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WicketStyx

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  1. I don't know for sure, but I have a few theories. 1. PI firms typically live or die based on the volume of cases they receive. It is generally rare for a successful PI practice to make money by litigating a few, super high value cases alone. New cases are essential and the means to attract new cases on a mass scale is also essential. 2. I think that you are generally less able to get repeat business in PI work. Some clients DO get into other accidents and will retain the same firm again, but they generally will not ask you to do some wills/estates work or real estate conveyancing even if they are happy with the job you did on their MVA (as examples). That loops back around to #1, above. 3. The market is saturated with PI firms - having your name out there as a household brand is a good way to remain competitive and known.
  2. I work at a mid-sized PI firm in the Toronto area. I get paid a base salary and a commission based on performance. I need to make over my base salary in net settlements to make any commission at all. After that, the commission percentages differ based on how much above my base I make in net settlements. It may be something like 20% of everything above your base between $100k-$300k, 25% on amounts between $301k - $500k, 30% on amounts between $501k - $750k. Mind you, it's between 20%-35% of the net settlement amounts above your base, not gross settlement amounts above your base.
  3. Plaintiff personal injury lawyer here. I occasionally take recordings. I don't recall ever needing a camcorder or device any more sophisticated than my (average, middle-of-the-road) smartphone for said purposes. When discoveries and the like were happening in person, the court reporting offices would usually provide any specialized equipment that was needed.
  4. I spent the first 23 years of my life in the same part of the GTA. When it came time to pick which law school I would attend (of the ones that accepted me), I chose the University of Victoria. It was a little scary at the beginning, but I'm very glad that I did it. It made me grow up a little bit and I made lifelong friends. Also, it was just cool to live in another part of the country for a few years.
  5. Do you have an employment agreement/contract with the firm where you are employed? If so, I'd check whether there are restrictions there. My employment agreement limits the amount of compensated work I can do as a lawyer outside of my role in the firm. As well, I think LawPro might have something to say about covering work that you do outside of the firm's purview.
  6. I don't have much to add to the above, but I thought that I'd chime in as a plaintiff-side PI lawyer in Ontario. I was called 4 years ago, for what it's worth. Many files are run-of-the-mill. That said, it is not at all uncommon to have to piece through relatively complex liability situations that involve statutory interpretation, physical evidence (and accident mechnanics) and witness credibility. My practice includes about 80-85% MVA files, 10-15% slip-and-falls/trip-and-falls and 5ish percent potpourri (usually product liability matters). Since being called, I've had the chance to work on a constitutional challenge (I won't get into a lot of details here, but it had to do with the provincial auto insurance regime generally) and to fight a contested motion on a novel issue (attempting to restrain the ability of defendants to compel plaintiffs to attend defence medical examinations on certain grounds). I've been to court on multiple contested motions that have resulted in CanLii decisions. It sounds like I'm writing a cover letter, so I'll get to the point: I've had plenty of interesting opportunities to litigate complex areas of law even when they have arisen from motor vehicle accidents. There is certainly pressure on me as an associate to "churn out" a certain amount of settlements each quarter. Occasionally, one cannot help but feel that there is an assembly line mentality that applies to managing plaintiff-side PI files. Nowadays, however, and especially in light of the statutory threshold and deductible in Ontario, it is generally in 95ish% of my clients' best interests to try and get them something in their pockets that balances what they went through with the harsh realities and timelines of the Ontario regime. There probably is a stigma associated with PI law. It isn't particularly glamorous work and I don't think it is part of the pipe dream that many law students have when they first envision the future of their careers. Many firms are in bed with treatment centres and disbursements can get jacked up in a way that benefits the businesses more than the client. Some clients lie and most have somewhat unrealistic expectations. Success in this field is as much about effective negotiation as it is aggressive litigation. There's never a dull moment and I can honestly say that the litigation aspect of it all is pretty exciting.
  7. Thanks. My former boss left it somewhat ambiguous. It came as something of a shock, since we had spoken at length just days before about how we would weather the storm and her plans for the future. When the layoffs were announced, I was basically told that the firm would like to have me back but that there was no way predicting how long this situation would last or if the firm would even continue to exist 3-6 months from now. I took that as a fairly clear indicator that I ought to start looking elsewhere. I did get a great reference from them, so that helped.
  8. I mentioned this earlier, but I was laid off on March 25th. My (now) former firm practised personal injury law on the plaintiff side. We had 6 lawyers. I've been practising in personal injury almost exclusively since my call to the bar in 2016. Since my layoff, I've been applying pretty widely to job postings in the GTA related to that area. I had 6 interviews and recently accepted an offer to join a larger PI firm for more money than I was making before. The offer that I accepted was ultimately brokered by a recruiter who reached out to me on LinkedIn. Anyhow, I'm not sharing this to brag or otherwise gloat. I just thought landing a gig was an interesting (and lucky) thing to have happened during the pandemic. I used LinkedIn, Indeed and Ziprecruiter to apply for gigs before the recruiter got in touch.
  9. Posted this in the "Pandemic" thread, but I suppose it is relevant here. Myself and three others were laid off yesterday. Small PI firm in the Greater Toronto Area. 4 lawyers, maybe 6-7 paralegals and 4-5 support staff in total. My boss adamantly told me that it was not a performance issue and that it was just down to numbers. It was a little hard to take - the year had been going very well numbers-wise for me (in terms of settlement figures) up until the last week and a half. Basically, all of our mediations and EFD's that were scheduled to occur in the next six weeks had been cancelled. Counsel were generally hesitant to switch the in-person mediations to teleconferences or videoconferences. As well, there is a very strong preference for in-person discoveries in the PI field. Mediations are where a ton of our files settle. It seems as though the powers that be at my firm are now trying to settle whatever files were earmarked for mediation at a discount to bring some money into the firm and keep the lights on. We tried to settle files over the phone and via e-mail in the last few weeks, but many of our opposite numbers were either not in the office or in quarantine. Then, in the event that we did reach them, it would take a long time to get instructions from their adjuster clients. Bummer.
  10. Whereabouts (roughly) are you located? I'm in the Toronto area and I often see NCA networking events being advertised online. The group around here appears to be robustly run and quite active. I do not have much advice about the interpersonal issues that you are facing (though I certainly remember feeling similarly when I was looking for an articling gig), but I'd check out networks for people in my situation.
  11. Striving to be aggressively passable is where it's at for me, lately.
  12. It's almost as if "benefiting from privilege" and "working hard" are not mutually exclusive concepts. Woah.
  13. Generally, I feel satisfied. The first couple years of practice have certainly been tumultuous. I've learned a lot and I think that I'm building a strong reputation and greater confidence in my abilities. I live a comfortable lifestyle in a very trendy part of town and I can afford to do fun things on a regular basis. The stress and some of the hours that I pull are negatives, but I feel as though I'm doing important work that matters. Furthermore, it is challenging work by just about anyone's standards and I regularly feel proud of rising to the occasion and managing a successful practice. There have certainly been a fair share of dumb mistakes and cringey moments, but I've tried to take it all in stride. Conan O'Brien once said about comedy that, when it's going well, he'd do it for free. When it's going poorly, he continued, he'd rather do anything else in the world. I catch myself thinking the same thing about litigation, but (and this is perhaps for the best), most of the day-to-day stuff falls somewhere comfortably in the middle of those two poles.
  14. It's interesting how closely the above mirrors my experience with the bar and with articling. OP: it's very possible and not at all suicidal. Others have made these recommendations individually, but here is what I would consider the most important assets in passing the bar: 1. Keep to a consistent, reasonable schedule in terms of reading the materials 2. Possess/create/acquire decent indices and become familiar with their layout 3. Absolutely make sure that you have a timing sheet/chart when you go into the exam - the chart is likely to be off by about 5-10 questions compared to the actual bar exam that you write, but I found it invaluable in staying on track when writing the exam 4. Don't leave off reading the solicitor materials until the two week gap between that exam and the barrister's exam (or vice versa); in other words, I found it helpful to keep to my reading schedule up until pretty close to each exam - it didn't really harm me that I had finished the barrister's read-through about a month before the barrister's exam and had dug into the solicitor's material by the time that the barrister's exam occurred 5. Be very aware of timing during the exam - circling a question and moving on if you are having trouble locating the answer after a minute or two is not only acceptable, it's crucial; it hurt for me to do this, in a sense - I wanted to be done with questions completely before moving on, but that will be a death sentence when you realize that there is ten minutes left and about 25 questions remaining that you have not even read yet.
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