Skip to content

Tips from the top - 2006-2007

|Written By Gail J. Cohen
Tips from the top - 2006-2007

Canadian Lawyer 4Students goes right to the top of the class to get some tricks, tips, and all-round words of wisdom from the students who worked their way to the prize for best student at their law school for 2006-2007.

We asked these golden students to give us their thoughts on:

1. Where are you articling and why did you choose to go there/ Ou est-ce-que vous completez votre stage en droit et pourquoi vous avez choisi cet endroit?
2. What’s the best way to bust stress while studying/ Quel est le meilleur façon d’éliminer le stress quand vous étudiez?
3. Do you have any tips for acing exams/Est-ce que vous avez quelques conseils pour bien faire sur les examens?
4. What was your favourite course in law school and why/ Quel était votre cours préféré à la faculté de droit, et pourquoi?
5. What’s the best hangout in your university town/ C’est ou le meilleur lieu de rendez-vous près de votre université?

Jillian Strugnell, Dalhousie University

1
I am articling at Bennett Jones LLP in Calgary. I received a position there as a summer student after my first year of law school. I really enjoyed my experience there. All of the lawyers seemed intelligent, fun, and helpful. The firm was a good size, and treated its students very well. I am a native Haligonian, grew up and went to school in Halifax. Calgary seemed like an exciting change, and an opportunity for me to spread my wings a little bit and have some experiences that I had not encountered during my university years.

2
My best advice is simply not to cram! And to keep a balanced life. Balance is so important in a profession such as law. And there is no better time to start practising balance and to avoid being consumed by this one aspect of your life than in law school. During the school year, I made sure I went to the gym four or five days a week. I bowled in a league one n ight a week (kind of geeky, I know, but so fun). I worked one shift a week at a local pub. I went out every weekend with my girlfriends. And often did girls’ nights and movies throughout the week. But having said all that, I always kept on top of my readings. I made sure I went to all my classes and had all assignments done on time. By doing all of this, there was never any need to cram. When exam time came, it was almost my least stressful time because all I was doing was studying to remember, not studying to learn.

3
It may sound bad, but write a lot, and fast, and don’t stop early! Most professors say that they don’t want you to just write out everything you know on the subject, which is true to a point. You certainly have to answer the questions. But try to show off a wee bit. It always worked for me. Do lots of practice exams. And make sure you answer all parts of the question. And always leave enough time for the essay question. Follow the time recommendations! Don’t look at books the morning of an exam. And listen to loud music on your way to school. Oh, and have eggs and a smoothie for breakfast — yummy brain food.

4
I don’t think I have one! There were certain classes I enjoyed because of the professor and then there were other classes where the subject was interesting. I really enjoyed most of my classes — which is probably why I’m having such a hard time deciding what area of law to go into!

5
The absolutely best place to go in Halifax is the Lower Deck. All students must go to this pub — it’s great. A lot of the law students also went to the Tribecca quite often, but I prefer more pub-like places.

Christine Joseph, University of Victoria


1
I’m articling at Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP in Vancouver, B.C. I?desired the variety of work and exceptional experience that a large firm with a national presence can offer.

2
Go for a long walk along the ocean. Enjoy a glass
of wine while?reading?a good novel.

3

Keep up throughout the term to ensure that exam week isn’t “cram” week. Be sure to get a good night’s sleep, as ?a few extra hours of studying will not make up for a sluggish mind.

4
Criminal law: it is fascinating (and not simply because I am a murder-mystery novel addict). The competing values of punishment for a crime committed on the one hand,?and the loss of a freedom on the other, creates a challenging?balance, which undoubtedly?produces?lively legal discourse.

5
I love the Tapas Bar. It is located in Trounce Alley in downtown Victoria. The coconut curry prawns are amazing!

Lucie Tessier,  Université du Québec à Montréal

 
1
Je n’ai pas encore arràªté mon choix en ce qui a trait au cabinet dans lequel je compléterai mon stage. J’ai cependant eu l’occasion d’occuper un emploi d’été au Syndicat canadien des communications, de l’Énergie et du Papier et un autre à la Ville de Montréal. Ces deux expériences de travail m’ont permises de perfectionner mes connaissances en droit du travail et de mesurer l’ampleur de la distinction entre la théorie et la pratique. J’espère vivement trouver l’automne prochain un stage motivant afin de poursuivre un carrière stimulante dans le domaine du droit du travail.

2
Une bonne planification du temps d’étude est véritablement le meilleur remède contre le stress. De plus, il est primordial de s’aménager un horaire alliant étude, plaisir et vie sociale. à‚ÃÆ’‡Â¨ éviter absolument; discuter de la matière avec d’autres étudiants dix minutes avant l’examen. Ces séances intensives de “bourrage de crâne” ne font qu’augmenter le niveau d’anxiété. Finalement, il est nécessaire de relativiser l’importance des examens. Après tout, ceux-ci ne constituent que des outils pour jauger notre compréhension des différents textes de loi.

3
Premièrement, toujours rester calme et ne pas laisser la panique nous emporter lorsque certaines questions nous semblent imcompréhensibles. Ensuite, se rappeler que les examens sont basés sur la matière vue lors des cours et que les réponses se trouvent donc forcément à l’intérieur des textes de lois étudiez. De plus, ne pas passer trop de temps sur les questions difficiles. Il est souvent préférable de passer au numéro suivant lorsqu’on ne connaà¬ÃÆ’†t pas une réponse et de revenir aux problèmes plus complexes à la fin de l’examen. Finalement, ne jamais oublier la révision finale. Il s’agit probablement l’étape la plus importante car elle permet d’éviter les erreurs d’inattention et de s’assurer d’un résultat optimal.

4
Mes cours préférés étaient ceux liés au droit du travail puisque c’est dans ce domaine que j’ai choisi de spécialiser ma pratique. Le travail est plus qu’un simple moyen de gagner sa vie. Il permet à l’àªtre humain de s’épanouir et de se réaliser. Les relations de travail sont donc primordiales tant au niveau individuel que collectif. Grâce à plusieurs professeurs inspirés et inspirants, j’ai eu l’occasion de découvrir cette branche du droit des plus passionnantes.

5
L’Université du Québec à Montréal est située en plein coeur du dynamique quartier Latin. Il y a donc quantité de lieux oà¬π aller prendre un café ou une bière entre amis. Pour relaxer, discuter ou prendre un verre en fin de session, j’affectionnais particulièrement le Bistro Sanguinet. Situé au sein màªme de l’université, ce petit resto-bar offre une ambiance chaleureuse et décontractée. Idéal pour étudiants stressés ou épuisés!

Ben Pullen, University of Saskatchewan

1
I am currently clerking at the Court of Queen’s Bench in Calgary. Subsequently, I will be finishing up my articles in Calgary with Osler Hoskin & Harcourt LLP. I originally applied for the clerking position simply because it is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work closely with the judiciary. It is a unique experience to be able to observe and participate in the decision-making process. I also thought clerking would broaden my legal experience, since I would be dealing with criminal and family law matters, which are areas that I may not get a chance to practise later on in my career. I decided to finish my articles with Osler because the firm offers an experience that few other firms can — first-rate legal work while still maintaining a smaller-office mentality. I was fortunate enough to summer at Osler in 2006 and, based on that experience, it was an easy decision to return to the firm.

2
There is no easier way to relieve stress than by playing hockey. While attending law school, I played in many different leagues ranging from senior hockey to campus rec. Hockey is great way to take out your every-day frustrations (within the rules, of course) and it also provides a great platform for meeting new people and creating new friends.

3
The hardest thing about law school is time management. If you can stay on top of your readings for every class and create your own notes daily or weekly, when it comes to exam time you should only have to condense your notes into one set of exam-quality study notes for review purposes. I know it is tempting to rely on others for study notes or “CANS,” but from my own personal experience, those types of resources are unreliable. Another tip would be to try to attend all of your classes. A number of professors have the uncontrollable urge to give hints about what they will be asking on the exam. If you go to every class and make a note of all the hints that are dropped by the time the exam comes around, you should have a general idea of the questions.

4
I don’t know if I had a clear-cut favourite. I enjoyed all my first-year classes simply because of the new subject matter, and I knew that this was the material I would be basing my legal career upon. In my final year, I focused mostly on business courses and found them to be a challenge, since I had no business background. The courses I would recommend include business organizations, securities, and bankruptcy.

5
If you asked me this question in my younger years, I would have had the answer right away, since the Patricia Hotel,
or “the Pat,” in Saskatoon was the bar of choice back then. Now that I am getting older, I still enjoy having the occasional beer at McGuires on 8th street or on the patio at Earls.

SPECIAL REPORTS



Save

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT