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TheScientist101

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TheScientist101 last won the day on February 20

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  1. If you qualify for OSAP (even a minimal amount) you automatically get the tuition bursaries. In my day it was $1500 for 1L and $1000 for 2L and 3L - they may have gone up. Anything you apply for is over and above that amount. The majority of applications for funding (bursary or scholarship) at Ottawa U require that you first qualify for OSAP.
  2. Maybe not "depressed" - but every life science PhD candidate hates their life at some point (which, now that I think about it, is also true for lawyers).
  3. I'm a lawyer and I have PhD. It was also fully funded (in Canada, not international). For myself, if I had to do it again I would not go and get my PhD again. I always said that if I knew straight out of undergrad (or at the end of my M.Sc) that I wanted to do law, I would have gone straight into it from there. My research was cool and it's nice when my wife calls me "doctor" - but I still feel like those were kind of wasted/really useless years of my life. An experimental based PhD can be the most frustrating thing to finish EVER. For me it constituted years of banging my head against the wall because I had an experiment that took a month to complete with what felt like a thousand steps, but I couldn't figure out which one wasn't working (yes, I eventually did figure it out *go me!* and it did get published - but man that glory was not worth the torture). A year and a half into it and I knew academia wasn't for me. I had many post-doc offers from some pretty incredible Universities (think Ivy league and well established schools over seas) but decided that wasn't the career path for me, and I wanted to get onto what I knew I wanted to be doing. Now. The PhD has come in a little handy when I was looking for IP jobs (both in law school and after being called). But you already have an M.Sc so if your goal is to get into IP, you've already got the degree to back you up. The PhD could definitely help you, but it's not going to make or break your chances. If you are on the fence, and you think that you could still want to pursue an academic career - then go for it! But, if you're already convinced that your career lies in law - then why waste 4-6 years of your life doing something that will have little bearing on getting you to your goal? Age should not be the factor you consider - but make the decision based on what you want to be doing in 10 years. If the answer is law, then the choice is a no brainer.
  4. Back up plans are always a good idea. Maybe try to get a job? Perhaps something like University admissions offices, or working with OSAP etc. You could even try to tap the government (I know they are hiring a lot of entry positions for the census at stats can. etc.) Next year, if you still want to be a lawyer, then apply super broadly - go across Canada - I would think with a 164 you'll probably get in somewhere. I'm not sure about every school, but at most of them you have to be out of school for at least 5 years to apply as a mature student. Since you've completed (are completing?) your MA, the 5 years wouldn't start until you're finished it. Good luck!
  5. Hi OP, I agree with @epeeist that to me it sounds like you don't really like what you're doing now, but you don't know if you want to do law. With that in mind I'll try to answer your questions from a purely informational side. Is there a demand for Mech Eng in IP? Short answer is - kind of. In prosecution - definitely (see my post on getting into IP here for what "prosecution" means etc.). In litigation - I mean a mech eng degree will get you in the door but I wouldn't expect to use it every day. You will also have to be open to learn about pharmaceutical science. A Mech Eng degree will qualify you to apply to 1L, 2L and articling IP gigs. It's a box that will be checked that will make it a little easier for you to get into the field. However, you should note that just because you have a mech eng degree does not mean you will definitely get into IP. If you go to law school and you're not open to practicing in other areas it could be devastating if you get to the end of your 3 years with out a spot in an IP department. So, if you're going to go to law school make sure you're open to practicing in other areas (otherwise the investment is far more risky and may not pay off in the end). Work Life Balance? I've spoken about it on here a lot. I think I have great balance, my wife does not. As like many other areas of law, you can put many hours in working in IP. I work a lot - there is no question. Patent prosecutors may not work so much (their lives are far more predictable). If you end up in a big, busy firm chances are you will work more than 9-5 (probably something like 8-6 or 7-7). Most IP departments are in big busy firms (I can't think of one off the top of my head that is not big and busy). How much do IP lawyers make? Generally IP lawyers make the top of the market (in which ever market they are in). So, in Toronto we start at $110K. In Ottawa we start at $80K. You can poke around here for the lockstep in those markets, but generally by the time we hit 6th year we're around $200K in Toronto. After 6th year it will vary - you could be made equity partner by 8th year, have an incredible year and bring in $700K (or more!) - or you could just stick around the $200K for years to come (this is largely dependent on firm opportunity/your own motivation for the kind of work you want). I'm not sure how raises work in the mech eng field - but if "senior engineer" is a position you can get in the next 6-10 years and you get regular raises that quickly bridge the gap between $55K-$500K then from a pure money perspective it would probably not be worth it to leave your field. If you have to wait 30 years to get that kind of title then it's possible that lawyering could be more lucrative.
  6. And doing IP is very different from doing PI. Off-Bay IP usually pays the same as On-Bay IP.
  7. In my experience summer students do not have "their own" assistants - rather, the lawyers you work for have an assistant (or a group of them share one). In your first summer I would only use an assistant if the lawyer you're working on says "ask so and so to help you with this". As a summer student (and articling student) your job fluctuates between work an assistant can do and work a lawyer can do - so sometimes, even if an assistant could do the work, you are actually the one doing it. My summer hours were generally okay - in at 830 out at 530-6? Maybe work some weekends? Probably 1 evening event every two weeks. Totally firm dependent for both. Some firms have food available after hours on sight (i.e. the kitchen has a bunch of frozen meals in it that you can warm up if you want). Some firms pay for you to order in if you're there past 630/7. Some firms only pay for you to order in if an actual lawyer says "hey we're here late, let's order in" but if it's just you with no lawyer then they won't pay for it. Some firms say "if you feel unsafe take a cab the firm/client will cover it. Other firms have a hard policy (cabs only after 10pm etc.). Most firms force you to rotate - you don't get an option (unless you're in IP - some firms do not rotate their IP students). If you can, I'd suggest getting the most exposure you can to different areas of the law - it comes in handy when you're finished articles and trying to figure out what you want to practice.
  8. But your salary goes up to that of about a 6th or 7th year on Bay
  9. The difference between 12 and 16 weeks is not sufficient to justify denying this great opportunity. Regardless of your gender (or non-gender)- if it were me, I wouldn't let my desire to have future children impede a career decision that would, over all, make me happier. This is your chance to lateral into something that you really want to do. The further you go in your career and the more specialized you become in the area you currently practice, the more difficult it will be to make that lateral jump. If it were me, I wouldn't even have taken the time to post on here - I'd already be on the phone accepting my new position. Congratulations on landing such a great new gig.
  10. It's totally doable. Let's assume you're on Bay and you're making $110K as a first year associate. After taxes that's about $6182 a month (calculated from this website https://easytaxca.com/payroll-calculator-2018/). Rent - if you live downtown you may be able to find something in the $1800/mth range - but I would predict you'd probably be looking at something between 2200-2500 for a 1 bedroom + den condo. That leaves you with just under $4000 for the rest of your expenses. If you just have your PSLOC and you only used the $100K then your payment will be around $1000/mth (if your PSLOC is higher then, obviously, the payments will be higher). If you own a car you have that payment (although I really don't think you need one in Toronto). Then your utilities, phone, cable etc. all together that's probably around $300-$400 a month for condo living. You're left with about $2500 for your food, incidentals and savings. Once you cross the January threshold as a first year associate that amount will also increase by about $500 a month around June (when you hit the CPP and EI cap). Also - Tax season as a first year is AWESOME - FINALLY you get something back for those tuition credits! A single person living in the city on that salary should have more than enough money to keep their head above water and enjoy the Toronto lifestyle.
  11. I think it's totally possible - for example living in St. Lawrence Market - you'd be about a 15 minute walk to Bay and Adelaide. If I wasn't married (with kid) that is totally where I'd be. But, wife + family + dog = need for a house with a backyard = commute. Also - if you're willing to start small (and man, I mean SMALL) you could potentially buy a condo downtown within your first few years of associateship. I think you can get a tiny studio for $400K - which, on a $110-$150K salary should be doable even if you're paying back debt. Interestingly I also lived a 15 minute walk to work while in Ottawa... yeah - that is one thing I definitely miss.
  12. Yeah.... I once did a lot of work for a partner at a firm who was absolutely terrible at communicating. They were even worse at admitting they were wrong - about anything. It was incredibly frustrating, but in that position all you can really do is take the feedback and try to apply it in a meaningful way. Show that you are least trying to learn from past experience and that you are taking steps to "correct". It did really help me to repeat (or - even better email) my own understanding of instructions back to people so I could make sure we were all on the same page. For myself, I haven't had an issue with communication since I moved firms. I still email my understanding of instructions back to people sometimes though I agree with @ericontario - if the principal is not willing to also adjust their behaviour, then perhaps it's better for you to stick it out for the duration of articles and start looking for a position where you'd have a better fit.
  13. As a follow up - if you are not called in June, then the next ceremony is in September in London ON. That means if you do not start with enough time to get your 10 months in before the June call, then you cannot be an associate until September. Depending on the firm's needs, I imagine that could affect hireback. Note - I do have friends who were in combined JD programs (JD/MBA, JD/MA etc.) which offset them from the "regular stream" by about 4 months. They started articles late, and were not called until January, but they were still hired back for February-March start dates. So, like I said, it will probably depend on the firm's needs. Personally, if I could control it, starting later than August is not a chance that I would take.
  14. This is great advice and if the OP is trying to decide between two markets then you have to consider more than just salary. When I made the move it was primarily motivated by desire to work in a very niche area of practice. I found a firm that was the perfect fit for me and it just so happened that it was in Toronto. Yes, I make more than I did in Ottawa. However, despite my increase in earnings I should note that cost of living is more, commute time is a lot more (I cannot over-emphasize this - it's a huge difference from when we were in Ottawa) and our prospects of purchasing a home in Toronto is slim. Because I'm practicing in an area I love at a great firm, for me, the relocation was worth it. That's not the case for everyone and as advised by @erinl2 you have to consider all of the factors before choosing your market.
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