Where Are They Now? A Look at 3Ls’ Personal Statements (Then) and Plans for Articling (Now)

The following are excerpts from the personal statements of members of the graduating class of 2014.

I knew that being a lawyer was my destiny. Arguing for a living? Getting to listen to the sound of my own voice all day? And to do it all in the name of justice? This career was perfect for me! As I entered high school I began to prepare for my career as a lawyer the best way I knew how: by reading Grisham novels and watching “Judge Judy”. I soon had my entire career planned out: I would be a no-holds-bar prosecutor with a voice of steel and a heart of gold, ready to put all those rampant bad guys in jail. After about 20 years in the biz, I would accept a position as a Superior Court Justice, with the wisdom and experience to discern the guilty from the innocent.

This student will be articling at Legal Aid Ontario, and has no interest in prosecuting crime. She still loves Judge Judy. This student is also shocked that U of T admitted her with this personal statement.

The Law in Action Within Schools initiative is an example of the kind of engaged volunteerism I hope to have a strong presence in. Not only does it align so well with my academic interest, but it allows me to continue to understand the city of Toronto in new and interesting ways.

This student never volunteered for LAWS and will be articling at a large general service Bay St. firm.

Law school is not a final goal in and of itself for me. I perceive it as another step along the path towards eventual public service. I am fully confident in my ability to contribute positively to public discourse and the legislative process through the role of an elected representative.”

This student will be working in petition and foreign investment review at a large Bay Street firm. He is actively involved in politics.

It is often the things that are worked for, once achieved, that are the most fulfilling. As a result, I am confident that I can follow my heart and find fulfillment in a career which covers an amazingly broad subject area. I can say without fear that I am not sure which area of law I would like to pursue because I realize that, at a minimum, I will find enjoyment in the challenge presented by the profession, regardless of subject area… Despite this vague ambition, I do look forward to having a job where my work matters and has an impact, whether it is in government or the corporate world or any of the many other places a legal education could take me.

This student discovered what he wanted to do (litigation) and followed his heart (“and the money”) to a big firm in Calgary.

 I always wanted a career that would enable me to work with people, and more importantly, help them. The law was constructed to protect people, to give each and every individual basic human rights that should never be violated. Unfortunately, these rights are sometimes violated and people are mistreated, but they lack the ability and knowledge to defend themselves. This is precisely the reason I want to study law. I want to be able to help these people and fight for justice.

This student will be articling at a boutique law firm with expertise in civil litigation, corporate, franchising and intellectual property.

I have been afforded many great opportunities, including the possibility of applying to law school, and however clichéd this may sound, I truly believe this comes with a responsibility; I hope to use my legal training to make a positive and meaningful contribution to those people and communities who may not have access to the same opportunities that I have… [T]he areas of law that I think I might be interested in pursuing professionally, including refugee, or child and family law, involve using legal tools to do just that.

This student will be articling with Legal Aid Ontario in some combination of criminal, family, refugee law and clinic work. She is actively involved in public interest work at the law school.”

[T]he impact of the law on a more micro level is what has interested me the most; how the law comes to critically define us as citizens, moral beings, and agents for change. In particular, I am interest in how the law can be used to empower people by correcting social gradients within the realm of public health … The opportunity for clinical legal education is of great interest to me, especially the University of Toronto’s Health Equity and Law Clinic. … [Law school] would allow me to learn how to approach public health issues at a grassroots level. Helping those disadvantaged by remediable public health inequities by through community and individual level capacity building is my ultimate goal.

This student plans on articling at a boutique firm that specializes in insolvency and financial restructuring.

After graduation, I would be keen to use my law degree to help build a more just and sustainable society – likely by pursuing a career with an environmental or human rights NGO or entering municipal politics.

This student is working for a Seven Sister firm on Bay Street that often advises Chinese firms seeking to buy stake in Canada’s oil sands. He is divided between pursuing a career in commercial litigation or in corporate law.