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hORNS

Toronto DOJ Salary Versus Private Law Firms

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Hey, 

Does anyone happen to know what the current starting salary is for the Toronto DOJ office? The latest salary I could find was from 2013 (where it was listed as $71K).  If it is in fact $71K, is that feasible to live on in Toronto with $67K in loans left to repay? I ask because I recently accepted a job with the Toronto DOJ. The DOJ has always been my top choice and so when I was offered a position with them I immediately accepted without even asking the salary. I was in the midst of going through interviews at the time for jobs that would commence after I completed my clerkship (mostly with biglaw type places), which I immediately cancelled after receiving the DOJ offer. Given my high debt-load, I do find myself second guessing my decision in retrospect as the other places I was interviewing at would obviously have offered a considerably higher salary. 

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If you truly want to be a DoJ, you probably won’t enjoy the life as a BigLaw lawyer despite the extra $. 

 

Perhaps you you should consider DoJ outside of Toronto so that you can enjoy your work while enjoying a lower cost of living and being able to satisfy your debt. 

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Yes, easily.  Take $71k a year.  After Taxes, you’re looking at $53.4ka year (or more if you have tax credits or deductions to use, as you might).  With, $67k in student loans, you’re  looking at, what, monthly loan repayments of $700 a month, call it $8400 a year, so that leaves you with $45k to live on.  You are doing something wrong if you can’t live comfortably on that.  Find yourself a roommate or significant other and it becomes that much easier.  

And that’s your starting salary, I imagine it moves up with experience. You’ll be fine.  

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12 minutes ago, maximumbob said:

  You are doing something wrong if you can’t live comfortably on that.  Find yourself a roommate or significant other and it becomes that much easier.  

  

 

Yes - find yourself a spouse to live with as a means of prudent financing planning. #DivorceIsTheWorstFinancialDecisionYouCanMake

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3 hours ago, hORNS said:

The DOJ has always been my top choice ... Given my high debt-load, I do find myself second guessing my decision

Path dependence is a real thing in the public sector. If you want to be at DOJ, you should look at this as a career decision with 'bigger picture' implications that (probably) outweigh a few years of personal financial pressure. And it's not like they're offering you $30K.

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17 hours ago, sman99 said:

 

Perhaps you you should consider DoJ outside of Toronto so that you can enjoy your work while enjoying a lower cost of living and being able to satisfy your debt. 

I thought about that, unfortunately the offer from the Toronto office is what I received. I don't think that is a coincidence - I hear that the Toronto and Vancouver  DOJ offices have a hard time retaining people because of the high cost of living. 

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On 4/16/2018 at 6:53 AM, hORNS said:

I thought about that, unfortunately the offer from the Toronto office is what I received. I don't think that is a coincidence - I hear that the Toronto and Vancouver  DOJ offices have a hard time retaining people because of the high cost of living. 

Congratulations! Is this articling or not? If it's not, DOJ has standard pay bands, so any DOJ starting position in Toronto would be the same (but ignore Criminal as they have a different union)
I'd check here and see if you can find your position or closest.

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On 2018-04-15 at 1:01 PM, sman99 said:

Yes - find yourself a spouse to live with as a means of prudent financing planning. #DivorceIsTheWorstFinancialDecisionYouCanMake

Nope, the worst financial decision you can make is finding a spouse who not only doesn’t contribute financially as they said they would, but drains you financially and emotionally.

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On 2018-04-16 at 5:53 AM, hORNS said:

I thought about that, unfortunately the offer from the Toronto office is what I received. I don't think that is a coincidence - I hear that the Toronto and Vancouver  DOJ offices have a hard time retaining people because of the high cost of living. 

You may be able to transfer to another city later. 

I agree that DoJ and biglaw work are completely different in terms of type of work, lifestyle etc. This isn’t just a financial decision.

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2 hours ago, Chambertin said:

Congratulations! Is this articling or not? If it's not, DOJ has standard pay bands, so any DOJ starting position in Toronto would be the same (but ignore Criminal as they have a different union)
I'd check here and see if you can find your position or closest.

Thanks! I am articling now so this would be as an associate (or whatever the equivalent to that is in government).   

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1 hour ago, hORNS said:

Thanks! I am articling now so this would be as an associate (or whatever the equivalent to that is in government).   

I think in Tax Services, you start as LA1 so your estimate isn't far off though I note these are pretty old effective dates (but may be the applicable date per the CBA)

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