choice but I’m so glad I ended up here. The 2021/22 cycle was exceedingly competitive, but the class members itself are awesome people who are genuinely supportive. The LSA is awesome and hosts a ton of great events. 
Second, these professors are some of the most incredible and smart people I’ve ever met. If you can ever take a class with Von Tigerstrom or Hoehn, your life will be forever enriched. They genuinely care about their students. The Dean is also one of the friendliest and most supportive people. 

2. There’s weekly career info sessions and all the previous session recordings are also accessible. They walk you through exactly how to format your application docs for summer jobs and articles. Many students in our year have secured summer positions. I can’t speak to OCIs as a 1L, so will leave that to the OP. 

3. There are a ton of clubs and athletic extracurriculars through the College of Law and USask as a whole. There’s the law student newspaper (Caveat Lector - you can google it) which is super fun. Also sports intramurals and law specific clubs.

4. I would say 30-50%+ of the current 1L class are Albertans (myself included). Quite a few have already secured summer positions in Calgary, Red Deer and Edmonton, etc. Alberta is the second largest market for USask graduates after Saskatchewan. You’d have no issue getting articles in Alberta with a USask degree. 
 

Thanks a bunch for the detailed and well thought out answer! I was also wondering if you knew anyone in upper years that did CLASSIC, and if so what was their experience with it/did they think it was worth it? 

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DennisNextDoor
  • Lawyer

 

On 3/11/2022 at 10:30 PM, Lawhpefl10 said:

First off thanks for doing this as it really helps out when making decisions about what school to go to.

1. First, what is the community like at USask and what are the professors like?

2. Do you think the career office and OCI's are well done and help place student's in jobs they're interested in?

3. What are the best/your favourite extra-curricular available for law students to get involved in (could be academic or non-academic)?

4. Finally, were there a lot of people from Calgary/Alberta in your class at USask and do you know if they had any trouble finding the jobs they wanted in their home markets upon graduation? I'm interested in the Calgary market specifically.

1. USask is really known for being a really tight knit, generally non-competitive law school in relation to most other law schools across the country. You get a bit of a 'small town' vibe in Saskatoon (even though it is not a small town) that I feel translates to the law school. The professors are mostly all very down to earth and encourage students to get to office hours and mostly are all very approachable (although can be intimidating at the same time). 

2. Yes-ish. While the office does a decent job informing students of jobs and articles, I feel a lot more can be done to get non-big law jobs known to the students. If you are not wanting to do biglaw/ government, you will likely have to do a lot of the leg work yourself (ie cold calling firms).

3. I love sports so I was big into the campus rec sports clubs and loved to be on the law team for sports like hockey, dodgeball, etc. There are a ton of clubs at the college and university as a whole. If you have an interest in something, either academic or not, there would likely be a club of others who share that passion. If not, you can start your own club and get it going. 

4. As @legallytired mentioned, there is a large portion of the class that is either from Alberta, or hoping to return to Alberta. A ton of my graduating class ended up in Alberta for their articles and practice. 

 

45 minutes ago, Lawhpefl10 said:

I was also wondering if you knew anyone in upper years that did CLASSIC, and if so what was their experience with it/did they think it was worth it? 

I do. Classic is quite hit or miss. Most people absolutely love Classic as it is their first real step into the legal world and their first opportunity to put their education into practice. But many people have raised issues with their structure and organization and did not have a great experience. I would say it varies from person to person, but the end goal and the services Classic provides are admirable. 

 

Hope this helps and if you have any other questions, feel free to post or DM me!! 🙂 

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Lawhpefl10
  • Law School Admit
2 hours ago, DennisNextDoor said:

 

1. USask is really known for being a really tight knit, generally non-competitive law school in relation to most other law schools across the country. You get a bit of a 'small town' vibe in Saskatoon (even though it is not a small town) that I feel translates to the law school. The professors are mostly all very down to earth and encourage students to get to office hours and mostly are all very approachable (although can be intimidating at the same time). 

2. Yes-ish. While the office does a decent job informing students of jobs and articles, I feel a lot more can be done to get non-big law jobs known to the students. If you are not wanting to do biglaw/ government, you will likely have to do a lot of the leg work yourself (ie cold calling firms).

3. I love sports so I was big into the campus rec sports clubs and loved to be on the law team for sports like hockey, dodgeball, etc. There are a ton of clubs at the college and university as a whole. If you have an interest in something, either academic or not, there would likely be a club of others who share that passion. If not, you can start your own club and get it going. 

4. As @legallytired mentioned, there is a large portion of the class that is either from Alberta, or hoping to return to Alberta. A ton of my graduating class ended up in Alberta for their articles and practice. 

 

I do. Classic is quite hit or miss. Most people absolutely love Classic as it is their first real step into the legal world and their first opportunity to put their education into practice. But many people have raised issues with their structure and organization and did not have a great experience. I would say it varies from person to person, but the end goal and the services Classic provides are admirable. 

 

Hope this helps and if you have any other questions, feel free to post or DM me!! 🙂 

Thanks for the response. I appreciate the feedback and it has made my decision to accept an easy one.

 

Side note, I’m actually ok that you said that about OCI process as I almost certainly want to work biglaw/government. 

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  • 1 month later...
Notworthy
  • Law School Admit
On 12/13/2021 at 8:55 AM, DennisNextDoor said:

As the title states, I am a U of S graduate from the class of 2020 and am currently a practicing lawyer! Feel free to ask general questions, questions regarding law school, or questions regarding the practice of law here in Saskatchewan. 🙂

Hey can you send me a dm 🙂 

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t3ctonics
  • Lawyer

I just saw this thread come up and thought I'd say I'm also happy to answer any questions. I graduated from U of S law in 2013 and have worked in Saskatchewan since. I articled and practiced at a large firm for several years before going in-house. My personal knowledge of law school might be a little out of date, but I've been involved in recruitment and have met with law students for coffee on numerous occasions and I don't think anything major has changed. Change happens slowly in the legal profession.

I have to say, it's a great time to be a lawyer here. More and more organizations are creating or expanding their in-house teams in Saskatchewan, which means more lawyer jobs to go around, and the legal job market is already hot across Canada.

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iwannagetaccepted1234
  • Law School Admit

Kind of a random question, but I keep seeing emails from LSAC promoting their Legal Analysis Boot Camp…. Does anyone think these are helpful at all or no because each school has a slightly different way of grading and assessing assignments? I’m wondering if you did anything to prep?

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DennisNextDoor
  • Lawyer
On 7/13/2022 at 11:15 PM, iwannagetaccepted1234 said:

Kind of a random question, but I keep seeing emails from LSAC promoting their Legal Analysis Boot Camp…. Does anyone think these are helpful at all or no because each school has a slightly different way of grading and assessing assignments? I’m wondering if you did anything to prep?

I don't know anyone in our class who did this. I would say it likely won't make a huge difference either way. I'd personally save my money and really just go into law school as a blank slate. 

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