Sara Tatelman is a J.D. candidate at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law. She previously worked as a financial journalist, and holds a B.A. in Classics and English from McGill University. She can be found on Twitter at @sallytates.
A month into my 2L summer job at a union-side labour law firm, I’m still adjusting to the hours. To colleagues from my former life as a financial reporter, they might seem onerous; to classmates at full-service Bay Street firms, they may be downright enviable. But working from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. a few days a week hasn’t been a big adjustment — during the school year, I’m often studying until much later. No, what is new is the free time, the Saturdays and Sundays unencumbered by textbooks, by whiteboard maps, by the knowledge of looming exams.
From commiserating over incomprehensible lectures and rehearsing for moot tryouts to hitting up pub nights and attempting to lift heavy at the athletic centre, law school friends are essential. Plus, your classmates are probably pretty cool people, and you’d be remiss for not befriending at least a handful.
For Valentine’s Day this year, some friends and I went to see a taping of the podcast Single Girl Problems. In the introduction, the host mentioned she’d be discussing, among other things, spousal support.
Would you like a biscuit with that testamentary trust you’re discussing? At Lawyers and Lattes, a new legal café in midtown Toronto, clients can order rental agreements, family trusts, employment contracts and all sorts of coffee off menus that clearly indicate each service’s price.
On the surface, law and medicine seem like they’d attract starkly different students, but there is overlap. Both in terms of academics (bioethics comes to mind) and daily work (rapidly synthesizing information while interacting with clients or patients). So how does a kid fresh out of undergrad decide whether to write the LSATs or the MCATs?
Maps and summaries, summaries and maps. A couple of practice exams, some group-study sessions, maybe even a flash card pack. But for the most part, maps and summaries are how law school exam preparation gets done. And that, my fellow Ls of all years, is a crying shame.
The 2L recruit is heavy on acronyms. Some are employers, most are government: MOL; DOJ; PPSC. Others are procedural: OCIs; ITCs; PFOs. They came in handy when, one sunny October afternoon, I wanted to speedily recap this year’s process to my roommate: “Three employers sent out PFOs halfway through OCIs today!”
Unlike most undergraduate programs, a JD prepares you for a specific career. Whether you litigate or focus on transactional cases, whether you work in Vancouver or in Vaudreuil, you’re training to practise the law. But how do you know what best prepares you for practice?