Aldergrove Community Secondary provides opportunities for students to tour local post-secondary campuses and Langley School District offers students amazing opportunities to participate in career focus experiences. It is during these explorations that educators like me hope ignites a passion in a student to think of their future, perhaps even motivate them to make more positive choices in their personal life and their education.One such experience inspired one of my students, who was curious and applied to attend the Exploring Law Career Exploration tour on Jan. 16th, 2014, sponsored by the District's career education department. With his permission, I am sharing his reflection of the tour, hoping that those who make decisions concerning the funding of these types of opportunities for students can acknowledge the influence these experiences have on students. I am also very thankful for the hard work of the district career staff to plan these opportunities and I want them to know their efforts have an enormous impact. I should alsmentioned that since this tour, the student took the initiative to contact one of the lawyers he met on the tour to make some further inquiries for a project he was working on.
Grad Trans Reflection #1
The career area that most interests me at the moment is law. Although I just decided to write about this right after my law tour at UBC, I really feel like this is the career field for me. A lawyer is a well-respected job; the work is intense and interesting, however stressful, but never boring. A lawyer's job is to assist their client with their legal issues and guide them to the path most in their best interest possible.
When considering how my personal skills and values will mesh with a career in law, I feel that I am a good fit. Studying law requires an open mind, curiosity, and discipline. Although I'm lacking in the discipline department, I just have to remind myself that my current habits won't suffice for post-secondary and I'll have to change sooner than later. The work load at law school is enormous, 50-60 hours of writing and reading a week. There’s also the amount of studying for the LSAT exam just to get accepted into law school in the first place which makes discipline an absolute requirement for my future. Questioning a student there, he has a family with children studying law during his second year, so there is no doubt that it is entirely possible juggling social life and school as long as you have discipline. I've always had an interest in helping people and previously, I thought pharmacy would be the path for me. But thinking about it, I don't want to be someone who stands behind a counter charging premium prices for medication, instead I want to help people with their lives with serious legal issues that could change their life. I believe learning the Canadian law system will help me achieve this through understanding what is allowed, not allowed, and an understanding of the issues that plague the world such as poverty and human rights. This in turn will make me more alert of not just problems that exist locally, but also globally. Law is also a very flexible degree, being able to specialize in almost every industry from media to environment.
After completing law school and obtaining a J.D. (Juris Doctor), before being “called to the bar”, one must complete roughly a year of articling. Articling is a way of learning the practice of a lawyer through working as an “intern” or “apprentice” at a law firm or government agency. One will be assigned a senior lawyer as a guide called a principal. With the principal, one can ask questions and advice while learning how to communicate with others during work. Through articling, one will learn two branches: barrister and solicitor. A barrister is a person representing their client in a court trial, while a solicitor will be someone that works in an office consoling with clients. Working as a lawyer, one can expect to work 40-50 hours a week, sometimes more. Work involves interacting with people which requires open mindedness so the lawyer can fully understand what the client’s situation is. Depending on a case, a lawyer might have to do further research in areas outside of their education. Lawyers also will have to do a considerable amount of writing, whether it be wills to other legal papers. A lawyer must be able to stay focused and work under pressure.
A benefit of wanting to apply to law school is that you may earn a degree in anything you want. This allows one to pursue their desires in other areas besides law and might also open doors depending on how diverse a set of courses I choose. This gives me many options for back up plans, philosophy and psychology most appeal to me at the moment. Alternate career paths open up, social work and school counselling seem most appealing to me as it will mesh with the university courses I want to take if a career in law does interest me no longer. After researching about how difficult it is to get accepted into law school, planning a back-up will be crucial in case things don’t go according to plan. Quite frankly, the thought of being rejected to law school is frightening. With the generation of baby boomers retiring soon, there will be need a need for lawyers more than ever which is a double-edged sword; there will be more work opportunities, but the competition will be through the roof. I know whatever happens after high school, I’ll be happy.
There are no specific high school courses as everything will be weighed upon how well I do in university. However, there are many courses that will assist me in preparing for those university courses I want to take. English, in my opinion, is the backbone of every single academic course. It teaches you how to read and analyze material, write and form arguments which is essential law and classes in general. Without an understanding of what you’re learning, it is highly unlikely one will excel in anything. A goal of mine when I entered high school as a freshman in grade 9 was to be as complete as possible. I took the harder math pre-calculus 11 (later on AP calculus) and all the sciences. None of this is even necessary for law school, but after viewing a practice LSAT exam, I am glad I did. Logical reasoning, in a sense can be related to math and science. You are always looking for patterns and key words that are the keys to solving a problem. Math and sciences require analytical skills, as misreading a question or missing a number can change your answer completely. This also applies to a language course such as French. Perhaps you’re doing an écoute (listening exam), you have to be able to listen for key words that can determine whether you understand a question or not in an entirely different language. This is especially useful and beneficial for law as you never know what sort of cases you’ll face and have to learn from nothing sometimes. Viewing the practice LSAT exam really made me understand that everything you learn can be used somewhere else. Moving on to less academic intensive courses, Law 12 is self-explanatory, it will give me a basic foundation of the justice system. Psychology 12 will be useful for me in my opinion because it teaches how people think. It answers questions such as “Why did someone react this way?” or “Why do we think in a certain way?” which ultimately will help me succeed in the practice of law, helping me understand people better. Fortunately, I have the opportunity to apply to the Kwantlen Polytechnic University XCEL program which allows for grade 12 students to take university courses early at no cost, although book fees do apply. This is absolutely excellent as philosophy and psychology are offered and will give me an edge after graduation. This along will also provide me with experience of how a post-secondary institution operates and I can get a feel for what it’s like for the future to come. All in all, as long I keep working hard and work on becoming more disciplined, the sky’s the limit.