September 29, 2007

Another good expression I heard about law school was from the lady in charge of student programs at one of the big firms in Ottawa.

She said something like "first year law school is where they put your head in a vice, and crank it around until your view of the world is never the same again."
I've mentioned this to a few of my "collegues" (i.e. fellow law students) and I don't think that any of them have disagreed with me.
(Photo from this site.)

September 27, 2007

Like Undergrad on Steroids...
One great quote that I heard or read somewhere this past week is that "law school is like undergrad on steroids". I couldn't agree more!
There are way more readings, way more activities (clubs, moots, speakers, wine & cheeses), and way more stress (I already have to think about finding a job this summer, and hand out CV's in 2 weeks!) than in undergrad. It's fun and exhilerating, but at the same time it can really wear you down. At some point you just have to say "OK, enough reading, time to go to bed". I'll make it through, just like everyone else, I just have to take it one day at a time. Yesterday in Constitutional Law the prof asked "is anyone feeling overwhelmed by the whole law school thing?" Almost everyone put up their hands, and I'm sure that those who didn't were so overwhelmed they didn't hear/understand the question or were lying.
And my picture (along with a few friends) is on the front of the law student newspaper! I'll post a link when the newspaper updates their webpage.

September 21, 2007

First Week (or Two)...
I was hoping to make a post at the end of my first week, but it's been so crazy busy that I just haven't had time. The first week of classes was a bit of a shock, just in the amount of legal readings we had to do right off the bat. OK, I know that I'm in law school, but I figured they'd explain some of the terms, or tell you how to write a case brief before they tell you to actually do it. A steep learning curve might be
the way to put it.
This week has been better. More free food as the different student clubs and associations start up -I've attended a few info sessions, but I don't want to commit too much because I know that things can get busier than they are now. I did get to attend a session
by the US Navy Defense Counsel
in the case of U.S. v. OmarKhadr, the 21 year old Canadian who has been imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay since he was 15. The speech was really insightful, and makes you wonder why the Canadian government hasn't done as much as the Afghan government to secure the release of one of their nationals. It also reaffirmed everything I've heard about the conditions in Guantanamo and the way the US has gone about ignoring international law, and making up rules that it sees fit for itself only.
In addition to all the uni work, my laptop broke again (I just had the hard drive replaced 3 weeks ago!), so it's now at Staples again getting fixed again. But the police did find the guy who broke into the house, which is good news even if they can't recover what was stolen. At least he won't be out and about still breaking into other places (he broke into more houses after).
And tonight is the annual boat cruise on the Ottawa River. Should be lots of fun!

September 14, 2007

The Break In...
The guy sliced open the screen on the back window, which we had left open because it was still rather warm, then pushed it in. I was home in my room studying, but didn't notice anything. Then I heard a cell phone ring, which sounded really loud, and the guy answered his phone. At first I assumed it was one of the roommates and her boyfriend who were back, but then I heard a few steps and the back door closing shut. He must have been in and out in only 2 or 3 minutes.
I walked out of my room to see letters on the floor, and what looked like stuff that had been rummaged through. I went downstairs to get the roommate who was still home, and we went through the stuff. We quickly found that the thief had taken my roommate's Nintendo DS, and later that he had taken the other roommate's iPod and bankcard. But he left the laptop and Wii on the living room table, which were right in front of him. He also went through a basket of bank/financial letters, ripped open, but left it on the floor.
We called the police, and they arrived a short time later (luckily!). Apparently the conditions were good, so they brought in a sniffer dog because they figured he might still be in the area, and took a few things (including the letter) for fingerprinting. Apparently the street behind ours was hit last week with a few break ins.

September 08, 2007

Orientation Week...
This past week has been my official "Orientation Week" at UOttawa. In brief it's been a very busy week -I've met a lot of new people, been given a lot of free stuff and free food, and haven't had enough sleep.

Since Monday was Labour Day, the official activities didn't start until Tuesday morning. However, there were bar nights organised on the Sunday and Monday nights before it started. It was good to meet some people that would be in the program in a less formal setting, and to at least recognise some faces on Tuesday morning!
Tuesday activities included a free breakfast, a bag of free stuff (including a slinky!) from different law firms, a few speeches, the Dean's BBQ (free of course), and free nachos at a pub in the evening with the new students. But the highlight was probably Maher Arar and Monia Mazigh's presentation. Maher Arar is the Canadian who was deported by the Americans to and tortured by Syria. Instead of being bitter, he and his wife instead encouraged us to stick to our guns, become good lawyers, and to stand up for justice. Monia Mazigh said something like "law is not justice, but justice needs the law".
The next day was another early, but free, breakfast, followed by speeches about faculty specialties and small group meetings. My small group and prof seem really cool -there are actually quite a few science students in it! The prof is even planning on having us over to her place for a pot-luck once she's got all her furniture moved in. Then we had an 'image consultation', which was mostly about how to shake hands and what is appropriate clothing/colours for a business casual reception in the legal field. The reason for the consultation is that evening we had a Wine & Cheese reception at the Ottawa Court House. There were a number of judges there, a live jazz band, and some really good food. Another chance to meet the almost 300 students in both the English and French Common Law programs (the Civil Law students always seemed to do their own thing). I got to meet a really nice judge who was encouraging, and gave us students a few tips for law school!
Thursday was a bit more relaxed. We had a few short speeches, and 300 large pizzas for lunch (sponsored by a law firm). Needless to say I filled up on free food once again! In the evening the CLSS sponsored us to go on the Crime & Punishment Jail Tour of the old Ottawa jail (now a youth hostel!). Then we had a bit of a pub crawl through ByWard Market in the evening. Yet another late night, but another great oportunity to meet people in my program. I was actually surprised a few times that people in the program know other friends of mine from here and there. Such a small world.
Friday morning we had another free breakfast, quickly followed by an Algonquin Smudge Ceremony led by Elder William Commanda, who is the Supreme Chief of all the North American Territory, carrier of the Sacred Wampum Belt (including the Seven Fires Prophecy belt telling of the arrival of pale-faced people and the destruction of native lands, and the 1793 Jay Treaty Border Crossing Belt), and who has led smudge ceremonies at the UN. It was an interesting ceremony meant to purify/cleanse the profs and students and law building before the start of the school year. I'm glad that I had the opportunity to be part of it. After the ceremony was another free BBQ sponsored by another law firm at a park near the river. Unfortunately it was really hot and humid (30C plus humidity), so most people just sat under the trees and talked. I ended up with a bag of 24 extra hamburger buns though!

September 01, 2007

In Ottawa (again)...

I'm back in Ottawa again, but this time for school and not for work. I arrived a few days ago, to settle in and visit a few friends before orientation and uni start next week. One nice thing about having a small room is that there isn't much to set up or to clean.
It's been nice to wander around the city -apart from when I arrived during a thunder storm the weather's been great- and to have coffee and meals with friends I haven't seen in a few years. I've even randomly ran into people that I worked with a few years back. I can't forget to say thanks to "Winston" for the gift.