The Moot Times UCalgary Law
The Law School Show
Updated: Nov 8, 2021
by Sabrina Dueck
As we are all aware, the 2020-2021 academic term was like nothing any of us had ever experienced before. Never could we have anticipated that we would end up doing an entire year of law school online. My personal experience, much like that of many of my peers, I am sure, included isolation, anxiety, and sadness. I never knew how much I needed community, especially other students with whom to agonize over school.
Having a strong desire to expand my community and have something of a networking experience during my first year of law school, The Law School Show (LSS) was a good opportunity for me. I was able to get my voice out there and share what I was passionate about with my fellow law students. I had the opportunity to share my passion for the criminal justice system through my first episode, in which I interviewed Carolyn Ayre about what it is to practice criminal law in Canada. I had the opportunity to interview the former Student Director of Student Legal Assistance (SLA) at the University of Calgary and we were able to discuss our shared passion for hands-on learning in law school, among other useful law school survival-related topics. This particular episode is important to me because, much like the LSS podcast, SLA helped me get through my first year of law school (online) and reminded me why I decided to study law in the first place.
So, what is The Law School Show? The Law School Show is a podcast, originating out of the University of Ottawa, “by students, for students.” In 2014, its co-founders, Rishi Dhir and Christopher Deschenes, were entering into their third year of law school, and they knew that there was a gap in their academics. They realized that they did not have access to the realities of the practice of law. Rishi and Chris were determined to fill this gap for themselves, as well as solve similar problems for their colleagues and peers. One motivation for them was their personal experiences with the second-year recruitment process. As many of us know, 2L recruit generates a lot of stress and anxiety. Many of us feel a lot of pressure not only to be involved with the recruit, but also to be successful in it. What happens if we don’t get a job? Are our careers over? What opportunities would be open to us if we did not “bag a firm” right at the start?
Our co-founders wanted to share with their peers that there was more to it than just grades and first- and second-year job success. They began interviewing practitioners on what they have done with their legal degree, regardless of how much they may or may not have struggled in law school. Even practicing lawyers with successful careers have had their disappointments, including not getting a job right away or failing the bar exam. Chris and Rishi wanted to show their listeners that second-year recruitment is not the be all and end all, which is nice to hear with 2L recruit right around the corner for some of us.
In addition to having the philanthropic angle (discovering opportunities), they also wanted to understand who their guests were; they wanted to understand the person as much as the career opportunity. This is how the Person Behind the Resume began, which is The Law School Show’s flagship series. It “is an opportunity for hosts to speak with lawyers, judges, arbitrators, politicians, business people, and a whole host of other people who have studied the law.” These guests share their personal experiences working in the law (whether or not they have “practiced” the law) and are able to give students their insights, advice, and information to help students inform their own career paths.