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Everything posted by 1ceman

  1. I wouldn't say it's necessarily my goal. I just figured it was inevitable that an associate at a large L&E firm would wind up practicing both. Might be a different story for boutiques, though. That's my understanding as well. Pretty hard to segregate as an associate. Something to consider. Maybe a boutique environment would be a better fit.
  2. I articled downtown and sometimes the downtime is actually enjoyable, but the train is usually packed and feels more like a bunch of cows being shipped to the slaughterhouse...not to mention the mad dash to the parking lot every night. I agree re: the WFH option. That's really the only way I could envision a downtown job working for me. Not having to commute 5x per week would give me something to consider, otherwise it's not gonna happen. As for other firms doing similar work, I know there isn't much in Durham region. I would think most of these firms would be in the Markham/Vaughan area, which would be an even worse commute because I'd have to drive... Agreed! The only way I would consider working downtown is if WFH was a possibility, and even then it would take a lot of thought. As of now my firm does a lot of employment work, mostly management-side as our clients are almost exclusively local businesses. We do some employee work but generally only as a favour to our corporate clients (i.e. if a corporate client's spouse has been terminated). I definitely prefer repping the employer. Your friend's firm sounds a lot like my current shop. Personally, I'm not really a fan of dabbling in a bunch of areas. I'd prefer to focus on one area and learn it inside out. I like employment work the most by far, and would like to expand into labour as well. Small shops like mine generally don't get much labour work, if any. This is the main reason I'm considering a change. Learning on the fly in certain areas (i.e. construction lien) can be extremely stressful. While my principal is great, a lot of times I'm left figuring things out for myself, which is a lot of pressure for a relatively new call.
  3. Thanks, Jaggers. I'm not naive. I realize the workload will be insane at times. I guess I'm trying to decide if my interest in L&E is worth sacrificing time at home (I live in Durham Region and relocating is not an option). Right now I'm working in a small boutique in Durham Region. Aside from the type of work I'm doing (basically dabbling in a bunch of litigation matters), it's a great fit (short commute, good pay for the area, etc.) After reading these comments I'm starting to think that working in L&E downtown probably isn't worth 1) the commute and 2) the workload. The work might be interesting, but likely not worth the strain it would put on my home life. Maybe the better play is to open my own local employment practice in a few years. Thanks all. If anyone else has comments/horror stories, please feel free to share!
  4. Hi all, I'm considering transition from my general commercial litigation practice (basically everything except PI, family and crim), to a management-side labour and employment position. I realize the market is far from hot right now but I'm thinking of sending out some cover letters and resumes to some of the bigger management-side firms (Hicks Morley, Mathews Dinsdale, etc.). Can anyone shed light on the similarities and differences between these larger management firms and big law? Is the culture similar? I'm assuming that based on the slightly smaller salaries that there may be a slightly better work-life balance, but I could be wrong. I'd just like to get an idea of what I could be in for, in the unlikely event I wind up with some prospects. Thanks in advance, 1M
  5. Perfect thank you! Definitely a less expensive route. Terrific thank you!
  6. HI all, As I'm sure many of you can agree, this pandemic is giving us all some time to self-reflect. I'm considering transitioning from my general commercial litigation practice into a role more focused on labour and employment. I'm thinking of either looking into associate positions at a L&E boutique/accounting firm, or a non-lawyer job with L&E aspects. Big law is also a possibility, but I just don't know if that lifestyle suits my personal life. My understanding is that that most L&E-focused employers understandably prefer applicants who have a "demonstrated interest" in that field. While most of my work currently focuses on management-side employment law, I'm not sure my "demonstrated interest" can translate to paper without some additional credentials. I'm considering enrolling in a LLM program to bolster my resume, and, hopefully, my chances of landing a position more catered to my L&E interests. However, these programs are NOT cheap ($20,000+ for a two-year program), so I want to make sure the investment is worth it. The smarter and cost-effective approach may be just to increase my networking efforts in the L&E industry. I'd be grateful for anyone who can share their thoughts on the benefits/drawbacks of LLM programs, particularly those working in L&E. Thanks in advance, 1M
  7. Job market in my area of interest (labour/employment) isn't great. But there have been some recent postings at gig law (Osler) and professional service groups (KPMG and Deloitte). I'd be more inclined for the latter opportunities as the big law life doesn't appeal to me at all (aside from salary). I heard there were salary cuts but had no idea they went as high as 20%...still a 20% cut to a big law salary is still close to my full salary at the moment. Baby is due end of September. Unfortunately I feel like if I do get laid off, it'll be well before then. We're trying to set aside as much $$ as possible to make my wife's mat/parental leave as seamless as possible, financially. Totally agree. There are some in-house positions restricted to labour/employment, but they generally require 5+ years of experience. I am hoping to get more corporate exposure in anticipation of making the switch to in-house eventually. Definitely not. I did mostly insurance defence during articles and feel like once your an ID lawyer, you're stuck there for life (unless you want to cross to PI). Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm not prepared to pigeonhole myself. I'm not at the point where I would accept ANYTHING, but I'm keeping an eye out for jobs that are more suited to my employment/labour interests. If the right fit comes along, I'll apply right away. Thanks everyone! Didn't expect this kind of response. -1M
  8. Hi all, I'm currently practicing litigation at a boutique firm in the GTA. It's a great fit for me for many reasons : short commute, decent salary, good work experience, great mentor, etc. However, the pandemic has resulted in a significant slowdown in my work, so much so that my employer cannot foresee maintaining my pay beyond this month if things do not change. I'm fully expecting the current situation to last until June/July. Therefore, I feel like there is a very real possibility that I will be laid off in the next month or so. While I enjoy my job, I also have a baby on the way, a mortgage, etc. Like many of you, I am feeling the financial pressure of potentially being without my regular salary for weeks, if not months. For these reasons I'm considering exploring jobs with more security, benefits, etc. I like litigation, but not all litigation. Ideally, I would like to work in-house or solely in employment law. Unfortunately most jobs fitting these criteria are downtown. Is big law/downtown lawyering worth the job security in light of the current situation? Would my job even be protected if I made a switch to a downtown firm or in-house? Also, with a baby on the way, I want to be able to spend time at home with him/her and my wife. Basically I'm balancing the importance of job security/stable income vs. work-life balance/commute time. Maybe I'm jumping the gun, but I want to be proactive. Grateful for any thoughts/advice, 1M
  9. Thanks Quincy. I can't see my employer agreeing to a raise equivalent to 1/3 of my receipts...that would effectively double my income. Maybe I'm misunderstanding the math? Again, maybe I'm not understanding the math... I was also thinking a $10K salary increase ($90K total) plus a bonus if I achieve a certain billable target (i.e. 10% of $300K in collected billings). That might be a bit more reasonable, no? Thanks for all the advice, everyone. Clearly I'm not well-versed in this area.
  10. Good point. I'm fairly confident that final billing on most of my files rests with me, but it would be wise to make sure. The more I think about it the more I feel like waiting another year before having this conversation makes the most sense...
  11. Thanks, Coolname. I'm definitely not considering a pure fee split right now. I was thinking of either keeping my current salary and asking for a fee split, or negotiating a raise (i.e. $90K) and bringing up the fee split at my 2021 performance review.
  12. Good point. FYI my principal asks for my input before billing on my files. It's usually my signature on the bill, but would be a good idea to review all billings so I have a number in mind.
  13. It's the latter, but I would think plenty of associates have a percentage arrangement regardless of whether the billings are from existing clients or not, no?
  14. Absolutely I would be billing in excess of $240K right now. At the moment my hourly rate is $225. Because of my learning curve some of my hours are discounted, but not a significant amount. I would say I am billing around $300K. There is only one "partner", and I don't think she has ever done a profit-sharing model with any of her previous lawyers. However, I did mention it to her when I first started and she seemed open to exploring the option eventually, but we didn't get in to how it would work.
  15. Hi everyone, I've been working in the GTA for a boutique business firm for about 18 months (2018 call). As of now, I'm labeled as the firm's "Litigation Associate", although I like to think that I have become the front-line lawyer for all things litigation; my principal (who is fantastic) has become more of an overseer. I draft the materials (motion records, facta, pleadings, etc.), and she reviews when I ask for her opinion. It's clear that she is gradually removing herself the day-to-day operation of the firm, especially on the litigation front. It's a great relationship, but more responsibility than I envisioned when I first joined the firm. When it comes to litigation, the files range from employment/wrongful dismissal, to construction lien files, to shareholder disputes. The diversity is great as no file is the same, but with that comes added stress. I'm now attending mediations on my own, as well as discoveries, opposed motions, etc. A great experience, but the learning curve has been steeper than I planned. Doing solely barrister work is also starting to take a toll, and I would like to delve into more solicitor work in 2020. For me, balance is key, and litigation alone is not a sustainable practice. I also feel like a more diverse CV will also bode well if I choose a different career path (i.e. in-house) down the line. Like I said, I have a great setup at the moment. My boss is an excellent mentor and I enjoy working in my hometown. However, my performance review is coming up in the next few months and I was wondering if now is the time to ask for a percentage of my billings. Currently I'm earning a straight salary of $80K (which was bumped up from $75K after 6 months). As we know, life is expensive and my wife and I will likely be expanding our family in the near future. For that reason, I want to figure out a way to maximize my earnings without giving in to a higher downtown salary. Would you recommend just a salary increase (i.e. $90K), or is now the time I propose a percentage of my billings as well? Any experience on billing sharing schemes, particularly in boutique setups, would be much appreciated. I want to make sure anything I propose is reasonable, considering my experience, etc. Thanks all! 1M
  16. You can move your debt elsewhere? How? I wasn't aware this was even possible.
  17. Mainly because I don't have enough room leftover in my PSLOC to incorporate my OSAP debt right now. If I wanted to roll OSAP into a loan then I'd need to convert the PSLOC into something else, like a personal loan or LOC. And good call about the auto deductions. Once the new house budget is in place I'll see what I can put away!
  18. Thanks everyone. With the new home expenses, I'll need to revise my budget to make sure I can allocate some funds towards paying down debt each month. It's doable, but I'll need to sacrifice some luxuries (i.e. eating out, vacations, etc.). Conge, you couldn't be more right about the costs of eating out/coffee...that money would definitely be better spent towards paying down debt! I'm going to work with my bank to see if I can convert my PSLOC into a personal loan/line of credit, use that to pay off OSAP, and then deal with one single and reasonable monthly payment. Fingers crossed!
  19. Take off whatever time is offered to you. Most firms will not get annoyed with you as long as you take the time off at reasonable times, and if they do, you probably don't want to work there after articling. Assuming there are other students working with you, make sure you coordinate your vacation days with them so that there is always enough student support on hand. Also, obviously make sure you complete any necessary work before you go. If you leave for Mexico with a pile of urgent work left on your plate, you're in for a rude awakening when you get back. Other than that, you should feel absolutely no guilt whatsoever for taking time off. Embrace it.
  20. Hi all, Like most of us 2018 calls, I'll soon have to start paying off the principal balance on my professional student line of credit. For the most part, I have just been paying interest each month as I save for other things (i.e. down payment on a recently purchased house). Once I have to start paying off balance and interest, how much can I expect my monthly payments to increase? Apparently one potential option is to convert my PSLOC into a personal line of credit or personal loan. I'd be grateful to hear from any of you who have taken this route. What's the benefit of converting a PSLOC? I'd also be grateful to hear from anyone who has consolidated their debt by, for example, combining their government loans with their PSLOC into one monthly payment. Any advice re: paying off student debt would be very much appreciated. I'd just like to know what I'm likely in for once the principal payments kick in and what options I have at my disposal. Thanks everyone! 1M
  21. Haven't gotten the articling application package yet from Samis.
  22. This is a difficult question...I guess what matters is how much practical experience you have already. I've worked for firms for free, twice, and both positions have given me a wealth of experience and two very helpful LORs. That being said, this summer I chose to work as a research assistant (much more $$$) instead because I was getting awfully sick of working my ass off for free, and I felt like I had more than enough practical experience to impress articling employers. If you think your résumé is strong enough as it is, it might not be worth it to work for minimum wage. If you could use some practical experience and a solid LOR, then take the job.
  23. Beard Winter offered a cocktail reception.
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