Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Lawyers in Leadership

Today my girlfriend scored a major coup: she shook Bill Clinton's hand and had him sign his new memoir. (I fear she won't be washing her hand in the near future. Yikes!) In other news, on 6/16 fellow blogger Ben pointed out that if (heaven forbid) Stephen Harper becomes the next Prime Minister of Canada, he will be the first PM without a law degree since Lester B. Pearson. I wonder, does anyone know what percentage of American Presidents/ Canadian PMs have had law degrees?

Saturday, June 12, 2004

Study Groups & Tuition

Since reading OneL, I keep thinking about study groups. During my undergrad, the closest I got to being part of a study group was a course on Wittgenstein - there were only 4 registered students - but it seems like the information in law school is more condusive to study groups.

My uncle, who graduated from a small law school in Minnesota (and went on to own a medical school), thinks that study groups could be useful for tough courses. My girlfriend shared her experience with study groups: one or two students do all the work while the others sit back and reap the benefits. My Fordham friend was in one study group this past year. They formed the group at the beginning of term but didn't start to meet regularly until closer to exams. What do you guys think about this? Are there readers out there that are already planning their study groups for Sept?


Another stressor facing law school students is tuition. On EZBoard's Queen's page, Abyscat posted a link to current tuition rates at Queen's. He writes:
It was surprisingly hard to find this information--perhaps they feel they have something to hide? Anyhow, the number is $9848.49, including all activity fees, etc. It's actually about $1000 less than I was expecting. I suppose we have Dalton to thank for this....

Yes, based on the 2003-2004 Prospectus we received with our acceptance letters, the figures quoted on the website are low. In fact, the "tuition fee" of $8,961 is the same figure quoted in the Prospectus under "tuition" for the 2003-2004 academic year. So basically, it appears as though they didn't raise the tuition to $10,663 as they had planned. Another figure that caught my eye was the $787.49 for a "Student Activity Fee." Did anyone else notice that law school students pay the most? Is that the money Queen's uses for our weekly wine & cheese parties? ;)

OK Class of 2007, how much are we looking at then long-term? Based on Queen's numbers, the total estimated costs of a year of law school are between $18,316 - $22,206. Let's go with $22,000, add $2000 each year for tuition hikes and inflation, and times it by 3 years: total possible debt is $70,000. (Did I calculate that correctly?) That's about $52,000 USD. Here's news for you: "as of 2002, the average U.S. medical student carried $104,000 in student debt upon graduation." So the maximum burden we face is roughly half of the average American medical student. Yes, I know, medical students are not law students. But I'm guessing the debt load of American law school students is pretty similar. That said, the average starting salary of a UofT Law graduate is $50,000 while the average starting salary of a Yale Law graduate is $76,464. More than anything I think we should be thankful we're getting our degrees while Canadian law schools are still affordable.

Word(s) of the Day: Ex Post/Ex Ante (BTW, this def comes from a great site for expanding your legal lexicon.)

Eliot Spitzer & Lloyd Axworthy

A common joke around here goes:

So why is it that California has the most lawyers and New Jersey has the most toxic waste dumps?




New Jersey got first pick. :)

Hey, if we're gonna be lawyers, we better start learning lawyer jokes (and their rebuttals).

A lawyer that Californians would probably be proud of is New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer. He's a good democrat, a tireless worker, and a crusader against all forms of corruption. Mr. Spitzer made a name for himself in 2002 when he arm-wrestled Merrill Lynch and came away with a $100 million fine, an apology and a promise to reform the way it paid its analysts. I have been interested in Corporate Social Responsibility for a while, so Mr. Spitzer's successes against Wall Street corruption have been an inspiration. As a Canadian, I am proud that our former Minister of Foreign Affairs Lloyd Axworthy broached the topic of CSR at the Organization of American States and, thankfully, DFAIT has continued to support it. The trouble is, we don't have enough legal minds, like Mr. Spitzer, who can implement and properly enforce the resolutions we've spent so much energy to craft.

Last week, my girlfriend and I went up 5th Avenue for the Museum Mile festival and I pointed our Mr. Spitzer's residence. He lives there with his wife Mira (a fellow Harvard Law School grad) and their 3 kids. People around here say that he works so hard because he's interested in running for governor of New York State but I don't buy it. Perhaps it's true that he is interested in running, but I think Mr. Spitzer works hard because he's passionate about justice. And I can empathize.

Actually, I heard Dr. Axworthy speak at the UN recently and I learned that he is now the President of the University of Winnipeg. Um, sorry but, has anyone heard of the University of Winnipeg before? (Please excuse my ignoranace.) Incidentally, there's a Queen's connection here. Last year, Dr. Axworthy received an honorary doctorate from Queen's as a human rights activist. Here's an brief bio:
Dr. Axworthy became internationally known for his advancement of the human security concept, in particular, the Ottawa Treaty - a landmark global treaty banning anti-personnel landmines. For his leadership on landmines, he was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. For his efforts in establishing the International Criminal Court and the Protocol on child soldiers, he received the North- South Institute’s Peace Award.

Nice to know there are some good apples out there, eh?

Thursday, June 10, 2004

Each vote counts

In my research to make an educated vote, I came across this article: Voting NDP: wasting your vote? Here's an excerpt:
Now more than ever, since the amendment of the Canada Elections Act, every vote counts in a very real way. Canadian political parties are no longer allowed to raise money from corporations or unions. To make up for this loss of revenue, each party will be given $1.75 for each vote they receive. Each vote will help the NDP promote progressive issues that are important to Canadians.

OneL: Summer Jobs

A few months ago, I met a guy at a Rock the Vote Meetup who was in his first year of law at Fordham University. At the time, I had been accepted into Queen's but I hadn't decided where I was going to go. I was really nice meeting someone who had already gone through the whole admissions process. Since then, we've met on and off for drinks and it's been fascinating for me to here how his courses have been progessing, etc (part of the reason I started this blog). Anyhow, I wanted to let y'all know that even though he just finished his first year, he got a summer job at a New York firm doing basically what he wants to do after law school: copyright law.

That said, he says he's among a slim minority. Most of his classmates have taken *unpaid* internships or have gone abroad on volunteer missions to build schools or teach English.

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

The Importance of Voting

You know, I have to admit, I have thought for a number of years that Canadian politics was pretty boring. Until recently! It seems like since the emergance of a united Conservative Party and a strong leader at the helm of NDP this upcoming election is actually a race! I'm very impressed. My girlfriend and I just sent away for our mail-in ballots. I'm still not entirely sure who I'm going to vote for - but I will definately vote.

I should mention that I'm pretty anal about voting. I find it pretty depressing how few of my cohort are either registered to vote, or are interested. On a business trip to DC I was watching The Daily Show in the hotel and Jon Stewart joked that choosing between the Democrats and the Republicans is like choosing between Pepsi and Coke. And he has a point. Like many jokes, Mr. Stewart's revealed a nugget of truth: in both platform and methodology, the Democrats and the Republicans are very similar. Yet, if Al Gore were President would he have attacked Iraq? Of course we have no way of knowing for sure, but I think it's a safe bet to say that the 10,000 people who have died in this war would probably still be alive.

Monday, June 07, 2004

Getting a QLINK account

Over the last week I've been setting up my QLINK account and my QLINK email account with Queen's. Considering the comment posted below, I will share the hoops I went through with the appropriate links, etc. For the long version, read this.

1. Dug up my acceptance letter and wrote down my student ID on the back of my business card.

2. Went to the GET ID page.

3. Entered my student ID where it says "Type your student number" and entered my birthday as the PIN.

4. Thought of a new password that complies with the criteria stipulated. There's a guide provided by Queen's on How to Choose a Good Password. I tried using a password that I generally use for medium security Internet accounts - it is a combination of numbers and food - but apparently that was in violation of Rule #5 (cannot use a combination of names, birthdays and/or phone numbers).

5. Found an acceptable new password and wrote it down.

6. Waited 24 hours. Watched the Flames beat Tamba Bay in OT. Yah!!

7. Logged on (to the same site above) using my student ID and the new password.

8. Selected and copied (quickly) the screen that came up with my "login NETID(userid)" and your "Initial PASSWORD" - it automatically disappeared after about 60 seconds.

9. Waited "more than an hour" and watched the Flames lose to Tamba Bay at a sports bar (I was the only one in the bar watching the game - New Yorkers are not big hockey fans). They better win tonight!!!!

* this is where I needed help*

10. I emailed the Admissions Assistant. Her response:
Hi A: I know it is convoluted.

Your email account is ****@qlink.queensu.ca and the password they gave you (1 number and 6 letters) is to access your email only.

The first thing you signed onto - QCard - is just your student info that is kept by the University Registrar's office. To sign into QCard, you use your student number and your PIN the one you changed.

I hope that this is the only confusion. If not, I will look into it further.
11. For QCARD info: I went to the QCARD Log-in screen (which is a different page from above) and used my trusty student ID (from the acceptance letter) and my new rule-proof password. If this link doesn't work then you can go to the main QCARD page and scroll down to the bottom for the link to the log-in page.

12. For Email: I went to the "Web-based Email for Students" page and used my new, cryptic "NETID(userid)" and my "Initial PASSWORD" to access my newest email account. To give you an idea, my NETID is 3 numbers and 2 letters, and my password is 1 number and 6 (completely random) letters.

The silver lining to this story is that the Admissions Assistant at the Faculty of Law is extremely helpful and will send you a prompt reply if you have any difficulties.

Also, some links on the Queen's site are dead. (For example, on the Online Resources for Students page page, the link for "Wait! Don't buy a computer. Well, not yet anyway. There are other things to consider before you buy... Click here for more information" is dead. But I just got off the phone with the IT folks and they're in the middle of redoing the site.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

My new QLINK account

I just heard from Queen's about my new qlink email account. Their missive states that this account will only be available from now until I graduate. You know, I don't understand why universities don't let their alumni use their email accounts indefinitely. The costs to them are: servers & hard drive space. The benefits are: happy alumni & free advertising and promotion for the school & a constant reminder to alumni where they got their degree(s). Don't the benefits outweigh the costs? It seems like a no-brainer to me.

And CONGRATS to Layla
My fellow blogger listed below decided on Queen's after some deliberation. She wrote in her blog:
The students, volunteers, and staff at Queen's were not only friendly but also helpful, and they made me feel welcomed as a visitor to their campus. The school has won me over.



As you can imagine, it will be quite a change for me moving from New York City to Kingston, Ontario. I've been checking out the Cataraqui River project's webcam, local restaurants (is there not a single sushi bar?) and reading about what Queen's has about the town. Um, well, I'm going for the law school, right? At this point, I'm just looking to find a decent pad near campus and keep my mind open about Kingston.

Escape to Toronto?
I am thinking that I may need to spend some weekends in a proper city. So, anyone know how Queen's students get to Toronto easily and cheaply? (Toronto's comparable to New York, right?) The Queen's site lists flights from Pearson Airport and the "Trentway-Wagar Coach Service" as the 2 options. From that it seems like the cheapest way (round trip) is the coach @ $80. Does anyone know a cheaper way?

Finding a Home
I keep checking back to the Housing Help Centre in Kingston to get a sense of pricing/ neighbourhoods. I also tossed in my hat for the co-op housing run by Science 44. Here's some useful advice from the discussion board:
DrStrangelove divides Kingston into:
North of Princess (aka NOP):
It gets a bad rap. As long as you stay within four or five blocks of Princess Street you will be fine. I lived NOP first year and had no problems. Student housing is starting to creep northward anyway. You can get a three bedroom house for as low as $600 if your lucky. Property standards are not the greatest though. Avoid going beyond this four to five block area and confine yourself between Albert and Colborne Street (ie from West to East).

West of the Ghetto, but not West Campus:
You can find some nice apartments and houses there. Students are mixed in with permanent residents here, so the places are usually nicer. (Cheaper than living above shops on Princess too.) I would look into this, as you are still within a 10 to 20 miniute walk from the school. Far from the bars and a pain in the ass to go food shopping if you do not have a car though. The car applies more to the food I guess.

Above shops on Princess (eg Sleepless Goat):
Nice places mostly, but overpriced for Kingston.

Living in the Townships (ie away from the Ghetto and away from the areas near the Ghetto):
It will be cheap and it will be nicer. However, no one will ever come to your house and parking near Queen's is a giant pain in the a-s-s. Moreover, you will miss out on the Queen's experience. Don't do it. Unless of course your someone with a family.

Thanks Doc!