Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Getting Involved

Here's the crux: to get the job you want after law school you will need good grades, but profs use the bell-curve for the class so most of us will get Bs. So to stand out from the other Bs you need something besides grades, i.e. you need to volunteer and get involved. So the question becomes: what volunteer positions/ activities will make you stand out while not eating up too much study time? There is no easy answer.

At Queen's, there is an abundance of volunteer opportunities, clubs, and teams to gnaw away at your time. (There is also a constant barrage of social commitments, just in case you had any spare time beyond the obligatory and the non-obligatory stuff.) The school provides some (eg. QLA), former students have created others (eg Pro Bono), there are clubs, sports teams, and quite honestly, I'm probably not even aware of all the possibilities. Here's a run-down of the main ones:

Queen's Legal Aid (QLA). QLA selects about 55 volunteers each year from the 1st years and 2nd years. Each volunteer is assigned to an upper year group leader and a case. Depending on how long each case will take, volunteers will deal with one, two, or more cases during the school year. The huge benefit of volunteering with QLA is two-fold. First, you work directly with clients who you see from the beginning of the case to its resolution. Second, you work under a lawyer who guides you along the way - and, ultimately, it is the lawyer who takes responsibility for the case (if anything should go awry).

Pro Bono. QLA's organizational counterpart is Pro Bono. Pro Bono is a student-run group that works with organizations to help them with their legal problems. And, it's pro bono, so you don't get paid.

Queen's Law Journal. If you recall from OneL, a coveted volunteer position in law school is with the Law Journal. With one volume published annually, volunteers work on checking citations, editing text, and reading over submissions. Honestly, I'm not that sure what goes on with the QLJ, but if I found out more I'll keep you posted.

LSS - There are a lot of positions open if you're interested in the Law Students Society. For us first years, I believe there are 8 positions up for grabs right now. This past week, they've been plastering the notice boards with material. Yesterday they gave their speeches and we'll vote tomorrow and Thursday.

Clubs - There are tons of them. If you don't get into anything else, or if you're just not interested in anything else, I'm sure you can find a club that suits you. I would like to get involved in the International Law Club, but I'll have to see how much time I have.

Study Groups - The dates for our finals are set, so I'm assuming that most of us will start meeting in study groups soon.

I'm guessing that my volunteer commitments will take up a lot of time, so I'm trying to minimize everything else (besides academics, of course).

A bientot,


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