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thegoodlaw

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thegoodlaw last won the day on January 18 2015

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  1. Articling in criminal defence a pipe dream?

    I think it's less viable for anyone who want average pay for articles and an average wage, and not half (or less) of what is offered at any other firm. I'm not talking about $1700/week (which I believe is the high-end rate for students at Bay St. firms). I'm talking about barely cracking $700/week for articles.... in Toronto. And the trend continues as an associate. Criminal law is not what it was 15-20 years ago; it is a less financially rewarding practice and is falling behind other areas of practice in that respect. There seems to be a consensus on that point, at least from the senior defence counsel I see day to day. There is also no shame in admitting that, or in wanting to be in an area that is financially rewarding, or expanding your practice to fill in the gap -- which incidentally requires the same business acumen, network and hustle.
  2. Articling in criminal defence a pipe dream?

    Diversify. Practicing exclusively in criminal law is a difficult business, and it is getting increasingly more difficult with reducing crime rates and cuts to Legal Aid. You could still practice exclusively in criminal law, but it won't be very financially rewarding. What many criminal law firms (including mine) are now doing is branching into general litigation. Due to the scarcity of civil trials, civil litigators often have very little actual trial experience. Cue the criminal lawyer who has many under their belt. There is a demand for this, and I think it will continue to grow. So capitalize on it now by building at least some rudimentary knowledge about Civil Procedure or Administrative Law (especially Admin; this is the future). Yes there are. But most criminal law firms are small firms or sole practitioners, and they won't know if they need an articling student a year out. They may know closer to February/March 2019. Network. If your summer gig allows you to go to court, great. Meet lawyers there. Are you a member of the CLA? If not, join and attend their conferences (one is actually coming up in May). The administration of the court system is broken. You need greater patience than Gandhi.
  3. pay in gov vs pay in private firm

    Long-term, as a partner in private practice your earnings are very much under your control, subject to some variables (hourly rate, client base, billed hours, success in collection, overhead). In government, you're a salaried employee, although I suppose it's nice to not have to worry about getting clients and having them pay the bills. Edit to add: On average, you would make more as a Partner at a Bay st. firm than in Gov't.
  4. Billable Hours v Actual Hours

    I am an articling student on a fee-split arrangement, albeit with a base salary. The amount I bill in a week really depends on how busy I am and to what extent the work is billable. Some weeks I have very few hours to bill, other weeks I'm billing like a madman. The long-term trend is what you need to focus on - i.e. how much you can expect to bill + collect on average, as well as what your hourly rate is to be. Does the firm have an articling student presently? Maybe you can pick their brain on how much they bill. Being on a fee-split has been pretty good to me. Even though I'm at a small firm in downtown Toronto, I've ended up making something on par with my friends at large Bay st. firms (if not more). But that was a consequence of having work where I can bill a lot (and having full carriage of some big files), a high hourly rate, and clients who are actually coughing up the dough on a regular basis. My only criticism of the fee-split arrangement is that there is a high degree of volatility in the frequency of being paid. It's not the best situation for a fresh graduate who has monthly debt payments and/or rent. I think you could actually negotiate a different fee split arrangement in exchange for a base salary. It's what I did. Message me for details.
  5. Is law school fun?

    ... in 3L.
  6. Why so many hours in a work week for criminal defence lawyers

    I don't understand your concern. Why do you want your hours to average 40/week over the year? Are you going to be okay with one 70 hour week and a second 10 hour week as long as the total stays under 40 on average/yr? Or is it that the moment it goes above that average, you're no longer happy. Why 40? It's impossible to know how busy you're going to be in a few month time, let alone a full year, so regulating your client intake to match a yearly target is close to impossible. The short answer to your question is: private practice is highly variable. If you want a steady work week, go in-house or government.
  7. Why so many hours in a work week for criminal defence lawyers

    As a lawyer in general, you're paid to solve other people's problems. Other people's problems don't come 9-5 Monday to Friday. They come when they come, and you deal with them accordingly. Also, law is not a profession where you can exactly demarcate work and life; the two co-mingle and can co-exist, if you allow them to. I can deal with personal stuff at 2pm on a Tuesday, just as I can deal with work issues at 2pm on a Saturday. There is a benefit to that flexibility that may not be available in a job where I am expected to work a strict 9-5 schedule with a lunch break in the middle.
  8. Is law school fun?

    Did you go to U of T for your undergrad? If you did, you should know full well that "fun" is a forbidden word that may not be said within 500 meters of campus. EVER. It's why Robarts has no windows: sunshine gives people hope, and hope is too pedestrian a concept.
  9. Public Speaking Skills

    True, I annoyed some people with my questions (and arguments with profs). But others tell me that they got more out of the lectures that way. And we had participation grades, so no harm in cashing those in.
  10. Public Speaking Skills

    Are you still in school? Speak up in class. If you can argue off the cuff in a room of 150, you can argue off the cuff in a courtroom of 5.
  11. Delete Account?

    Surely you'll run for the Bloc. Or is that whole fad dead now.
  12. How to article in Ontario?

    From what I remember, November is the initial deadline for applying for the licensing process. The actual deadline is much later (April?), but you get hit with a late filing fee of ~$100. Check the LSUC rules and the link above for accurate dates/procedures.
  13. 2018 Summer Student Lists

    Not really. I checked the lists when my class was getting hired a few years back. Just wanted to see who ended up where.
  14. 2018 Summer Student Lists

    There's the answer.
  15. My biggest fear: not hired back

    I didn't even realize I double posted. The universe it telling me something......
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