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Archive for ‘Law Student Week’

Does a Generational Divide Hamper Change in Legal Services?

My class at University of Ottawa Law is now over. But the thoughts provoked in class hopefully are not. U of O has, probably more so than other Ontario law schools, a social justice/access to justice bent and I have been critical of the CBA’s recent Reaching Equal Justice Report mostly because it is unrealistic and provides little hope for change. So it was interesting for me to see two presentations by students that focussed on ideas that should have been part of that CBA Report.

One student presented ways in which gamification could be used in legal services. It . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Education & Training: CLE/PD, Education & Training: Law Schools, Justice Issues, Law Student Week, Legal Information, Miscellaneous, Practice of Law

Does It Matter if Only the Well-Off Can Afford to Go to Law School?

One participant on the website noted that with their own law school tuition at $13,000 a year, the pool of applicants with the means to attend shrinks tremendously. Indeed, some new students will pay almost $30,000 in tuition in order to attend their first year of law school.

But so what? A lawyer is a lawyer is a lawyer, right? Everyone who goes to law school has the same education, and could conceivably serve the same constituency.

The question is really about the value of diversity. We’re used to thinking of diversity in terms of gender equality, and the . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Education & Training: Law Schools, Law Student Week, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Student to Lawyer: 20 Tips for a Successful Transition

Excerpted from LAWPRO Magazine, Student Issue #1, 2012

There isn’t a simple magic formula for mapping out a career in law. You will make some decisions on where you would like to go, but there are many things outside your control which will impact on where you will end up. Factors such as economic conditions, personal circumstances, where you articled and even a bit of luck will affect the career path you will follow.

This article outlines some of the 20 tips that will help you find your way to a satisfying and successful legal career.

1. Ask yourself what . . . [more]

Posted in: Law Student Week

Are You Ready for Sole Practice?

One-third of the nearly 23,500 lawyers in private practice in Ontario are sole practitioners. As a solo, it’s great to have the freedom that comes with being your own boss, but you also have full responsibility for all aspects of the operation of your law practice.

Do you have what it takes to be a sole practitioner? The 2012 Student Issue of LAWPRO Magazine included a self-assessment test to help identify your strengths and weaknesses and gives you a better idea of whether you’re cut out for solo or small firm practice. It asks you to rank your skills (in . . . [more]

Posted in: Law Student Week

May or Shall? Mandatory Disclosure, the Rules of Professional Conduct, and Public Safety

The Law Society of Upper Canada (LSUC) should make disclosure mandatory in situations where public safety is at risk. The current Rulesof Professional Conduct (Rules) focus on protecting confidentiality: there are only four categories of permitted disclosure; of these, all are optional except disclosure mandated by court order. While protecting client confidence is a laudable goal,the current framework does not adequately balance the needs of lawyers, clients, and third parties. A change from optional disclosure to mandatory disclosure for public safety issues will help to balance these needs. By changing the wording of Rule 2.03 (3) of . . . [more]

Posted in: Law Student Week

Students and New Lawyers: Remember to Take Care of Your Physical and Mental Wellbeing

Lawyers (both new and old) and law students are exposed to high levels of stress on a daily basis. The results can be use, misuse or even addiction to drugs or alcohol, and challenges to physical or mental wellness. Stress is also a contributing factor in many LAWPRO claims. The Wellness section of the practicePRO site provides tools and resources to help you manage stress, and achieve a healthy and balanced lifestyle. There is also information on addictions, and if you or someone you know needs help, a list of programs that offer assistance to lawyers in crisis.

Also available . . . [more]

Posted in: Law Student Week

Find Your Feet Faster With the Help of a Mentor

It’s an open secret that law students emerge from law school knowing loads about law, and frighteningly little about legal practice. How students cope with this gap depends on many factors, including personality, the nature of their first job (whether it’s as a sole practitioner, or in a large firm) and their tolerance for learning on the fly. Too often, new lawyers assume that the only choice they have is to “fake it until they make it” and pray that they don’t make any serious errors on the way.

But there are strategies for improving your chances of making the . . . [more]

Posted in: Law Student Week

Three Reasons Why the LPP Will Replace Articling Forever

The Law Practice Program (LPP) is about to change the way lawyers are licensed in Ontario.

The LPP is the Law Society of Upper Canada (LSUC)’s solution to “the articling crisis.” It’s meant to provide an alternative to law graduates unable to secure the 10-month lawyer-in-training jobs they need to become licensed in Ontario.

The gist of the LPP is that instead of 10 months of mandatory paid work at a law firm, the LPP requires only four months of paid or unpaid work experience and four months of coursework.

Starting in the 2014-2015 licensing year, the LPP . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools, Law Student Week, Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Chic Critique: Dressing Up Professional Criticism

Sophisticated, stylish and elegant. These qualities are highly regarded in the fashion industry and embody something or someone who is chic. However, these qualities are not exclusive to the world of fashion. Professional criticism that is sophisticated, stylish and elegant should be tolerated and even encouraged in the legal profession, paving the way for lawyers to provide their colleagues with chic critique.

Sophisticated: In the fashion industry, being sophisticated is about having worldly knowledge and experience of fashion, styles and trends. In a broader sense however, sophistication is simply about having sufficient knowledge and experience to make an informed remark . . . [more]

Posted in: Law Student Week

Social Media and Your Career: Be Social but Be Wise!

You have likely already been warned about the potential impact of your social media involvement on your professional reputation. Hopefully, you already know enough to carefully tailor access to your “personal” online persona, and you stay on top of untagging yourself in too-wild party photos and the like. But cleaning up your image online can only upgrade your social media presence from negative to neutral. If your future legal career will require any marketing at all (and almost all lawyers need to market themselves), you should consider whether you can gain an early advantage by building a professional online identity . . . [more]

Posted in: Law Student Week

It All Comes Down to How You Bend and Snap

Lawyers need to be of good character when they enter the profession but what does good character look like in lawyers already practising in the profession? To answer this, I will turn to Legally Blonde’s very own, Elle Woods, to demonstrate why I think Daniel Bibb[1], a Manhattan Assistant District Attorney who purposely lost a case to avoid a wrongful conviction, is an example of good character in the legal profession.

I watched Legally Blonde for the third (okay, thirteenth) time this weekend and something new occurred to me. Elle Woods is the lawyer we could all . . . [more]

Posted in: Law Student Week

50 Shades of Neutrality: A Review of “Professionalism”

With an uncritical eye the Chief Justice of Ontario’s report on professionalism makes a virtuous call for higher standards of professionalism for lawyers. It is a response to the reality of declining professionalism. The report, as well as the prevailing discussion on professionalism, does not reflect certain realities. The discourse bifurcates professionalism and morality in a way that the concept of professionalism is assumed to be morally neutral. The elements of professionalism are listed as: scholarship; integrity; honour; leadership; independence; pride; spirit; collegiality; service; and balanced commercialism. Not only does the list exclude a recognition of some fundamental attributes, but . . . [more]

Posted in: Law Student Week, Practice of Law: Future of Practice