It is twice as likely for a visible minority to be unemployed after graduating from university than it is for their Caucasian counterparts. This is not because of a lack of relevant experience or education but because of a lack of opportunity, triggered by inherent biases in the workplace. This is why an event like the one the University of Toronto Black Ties Association held on Tuesday, October 18th, 2016, was so important.
First, here is a quick snapshot of the impressive panellists that were gracious enough to take time off their incredibly busy schedules to attend the event.
Christien Levien – He is the current founder and CEO of Legalswipe, a mobile app that informs people of their rights during interactions with police at a practical and rapid pace. Christien is a leader and innovator who is having a great impact on the Canadian society.
Jonathan Odumeru – He acted as a representative of TD on the panel. He is an Osgoode graduate and a previous associate at McCarthy Tetrault, which put him in a position to offer a wealth of quality insight and experience to the conversation.
It was the first major event of the year and the theme was Setting the Bar, a panel of legal industry professionals and experts. The event was hosted by the prestigious Blakes, Cassels and Graydon LLP and sponsored by them as well as TD Canada Trust. It was a chance to be inspired and hear from a panel of legal industry professionals and experts with different experiences and perspectives. It was also a chance to engage in meaningful conversation and network and obtain personalized advice for the future.
The points of discussion were obviously geared towards students who are looking to enter a career in the legal industry, but the conversation was as valuable to them as it was to the average pre-professional looking to gain general advice about the workplace. So, here are ten important tips that I got from the event…
There is a need for innovation within any industry but especially the legal industry. It is not about standing in line, it is about creating a job for yourself like Christien has done with an app like LegalSwipe.
Engage in activities that will make you a whole human being. It is important to strive to keep a balance. It is your personalized life experiences that make you stand out when applying to law school because being a strong student academically is not arguable.
Confidence + Character = Success
Be passionate about whatever it is that you choose to do
The “Where do I fit vs. Who is going to pick me” dilemma
When making a decision on where to go to law school, it is important to pick where you can see yourself living for the number of years you will be in law school as opposed to what you think is the best school. Except of course, you get into Harvard, in which case, you will be crazy not to accept the offer.
Do your research. Be knowledgeable about what the GPA requirements and LSAT requirements are for the law schools you are considering applying to.
You deserve your success, especially when you fail
Know how to manage your time effectively
If you haven’t figured out how to manage your time now in your undergraduate degree or in your current role, then it will be that much more difficult to manoeuvre in law school.
Don’t underestimate the value of your experiences as a marginalized individual. It is imperative that you leverage your experiences in your application for law school.
Be forthcoming and be willing to learn from your mistakes