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Any lawyers looking for work in Ottawa?

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This is the future of the legal profession.  Isn't it grand?

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I feel for the people in those roles...

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    • Didn't make it to 2nd round
    • Yup. I'm actually the applicant's parent, so I don't want to give too many identifying details. The stats and the result are accurate though. I made sure the applicant applied broadly. Don't feel bad for the applicant. 
    • I assume the concept of "billings vs collections" is the same.

      I've worked at two firms now with the concept that your income is a percentage of what you actually collect from the bill sent to the client (which the client has paid). I think this is the same as the "receipted hours" concept, but correct me if I'm wrong. As you know, the collection rate on bills is never 100%. I think anywhere from 70-80% would be realistic in the private sector. Maybe a bit more, depending on the firm/work. However, if you work with institutional clients, your collection rate on bills can be much higher (almost 100%). As long as you are billing appropriately, they have the money to pay. With private clients, even if you bill for the right things in the right ways, they will fight you on the bill because they are unhappy with the result/don't understand the work performed. In sum, collection depends on the client's ability and willingness to pay. Do not expect 100% collections. A further obstacle in the collections world is that you may not have control over your work being cut. Senior lawyers will often write off your learning and cut anything that doesn't look polished to them/justifiable to picky clients. Your expected take-home pay can be affected drastically by factors completely out of your control/understanding. You did your work, you did what was asked, you took what you thought was an appropriate amount of time to complete the task, but many hours were cut anyways. The one thing I will say about that is that you will very quickly find a way to spend time on what is likely to be compensated. When you realize: "shit, I am making no money by doing task X/Y/Z" .. or "task X takes me way too long, and I won't get paid to take that long".. you will find ways, entirely ethical ways, to be efficient and profitable. Have the people cutting your hours sit down and explain them to you over lunch.. or a quick phone call. This is for your benefit. I went through hours after hours of cuts.. because my style is to learn the shit out of everything before doing. This is a god awful process in terms of billing.

      The collections model is very stressful and unfortunate for junior counsel, especially if you are doing a lot of learning. The collections model, in all reality, is best suited for efficient lawyers who have gotten over any major learning curves. Not for learning a new area of law (as was my experience x 2). This is when you find the collections model starts making you more income than a basic salary with billable targets. Of course, most basic salaries come with bonuses upon reaching certain targets.. but I have found that you can make much more money on a solely-collections-based model, once you are efficient enough. In collections-based models, you need a "draw".. or an "advance": the living money you are receiving.. which is your baseline. You are likely trying to earn more than the baseline in a collections-based system. Say for example the base salary is 70k. You get your 70k as any other salaries employee. Quarterly, or whenever, your salary is adjusted based on the % you take from your collections. In my experience, no firm has clawed-back the base salary you receive, while you are starting out/learning (if you happen to under-perform). This should take some stress away, but may require a discussion about a grace period. Likely, your employer wants you earning as much as you can too. That said, I think if you put in a bit of extra time at the beginning ensuring that you are efficient, that you learn the basics of your practice, you will enjoy the freedom to earn more than a basic salary. I would say that all things being equal.. when you meet the "billable target" (say 1600 hours) in a collections-based system, you will likely earn more than in the salary/billable system -- barring any horrible issues with clients and senior lawyers. Anyways, hope that sheds some light on the collections system. I am happy to address anything else.    

    • What’s the likelihood of getting a PSLOC with basically no income without a co-signer? I know TD won’t give me anything due to the lack of income, even with my credit score being just fine.