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sunnyskies1992 last won the day on September 2 2018

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  1. All lawyers and legal assistants at my firm have been laid off from Monday March 23, 2020 to June 1, 2020. I question the legality of this as temporary layoffs are neither permitted by our contracts nor part of our industry nor done by consent, and because we were not provided with notice/severance/holiday pay. However, I’m worried that if I ask too many questions I just won’t be hired back in June, and it’s not a great time to be searching for jobs.
  2. It depends. In general, you become more efficient over time and can thus more easily hit your billable hour targets. As a 2+ year call you also have more mobility and are eligible for a larger variety of roles, thus you can choose something that works for you. For me the turning point came when I reached a certain level of seniority in the firm where if I said no to tasks I felt fairly confident that I wouldn’t be fired.
  3. When answering a question like this, I think the base question is, “Am I likely to get a “better” offer elsewhere”? Better is subjective to each individual. That question is dependent on a number of factors, including but not limited to: 1. Practice area: Not all practice areas have the same level of compensation. A 1st year criminal lawyer is likely to earn less than a 1st year at a boutique litigation firm. 2. Job market: Are there a lot of openings right now in your area for 1st year associates? Or are people struggling to find work? Keep in mind that 2-5 year calls tend to be significantly more marketable than brand new calls. 3. Mentorship: Are you getting a good learning experience at your firm? If they pay less but invest good time in teaching you, that’s worth considering. 4. Value-Added: Do you produce exceptional work? Are you extremely hardworking? Do you possess traits that other firms may value, such charisma/rainmaking ability, a second language, etc? 5. Geographic location: Is the firm situated in a convenient location for you? Or are you commuting in? 6. Culture: Is the culture of the firm a good fit for you? Would you be happier elsewhere? 7. Work-life balance: Do you have good work-life balance? How many hours per week are you expected to work? Keep in mind that asking for a raise may make an employer consider replacing you. At two separate firms now, I’ve seen someone ask for a raise and the employer has given it. Shortly after that, the employer hired a junior to train under that individual. A few months thereafter, after the new person had been fully trained, the original raise-asker was let go with severance, with the employer citing cash flow issues and concerns over the economy. Not saying that this happens in every scenario, but it is a possibility.
  4. The in-house counsel I know appear to have the best work-life balance. One such acquaintance of mine advises that he generally works 9-5:30 pm, with no evenings or weekends. Another says that she generally works 40-50 hour weeks, and that as long as she is in the office between the core operating hours of 10:00 am to 3:00 pm she can do the rest of her work remotely. It's not an area that most people think of when applying for law school, but foreclosures work has excellent work-life balance compared to other areas of litigation. I have almost all of my evenings off, and I have never worked a single weekend since starting at the firm two years ago. I think this is because as opposed to other areas of litigation, in which you and the other side each set approximately 50% of the hearings, in foreclosures we essentially set 100% of the hearings. Thus, things are done on our schedule. Also, the majority of our hearings go uncontested, as the other side acknowledges that they borrowed the money, and generally has no money to retain counsel (as if they did, they'd likely be paying their mortgage instead). In addition, almost all of our work is done on a summary basis in Chambers, and we rarely (if ever) proceed to a full trial (this may vary by province). As a junior lawyer I generally work 50-60 hour weeks, but my boss (senior counsel) works less than that. Also, perhaps consider a firm with flexible work arrangements.My firm lets me start early to get my hours in (7:00 am to 6:30 pm), so I can come home to have dinner with my husband. Other acquaintances of mine have commented that being able to work remotely or work varying hours on different days allowed them to schedule activities on the evenings and weekends. Of the litigation practice areas, family law is likely one of the areas with the worst work-life balance, because all of your applications tend to be both urgent and last-minute (i.e. protection orders, s. 91 applications to freeze family assets, etc). During family trials you will also likely be working 16-18 hours per day. Criminal law is also difficult because clients need to be able to reach you at all hours of the night/evenings/weekends, and because clients don't come to your office (you need to travel to various courthouses). My husband works as a solicitor (real estate, corporate, wills & estates), and he generally works about 50 hours per week (9:30 am to 7:30 pm). However, he will go through busy times where he's working until 2 am and then getting up at 5 am (I'd say those times generally work out to about eight weeks a year). If you take a yearly average he and I likely work about the same number of hours.
  5. Of the four small/midsized firms I’ve worked for since being called, 2 paid for my bar fees and 2 didn’t.
  6. I think the going rate is currently between 60-80k. If the offer is 60k+ and your boss/firm is not crazy, I’d probably take it to continue to get post-call experience, a steady salary, and (hopefully) some mentorship.
  7. Great thread idea @Hegdis! 1. Generally having my weekends off (used to work Saturdays and Sundays for retail); 2. Being able to eat out at lunch; and 3. Being able to go to Costco and buy the random stuff my partner requests over and above our regular groceries.
  8. How do you handle losing cases? Do you get better over time at trying to keep it in perspective, and learning for next time? Is there any way to shut off the spiral of self-doubt? It’s one thing to acknowledge that every court application is a calculated risk, and that you weigh the pros and cons with the client in advance, and that you’ve decided to take your chances. At some level, though, you believed that the outcome would come out in your favour (especially as the Plaintiff), otherwise you would have accepted a settlement. The rumination on “maybe I should have said this” or “maybe I should have told the client that” or “maybe I should have accepted a settlement” or “maybe if I were a better/smarter/more experienced/more confident lawyer this would have gone differently” or “maybe I just fuck up the lives of people who trust me” keeps me up for weeks and the impact of any losses outweighs 100x the impact of any wins.
  9. Do you think that the question itself invites a form of selection bias? I’ve read stats that lawyers who are 3+ years out from being called are happier than new calls. But I’ve always wondered if that stemmed from the lawyers themselves becoming happier over time, or from the unhappy lawyers dropping out to pursue alternate options (thus leaving only the happier ones left to take the poll). Also, there is selection bias in that you’re drawing from a specific subset of lawyers (5+ year lawyers who currently browse lawstudents.ca) instead of the general lawyer population).
  10. My first cold diagnostic was 147. After 8 weeks of studying, it jumped to 161 under timed conditions. My final test score was 167. It's very possible, especially if your weakness is in logic games.
  11. I have compiled a list of salaries and other compensation structures that I have come across in 2018. I can't say whether this list is representative of other peoples' experiences, but I figured it might be useful to someone else as there is not a lot of posted information regarding salaries (especially at smaller firms). The list below is for firms in and around Vancouver. Hope this helps! Articling: Small solicitor’s firm in Vancouver: $20,000 Small full-service firm in Vancouver: $30,000 Small debt collection firm in Surrey: $30,000 Large full-service firm in Vancouver: $55,000 First Year Associate: Sole practitioner (full-service): Individual lost money Fee split 65(firm)/35 (lawyer), firm provided no business: Individual lost money Small debt collection firm in Surrey: $40,000 Fee split 60 (firm)/40 (lawyer), firm provided files: Individual earned approximately $45,000 Small firm in Surrey (legal aid crim & family): $50,000 Sole practitioner (corporate law), individual had connections from articling firm: $60,000 Small family boutique in Vancouver: $60,000 Small family firm in Surrey: $60,000 Small civil litigation firm in Victoria: $60,000 Small real estate firm in Surrey: $60,000 Small business law firm in Vancouver: $60,000 Small personal injury firm in Vancouver: $70,000 Mid-sized full-service firm in Fraser Valley: $80,000 Large family firm in Vancouver: $80,000 Large insurance defense firm in Vancouver: $80,000 Large full-service firm in Vancouver: $94,000 Large full-service firm in Vancouver: $100,000 Second Year Associate: Small family firm in Vancouver: $70,000 Small debt collection firm in Vancouver: $75,000 Fee split 50/50, firm provided no files: $75,000 Fee split 60 (firm)/40 (lawyer), firm provided files: $80,000 Large insurance defense firm in Vancouver: $80,000 Mid-sized full-service firm in Fraser Valley: $90,000 Mid-sized full-service firm in Abbotsford: $90,000 Large family firm in Vancouver: $90,000 Large full-service firm in Vancouver: $105,000
  12. Just wanted to reach out and thank everyone who replied to this thread. Your advice and encouragement was much appreciated. I ended up leaving the firm that I was at, and I am at a new firm where I feel that I am a better fit. The lawstudents.ca community is amazing and I am thankful to be a part of it.
  13. The best mentor I ever had was a lawyer that had a reputation for aggressive/unethical behavior, and troubles with the Law Society. Don’t write someone off by reputation, make your own assessment. Working for him opened the door to many firms for me because he was willing to give me a strong reference, and because his name was known in the community.
  14. The skill set from family is transferable into most other litigation areas, especially right out of articles. When you’re applying to jobs, emphasize the transferable skills you do have, such as speaking in Chambers, preparing court forms and pleadings, and dealing with clients.
  15. Work a few years at a smaller firm, and then lateral back to a bigger firm? Then you’ll have experience under your belt.
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