Uriel

Fourth-year Bay Street Litigation Associate - AMA

274 posts in this topic

From what I've gathered on here in my short time, it seems it's very difficult to switch offices from a national reach firm - say from Vancouver to Toronto, montreal to Toronto (this one even more so given it's civil vs common law you'd be practising) and vice versa. Is there truth to this, or is it easier to do? Say you want to switch as a third or fourth year associate, if you make it that far. On a scale of one to ten, with 10 being impossible, what would you estimate it to be roughly? Any personal anecdotes of this, or firm policies?

 

Thanks!

Edited by pzabbythesecond

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From what I've gathered on here in my short time, it seems it's very difficult to switch offices from a national reach firm - say from Vancouver to Toronto, montreal to Toronto (this one even more so given it's civil vs common law you'd be practising) and vice versa. Is there truth to this, or is it easier to do? Say you want to switch as a third or fourth year associate, if you make it that far. On a scale of one to ten, with 10 being impossible, what would you estimate it to be roughly? Any personal anecdotes of this, or firm policies?

 

Thanks!

 

Sorry, just to clarify: you're asking how hard it is to move to the Toronto office from another regional office within the same firm?

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Sorry, just to clarify: you're asking how hard it is to move to the Toronto office from another regional office within the same firm?

No problem.

 

 

Well more broadly, from city to city, whether it be to Toronto or from it, or x to z and vice-versa not including toronto at all. But within the same firm, say mccarthy or Davies or some other firm.

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No problem.

 

 

Well more broadly, from city to city, whether it be to Toronto or from it, or x to z and vice-versa not including toronto at all. But within the same firm, say mccarthy or Davies or some other firm.

 

http://lawstudents.ca/forums/topic/39485-transferring-offices-in-national-law-firms/

 

This might help though im sure Uriel will provide some good info as well. 

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No problem.

 

 

Well more broadly, from city to city, whether it be to Toronto or from it, or x to z and vice-versa not including toronto at all. But within the same firm, say mccarthy or Davies or some other firm.

 

Maybe someone else can chip in with some better info, but at least at my firm people don't move very often.  It's a common question among students --- especially where the firms have European offices, obviously --- but by the time you're in practice you have established relationships with partners that provide you with work and advocacy, you're building relationships with other groups inside that firm, you're getting to know local clients, you're becoming familiar with local laws and/or court practice, maybe you've met a nice boy or married that girl from your undergrad, and moving from one office to the other starts to look a lot like starting over at a new firm, even though it's got the same name on the sidewalk sign.

 

There are times when a firm might approach you to move.  For example, we needed someone with a certain specialty over in another office and we knew someone in the Toronto office had that specialty and was from that city.  But it's hard to guess at a standard operating procedure since so many of a firm's decisions are business-driven.  If your New York office only has five people in it, and they all practice in New York securities regulation, then it's unlikely you'll get the chance to move.  If the Montreal office is just as big as the Toronto office and you don't have any particular specialty, maybe your odds are better --- but even then, each office has already hired to satisfy its needs.  At first glance, it's not clear why I'd want to overstaff Montreal and understaff Toronto after we've spent so much time hammering out who to hire back, and where.

 

But as I say, every firm is probably very different in the way they approach this.  I'd be appreciative of anyone else's input.

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Of course, to get that kind of time with her I have to really do a dance to fit in friends and the gym.  Every minute is taken up with something.  There's not a lot of Netflix going on over here.

 

This is kind of a weird question but how do you find motivation to go to the gym? Do you usually go before or after work?

 

Why I am asking - I'm a 0L and I've been spending 50-60 hours a week doing stressful work for the last few weeks. I have been struggling to find the time to get exercise and have only been doing my sport twice a week. I can't even imagine how you find time to go to the gym, especially since you have a child.

 

I got exercise every day when I was doing my undergrad/working part time. Now that I have gotten more lazy about working out, I am concerned I will not be able to find time or have motivation to exercise once I am a lawyer.

 

Any tips/advice are appreciated. :)

Edited by Starling

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AGHHHHHH it's hard.

 

It's super hard, especially when you don't already have it as part of your routine.  I actually ask other people this all the time because I'm not any good at it.

 

My method (and it's probably not great) has been to essentially burn three days a week.  I'm going to go to work around 9:30-10:00 and I won't be home until 1 AM.  Plenty of time in there to build up some hours, clear off my desk of some work, and slip out to the gym across the street for an hour and a half right before it closes.

 

I'm not perfect with it.  I was going three times a week for about seven months there, but after a bout of the flu and the resulting backlog I haven't gone in a month.  Heading back on Monday.

 

You do it the same way you do everything else that isn't fun --- you just gotta, so you do.  

 

In the summer I find it a little easier because I can just go and listen to the baseball game while I'm lifting, so the workout overlaps a bit with some chilling out time I'd like to take in any event.

 

This method means that I have two days a week and all weekend to be my little girl's favourite guy.  It's not perfect, but hey.  I'm not on deployment.  I'm not on an oil rig.  I'm there in the morning, and a little under half the time I'm not there at night.  But she's sure excited to see me, so at least I get the sense that we're bonding well.

 

The downside, of course, is that you're either working or parenting.  Squeezing in friends and time to relax is even harder than going to the gym.  And when I sort that part out, I'll let you know.  

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And, to be clear, that's not typical or expected of a Bay Street associate; it's just what works for us.  I like being able to roll into work a little late in the mornings and drop my kid off at daycare.  I like, on my non-burn days, being able to show up at work around 10:00 and leave at 4:00 in order to get the big smile when I go to pick her up.  I like giving my wife those entire nights off and spending allllll weekend with the little one.

 

If I just worked regular hours the other three days of the week, though, that wouldn't even add up to a full-time job, let alone 1800 hours a year.

 

So now we've got a little routine going.  One thing I've learned after doing this since (yikes) 2010 is that it's not the hours that kills you; it's the unpredictability.  And as you get more senior, your schedule gets more and more predictable.

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Out of curiosity, how do you find the time to be so actively helpful on this website with your chaotic schedule? Like there are 100000 threads to follow and all you mods are involved in plenty while juggling the rest of life. 

Does this count towards some Professional Development hours?

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One thing I've learned after doing this since (yikes) 2010 is that it's not the hours that kills you; it's the unpredictability. And as you get more senior, your schedule gets more and more predictable.

How true is this for partners or senior associates who manage a lot of their own clients? Is their schedule generally fairly predictable?

 

One thing that killed me when I was running a business before law school was the unpredictability which came with client management. Clients would call/email at all times of the day (and sometimes night) with orders or questions/comments. I felt like I was glued to my phone even when not in the office and could rarely be in the moment when I was hanging out with friends.

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How true is this for partners or senior associates who manage a lot of their own clients? Is their schedule generally fairly predictable?

 

One thing that killed me when I was running a business before law school was the unpredictability which came with client management. Clients would call/email at all times of the day (and sometimes night) with orders or questions/comments. I felt like I was glued to my phone even when not in the office and could rarely be in the moment when I was hanging out with friends.

 

Uriel will have his own better-informed answer, but I'll chip in my own observations: fielding the occasional unexpected call or email after hours will never go away, but there's a world of difference between that and watching all of your plans for the evening/weekend burn to the ground because a senior associate/partner realized at the last minute there might be an issue with x, so somebody needs to go research x before the brief is filed.

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Hey Uriel,

 

Should I have any concern choosing UBC over Western (sounds silly)? I'm down to my final decision in terms of which law school I'm going to attend, and it's come down to these two for me. I went to UoT for undergrad and now live and work in TO since I love the city, and as a result I anticipate that I'll want to end up working on Bay street after law school.

 

Obviously Western Law is a great choice given it's proximity and strong focus in business law, but I'm leaning towards UBC right now (since it's also a great school for business law, and has more courses for other areas like criminal law). UBC reports that 10% of their articling students end up in Ontario (historically speaking), so I know it's not impossible. Although, I have friends in 1L & 2L telling me that I should stay within the province. I'm thinking it's not as hard as they hear it is and that people who go to UBC do well for the most part in terms of finding positions in Toronto (assuming good grades, etc.).. it's just the vast majority of the grads stay out West. 

 

I just want to know, based on your knowledge, would my odds of finding/landing an articling & first year position on bay street differ between the two schools (all things being equal)? The only real issue I could see is the fact that your far, so less toronto OCIs.. but a bunch of the big firms do OCIs at UBC so that's good.

 

If anyone wants to chip in, feel free!

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Hey Uriel,

 

Should I have any concern choosing UBC over Western (sounds silly)? I'm down to my final decision in terms of which law school I'm going to attend, and it's come down to these two for me. I went to UoT for undergrad and now live and work in TO since I love the city, and as a result I anticipate that I'll want to end up working on Bay street after law school.

 

Obviously Western Law is a great choice given it's proximity and strong focus in business law, but I'm leaning towards UBC right now (since it's also a great school for business law, and has more courses for other areas like criminal law). UBC reports that 10% of their articling students end up in Ontario (historically speaking), so I know it's not impossible. Although, I have friends in 1L & 2L telling me that I should stay within the province. I'm thinking it's not as hard as they hear it is and that people who go to UBC do well for the most part in terms of finding positions in Toronto (assuming good grades, etc.).. it's just the vast majority of the grads stay out West. 

 

I just want to know, based on your knowledge, would my odds of finding/landing an articling & first year position on bay street differ between the two schools (all things being equal)? The only real issue I could see is the fact that your far, so less toronto OCIs.. but a bunch of the big firms do OCIs at UBC so that's good.

 

If anyone wants to chip in, feel free!

Just want to point out that business law generally is regulated by provincial statutes, as opposed to something like criminal law, which is subject to federal legislation - so, while UBC might be great for business law, you'll be learning it in the context of BC legislation that may not be transferrable to Ontario. While this might not be an issue for something more basic like an intro business associations course, when you get into more specialized business courses it'll probably become more relevant. For example, if you take a course in something like securities regulation, that'll be entirely in the context of the provincial statute. I'm sure you could catch up later on, but something to keep in mind.

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Just want to point out that business law generally is regulated by provincial statutes, as opposed to something like criminal law, which is subject to federal legislation - so, while UBC might be great for business law, you'll be learning it in the context of BC legislation that may not be transferrable to Ontario. While this might not be an issue for something more basic like an intro business associations course, when you get into more specialized business courses it'll probably become more relevant. For example, if you take a course in something like securities regulation, that'll be entirely in the context of the provincial statute. I'm sure you could catch up later on, but something to keep in mind.

 

Thanks for the input, that's a great point! Do you think this would serve as a real disadvantage though? Like you said, if I can just catch up later the only problem would be the fact that I have to learn more (probably read a few textbooks?). 

 

Perhaps I could even try to learn the key differences between BC and ON as I go along? Not in extreme detail of course, I'd be focusing on what I need to know for my actual grades.. but maybe if I let my curiosity push me a little more I can benefit from that? My guess is that knowing these differences and familiarizing myself with the statutes of each province could be helpful.. given that you would have bigger clients conducting business in multiple places (cities/provinces/countries/etc.). On that note, do you think that a firm with offices in Vancouver and TO see a benefit in that added flexibility?

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AGHHHHHH it's hard.

 

It's super hard, especially when you don't already have it as part of your routine.  I actually ask other people this all the time because I'm not any good at it.

 

My method (and it's probably not great) has been to essentially burn three days a week.  I'm going to go to work around 9:30-10:00 and I won't be home until 1 AM.  Plenty of time in there to build up some hours, clear off my desk of some work, and slip out to the gym across the street for an hour and a half right before it closes.

 

I'm not perfect with it.  I was going three times a week for about seven months there, but after a bout of the flu and the resulting backlog I haven't gone in a month.  Heading back on Monday.

 

You do it the same way you do everything else that isn't fun --- you just gotta, so you do.  

 

In the summer I find it a little easier because I can just go and listen to the baseball game while I'm lifting, so the workout overlaps a bit with some chilling out time I'd like to take in any event.

 

This method means that I have two days a week and all weekend to be my little girl's favourite guy.  It's not perfect, but hey.  I'm not on deployment.  I'm not on an oil rig.  I'm there in the morning, and a little under half the time I'm not there at night.  But she's sure excited to see me, so at least I get the sense that we're bonding well.

 

The downside, of course, is that you're either working or parenting.  Squeezing in friends and time to relax is even harder than going to the gym.  And when I sort that part out, I'll let you know.  

 

Oops, sorry for not saying thank you earlier! I just found this. Thank you so much for giving me a detailed reply.

 

I think having a couple really long days a week is a good idea, I will try that next time I have a really busy work week. Then I guess you can actually have some free time to spend with loved ones on the weekends.

 

I'm not a parent but I was in a similar situation to your daughter growing up. My mom worked a lot and commuted when I was around your daughter's age so I spent about as much time with her as you do with your daughter. I never minded though because it made seeing her extra special and she always made it clear that the time we spent together was so valuable to her.

 

You sound like an awesome dad. :)

Edited by Starling

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Oops, sorry for not saying thank you earlier! I just found this. Thank you so much for giving me a detailed reply.

 

I think having a couple really long days a week is a good idea, I will try that next time I have a really busy work week. Then I guess you can actually have some free time to spend with loved ones on the weekends.

 

I'm not a parent but I was in a similar situation to your daughter growing up. My mom worked a lot and commuted when I was around your daughter's age so I spent about as much time with her as you do with your daughter. I never minded though because it made seeing her extra special and she always made it clear that the time we spent together was so valuable to her.

 

You sound like an awesome dad. :)

 

Well, not to brag, but I do let her play with the fancy decorative rocks on the neighbours' lawn.  

 

I'm still hoping Uriel will adopt me.

 

https://frinkiac.com/gif/S07E03/943825/949331.gif?b64lines=SSBsb3ZlIHlvdSwgUGEhIAotIEkgbG92ZSB5b3UsIENsZXR1cyE=

 

Is there a point at which you get to scale back the hours you work?

 

Yes.

 

Out of curiosity, how do you find the time to be so actively helpful on this website with your chaotic schedule? Like there are 100000 threads to follow and all you mods are involved in plenty while juggling the rest of life. 

 

Does this count towards some Professional Development hours?

 

Oh man that would be so great.   :)

 

Nah, I tend to pop on if I don't have anyone to eat lunch with other than you lot, or (more often) once I've finished an assignment and I need a palate cleanser before starting a new one.

 

How true is this for partners or senior associates who manage a lot of their own clients? Is their schedule generally fairly predictable?

 

One thing that killed me when I was running a business before law school was the unpredictability which came with client management. Clients would call/email at all times of the day (and sometimes night) with orders or questions/comments. I felt like I was glued to my phone even when not in the office and could rarely be in the moment when I was hanging out with friends.

 

Uriel will have his own better-informed answer, but I'll chip in my own observations: fielding the occasional unexpected call or email after hours will never go away, but there's a world of difference between that and watching all of your plans for the evening/weekend burn to the ground because a senior associate/partner realized at the last minute there might be an issue with x, so somebody needs to go research x before the brief is filed.

 

That's a good nutshell.  Though, at least in litigation, you can replace "partner realized at the last minute there might be an issue with x" with "opposing counsel decided at the last minute to raise an issue with x".

 

Something I try to impress upon students as they try to sort out where they want to be hired back is that the lifestyle in each practice area and subspecialty can be very different.  If you're working for a quick-moving venture capital firm with a CEO that freaks out easily, you're going to have a very different experience than if you're working for a bankruptcy trustee that has been involved in litigation every day for 30 years and has no particular rush on a given file.

 

You might come into a specialty area that tends to generate a lot of quick-turnaround holy-crap moments (construction, IP), or an area that tends by its nature not to have too much in the way of emergencies (class actions, bankruptcy).  The latter might sound nice, but can also be frustrating as nothing ever seems to end and clients get more and more agitated by that fact.  If having "you time" is one of your foremost concerns, pay careful attention to which partners seem to have that time and ask yourself what it is about their practice that seems to afford them that luxury.  

 

And before I risk making quick-turnaround files sound like something to avoid, they typically pay very well because you have to sink a lot of hours in at once and you have to spend long periods in court as opposed to on a computer.  You get into a courtroom more often, and if they're more quotidian practice areas you might get a billion phone calls requiring responses that can be delegated.  More sophisticated, lengthy files might not involve calls on the weekends, but they might require more of your time personally, overall.

 

Hey Uriel,

 

Should I have any concern choosing UBC over Western (sounds silly)? I'm down to my final decision in terms of which law school I'm going to attend, and it's come down to these two for me. I went to UoT for undergrad and now live and work in TO since I love the city, and as a result I anticipate that I'll want to end up working on Bay street after law school.

 

Obviously Western Law is a great choice given it's proximity and strong focus in business law, but I'm leaning towards UBC right now (since it's also a great school for business law, and has more courses for other areas like criminal law). UBC reports that 10% of their articling students end up in Ontario (historically speaking), so I know it's not impossible. Although, I have friends in 1L & 2L telling me that I should stay within the province. I'm thinking it's not as hard as they hear it is and that people who go to UBC do well for the most part in terms of finding positions in Toronto (assuming good grades, etc.).. it's just the vast majority of the grads stay out West. 

 

I just want to know, based on your knowledge, would my odds of finding/landing an articling & first year position on bay street differ between the two schools (all things being equal)? The only real issue I could see is the fact that your far, so less toronto OCIs.. but a bunch of the big firms do OCIs at UBC so that's good.

 

If anyone wants to chip in, feel free!

 

 

Thanks for the input, that's a great point! Do you think this would serve as a real disadvantage though? Like you said, if I can just catch up later the only problem would be the fact that I have to learn more (probably read a few textbooks?). 

 

Perhaps I could even try to learn the key differences between BC and ON as I go along? Not in extreme detail of course, I'd be focusing on what I need to know for my actual grades.. but maybe if I let my curiosity push me a little more I can benefit from that? My guess is that knowing these differences and familiarizing myself with the statutes of each province could be helpful.. given that you would have bigger clients conducting business in multiple places (cities/provinces/countries/etc.). On that note, do you think that a firm with offices in Vancouver and TO see a benefit in that added flexibility?

 

The problem isn't learning the law; it's leaving your business and support network behind.  If I get fired, I can call 100 former classmates in this area that might have a lead on a job.  And I know people that I refer files to, and that refer files to me.  If I left for Vancouver I might have a job once I got there --- but I'd be completely on my own starting a practice.  I'd have to start going to cocktail parties and golf tournaments to meet other lawyers and starting at zero relationship points, when I've already got scores of people here that know me and have a sense of my competence and personality in case they know someone looking for a litigator.

 

Don't fuss too much about the difference between jurisdictions.  I got called in a Maritime province for a few months one year.  Several people in our firm have been called in other jurisdictions just to facilitate their working on various national-scope cases.  You do some reading and write a test.  It's not that big a deal to pass the Bar anywhere in Canada.  It's a big deal to pass an American bar exam.  That's their quality-control process.  Ours is law school admissions.

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OK to summarize networking as a lawyer...

 

It is like social links in Persona. Gotcha.

 

#CoolestKidInTheRoom

Edited by Skweemish
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Hi Uriel,

 

First off, great thread. Thank you for your time and effort, your insight is appreciated. In your opinion, how do you and your firm feel about hiring law students who have previously articled or are currently articling with a mid-size firm? And what would you say to such a person looking to branch out? Thank you. :)

Edited by ppbrum
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