4Students Cover Story

Monday, 01 August 2016 08:41

Embracing a time for change

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Embracing a time for changeLast year, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission issued its much anticipated report on six years of information gathering from across Canada amassing volumes of witness statements from thousands of Indian residential schools survivors and from those involved in the system that has become what some say is Canada’s greatest shame.
Monday, 24 August 2015 08:01

LPP year 1

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LPP year 1Joshua D’Cunha feels pretty pumped about landing a full-time job at Infrastructure Ontario as legal counsel. The University of Windsor Faculty of Law grad found his way to the legal department of 32 lawyers this past spring after completing Ryerson University’s inaugural Law Practice Program — the first cohort to come through the Law Society of Upper Canada’s three-year pilot project aimed at providing an alternative route to traditional articling. “I really love the work, it’s fabulous,” says an enthusiastic D’Cunha, who is now legal counsel, contract management at IO, an agency of the Ontario government.
Monday, 25 August 2014 08:00

Landing the big one

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Landing the big oneAfter a few weeks of law school Frances Mahon boldly went to professor Alan Young’s office at Osgoode Hall Law School and in her words, “begged him for a job.” His response to her plea was disappointing yet encouraging at the same time. “He said: ‘Come talk to me in the summer when you actually know something and you’re not a baby law student,’” recalls Mahon, who would later that year begin a two-year journey working on one of the most pivotal cases in recent Canadian history.
Monday, 24 February 2014 08:02

The Evolution of Legal Education

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Illustration: Sebastien Thibault
Illustration: Sebastien Thibault
Students enrolled in Lakehead University’s new law program will be able to practise law after completing just three years of law school. No need to article for a year or complete Ontario’s experimental law practice programs.
Monday, 26 August 2013 09:10

Be the change you want to see

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Be the change you want to seeThere was a time when most lawyers probably wouldn’t have dreamed of offering their services for free. But now the justice system is increasingly out of reach for many low- to mid-income people, soon-to-be lawyers are learning about the importance of access to justice early on. They are told one way to help with the problem is by volunteering their legal skills, and so are encouraged to get involved in their communities and give back early in their careers.
Monday, 25 February 2013 08:01

On the cusp of change

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Illustration: Huan Tran
Illustration: Huan Tran
Ontario’s articling crisis is no secret. Statistics show 15 per cent of applicants were unable to get an articling position in 2012, and that number is expected to rise. Some blame the law schools, others point at law firms, but there isn’t any one reason for this problem. More applicants than ever are seeking entry to the legal profession, including those who have studied abroad — possibly because they couldn’t get a spot in a Canadian law school — and fewer law firms are offering articling positions as a result of the recent economic downturn.
Monday, 27 August 2012 09:08

10 tips for starting your own firm

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Illustration: Matt Daley
Illustration: Matt Daley
Having a law degree and being called to the bar no longer guarantees a job in a law firm. According to the results of this year’s Canadian Lawyer Compensation Survey, only 45 per cent of law firm respondents plan to hire more lawyers next year. With this in mind, you might want to consider hanging up your own shingle. Since the prospect of starting a firm can be intimidating, assistant editor Heather Gardiner asked sole practitioners for their tips on how to start off on the right foot.
Monday, 27 February 2012 10:56

Alternative options

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Like so many others, maybe you too “fell” into law. Maybe you weren’t sure what you wanted to do with your life so you decided to give it a try. Maybe you buckled under the pressure from family members to follow in their footsteps, or you just did it because your friends were doing it. Whatever the reason, you’re now in law school — and there’s no doubt it’s going to be a tough three years.
And if you’re having trouble finding an articling position, you are not alone. Presently, there simply aren’t enough articling positions available to accommodate the number of students graduating from law school. You don’t have to know exactly what you want to do when you graduate — you may not even want to practise law. The good news is your legal training and years of academia open doors to a plethora of exciting careers outside of law that you can pursue with your legal degree.
If you can’t break into the legal field, or you decide to pursue a different career path, those arduous three years weren’t necessarily a waste of time. Canadian Lawyer 4Students has pulled together a group of working professionals who all graduated from law school, some briefly practising law, but eventually all deciding private practice wasn’t for them. So they sought alternative careers in different industries, including technology, business, finance, non-profit/community work, academia, and journalism. All of them still find their law degree applicable to their current job and admit that the knowledge and skills they gained in law school come in handy from time to time.
So if you’re not sure what you want to do with your life or you’re having trouble finding an articling position, do not fear! There are countless careers — aside from private practice — that you can pursue, and as you can see from the working professionals in this article, there are plenty of other industries that your law degree can help you break into.
Alternative optionsLike so many others, maybe you too “fell” into law. Maybe you weren’t sure what you wanted to do with your life so you decided to give it a try. Maybe you buckled under the pressure from family members to follow in their footsteps, or you just did it because your friends were doing it. Whatever the reason, you’re now in law school — and there’s no doubt it’s going to be a tough three years.
Monday, 29 August 2011 10:51

The elusive brass ring

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The elusive brass ringA growing shortage of articling positions has left hundreds of law grads saddled with the prospect of having run up massive student debts for a shot at a profession that has no room left at the inn. The problem — primarily concentrated in Ontario, although British Columbia appears to be experiencing a minor shortage as well — has a simple explanation. More prospective lawyers than ever before are seeking entry to the legal profession, especially practitioners trained outside Canada. Stats show that in 2006, the Law Society of Upper Canada accepted 1,400 registrants to its licensing program. That number spiked to 1,750 in 2010. Meanwhile, in 2008, 5.8 per cent of applicants failed to secure an articling position within their first year of eligibility. That number rose to 12.1 per cent in 2011.
Friday, 18 March 2011 14:34

Cheers for queers

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Cheers for queersFor Chase Barlet, attending McGill University’s Faculty of Law was not just the first step in becoming a lawyer. During Barlet’s undergraduate degree at a Mormon university, he could have been expelled for having a boyfriend. Attending McGill’s law school marked the first time he could be entirely open about his sexuality. “I went from having to be almost completely in the closet to being able to be completely out in a matter of months, which was incredibly liberating,” says the second-year law student. “At McGill, people have been nothing but welcoming and accepting.”
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