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hitman9172

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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. I thought PLTC was very helpful actually, especially in terms of preparing for court hearings as an articling student.
  4. 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".
  5. LOL. When I saw your initial post, my first thought was how badly your inbox was about to get flooded.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. I'm based in Vancouver, not Toronto, but it seems that a lot of big firms are hoping to get up to 50% of people back in the office every day sometime in the fall. There's talk of part-time WFH moving forward after this is all over, since a lot of people have realized (1) the joy of not commuting and (2) that they are still quite productive working at home (or anywhere with an internet connection, really). However, law still seems to be behind the times, so I have heard that managing partners at a few different firms are quite adamant that people begin returning to the office as they think employees are less productive at home. It's a bit funny to hear that, since the biggest companies in the world are now largely WFH (even Telus in Vancouver only expects most employees to come into the office 1 day per week, even before COVID). I think this insistence on people returning to the office is driven by an old school mentality (partly based on unfamiliarity with remote work technologies) and inability to get out of expensive downtown office leases, or to sublet space to other tenants. I've read that the amount of office space available for sublease in Vancouver has skyrocketed since the pandemic started. I do think that firms that try to push associates and staff to keep coming in to the office in the future may see an exodus, as many of these employees now greatly value the flexibility and time savings associated with remote work.
  9. My experience has been pretty similar to that of @pineapple21. The hours are usually manageable and fairly predictable most days (i.e., 9-6 with a few weeks a year of craziness), but the feeling of being "on" all the time really gets you. Another poster on this forum once said "it's not the hours that kill you - it's the unpredictability". Sometimes you get an email late in the evening which you have to respond to immediately or early the next morning, or you can get an assignment dropped on you out of nowhere that screws up your plans, or people try to pile work on you while you're on vacation or out of the office for the day. I don't know about others, but I usually dread work the most when I'm coming back to the office after a vacation. Also, trying to hit target every year can be mentally draining, even if it's not that difficult to do. Just a psychological thing watching it reset to 0 hours after you've had a long year. @pineapple21If you don't mind me asking, how long were you in private practice and why did you decide to leave?
  10. Good lord. Without giving away too much personal info, mind sharing which department or area of law you work in?
  11. Just to answer the OP's question about pay disparity between BC and Ontario, it will vary depending on the practice area and type of employer, but Ontario big law salaries are generally higher. The current lockstep salaries in BC for most big law firms are around: 1st year call: $103k 2nd: $115k 3rd: $125k 4th: $140k 5th: $155k (negotiable) 6th: $165k (negotiable) 7th: $175k (negotiable) I don't remember the numbers for Ontario but I know they're higher, especially as you get more senior. Although I believe BC associates are usually 1 year "senior" to their Ontario counterparts (i.e., a 3rd year BC call usually has the same amount of experience as a 2nd year Ontario call), because BC lawyers become 2nd year calls in their first January of being a practicing lawyer (even if they were called to the bar in the preceding September and have only been practicing for a few months), whereas Ontario lawyers have to wait 1 full year after being called before they are considered 2nd year calls. Someone from Ontario can correct me if I'm wrong.
  12. Agreed - putting the phone away is huge. I also try to leave work at a semi-reasonable time every day and fit in one post-work activity whenever possible. A bunch of my coworkers do the same. From speaking to people in my practice group, these activities range from playing in a rec sports league, going to sit in a sauna, hitting the driving range, or just going for a walk. I personally find exercise is key. Doing some sort of post-work activity (almost) every day allows me to turn my brain off for the day once I leave the office, and makes it easier to enjoy day-to-day life instead of waiting for the next big trip or accomplishment to reward myself. Plus coordinating your activities with a family member or friend gives you a clean break from thinking about work.
  13. My friends have told me that their firm did something similar (might actually be the same firm as the one that @sunnyskies1992 is referring to) and the general consensus (both inside and outside the firm) seems to be that the firm has shot itself in the foot with respect to attracting and retaining talent.
  14. This is great advice. I know a few colleagues who did a one-year secondment at a client (after the client approached the firm) and then returned to private practice. Some left for an in-house job (either at the same company or a different one) fairly soon after returning to the firm, but they had that as a safety net.
  15. 1. Was exposed to real estate prior to law school 2. Found the real estate work at my firm was interesting, but not too crazy in terms of peaks and valleys, like a lot of other transactional work 3. Liked my co-workers in the real estate practice area 4. Noticed a lot of in-house and government job postings for real estate lawyers when I was articling, showing me that there were decent exit opportunities for if I ever decide to leave private practice.
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