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realpseudonym
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realpseudonym
  • Lawyer

I posted a thread on the old forum inviting people to ask me questions as a 1L. People seemed to find that useful, so I'll extend a similar invitation here, albeit as an alumnus rather than as a student. 

Full disclosure that I am probably less useful for lots of day-to-day law student questions than a current student, as my answers are based upon my experiences from 2015 - 2018. I'm hoping that current students might surface in this thread and provide updated advice.

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Renerik
  • Law School Admit

I'm applying this upcoming cycle. As a Robie St High grad, I definitely would like to go to law school in Halifax. What's your opinion on living off the Peninsula and commuting to/from Dal from Sackville/Dartmouth/Bedford, is it worth the sometimes hour+ time sink? Or would you opt for living on the peninsula?

Given you're 3 years out from school, what do you look back on wishing that you participated in/did differently at Dal?

 

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realpseudonym
  • Lawyer
5 hours ago, Renerik said:

What's your opinion on living off the Peninsula and commuting to/from Dal from Sackville/Dartmouth/Bedford, is it worth the sometimes hour+ time sink? Or would you opt for living on the peninsula?

People live farther and commute. It's doable. I did it in undergrad at one point.

But my preference was living close. Living within walking distance just allowed me to be more involved. Especially for any ECs or social events where things came up suddenly, living close enough to be spontaneous felt like a worthwhile luxury. 

5 hours ago, Renerik said:

Given you're 3 years out from school, what do you look back on wishing that you participated in/did differently at Dal?

I was pretty happy with my formal participation. I was heavily involved in a lot of ECs. I got a lot out of those professionally, personally, and socially. I don't know if I would change those things. For anyone going to Dal Law, there are lots of great opportunities available to you outside the classroom, and I would take on what you can without compromising your academic performance. 

Informally, I might've been a little more relaxed and social early on. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed my time at Dal and some of my closest friendships were forged during law school. But I do remember striking up conversations at grad, and thinking to myself: "that person is lovely, why didn't I chat with them until now?" I think I might have been too stressed out by grades and jobs at times, and I think I might have gotten more out of my experience if I relaxed and opened up to the people around me. That's probably what I wish I had done differently. 

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I don’t know anything about Dalhousie or Halifax (I’ve been to Halifax once, when I was about 10, but it’s on my (long) list of cities I want to actually get to), but I echo the point about commuting. I grew up living in the countryside and diving 40+ minutes to do pretty much anything with other people. When I went to undergrad, the best part for me was living close to everything and everyone and just being able to be spontaneous in terms of going to events meeting people, staying late, etc. 

I actually didn’t follow this advice for law school. I went to York, but lived in downtown Toronto. Unfortunately, Osgoode leaves you with no good options. 

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FellowTraveler
  • Law Student
On 6/7/2021 at 9:17 AM, Jaggers said:

I don’t know anything about Dalhousie or Halifax (I’ve been to Halifax once, when I was about 10, but it’s on my (long) list of cities I want to actually get to), but I echo the point about commuting. I grew up living in the countryside and diving 40+ minutes to do pretty much anything with other people. When I went to undergrad, the best part for me was living close to everything and everyone and just being able to be spontaneous in terms of going to events meeting people, staying late, etc. 

I actually didn’t follow this advice for law school. I went to York, but lived in downtown Toronto. Unfortunately, Osgoode leaves you with no good options. 

Funnily enough, I'm in the process of deciding between Osgoode and Schulich! Do you mind if I ask how your experience was? I've heard that Osgoode can feel a bit cold and disconnected, despite being a top program.

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7 minutes ago, FellowTraveler said:

Funnily enough, I'm in the process of deciding between Osgoode and Schulich! Do you mind if I ask how your experience was? I've heard that Osgoode can feel a bit cold and disconnected, despite being a top program.

Osgoode does suffer from the fact that it's very suburban. So you can live somewhere fun and have a long commute to school, or you can live near the school and travel a long way to do anything fun. But I was there before there was a subway, so it's probably not nearly as bad anymore.

As for the atmosphere, I've been gone for far too long to comment on what it might be like today. Since I left it's gotten a new dean (or maybe two), a new subway, and even a new building.

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realpseudonym
  • Lawyer
5 hours ago, FellowTraveler said:

Osgoode can feel a bit cold and disconnected, despite being a top program.

Dal students do benefit (or did prior to COVID: this might not be as great in online law school) from the fact that Dal Law is not really a commuter school. Most Dal cohorts draw a substantial portion of their students from the rest of Canada, so lots of people arrive eager to make friends having left their social groups behind. I think that's a plus for collegiality. 

The flip side is that your classmates end up scattered across the country. Because Dal students are from all over and tend to seek jobs across the country, I said goodbye to a lot of friends at grad. People probably drift apart anyway, but it would be nice, both personally and for having a more robust network, if more of my cohort had landed somewhere we could meet up more regularly. Dal marketing turns its national alumni network into a positive, but having your cohort dispersed in many jurisdictions does have a downside. 

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realpseudonym
  • Lawyer

My 1L faves were Steve Coughlin for crim (just the right amount of juggling) and Cynthia Chewter for torts (I took a tonne of other courses with Chewter in upper years, and she was great for all of them). 

You don't really get to pick in 1L though, so it's luck of the draw. 

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Goblin King
  • Law Student
1 hour ago, realpseudonym said:

My 1L faves were Steve Coughlin for crim (just the right amount of juggling) and Cynthia Chewter for torts (I took a tonne of other courses with Chewter in upper years, and she was great for all of them). 

You don't really get to pick in 1L though, so it's luck of the draw. 

Follow up, how are course schedules determined in 1L? 

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Skier41
  • Law Student

Did you have any experience with the Health Institute and their courses? Recommend the specialization/courses?

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realpseudonym
  • Lawyer
On 6/16/2021 at 12:14 PM, Skier41 said:

Did you have any experience with the Health Institute and their courses? Recommend the specialization/courses?

No, I had no experience with the Health Institute, so I cannot provide any meaningful comment. Hopefully, someone else will appear who can. 

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  • 4 weeks later...
apples
  • Law Student
10 hours ago, PinkBarbie101 said:

So how does one go about course registration then? 

I think they send you an email with your section and your block (block is a small group within a section) and then you just register to those online. It's pretty easy and you can't really register for the wrong thing because everyone has already been divided and put into classes. It's kind of just a formality.

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  • 5 months later...
Fiona Apple
  • Lawyer
On 12/17/2021 at 9:46 AM, 1298 said:

Are there (m)any opportunities to be a research assistant for professors or other faculty during law school at dal? 

Yes. This may have changed since I was in 1L (five-ish years ago!) but midway through second semester, RA position postings are added to the job board for the summer and you can apply there. I know of some who also got jobs with profs outside of that system. You can also be pro-active and ask your profs if they need research assistance before then. 

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theroaringbadger
  • Law School Admit

Do you have any experience with the environmental specialization ? If yes what did you think? 

Also I know that Dal people usually go everywhere but did they generally find it overly difficult to find a position in Toronto/Ontario. 

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  • 4 weeks later...
realpseudonym
  • Lawyer
On 12/21/2021 at 8:19 AM, theroaringbadger said:

Do you have any experience with the environmental specialization ? If yes what did you think? 

I don't, sorry. 

On 12/21/2021 at 8:19 AM, theroaringbadger said:

Also I know that Dal people usually go everywhere but did they generally find it overly difficult to find a position in Toronto/Ontario. 

Overly difficult? I don't think so. Process-wise, it's pretty straightforward to get a job through the formal recruits. I mean, you need to be competitive enough to secure the job. But that's true of most schools. Dal students don't place as well as those from U of T, Osgoode, etc. But getting a Toronto job through OCIs or the articling recruit is quite possible for any student with grades above the median. 

Outside the formal recruits, it's going to be more work to get an Ontario job from Dal. How difficult depends on what you're looking for and your circumstances. I wasn't physically in Toronto, so that made it harder to network and interview. Also, my existing connections were largely in Halifax, because that's where I'd done clinical work and chatted with lawyers. I felt like I was starting from scratch in Ontario. That and the geography made it a little harder than it would have been if I'd gone to school in Toronto. But it's certainly not an insurmountable barrier. 

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  • 3 weeks later...
Busta
  • Law School Admit

I was just accepted to Dal and am absolutely thrilled with their location/programs, but I'm also from Victoria and ideally would like to live in BC when I'm older. Can anyone comment on how hard it would be to find work in BC after I grad? I've applied to Uvic/UBC/TRU as well, but being that Dal is the only/first school to admit me I cant help but wonder. I have loose connections to the government/legal community in BC if that makes a difference.

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FutureLawStudent1512

Hello everyone!

I am wondering if Schulich interviews candidates for the "Law Foundation of Nova Scotia Scholarships" or if they are just offered it directly? Any insight on when/if interviews are extended would be extremely helpful! 

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SIGGO
  • Applicant

Hello!

I was wondering if anyone has any recommendations for out of town/out of province students for whether it is better to live in one of the Dalhousie Uni residences or to just get a place of their own? 

Not completely sure if this is the right thread to post this question under - my apologies if not!

Thank you for your help!

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realpseudonym
  • Lawyer
On 2/9/2022 at 11:58 AM, FutureLawStudent1512 said:

Hello everyone!

I am wondering if Schulich interviews candidates for the "Law Foundation of Nova Scotia Scholarships" or if they are just offered it directly? Any insight on when/if interviews are extended would be extremely helpful! 

No idea, sorry!

7 minutes ago, SIGGO said:

Hello!

I was wondering if anyone has any recommendations for out of town/out of province students for whether it is better to live in one of the Dalhousie Uni residences or to just get a place of their own? 

Not completely sure if this is the right thread to post this question under - my apologies if not!

Thank you for your help!

I wouldn't live in Dal res. Not unless you want to watch your floormates learn to live without mom and dad, while exploring the pitfalls of having legal access to alcohol. Or unless you like shitty meal hall food.

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tlf
  • Law School Admit

Hi! Thank you so much for starting this thread. I was accepted about a month ago as an Ontario resident. I'm waiting to hear back from a few schools in my province but am thrilled about the idea of living in Halifax & attending Dal. I wanted to know your general pros and cons of Schulich. Favourite moments? Things you felt the school was lacking? Housing, community, summer positions etc. I want to know it all!

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realpseudonym
  • Lawyer

Favourites and least favourites are pretty subjective, so I don't know if my answer will be representative. 

In general, my two favourite aspects of law school were the extracurriculars and friendships. Neither are unique to Dal, as all established law schools offer clinics and other volunteering. And you can conceivably make friends at any law school.

Nevertheless, on ECs, Dal's offerings are solid. The Dalhousie Legal Aid Service, and a host of other clinics/other organizations, give you real, supervised, hands-on legal experience. A couple of years into practice and I can still say that some of the most meaningful work I've done was as a law student. That was a definite positive. 

Socially, Dal isn't really a commuter school. The fact that a huge percentage of the class comes from outside Halifax is nice. People aren't just coming for class and then going home to their friends and families. People are open to making friends, and it can be a real opportunity to forge some meaningful relationships across your three years. 

I also liked Halifax. I did my undergrad there too, and I don't know if I would want to settle there permanently. But it was a great place to spend a few years. It's walkable. It's near the ocean. I lived next to Point Pleasant park in third year, and ran there almost everyday, which I found spectacularly scenic.

I had plenty of gripes. But honestly, I doubt most of them are Dal specific. Academically and institutionally, the school is fine. You'll have good profs and shit profs. Some services are good. Others are lacking. In those regards, I doubt my overall experience varied drastically from other comparable Canadian law schools. I don't know whether it's helpful to enumerate them in detail, but if you have more specific concerns, I can try and weigh-in (with the caveat I stated at the outset of this thread: I haven't been there for several years). 

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