Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Tony Merchant

You have got to read this article from Macleans Magazine September 4, 2006. I read it this morning over breakfast and almost lost the oatmeal in my mouth!

I had read some stuff on the internet about the Residential Schools class action lawsuit settlement, but I had no idea about the guy behind it all. I don't know whether to love or hate this man and the firm that he has built. I'm pretty sure that I lean towards the former. The man seems to be quite disgusting! I plan to rant about him in a few days, once the article has simmered in my mind a bit. In the meantime, please post your comments on this site, as I would love to hear some logical explanations for his lifestyle, his approach to the law, and his approach to Aboriginal Peoples of Canada.

I look forward to your comments.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Litigation vs. Solicitation

When I first started law school (and maybe even before), I pictured myself doing a lot more corporate and commercial work. I didn't really see myself as a litigator. Over time, I have started to change my mind. I am starting to accept that in order to actually get something done - to actually affect the world around me, I am going to have to litigate. I am going to have to struggle through the rules of court and the rules of evidence and to muddle my way through trial preparation, writs of enforcement and demands for particulars. I am going to have to fight for access to justice for those who hire me on their behalf.

Actually, I feel really good today because of my successes. I feel really good that I was able to teach myself new things, and to help a client in need. That's what it is all really about.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

If you hadn't heard, some flake stole from me. Don't even try visiting that site - it's useless drivel now. After some ranting, and raving...c'est law vie.

I present to you

I will be posting new stuff there over the next couple of weeks, including CANS and outlines for law school and some law school surveys. I will also be filling it up with every Canadian law school resource I can get my hands on.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Law Movies: 12 Angry Men

STARRING: Martin Balsam, John Fiedler, Lee J. Cobb, E.G. Marshall, Jack Klugman, Ed Binns, Jack Warden, Henry Fonda, Ed Begley, George Voskovec, Robert Webber
DIRECTOR: Sidney Lumet
STUDIO: United Artists
GENRE: Drama / Crime
RELEASE DATE: April 13, 1957

You might wonder why I have been posting law movie commentary lately. Well, I have been exploring these various movies for a reason. I am wondering why I became a lawyer. I'll tell you a bit of a secret. Some days, being a lawyer is really, really boring. It's mundane work sometimes. Sometimes it's hard to get up in the morning, because I know that I am going to have to relegate my time towards filling in template contracts, template real estate documents, template wills. There's not a whole lot of thought that goes into this work sometimes. Every once in a while, I will become surprised by a genuine challenge - a legal twist that requires real thought. A problem that requires a unique solution. But, more often, it's little different than an assembly line job.

Sounds terrible, but it's better to fact the truth than to lie to myself. Here's the conundrum. I have spent 10 years in university, and 1 1/2 years training myself for this particular career - that of a lawyer. So, I'm not willing to give up on this choice just yet. In the past, when I have faced a wall (think long-distance running), I often have taken stock of the reasons I am doing what I am doing. In watching movies, amongst other exercises, I am looking deeper within myself to find the real reasons that I wanted, or want to become a lawyer. And, once that answer is found, I want to answer the question as to how to become a really good lawyer.

Some will argue that law movies are overtly fictitious accounts of life and the law. But, I counter that with the position that movies appeal to us so much because they reflect real life in more ways than we choose to accept or realize.

Colleagues have posited that lawyers don't act like Tom Cruise or Andy Griffeth or John Travolta. Courtroom antics on LA Law do not reflect real-life, every-day, nitty gritty, legislative and rule-based litigation or criminal matters. This might be true. But, there is something that we see on the big screen, something that continues to drive the massive market of law movies (and law novels, for that matter). We all seek after justice, we all want to see the underdog win. We all want fairness. And, some of us like to see the darker side of life. We like to conduct a forensic analysis of a situation, and feel like we can come out on top, to solve the issue, to see through the mist and bring light to the situation.

By probing these thoughts and questions, after watching a legal themed movie, it helps me to understand a little bit better what attracted me to law. It helps me to look at my own practice, and to tweak things a little bit. Realize that I am not looking to DVD's for legal theory or courtroom etiquette. I am looking at character, at ethics and morals, at treatment of real human beings, and at difficult situations that pose really deep questions.

Many legal stories are not written by real lawyers. Although John Grisham was a lawyer, he does not currently practice. Whether formally educated in the law or not, legal authors choose to look beyond the procedural aspects of the law to the drama involved. There is a reason for the incredible volume of legally-themed fiction in America. We are all fascinated by this subject matter. Many of us seem to secretly long to fulfill the role of the attorney, or for some of us, the judge.

I loved legal-themed movies, and TV (I don't watch TV anymore) before law school. I still love them. They inspire me, and they help me to look within myself to explore my identity as a servant of the people.

I watched 12 Angry Men again on Saturday. Great movie. A must-see if you are at all interested in justice. It is an interesting film, made in 1957. It stars 12 actors who, except for a brief moment at the beginning of the film, and for a brief moment at the conclusion, never leave the jury room. An entire movie filmed in one room seemed impossible to me, until I saw this movie. There is little action, other than men getting up and moving around the room. Once in a while, they will go to the attached washroom. You watch this movie more with your auditory senses than with your eyes (although the acting and facial expressions are quite good, especially for this period).

The film stars Henry Fonda (think On Golden Pond). He plays the devil's advocate. He causes the other 11 jurors to question the seemingly clear-cut conclusion as to a death-penalty murder case. He teaches the other jurors about the concept of reasonable doubt, and about the assumption of innocence until proven guilty. Although somewhat melodramatic compared to modern dramas, the issues and dilemmas are genuine. The characterizations are quite superb.

It is a black and white film, and all of the extras that we see in movies today are stripped away. The only props are a few exhibits from the murder case, and some hats, jackets and handkerchiefs. Otherwise, it's just you and the jury. I found this interesting because with a real jury case, it's just the lawyer, the judge and the jury. You can use evidence, although on a limited basis. Otherwise, it's up to you as the lawyer to paint the picture of what happened at the time of the crime, or the incident. You have to act. You have to create drama. You have to pull at the heartstrings of everyday people. You have to make them question their preconceptions about many things. You have to suspend belief, and sometimes cause a paradigm shift. You have to act as psychologist, analyst, social commentator, and more, all while staying within the confines of evidential rules. It is no doubt, a grand challenge.

I love teaching people about the law. I love meeting with a client, face to face, and changing their mind about their response to a situation or to someone else. I love looking at the person's challenge and helping them to see many possible outcomes, and helping them to choose the path that will lead to the most satisfaction. I love help the person to predict what the other side will do or say, what a judge will do or say, and to help them to avoid potential pitfalls or mistakes.

There are many things that I do love about the practice of law. There are many things that I want to do with the knowledge that I have absorbed and gathered over the years. I hope that you too can find inspiration in the movies, in novels and in the world around you, to help you to reach your potential as an attorney, as a servant of the people.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Law School: The Best Law School in Canada

I received this letter from a fellow blawger today. I have decided to post it, although I don't necessarily endorse it. I would appreciate your comments on this little essay. I would also appreciate comments on why law school is not included in the Macleans rankings. BTW - I noticed that my Alma Mater was voted #1 this year. Yahoo!

The Best Law School In Canada

(NB: You have permission to publish my short letter should you choose.)

I may present myself as somewhat of a backward opinionate in my assessment of what school constitutes the best in Canada, however, by virtue of the theme of this essay I believe I am entitled to do so.

University of Toronto School of Law has traditionally, and is quite currently, perceived as the best law school in Canada. I would not hesitate to assert that they too share that opinion. Indeed, their tuition speaks for itself. Their reasons are abundant, and range from a celestial roster of exceptional professors to frequent lectures by high-profile guest legal professionals, to a fortuitously incestuous relationship with Bay Street. I must concur that these are admirable qualities, and that indeed U of T Law is in the upper echelon of Canadian law schools. However, I must award the “status” of Best Law School to the University of Calgary School of Law.

As one of Canada’s youngest law schools, U of C has excelled dramatically in its development on all levels. Particularly, its 5-Year Strategic Plan is exceptionally well-thought out and will pose a monumental advantage to its students. Its lack of pretentiousness combined with its small class sizes (formerly 75, increasing to 100 per year) make for a healthy learning environment that supports strong communication and tight group development.

U of C Law is intentionally and successfully positioning itself as an Ivy League law school in Canada, particularly in the area of natural resources and energy law – a field where Canada is a major player internationally, and which has immense impact on our wealth as a nation.

U of C law has devoted exceptional funding to enhance the areas that will positively impact its students and its status among Canadian law school. Areas include: Chairs - $6 million; additional faculty members $2.5 million; financial aid to facilitate access for lower income individuals $2.5 million; library acquisitions and information technology $1 million; technology infrastructure $1.5 million; renovations $6.5 million - commendable.

Finally, in concert with its growing status in natural resources and energy law, the U of C has built, and continues to build, titanium-strong relationships with Alberta’s energy companies and top-tier law firms (such as Bennett Jones LLP). In weighing in on which law school is the best in Canada, it is important to look not only at where a school has been and currently is, but more importantly where it’s going; its forward trajectory and rate of improvement in excellence are equally, if not more, rewarding criteria.

My vote, thus, sits with the University of Calgary School of Law.

Dr. Essien Udokang
Prospective Law Student

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Free Books: Giveaway

I am going to give away, at random, three (3) free copies (including shipping) of my book this week. All you have to do to qualify is to email me with a cogent and responsible opinion on what the best law school is in Canada. Include your reasons why you think your choice is the best, including any stats and objective viewpoints that you might have. Please include your permission or non-permission to post your answer. I look forward to receiving your responses. -- Adam

Law School: Contact Information

More Detailed Contact information for all of the Law Schools in Canada:


University of British Columbia - Faculty of Law, 1822 East Mall, Vancouver, British Columbia, V6T 1Z1,Tel: (604)
822-2818, Fax: (604) 822-4781,, LLB / Combined Program Admissions Inquiries:, Graduate Student Admissions Inquiries:

University of Victoria - Faculty of Law, P.O. Box 2400, Victoria, British Columbia, V8W 3H7, Tel: (250) 721-8147, Fax: (250) 472-4299 or (250) 721-6390,, Admissions Office:


University of Alberta - Faculty of Law, 485 Law Centre, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, T6G 2H5, Tel: (780) 492-5590, Fax: (780) 492-4924,, Admissions:

The University of Calgary - Faculty of Law, 2500 University Drive, N.W. Calgary, Alberta, T2N 1N4, Tel: (403) 220-7116, Fax: (403) 282-8325,,


University of Saskatchewan - College of Law, 15 Campus Drive, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, S7N 5A6, Tel: (306) 966-5910, Fax: (306) 966-5900,,


University of Manitoba - Faculty of Law, Room 301, Robson Hall, Winnipeg, Manitoba, R3T 2N2, Tel: (204) 474-9282, Fax: (204) 474-7580,


Carleton University - Department of Law, C473 Loeb Building, 1125 Colonel By Drive, Ottawa, Ontario, K1S 5B6, Tel: (613) 520-2600, Ext. 8212, Fax: (613) 520-4467,,

York University - Osgoode Hall Law Schoool, 4700 Keele Street, North York, Ontario, M3J 1P3, Tel: (416) 736-5199, Fax: (416) 736-5251,

Queen's University - Faculty of Law, Macdonald Hall, Kingston, Ontario, K7L 3N6, Tel: (613) 533-6000, ext. 74285, Fax: (613) 533-6509,

University of Ottawa - Faculty of Law, Common Law Section, 57 Louis Pasteur, Ottawa, Ontario, K1N 6N5, Tel: (613) 562-5927, Fax: (613) 562-5124,

Université d'Ottawa - Faculté de droit, Section de droit civil, 57 Louis Pasteur, Ottawa, Ontario, K1N 6N5, Tel: (613) 562-5902, Fax: (613) 562-512,

University of Toronto - Faculty of Law, 84 Queen's Park, Toronto, Ontario, M5S 2C5, Tel: (416) 978-3718, Fax: (416) 971-3026,,

University of Western Ontario - Faculty of Law, London, Ontario, N6A 3K7, Tel: (519) 661-3346, Fax: (519) 850-2412,

University of Windsor - Faculty of Law, 401 Sunset Avenue, Windsor, Ontario, N9B 3P4, Tel: (519) 253-4232, Ext. 2930, Fax: (519) 973-7064,


Université Laval - Faculté de droit, Pavillon CharlesDeKoninck, Québec, Québec, G1K 7P4, Tel: (418) 656-3511, Fax: (418) 656-7714,

McGill University - Faculty of Law, 3644 Peel Street, Montréal, Québec, H3A 1W9, Tel: (514) 398-6604,
Fax: (514) 398-4659,,

Université de Montréal -
Faculté de droit, C. P. 6128, succursale Centre-Ville, Montréal, Québec, H3C 3J7, Tel: (514) 343-2356, Fax:
(514) 343-2199,

Université du Québec à
- Département des sciences juridiques, C.P. 8888, succursale Centre-ville, Montréal, Québec, H3C 3P8,
Tel: (514) 987-3000, ext. 7047, Fax: (514) 987-4784,

Université de Sherbrooke - Faculté de droit, 2500 boul. Université, Sherbrooke, Québec, J1K 2R1, Tel: (819) 821-7511, Fax: (819) 821-7578,


University of New Brunswick - Faculty of Law, Ludlow Hall, Box 4400, Fredericton, New Brunswick, E3B 5A3, Tel: (506) 453-4702, Fax: (506) 453-4604,,

Université de Moncton - École de droit, Université de Moncton, New Brunswick, E1A 3E9, Tel: (506)
858-3705, Fax: (506) 858-4534,


Dalhousie University - Dalhousie Law School, 6061 University Avenue, Halifax, Nova Scotia, B3H 4H9, Tel: (902) 494-2114, Fax: (902) 494-1316,,

Law School: Featured Law School Books

Featured Law School Books

Acing Your First Year of Law School: The Ten Steps to Success You Won't Learn in Class by Shana Connell Noyes (Author), Henry S. Noyes (Author), CDN$ 21.95

From the Publisher

Law school attendance continues to rise each year. As more and more students enter law school, it becomes even harder to stand out in the crowd of other students. This book will teach you how to stand head and shoulders above your colleagues in law school, and succeed in your most critical year of law school, the first year.

Product Description: Most first-year law students waste a tremendous amount of time learning piles of information they don't need to know, because they have no one to guide them. This text, in ten easy-to read chapters, is the guide for students entering or contemplating law school. After reading the ten chapters, set up as lessons, student will know how to study the law.

Getting to Maybe: How to Excel on Law School Exams by Richard Michael Fischl (Author), Jeremy Paul (Author), CDN$ 19.51

Professors Fischl and Paul explain law school exams in ways no one has before, all with an eye toward improving the reader's performance. The book begins by describing the difference between educational cultures that praise students for "right answers," and the law school culture that rewards nuanced analysis of ambiguous situations in which more than one approach may be correct. Enormous care is devoted to explaining precisely how and why legal analysis frequently produces such perplexing situations. But the authors don't stop with mere description. Instead, Getting to Maybe teaches how to excel on law school exams by showing the reader how legal analysis can
be brought to bear on examination problems. The book contains hints on studying and preparation that go well beyond conventional advice. The authors also illustrate how to argue both sides of a legal issue without appearing wishy-washy or indecisive. Above all, the book explains why exam questions may generate feelings of uncertainty or
doubt about correct legal outcomes and how the student can turn these feelings to his or her advantage. In sum, although the authors believe that no exam guide can substitute for a firm grasp of substantive material, readers who devote the necessary time to learning the law will find this book an invaluable guide to translating learning into better exam performance.

Law School For Dummies by Rebecca Fae Greene (Author), CDN$ 20.29

The straightforward guide to surviving and thriving in law school.

Every year more than 40,000 students enter law school and at any given moment there are over 125,000 law school students in the United States. Law school’s highly pressurized, super-competitive atmosphere often leaves students stressed out and confused, especially in their first year. Balancing life and schoolwork, passing the bar, and landing a job are challenges that students often need help facing. In Law School For Dummies, former law school student Rebecca Fae Greene uses straight talk, sound advice, and gentle humor to help students sort through the swamp of coursework and focus on what’s important–all while maintaining a life. She also offers rare insight on the law school experience for women, minorities, non-traditional, and non-Ivy League students.

Law School Confidential: A Complete Guide to the Law School Experience: By Students, for Students by Robert H. Miller (Author), CDN$ 18.17

I wish I knew then what I know now! Don't get to the end of your law school career muttering these words to yourself! Take the first step toward building a productive, successful, and perhaps even pleasant law school this book! Written for students about to embark on this three year odyssey, by students who have successfully
survived law school. Law School Confidential demystifies the life-altering thrill ride that defines an American legal education by providing a comprehensive, blow-by-blow, chronological account of what to expect. Law School Confidential arms students with a thorough overview of the contemporary law school experience. This isn't the advice of graying professors or battle-scarred practitioners decades removed from the law school. Fresh out of University of Pennsylvania Law School, Robert Miller has assembled a panel of recent law school graduates all of whom are perfectly positioned to shed light on what law school is like today. Law School Confidential invites you to walk in their steps to success and to learn from their mistakes. From taking the LSAT, to securing financial aid, to navigating the notorious first semester, to exam-taking strategies, to applying for summer internships, to getting on the law review, to tackling the bar and beyond...Law School Confidential explains it all.

The Practice of Law School: Getting in and Making the Most of Your Legal Education by Esq.,, Christen Civiletto Carey (Author), CDN$ 26.57

This handbook for aspiring lawyers coaches them to make the most of law school by taking charge of their education and burgeoning careers early on. It provides current and future law students with invaluable information about the law school application process, financing law school, selecting classes, evaluating study groups, developing effective exam-taking strategies, choosing extracurricular activities and summer jobs, preparing for the bar exam, and balancing school with family life. Demonstrated are the ways in which students can begin to think like practicing lawyers and attain experience in law school that is relevant, practical, and essential to practicing law in the real world.

Starting Off Right in Law School by Carolyn Nygren (Author), CDN$ 15.83

The result of eight years of Nygren's work with first-semester students in five different law schools, this book melds information about the legal system usually found in legal methods books with information about study skills
usually found in books with a "how to succeed in law school" focus. The book uses one area of law — the implied warranty of merchantability as it applies to food — to illustrate various legal issues and the skills needed to master them. It introduces basic legal concepts and vocabulary in the context of one hypothetical case, and then focuses on the structure of cases and types of reasoning courts use. When finished with the book, readers will have the background they need in order to demonstrate a thorough knowledge of legal materials.

One L: The Turbulent True Story of a First Year at Harvard Law School by Scott Turow (Author), CDN$ 15.96

One L, Scott Turow's journal of his first year at law school introduces and a best-seller when it was first published
in 1977, has gone on to become a virtual bible for prospective law students. Not only does it introduce with remarkable clarity the ideas and issues that are the stuff of legal education; it brings alive the anxiety and competiveness--with others and, even more, with oneself--that set the tone in this crucible of character building.
Turow's multidimensional delving into his protagonists' psyches and his marvelous gift for suspense prefigure the achievements of his celebrated first novel, Presumed Innocent, one of the best-selling and most talked about books of 1987. Each September, a new crop of students enter Harvard Law School to begin an intense, often grueling, sometimes harrowing year of introduction to the law. Turow's group of One Ls are fresh, bright, ambitious, and more than a little daunting. Even more impressive are the faculty: Perini, the dazzling, combative professor of contracts, who presents himself as the students' antagonist in their struggle to master his subject; Zechman, the reserved professor of torts who seems so indecisive the students fear he cannot teach; and Nicky Morris, a young, appealing man who stressed the humanistic aspects of law. Will the One Ls survive? Will they excel? Will they make the Law Review, the outward and visible sign of success in this ultra-conservative microcosm? With remarkable insight into both his fellows and himself, Turow leads us through the ups and downs, the small triumphs and tragedies of the year, in an absorbing and throught-provoking narrative that teaches the reader not only about law school and the law but about the human beings who make them what they are. In the new afterword for this edition of One L, the author looks back on law school from the perspective of ten years' work as a lawyer and offers some suggestions for reforming legal education.

1000 Days to the Bar: But the Practice of Law Begins Now by Dennis J. Tonsing (Author), CDN$ 21.36

1000 Days to the Bar explains the relationship between the professional practice of law and the practice you need to perform each week to achieve your objectives. This unique guide is designed to empower first-year law students by presenting the components for academic success in a step-by-step format that lays out a practice-centered approach to legal studies. In this book you will discover how to: - Read and brief court opinions - Take and transform class notes into course summaries, outlines and flow charts. - Learn essential elements of the law "by heart." - Gain fluency in the "language of the law." Special supplements include: - Study tips from law school professors and academic support professionals. - Detailed descriptions of many of the most popular commercial study aids. - Time management details and time allocation methods, including creation of a personal Flexible Time Resource Allocation Chart. - Guidelines for powerful, effective study groups. - Instructions for preparing a practical and efficient law study environment.

Law School: So, You Want to be a Lawyer, Eh? -- Career Guidebook

Today I am going to start the process of posting all of the content that was on Unfortunately, someone poached that URL off of me (my own stupidity). I am also posting the stuff (and more) on The Canadian Law School Experience


Resources for for Prospective and Current Canadian Law Students:

So, You Want to be a Lawyer, Eh? a career guidebook by Adam Letourneau

Thinking of becoming a lawyer? Attending law school in Canada? Finally --it's here-- the guidebook you've been waiting for. Every year, an estimated 10,000 - 15,000 students apply to 16 Canadian law schools, vying for just over 2000 coveted spots. The competition is even fiercer for law students when applying for a job as an articling student.

In his book, and through this website, Adam Letourneau, B.Sc., B.A., LL.B., a graduate of the University of Alberta Faculty of Law, and former Editor-in-Chief of the Alberta Law Review, reveals many insider tips on how to gain admittance to law school, how to cope and succeed in law school in Canada, and most importantly, how to land a coveted lawyer job post-graduation.

Drawing upon personal experience and the experiences of numerous other Canadian law students, Letourneau shares general insights on the LSAT, applying for Canadian law school, study strategies, summer jobs, the articling application process, becoming a lawyer and much more, along with plenty of context-specific information for the Canadian law student.

Because the Canadian law school experience is unique, this book is the only full source of relevant information available to prospective and current law students in Canada. Letourneau will save you hours of research, hours of study and tons of stress.

This book is recommended to all students interested in law school in Canada, all students applying to law school in Canada and to law students in all three years of law school in Canada.

Buy the book now and SAVE TIME and STRESS!

Here are just a few of the topics that are covered in the book:
• Statistics - How Many Lawyers are there in Canada?
• Is law for you?
• How many students apply to Canadian law schools and how many get accepted to law school in Canada? What are your chances?
• What does your GPA and LSAT really need to look like to gain admittance to various Canadian law schools?
• How to prepare for the LSAT
• What is law school in Canada like anyway?
• Help to decide what Canadian law school to attend.
• What is better - a JD or LL.B.?
• First Year attitude and behaviour tips to help you succeed!
• How to land a great summer job and ultimately an articling position.
• The best way to use your time in law school.
• How to land the article (job) of your dreams.
• How to land a great court clerkship.
• How to win at exam time.
• And much, much more...

This book will save you hundreds of hours of research, studying and worrying.