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About hitman9172

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  1. Can't comment on the school, but Melbourne's an amazing city. Lots of fun and tons to do.
  2. I work at a large firm in downtown Vancouver and my commute is about 50 minutes each way. I find it completely sustainable. I’m willing to give up the convenience of being close to work for the perks of saving on rent and being closer to my family and friends.
  3. Can confirm that several large Vancouver firms are paying $65k for articling students now. Will be interesting to see how big Vancouver firms react to the Calgary lockstep bump. I doubt there’ll be much of a reaction but I do know that more and more big law associates in Vancouver are considering Calgary as a viable option given how expensive Vancouver housing is, even for someone on a big firm salary.
  4. Lockstep refers to how most big firms have a set raise for each additional year of experience. e.g., 1st year calls make $100k, 2nd year calls make $110k, 3rd year calls make $120k (i.e., there's little to no variance between what firms pay their individual associates, or what each firm pays compared to others) Lockstep bump just means that the lock-step pay scale that (most) big firms are using has been bumped up higher.
  5. I find the 3 things that help me keep stress under control are: 1. Exercise - most people in high-powered jobs turn to either exercise or alcohol/drugs to cope. Stick with exercise and make it a daily part of your routine, if possible. Do something where you're moving and/or reacting quickly and don't have time to think about work (e.g., team sports like hockey or basketball, cross-fit, running, etc.) 2. See my friends every weekend - it helps to associate with people who are not in law so that you can talk about things other than work 3. Perspective - When I go to bed and when I wake up, I try to make a conscious effort to be thankful for how good I have it in life compared to many others, or to myself in the past. If I'm stressing about work at those times of day, sometimes I'll think about the laborious, low-paying jobs I worked before law school and find myself thankful I'm working in a comfortable office with a view and getting paid more than both of my parents combined. Sometimes I'll think about how several of my friends have had parents get sick or pass away recently and find myself thankful that my family and I are all in good health and get to see each other every day, and that's far, far more important than some work deadline.
  6. Maybe try posting in this thread and someone may have some insight? I also think that thread should be stickied.
  7. As already mentioned, the market prospects may be radically different by the time you begin as an associate. When I started law school, Vancouver's legal market was down in the dumps because of slow downs in mining, real estate, and energy. By the time I began as an associate, the market was booming, first year calls were being recruited by multiple big law firms, and there was (and still is) an abundance of job postings for 3-5 year calls.
  8. Agreed. I can understand non-investment reasons for investing in RE, like the consumption of housing, and the psychological satisfaction of owning your own home. However, people who have owned houses in Metro Vancouver have made out like bandits since the early 2000’s. House prices have gone up about 6-7x on average since then, and once you factor in the use of leverage, many, many multimillionaires have been minted by the Vancouver real estate market. I guess that’s what happens when you’ve become a dumping ground for ill-gotten money. I don’t think we’ll ever see a run-up like this in residential Vancouver real estate again. Although commercial and industrial are booming here as well right now. They’ll probably stay hot until the next recession, which I’m guessing will be in the next two or three years.
  9. I think it's rare for first years to negotiate salary, but it all depends on your negotiating leverage, which is very context-specific. You might have a reputation for good work that you can bring up, or you might be able to leverage other offers you've received to negotiate a raise. If you're like most first year associates in that you have no billable history/client network to point to, and you have no other competing offers, you'll probably just have to accept what you're offered.
  10. Working a shitty job definitely helps people cope with the rigours of law. I've noticed the lawyers in my office who are typically the least stressed out are the ones who had a terrible job before law school. For me, it was doing 12-hour days in a food-processing plant for $12/hour. On my walk to the office, I often find myself very thankful I'm not splattered in fish guts anymore.
  11. I've been investing in stocks since before I entered law school (practicing lawyer now). I'd recommend creating a portfolio of index fund ETFs. Doesn't take much time to do and you can invest broadly in different stocks and bonds at a very low cost. If you're risk averse, just buy more bonds than stocks. If you're holding for the long-term, don't stress too much about the volatility in stocks. As a starting point, I recommend reading through the Canadian version of Bogleheads, Financial Wisdom Forum, and its finiki, particularly the Getting Started page. FWF and Bogleheads changed my life.
  12. I do have to say that lifestyle creep and the wealth effect have affected my life a lot more since I entered law than I thought they would. When I was working $12/hr jobs throughout school, I always thought making six figures would be far more than enough to sustain my lifestyle. $100,000 per year seemed like a dream and a never ending amount of money. However, I find that I spend a lot more money now without thinking and I’m often thinking about my next raise or bonus and comparing myself to my peers at other firms to see if I’m “underpaid”. I think ambition and striving to improve one’s lot in life is positive, but l’ve been trying to make a conscious effort lately to tell myself that what I have now is enough to live the life I want. When I find myself unsatisfied with how much money I make, I often think about the story where Kurt Vonnegut tells his friend Joseph Heller that a certain billionaire makes more money in one day than Heller has made throughout his entire life. Heller replies to Vonnegut, “Yes, but I have something that he’ll never have. Enough.”
  13. Absolutely agree. I love investing and personal finance, and it makes a lot more sense for me to invest in stocks/bonds rather than real estate at this point. As for the original question, I make low six-figures as a junior associate in Big Law. I make enough to afford everything I want, other than maybe a down payment on my own condo or house (but I’m in no rush to get either of these). However, I think my obsession with compounding investment returns and portfolio growth makes me think that what I make now isn’t enough, and that I need to make more so that I can invest more, even though a raise wouldn’t affect the quality of my life in a noticeable way. The curse of ambition I guess.
  14. I’ve lived in Vancouver my entire life and have been to SFU Burnaby a handful of times, for specific events. It’s pretty far out of the way, and if you’re not a student, there’s not a high chance you’ll ever go there. Nothing against the quality of the university though, but it’s nestled up on a mountain in a part of Metro Vancouver that doesn’t draw much through-traffic. Have been to SFU Surrey many times though, as it’s attached to a mall, next to a skytrain station, and located in a central part of Metro Vancouver’s second biggest city.
  15. I have heard of Trinity College before and have been told by people from UofT that it's "the best" college at that university. (I went to UBC, so can't confirm that). Trinity definitely does have some strong alumni though: Jim Balsillie, Michael Ignatieff, John Tory, and Malcolm Gladwell, to name a few. I don't think Trinity provides the same level of connections as the "elite" US schools. There doesn't seem to be as much disparity of wealth or socioeconomic status anywhere in Canada as there is in the northeastern United States, where you have ultra-high net worth families dating back hundreds of years.
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