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TrialPrep

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  1. Screwups and Faceplants

    My client wanted something that I thought she had 0 chance at getting, and I advised her to waive it. She did. Turns out the other side would have granted some pretty big concessions to make her request go away if we had stuck to it, but we had already waived it. KMS.
  2. Making mistakes

    There are big mistakes and small mistakes, and most mistakes will not lead to a lawsuit, that's true. And almost all mistakes can be remedied if they're caught in time. But when you make a mistake, it's hard to tell whether it's a big mistake or small mistake because you don't realize you're making it. You're lucky if you realize you've made it before it's too late. I've only had to call my insurer once when someone threatened to sue me because they didn't like the settlement they entered. Nothing came of it. And I've made hundreds of mistakes. But I don't for a second forget how fortunate I am, for any of those small mistakes could have been a big mistake that blew up into a lawsuit, or law society complaint (which arguably is worse because of how public it is even if you're innocent, and there is no insurance). Also, I realize you're in big law where systems are in place to prevent mistakes. I was out practicing with a small band of scotch loving litigators very soon after being called. It was fear and fear alone that kept me out of trouble. I've got a file right now where I'm up against a first year call and there are millions of dollars of assets in dispute. That lawyer needs to be very, very careful (heck, I do too). Edit: I realize lawsuits are public too but a decision can usually be avoided and if you win, the decision will be positive.
  3. Making mistakes

    It doesn’t take a lot. Missing a limitation period or failing to plead an item does not require any effort at all. All it takes is one.
  4. Making mistakes

    In law school, 90% gets you an A. In practice, 90% gets you sued for malpractice.
  5. Potential Vancouver Salary Bump?

    I don't think the Vancouver market is connected to the Toronto market. The salary discrepancies are already so large that I would think most who would move for money already have. That being said, I have noticed an uptick in the number of new job postings in Vancouver this year. That could lead to higher salaries.
  6. Articling and Reception Duties

    When I was articling, the receptionist got sick, and I had to take over the front desk. I learned a lot from that experience. Particularly about how to get clients. Many potential clients are phoning around different law offices to get a feel for fees and have someone listen. Most office receptionists jot down some notes and tell the potential client someone will call them back, or worse, give the client a form to fill out. Meanwhile, when I was reception, as an articling student, I had some idea of the caller's legal issue, and I was able to listen to them right there on the phone, which translated into an in-person meeting. I ended up securing the firm a $20,000 retainer for a property dispute in an expensive part of town. I don't believe that client would have hired us if someone had just picked up and said, "what, your neighbor cut trees down? The foundation? What? I'll get one of our lawyers to call you when they're back in the office."
  7. Communication

    She’s a mess? Run the other way.
  8. Approaching Small Firms and Solos for Articles

    Yeah if you want a job please just ask for a job. It seems like your suggested approach has gained popularity in the past year. I won’t even go for coffee with students anymore. It’s a waste of time and fake. Being honest and genuine goes a long way. If you really want to work in real estate and ask a family lawyer for coffee, say you really want to work in real estate. We might know a real estate lawyer who’s hiring and I will appreciate your directness. If you're willing to take any job, you have to also be willing to sacrifice other areas, or tell the firm in advance that you will be seeking to gain experience in areas outside of the firm's practice. The firm may be able to work with you. But if you just take a job on false pretenses and then have one foot out the door, your reputation will suffer for it. When lawyers take on an articling student it's a risk of our time and money. We put a lot of energy into you. If you waste our time, people will inevitably ask how you were, and we won't hesitate to tell them.
  9. Civility issue with opposing counsel - report to LSUC?

    Right but there's no way to make the opposing counsel speak on the phone. Sometimes when I see a particular opposing counsel is on a potential file, I ask for a higher retainer because I know what's involved. One interesting thing about the Groia case that applies here is he was the one being sanctioned for making the allegations of professional misconduct.
  10. Civility issue with opposing counsel - report to LSUC?

    Of note, the Supreme Court of Canada will soon be addressing this issue in the Groia v. LSUC case. An interesting piece about it titled 'The civility war' in Canadian Lawyer.
  11. Civility issue with opposing counsel - report to LSUC?

    We all want to reply. Believe me, I know. We all likely share that fighting spirit that partly contributed to us becoming lawyers in the first place. It's why we come on here and debate with each other even after making arguments all day at work. But before we reply, we have to ask, what does our client gain? What do we gain? The most likely outcome of your letter which states facts is a response letter stating different facts. Now you're in a battle of who can craft the best facts out of thin air, and the senior counsel may have an edge there. Hell, he probably does this all the time. If you restrict all communication to in writing or on the record then you don't have to worry about him feeling enabled or doing it again, because if he does it again it will be recorded. I imagine the law society has already heard of this guy and similar situations, but they may not have the evidence to sanction. They can't sanction based on reputation alone. He has to trip up and say something stupid on the record, with a witness, or in writing.
  12. Civility issue with opposing counsel - report to LSUC?

    There's no need to go the extra mile to make someone feel bad when all it takes is a gentle reminder. Life is too short for unnecessary negativity.
  13. Civility issue with opposing counsel - report to LSUC?

    Replying is different, and a lot easier to do. The thing is, from the perspective of the trier of fact (judge or law society), that phone call never happened. What do you gain by firing the first shot? No matter how nice your letter sounds, implying professional misconduct will ambiguously appear both concerned and passive-aggressive, and the trier of fact will not know which it is. You will also get a reply, and the replier always has the advantage in situations like these, because it is easier to defend an allegation than to make and substantiate one without evidence. Just ask, what do you gain from this letter? The only way this works out well is if his response is belligerent, in which case, he will inevitably provide you with belligerent evidence in writing or on the record in any event. If he doesn't, your case proceeds as normal. The downside of a personal argument with opposing counsel is a big waste of your time at best, and at worst, findings made against you. Edit: I will add, if you disagree and decide to write the letter, then I suggest making it bold. Put the allegation in writing. "You told me you would stick my letter up my ass." that way, he has to deny it head on, which he cannot do without expressly lying, an offense which would subject him to temporary disbarment. If he doesn't admit or deny, then the trier of fact will be more likely to believe that's what he said, and on the record he can be asked directly if that's what he said. If you leave your letter vague and only reference terms like professional conduct, you leave the door wide open for his imagination to re-create the evidence in his favor. And if he admits it, then you have substantiated his professional misconduct with evidence. Lastly, again this is just my opinion based on what I would do. Practicing family law, I've been in similar situations. Benchers may be in a better position to provide advice on these issues. Often the lawyers such as the one you're dealing with are well known, particularly if you're working in a town like Smithers.
  14. Civility issue with opposing counsel - report to LSUC?

    The only reason I could caution against a letter to the opposing counsel about their inappropriate behaviour is that you continue the argument, and he will deny or have a different set of facts. When it gets before a judge or the law society, they won't be able to tell who started it. That's why I think you're better off to treat this as a routine case and let him fly off the handle in writing or in court, he will sink himself, and you won't be dragged down on the defensive into a law society hearing with him. The old saying: don't wrestle with pigs, you both end up covered in shit but the pig enjoys it.
  15. Having students evaluate associates ?

    This is a good example of the type of entitlement that leads many lawyers to say they have no interest in hiring an articling student.
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