I went to Osgoode Welcome Day on Friday and here is a brief rundown of the day.
The panel presentations were first on the list of activities and they lasted--oh, about two hours. The first hour the Dean, as well as the Associate and the Assistant Deans talked about how great the school was. Surprise, surprise. I didn't exactly expect them to say the school is horrid. The guest panelists in the second hour were much the same, but one of the presenters was a mature student and was quite refreshing and different (she didn't just talk about how amazing Oz is, though it is clear she liked her time there). Overall, the panel presentations, then, were what I thought I'd hear. I was, however, impressed with the achievements of their faculty, but that's one big reason why I wish to go there.
NOTE: for the entire two hours, they did not mention the word 'York' once! Ok, I know you're a separate entity with your own budget, etc. etc. but you're not 100% distinct. This dawned on me again when they were showing the Oz student caf--there's so many food options at York, why not TELL US about it. I don't get it. It's not like York is the plague.
After this was lunch, which was more or less your standard catering fare. It was pretty good, then. I like the fact that there were generous vegetarian options--good job guys! The student representatives were around, and they were friendly, helpful, and genuienly enthusiastic. This was good to see. They told us the school really isn't all THAT competetive. People want to do well, but won't step over you in order to do well. They did, however, admit there is people who I will want to avoid, but that same is true in any LS. We'll see.
The tour was also standard fare, showing us various parts of the building. In regards to the building, it is a-OK (except from the outside... ugh!). The skylight that they added relatively recently (I believe, I don't remember seeing that the first time I saw Oz) helps a lot. Furthermore, all classrooms (except one or two I believe they said) have been recently rennovated, and it shows. What also shows is that the school has $$$. The classrooms and common rooms were downright ritzy, and it is just apparent that they are not doing too badly. The building itself is still on York campus, so the area isn't exactly nice. In fact, the campus really is quite aesthetically undistinguished.
The tour did also tell us a bit more about different legal clinics they run, and these sounded very interesting and hands on. Getting some real case experience before actually graduating is very appealing. I'll be applying to them for sure.
Finally, I went off to the sample lecture, and I'm very glad that Oz runs this. There were 3 separate lectures, and you were assigned to one of them. I was assigned to a Contracts sample lecture. The prof was enthusiastic and easy to listen to, but just as importantly, it seems the content will be very interesting as well. It really did ease some of my fears that I won't like law. Very good!
There was also wine and cheese where we were to schmooze, but I had a prior engagement, so I bagged that part.
The one gigantic CON, which I am sure is true of all law schools in Canada, is that it felt very cliquey. I can't point out why I felt that way, but I certainly had that feeling (as did my girlfriend who I brought as a guest). The campus, of course, is in the worst location possible (who the HELL thought about putting a campus here?) and is not particularily attractive.
I am left with quite a positive impression. Oz put on a very good show. We'll see how it compares to UWO and Queen's (if I go to the latter). Overall, I'd say the Welcome Day firmly solidified Osgoode as my first choice.
EDIT: as a final note, Dean Monahan looks like a cool guy. Down to earth, but proud of his school. The Associate Dean, Allan Hutchinson, seems like a real cool and funny guy with a great English accent. Not bad.