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johnny truant

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  1. johnny truant

    Writing Bar for Different Province

    Between provinces which have signed on to the national mobility agreement, which I think is all of them except for Quebec, you can generally transfer your licence on an undertaking to "read and understand" the bar materials as long as you're a "member in good standing" of the law society you wish to transfer from. I articled, wrote the bar and got called in Ontario, then immediately transferred my licence to BC. The process was extremely straightforward. A friend of mine who also got called in Ontario recently moved to Alberta and I think it was the exact same process for him: write a cheque and agree to read the materials, that's it.
  2. johnny truant

    Crown Counsel BC Questions

    A couple of points: 1) The BC provincial government has been in a hiring freeze for quite a while and, as such, hasn't been hiring new crown's for the last few years (this may have changed recently but it's something to look into). 2) There's ~99% chance you'll have to put in your dues somewhere rural unless you're an absolute superstar or have connections. It's highly unlikely you'll get a job as a crown in somewhere like Vancouver/Victoria/Kamloops without putting in a few years in some place like Prince Rupert. 3) Changing provinces honestly isn't a big deal in most areas of law and especially in Criminal. I honestly wouldn't worry about that at all. 4) While moving from corporate to criminal isn't common, it's not unheard of either. As long as you're willing to move to rural nowhere they'll take you.
  3. johnny truant

    Writing Bar for Different Province

    You may be at a slight disadvantage but nothing major. Everything on the bar will be taken from the materials provided to you by the law society, however people who went to school in Ontario might have an advantage due to specific courses they took in law school. For example, my prof. for real estate transactions taught directly from the previous year's bar materials, so it was a great course to take in your last semester before writing the bar. I honestly wouldn't worry about it though. One thing to mention is that you realistically have to write the bar in the same province you article in. If you get articling in BC, just write the bar in BC and then do a transfer application after you get called. Once you're called it's really easy to move around (basically pay the law society of whatever jurisdiction you want to practice in $1,500 and they'll welcome you with open arms), so I'd just get called wherever I could find articling then worry about moving afterwards.
  4. I've heard the opposite about Crim lawyers in Vancouver; apparently the market in Vancouver proper is pretty saturated but there's a huge demand in Surrey. Agreed on family; if you call up LSS B.C. (B.C.'s Legal aid provider) and tell them you're practicing in Vancouver and looking for family legal aid referrals you'll be drowning in work within a few months. No idea about tax lawyers; I also have zero interest in that field. I've heard that insurance defense is an area that's pretty consistently hiring. Again, I have zero interest in that stuff so I don't know for sure and even if I was interested I'd sure as hell be on the other side of the table representing plaintiffs.
  5. johnny truant

    Failed the Solicitor's Exam...

    Don't really have any tips for you but just know it's much more common than you think to fail one or both of the Ontario bar exams. I know a girl who got (almost) straight A's in law school who failed the solicitors twice. A good buddy of mine failed both exams more than once. It sucks, but it happens. Just pony up the $700 and write it again, remember that the key is timing, you've got (something like) 1m45s per question, if you can't get it in that time just guess and move on, the last thing you want to do is leave a bunch blank at the end as you're pretty much guaranteed to fail in that situation.
  6. johnny truant

    Starting articling in May

    The smartest thing you can do in this situation is to not write both of the exams at the same time. There are (I think) three writings per year so I would write one in June and the other in November. Another benefit to the later writings is that you can hit up your friends who wrote in june for their indexes. If it's your first time writing one of the bar exams your job has to give you some time off to study (verify this with the lsuc) so study nights and weekends then take a week off before the exam to study hardcore. I'd personally start with the Barristers as everyone I know considered that one to be easier than the Solicitors. When you're studying you've got to remember that you're not trying to learn the material, what you really want is to learn the index and table of contents inside and out. It's not the content that makes the exams difficult it's the extreme time-limits so you've got to know where to look to find the answers, you don't want to be flipping around randomly.
  7. johnny truant

    Applications: E-mail vs. Hand delivered/Registered Mail

    They're going to think you're crazy if you send them by registered mail. Besides, do you really want to pay $8 per application? Hand delivered, regular mail or email are all fine. If you email them I'd send your files in pdf format (unless they specify otherwise) so you can be sure the formatting doesn't get mangled.
  8. johnny truant

    Too many lawyers?

    There are a couple of reasons why there's always a shortage of family lawyers. One is that it's very high stress. You can minimize this if you want to be picky with your clients but, as widget says, plenty of clients are going to expect you to be their social worker, or call you 15x a day with some "emergency", or do something completely bone-headed like up and move to a different city with the kids despite there being an order for joint custody. You're basically always putting out fires and a lot of lawyers in private practice get burnt out dealing with their insane clients. Another reason is that there's just a much bigger demand for family lawyers than anyone thinks. It's not just divorce but custody and access orders for unmarried people, not to mention child protection work which used to be handled primarily by legal clinics but is now increasingly dealt with through the private bar. Personally I think the real reason is that family law is dominated by sole practitioners. Sure, there are a few big family firms and all the biglaw firms will have a few partners and associates that practice family, but family (along with criminal) will always be dominated by sole practitioners and small, 2-3 lawyer firms. As such, it can be a tough field to get into for new lawyers as it's hard to find family-centric articling positions and once you article you're left with the frightening prospect of hanging a shingle immediately after being called, not something everyone is comfortable with. Also, $700 is an insanely high hourly rate for a family lawyer. Even $400-500 is, in my experience, pretty high. I know a quite senior family sole practitioner in Vancouver who charges $300 /hr. I also met a 5-6 year call in Ottawa who was a sole practitioner and charged less than $200/hr.
  9. I don't know whether this makes me want to laugh or cry. I think you're going to be in for a rude awakening when you and your classmates actually start going through the articling recruitment process. Needless to say, this hasn't been the case for some time and the current shortage of articling positions is a known and recognized issue.
  10. Law Students for a Fair Legal Profession have just posted a pretty detailed response to this article from a Canadian perspective. Definitely worth a read. For what it's worth I agree with several others in this thread; things aren't nearly as bad here as they are in the U.S. but we're certainly heading down the same path and I think Rocka's prediction that we're 10 years behind them is probably pretty accurate.
  11. johnny truant

    Transferring between provinces during practice

    Sure, no problem. One thing I forgot to mention is that in order to initiate the transfer process you have to be "entitled to practice law" in the jurisdiction you're transferring from. This adds to the overall cost as simply being called to the bar isn't enough, you'll also have to pay law society member dues and practice insurance while you're waiting for the transfer to come through. If you plan on funding it yourself I'd recommend applying for E.I. as soon as you finish articling as you're likely to have a couple of months of downtime during which you can't really work (as a lawyer anyway) while you're waiting for your licence to transfer. I am practicing in downtown Vancouver but I'm honestly not the best person to ask about the current state of the market for new calls as I avoided that whole headache by starting my own practice. The area I practice in is pretty much dominated by sole practitioners so I'm actually really out of touch with the city's "big firm" culture.
  12. johnny truant

    Bar exam and courses

    Don't worry about not taking tax; everyone says that it's essential for the bar exams but it's really not. Really I wouldn't take any class just because you think it will help you pass the bar; just study the hell out of the bar materials, nothing's going to be on the bar exams that's not in those books. If you don't have any interest in Family law don't take it because you feel you "have to"; it's your last semester, take whatever you find the most interesting. There are so many courses I regret taking because someone told me it was a course I had to take.
  13. johnny truant

    Transferring between provinces during practice

    I am a practicing lawyer who was called to the bar in Ontario earlier this year and currently live (and practice) in B.C. so I think I can speak to this topic. Between provinces that have signed onto the National Mobility Agreement (I believe everywhere except the territories and Quebec), the process is extremely straightforward. In order to transfer my licence from Ontario to B.C. I had to pay a transfer fee to the Law Society of B.C. (~$1,500), sign an undertaking to read certain practice materials, and take care of a few administrative odds and ends with the Law Society of Upper Canada (basically request certain documents be provided to the LSBC). The process took about 2 months in total. I had no "solid legal experience" beyond articling and no firm job offer on this end.
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