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What made you go into law?


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TheCryptozoologist
  • Articling Student
26 minutes ago, BlockedQuebecois said:

You think government research centres run without the bloated administrative and managerial staff that every government agency has? 

I used to work at a federal research lab and a large portion of our co-op students were non-STEM. 

I thought that would be obvious, but I guess I need to slow it down for you! 

Even with STEM degrees, there is a lot of simple and frank inefficiency. More than a handful of PhDs and MsCs who are comfortable in their jobs and just sort of do busy work that doesn't serve a governmental purpose since the outcome doesn't really affect anything. This is especially a big problem for federal departments that play second fiddle to a provincial equivalent, and it just results in endless material, press release, and so-on that has no outside use beyond the organization. 

Its very different when talking about a Crown Corp or line department that has to make direct, public-facing decision or things that get filtered upwards e.g. people measuring air quality for a specific region. 

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TheCryptozoologist
  • Articling Student
19 hours ago, Thrive92 said:

Speaking of entry - level jobs, I worked full - time for several months on and off (collectively over a year) as a food delivery person for skip the dishes.

I'm wondering, should I really put that on my resume that I would send to some law schools that require resumes with applications? I actually feel kind of embarrassed and I fear that the law admissions may draw negative inferences from it.

I never really cared about these things until I was preparing my PS, and after looking at my first draft I thought to myself, "should I really be informing them that I used to deliver pizzas and sushi in my resume and PS?"

Any input would be helpful. cheers

Lots of different opinions, but there will always, always be people who value this and will talk about it in interviews. Lots of friends talked about minimum wage jobs they took after college during OCIs.

Honestly think it stands out to have this experience, it shows dedication and humility and standouts in the elitist/classist world of the high professions. I still also remember my sister telling me half her questions was about her front-line Tim Horton's work during medical school interviews at places where the interviewers were at the top of their field and where the majority of applicants and certainly her peers were upper middle class. 

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TheCryptozoologist
  • Articling Student
On 7/21/2021 at 6:27 PM, SNAILS said:

I think any honest and believable answer to "What made you go into law?" includes a part about making a living for yourself and your family. Yes, there are other ways to make money, but law is about as good a way as any to make a good living for a person with the right skill set and temperament for it (in my opinion, anyway).

Most people I know also have some kind of a desire to help society. Myself, I could see myself taking cases for little or no money if it achieved a goal I believed in.

However, if someone told me that they are in law primarily to change the world and fight for the innocent and money is no object, I would think either (1) they are exaggerating / lying (2) they are an exertional saint / idealist or (3) they are to young and inexperienced to know the reality of the work world.

IMO I think one of the big cultural difference between American lawyers and Canadian ones, is that there seems to be a big culture of public interest and idealistic advocacy work in the US compared to Canada. Lots of people including myself always had the impression from popular culture that lawyers served a public good instead of getting filed away into a life of corporate bureaucracy and the reality in Canada at least is most people just see it as a day-in day-out job rather than a life cause or passion. 

Of course American law schools are very different since most good US schools offer full tuition if you work public interest and the progressive movement in the US is much stronger so there is a good support system. This is combined with a constitutional supremacy system that makes the US Courts more effective as a tool of reform. An example I always return to is a guy named Edward Tuddenham from HLS, who was a gold medalist that went on to organize migrant laborers. 

Although every Canadian law school has its public interest/human rights/idealist crowd, most people I've known gets filtered into the technocratic machine of corporate-government bureaucratic managerialism. Think this is the tragedy of Canadian law IMO, and also one of the reasons why I sometimes regret not moving to the US. 

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CheeseToast
  • Law School Admit
2 hours ago, BlockedQuebecois said:

You think government research centres run without the bloated administrative and managerial staff that every government agency has? 

I used to work at a federal research lab and a large portion of our co-op students were non-STEM. 

I thought that would be obvious, but I guess I need to slow it down for you! 

I lived in and went to school in sask for uni. The notion that there are a large amount of non-stem jobs (especially “good ones”  like those referred to by GoblinKing in this thread) available in government for liberal arts grads in sask is absurd. 
Great work pointing out that there’s lots of work in ag to go around though, maybe next you’ll tell me how Edmonton has a million jobs for liberal arts grads because O&G? 

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realpseudonym
  • Lawyer
1 hour ago, TheCryptozoologist said:

IMO I think one of the big cultural difference between American lawyers and Canadian ones, is that there seems to be a big culture of public interest and idealistic advocacy work in the US compared to Canada. Lots of people including myself always had the impression from popular culture that lawyers served a public good instead of getting filed away into a life of corporate bureaucracy and the reality in Canada at least is most people just see it as a day-in day-out job rather than a life cause or passion. 

My experience has been different. My colleagues practice law with a deep commitment to certain ideals. That might be the practice area, or the particular people I've surrounded myself with. But I know plenty of passionate, committed, and idealistic lawyers. 

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CleanHands
  • Articling Student
1 hour ago, TheCryptozoologist said:

IMO I think one of the big cultural difference between American lawyers and Canadian ones, is that there seems to be a big culture of public interest and idealistic advocacy work in the US compared to Canada. Lots of people including myself always had the impression from popular culture that lawyers served a public good instead of getting filed away into a life of corporate bureaucracy and the reality in Canada at least is most people just see it as a day-in day-out job rather than a life cause or passion. 

Of course American law schools are very different since most good US schools offer full tuition if you work public interest and the progressive movement in the US is much stronger so there is a good support system. This is combined with a constitutional supremacy system that makes the US Courts more effective as a tool of reform. An example I always return to is a guy named Edward Tuddenham from HLS, who was a gold medalist that went on to organize migrant laborers. 

Although every Canadian law school has its public interest/human rights/idealist crowd, most people I've known gets filtered into the technocratic machine of corporate-government bureaucratic managerialism. Think this is the tragedy of Canadian law IMO, and also one of the reasons why I sometimes regret not moving to the US. 

 

3 minutes ago, realpseudonym said:

My experience has been different. My colleagues practice law with a deep commitment to certain ideals. That might be the practice area, or the particular people I've surrounded myself with. But I know plenty of passionate, committed, and idealistic lawyers. 

Yeah, this post by @TheCryptozoologist is utter horseshit. Just because he surrounds himself with dead-eyed, nihilistic corporate drones doesn't mean that's representative of the profession as a whole. That's the kind of bullshit rationalization people tell themselves after succumbing the BigLaw OCI recruit noise and regretting it.

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TheCryptozoologist
  • Articling Student
13 minutes ago, CleanHands said:

 

Yeah, this post by @TheCryptozoologist is utter horseshit. Just because he surrounds himself with dead-eyed, nihilistic corporate drones doesn't mean that's representative of the profession as a whole. That's the kind of bullshit rationalization people tell themselves after succumbing the BigLaw OCI recruit noise and regretting it.

 

18 minutes ago, realpseudonym said:

My experience has been different. My colleagues practice law with a deep commitment to certain ideals. That might be the practice area, or the particular people I've surrounded myself with. But I know plenty of passionate, committed, and idealistic lawyers. 

Not talking about the personality qualities of people in prosecution, or the crown offices or even something in say an ombudsman role. There are plenty of excellent people with admirable qualities, alot of my friends I respect are in those. 

I'm talking specifically about public interest lawyering to change a state of law or to advance causes. Just an example, Canada has excellent environmental law non-profits for example, but its nothing like the US scene where there is very robust participation and activity not to forget funding and personnel. Same goes for say, non-unionized labor advocacy. 

Of course there are areas which Canada does better than the US and which we've seen incredible progress, most notably using the courts to advance indigenous rights/title.

EDIT: Of course to be fair alot of people would argue our government system has less flaws and there is less of a need for this kind of activism. 

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TheMidnightOil
  • Law School Admit
12 minutes ago, CleanHands said:

 

Yeah, this post by @TheCryptozoologist is utter horseshit. Just because he surrounds himself with dead-eyed, nihilistic corporate drones doesn't mean that's representative of the profession as a whole. That's the kind of bullshit rationalization people tell themselves after succumbing the BigLaw OCI recruit noise and regretting it.

Why are you an angry man : (

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TheCryptozoologist
  • Articling Student
2 minutes ago, TheMidnightOil said:

Why are you an angry man : (

Don't think there is anger, this is just how LS was back in the day. Abrasive but on point and honest. We all have very peculiar personalities that we get, and most regulars are able to separate arguments from emotions.

Think there's a reason why this profession is hated by normal people, a lot of lawyer types can be confrontational with an iron spine and without taking it personally which is a thing that doesn't fly anywhere else.

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TheMidnightOil
  • Law School Admit
8 minutes ago, TheCryptozoologist said:

Don't think there is anger, this is just how LS was back in the day. Abrasive but on point and honest. We all have very peculiar personalities that we get, and most regulars are able to separate arguments from emotions.

Think there's a reason why this profession is hated by normal people, a lot of lawyer types can be confrontational with an iron spine and without taking it personally which is a thing that doesn't fly anywhere else.

Definitely does seem like an adjustment from normal conversations!

And since I don't want to be responsible for derailing the conversation any more than I have, I'll throw in my (very not unique) reasons for going to law school.

It is (or appears to be) at the intersection of most of my personal strengths: analytical reading, argumentative writing, oral advocacy.

Not only that, while I'm aware that lawyers don't make as high of a salary as they apparently used to, I'm pretty blown away by how stable the profession is compared to most others. Layoffs and unemployment don't appear to be as big of a blow compared to other careers.

Also, the diversity of different types of law is appealing in that there's likely going to be at least something that I'm not only good at (...hopefully...), but that I also have a relatively strong interest in.

Any practicing lawyers are free to blow away any naivety or misconceptions.

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realpseudonym
  • Lawyer
13 minutes ago, TheCryptozoologist said:

Not talking about the personality qualities of people in prosecution, or the crown offices or even something in say an ombudsman role. There are plenty of excellent people with admirable qualities, alot of my friends I respect are in those. 

I'm talking specifically about public interest lawyering to change a state of law or to advance causes. Just an example, Canada has excellent environmental law non-profits for example, but its nothing like the US scene where there is very robust participation and activity not to forget funding and personnel. Same goes for say, non-unionized labor advocacy. 

I'm talking about lawyers with practices committed to serving vulnerable individuals. They do cases on LAO or for relatively small retainers. They often do casework for which they'll never be fully compensated, because they care about the clients and their cases. Where the procedures are unfair, they write to administrators at tribunals and courts. They write to MPs about issues in legislation. They do test-case litigation, where necessary and feasible. They'll speak to the media about a client, where the client is comfortable and there's a newsworthy story. 

I consider all of this public interest lawyering. 

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TheCryptozoologist
  • Articling Student
Just now, TheMidnightOil said:

Definitely does seem like an adjustment from normal conversations!

And since I don't want to be responsible for derailing the conversation any more than I have, I'll throw in my (very not unique) reason for going to law school: it is (or appears to be) at the intersection of most of my personal strengths: analytical reading, argumentative writing, oral advocacy.

Not only that, while I'm aware that lawyers don't make as high of a salary as they apparently used to, I'm pretty blown away by how stable the profession is compared to most others. Layoffs and unemployment doesn't appear to be as big of a blow compared to other careers.

Also, the huge diversity of different types of law is appealing in that there's likely going to be at least something that I'm not only good at (...hopefully...), but I have a relatively strong interest it.

Salaries are very good at the high end, but if you are in it for the salary and just the salary rather than an actual interest in your life work than you should also prepare to find something else in your life you care about e.g. a family or pets or non-profit volunteering. Alot of well-adjusted lawyers I've met either seem to feel like they are driven by a sense of purpose and can see a bigger picture or else see it as a 9-5 but work ends at 5 sharp so they aren't forced tot engage in the ego swinging and personal politics. 

There is a reason why this profession creates more mental health issues and depression than any other, its high-stress, but alot of the stress is chronic and interpersonal. Without something "more" to things, its easy to feel how pointless things are.

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TheCryptozoologist
  • Articling Student
9 minutes ago, realpseudonym said:

I'm talking about lawyers with practices committed to serving vulnerable individuals. They do cases on LAO or for relatively small retainers. They often do casework for which they'll never be fully compensated, because they care about the clients and their cases. Where the procedures are unfair, they write to administrators at tribunals and courts. They write to MPs about issues in legislation. They do test-case litigation, where necessary and feasible. They'll speak to the media about a client, where the client is comfortable and there's a newsworthy story. 

I consider all of this public interest lawyering. 

Yes I am familiar, this type of work I've seen and its a group I didn't mean to count. They are an admirable bunch that I wasn't thinking about when I wrote my post, so I think my phrasing around what public interest means might have been overgeneralizing/overinclusive. 

 

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artsydork
  • Lawyer
14 minutes ago, realpseudonym said:

I'm talking about lawyers with practices committed to serving vulnerable individuals. They do cases on LAO or for relatively small retainers. They often do casework for which they'll never be fully compensated, because they care about the clients and their cases. Where the procedures are unfair, they write to administrators at tribunals and courts. They write to MPs about issues in legislation. They do test-case litigation, where necessary and feasible. They'll speak to the media about a client, where the client is comfortable and there's a newsworthy story. 

I consider all of this public interest lawyering. 

Yup. This is essentially what my firm does. Too much. We also do other access to justice fee arrangements, a lot of legal aid, op eds, board work, etc. 

Though I do agree with CryptoZoo - there aren't that many public interest advocacy groups/lobbies that hire full time staff. There are some (CIPPIC, PIC, SPCA, CJCC, Pivot, etc.) though many either do per diem or is pro bono. It seems easier to get paid work in the states in these areas than in Canada. Perhaps we're not as big lobbyists at heart. 

I have met a few idealistic corporate lawyers during an exchange with an American university! They truly believed in capitalism and destroying their competition! You'll find very passionate employment/labour lawyers on both sides of things (I've been called a union monkey by one... despite working in a non-union environment and also been chewed out by a union rep for being so bougie 🤷‍♂️)

While perhaps not in an idealistic way, you'll also see tax lawyers dorking out every the tax law. Tax lawyers are like the band/theatre geeks of the corporate world - loveable weirdos dorking out over some book that no one else wants to read. 

 

All this to say, I went to law school because I thought art/culture + policy was neat. Thought (incorrectly) that law was a great way to get into policy. But that's probably because I had a humanities and fine arts degree. 

5hfg60.jpg

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