Education

Osgoode Hall Law School Professor Richard Haigh and his student co-host Felicity Radan get together to discuss the in‘s and out‘s of Canadian law school life while attempting to be funny. Sit down, shut up, and don‘t forget to do your readings.

Transcript - Episode 2: Upscale Lawyer #2

February 3, 2019

Episode 2: Upscale Lawyer #2

 

[Theme music plays]

 

Richard: What’s the job market like for space lawyers?

 

Lillianne: You know what it’s…

 

Adam: Lawyer is space is what I … gowns and hanging up…

 

Richard: What kind of suit… with an oxygen tank.

 

Lillianne: You know what? If Elon Musk’s colony on Mars becomes a thing, they’re going to need lawyers, and I’m going to be…

 

Adam: There won’t be any lawyers!

 

Richard: [Laughing] Yeah, that’s the first thing they’ll get rid of, is…

 

[Music finishes playing]

 

Adam: Ok. Welcome to What’s Law Got to Do With It. A light-hearted look at Canadian law schools.

 

Richard: Hi Adam.

 

Adam: Hey.

 

Richard: So, we say that this is episode 2 now?

 

Adam: Yeah. We just did.

 

Richard: Ok.

 

Adam: I’m Adam Lachance, going into second year here at Osgoode Law School.

 

Richard: And I’m Professor Richard Haigh and we’re here with … um… same guest we had last time.

 

[All laughing]

 

Lillianne: I couldn’t stay away.

 

Richard: Yeah. Well, it’s double duty, Lil. We gotta get you before you go away, so this is good. And plus, we only got through two myths out of seven.

 

Adam: We got a lot of feedback about that.

 

Richard: Yeah, we got all kinds of feedback, including from Hutch himself, I think.

 

Lillianne: Yup.

 

Richard: I’m sure that anonymous post is from him. Still not sure we’ll get it through all seven, but let’s get into it.

 

Adam: Dive right in.

 

Richard: So Adam, did you do any of your assigned readings for the myths that you missed?

 

Adam: I went to the library, but the book wasn’t… someone had already checked it out. I think you might have… did you?

 

Richard: Yeah! I’ve had it for a month! But, that…

 

Adam: I’m supposed to go buy it myself?

 

Richard: Oh, I guess I didn’t even think about that.

 

Adam: Welp. Next week I’ll get it, I guess.

 

Richard: Shall I photocopy the pages? But that’s only if we’re still doing myths next week. If we are … If I’ve got… I’ve got lots of books here… I might… so anyway, I’ll decide at the end of the episode where we’re going and I’ll spring it on you.

 

Adam: Ok. Sounds fair.

 

Richard: All right. So, Lil, what myth? What myth do you want to cover?

 

Lillianne: I think we should talk about the myth: I want to be a criminal lawyer or litigator. Which is kind of a weirdly phrased myth to probably explain. What’s mythical about that?

 

Richard: We should probably ask Adam if he understands what that means first of all.

 

Adam: I know it’s one of two things. [Chuckles] Either the myth is that people want to be a criminal lawyer and that’s why they go to law school only? Or it’s the opposite of that and I’m confused.

 

[Richard laughing]

 

Richard: Yeah, it’s clearly one of those two. I mean… [Richard laughing] It couldn’t be anything other than one of those two. Well, I will read it as- because I’m the professor – it means that it’s not true, that people come to law school with this idea that they want to be a criminal lawyer or litigator. In other words, a lot of people come to law school are not sure of what they are going to do and that’s ok.

 

Adam: I see. So that’s…

 

Richard: … so that’s…

 

Adam: …that’s kind of the myth saying that people kind of know already and are, like, targeted on these specific… Why criminal lawyer or litigator?

 

Richard: I don’t know. That’s what I don’t understand. Why wouldn’t you put a real estate lawyer or a …

 

Adam: … maybe because it’s easier to be like the most typical…

 

Richard: … most popular…

 

Adam: … type of lawyer. Like what people see in media and what not.

 

Lillianne: And I think you can apply it to anything. I think lots of people come into law school with a pre-ordained idea of what they want to do, and I think Hutchinson’s saying, you know, that will probably change. It might not.

 

Richard: Yeah.

 

Adam: That’s fair.

 

Lillianne: But it probably won’t.

 

Richard: That doesn’t make it a myth does it really? I’m still struggling with this myth thing.

 

Adam: Well, you thank you for joining me there.

 

Richard: Yeah. [Chuckles] But, anyway, the point is, even in our discussions before we started, all three of us – am I right? – thought that we would want to be criminal lawyers. I did.

 

Adam: I still do.

 

Richard: You still do?

 

Lillianne: Yeah. I mean, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. I… [chuckles] I don’t know if I ever told you this, Richard, but before I went to law school, I was an extra on Suits and just because I was doing work as an extra…

 

Richard: No, you never told me

 

Lillianne: No? I was doing work as an extra for a little bit to, you know, pay for myself getting through life after a journalism degree.

 

Richard: That’s fair.

 

Lillianne: … and I decided I wanted to go on Suits after I got… after I found out I got into law school, basically. [Laughs] And so it was a very… I was upscale lawyer #2 and we had to sit in a courtroom all day – myself and upscale lawyer #1 and pretend to talk for like 8 hours straight.

 

Richard: Wow.

 

Lillianne: And we had these leather binders with gold pencils, and we had to…

 

Richard: Oh right…

 

Lillianne: … furiously pretend to be scribbling, but of course, we were just drawing cartoons and passing them back and forth and trying not to giggle. And so…

 

Richard: Hang on. Guys, just to interrupt you there. There’s so much about that that I admit that… up… what does upscale lawyer mean? Like a Bay Street lawyer, or…?

 

Lillianne: Yeah. Bay Street.

 

Richard: Oh.

 

Lillianne: They have these descriptors at the front of these extra characters so you know what to wear.

 

Richard: You were dressed well. Ok.

 

Lillianne: I was in my pearls, yeah. Exactly.

 

Richard: Ok.

 

Lillianne: And so that was really the extent of my knowledge of what it meant to be a lawyer… was this experience drawing cartoons on a yellow legal pad and trying not to laugh in a fake court room.

 

Adam: So, what you’re saying is you want … you wanted to be an upscale lawyer.

 

Lillianne: [Laughing] I just wanted to be an upscale lawyer.

 

Richard: So, he had… Hutch should have added that as a category.

 

Lillianne: I don’t know why that’s not here.

 

Richard: You know; I want to be a criminal lawyer, or a litigator, or an upscale lawyer.

 

Adam: Upscale lawyer. [Laughs]

 

Richard: Upscale lawyer.

 

[Movie clip plays]

 

You’re going to start a week from Monday. Here’s what you gotta do: First, no more pot. We drug test. Stop smoking now you’ll be fine. I assume that’s all the drugs you do.

 

How do you know that?

 

You read books, I read people. Potheads smoke pot. That’s what they do.

 

That’s not all I do. I have interests.

 

You’re Mr. Albert-friggin-Einstein and you couldn’t get into law school. You think that’s not from smoking weed?

 

Trevor gots another thing. You’re never going to talk to Trevor again.

 

You’re going to ditch that briefcase and you’re going to get on a plane to Harvard and you’re going to learn everything there is about going to law school there.

 

Did you buy that suit?

 

Yeah?

 

Let’s buy some new ones.

 

[Heavy music plays in the background]

 

Richard: I have to say I’ve never watched Suits, but I know… I think it’s on Netflix now, so I think I’ll watch it.

 

Adam: It’s like the intellectual fantasy for the first season. It’s like the protagonist is… has a photographic memory and you’re like: man, I wish I had a photographic memory [whispered].

 

Lillianne: Mmm. That’d make life easier.

 

Adam: That was a whole season, pretty much. Right there.

 

Richard: There’s always one in every section that has a photographic memory. Did you know that, Adam? Did you know that?

 

Adam: I didn’t want to know that. Thanks.

 

Richard: Oh. Ok. [Laughing]

 

Lillianne: It’s just not fair.

 

Richard: Well, no. Usually they like to announce that they have a photographic memory.

 

[Adam and Lillianne laughing]

 

[Movie clip plays]

 

Mr. Brooks, did you read this material?

 

Yes, I did read the material. I memorized the facts. I have a photographic memory.

 

A what?

 

Photographic memory.

 

Could you repeat that?

 

Photographic memory.

 

A photographic memory is of absolutely no use to you, Mr. Brooks. Without the ability to analyze that vast mass of facts between your ears. Did you hear me, Brooks?

 

Yes, sir.

 

Richard: For me, this dates me, obviously, but, when I went to law school, the tv show of the time was LA Law and, of course, in most tv law shows it’s criminal law that the lawyers do. And so, your knowledge of law is limited to that small little slice, and I think that was the exciting, you know, reason to be a lawyer was to be a criminal lawyer and defend lawyers. For me it was defence work. I don’t know why. I chose that side. But…

 

Adam: Makes sense.

 

Richard: … but then I changed my mind once I was in law school. I liked criminal law. I had a good professor of criminal law. I did well in it and so I still liked it, but I gravitated towards Constitution law once I started taking that. So, there’s no way of knowing. So, in that sense I think Hutch’s myth is true. Because what is that… let me just make sure that you get, Adam, this is for your edification.

 

Adam: Thank you very much.

 

Richard: Some students arrive at law school with a definite idea of what kind of lawyer they want to be. This certainly can be troubling for those others who have no real idea what they want to do. So…

 

Adam: Interesting.

 

Richard: Yeah. In other words, he’s saying it’s ok that your mind is uncertain. Law school is still going to be ok for you, and you’ll still probably find your place. I often tell students that you may not know for five years. Frankly, you may not even know after three years of law. You’ve taken courses. Courses do not translate into practice of law necessarily. And, so the practice of law can be quite different. So, give yourself… keep an open mind for awhile, I think, is a good life lesson to go with. I mean, Lil, you’re more experienced than Adam. You’ve… but, yet, you know… you still kind of …

 

Lillianne: Oh. No. I’m still not sure what I want to do.

 

Richard: Open to all possibilities?

 

Lillianne: Mhm. And…

 

Richard: And maybe go back to Suits.

 

Lillianne: Maybe. Maybe they’ll hire me.

 

Richard: Do you need… Isn’t suits that show where – what’s her name – Mary… the prince…

 

Lillianne: Meghan Markle! Yeah!

 

Adam: Nailed it. Yeah.

 

Richard: Yeah. So, they need a new female lead.

 

Lillianne: Ohhh. Yeah. And I’m more qualified now since I actually know what being a lawyer is about.

 

Richard: Yeah, you don’t need to write…

 

Adam: Knowledgeable upscale lawyer #2.

 

Richard: [Laughing] Yeah! You won’t need to write cartoons anymore. You can actually write legal principles…

 

Lillianne: Exactly!

 

Richard: … on your little notepad as you work. Or as you’re filmed.

 

Lillianne: Well, I mean… I actually think I thought of every single career path at a certain point in law school. I was considering IP at one point, which is so funny to me now because I’m firmly in public law mindset now.

 

Adam: IP like Innocence Project?

 

[Everyone laughing]

 

Adam: I was confused because that was my IP!

 

Lillianne: [Laughing] That would be cool, too. I definitely thought about that for awhile.

 

Richard: Adam, that is IP. That fits perfectly…

 

Adam: Intellectual property, right?

 

Lillianne: Yes.

 

Richard: … but typically, most people on this planet don’t think about it that way. They think of it as intellectual property.

 

Lillianne: Yeah.

 

Richard: Which is a legal concept, too.

 

Lillianne: I was also convinced for awhile that I wanted to be a space lawyer, which is actually still somewhat of a passion of mine. McGill is the only school in Canada with a space law program. And it’s the best in the world, I’ve heard.

 

Richard: Well, what’s the job market like for space lawyers?

 

Lillianne: You know what, I think it’s …

 

Adam: [Chuckling] Lawyering in space with actual gowns hanging out the bottom of…

 

Richard: In a suit?

 

Adam: … bottom of your astronaut suit.

 

Richard: Yeah, you’d think…

 

Lillianne: A different kind of suit.

 

Richard: Yeah, a different kind of suit. With an oxygen tank.

 

Lillianne: Well, you know what? If Elon Musk’s colony on Mars becomes a thing, they’re going to need lawyers, and I’m going to be…

 

Adam: There won’t be any lawyers!

 

Richard: [Laughing] Yeah, that’s the first thing they’ll get rid of, is…

 

Adam: Gone number one.

 

Richard: Well that’s good. I think we’ve covered that myth.

 

Adam: I think one thing I would add a comment on that…

 

Richard: Yeah, go ahead.

 

Adam: I said last episode my undergraduate degree was criminal justice and public policy, and I went… started that degree because I wanted to become a police officer. And then, I found out what it would be like to be a police officer, and then all of the sudden I wanted to be a lawyer.

 

Lillianne: Hmm.

 

Adam: I came to law school not wanting to get into criminal law automatically, because I was afraid that I would just make that decision because of my background.

 

Richard: Yeah. Yeah.

 

Adam: … but, just even the overall… like, so I can imagine my time now as comprising five years, potentially, because four of my undergrad trying to figure it out, and a year of school now. And then, finally kind of thinking that I’m … might want to follow criminal law. So, took me that long of taking all criminal justice-oriented classes to even get to this point. So, I don’t imagine that someone even with an interest in criminal law would be able to solidify that by the end of first year, if I can’t.

 

Richard: Yeah.

 

Lillianne: Mhmm.

 

Adam: I’ve had a lot of time to think about that.

 

Richard: You are the poster person for this myth!

 

Adam: Yeah! Exactly. Right? Which myth?

 

[Richard laughing]

 

Lillianne: Depends.

 

Richard: Let’s move on before you … I think I got you to agree and that’s… we’re moving on. Adam, do you want to choose the next myth? Because that was Lil’s choice. Wasn’t it? That one?

 

Lillianne: Mhm.

 

Adam: I like the myth that says law school is all theory and no practice because I feel like that’s a debate that kind of still continues in first year. That’s something that came up a lot. That people would be like, “I like this professor because she actually practiced.” And then I’m like, “Oh, thanks for telling me. I didn’t know that.” [Sarcastically] But, the idea that the skills that we’re getting, especially in first year because, now that I’ve selected courses for second year, I’ve … I have an interest in a course called, like, trial advocacy. Which, seems like it would be a good way to develop some…

 

Richard: Practical (simultaneously with Adam)

 

Adam: … practical skills.

 

Richard: Yeah.

 

Adam: Whereas first year, like we were talking about last episode, the idea of figuring out how to read a case, and you’re like… what? Is this actually beneficial? Like, my mom asked me, when I was home for break, “Well, what did you learn at school?” And I was like, “I learned about this thing called Consideration.” I never … it blows my mind. I never understood it at all and then as I was trying to tell her, I didn’t even get to the keyword consideration, yet, and she was like, “You mean consideration?” And I was like, did I learn anything at law school? My mom already knows this stuff.

 

Richard: [Laughing] So, just… I know you want to interject, Lil, but just before I … I should… Let me give you a couple of sentences from Hutch’s elaboration on the myth: “A common complaint about law school, usually from older lawyers, is that it has lost touch with reality and is not teaching basic legal skills. It’s become too much of a philosophical slalom, or metaphysical speculation, or breeding ground for political radicals.” So, again, Hutch dispels that myth saying: you know, law school is actually … it’s both. And I think … there is theory – as there should be as in any academic subject – but, obviously law is a very practical discipline where peoples’ problems need to be resolved and you can’t ignore that, and I think Osgoode has a really good kind of balance between those two. So, well, Hutch is saying all law schools have a good balance between those two.

 

Adam: And it can be self-directed to some degree, like, you could definitely choose a path more along the philosophical academic side, right? And look at things in a very philosophical way, but you could also go the academic way and be really looking at practical problems at the same time, so it’s all mixed in together.

 

Richard: Yeah. Is that your take on it too, Lil?

 

Lillianne: Well, I don’t know if I feel fully qualified to dive into this debate. I articled at a very academic place, so… so I articled at the Constitutional Law Branch, and what they do is often – most of what they do is intervene at the Supreme Court and… and talk about what the law should be. So, it’s a lot of … you know…

 

Adam: Theory.

 

Lillianne: Theory.

 

Richard: Mhmm.

 

Lillianne: … and philosophical debate. And so, in that sense, I actually think that law school perfectly molded me to do well on that articling position, but I mean I don’t know if it would have helped me do well at… you know… at an immigration clinic where it’s a lot of intake meetings with clients because I … I don’t know how to do a client interview. I don’t think I… I’m sure there are classes available here to learn that, but I didn’t take them.

 

Richard: Did you take, say, Constitutional Litigation or a similar thing to it?

 

Lillianne: I didn’t.

 

Richard: Ok. Trial?

 

Lillianne: No. I did take a mediation class, though, which I found really great.

 

Richard: Yeah.

 

Lillianne: Yeah.

 

Richard: So, that’s very hands-on.

 

Lillianne: Mhm.

 

Richard: And even things like the … you were involved in thecourt.ca? And the Journal?

 

Lillianne: Oh yeah. Well, that’s another thing. I think, though, the writing and the research aspects of law school will put you in good stead no matter where you are.

 

Richard: Yeah. I mean, again, those are great examples of a combination between theory and practice because you’re actually writing and editing, which is practical, but it’s often … the content is theoretical, right? So, I think – to me – I think you can talk about practical in the sense of learning how to write like a lawyer, learning to be communicative, you know? All of that is the practical skill in a way.

 

Adam: It’s hard for me to think about this… to separate skills into useful or not useful. To some degree, just learning to do anything is going to help you learn to do other things.

 

Lillianne: [Laughing]

 

Adam: So, just the fact that you’re …

 

Richard: It’s learning! It’s just learning!

 

Adam: … engaging. If you can do one thing well, you can do anything well. That’s the way that I try to think about it.

 

Richard: Well, that’s a really interesting philosophy on life.

 

Adam: Yeah.

 

Richard: You can do one thing well…

 

Richard and Adam together: … you can do anything well.

 

Lillianne: I like that.

 

Richard: You’ve proven yourself at only one thing?

 

Adam: That’s what people, you know… really talented musicians can do anything essentially. They’ve mastered a craft, they know how to master the next craft, right? So, those types of challenges – even if it was something purely academic – you can turn that same aspect of your personality to…

 

Richard: Part of it – I think you’re right, because a lot of it just relates to discipline.

 

Lillianne: Mhm.

 

Richard: …a discipline of mind, which can help carry through lots of different things.

 

Adam: We’ll see when I drop out of second year…

 

Everyone: [Laughing]

 

Adam: … how well that holds up.

 

Richard: You run a marathon well?

 

Adam: After some practice.

 

Richard: Yeah, ok. [Laughing]

 

Adam: So, that covers most of the myths from the first chapter of Hutchinson’s…

 

Richard: Yeah, there’s many more myths later on, but we’ll save those for another time.

 

Adam: Now, we actually captured a few more, but we’ll actually come back to them in a future episode. We only… we have two of the ones that we’ve discussed so far that we’ll jump onto.

 

Richard: Yeah.

 

Adam: Yeah. One was: Undergraduate programs help you; and the other one was: Grades are notoriously low. So those are both juicy topics.

 

Richard: Both myths, though, remember Adam?

 

Adam: [Laughing] Yeah. About time. If I don’t understand by then, there’s a problem.

 

Richard: Or I’m going to fire you.

 

What’s Love Got to Do With It? Theme song playing in the background.

 

[END OF TRANSMISSION]

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