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About AnonLaw

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  1. Handling students

    The law school I went to in Ontario had civ pro as a 1L class, but they didnt really get into the actual Rules, just broad strokes like what is res judicata and estoppel.
  2. Handling students

    That's actually my concern. I get clients who nod their heads and say "oh yeah" when I'm talking, but then I figure out pretty quick that they had no idea what I was saying. Much preferred to have subordinates who say "I do not understand anything you are talking about", than for them to say "oh I totes get it m8" when they don't. I'd actually like them to give something a shot first, then ask if they can't figure it out. Maybe with the use of precedents.
  3. Screwups and Faceplants

    Well the procedural issues were: 1. No case conference. 2. Short service without consent or an application for short leave; and 3. She hadn't asked my availability and I had a half day settlement conference in the afternoon. And we didn't get before the master until 12:20. All of which had been brought to her attention well before the hearing day.
  4. Handling students

    In courts where I can get away with it I usually file pro forma pleadings. Obviously detailed pleadings *can* help with settlement and the local superior court requires detailed pleadings, but I'm not giving a brand new student something highly technical if he'd be doing it solo.
  5. Tax Lawyers

    More hopefully useful stuff for planning is: 1. Learn s.160 of the income tax act. Never taught in CPA tax courses, but its a very common assessment where lawyers get involved and very heavily litigated. You'll also want to get familiar with the GAAR. 2. Since you're in BC, learn the PST Act. It differs in some pretty big ways from the GST (all of them worse than the GST for the taxpayer). On that matter, start reviewing the Excise Tax Act (GST). GST is not taught in law school and the act itself is not the easiest to read if you don't know anything about it at the beginning. 3. Learn the family law act and the BC business corporations act. 4. If you're doing planning it's time to start looking up non-profits and charities. Lots of planning work there. 5. Lots of tax planning opportunities involving aboriginal and cross-border matters. Lots of high dollar planning work there (but extremely technical) I've seen some accountants and lawyers do some pretty magical stuff, like duplicating PUC or duplicating capital dividends. If CRA doesn't GAAR it within the reassessment period the client just got a gigantic windfall. Unless they revise the GAAR, but that doesn't seem to be on Ottawa's radar right now. Also don't hang out your own shingle on tax planning. Litigation you can do if you put the time into getting to know the Rules and the Act, but planning requires a lot of precision and knowledge of the law. I don't do planning not because I don't know the rules but because I'd be afraid to mess something up and get sued. Planners often get extra liability insurance beyond the $1 million that we all get as lawyers, because one mistake that can't be fixed and you could go over that if you have very high dollar clients.
  6. Handling students

    Maybe order of the day #1 is to make them do a control sheet for their files. I'm never going to remember what their workload is. Question 2 then is, perhaps, what's some good tasks to give to a brand new student? Make a new retainer or some easy pleadings?
  7. Tax Lawyers

    The in-depth course is definitely worth it, but its so expensive that it is for the best if you get into a firm that pays for it.
  8. Tax Lawyers

    Note that you can always do tax on the side if you can't get a position at the usual suspects like Thorsteinssons. Once you're a 2nd or 3rd year lawyer you can do a lateral move. I wanted to do tax and only tax right out of law school, but the firm I articled wasn't doing well financially. It later folded. I took a job at a firm that does other kinds of litigation and have built up my own book of business of tax files so I can (1) keep doing tax and (2) be attractive in case I want to do a lateral move to a tax firm. If you want to get ahead of the curve, here's some potentially useful advice to take in terms of courses, aside from "every tax course": 1. Take the administrative law course. Virtually everything the CRA does is an administrative decision and they have to follow their own policies. An example would be the CRA garnishing 100% of somebody's CPP, or them refusing to stop collection action on a director's liability assessment for unpaid GST. In both cases there is policy against it even if the CRA has the technical ability to do these things. Baker, Dunsmuir and Telezone are all important cases in admin that you should be very familiar with. 2. Learn the tax court rules and the federal court rules. They differ from the provincial superior courts in some important ways. Civil procedure courses rarely cover the federal rules. 3. Take the trusts course. Quite often a way to defeat some kinds of tax assessments is to say that no transfer of beneficial title occurred. 4. Not sure what course deals with this, but I once defeated a tax assessment because it was too unpalatable for the CRA to pursue it (battered wife was assessed for husband's taxes). Something on public policy? 5. Take whatever course teaches rectifications (contracts? trusts?). You can sometimes erase tax liability by getting an order rectifying an instrument that inadvertently resulted in tax liability, like a trust deed.
  9. Screwups and Faceplants

    On a family file I had counsel attend by phone, and when the master adjourns the application on the basis that various procedural steps hadn't been taken, the lawyer very loudly says, "are you a judge or just a master?! This is ridiculous! He hasn't seen his kids in months!" ... And on like that. Dad won't consent to a conduct order. Mom shut him down after he made a number of inappropriate questions of the children. The Master rightfully shut her down, but she was persistent. No order for contempt... but the master made an order that the lawyer is not permitted to attend by telephone anymore. This provoked further upset, so the master said "well looks like I've made my decision, good day" and cut the line.
  10. French is an asset in Quebec and Ottawa. In Toronto and Vancouver Chinese (Cantonese or Mandarin), Korean, Farsi, Spanish, etc, will be more useful. A language is only really handy when the client can't speak English. Outside of Quebec I've never met a unilingual French speaker.
  11. Handling students

    If they don't ask for help should I offer it anyway?
  12. Tax Lawyers

    Tax planning or tax litigation? Planning requires a lot more accounting knowledge. Litigation requires some knowledge but more advocacy skills. You can get either without any accounting background.
  13. Handling students

    Small/medium firm. The firm has a student coming in. The student is supposed to stay on so the articling is going to be something like a long probationary period. I want the student not to get scared off as he has a somewhat specialized skill set. I'll be giving him work but I'm not his principal. Have had trouble in the past with students not completing work assigned to them. I can always not give a good job reference if it goes that way but what I'd prefer is to have the student do the work. Any suggestions on this? I don't want to overwhelm the guy and I'm happy to show him how things work, but I don't have a lot of experience myself in managing and my experience as a junior was a lot of getting thrown to the wolves. Which generally worked out great for me.