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KingLouis

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KingLouis last won the day on April 15

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  1. I'm in my mid-30s now and approaching that traditional mid-life crisis milestone of 40. My adult approach to satisfaction is figuring out if, in quiet moments, I have peace-of-mind more often than not. Even a 51:49 split would be okay with me. The childhood ideal of being happy all the time doesn't exist in adult life. If your friends or colleagues are living the kind of fairy-tale where they never have a bad day, they're living as children. Remember that. The delusion of believing you can make the right career moves and marry the "right" person and have the perfect kids you always wanted is a dangerous thing. So is the stupid and offensive Hollywood script of the Marie Henein super-litigator adored by the media and aspired to by the hordes of striving young litigators. You have to push those narratives out of your mind. Relationships evolve and decay, and working as a lawyer is an assault on your emotions. No matter how much you stylize and airbrush and puff up another lawyer's life, they're still climbing the same ladder you are, and they still have their own limitations. Adult life is all about accepting those things and making the internal/external changes to minimize their damage. What I'm trying to say is that there are obviously things you want to avoid. Being miserable doing a kind of law you hate 100% of the time is one of those things. But don't expect to love whatever you replace that with 100% of the time. It doesn't work that way.
  2. No, it doesn't get better over time. The only thing you gain is the perspective that comes from going through the troughs and knowing that you've found your equilibrium eventually. Now I can say, "I know this sucks. I know I feel like shit and everything can burn. But eventually this will pass." There's no way to avoid the emotional pain of practice if you're doing your job properly. That's like asking how you can stick your bare hand in a fire and not be burned. If you're losing winnable cases by making mistakes, that's a hell you can only escape by acts of mental lifesaving. Here's the reality: if you're litigating cases by calling evidence, this will happen over and over again. There is no way to escape this, even with maximum preparation. What you have to try to avoid is the delusion of thinking every case is winnable. But here's a ridiculous gloss on your question: I won a trial recently for a client who didn't even show up on the original trial-date. I had to go to his house to get him. Today I saw him at the local convenience store, and he gave me the finger.
  3. This is a relevant topic for 0Ls and practicing lawyers alike. I'm hoping people can stay calm enough that we can have a discussion without the thread being killed. Colleagues and judges have urged me for years to leave the defence-side and go over to MAG because the money's better. These are painful conversations that take place in the most explicit terms: "KingLouis, why don't you become a Crown. It's so hard to make a living as a defence lawyer." I don't want anyone left with the impression that defence lawyers are all millionaires. The guy driving the Rover might just be someone who didn't remit his HST or declare cash income. Those stories are legion. Not everything is as it seems. There's a reason why I know 3 defence counsel who've crossed over to MAG in the last 18 months. We don't even have to discuss the A2J issue of LAO cuts widening the gap between most defence lawyers and Crowns. It's self-evident that we're entering a bad time. I am a busy Ontario criminal defence lawyer. I earn less than a Crown of my year-of-call. I have a wide network of friends and colleagues in the defence bar. Each of them earns less than a Crown of their YOC. When I say "earn," I mean "net income." I will concede the following: The highest earners of the defence bar far outstrip the incomes of the highest-earning Crowns. The lowest earners of the defence bar earn a fraction of the compensation paid to Crowns of their year-of-call. While, as my first point suggests, you can earn far more money as a defence lawyer than you would as a Crown, the lower bound suggested by Point #2 firms up the reality that you can (and will likely) earn less. You'll find in any city or district a handful of lawyers who can bill private clients for $20k on an impaired case or even a YCJA joint submission on a property offence. Anomalies happen. DUI specialists can charge $20k for a loser Charter defence if the client has money and is willing to try anything to keep their licence. The Heneins of the world doing white-collar crime can bill their embezzling clients at $500/hour. And they can even collect the money. I am not saying that's impossible. It's just as possible as a chef leveraging their brand and charging $75 for a $2 spiced chicken thigh. As I've said, at the upper bound, defence lawyers who can bill private clients for five-figure trials are making excellent money. Even if a senior defence lawyer is billing $200k/year, subtract rent, LSO/LawPro fees, HST, a secretary or paralegal, and office administrative costs. Then compare that to a 10-year Ontario Crown with a gross income of $150k-ish. Their fees are paid; they have no administrative costs; they get a paid vacation. They have a DB pension. It's not hard to see who's coming out ahead--even with tax deductions. This doesn't have to be a bitter argument. To me, it's just reality.
  4. I love talking Ontario Crown compensation. Because it's so outrageous. No one had the foresight, years ago, to grasp that LAO funding would be cyclical whilst the Crown CBA would guarantee a steady rise through the ceiling of income disparity. Doug Ford could legislate LAO out of existence tomorrow. Everyone would be a self-rep. But a socially conservative government is never going to touch Crown funding. Anyone could have seen that--I wonder if anyone DID see that. We're now at a point where the disparity is beyond obscene: Ford dynamites LAO, whilst the upper-reaches of Crown compensation hit pretty damn close a top 1% income in Toronto. You have homeless people sitting in court waiting to plead guilty for forgetting their probation appointment. And the Crown's at the front of the room talking about the last $100,000 they spent on their yard. Then they perform the harrowing task of reading a synopsis and putting their sentencing position on the record. No offence to anyone here who wants to be a Crown. But that's why I laugh when I hear someone in MAG worrying about money. If I were a Crown I'd be driving a Bentley now. And I'm dead serious.
  5. I empathize with the OP. It's a difficult situation because you're probably 7 months away from even knowing if you've been admitted to a school. You have to get out of your parents' house. If you're working to save for law school, set aside that plan. You're much better off using that money to rent a room or a small apartment and be on your own. Look for the most immediate and pressing problem; solve that first. You can worry about paying for law school in 4 years once you've graduated. If you're working an office job and making close to minimum wage, think about doing something where you can be outdoors. Mindless general labour is so good for clearing your head. If you can work as part of a crew, you'll be amazed how that transports you from your problems. You don't need to be stuck in a library or your bedroom for the next 3 months studying for the LSAT. That would be a big mistake. Life is difficult and painful. More difficult and painful for some than others. If you can get to the point where you can laugh at and enjoy the absurdity and unfairness, you've--to an extent--won. It's a very rare place to be, though. I know you're living in the whirlwind of a crisis, and I've been there too. Do whatever it takes to get out of your head and stop spinning your wheels. That's the only good advice I can give.
  6. Not a big house. Definitely not a mansion. But I lived in a 350 sq ft apartment for 3 years, and I'd never choose to do that again. I can see the argument for smaller spaces, but it gets prickly for me when you're combining a small space (that you're probably aspiring to leave) with a price-tag that will probably keep you there forever. If someone wants to pay $1,000/month to live in a 500 sq ft apartment with a sink too small for an average sauce pan, that's okay. To pay $30k in after-tax dollars for that privilege is the gateway to a nightmarish reality.
  7. I saw an ad this week for a "spacious" 500 sq ft studio apartment downtown. For only $2,500/month you can lean over in bed and open the oven. It's pathetic and obscene.
  8. Anecdotally, every contract Crown I've seen has become a permanent Crown. I know people talk about issues with being made permanent or even getting in the door. My impression from being in court nearly every day is that anyone who wants to be a Crown can and will be a Crown. That might happen in Owen Sound vs. the GTA. But it will happen. Worst-case scenario, your contract just rolls over.
  9. Ha! If you become a Crown in Ontario you'll own a cottage and a $0 balance on that loan by the time you're 35.
  10. Yes, get over here as fast as you can. Our learned Conservative ministers decreed that too much money was going to lawyers and not enough "to the people." You know--because when you fund someone's defence, you're hoping to put cash directly in the pocket of the accused person. It seems silly to give that money to their lawyer. That cash is for the people! Our government worked so hard figgerin' that out that now they're taking a 5-month holiday. And our AG--one of the most talented and decorated trial lawyers in Canada--says that every dollar we save on funding someone's defence is a dollar we can spend on things that matter most. So we have a great system here where Crowns just back from their vacation home in Athens or their cottage in Georgian Bay are merrily prosecuting homeless kids for failing to report a change of address from one shelter to the other. But--on the bright side--the money's now going to the people!
  11. I can't recall their salary grid, but I think at about 15 years you're up to $200K. Many of the Associate Crowns in the jurisdictions where I work are at that mark. They definitely don't graduate into $200K, though. I don't want to give anyone the impression that they're all making that kind of money. At ten years in you're up to $150,000.
  12. It's funny that I have even less faith in the LSO than I do in the Ford government. Oasis will reunite and open for Morrissey, Marr and the rest of The Smiths before the LSO effects even the slightest positive change on this issue.
  13. LAO lawyers should walk out, and private bar lawyers should refuse to act on certs. Let the Crown deal with a week or two of self-reps in every court. Vacating trial dates. Creating 11(b) issues. Forcing judges to make tough decisions (like staying cases). That's what's required.
  14. The reality is that there's no hope. We know where we stand. If you're in the vast category of counsel not attracting big cash retainers, you're going to be locked into the daily cataclysm of an absurd system where judges (circa $300,000) and Crowns (circa $200,000) blame you for not personally curing clients of addiction, poverty, and MH issues on your $900 LAO block fee retainer. You'll hear them drone about their vacation properties and trips to Hawaii while you're giving your client $20 for a pair of shoes. I represented a homeless client last year where the Crown asked for 9 months of jail, and the judge imposed an absolute discharge. Notional savings to the taxpayer: $X0,000 But no one will ever care about that. Crowns need bigger cottages. The blame goes to the reality that the "most vulnerable" clients don't pay taxes and they don't vote.
  15. Has anyone here ever had trouble accessing beer? I've always lived within 2 minutes of an LCBO or beer store. It's never even occurred to me that buying beer could be difficult for people. Maybe in the most remote communities, but probably not even there. It just shows the absurdity of modern politics and priorities that this is even an issue.
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