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Top 10 reasons TO go to my school


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Whist
  • Law Student

Can anyone do one for UofA? (I'm going there regardless, but I'm curious about others' experiences.)

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maybemaybe
  • Applicant
On 6/8/2021 at 2:38 PM, ccq35 said:

In no particular order, a biased and non-exhaustive list of reasons for McGill:

1. Reputation: McGill consistently ranks in the top 20-30 law schools in the world and second only to U of T in Canada (depending on who you ask, of course). Brand recognition is high, even outside of Canada, and as the country’s oldest law school, the Faculty has had a long time to build up its stellar reputation.

2. Dual degrees: two degrees for (much less than) the price of one! Depending on where you want to practice (or not, academia, policy, and other options are also valid career choices!), your mileage may vary on how useful two degrees end up being, but the pedagogical value in learning both common and civil law transsystemically is huge. This also helps with career flexibility, for obvious reasons.

3. Tuition: this is a big one. For a non-Quebec resident, tuition is approximately $10-11k per year; for a Quebec resident, it’s half of that. Keep in mind that the program is designed to be 3.5 years, but even then, McGill is a veritable bargain. Hard to believe that the Faculty can provide a world-class education for such low tuition, but I’m certainly not complaining. Virtually no required textbooks either; readings are mostly assigned via digital coursepacks.

4. Career options: see 1. and 2. McGill’s reputation and dual degrees open a lot of doors, both in Canada and beyond. U of T and Osgoode (and possibly Ryerson now) likely have an edge over McGill if your heart is set on Bay Street because of their proximity and increased networking opportunities, but McGIll places plenty of people in Toronto nevertheless.

5. Faculty and instructors: McGill boasts some truly excellent faculty members, both from a pedagogy and research perspective, as well as dedicated research centres (e.g. the Centres for Human Rights & Legal Pluralism, and for Research in Air & Space Law). Again, your mileage may vary depending on your interests, but McGill certainly earns its reputation here.

6. Student diversity: not sure how McGill stacks up against other law schools in terms of racialized minority, Indigenous, and LGBTQ+ students, but the Faculty attracts a wide cross section of applicants, from many walks of life, with varied aspirations. Very lively student body, with journals, clubs, internships, etc. to suit any interests you might have.

7. Supreme Court clerkships: the dual degrees, bilingualism, and academic reputation really help here, and McGill has a really strong track record (about 1 in 5 over the past decade) with clerkship placements.

8. Campus: the Faculty exists within three buildings: Old Chancellor Day Hall is a beautiful old mansion built in the late 1800s; the Nahum Gelber Law Library with its big Illuminati window, and New Chancellor Day Hall, which… depends on how much you like Brutalist architecture. Also, the walk up Peel street to the Faculty is… a bit brutal. McGill itself exists on the southern slope of Mount Royal, and the campus has a great mix of architectural styles that reflect its storied history. Located several blocks north of the heart of downtown Montreal, McGill occupies prime real estate and is really accessible.

9. Montreal: speaking of location, Montreal is a wonderful city. Period. Like McGill, Montreal has a great mix of old and new (the city is often described as “European”), and the cost of living is very reasonable for such a large city. Great food, great nightlife, solid public transit, and consistently ranked among the best student cities in the world.

10. Bilingualism: on habite dans un pays bilingue… ’nuff said.

McGill seems like a fantastic choice, I was strongly considering applying until I realized my French skills wouldn't make the cut 😞 

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Thrive92
  • Applicant
On 7/4/2021 at 1:33 PM, Liavas said:

Can anyone do one for UofA? (I'm going there regardless, but I'm curious about others' experiences.)

I remember from the old website someone mentioning how the U of A law building can withstand a nuclear weapon attack, and so you can focus more on your schoolwork without much worry about the radioactive fallout

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Whisk3yjack
  • Law Student

We lost a lot of good information with the untimely demise of the old forum so I'm going to do a top 10 for Windsor. Full disclosure, Windsor was not my first choice of law schools. We don't have to beat around the bush here, Windsor is not as prestigious as the other schools in the province. I don't think that necessarily means that the quality of the education is lower, all Ontario law schools do a good job educating their students. But outside of some very narrow circumstances, if anyone tries to tell you that Osgoode is not a better school than Windsor, they're lying to you. Like a lot of the students at Windsor, I went there because that's where I got in. If I had higher marks or a higher LSAT and I had gotten into Queen's or Western, I would have gone there and I don't think that would have been the wrong decision.

All that being said, I completely loved Windsor. You will get an excellent legal education and the law school community is amazing. I'm not trying to convince you that you should go to Windsor over UofT, I just hope I can reassure any other prospective students who find themselves in my position.

  1. Weather: This is might not be that big of deal to you, but it certainly helps that Windsor is usually 2-4 degrees warmer than it is in Toronto. That might not sound like a lot, but it makes a difference. You end up with a lot less days above freezing, so there’s less snow on the ground.
  2. Professors: A lot of the professors are really excellent teachers, if not necessarily the most prestigious academics. You do get some top academics, David Tanovich is a very well respected academic who is also a great teacher. Lots of students don’t agree with his politics, but I don’t know anyone that didn’t love having him for first year crim. I don’t know for sure why most of the profs are good at actually teaching but here’s my pet theory. Being a really good academic and a really good teacher are different skills. The top academics who are renowned for their academic work go to the more prestigious schools, so the professors who might not be as good of an academic but are better at actually teaching get “stuck” in Windsor.
  3. Social Justice: This one is related to some of the other reasons. Windsor does have a social justice orientation and for the most part they do a good job living up to it. The student body is very left-wing (more left-wing than the usual student body) and they often get mad at the school for not being as left wing as them. But the school really does make an effort to live up to it’s mandate. If you’re more right wing I can imagine it would feel a little oppressive at times, but if you’re into social justice then you’ll like it.
  4. Clubs: This is of the aforementioned reasons related to the Social Justice theme. There are a lot of clubs in the law school with a Social Justice focus and they are very active. Regardless of what you’re interested in, there’s probably a club that will cater to it, and if there isn’t you can just start your own and you will definitely find someone who will want to help you take up your social cause.
  5. Clinics: More Social Justice, but because of the focus on Social Justice, the school/students do a lot of work in the community so there are lots of clinics/experiential learning opportunities.
  6. It’s Cheap: Windsor is really just not a very expensive city. Everything is way cheaper than Toronto. Housing, food, drinks, gas. It’s a lot cheaper.
  7. Food: The food is actually really good in Windsor, especially the Italian food. There’s a significant Italian community in Windsor so there are lots of good Italian restaurants. You can usually get a really high quality plate of pasta from an Italian restaurant in Windsor for around $8 cheaper that an equivalent meal in Toronto.
  8. Detroit: The city is actually pretty fun. It’s run-down in parts and you would probably feel a little unsafe walking around at night on your own, but it’s getting a lot better as it revitalizes. There’s good shopping, the art museum is really good, and you can go see sports games if you’re into that kind of thing.
  9. The New Building: This isn’t exactly a reason yet because the building isn’t finished, but maybe in 2 years people will still be reading this post and it will be a big draw. Regardless, the new building looks like it will be really nice when it’s finally finished. It’s going to be fully accessible, and it will actually have enough women’s washrooms.
  10. Law Community: This would be number one if I was ranking them like that, but instead I'm saving the best for last. The sense of community in the law school is just straight up amazing. You know all of your classmates and lots of the upper years. Everyone’s really nice to each other and supportive. Everyone shares their notes and there's not a competitive atmosphere. There were a lot of good parties before the pandemic. When all the law students go out, everyone ends up going out together and meeting up at the same bar which always makes for a great night. Most of the people at Windsor aren’t there because it was their top choice, which I think help builds the sense of community. You’re all stuck there together, trying to make the most of it, and you do. I really can not say enough about how much fun the community made law school. Hopefully future 1Ls will get to experience that once the world returns to normal.
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  • 2 months later...
Swan
  • Applicant

This thread has slowed down but could anyone do UOttawa? I read up the old forum, but a lot of the comments are about specific student spaces / profs (from 2015) so they feel rather out of date. 

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7 minutes ago, theroaringbadger said:

Dal

Word on the street is that Dal will make students "brain dead vegetables" and that they hire "extremely poor teachers who are unable to prepare examinations or to read, write or understand the English language": https://www.canlii.org/en/ns/nssc/doc/1996/1996canlii5409/1996canlii5409.html

@realpseudonym is this accurate? 😛

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BlockedQuebecois
  • Lawyer
20 minutes ago, CleanHands said:

Word on the street is that Dal will make students "brain dead vegetables" and that they hire "extremely poor teachers who are unable to prepare examinations or to read, write or understand the English language": https://www.canlii.org/en/ns/nssc/doc/1996/1996canlii5409/1996canlii5409.html

@realpseudonym is this accurate? 😛

I think the takeaway from that case is that even a brain dead vegetable can get a B- average in 1L (excluding contracts, of course, as the professor was an extremely poor teacher who is unable to prepare examinations or read, write, or understand the English language). 

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realpseudonym
  • Lawyer
59 minutes ago, CleanHands said:

Word on the street is that Dal will make students "brain dead vegetables" and that they hire "extremely poor teachers who are unable to prepare examinations or to read, write or understand the English language": https://www.canlii.org/en/ns/nssc/doc/1996/1996canlii5409/1996canlii5409.html

@realpseudonym is this accurate? 😛

Look, we cognitive vegetables continue to suffer from outdated societal stigmas, but I personally find my state of stupidity to be relatively pleasant. It’s like a numbing agent. Or an opiate. So don’t knock the Dal pedagogical model until you’ve tried it. 

Second, while not every prof appeared to be fully literate, how does one expect future lawyers to prevail in front of Ford appointed JPs and adjudicators, if we’re completely dependent on our audience understanding things like language? Hmmmm? I rest my case. 

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theroaringbadger
  • Law School Admit
On 11/26/2021 at 12:20 PM, realpseudonym said:

Look, we cognitive vegetables continue to suffer from outdated societal stigmas, but I personally find my state of stupidity to be relatively pleasant. It’s like a numbing agent. Or an opiate. So don’t knock the Dal pedagogical model until you’ve tried it. 

Second, while not every prof appeared to be fully literate, how does one expect future lawyers to prevail in front of Ford appointed JPs and adjudicators, if we’re completely dependent on our audience understanding things like language? Hmmmm? I rest my case. 

Speaking of this. Does anyone have anything substantial to talk about why Dal? 

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OntheVerge
  • Lawyer

Osgoode:

1. Lots of opportunities for a variety of clinic work. 

2. Intensive programs for upper years, which typically included class work and a placement. Not only the usual legal areas (family, criminal, etc), but also Indigenous, Environmental Law, and the newest one - International and Transnational Law. The last one included students who were placed at different organizations who agreed to partner with the program due to working relationships with Osgoode professors. Opportunities included posts in Europe (Geneva, The Netherlands, Rwanda, New York), large firms in the US (Washington, D.C and area) and some local Toronto opportunities. If you don't get in to your preferred intensive in 2L, you can try again as a 3L.

3. The profs are good and approachable. Many upper year courses/seminars are taught by well-known lawyers and/or judges.

4. The library is quite nice.

5. The librarians are incredibly helpful. If you're ever struggling finding sources or unsure where to start a paper, talk with a librarian and you'll have more sources than you hoped for.

6. The residences are close to the school, even Assiniboine and Atkinson are no more than a 5 min walk away. 

7. The students are mostly very friendly and helpful. 

8. If you're planning on working in Toronto or area, lots of opportunities are shared and found amongst people you knew/know or friends of friends.

9. The subway line now goes right to campus, so you don't need to live on campus but can find a place to live further away and still only commute 10-30 minutes. My commute went from 45-75 min to 10-20 min once the subway line was done.

10. Osgoode has a lot of events and clubs so there's lots of opportunity to network and meet people right from 1L. Lots of people didn't/don't take advantage of this.

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rinse-repeat
  • Law School Admit

Would love to see UNB, U of M, and UCalgary if possible 

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razraini
  • Lawyer
33 minutes ago, rinse-repeat said:

Would love to see UNB, U of M, and UCalgary if possible 

I just copy-pasted this from the text note of the old forum. It could probably use an update since it's from 2018.

1) No "minus" letter grades: That C- becomes a C, A- becomes an A, etc. By the numbers, you might, at another school, be a B- student, but at U of M your transcript will indicate that you are a B student. I don't know why that is but I am sure I have benefitted from this somewhere along the line.

2) Clinics: One of the reasons I applied to Robson Hall in the first place was for the University of Manitoba Community Law Centre. It's a Legal Aid clinic that focuses on summary conviction matters with no risk of jail time. Even post-Jordan, the clinic runs through 500-600 matter in a year, so it isn't implausible to have conduct of 30ish files as just a 2nd year volunteer if you're so inclined (I was). I am aware of some clinics that don't run certain matters. To my knowledge Thunder Bay won't do drive impaired files, and Windsor doesn't do DVs. Those make up the bulk of my file load. By the time I graduate, I will likely have held conduct of roughly 100 files, run around 15 or so trials along with pre-trial motions (prepping many more) and countless sentencing hearings, and routinely corresponded and negotiated with the Crown on summary conviction matters. We work with and represent real clients, regularly appear in court, and manage our own file load, all under the supervision of practicing Legal Aid lawyers who are extremely invested in the success of the clinic and the students. I cannot emphasize enough what a great experience the University Legal Aid Clinic is if you are keen and self-directed. Further, the law school recently (to no fanfare) established a wrongful convictions clinic, and will begin work with five clients in the autumn.

Outside of criminal law, there are excellent clinics and interships available if you're interested in family law, and I have heard good things about the clinical administrative law course. 

3) Excellent engagement with the local bar: This was touched on before, but I think it warrants repeating. The local bar in all areas of practice is extremely engaged, and often eager to meet with and help students. I had an email sent out to the Criminal Defence Lawyers' Association's members' list for help on something, and within three hours multiple lawyers had responded. 

4) Crim-defence firms and articling: I don't know exactly how this works in other cities but quite a few, I would guess most, criminal defence firms in Winnipeg hire articling students a year in advance. These places all advertise through job postings, so there is less need to cold call and hustle for a job. 

5) Cheap tuition: Well, relatively cheap tuition. The administration raised tuition without raising tuition by lowering the number of required credit hours while keeping annual tuition fees the same. In effect, you take, I think, a class and a half less, while still paying the same amount. Since the dollar amount hasn't changed, I don't think too many people have noticed. In any event, I would guess that U of M is amongst the least expensive common law programs in Canada.

6-10) Winnipeg ain't all that bad: Winnipeg has a bad rep, and it's largely justified. However, there are a lot of things working for it that I would just throw into one category.

To start, Winnipeg has some pretty good cafes and restaurants. If you know where to look, you'll find quite a few treasures. Thom Bargen is probably my favourite cafe in Western Canada; Segovia has some of the best tapas I've come across even compared to Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto; and Sous Sol and Langside Grocery have high-quality and imaginative cocktails in a speakeasy setting. There are tons of great and inexpensive ethnic food options throughout the city (Khao House, Sukothai, etc.). Granted, there is an entire sea of mediocrity to navigate here, I would assume that that's largely true anywhere. 

As well, a surprising number of big name artists stop through Winnipeg. In the last two years, some of my favourites have dropped in, as well as other big names such as Kanye West and Paul McCartney. Obviously Winnipeg has a major hockey arena for the Jets, as well as a CFL team. We have the Human Rights Museum, as well as a fairly solid art gallery. There are any number of nice parks scattered throughout the city, recreational sports teams, etc. There are loads of festivals throughout the winter and the summer.

In other words, you aren't deprived of many experiences you would normally have in other major Canadian centres (except Uber and Car2Go, I guess). 

As well, a lot of people who are from away, settle here. The average cost of a house is about $300k. Taxes are high (15%) but generally the cost of living is pretty low here. I can rent a nice home in a nice neighbourhood for $1100-1200/mth all inclusive.

The summers here are beautiful: warm, usually sunny and clear, and lush and green.

Finally, there seems to be recognition that Winnipeg, and other towns, are sorta isolated from the rest of the country. This gives way to a "make your own fun" vibe much of the time.

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Goblin King
  • Law Student
37 minutes ago, theroaringbadger said:

Dal anyone?

1L at Dal here. 

1. Domus Legis. It's the oldest law school social club in the country. We rent a bar out every Thursday, get obscenely wasted, and bitch about being law students. 

2. In person classes. Dal was in-person  for all of first semester (with the exception of exams) and intends to resume in February. So far, one person in our class has contracted COVID. I like online classes, but get why people hate them. 

3. National reach. Dal has alumni all across the country with a strong contingent in Ontario. 

4. Adelina Iftene and Faith Aboyeje. They teach Crim and Torts respectively -- they're brilliant, clear, and care about their students. Dal generally has a great balance of practitioners and academics as instructors. Generally, even the practitioners usually have some pedagogical experience or an LLM or something. 

5. Strong Health law curriculum (and a dual MHA/JD) -- Joanna Erdman does great research on the intersection between HR, International law, and reproductive rights. She often takes research assistants. 

6. DSAS. This has been my favourite part of law school so far. Essentially, it's a service run through the student union where law students volunteer to advocate for students accused of academic misconduct, residence violations (my most harrowing and rewarding experiences have been appealing residence evictions), and code of conduct violations ( a friend of mine had one where some kids defaced a dorm with racial slurs -- mucho spicy). It's a great way to get advocacy skills and the senior advocates have gone on to work for prominent litigation boutiques and large corporate firms. We even have a pseudo-trial court called the Senate Discipline Committee where you write a written submission that's essentially a simplified factum and deliver oral arguments and do witness examinations. 

7. Wide access to pro bono opportunities in first year. Some interesting organizations too, working on projects regarding limiting the use of child soldiers to Indigenous Band governance. This was even more prevalent last year with online courses. 

8. The community. This is a tough one because I'm ambivalent about Dal's community. It doesn't feel competitive with some notable exceptions. It does feel very close and people are always doing something social. I find it kind of excessive to the point of being incestuous and high-school-y, but most people seem to like it. 

9. Halifax. I come from Ottawa and am used to a small city, so YMMV. I love how walkable and relatively affordable Halifax is. The weather is also milder than Ontario, and there are lots of independent retailers, cool little pubs, and cute shops. It has character. Plus, living next to the Ocean and being able to take day trips surfing or renting a cottage near Cape Breton are really wonderful experiences. 

10.  Unique employment opportunities. If you want to work out east, there are lots of jobs available for 1L students in the Atlantic Canada recruit. Dal tends to crush it out here. Furthermore, there are internships, where you get funding to work for a public interest organization. This isn't unique to Dal, but some of the places student's have gone are really cool. Some examples off the top of my head are Senators' offices, legal clinics, and the Red Cross. 

Ultimately, I think that with what other users on this forum have referred to as "middle-tier" law schools, fit matters more than perceived reputation. 

Best of luck making your decision. 

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CheeseToast
  • Law Student
39 minutes ago, Goblin King said:

I can vouch for everything GK said about Dal. I’ve loved my time here so far and in hindsight coming here is just what I needed (I’m from across the country). I’ll also add that by virtue of our location Dal’s week of welcome probably blows anything any other school does out of the water. 
I also think our (recently flooded) law school building is underrated, granted I haven’t been able to check out many others.
If you plan on coming here I’d recommend getting that sorted out ASAP though as it can be a nightmare to find housing. 

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Goblin King
  • Law Student
Just now, CheeseToast said:

 

For the record, it's rare that me and Cheese agree on anything, so you know this is the real deal. I'll second the Welcome Week comment -- tours of Halifax harbour were spectacular -- and the warning about housing. Halifax has one of the lowest vacancy rates in the country. I waited till the last minute to accept my offer and ended up having to settle for a place on the outskirts of the peninsula (40 minutes by bus, 25 by car during peak traffic). 

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Federale
  • Applicant

@Goblin King @CheeseToast Do most law students live on residence or get an apartment nearby? What are the options like for the latter in terms of quality and price? Thanks for doing this by the way

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Renerik
  • Law School Admit
14 minutes ago, Federale said:

@Goblin King @CheeseToast Do most law students live on residence or get an apartment nearby? What are the options like for the latter in terms of quality and price? Thanks for doing this by the way

DAL's residence is lacking and they have more people trying to get in than beds. The overwhelming majority of professional/grad students live off-campus. You won't find a studio on the Halifax peninsula for under 1000/month, you'd be lucky to find your own place for anything below 1200. As a long-time HFX resident, I wouldn't recommend living off the peninsula because the transit here is underwhelming compared to other provincial capitols. Getting from Dartmouth to DAL can take 30 minutes+ and a few transfers (From MicMac Mall it's a little over 40 minutes).

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CheeseToast
  • Law Student
16 minutes ago, Federale said:

@Goblin King @CheeseToast Do most law students live on residence or get an apartment nearby? What are the options like for the latter in terms of quality and price? Thanks for doing this by the way

I don’t think anyone lives in residence. Certainly nobody I’ve met has. Prices are relatively high and the quality is mediocre in my experience. It is also simply just difficult to find ANYTHING if you don’t look early enough. 

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Goblin King
  • Law Student
23 minutes ago, Federale said:

@Goblin King @CheeseToast Do most law students live on residence or get an apartment nearby? What are the options like for the latter in terms of quality and price? Thanks for doing this by the way

Not only do most people not live in residence, I wouldn't wish that experience on my worst enemy, especially during COVID. 

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Æthelflæd
  • Law School Admit

Can someone do U of T? I would be very grateful 🙂

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