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Everything posted by KingLouis

  1. I never said the only arrow in their quiver was being in with the Crown. But if you're talking about having a charge withdrawn early in the process because you told the client to do some anger management counselling, then--yeah--your relationship with the Crown is damn well going to play a big factor. Crowns will punish clients because their lawyers successfully litigate too many files. Sorry, but I've heard it said (by Crowns) too many times to pretend like it's not the truth. You need your lawyer to be competent and also liked enough by your res. Crown that they won't reject a diversion proposal because they have a beef with counsel. Any lawyer can cobble together a diversion plan and propose it to the Crown. Hell, you don't even have to be a lawyer to do that. I can't really respond to the part about them earning 10x what I do, but I'll repeat what I've said many times here: anyone who thinks skill correlates with money or results (outside of the scope of hearings/trials/motions) is going to be very shocked once they enter practice. In many jurisdictions your resolution discussions won't be with the trial-Crown. And then the trial-Crown might be a contract Crown who'll try to convict/detain anything that moves. Or even worse you'll get the Crown's articling student who'll ask the judge to convict on perjured testimony. And then the reality is some Crowns just don't want to listen. These aren't universal truths, but they are observations about what it's like to be in practice.
  2. I would never report a Crown to the LSO for improperly exercising their discretion. Well, I can't say Never. But it would take a nearly criminal act of racism, sexism, antisemitism, homophobia, etc. to get me to pick up the phone. This is something I'd prefer to resolve face-to-face with the Crown. But in this case that will just mean expressing my feelings in a way that doesn't violate the code of conduct. I liked MP's comment earlier about not trying to get "something" out of a file. That's exactly the right thing to do. If you can't prove the case, withdraw the charge. Don't try to load up someone with conditions on a POA probation order or something.
  3. It is actually more egregious than I've stated. I've muted it for distribution on this board. I know I have a well-deserved reputation here for being anti-Crown, but I'll say this for the purpose of discussion: although I've obviously changed the facts a bit to have this debate in the abstract, this is a situation where the legal issues are so readily apparent and offensive that the JPT judge has twice lectured the Crown in heated terms (but obviously not in accusatory terms) that "the Crown" writ large would be acting contrary to the public interest by proceeding. And although I've never experienced this before, the judge has said, explicitly, that they would acquit my client if he were tried in their court. We've had at least a full hour of discussions before this jurist, and I have already filed my Form 1 with a detailed argument. So this is not just an off-the-cuff opinion. I take Diplock's point about not assisting in circumstances where things have devolved this ridiculously. I'll say that the lesser offence being offered is so broad that notionally benign conduct could still technically establish the elements. And the client is extremely vulnerable. And this other offence is not a CCC offence. So I've come up against a situation I've kind of anticipated for years: the only way to show what the Crown is doing is to have a trial. But the client will not proceed to trial given the kind of resolution being offered.
  4. Oh, definitely. It's a puzzle that depends on every possible factor: location, age, race, skill, tenure, referrals...the list goes on. I've never been able to figure it out because some truly horrible dump-trucks seem not to have trouble getting clients. And then--at the other end of the spectrum--some lawyers who refuse to compromise with the Crown seem not to have trouble getting clients. And then other dump-trucks or hard-nosed lawyers can't get clients at all. The answer could be as simple as a willingness to answer the phone. Or there might not be an answer. Just try to do the best possible job on each file and not be a prick. The money won't be amazing, but you'll make as much as a Grade 3 teacher (without the pension).
  5. I've touched on this in other topics, but I'm curious what the practicing lawyers here do in circumstances where the Crown is openly extorting a plea. For example, a pre-trial judge tells the Crown that several egregious Charter breaches will guarantee your client's acquittal at trial. AND the facts won't add up to a conviction even if the Charter arguments fall short--which they will not. (Nothing is guaranteed, but this acquittal is GUARANTEED.) The judge suggests in the strongest possible language that the interests of justice demand the charges be withdrawn. The Crown, for no discernible reason, refuses. Your client faces catastrophic secondary consequences if they're convicted, so the Crown plucks a new charge out of thin air and says "Plead to this instead." The secondary consequences disappear, and even though the client would be acquitted at trial, they refuse to take that risk. I know the immediate reaction is something like, "Take instructions." Obviously it's the client's choice in terms of which path they choose. You give them your opinion, and they make an informed choice. If the facts establish an offence--criminal or otherwise--they can accept the allegations with your assistance. But I want to explore what you'd do or say with respect to the Crown. If it's the Senior Crown who's pulling this, there's really no one to complain to. Or at least no one who will care about your complaint. Do you write that Crown a letter? Confront them through the medium of a pre-trial judge? Bury your feelings and move on? I know some Crowns here will say, "Well, if the client committed an offence, where's the issue?" I'm talking about something where the client might be accused of a stranger rape with penetration (Crown seeking 8 years), but they turn around and offer a conditional discharge on a simple assault with facts as suggested by defence counsel IF the client chooses to resolve. "Well your client admits to greeting the complainant with a hug, Mr. Defence Counsel! He can plead to simple assault." Has anyone ever had success actually hashing this out face-to-face with a Crown? Have you ever escalated something to MAG brass?
  6. I'll answer the OP's question in a second, but--assuming all things are equal--the poorest defence lawyer I know would have been alive to the issue of making the kind of referrals you've referenced. The real value is in hiring a lawyer who is in close enough with the Crown that the kind of charge your nephew accrued could/would be withdrawn. We're not talking legal acumen here; it's something else. Now the answer: your expectations are low enough that you will certainly succeed. If you're competent and provide good service, you will get 20 Legal Aid Clients who will test the waters. I'd say 50k is a ceiling for you right now. If you build a practice and get really good, I've said many times that 100k is doable. I don't want to argue with people making more than that, but it's not reasonable at this stage to capture the cash clients who can vault you into the next level.
  7. Interesting to return to this thread 3+ years later and see this comment (which rings truer each day).
  8. Do you ever have families and victims lose it on you following an acquittal? Like, "Why didn't you say this? Why'd you let that other lawyer say that?" Also--just thinking over your story: if there was no head stomping, how did the guy die? I know it's a race-based acquittal, but you'd think the judge would connect the medical evidence outlining the cause of death with the witnesses' evidence.
  9. I've been really down this week after a miserable trouncing on an OW Fraud. Migawd, these workers are militant in the way they go after people. Losing is never fun, but sometimes you lose ugly. Like the client's yelling at you, the clerks are laughing, the Crown's gloating--that kind of thing. And then you get in the car or on the subway to go home. And the wheels start spinning. Should I have called the client? Is there a case I could've submitted that would have won it for me? And you gotta wait patiently for that darkness to lift. It sucks. I'm wondering...what's the worst case my fellow litigators here have ever lost? And how far down did you fall? It doesn't have to be a case where the client was acquitted on appeal. Or you asked that 1 wrong question that lost the damn thing. What's that most-terrible moment where you've been shot through the heart while stuck at the counsel table listening to the judge convict with the first word out of his mouth? And you feel like Schindler--you could have done more. I'm curious about everyone's stories.
  10. My grandparents had no difficulty at all getting drunk throughout 1969. I don't need "the golden age of TV" or artisanal food. I'd be perfectly happy with Philip Roth, Johnnie Walker, a brisket from Kensington Market, and getting high at a Hendrix concert. The 2019ers here can keep their Piano Piano, GOT, and small-batch craft alcohol.
  11. Yes (to '89). Yes (to '79). Fuck, yeah (to 1969). I was talking to a colleague last week who was telling me how great it was to be a lawyer-adult in the '60s and '70s. Even in Toronto. He said you woke up and made money. Everyone screwed each other. No incurable STIs. No draft. Cheap houses in the best parts of the city. Cheap trips to Europe and Vegas. The coolest goddamn muscle cars. All the best jazz, blues, soul, and rock artists still alive and in their prime. If you'd trade that for smart phones, email, and internet pornography...
  12. You did the right thing by coming here and asking for help. It's been 17 years since my first depressive episode at the end of HS. The only thing that ever works is connecting with other people. Even if it's online, we're still a community. Keep posting. Or send direct messages. This is a subject I have all the time in the world for. Your career will be fine. I was at the CLA conference (Criminal Lawyers' Association) two weeks ago, and a member gave a presentation on his lifelong battle with depression. So many of the people I work with are obviously depressed. I am. My closest friend in the defence bar is. It's a reality for anyone facing the difficult circumstances of life, debt, practice, and general insanity.
  13. I think it ends there. This board's had some really great threads on the meaning of LS grades. And we can generate lots of great anecdotes. Some people just have the acuity immediately to spot the issues and order their thoughts perfectly. Remember that an LS exam is testing your ability to solve a math problem as efficiently as possible. I mastered Evidence and read hundreds of trial-level decisions just to make sure I understood how to apply the principles. I used and cited these cases on the exam. I got an A+. I didn't win the course prize. Someone else won it whose exam was 1/2 the length of mine. That person won the Gold Medal. That person is just a genius. I've met lots of medalists now that I'm in practice. I like very few of them as people, but I acknowledge that they're better at whatever it is that LS grading rewards. Basically, it's this simple: you can't be perfect all of the time unless you're profoundly intelligent.
  14. I'm with you, man. The starter home my brother (new teaching grad) bought 6 years ago for $400,000 was just flipped for $900,000. Not a starter home anymore. The woman who owned it before him was a retired clerk at a local corner grocery. I think about the knock-on effects because where and how you live has a big impact on your physical and mental health. (And I have enough fucking problems with that shit practicing crim defence.) Issues I can identify just sitting here and typing this: 1) The cost of owning/renting and the stress that causes (I'd lump in with that saving for a down payment and delaying marriage/a family), 2) Commute times and the life you lose (time with friends and family) if you're kicked from midtown to the Kitchener GO platform, 3) The ability to accrue equity and leverage it in retirement (which is how my grandparents and uncle retired)...Those are real things. And I say that FULLY acknowledging the degree to which people earning substantially less than Bay St. lawyers are fucked. You can kinda dismiss this stuff if you want. But last I checked the housing chart is still moving up and to the right. Won't be long now 'til that's devouring upper-tier incomes. So, yeah, if someone dropped 50k in my lap and houses didn't exist, I'd buy a bunch of original Factory and Hacienda promo posters and display them in my rental. And soak in that bourgeois trash.
  15. Might as well shut this down, 'cause two completely different arguments are taking place. Some are arguing that the rising cost of living no longer permits someone earning a "Bay Street" salary to live a certain lifestyle. Which isn't a moral judgment or a political statement. It's more or less the same thing as saying "You'll have trouble doing X, Y, and Z anymore." People are imbuing X, Y, and Z with some kind of class distinction as if this is about being "better than." It's not. If someone won $1 million in the lottery and tried to buy John Lennon's guitar, that guy's not saying "Fuck you," to everyone else when he says, "Damn, $1 million would've taken it 10 years ago. But now it's selling for 1.5." I'll end it here. This wasn't a stupid conversation at all. It was about income and expectations and the COL. It could've applied to butchers, bakers, and candlestick makers--we're living in the same communities.
  16. This kinda ties in with my argument. If we can't observe or lament the demise of generational advantages (e.g. lower rent, lower tuition, an accessible supply of housing), then we allow these problems to grow wildly out of control. Because the argument always seems to be that the person stretching to pay X for something should keep their mouth shut because many others can't afford to pay X. So even observing an unsustainable shift is wrong or emblematic of a loss of perspective because being relatively better positioned to weather that shift means that the person is callous or out-of-touch. Earning a six-figure salary today gets you far less than it did 10 years ago. And it will get you far less 10 years from now. That's a reality, not a politicized statement. There's a lot to be said for the need to maintain perspective. All I'm saying is that perspective doesn't mute history. I can be an asshole for saying that I think I should be able to own a home. But at the same time someone can admit that it would be better were I (and others similarly situated) able to own one. I guess the notion of entitlement needs to be fleshed out in a lot greater detail. But I don't want to do that here. Because my argument was never that someone who makes $100,000 is entitled to anything. (Remember that this thread was about spending a Bay Street salary.)
  17. The "privilege" argument loses steam when you compare things like the pace of real-estate appreciation with the pace of salary growth in law--specifically. I could point to something concrete like Legal Aid tariffs as an example. This is a thread about Bay St. salaries because we're lawyers on a law board. But this could just as easily be a discussion about how to spend your earnings as a plumber or accountant or family doctor. Is a doctor engaging the notion of privilege by just playing around with the idea that she can't afford a home that, 2 generations ago, an elementary school teacher owned? How about a home that, 3 generations ago, a milkman owned? You have to acknowledge historical trends in compensation and not just dismiss everything above the median as "privilege." I think the fault in the "privilege" tag is that you're saying that we're now attaching privilege to things that were devoid of privilege up until very, very recently. Like the last 15 years. If you look at the rates of home ownership in Canada, some people who decidedly lacked privilege owned properties that now would be completely inaccessible to them. They can't at once have and not have privilege. And rent/mortgage payments are now the dividing line between prosperity (privilege, I guess) and whatever tier falls below prosperity. I just felt I'd talk about money because I'm a practicing lawyer and I can see how things are going for me and my friends.
  18. Yeah, it's sad but true. I'm speaking from experience as a guy who knows many lawyers circa 5-10 years out in the GTA. If you asked me to name 1 person who bought a property on their own and is living anything approaching a baller life, I could give you 0 names. Yet I can name a bunch of people whose parents and grandparents gave them enormous gifts. And they're the ones living well. That's the new "6-figure income" now--the cash gifts from family. And I'm not even talking about wealthy families. I'm talking about downsizing grandparents who suddenly have cash they can use to transform someone's life. Some are generous, others aren't. That's the new divide. It's not really income anymore. Yeah, at $125k gross ($90k or so net) you're going to have a roof over your head and food on the table. But consider that in the hypothetical where the lawyer graduates with $0 debt and $0 savings, you have to build a life from scratch. Furniture, clothes, a car, retirement savings, maybe saving for a downpayment, etc. Just the latter two things could eat $40k a year if you really wanted on the property ladder. Add rent to that and you'll see the cushion isn't that big.
  19. I'm happy to take some heat for this answer. If you work on Bay Street and you're living in or around Toronto and you're the sole earner in your household...that money's not going that far. Before rates dropped and everyone over 55 with some hovel west of Dufferin became a real estate millionaire (an exaggeration, yes, I know) a mid-6-figure salary would've freed you up to live the dream. Now it's basically a fairly vanilla existence. I know some people will think that's tone-deaf, but I'm telling you--it's ridiculous out there. The biggest What If in the OP's scenario is that you're debt-free (other than a mortgage). I know 30-something lawyers with families and six-figure salaries moving back in with their parents because living is expensive as hell and being debt-free is very difficult. Real freedom in this city is now some wealthy relative giving you a house (or a substantial chunk of money toward a house) so you can save your rent or mortgage payments.
  20. Yes, it does exactly that. Clients will often fight with duty counsel, trying to force DC to plead them guilty even though the client is advancing a defence. Sure, that can be some kind of odd posturing and/or an attempt to manipulate the Court into doing something. But that story changes immediately when you offer to set a trial and do the work without needing a certificate or asking the client for money--no more demands to plead. I used to be tough on duty counsel, but now I see the impossible situation they're in. I defer to Crowns who've run self-rep trials. I guess not every single one ends in a plea. But every single one I've seen has ended that way.
  21. In my experience, 100% of self-reps plead guilty. And I'm including the self-reps who've insisted to Duty Counsel that they're innocent and won't ever plead guilty. They all plead on the morning of their self-rep trial. The easiest way to up the conviction rate to 100% (minus the percentage of clients who can afford private counsel) is to kill a province's duty counsel/certificate program.
  22. I wouldn't for a second say that being a Crown is easy in the sense of Crowns having little work to do or being given adequate leadership or guidance. The symptoms the OP described (in the other thread) reminded me of the emotional pain of defence practice (when you identify with your client's cause to the extent that you need to win). That's why I connected the dots between feeling that way and the need to win (as a Crown). If I read it wrong and the OP was just saying they're exhausted from the volume of work they're doing, then I agree: being a Crown is tough on a new lawyer. If the OP was saying they're having trouble with the emotional demands of being a Crown, then that's a more interesting road to travel. Crowns have difficult cases, too. It just doesn't seem to me that they should have a hard time in the same way that a defence lawyer would have a hard time (e.g. being curled up on the floor). As serious as any "serious" case is, the Crown's role is strictly to call the evidence and have the law applied properly. There shouldn't be any emotional investment beyond wanting to see the legally correct result obtain. (Obviously some degree of identifying with complainants is inevitable in the most serious or traumatic of cases. But those are rare--in my experience.) I'm curious if Crowns face similarly emotionally taxing circumstances divorced from the need or desire to win certain cases to vindicate complainants. I acknowledge that I might be blind to that kind of circumstance. I'm happy to be educated. I acknowledge the chip on my shoulder. I am on a lifelong journey to remove or chisel or otherwise burn it off. But it's tough.
  23. I've never understood what's so difficult about being a Crown. I can see why someone would be uncomfortable as a junior lawyer, but that's really a problem that corrects itself with advancing time. It's like a novice actor getting over stage fright. The biggest problem I've seen with young Crowns exhausting themselves is that they're relentlessly trying to win. Every small case, every bail hearing...they just do not have the maturity or good judgment to understand that their place is not to win. Rejecting every Charter argument, ignoring all exculpatory evidence, submitting vigorously that lying Crown witnesses should still be believed. If you're taking that path, then you're going to be faced with two immediate problems: 1) Defence counsel will be cold and even aggressive with you. That won't feel good. 2) You will--like defence counsel--be forced to deal with the constant sting of losing. You'll basically isolate yourself in your office prepping for each Assault x1 (no record, no injuries) case like it's a homicide. Sweating over how to structure your cross of a witness whom you've chosen not to call because defence counsel has pointed out that their evidence, if believed, would mean the accused is factually innocent.
  24. Let me give a nuanced answer to this. The other post was short only because I was so busy. If people are really feeling this, the only thing that's going to help is knowing that other people feel the same way and struggle through this shit each day. When you're in law school and you have a trajectory toward something, you're blind to the reality that when you get into the adult world you're going to lose control over everything. Traditional mid-life crises happen when people buy into something and lose their identity and know that something's gone wrong and it can't be fixed. That's a feeling most people completely avoided up 'til the point of being handed their JD. Aside from people who are truly depressed, the OCI and grade stuff will take on realistic dimensions as problems that can easily be solved. The problem of losing your naivete and having to work to feed yourself and eventually dying isn't something that you can slough off by going for a long walk. You can't return to childhood. The next stage of life is struggling to gain perspective and finding some way to enjoy the struggle. The temporary relief of a new relationship or a promotion or having kids will have to be integrated into that narrative. But those things are temporary. Surround yourself with people who can understand you. Do your best each day to maintain perspective. If you believe in something, fight for it. Then you'll be fine. But it won't be like it was.
  25. Of course many of us feel the same way. You have to think of this as you'd think about a person you loved who split with you or died. My euphemism for it--which I use all the time--is "Adult Life." It sucks. It's not good. Sure, there are some interesting things about it. But the responsibility of working and paying bills and being a spouse or parent is as far away from those carefree days as you'll get. Also, aging isn't so great. There are good things to look forward to, but they won't be as good as the things that have passed. No different than Gatsby staring at the distant, blinking light.
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