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Uriel last won the day on July 18

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  1. 2018 2L Recruitment

    Also remember that your friends are lying, lying to you. Too much ego bound up in the process for people to resist the pressure to inflate how well it's going for them. You'll find out years later.
  2. Bay Street Bonuses

    With most Bay Street firms, you can basically assume that's your answer.
  3. Bay Street Bonuses

    It's also not something where they can give a clear and satisfactory answer. "Well, our bonuses are discretionary; but generally it's 10% for hitting 1800 and 15% for 1900... unless you're pretty close to 1800 and we like you; or if you're a terrible lawyer that hit 1900 with a bunch of performance problems, in which case it might still be 10%. Or you might get fired in November. And then if the firm is struggling and the partners are in a panic over the reception renovations, we might just find a round number a little under that. Or if everything's booming and we've been having retention problems, we might round everybody up. I hope that answers your question, now tell me a bit about your work at that legal clinic."
  4. 2017 Associate Salary Bump (Toronto)

    ^ That raises a point a lot of students miss entirely. Virtually all rankings focus on M&A because it's easily quantifiable. Only about 20% of you that go to Bay Street are going to work anywhere near that area. If you were to do a power ranking of litigation departments or real estate departments or securities advisors, it wouldn't look anything like the "Seven Sisters" concept at all. In my world, the best firms are Lenczner, Blakes, Stikes, Norton Rose, Faskens, McCarthys, Osler and a couple of folks over at Davies, BJ and Stockwoods. Reputation matters, but it's often the reputation of a single department, or even a single partner you're working under. Blakes might be Canada's pre-eminent firm, but there are certain practice areas where they'll be laughed out of the room. Like most Bay Street firms, mine is the top firm in Canada, or at least top three, in a few specific practice areas because of the clients our partners have and the expertise they have developed in their industries. But overall we don't process the volume of deals or (generally) the mega-conglomerate clients that the Blakeseses of the city do. So we do get world-beating clients, ones the top firms drool over and fight for, but just in those specific areas. We don't generally represent the Fortune 100 by default. Expertise and reputation is specialized. Just being part of a generally good firm doesn't rub off too much on you if you're an unknown quantity. It just suggests that, if you're working in an area of strength for your firm, you might have access to good advice. No matter which firm you're in, if you're in a leading practice, you'll be recognized as such by your peers. Like, if you want to be famous as the best real estate lawyer in Toronto, you could do a lot worse than going to Aird & Berlis. If you want to work in entertainment law, Goodmans and Cassels Brock could get you access to the best clients. IP? Gowlings is throwing elbows to keep itself ahead of the pack. It's not enough to be at a good firm if you want to be well reputed. That only impresses law students. To impress your peers and to get the best clients, you have to be in a leading practice. All by way of saying, when I get a statement of defence in from a Bay Street firm I don't sweat it; I just have a good sense they're likely to be organized. When I see that it's from Blakes, I don't sweat it. I don't know anything about that person. When I see that it's from Gord McKee, I pour myself a drink.
  5. 2017 Associate Salary Bump (Toronto)

    I've also just realized that I haven't thrown out my usual disclaimer. I'm not against rankings generally, and I'm not just sour grapes guy; it's that the market is vastly different than it was in 2001 and isolating seven firms didn't even make any sense then. You can legitimately have a Fab Four or a Wild Fourteen, but Seven Anythings hasn't made any sense in decades, if ever. I'm more than comfortable saying there's a tier of firms out there with elite clients and work that my firm infrequently gets to deal with. It's just not seven; and if it is, it's not that seven. And, along those lines, although I think you can safely say that although Blakes, Osler, Stikes and McCarthys are almost always ranked in the top four in terms of M&A and very rarely displaced, there isn't typically a huge gulf in terms of deal size down to #5. So you can call them the best firms in Canada for M&A without too much debate, I think. But it's hard to say they're on a different tier entirely.
  6. 2017 Associate Salary Bump (Toronto)

    Some further reading for anyone on this thread that's learning something new today: http://business.financialpost.com/legal-post/drew-hasselback-seven-sisters-no-longer-rule-the-bay-street-roost
  7. 2017 Associate Salary Bump (Toronto)

    Interesting! From your perspective (being or knowing someone that has access), would you say that those considerations would exist primarily in the recruitment context or from a strategic standpoint as well? I'm just thinking, it would kind of make sense for Osler or Blakes to assume they only have to match other "Sisters" firms because there is a sufficient critical mass of students consistently misinterpreting the market to believe that they don't have to pay a premium to attract that talent. But I'd be surprised to hear that they make other strategic decisions on the basis that they believe they only have five peers. (I actually understand the Davies argument somewhat, given the sectors in which they opt not to compete and the volume they decline to process.)
  8. 2017 Associate Salary Bump (Toronto)

    If we're going to be debating arbitrary designations, here are some arbitrary background facts. Italics indicate firms that apparently operate in a different marketplace from non-italicized firms. In case anyone reading is wondering, in Q1 2017, these were your (Canadian) leaders by: Deal Value 1. Osler 2. Blakes 3. Stikes 4. Bennett Jones 5. McCarthys 6. Goodmans Deal Count 1. Blakes 2. Osler 3. Stikes 4. McCarthys 5. BLG 6. Goodmans 7. Davies 8. Miller Thomson 9. Norton Rose (If you're looking for the missing Sister, it's Torys.) And in 2016, the Lexpert Top Ten deals were advised (on the Canadian side) as follows, breakdown at bottom: Advisors on Top Ten Deals (2016) Fortis / ITC Holdings Fortis: Davies ITC Holdings: Torys Goldman Sachs: Osler Financials: Faskens Suncor / Canadian Oil Sands Ltd. Suncor: Blakes COS: Osler Board of COS: Norton Rose J.P. Morgan: Davies Vail / Whistler Blackcomb Vail: Stikes Whistler Blackcomb: Osler Special Committee's Financial Advisor: McCarthys KSL Capital Partners: Blakes Enbridge / Spectra Energy Enbridge: McCarthys Spectra Energy: Goodmans Waste Connections / Progressive Waste Solutions Old Waste Connections: Bennett Jones Progressive Waste Solutions: Stikes Bank of America: McCarthys BMO Capital Markets: Davies BCE / Q9 Networks BCE: Blakes Q9 Networks: Osler BMO Capital Markets: Goodmans Investor Group: Norton Rose and McCarthys Corus Entertainment / Shaw Media Corus: Osler, Dentons, McCarthys Shaw: Davies Corus Special Committee: BLG Shaw Special Committee: Goodmans Underwriters: McCarthys Catalyst Capital Group: Bennett Jones Barclays Capital: Blakes Sprott / Central Goldtrust Sprott: Stikes Central Goldtrust: Dentons Central Goldtrust Special Committee: Bennett Jones Purpose Investments: Osler McKesson / Rexall McKesson: Davies Rexall: Dentons, Bennett Jones Couche-Tard / CST Brands Couche-Tard: Davies CST Brands: Stikes Parkland: Faskens, Torys, Bennett Jones Underwriters: Dentons Imperial Oil: Blakes TOTALS * Davies: 6 * Osler: 6 Bennett Jones: 5 * Blakes: 5 * McCarthys: 5 Dentons: 4 * Stikes: 4 * Goodmans: 3 Faskens: 2 Norton Rose: 2 * Torys: 2 BLG: 1
  9. 2017 Associate Salary Bump (Toronto)

    So, it's your view that Norton Rose and Goodmans don't compete for the same clients.
  10. 2017 Associate Salary Bump (Toronto)

    Like I said, it's not wedded to the grid. What did you think I meant?
  11. 2017 Associate Salary Bump (Toronto)

    /facepalm Is there really some belief out there that those circumstantially selected seven firms have a different compensation structure, too? Bad enough when everyone thought there was just some invisible reputational premium... This doesn't seem like a leap. My firm isn't wedded to a grid, but if you were to pull up my old pay stubs it would look pretty much exactly like that, give or take 5K in one direction or the other from year to year. Even though I'm working at some backwater garbage firm that came in eighth or ninth in the M&A tables in some random quarter of 2001 instead of sixth or seventh, somehow they managed to pull the pennies out of the reception lounge couches. I honestly, really don't know why I bother. Someone let me know if my constant hair-pulling is a public service or an irritation.
  12. Why the Bay St Hype?

    Absolutely. The things I love about ice cream sandwiches also generally go for ice cream of any sort. It's kind of hard to answer that query. It's almost a tautology. The firms that are most like Bay Street firms will share many of their upsides and downsides. The firms that are not like them will not. "People who like this sort of thing will find this to be the sort of thing they like." The fact that there's a bit of a haze as to whether certain firms are "Bay Street firms" or not completely proves the point you raise. The question was, essentially, why do you choose to work on Bay Street and sacrifice your quality of life when there's money elsewhere? The answer to that question doesn't deny the reality that there's a spectrum to choose from. My post is probably most helpful to those wondering why to go to Bay Street rather than doing something completely different. Ultimately, this thread is about making a lifestyle choice. This one works for us because Mrs. Uriel's dream is to do work that is typically not rewarded with a high wage or steady hours, and mine is to do stuff that keeps my brain busy. We both love what we're doing, and we have a schedule that works for us, and we have enough money. There's nothing to complain about, life is good! But if her life's dream was to be an engineer or an architect, then I probably couldn't do this job. At least, not while maintaining the quality of life and extent of parenting I'm enjoying right now. And then you're totally right, I'd probably take on a similar job because its perks would be similar --- I might well accept, for example, that an 15% cut in hours worked is worth a 40% pay cut in that situation. (Heck, we'd probably be making more money as a couple in that case.) And everything you say about the people being equally interesting and the stakes being equally high in a smaller firm are true. I often get more emotionally involved in smaller cases, and I have great friends at every imaginable kind of practice. Several of these highlights are most pronounced on Bay Street, but most are shared with every form of legal practice to some extent or another. The question is really just how many chocolate chips you want to dump on that sundae. How many colleagues do you want to have? In how many different practice areas would you like to dip your toes? What balance of time vs. money is the right amount for your family's situation? How often do you want your cases to be complicated by media attention? Would you rather do 10 really complex cases or go to trial on 40? Or a mix? How much would you like to feel like an employee vs. a boss? How involved in the business of law do you want to be? How involved in the law of business do you want to be? So, to clarify, I guess, I'm not saying these benefits are exclusive to Bay Street. These are just the things I like most about working here, in response to the question. If your firm's practices are similar, you'll have many of those things in common with me. If you take on a family law mediation practice, a criminal defence sole practice, a position at MAG Civil or a job reviewing contracts at a construction firm, though, you're going to have a drastically different experience and my post might explain why I chose this one.
  13. Style of Firm Dinners

    Show up to the reception and take your name tag so that we can tell you showed up. No one's keeping tabs on who sticks around for how long, and you probably don't want to be the last one at the party anyway. The one thing I'll add about the dinners is that there's a strong inclination to think of lawyers as all being country-club senior partners or landed gentry. Most of them are middle-class Canadian nerds that did well in school, especially the student committee types that are usually young and hip. I get made fun of for being too formal, and I grew up in a trailer park. Try not to forget that your interviewers are just your classmates, five or ten years along. We might get fancy eventually, but it's a gradual process and many of us are entirely irredeemable. I notice partners using the wrong spoon all the time. No one else does. Certainly those partners are totally oblivious to what you're doing, and understandably so: they're 18 oz. in, they don't know much about etiquette, they didn't even know they were coming until two hours prior, and they're focused on trying to remember your name and not to say anything too offensive while probing around to see who's funny and who's a prick.
  14. Why the Bay St Hype?

    Forgot the asterisk! * I just got back from a vacation, which I can actually take now. It was supposed to be 10 days but things overflowed. I wound up having to work all day into the wee hours on the first day, but after that I was basically free (thanks to extensive planning in advance to get everything ready to be delegated and handled remotely). On Day Four I had to be on the phone a bit to manage a court filing, but it only took up a couple of hours. And I'd answer e-mails for 10 minutes or so every morning and every night. Not sure if it's always going to be possible to take nine days in a row almost completely off several times a year, but hey, if this works, I've got no complaints. Your mileage, however, may vary if the above makes you stop, pull a U-Turn and burn rubber to the public sector.
  15. Why the Bay St Hype?

    ***I don't know if this is my longest post ever, but I'm in a good mood on a slow day, so everyone has to suffer*** I'm still on Bay Street (litigator, fwiw), so I can give you some perspective on what it's like a few years out. It's tough to say what "year" an associate is (calendar year / year of call / number of lawyers junior to them), but depending on your definition I'd be late fifth or early sixth year right now. I liked MaximumBob's answer from before, so I'll just steal his list and replace his commentary with my own, then go on to yammer below about the how's and why's of Bay Street work schedules. One thing I'll say first: your friend might have been overstating things --- or (s)he might have been in a very, very busy practice in a booming period of time, while articling or being a junior associate. No two ways around it, being an articling student on Bay Street is hard. Super hard. But now things are kind of banana splits and baseball from my perspective. Still trying to figure out if I'm actually shocked at how well my life is going or whether I've just drunk the Kool-Aid and I've got my work-life balance all messed up.