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hitman9172

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  1. Big law real estate associate here: 1. In Vancouver, real estate is such a big part of the economy that you're usually running your own real-estate specific deals, rather than being a service partner doing the real estate portion of a larger M&A or asset purchase deal, which is often the case in places like Toronto and New York. I've only heard that from friends working in real estate law out east, and haven't experienced it directly, so don't quote me on that. 2. It's not common for real estate lawyers to become full-time developers/investors (except for their own side investments), but it's possible. You do build a lot of knowledge and connections working on large real estate deals, but in order to fully shift from the service side (i.e., law) to the principal side (i.e., development or acquisitions), you'll need to: a) network and leverage your connections - real estate is basically all about who you know since it's so capital-intensive and requires other people's money to undertake projects of scale, b) know something about real estate finance (lots of resources online like Real Estate Financial Modelling or Adventures in CRE), and c) take the leap of faith and leave law. Of the real estate partners I know: vast majority work in law full-time, but make their own personal RE investments on the sides (houses, condos - some of which are provided on sweetheart terms by developer clients) 1 partners with his clients to do fairly large RE development deals here and there 1 has opened up a development shop with other people in the RE industry and they are currently on their first or second multi-family project, although he's one of the more hands-off partners in the shop 1 quit law to build luxury homes by himself 1 left law entirely to take over his family's development business and they are doing very, very well in all types of spaces (multi-family, office, industrial) You also need to factor in that lateralling to a real estate business role from law often requires taking a step back in terms of seniority and pay (at least for the first few years, the real estate industry is known for paying relative peanuts), and that you'll be putting all your eggs in one basket by having your employment and investment income tied to the fate of the real estate industry. You're taking on more risk by doing that, but you also have a higher chance of hitting a home run since now your returns are based on equity growth (and leverage) instead of hours worked. I've heard some of my developer and acquisitions clients say lawyers would do really well on the business side because law is such an integral part of real estate developments and deals, but others view you as just one of many specialized real estate consultants that don't understand the big picture (think appraisers, engineers, brokers, lawyers, etc.). You also have to have a strong stomach for risk if you want to be in real estate, which many lawyers don't have.
  2. I know 2 large firms that cut pay without reducing billable targets (although the general expectation seems to be that people won't hit targets this year, so just do what you can), and another that cut pay and reduced target accordingly. Regardless of targets, I think anybody who took a paycut and hits their reduced target probably shouldn't expect a good bonus this year (or a bonus at all, in some cases).
  3. FWIW I’ve worked in big law for a couple years and I enjoy my job. It’s intellectually stimulating, it gives me flexibility to set my own hours, the people I work with are great (on a personal level and in terms of teaching me a ton), it compensates well, and it gives me ancillary perks like business trips, gala events, Canucks games, and connections with corporate bigwigs (all of which are enjoyable in moderation). I don’t know if I want to do this forever and have occasionally thought about going in-house or leaving law entirely, but I’m enjoying it enough that I haven’t left yet (and don’t plan to in the immediate future).
  4. So you're telling me I should haven't gone to this prestigious Richmond firm?
  5. The one common refrain I hear from people that gone from big-firm to in-house is that they no longer wield as much influence, since they've transitioned from being a revenue-generating front office employee to a mid/back-office cost centre employee. I've also heard businesspeople clients refer to their in-house lawyers as "bottlenecks" or the person that just says no to things. I can't comment on the veracity of that as I've only worked at a firm, but how true has that been in your experience? Have you seen a limit on the amount of "influence" you wield at work, or does it seem like there's a ceiling on far/quickly you can advance since it's hard to point to a set amount of revenue that's being generated by your efforts? I've pondered eventually going in-house, but I do have to say one of the perks of my current firm job is being able to throw my weight around when I need things done in the office, which our back office/admin people can't do to nearly the same extent.
  6. All of the above. You're expected to put in long hours to a standard of (near) perfection while often working on complex files with a ton of moving parts. It's like a trial by fire. Plus having access to lawyers from many different practice areas allows you to build up a little bit of knowledge in many areas you probably wouldn't see at smaller firms.
  7. This touches on a motivation for some people to stay in big law. I've noticed many of my friends who didn't grow up well-off see the demands of big law as necessary to earn a lot of money and put their kids in the best spot down the road. I find myself thinking along those lines as well at times. I don't mind putting in the hours in the hopes of an eventual large pay-off to secure my family's future, but I don't think I'd ever want my kids choosing this career path (and hopefully they won't need to).
  8. I've only worked in big law as well, but as others have noted, the biggest downside by far is the demanding lifestyle. Clients and partners expect your best all the time. To a large extent, many firms expect you to hit your targets and pump out good work, regardless of what's going on in your personal life. My in-house friends say you're often expected to walk the fine line between business and legal and send something out even if it's not perfect because it doesn't make business sense to spend more time digging into it from a legal perspective. The culture at large law firms seems to be that perfection is the standard. You can also get pigeonholed into a niche, so if you want to be a generalist or expand your practice, it can be difficult once you've spent X years doing widget law at big firm Y. Big law can definitely be a grind, but there are several reasons that people choose to do it: 1. Good salary and substantial yearly raises 2. Lots of administrative support - in some ways feels like you're a (very risk-averse) entrepreneur but with the safety net of the firm's resources beneath you 3. Perks - nice office, business travel, meals for working late/weekends, etc. 4. Flexibility - There's more "work-life integration" than "work-life balance". You have to work a lot, but you generally have a lot of leeway to work when you want. Have a doctor's appointment? Come in late or leave early. Need a day off to do some family stuff? Take it off and catch up on the weekend. When you're working a 9 to 5, you're often required to be there by 9 and can't leave before 5. 5. Structured path to partnership - if you put in the hours and can play the firm politics (both big ifs), you seem to have a pretty good chance at making partner at most large Canadian firms 6. Exit Opportunities - you're quite marketable to potential in-house or government employers if you've put at least a couple years into big law
  9. Just wanted to comment that Australia is indeed, freaking, gorgeous. I wouldn't advise going to law school there if you can help it, because of the more difficult path coming back (as other posters have noted in this thread), but if you must go, there are worse places to be. I would love to work there for a little bit and travel around the entire country, but law isn't really a portable profession.
  10. Not needed at all. It'd probably be helpful in speaking the lingo of clients, but I'd bet the majority of corporate/securities lawyers on Bay Street don't have any business credentials or education. You learn everything law-related on the job.
  11. I've noticed the commercial real estate side has been up-and-down - lots of clients negotiating rent deferrals and forgiveness, but new leases and deals have generally slowed down as many people take a wait-and-see approach. Development still seems to be chugging along fine, likely because of the longer timelines.
  12. Alberta's only able to take Venezuela's share until it too is taken over by a Communist dictator (although some of my Alberta friends already think this has happened with Trudeau in power 😉)
  13. Just on the point of these 2 paragraphs: 1) Global demand for oil and gas is not evaporating, but do you think Alberta will be able to satisfy less and less of that demand moving forward because of its high per-barrel cost of production and the shifting Canadian attitudes and regulatory environment towards oil? I'm just thinking of all the recent international oil giants that have either sold off their Alberta assets or scrapped their large Canadian energy investment projects over the past few years. Oil demand might not disappear in the next 50-75 years, but do you think that the production will shift moreso to other countries than Canada (i.e., Alberta), especially with the COVID-19 crisis and OPEC price war giving another gut-punch to a recovering oil industry? Also, just as an aside, I wouldn't take people who've spent their lives in the oil industry trying to keep the Alberta industry going as a sign that everything's hunky-dory - that's likely all they know and they might well be in survival mode until their business plans go bust. For example, the BC government's been trying to bring real estate prices down with all these taxes and the new beneficial ownership registry, but anyone who's rode the real estate gravy train the last 20 years is still trying their hardest to wring every last dollar out of real estate because that's all they know. It's hard to get a man to understand something when his pay cheque depends on him not understanding it, which ties into my next point... 2) Vancouver is 100% fucked if there's a big collapse in real estate prices. Other than natural resources like mining/forestry (which have already been hit fairly hard since the '08 recession) and tech (which is up-and-coming with a lot of start-ups and large new offices opening up from Amazon, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, but still not a world-wide heavyweight by any means), there's really nothing else here other than real estate. I think RE and construction activity make up a larger % of BC's GDP than any other sector.
  14. Bill Ackman was the first person I thought of when I was typing rich investors can get wrecked too.
  15. Mind sharing what the current associate pay scale is for big Calgary firms? Been a while since I last spoke to my buddies about it. I know Toronto's is pretty high with senior associates pulling in over $200k, and Vancouver's is roughly as follows: 1st year: $103 2nd: $115 (you get bumped up a year of call immediately in your first January, so ppl who become associates in September are 2nd year calls within 4 months) 3rd: $125 4th: $140 5th: $155 (negotiable) 6th: $165 (negotiable) 7th: $175 (negotiable) Also, I'm uber-jelly of my friends in Alberta with their low cost of living. I don't want to live in Alberta because of personal reasons, but it stings to see how much disposable income they have and how far my friends' paycheques go in terms of affording housing.
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