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ilovesarah

How hard is it to get make over 150K after graduation?

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The real key for government work isn't so much the salary, but the benefits. And I'm not just talking about the vested defined benefit pension. If you go on to work as counsel for DFAIT (or whatever they're calling it these days), you accrue significant benefits from living abroad (allowances, utility benefits, COLA, cheap housing etc).

 

Wait can you talk a little bit more about becoming a counsel with DFAIT? Requirements, process, etc.?

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Dear OP,

 

If you want to make money speculate, scam, or inherit, but stop thinking about becoming a lawyer.

 

I am one of the top paid associates for my year call in Vancouver and can afford to buy a dilapidated shack somewhere not overly desirable.

 

I actually adore law, but the practice of law is grueling. I think about leaving law for various assorted reasons unrelated to law, but somehow intrinsically related to the practice of law at least once every two to three months AND I'm only a junior associate. I have a friend whose job it is (when called upon) to remind me I like law. I love the buzz I get when I solve a really complex issue or tease apart a delicate problem. I can't imagine someone who didn't like law making it through the first five years of practice--the money just isn't enough.

 

Srsly.

 

~an

 

this is the consensus from a lot of the young lawyers i know, they tell me something along the lines of "don't be a lawyer man, it's never too late!, nobody likes it!" It's not that the work isnt interesting at many places, and the pay can be good, it just consumes your life. It can really be hard to switch-off at the end of a day, you can't stop thinking about work issues/they never leave your mind. For most, if you count the debt from law school, living and family expenses, tax, etc. those 6 figure associate salaries in canada don't go as far as you think and you arn't going to get rich in a hurry, and when you only have a couple hours to yourself at the end of the day, it can be a big grind, even if you love what you do.

Edited by Maven

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While I'm sure living abroad working for DFAIT can accumulate some cash, government is notoriously stingy when it comes to benefits (other than pension).

 

It's not just cash - it's offsets. You have a very limited selection in housing (indeed, at times you get none) and sometimes the bureaucrats can get pissy (we once had an audit and a whole hullabaloo over whether a particular officer's posting housing was 2 square feet over the limit for their salary level) but you pay substantially lower rent than you ever could here. You also get additional benefits if you happen to have a family - such as equivalent education guarantees (largely in the form of private/international schools whenever you're on posting).

 

Also note - this is to the best of my recall, it's been a few years and from what I've heard the austerity measures the government has taken has hit all branches of the government (including DFAIT) leading to some cutbacks which could change some of the above.

 

Reading this thread I think a lot of people have some serious misconceptions about how lucrative the practice of law is. Bay Street is only a tiny minority of the work lawyers do, people...

 

I will agree to this wholeheartedly. I can't remember if it was in another thread, or this one that I then decided not to post because I was somewhat onery that day, but if you want to earn a lot of money either become an entrepreneur and take huge risks, or go into the financial banking sector (usually at an i-bank and then make the slide into private equity where the big money typically is) - though that latter path demands an extraordinary constitution and for you to be very good at your job.

Edited by rglasgow

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As an example, Osgoode looks at significant volunteer experience. I know kids that are off to an African orphanage or some other godforsaken place for a year or more actually giving a crap about other human beings. Contrast that with the kid who's goal in life is to drive a Beamer!

 

First, people respond to incentives. If Osgoode reward those who help with African orphans then anyone who's interested in going to Osgoode will help with African orphans and therefore making the signalling ability of helping with orphans useless.

 

If the rules and institutions are set up correctly then the profit motivation will bring about good outcomes too. All publicly traded corporations care almost exclusively about maximizing profits yet a lot of them make very good products. The iPhone has one of the highest profit margins for smartphones but it's also one of the best.

 

Dear OP,

 

If you want to make money speculate, scam, or inherit, but stop thinking about becoming a lawyer.

 

I am one of the top paid associates for my year call in Vancouver and can afford to buy a dilapidated shack somewhere not overly desirable.

 

I actually adore law, but the practice of law is grueling. I think about leaving law for various assorted reasons unrelated to law, but somehow intrinsically related to the practice of law at least once every two to three months AND I'm only a junior associate. I have a friend whose job it is (when called upon) to remind me I like law. I love the buzz I get when I solve a really complex issue or tease apart a delicate problem. I can't imagine someone who didn't like law making it through the first five years of practice--the money just isn't enough.

 

Srsly.

 

~an

 

I really appreciate your sincere response. Which sector of law are you working in? How much do the partners in your firm get paid?

 

In government you only make above $120k if you are senior management: http://www.justice.g...ecru/sb-pa.html

 

There aren't that many positions.

 

In Vancouver big law (if there is such a thing) you have to be 7th year call + to make over $150k.

 

Don't they make a lot of money later when they become independent consultants or leverage their government experience to get a nice job in the private sector? There's a revolving door between the government and private sector.

Edited by ilovesarah

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Which sector of law are you working in?

 

Rather not say, but it is a specialty.

 

How much do the partners in your firm get paid?

 

Junior $300k to $600k

Senior $600k to $1M

Senior + super specialized practice $1M to $1.5M

 

Don't they make a lot of money later when they become independent consultants or leverage their government experience to get a nice job in the private sector? There's a revolving door between the government and private sector.

 

I have not heard of such a door...

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Wait can you talk a little bit more about becoming a counsel with DFAIT? Requirements, process, etc.?

 

Before you get too excited, I've been in a lot of meetings with DFAIT people in a lot of foreign countries and I have yet to encounter a DFAIT lawyer anywhere other than Ottawa.

 

 

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If the salary's anything less than 80K then I'm better off going into finance.

...

That's just how my utility function operates. I'm very interested in wealth and money.

 

Finance it is then.

 

Your first option in law is get good grades and land a job with one of the 20-25 blue chip firms and boutiques in Toronto who pay associates 100K to start. Calgary is a close second these days (with better job security). Your second option is to go to U of T, get excellent grades, and join a dozen or so of your classmates on Wall Street, eclipsing your 150K threshold right off the bat.

 

You'll also start at 6-figures in investment banking, which is similarly competitive to break into. Your hours will be hell. Worse than law. Your income will climb faster than in law (it's all about bonuses), but here's the one factor underappreciated by lawyers -- over time, your hours decrease. In law, your targets never decrease, and by the time you're partner, anyone who's not a workaholic has been filtered out. You never really get off the treadmill until you retire. That's perhaps an overstatement, but a slight one.

 

In i-banking, the attrition rate is huge in the first couple of years, but once you crack out of the analyst/associate levels, your hours drop. A lot. In senior roles, you're more focused on pitching, and the money per hour worked is about as good as it gets anywhere.

 

Based on your motivations, finance might also be a better fit for you. Law can be lucrative, but an unbridled enthusiasm for making bank will rub some people the wrong way. Law is a profession. Money is never far beneath the surface, but there's more to it. In i-banking, nobody is under any illusion that there are other motivations in their career. Everyone is there to make money. You can sit around talking about Hermes cufflinks and Porsches, and not one person will think you're a d-bag. If this sounds like you, and you are (1) an A-type male (yes, male) with (2) a competitive streak, (3) not in a serious relationship, and (4) value cash over almost everything else, then i-banking is the better path for you.

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Finance it is then.

 

Your first option in law is get good grades and land a job with one of the 20-25 blue chip firms and boutiques in Toronto who pay associates 100K to start. Calgary is a close second these days (with better job security). Your second option is to go to U of T, get excellent grades, and join a dozen or so of your classmates on Wall Street, eclipsing your 150K threshold right off the bat.

 

You'll also start at 6-figures in investment banking, which is similarly competitive to break into. Your hours will be hell. Worse than law. Your income will climb faster than in law (it's all about bonuses), but here's the one factor underappreciated by lawyers -- over time, your hours decrease. In law, your targets never decrease, and by the time you're partner, anyone who's not a workaholic has been filtered out. You never really get off the treadmill until you retire. That's perhaps an overstatement, but a slight one.

 

In i-banking, the attrition rate is huge in the first couple of years, but once you crack out of the analyst/associate levels, your hours drop. A lot. In senior roles, you're more focused on pitching, and the money per hour worked is about as good as it gets anywhere.

 

Based on your motivations, finance might also be a better fit for you. Law can be lucrative, but an unbridled enthusiasm for making bank will rub some people the wrong way. Law is a profession. Money is never far beneath the surface, but there's more to it. In i-banking, nobody is under any illusion that there are other motivations in their career. Everyone is there to make money. You can sit around talking about Hermes cufflinks and Porsches, and not one person will think you're a d-bag. If this sounds like you, and you are (1) an A-type male (yes, male) with (2) a competitive streak, (3) not in a serious relationship, and (4) value cash over almost everything else, then i-banking is the better path for you.

 

Well, I only value cash up to a point. I'm perfectly satisfied with mid 6-figures... I guess I need to talk to people about the exact hours. It seems like they rarely exceed 60-70 hours. I'm perfectly fine with those. I just don't want to work 80-100 hours like bankers.

 

Also, including school, assignments, part-time jobs, and my EC duties... I'm already "working" close to 70 hours per week. My life's great and I do have time for relationships.

Edited by ilovesarah

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Well, I only value cash up to a point. I'm perfectly satisfied with mid 6-figures... I guess I need to talk to people about the exact hours. It seems like they rarely exceed 60-70 hours. I'm perfectly fine with those. I just don't want to work 80-100 hours like bankers.

 

Also, including school, assignments, part-time jobs, and my EC duties... I'm already "working" close to 70 hours per week. My life's great and I do have time for relationships.

 

School, school work, a part-time job, and extra-curriculars are all very different things. You get a wide and varied experience. That's entirely different from being chained to a desk for 70 hours per week.

 

And you'd be "satisfied" with a mid six-figure salary? As an individual $100k puts you in the top few percentiles of the population.

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Well, I only value cash up to a point. I'm perfectly satisfied with mid 6-figures...

 

If by "mid six figures" you mean ~$500,000, boy, I don't know. I'm a public sector guy and don't know much about the payscales at the upper end of the private sector, but I'd presume that the proportion of Canadian lawyers who ever make more than $500,000 in a year is under 10%. I could be wrong, but I think this is probably something you should check in to.

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Junior $300k to $600k

Senior $600k to $1M

Senior + super specialized practice $1M to $1.5M

---------------------

I feel like an underachiever!

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Honestly, the best way to make money (if that is really what you want out of life) is to be an entrepreneur. The amount of blood, sweat, and tears you put into schooling and whatnot is not worth it if you look at it from a strictly financial perspective. The same amount of effort could be turned into a lot more cash if you have the right stuff. Now the question is, do you have the right stuff?

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If by "mid six figures" you mean ~$500,000, boy, I don't know. I'm a public sector guy and don't know much about the payscales at the upper end of the private sector, but I'd presume that the proportion of Canadian lawyers who ever make more than $500,000 in a year is under 10%. I could be wrong, but I think this is probably something you should check in to.

 

Within each person's life-time or is that only 10% of current lawyers? Of course lawyers in their 30s or 40s shouldn't expect to make that much but is it reasonable to expect 500K to be a peak career wage?

 

And you'd be "satisfied" with a mid six-figure salary? As an individual $100k puts you in the top few percentiles of the population.

 

Yes, but that "population" includes people at different stages of their career. I think 100K is not special for smart (LSAT is an okay proxy), and hard-working people in the peak of their career. Most professionals in their 40s and 50s are probably earning around 100K.

 

100K is a lot of money but you're still exposed to plenty of financial risks because there's not alot of blubber to protect you from events like a spouse losing their job, kid wanting to go to an Ivy League, and etc.

 

Honestly, the best way to make money (if that is really what you want out of life) is to be an entrepreneur. The amount of blood, sweat, and tears you put into schooling and whatnot is not worth it if you look at it from a strictly financial perspective. The same amount of effort could be turned into a lot more cash if you have the right stuff. Now the question is, do you have the right stuff?

 

Yeah I agree. If I were a programmer then I'd be looking to form my own start-up right now. I should've learned way more programming in school. My dad went to school in the '70s learned more programming (FORTRAN) than me even though he wasn't in a programming-related major. I hope universities will make learning programming languages as important as learning about MS Excel.

Edited by ilovesarah

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Within each person's life-time or is that only 10% of current lawyers? Of course lawyers in their 30s or 40s shouldn't expect to make that much but is it reasonable to expect 500K to be a peak career wage?

 

 

 

Yes, but that "population" includes people at different stages of their career. I think 100K is not special for smart (LSAT is an okay proxy), and hard-working people in the peak of their career. Most professionals in their 40s and 50s are probably earning around 100K.

 

100K is a lot of money but you're still exposed to plenty of financial risks because there's not alot of blubber to protect you from events like a spouse losing their job, kid wanting to go to an Ivy League, and etc.

 

 

 

Yeah I agree. If I were a programmer then I'd be looking to form my own start-up right now. I should've learned way more programming in school. My dad went to school in the '70s learned more programming (FORTRAN) than me even though he wasn't in a programming-related major. I hope universities will make learning programming languages as important as learning about MS Excel.

 

Play with this to figure out realistic lawyer salary.

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Yeah I agree. If I were a programmer then I'd be looking to form my own start-up right now. I should've learned way more programming in school. My dad went to school in the '70s learned more programming (FORTRAN) than me even though he wasn't in a programming-related major. I hope universities will make learning programming languages as important as learning about MS Excel.

 

You CAN be. Programming is actually very easy to learn. It just seems intimidating at first and a lot of people don't get into it because of this. But just like learning any language, once you're over the first hurdle you'll want to finish the race. It's addictive. Programming is one of the most awesome things that this generation of technology has given us. I urge you to try it. Start over at www.w3schools.com

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You CAN be. Programming is actually very easy to learn. It just seems intimidating at first and a lot of people don't get into it because of this. But just like learning any language, once you're over the first hurdle you'll want to finish the race. It's addictive. Programming is one of the most awesome things that this generation of technology has given us. I urge you to try it. Start over at www.w3schools.com

 

Hmmm but still, is it worth taking the time and effort? I can probably learn some C++ to help me in finance.. but I wonder how much learning is required to make the next Angry Bird.

 

Anyway, here's a list of countries with most millionaires:

 

The Top 20 Countries

 

Country, Density, Millionaire Households

1. Singapore, 17.1%, 188,000

2. Qatar, 14.3%, 47,000

3. Kuwait, 11.8%, 63,000

4. Switzerland, 9.5%, 322,000

5. Hong Kong, 8.8%, 212,000

6. U.A.E., 5.0%, 57,000

7. U.S., 4.3%, 5,134,000

8. Israel, 3.6%, 83,000

9. Taiwan, 3.2%, 246,000

10. Bahrain, 3.2%, 8,000

11. Japan, 2.9%, 1,587,000

12. Belgium, 2.9%, 134,000

13. Oman, 2.5%, 12,000

14. Ireland, 2.2%, 33,000

15. Netherlands, 2.1%, 152,000

16. Saudi Arabia, 1.9%, 92,000

17. Australia, 1.6%, 132,000

18. Denmark, 1.6%, 41,000

19. U.K., 1.5%, 411,000

20. Canada, 1.4%, 185,000

 

Canada's pretty thin at the top. You'd want to be a big law lawyer if you were in Singapore for sure. http://www.bloomberg.com/money-gallery/2012-05-31/where-the-world-s-millionaires-live.html#slide17

 

Although, HK's 8.3% is quite despicable given how poorly the average person lives.

Edited by ilovesarah

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Please, for the love of God, do not project Vancouver house prices as being maintained, and therefore making it unaffordable for someone in the top income bracket. The fact that it even comes to people with ~100K salaries (individually speaking, as a household they'll probably be over 130K) worrying about whether they can afford to buy should speak volumes about how sustainable these prices are. If you can hold off on buying for ~5-10 years (i.e. 25 years old) do not factor in the cost of buying into your salary, just rent. The notion that individuals in the top income bracket will be priced out is reductio ad absurdum.

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Please, for the love of God, do not project Vancouver house prices as being maintained, and therefore making it unaffordable for someone in the top income bracket. The fact that it even comes to people with ~100K salaries (individually speaking, as a household they'll probably be over 130K) worrying about whether they can afford to buy should speak volumes about how sustainable these prices are. If you can hold off on buying for ~5-10 years (i.e. 25 years old) do not factor in the cost of buying into your salary, just rent. The notion that individuals in the top income bracket will be priced out is reductio ad absurdum.

 

The main reasons that I can think of for Vancouver's rapid house price increases are: low interest rates and foreign capital. While low interest rates won't continue forever, a rise in interest rates will decrease the house price without neccessarily making mortgage payments easier. The foreign influx of capital does not seem to be a strictly short-term phenomenon. The developing nations will increasingly get richer and their citizens will find Vancouver's prices to be competitive with that of their own bustling real estate markets. A lot of them would even buy property (albeit apartments but it still drive up prices of other types) for their children going to UBC and SFU.

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If you're making anywhere near $100k out of LS, you can create a wealth fund worth much more after 5-10 years with solid financial advice. I was making ~ $80k working in the aerospace sector as a single no dependents and my current assets would require at least $120k salary to create it. Just be smart. Money makes money.

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If you're making anywhere near $100k out of LS, you can create a wealth fund worth much more after 5-10 years with solid financial advice. I was making ~ $80k working in the aerospace sector as a single no dependents and my current assets would require at least $120k salary to create it. Just be smart. Money makes money.

 

Unfortunately, most people find it too "difficult" and "annoying" to invest.

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