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hitman9172

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  1. Agreed with a lot of what Starling said. From my personal experience, lawyers work "harder" than many people making similar or higher compensation, largely for 2 reasons: Urgency of client demands: At least in transactional work, I find lawyers are often the last people on the deal team to find out something needs to be done. While the client is anxious about having something completed late at night or on the weekend, the lawyer is the one madly scrambling to work on it. Billable hour targets: the need to appear busy and actually work for 7-8 hours a day can get exhausting. There was a study that showed most people work 4.5-5 hours a day out of an 8 hour work day. I would wager most lawyers need to work between 6 and 6.5 hours out of 8, if not more, to hit their targets. Also, any time you ask another lawyer how it's going, I can guarantee their answer will include some comment about how busy they are. The trade-off is that you often take less "career risk" than many other professions (although you are still taking some). Law generally has a higher salary floor than most professions and a fairly well-defined path to yearly raises.
  2. Also partly due to the fact that real estate (especially residential) involves the lawyer acting in a managerial role with paralegals and assistants doing much of the grunt work for conveyancing. Lots of mistakes can slip by because the lawyer is essentially running a volume-based mill and not paying super close attention to details of individual transactions.
  3. Agreed that you should definitely hear what you take with a grain of salt. Experiences within a firm vary greatly dependent on your practice group, and even based on which partners in that practice group you work with. I know some students and associates at my firm who absolutely love this place while there are others who are very unhappy, largely based on the specific group of partners and clients they work with. I find overall culture at a firm is set by the senior people at the firm, and at a high-level, it varies between firms based on things like whether you’re actually expected to hit your billable target, how much autonomy partners give associates in terms of their dress code and managing their time, how lavishly the firm lets people spend on wining and dining, whether the office is independent (or whether it’s basically a satellite office for Toronto, which is the case for some national firms in Vancouver), etc. However, even within a firm, the culture can vary greatly between practice groups. Some practice groups at my firm let associates dress casually and show up at the office when they feel like it (within reason), host a lot of social events, and go on trips together, while other groups expect their associates to dress formally every day and show up by 8 am latest, and never host group social events because the partners see themselves more as independent contractors sharing an office rather than a cohesive social unit.
  4. I do this every single day I’m in the office. That mental break, from roughly 12-1 pm when most other people aren’t trying to get a hold of you, does wonders for being productive the rest of the day.
  5. The amount you retire with varies greatly, but they say a good rule of thumb for retirement is to have enough saved up to be able to live off 2-4% of your total nest egg each year (i.e., 25-50 years of expenses, including emergency funds).
  6. Yup. I don’t know of any large firm (including the one I work at) that does RRSP matching for lawyers. Only for staff.
  7. Law has its benefits, as others have mentioned - well-defined path to a middle or upper-middle class life, intellectual work, "cool" opportunities outside law (e.g., galas, events), less uncertainty than many other "office jobs" (I have friends who have languished on the corporate ladder for a long time and have no idea what their next move will be), but it definitely has downsides too. Essentially saying "how high?" when a client asks you to jump to can get exhausting (although this isn't unique to law), the billable hour can get tiring fast, and sometimes you do just feel like you're pushing paper (particularly if you're in a business law role where the major deal decisions are being made by the business people). As others have mentioned, at larger firms, you also tend to associate with clients and partners who have far more money than you, so even a good associate income can make you feel underpaid. Part of the problem is sampling bias - you're generally dealing with the business people and senior lawyers that succeeded - not the entrepreneurs who failed or the middle managers who work longer hours than you do for a lower salary and more career uncertainty.
  8. I always convert PDF agreements to word and then send back a clean Word copy and a Workshare comparison blackline. I find it’s easier to see changes in Workshare. I think Track Changes seems clunky and is harder to follow along (especially for deletions and items that have been moved around).
  9. Working long hours being a "badge of honour" in law (and other professions, to an extent) irks me so much. Everyone in the office is constantly humble-bragging about how much they're working, but I guess that's a symptom of the billable hour. I swear every single time I ask a colleague in the elevator how things are going, one of the first things out of their mouth is a comment about how busy they currently are.
  10. I try to avoid evenings and weekend work at my big firm, although sometimes it's a necessity just because work gets unexpectedly piled on you on a Thursday or Friday. Although not ideal, I do find getting in 2-4 hours on weekends, or putting in an hour or two right before bed does help lower the workload and stress for the rest of the week. Working on weekends is a lot more palatable when you know you're getting ahead for the upcoming week, instead of scrambling to catch up to the last one. It feels a lot easier to me when I can do weekend work from home. Wasting my weekend commuting to the office feels soul-crushing. I find it tough to put my head down and just grind 9-6 every day, unless there's a tight deadline to meet. With WFH, I find my hours are a bit more random (i.e., I'm at home all day anyways and my desk is right there, so why not take the foot off the gas during the day and catch up/get ahead on evenings or weekends?) I do try to avoid sending anyone an urgent email/action item on a weekend (I think 99% of action items can wait until the weekdays), and I generally try not to respond to weekend emails until Sunday evening/Monday morning, unless it's urgent.
  11. I thought PLTC was very helpful actually, especially in terms of preparing for court hearings as an articling student.
  12. My firm and many others in Vancouver have a voluntary return to office policy, with numbers capped at 25-50% per day. Some have informal "schedules", but people tend to drop in to the office on whatever days suit them (which is, for some people, none at all). I know one firm has instituted a mandatory return to office 2 or 3 days per week for its lawyers and staff, and I've heard from credible sources that the particular firm in question now has its first confirmed in-office COVID case. If I were firm management, i'd tread carefully about pushing anyone to return to office just yet. although I do think there's going to be more of a return-to-office push incoming in BC this fall with kids returning to school (plus large investment banks starting to tell 50%+ of their staff to start coming back into the office every day, which might trickle to other professional services). My bet is most large firms end up at a 4/1 or 3/2 office/home split after COVID "ends".
  13. LOL. When I saw your initial post, my first thought was how badly your inbox was about to get flooded.
  14. I agree. Getting along with your coworkers is one of the biggest keys to being happy at work. Although when I talk to my friends who worked from home a majority of the time even before COVID (at FB, Google, and Telus), they're super happy about their flexibility and never having to go into the office. Their companies also crush it in terms of profitability and employee retention, but the tech-oriented nature of their work also easily ends itself to remote work.
  15. I think part of the issue is that billable hours aren't exactly where they were pre-COVID at some firms, and some managing partners are attributing that to WFH, rather than to an economy-wide slowdown due to the restrictions. There is something to be said for cohesion and corporate culture likely being stronger when people are in the office rather than in their homes, but the impact of that may be overblown on firm profitability. I think the older generation of lawyers generally is more keen on "facetime" and being in the office, whereas younger lawyers tend to prefer work-life balance and flexibility. Also, as posters have noted above, not having proper office space at home, or having to work when you have multiple family members running around distracting you, are also factors that push people to prefer the office. At my firm, the people that seem most keen to return to the office are (1) senior lawyers and (2) mid-level associates with toddlers at home.
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