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dragonflower

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  1. I recently had an interview with a firm for an associate position. I'm currently employed, but have been open to other opportunities for a few months now. I had expected questions about my work experience prior to and after my call to the bar, as well as about any interesting cases that I worked on. Also expected to be asked about my opinion on some of the more recent appellate decisions relevant to my area of practice, so I read them. Went through the firm's website and searched the lawyers' names to see if they have any reported decisions in case I needed to refer to them. But all of the above efforts were in vain, because I wasn't asked any questions related to my files or the law. Some questions they asked included how many hours my current firm expects me to bill per year, what is the average caseload of an average lawyer at my firm, who's my mentor at the firm, whether my current firm takes Legal Aid files, etc. I think there were a couple of other questions that related to the firm rather than about me, which I can't remember off the top of my head. They did ask a few personal questions, such as why do you want to leave your current firm, but I don't recall anything beyond that. I don't know if this is normal or appropriate. Didn't get a call back. Thoughts? What were your interview experiences for those of us who are not in big-law?
  2. I recently ran into a job posting for legal officers in the Canadian Armed Forces. I practice in a completely unrelated area of law, but became curious after reading the job description as to how people get into this sector. I'm assuming that most civilians have limited understanding, if at all, of military law. While I was in law school, I think I saw one relevant elective course offered in three years. Do these departments exclusively hire people who have had previous careers in relevant fields before becoming lawyers? Same thing with legal counsel for the CSIS, the Office of Emergency Preparedness, et cetera.
  3. I mean... you’re kind of putting words into people’s mouths at this point. Some people in this thread think government lawyers rush out the door when the clock strikes 5. I’m just pointing out that that’s not the case. I never said those were “really, really long hours” as you stated in your most recent post. Please stop hyperbolizing. It’s not meant to be a value-laden statement but just a purely factual observation I made. Whether you think 6/7pm should be the norm, or whether you think it’s “funny” that that somehow paradoxically confirms their long working hours or lack thereof, is completely up to you. In addition, you have conveniently ignored the fact that I said some of these people go home and work for another few hours maybe after having dinner and putting the kids to bed. Not everyone is in their late 20s, single with no children, and live in walking distance from their office. I could stay until 10 because I didn’t have responsibilities, but not everyone has that luxury. I can assure you some government lawyers were sending me emails and documents late into the night after they went home, or on the weekends, which I assume means that they were working even if they’re not physically in the office. Also maybe it’s just me but I would prefer to be efficient and finish all my tasks in 8-9 hours and go home early as opposed to dragging out my workday and staying in the office till late in the night. This of course assumes that the quality of my work does not suffer from being efficient. Working longer hours doesn’t necessarily mean increased productivity and/or profit, but I guess the profession can sometimes reward those who bill more hours and are seemingly more productive.
  4. ^ This. There are literally a bunch of lawyers in this thread who have either worked in government, worked with someone in government, or personally know someone working in government saying this is not true. Yet this 0L is steadfast in his/her position, repeating what he or she has supposedly heard from others with such conviction and certainty... the only word that comes to my mind is arrogance. I am in private practice now, but I had the pleasure of working in government positions as a student. I also have some very close friends working as provincial and federal prosecutors, as well as counsel for various ministries. The people that I encountered while working in those offices are some of the most intelligent and illustrious individuals I've ever met in life. Especially those Crowns -- they're a different breed. My opinion is that you can't survive being a Crown without strongly believing in what your job entails. I had the fortune of having to stay until 9 or 10pm on a few occasions to work on some significant files. What was surprising to me was that contrary to most people's idea of what a government lawyer's hours looked like, a considerable number of Crowns stayed in the office until 6 or 7 pm (except a few people who had younger children), and even those who went home 'early' would still bring their laptops and briefcases and whatnot because they were going to do work for another hour or two at home. And the interesting thing was this kind of work ethic was seen across all years of calls -- from the nervous first year assistant Crowns working the remand court to the Deputy Crown with 20+ years under her belt. YMMV depending on the courthouse/division you're working for. But I had the pleasure of being 'loaned' from one office to another, and the general attitude of accountability was pretty similar. I'm not saying everyone should do this, nor am I saying this is healthy behaviour. I'm sure there are some 'bad apples' in the public sector, as all industries and areas have a few non-exemplary members. But as Deadpool said, you have to be on top of your game for 3 years (at least in Ontario) to even be considered for a permanent position, which is one of the reasons why I just switched over to private practice when I was called. I liked the public sector, but not enough to bear the uncertainty. So I know for a fact that most people in government are working there because they really care enough to forego the potentially more lucrative salaries and creative career trajectories in private practice. On average they might have less pressure than your regular private practice litigators because they don't have to bring in clients, or work towards partnership. However, to paint government lawyers' jobs as a cakewalk and claiming that there's a culture of complacency and laziness is extremely unfair to those who are assisting in the process of making sure society works in the ways it should.
  5. So now that Toronto will enter Phase 2 on Wednesday, I wanted to get this forum's opinions on what things are going to look like over the next few months. To be honest, I didn't think the city would be in Phase 2 this early. Do you think it's fair for employees to assume that you can continue working from home unless the firm sends an official email announcing everyone's expected to come back to the office? I've been pretty spoiled over the past few months and saved quite a bit of time and money from not commuting, not buying lunch, etc. and wouldn't mind the extension of WFH measures until the end of summer... FYI I'm not in big law but my office is located in the financial district, which is why I'd like to avoid commuting as much as possible (one of my parents has a chronic illness that is linked to higher deaths/increased severity of symptoms of COVID-19).
  6. Didn’t know we as lawyers were so essential. Looks like my firm is going to make us go in. The order was pretty much the only thing that could have saved me from having to STILL go into the office at this juncture.
  7. Happy Thanksgiving everyone! My first salary negotiation as a lawyer is coming up in the next few weeks, and I was wondering whether I could get some collective wisdom on negotiating my salary. I've always been told what I'd be getting paid with no wriggle room, so this is a whole new experience for me. For context, I was called in June of this year, and have been working at my current firm, which is mid-size and in Toronto, almost immediately after I got my license. I've been getting good feedback from senior lawyers, assisted on major cases over the past few months, and generally have a good working relationship with the people in the office. The initial contract was quite bare bones (i.e. annual salary amount, number of vacation days, LawPRO/LSUC fees/CLE, phone, etc.) and I was fairly content with what I was told I'd be receiving. I'm not overly aggressive when it comes to compensation, however I'd like to have a fairly accurate idea of how much I'm worth to this firm and also for future purposes. It hasn't been a full calendar year since I started, so I don't even know how much I'm supposed to ask. For example, if I'm being paid $X currently, is it okay for me to ask $1.05X for the next calendar year...? $1.10X...? FYI, my salary isn't too bad, but I think there could definitely be some improvement as I simply took the first number they gave me without questioning (not asking for big law salary, obviously). But I also don't want to offend the firm by over-thinking what I am worth and shooting way beyond what is appropriate. In terms of non-tangibles, what are some things that I might consider putting on the negotiation table? I'm open to taking a slightly lower salary if it means there are other benefits (though I can't think of anything other than dental/drug plan at this point). Thank you for reading!
  8. I got called in June of this year so I don't really know how vacations at law firms work. How far do you plan for your vacation? I usually start planning about half a year before and buy my plane tickets then, but how do possible court dates come into play? What happens if you bought and planned everything, but a motion pops up and is scheduled to happen during your vacation? Also is it feasible for younger associates to take off like 2 weeks in a row? My understanding is that files are quite slow during the summer months in this area of law. I obviously will be checking and responding to work emails during my vacation, but I just don't know how much in advance I'm supposed to let seniors know and how much flexibility I have. I'm the only really junior one in my office, so I'm a little hesitant in asking these questions... at least for now when I only started a few months ago. Thank you in advance.
  9. When speaking with older relatives or family friends: "Your parents must be so proud of you!" (spoiler alert: not very) or "My son/daughter/niece/nephew/etc. wants to go to law school. Mind if you take some time to have a chat with them?" I'm happy to always help in this regard. First dates: "Oh so can you get me out of jail ;)" -- I swear on old gods and new, if I hear this one more time... -- or "So why are you not dating lawyers then?" Within my ethnic community: they literally message me for everything and anything that is even remotely related to the law. They know that I'm still a few weeks from obtaining my license, and I specialize in a certain area. and I remind them as such, but that doesn't deter them. People who I haven't spoken with since high school will message me about their queries with real estate, employment, VISA, etc. Heck I once had an acquaintance from undergrad who's living in PARIS message me about an issue about landlord-tenant obligations (HOW WOULD I KNOW?!) If it's something that I know, I give very, very general spiel about the state of the law, but nothing more. (This degree is expen$ive and I'm not giving advice for free even if I already had my license and knew details of the facts). In fact, most of the times I try to direct them to other resources, such as the LSUC 30 min free consultation, Legal Aid, local clinics, student clinics, JusticeNet, or private bar lawyers who I know if they can afford it. As someone else mentioned above, some cultures tend to hold higher regards of lawyers than others. I never mention it first (Just don't feel like talking about my career when I'm on a holiday...), but if you spend more than a few hours together with locals or other tourists, the question usually pops up. Germans, French, and Aussies were usually "ah that's neat" and moved onto other topics, whereas Japanese, Taiwanese, and Brazilians were like "OoooooooHhHHHhhhhh" I've yet to master how exactly to proceed after being given the latter reaction I'm scared of whatever I say or do after that may come across pompous.
  10. Emailed for info over the weekend. These are their offers: HARCOURTS New Call Package consists of gown, waistcoat, court shirt, tabs, and a vinyl storage bag. $575.00 for poly/wool gown and waistcoat, or $625.00 for 100% tropical wool. CROWNEX $565 for pure tropical wool, $495 for wool/poly blend, $465 for blend viscose-poly The Call to the Bar packages all include the gown, waistcoat, cotton-blend wing collared shirt, tabs, and a garment storage bag. ERIC SANA $625 for the purchase which includes gown, waistcoat, shirt, and tabs. $170 for rental. HST extra.
  11. I spoke with an articling student at my office today and she told me that she got her offer, along with others, at 8:30am on the Thursday. I'm banking on that.
  12. I haven't heard back from an office that I would have loved to. Is it safe to assume that they won't be calling if I don't hear by 9?
  13. Has anyone heard from Barbra Schlifer?
  14. ....... What. Why would they make a posting on viLaw as well as on their website. I spent so much time on that application, and I'm sure a lot of others did as well haha
  15. For some reason, I initially read this as the middle of this week and became really depressed because I hadn't heard from anyone... and then after a while, I realized it said next week. The false alarm was emotionally taxing. Man I hate this. I've been so jumpy and nervous for the past few weeks everytime an email from a firm pops up, even though I know it's just a courtesy acknowledgment of receipt.
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