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About sunnyskies1992

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  1. The best mentor I ever had was a lawyer that had a reputation for aggressive/unethical behavior, and troubles with the Law Society. Don’t write someone off by reputation, make your own assessment. Working for him opened the door to many firms for me because he was willing to give me a strong reference, and because his name was known in the community.
  2. The skill set from family is transferable into most other litigation areas, especially right out of articles. When you’re applying to jobs, emphasize the transferable skills you do have, such as speaking in Chambers, preparing court forms and pleadings, and dealing with clients.
  3. sunnyskies1992

    Omnibus topic: when you are not hired back

    Work a few years at a smaller firm, and then lateral back to a bigger firm? Then you’ll have experience under your belt.
  4. sunnyskies1992

    Articling- next steps and woes

    This is true. It's probably normal to have some level of that anxiety though. To answer the OP's original questions, a few classmates of mine have gone sole right out of the gate, and they seem to be doing fine. The key (according to them) is building a network of good mentors for whom you can ask questions. Also, I'm not sure which region the OP is writing from, but at least in the Lower Mainland the market is vastly better for junior associates than articling students. I suspect this is due in part to four reasons. First, the applicant in question has had a year of training under their belt, so the firm does not have to waste money training from scratch. Second, the X years of full time practice rule eliminates individuals who might otherwise hire. Third, smaller firms are able to hire on demand as opposed to hiring someone for a year in advance (smaller places have less ability to guarantee their business that far in advance). Fourth, the applicant has made connections within the legal community, and is better able to tap into the underground/unposted job market.
  5. sunnyskies1992

    Articling- next steps and woes

    Have you tried applying to posted positions for legal assistants/paralegals and asking if the firm would take a junior associate instead? Clearly that firm has the $$$ to offer a steady salary to someone, and it’s one way to get your first associate position and continue learning/building your skills. It’s a bonus to the firm as well as an associate puts in more hours than an assistant. Plus, the applicant in question is decently intelligent and/or hardworking, or they would not have gotten into law school.
  6. sunnyskies1992

    BC lower mainland - criminal law

    I did see a posting for a junior criminal lawyer on Indeed a couple days ago (I believe MTC Law)? They were looking for a junior with 0-3 years of experience.
  7. sunnyskies1992

    Boss Placed Me On Probation

    Just wanted to say that I really appreciate the support of the ls.ca community. You guys are awesome. You've given me a lot of really useful advice It's been kind of a rough day today. My boss ordered brand-new business cards with the new firm logo. Everyone received a box of cards this morning except me, because I'm still on probation. So I had to explain to everyone in the office why I wasn't receiving a box. My boss also pushed back the date of the firm retreat to after March 19, 2018 (my extended probation deadline). I am also the only new employee that is not eligible for benefits yet. A benefits rep is coming to talk to us, and I am not sure if I'm invited, as I'm not currently eligible for benefits.
  8. sunnyskies1992

    Boss Placed Me On Probation

    I've always really liked family law. I've had a chance to try out a number of different areas of law through my articles at a full-service firm, LSLAP, and Access Pro Bono, and it's far and away the area of law I love most. I like that it's an area where emotions matter, and that it's people-based as opposed to numbers-based or data-based. I loved working as a family law assistant/paralegal, just not as a lawyer. I guess I've had a lot of doubts about whether now would be a good time to drop out of law. I've been miserable all the way through law school, through my articles, and as a full lawyer. Maybe I would do better in a field where I wasn't so borderline, and where my weaknesses would be strengths.
  9. sunnyskies1992

    Boss Placed Me On Probation

    Some were mandatory, and some were suggestions. So I do have some leeway on which ones to implement. She mainly wants to know that I'm taking the issues she brought up very seriously, and taking steps to address them. I used to be more active. But I've been having trouble with work-life balance since starting as a lawyer. If I follow her program I will have even less spare time. I did tell her that I had depression. She was happy that I had started counselling, and she encouraged me to continue with it. I appreciate the suggestion. My boss is well-meaning though, and she said it out of a genuine desire to see me succeed as a lawyer. I wouldn't turn around and bite her in that way. You're right, the depression/confidence issues predate my current workplace. My boss is trying to address the root of my problems by fixing elements of my personality. I guess the question becomes do I want to be fixed? Haha.
  10. sunnyskies1992

    Boss Placed Me On Probation

    I just had my three month probation meeting, and I received an extremely negative review. My boss said that although she knows I have a good work ethic and that I have improved my client retainment rate, she is concerned that I lack identity, and that my default is to always agree with other people, which backfires in adversarial situations. She is also concerned that I lack speaking skills and general confidence. She wasn't sure if she should keep me or not. However, the other senior associate said that he saw potential, and would like to keep me for another 3 months to see how things go. So my probation period has been extended to March 19, 2018. She wants to see a significant improvement by then. She reserves the right to extend probation another 3 months past that if I have not improved enough. In those three months, she wants me to do the following: Travel. Take an unpaid leave of 1-2 weeks to travel sometime in January or February to gain life experience. Continue attending the Lawyer's Assistance Program (counselling), and follow advice given there. Work on boundary setting, saying no, and incorporating physical activity into daily life. Do identity exercises (who am I, what are my core values, what is my ideal life). Attend psychiatrist’s appointment booked for late December, and follow recommendations given regarding depression issues. Ask for recommendations regarding registered psychologist at appointment. Identity building. Personal goal to try at least one new thing each week to expand my horizons. Try to talk more in the office. Go out and approach people, as opposed to waiting for people to come to me. Don’t “lurk”. Either participate in conversations or return to work. Work on posture. Actively practice standing up straight, and walking with confidence. Watch body language. Body language should project confidence. Practice “open” as opposed to “closed” body language. Move out from home. Take movement/theatre classes suggested by the senior associate. When asking for advice, present my own idea instead of just asking. Able to have a more meaningful two-way dialogue if I come with my own ideas. Do Toastmasters to improve public speaking and presentation skills. Sign up for improv theatre classes. This will help with me learning to think on my feet. Practice authenticity, and saying what I truly think. I don’t have to agree with people all the time. After she gave me that feedback, I had the following concerns: She is asking for many changes, and I am concerned that I will not be able to demonstrate significant improvement in three months. I'm concerned about burnout in trying to implement all of these changes. In the next 3 months, I am still expected to maintain my billable hours target, so the time for this self-improvement will come out of the time I've earmarked for friends, family, and my health. Even if I survive probation, my long-term prognosis at the firm is poor if the essence of my personality conflicts with the essence of what she needs from an associate. I am concerned about long-term sustainability, in that even if I made a significant improvement in these areas, I'd be expected to maintain these changes for as long as I stayed at the firm, which would certainly lead to burnout. As I see it, I have three options: Commit myself 100% to her program, and see where I'm at in three months. These are skills that I will need anyways if I want to be a successful family litigator, so the effort is not wasted. Do her program, but also reserve some time to update my resume and begin looking for other family lawyer positions. The job search will take time, and this will give me a head start in case I don't survive probation, or if I need/want to quit down the road. However, it may be a self-fulfilling prophecy that if I don't commit 100% to her program, I won't develop the significant changes that will allow me to stay at the firm. Take a job as a family paralegal. The pay would be very similar to what I'm making now, and the hours/responsibility/commitment would be much less. I'm confident I could excel in this position. However, I may have regrets down the road about not fulfilling my potential. I also wonder if I would be quitting too early, and if I could stick it out in law another year or two, I would start to know how to run a file and my experiences would improve. Any thoughts, suggestions, or advice would be greatly appreciated.
  11. sunnyskies1992

    CPD hours

    Which province/jurisdiction are you in?
  12. sunnyskies1992

    Document Assembly/Automation

    At my old firm, we used FileMakerPro, and that was fantastic because you could essentially just pick from drop-down options to build your document. At my current firm we use PracticeMaster, which auto-fills parts of new documents for you based on your firm's template.
  13. sunnyskies1992

    Let's do lunch.....NOT

    Try batch cooking on Sunday, and freezing your lunches for the week. It's about the same amount of work to cook a large batch of food as a small batch.
  14. A number of you have asked about first year associate salary arrangements. So I thought I'd compile a list of salaries from first year associate interviews that I've been to over the past few months. Here it is: Salaries $40,000 + benefits. Small debt collection firm in Surrey. Strictly 9-5, Mondays to Fridays. $50,000 + bonus on top of any billables over $100k. Small full service firm in Vancouver. $50,000 + benefits + discretionary bonus at year end based on billables, hours worked, and being a team player. Expected to bill 1500 hours/year. Small family boutique in Vancouver. $50,000. Legal aid practice with low profit margin, so no opportunity for raises the first 21 months of work. However, lots of court experience. Small civil litigation & criminal defense firm in Surrey. $60,000. Long hours and weekend work expected. Small family firm in Surrey. $65,000. Small civil litigation firm in Victoria. $68,000. Small full-service firm in Port Coquitlam. $72,000. Mid-sized civil litigation and criminal defense firm in Surrey. Fee-Split Arrangements 50% to firm, 50% to you. Small full-service firm in Burnaby. Wants a Mandarin speaker. Will provide some clients to you, but on your own for the rest. 65% to firm and 35% to you on clients the firm provides you, 55% to firm and 45% to you on clients you obtain yourself. Mid-sized firm in Vancouver. The firm provides you with minimal work. Solo Practice (Not my own experience, but shared with me) Negative. This individual ran afoul of some trust accounting/tax rules, and had the CRA and Law Society come after her. May be wise to consult a professional about trust accounting and tax if going solo. $60,000. This individual is very entrepreneurial. He said that he made less than $5,000 during his first six months, but that business really picked up after that. Hopefully this is helpful to someone! I just landed a job at my dream firm and signed a two year contract with them, so I won't be interviewing anytime soon. If anyone is looking for an articling or associate's position in the Greater Vancouver area, please PM me as I have a number of leads
  15. Congratulations!!!!!! This is very well-deserved