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Articling -sole practitioner - salary range

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Hello,

Does anyone know what is average wage for an articling student at a small law firm/ sole practitioner in Mississauga. I was asked this question by one sole practitioner, but I do not have any idea how much. Thank you!

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I don't know if your jurisdiction is very different, but for a SP in Vancouver I have heard the range from 25-35k.

 

What helps is if the SP is able to pay for your bar ads, reimburse you for mileage, get you your first set of robes, etc. Sometimes these "perks" make up for quite a bit.

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If you go on LSUC articling registry, there are some sole practitioners with postings offering a weekly salary of 400 - 600. 

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If you go on LSUC articling registry, there are some sole practitioners with postings offering a weekly salary of 400 - 600. 

Not just sole practitioners.

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I don't know if your jurisdiction is very different, but for a SP in Vancouver I have heard the range from 25-35k.

 

What helps is if the SP is able to pay for your bar ads, reimburse you for mileage, get you your first set of robes, etc. Sometimes these "perks" make up for quite a bit.

 

I'm glad I received some misinformation. I thought it was $45k and when I said that to my principal he went along with it. I know at least one person who received something low like a $25k base but is getting a split of what remains when the principal recovers his costs.

Edited by benjuryon
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I'm glad I received some misinformation. I thought it was $45k and when I said that to my principal he went along with it. I know at least one person who received something low like a $25k base but is getting a split of what remains when the principal recovers his costs.

 

I don't know if you did. I think Hegdis might be speaking to criminal practices. 

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I am. Should have been more clear.

 

"It depends" is, as ever, the answer.

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I don't know if your jurisdiction is very different, but for a SP in Vancouver I have heard the range from 25-35k.

 

What helps is if the SP is able to pay for your bar ads, reimburse you for mileage, get you your first set of robes, etc. Sometimes these "perks" make up for quite a bit.

 

This is the same for Northern BC in my exp. if that helps (all those "perks" are included - although you only get the robes if hired back).

 

I would suspect that Mississauga is different - but it wouldn't surprise me if it was similar.

 

Also in my experience - a "cut" wouldn't be that helpful as I've never had an articled student that covered her costs.  Although, as I have mentioned before - that isn't - or shouldn't- be the point and one shouldn't be incentivized in that way.  The only incentive should be to learn as much as you can and ask as many questions as you need.  But that is just one man's opinion.

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In Toronto, my articling year 13/14, I know people with solos or 2-3 lawyer shops who got:

-a monthly bus pass, but no other compensation

-bus pass and lsuc fees

-no salary or compensation, except for overtime (anything over 40 hrs) pay at 15/hr

-35k

-$18ish hourly

 

Of course, this is not at all a representative sample since the only reason these people disclosed their salary was to (totally fairly) complain about it.

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With the way the market is, you'll be very fortunate if you get anything half-decent. Tons of practices are starting to offer unpaid articling positions because they know that many people are desperate enough. I cannot imagine the salary would be very high in a small sole proprietorship. Just me speculating.

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I've seen everything from unpaid articling to $45k/year, with the average falling between 25-30k.

 

A few of the specific pay arrangements that I know of from classmates:

 

- $0

- bus pass + $200/month

- $500/month

- $5000 flat honorarium

- $10k honorarium + PLTC fees ($2625)

- minimum wage based on 8 hours a day (works out to about $17k)

- $22k

-$24k

- $27k base salary + commission + PLTC fees

- $28k base salary + PLTC fees

- $35k

- $35k + commission + PLTC fees

 

I'm from BC, so this range may or may not reflect the current market in Ontario.

Edited by sunnyskies1992
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A few of the specific pay arrangements that I know of from classmates:

 

- $0

- bus pass + $200/month

- $500/month

- $5000 flat honorarium

- $10k honorarium + PLTC fees ($2625)

- minimum wage based on 8 hours a day (works out to about $17k)

- $22k

-$24k

- $27k base salary + commission + PLTC fees

- $28k base salary + PLTC fees

- $35k

- $35k + commission + PLTC fees

 

I'm from BC, so this range may or may not reflect the current market in Ontario.

 

CSOs should clearly be running workshops about how to negotiate salary.

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CSOs should clearly be running workshops about how to negotiate salary.

 

Very, very true. I have seen a 10K spread between articling students at the same firm (one year after the other). 

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CSOs should clearly be running workshops about how to negotiate salary.

 

Given how out of whack supply and demand currently are, negotiation will only get you so far. 

Edited by hORNS
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Given how out of whack supply and demand currently are, negotiation will only get you so far. 

 

*CSOs in BC...

 

The market isn't quite that bad out here. I'm also unsure how many people are getting themselves into situations where they simply ought to be expecting more and don't realize the low salary may also be a red flag about the firm. At the very least, people should be aware of why a firm may be offering salaries at different points on the scale - for some it may be because they do a lot of pro bono work, for others it may be that the firm just isn't busy enough to support a student (probably not a great learning experience), for some it may be that the lawyer is risk averse (propose a split on billed hours!), or maybe they're an asshole.

Edited by benjuryon
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Doing the LPP with a well paid placement doesn't seem so bad compared to this...

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Doing the LPP with a well paid placement doesn't seem so bad compared to this...

 

Accepting your caveat, I suppose you aren't wrong. But let's remember, the LPP only pays for the, what, ten weeks you are working? And if you actually shouldered the real cost of the LPP, it would be a net loss even at that. If you assume a well-paid position during the placement, it's probably better than articling for free. But I doubt it stands up against any paid position. I mean, paid articles are actually paying for more than four times longer than the LPP. So by definition (simple math incoming) the LPP would need to pay more than four times as much, per week, to draw even. That isn't likely to happen.

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Accepting your caveat, I suppose you aren't wrong. But let's remember, the LPP only pays for the, what, ten weeks you are working? And if you actually shouldered the real cost of the LPP, it would be a net loss even at that. If you assume a well-paid position during the placement, it's probably better than articling for free. But I doubt it stands up against any paid position. I mean, paid articles are actually paying for more than four times longer than the LPP. So by definition (simple math incoming) the LPP would need to pay more than four times as much, per week, to draw even. That isn't likely to happen.

 

Honestly, it really depends.  The placement is 16 weeks, but is often extended.

 

My placement pays $1,300/week and I get a $2,500 signing bonus, benefits, vacation pay and 4 vacation days.  Plus, if my employer is impressed with me and decides to keep me on until my call date, that's an addition 8 weeks (so 6 months total).  Compared with some of the numbers I'm seeing in this thread, the LPP may not be so bad for some people. 

 

Edit:  Most of the placements in the LPP do not pay this much.  

 

Many people also find their own placements.  From my own discussions with LPP Candidates, some employers are open to paying a little more if the position is only 4 months as apposed to 10, and they have the option to extend your placement with no expectations.  This is especially the case since the LPP teaches you how to do basic things already, such as drafting statements of claim/defence, wills and power of attorney documents, know how to do real estate closings, etc.

 

But, I do not wan't to derail this thread lol.

 

 

Edited by homer
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Honestly, it really depends.  The placement is 16 weeks, but is often extended.

 

My placement pays $1,300/week and I get a $2,500 signing bonus, benefits, vacation pay and 4 vacation days.  Plus, if my employer is impressed with me and decides to keep me on until my call date, that's an addition 8 weeks (so 6 months total).  Compared with some of the numbers I'm seeing in this thread, the LPP may not be so bad for some people. 

 

Edit:  Most of the placements in the LPP do not pay this much.  

 

Many people also find their own placements.  From my own discussions with LPP Candidates, some employers are open to paying a little more if the position is only 4 months as apposed to 10, and they have the option to extend your placement with no expectations.  This is especially the case since the LPP teaches you how to do basic things already, such as drafting statements of claim/defence, wills and power of attorney documents, know how to do real estate closings, etc.

 

But, I do not wan't to derail this thread lol.

 

 

 

Yeah, that's a pretty unusual example.

 

I don't consider this a derailment, because expectations are always about comparisons. The employment market, like any other market, is inherently related at all times to other options both for employers and for employees. So this is good information.

 

In criminal defence (which is mostly small and sole practice by default) I think the salary range is roughly between $1,500-3,000/month, which is $18k-36k, I suppose. There are outliers on either side of that. I'm sure there are students articling for free, though I know of no one who will admit to doing that. And probably there are articling gigs that pay more into the $40-50k range, but those would be very few and far between, at some of the biggest names.

 

I'm interested in this topic because I may be able to create a position soonish (I'm seriously not there yet, please, no one ask about it) but I'm wrestling with the finances. I'm not in a position to do this as charity. It has to at least sorta make sense on my end. And no matter what students may think of their talents and abilities, it's bloody hard to create even a couple thousand dollars of value out of a student's time every month, in my line of practice. I don't want to exploit the shit out of a student and ask them to work for minimum wage. I'm just wondering, if it comes down to this, what makes more sense. Do I create a position at the wage I'd like to pay and probably lose money for my trouble? (Note - I just can't do this, right now). Do I create a position at the wage I suspect a student is actually worth to me, even though I know it's bloody pathetic? Or do I simply not create a position at all?

 

The question isn't quite upon me, just yet. But I think it's coming soon.

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I have no qualifications to comment but I think for an articling position because of its fundamentally educative nature you should treat the compensation as an educational stipend--and if you simply are not in a position to fund the stipend at the moment wait until you are in a position to do so.

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