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Author Topic: small school vs large school?  (Read 1603 times)

meanderingmisfit

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small school vs large school?
« on: May 27, 2005, 03:45:02 PM »
In my UNB thread, it was said that law firms prefer bigger schools.  Has that been anyone elses experience as well?  Thanks :)
Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned. - Buddha

Cheeks

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Re: small school vs large school?
« Reply #1 on: May 28, 2005, 10:30:37 AM »
law firms prefer good schools...

NewYork

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Re: small school vs large school?
« Reply #2 on: May 28, 2005, 01:22:27 PM »
If you mean by small school, Yale, and by large school, Harvard, then no, it doesn't matter.

Maclock

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Re: small school vs large school?
« Reply #3 on: May 30, 2005, 12:20:21 PM »
law firms prefer good schools...

A tad harsh, I am afraid.  Other than U of T, Osgoode and McGill, Canadian law schools are, more than likely, relatively comparable to one another in quality.  However, I think that these same schools are more likely to place better in local markets than they would clear across the country.  Does that mean that these schools are, by necessary implication, "bad"?  No, it does not; it simply means that law firms only recognize a handful of Canadian law schools as being nationally prestigious and placement rates in, for instance, the big shops on Bay Street reflect that fact.

Admittedly, some schools that are coasting on their names, like Dal, still place reasonably well on Bay Street, but that has more to do with the fact that more than a few senior partners went to Dal (or whichever school) back in the day when it was considered every bit the equal of Osgoode, McGill and U of T, than it does with Dal (or whichever school) being considered one of Canada's top schools.  (For that matter, some might argue that Osgoode is also coasting undeservedly on its past glory.)

I had a couple of friends at UNB study on exchange at Ontario law schools, one at Western and the other at Osgoode, and they both seemed to think that UNB compared well with these Ontario schools, for instance.  However, UNB's name power does, no doubt, pale in comparision with any of Western, Osgoode or U of T when competing for the Holy Grail of many Canadian law school students' lives: articles with a big Bay Street firm.  It's depressing how provincial the Canadian mindset can be from time-to-time.

So, a small school that places primarily in its region will have a smaller network upon which to draw when seeking to place its students.  If that network is smaller, in absolute terms, and is in an area that is not filthy, stinking rich, then students may stuggle to find decent articling positions.  Unless they are near the top of their class, these same students are more than likely going to find it tough to crack Bay Street unless they have some highly prized pre-law school work experience and/or good contacts on Bay Street.  (Perhaps a small school like Calgary, which is often not accorded the highest degree of respect and is certainly not considered the equal of McGill, U of T or Osgoode, might fare better than places like UVic, UNB, USask and the University of Manitoba at placing its grads in decent articling jobs if only because it is the only law school in Calgary, Canada's hottest legal market right now.  Similarly, the proximity of Western to Toronto, and the fact that it is known to the denizens of Bay Street as a decent law school, likely helps Western quite a bit when placing its grads in T.O.)

So, to that end, I would think that prospective Canadian law students might best be advised to go to the most prestigious law school to which they are admitted.  Sadly, many good Canadian law schools are not considered prestigious, and placement rates in the highest paid articling jobs in Canada (which jobs, in turn, dictate how many doors will be open to you later on in life) reflect that fact.  Canada is not as egaltarian as the lefties that run this country would have you believe.

M.

meanderingmisfit

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Re: small school vs large school?
« Reply #4 on: May 30, 2005, 12:33:42 PM »
Thank you very much for taking the time to reply.  I guess my problem is that I'm not looking for big money in TO..I'm not looking to go to a school where the competition is unreal and the tuition is 25000$ a year with no guarantee of future employment of the calibre that such a loan is paid back in a reasonable amount of time.  Ideally, for right now, I would like to go into family law.. eventually become a family law judge if all goes wonderfully (which of course, it may not)  Do you think that one of the larger schools is still more appropriorate for my goals?  Any help would be great. :)
Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned. - Buddha

Maclock

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Re: small school vs large school?
« Reply #5 on: May 30, 2005, 01:16:57 PM »
Thank you very much for taking the time to reply.  I guess my problem is that I'm not looking for big money in TO..I'm not looking to go to a school where the competition is unreal and the tuition is 25000$ a year with no guarantee of future employment of the calibre that such a loan is paid back in a reasonable amount of time.  Ideally, for right now, I would like to go into family law.. eventually become a family law judge if all goes wonderfully (which of course, it may not)  Do you think that one of the larger schools is still more appropriorate for my goals?  Any help would be great. :)

O.K., at the expense of sounding like an old coot, I must advise you to be realistic about your goals.  Becoming a judge has more to do with being in the good books of a political party that assumes power in whatever jurisdiction in which you practice than with whether you are, for instance, a family law guru.  It's a sad, but true, fact of life.  That being said, there are some excellent judges out there appointed by their political buddies, but there are some slugs, too.

Even for family law, I think that the perceived prestige of a lawyer's alma mater can be of vital importance.  Remember, seriously wealthy people get divorced, too, and they will pay for quality counsel from what they perceive to the best law firm around.  Sometimes, this will be the law firm that handles other legal matters for a given person's company.  Most big shops keep on staff a few lawyers interested in criminal law and family law for this purpose.  These same firms may not be particularly interested in such areas of the law, but they certainly are interested in keeping as much business in the firm as they can and they are interested in pleasing the client.  The trick is, however, that it is likely going to be much easier to be hired by a prestigious firm to do such work if you have attended what has traditionally been considered to be a prestigious law school.

And as for not being interested in the money that Bay Street has to offer, well, I used to think that way, too, but believe me, when you get out in the rough and tumble reality of practice, having the money and whatnot offered by the big Bay Street firms at your disposal makes a HUGE difference.  Money is a good thing, whatever others might try to tell you.

You are rightly concerned about high tuition fees, but I wish to add that you should really consider this an investment in your future, an investment that will pay dividends for decades to come.

On the subject of competition, I would imagine that every law school has its share of hyper-competitive gimps; that's just the nature of the beast.  People are going to be like that anywhere they've got on their "A game".

I wish to caution that as I never practiced family law and have never had any interest in doing so, I may be inadvertantly feeding you some falsehoods.  Caveat emptor, etc.  Should you have any other questions that you would like answered, please feel free to ask away.

M.

Cheeks

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Re: small school vs large school?
« Reply #6 on: May 31, 2005, 08:59:20 AM »
Maclock ... please learn to be more concise.

"Canada is not as egaltarian as the lefties that run this country would have you believe."

-lol.
 

Maclock

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Re: small school vs large school?
« Reply #7 on: May 31, 2005, 12:31:15 PM »
Maclock ... please learn to be more concise.

"Canada is not as egaltarian as the lefties that run this country would have you believe."

-lol.
 

I am glad that I could make you chuckle, Cheeks!  If you think that I am a circumlocutionist, wait until you see the ways in which your soon-to-be peers at the bar mangle, twist and manipulate the English language into all kinds of unnatural shapes; shapes that you will not be able to recognize.  Whooo-wheee, son, now THAT'S funny!

M.

Cheeks

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Re: small school vs large school?
« Reply #8 on: May 31, 2005, 01:34:31 PM »
Maclock ... please learn to be more concise.

"Canada is not as egaltarian as the lefties that run this country would have you believe."

-lol.
 

I am glad that I could make you chuckle, Cheeks!  If you think that I am a circumlocutionist, wait until you see the ways in which your soon-to-be peers at the bar mangle, twist and manipulate the English language into all kinds of unnatural shapes; shapes that you will not be able to recognize.  Whooo-wheee, son, now THAT'S funny!

M.

you think they'll require an essay to get their point across too?

Wolfie

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Re: small school vs large school?
« Reply #9 on: May 31, 2005, 06:32:59 PM »
Maclock, I think you speak way too broadly about "Canadian law firms". The prestigiousness of U of T, Osgoode and McGill may certainly carry more weight in the East, but it carries no weight whatsoever in western parts of Canada at least not in BC. They carry no weight as an undergrad university and they carry no weight as a law school. If you're looking to practice in Vancouver for example, sure the three Ontario schools won't hurt you, but they certainly do not improve your chances against UVIC and UBC grads. I agree with all you've said about the three having national prestige, simply because they've been there the longest, but I would think that prospective Canadian law students are best adviced to figure out where they want to be work like every other law student.