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Everything posted by homer

  1. Very common, especially for smaller firms. In my experience, salary positions are very difficult and a lot of firms are following this model.
  2. Read a ton of books/cases on the area of law your firm practices. If your experience is anything like mine, you will be running around, drafting, attending motions etc... so much and will kick yourself for not digging more in the substantive areas of law when you had some more free time. Contrary to popular belief, lawyers only read the law for a fraction of time. Most of the time, you are dealing with clients, answering e-mails, drafting, preparing materials, etc. If you are going into civ lit, really study the Rules and make sure you are comfortable with them. Keep a notepad where you put in random things that you figured out so you know what you're doing. E.g. Diff courthouses have diff policies for sending in a confirmation of motion. When you figure out what one courthouse does, make a note of it for next time. Also, textbooks for paralegals are a god send. They go through the more practical parts of lawyering. As an articling student, depending on the size of the firm, your duties may involve what paralegals do. Finally, like what everyone else said, study the precedents. Come in on a sat/sun and just follow the progression of previous files from the retainer until the end.
  3. I'll just throw a few pointers here. The legal market in Ontario sucks. Norther Ontario may be better but I don't think by much to be honest. I have friends who applied and didn't get a single call back at a ton of these firms...they also chose to hire lawyers with a connection up north or from the Lakehead class. Doc review pays great but does nothing to further your legal career. It's kind of used to supplement your income when you start your own practice, or something short term between looking for jobs. E.g. Deloitte separates their doc review lawyers from their actual firm (diff buildings). The doc review lawyers are independent contractors and do not do any legal work; many have their status as non-practicing lawyers and pay no insurance. Salary Position: If your husband wants to get into a firm that practices civ lit, he should apply and network like crazy. The market absolutely sucks so applying and networking should be treated as a 9-5 job. That said, most firms that are hiring are civ lit firms. 2 years of civ lit experience will help. These salary are the most sought after and hardest to get....I know Canadian grads in their 3rd year of call who still haven't gotten a salary job... For a position like this, it may be worthwhile to find a job in a smaller city like Thunder Bay, Hamilton, Barrie, etc... Eat what you kill: Many smaller firms (1 - 5 lawyers) can hire your husband right away if they like him for this role. They will provide the infrastructure (clerks, business cards, precedents, support) and a few files for him. Depending on the firm, they may offer a small salary and percentage points on files, or just a percentage. He wont make much in his first year but can make more later on or use the experience to transition to a salary position. For a position like this, it would be worthwhile to find a firm in the GTA or major city. All in all, your husband should be contacting lawyers all over the place and doing informational interviews. Like 10+ of these a month. That's how he will get a better feel of what firms are hiring for what roles.
  4. I wouldn't enter this field of law with a 10 foot pole to be honest. The grass is bad on both sides. Defence: -moving to hiring in-house (e.g. Aviva has their own Trial Lawyers Division and other Insurance Companies are moving in that direction) -PI Defence firms are getting squeezed out...insurance companies are demanding more work for less money, refusing to pay out claims or giving very small offers to settle, and putting pressure on litigating every claim. The result: firms are squeezing more work from associates for less money. -If you are cool with moving in-house, this is a great option Plaintif: -Firms that don't take files to trial (95% of PI firms) are getting squeezed out. They don't have the infrastructure or resources to litigate every file. You'll see a ton of these firms moving towards employment law and other areas. -Cars are getting safer. Car accidents that would lead to CAT files are now falling under the MIG b/c the injuries are not as bad. -Gone are the days where you can settle a bunch of files for coin early on. The law in this area recently became way more favourable to insurance companies and they are pushing hard on every file. Just getting anything under the SABS is like pulling teeth. -Also, don't expect to make good money until like 3 years. Remember, even though you have a decent file, it takes forever for the pay out. Counsel that are killing it have files paying out from years ago. The new ones they pick up now will not pay out nearly as much down the line. -However, the solid firms (e.g. Sokoloff) are absorbing files from the smaller firms and have a solid line up of Trial Lawyers. If you can get into a firm with a reputation for taking things to trial and doing a good job, you will make a killing now and in the future. It's a general consensus that PI isn't what it used to be and is dying. If you can get a few decent files, you can do okay for now on the Plaintiff side but it's going to be a tough 5 years ahead. Also, PI Defence in-house is starting to pick up and pay pretty well. Although, counsel has told me that this area is kind of dead end. There is no creativity involved; you are just denying, delaying and blocking all the time. Articling at a busy PI Plaintiff firm is fantastic for civ lit experience though. You will be in court 2-4 days a week and drafting like crazy. Just know that the field is dying:P Edit: I just reread you post and saw that you are working at a PI firm. Your observations are absolutely correct; many make the jump from defence to plaintiff because they see how much they are paying out on each claim. That said, it's kind of ALL about the files you bring in. If you have a solid pool of referrals, you can def kill it.
  5. Sean Robichaud, who runs a firm of approx 3 other associates said said the following: What salary can criminal lawyers expect in the first few years of practice? Between $30,000 and $70,000. And it doesn’t grow much for associates: they practice for a few years and become Crown attorneys, partners or sole practitioners. Does that sound accurate? Source: http://lawandstyle.ca/career/career-sean-robichaud/
  6. Big firms have a mix of legal aid and private clients, legal aid does pay well for bigger matters. I agree that some files need more then one lawyer, but that's rare. Even then, lawyers can and often do, partner with others. This often occurs in chambers. They also send each other work sometimes (e.g. they may offer a legal aid bail to a new lawyer like me in the chambers since it only pays very little). Also, if you need to have an adjournment or have something simple done in court, the CLA has a listserve where we just ask someone to adjourn something. Someone always answers. If we need specific questions answered, the listserve does that as well. I guess if someone knows first hand, I would love to get a ballpark on how much these lawyers make. In all honesty, I cant see these positions paying very much. The only reason I could see someone working at such a firm is for experience, bragging rights, or because they genuinely love criminal law and do not want to run a business.
  7. You get all this from a chambers (sans student).
  8. That's why I'm so curious about their salary. I might be green, but criminal defence work generally doesn't seem like the kind requiring multiple lawyers per file. I don't understand how much salary could be paid to a criminal defence associate, especially since they can get pretty much all the benefits providence mentioned from working in a chambers with other criminal lawyers.
  9. How much do they make? I'm talking about those criminal law firms with about 4 - 12 lawyers. I ask because as a new sole practitioner, I'm making a decent amount, but I don't know how I would pay an articling/summer student anytime soon. I can't even begin to imagine how I would pay an associate, unless I got a huge amount of private clients. One of my friends who is articling at one of these firms in Downtown Toronto is only getting 35K, about half what the MAG paid for articling. Also, even if you could hire an associate and pay him/her, why would they stay? Once a criminal lawyer knows what they are doing, they could make double on their own, and just partner with another lawyer for more complicated matters. Which begs the question again, what is their salary like?
  10. Hi All, I was wondering if anybody had an interview with the law society for a first year associate position. I would appreciate any and all PM's
  11. Say exactly this in open court: "Law Student, future QC." Also, end all your e-mails with this.
  12. Can you PM the info to me as well .
  13. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/ontario-justice-hires-trial-lengths-1.3876204 Ontario will be hiring: -13 provincial judges will be appointed -32 more assistant Crown attorneys -16 duty counsel and 26 court staff This sounds like great news to me:). I would love to work a few years as an assistant Crown attorney? Can anyone working at the Ontario MAG give some more info on the assistant Crown attorney positions? I understand that there are generally three pools of applicants: 1: current/former MAG lawyers, 2 current/former MAG students, 3 everyone else. First they hire from pool 1, then 2 then 3. Are the assistant Crown attorney jobs the entry level for first year calls? Are these 1 - 2 year contract positions?
  14. Hegdis said it best: "EVERYONE agrees the foreign route is harder, takes longer, and costs more. NO ONE recommends it generally. Including those who have already done it. EVERYONE agrees that it's better to get a Canadian degree if you can. EVERYONE agrees that individual people who have resources and connections that will ease them into the Canadian job market may be the exceptions to this rule." If you think international rankings matter for a Canadian employer enough to have it affect your decision to go abroad, it may be a defence mechanism working to make you feel better. I'm not about to attack that. Cheers:)
  15. What rankings are you even talking about. How credible are they? Are they like the maclean's magazine rankings that we on LS.ca always laugh about? How can a magazine really compare a school like Leicester against U of Alberta in terms of it's Canadian legal education? A person living in the U.S. may say the Patriots are the best team. If www.footballrankingscompany.com comes along and says the Ottawa Redblacks are the #2 best football team in the world, would NFL teams suddenly drop what they are doing and recruits these Canadians? Probably not. International rankings mean virtually nothing to legal employers. Perceived reputation does. Reputation doesn't always correlate with rankings. As I recall, Cooley was 2nd only after Harvard a few years ago according to some rankings system. In Canada, Macleans magazine does not do anything for employers, it's for students and their bragging rights. If these rankings do not do anything for Canadian legal employers, why in the world would you think some random international rankings would make a difference? Rankings only matter to law students, not employers. International rankings mean even less.
  16. I'll only say this one last time. By en large, international law school rankings do not matter to Canadian employers. Employers have a bias against international students unless they studied at a place like Yale/Oxford/Harvard, etc. These schools are not the exception because of their rank in magazines/websites, etc. It's because of their reputation. You could rank Bond #2 in the world, just after Cooley. The fact that employers know little about them makes them inferior in the eyes of an employer. It doesn't mean that they are inferior, it's just that's how they are perceived. It is possible that some employer somewhere may take the time out to see where Leicester ranks to Nottingham, but that is so rare that it is not worth mentioning. It may affect one student out of 56. If that's important to you, then fine, say it matters.
  17. Rankings don't mean anything. You yourself said that you have limited experience looking for a job as a first year call. Maximumbob has been working over 10 years. I think he would have a better picture on what hiring lawyers look for when they hire them. Unless you go to a well known international school like Harvard/Oxford/Yale, etc.. for most employers, they won't care. There will be a stack of 100s of resumes for 1 spot. Do you think they will turn down a UofT/Osgoode grad that they are familiar with and take billable time to look into the rankings list that you provided...and then come up with a way to rank all their applicant's legal education? I have a lot of experience here...I can tell you for a fact that NCA grads are having a tremendously difficult time looking for a placement in the LPP. The Canadian grads, for the most part, are doing fine. That's not where it ends though....where you article after law school will be a big determining factor in how successful you are thereafter. How much training do you think you might get with a solo practitioner doing a few real estate closings and wills here and there. Especially one that does not pay you anything. That's what a majority of these NCA's have waiting for them as a best case scenario. If you get a crap articling position, it's very hard to bounce back. Unfortunately, the majority of NCA's get crap articling positions. Ranking will play almost no role.
  18. Some advice if you are thinking of transferring back: There are a lot of factors with respect to transferring back after your first year. e.g. If you are a resident of Saskatchewan or Manitoba, (and want to transfer back to the UofS or the UofM) they seem to have an affinity for accepting those with an in-province connection. There are students who find it much easier to transfer back to these provinces, after doing their first year abroad. For Ontario students, it sucks coming back and competing against Canadian grads. One lawyer I talked to, who is a lawyer in California, completed law school at the University of North Dakota. He went there because of how cheep the tuition was. He told me that there were many people from Manitoba completing 1L there, and then transferring back to the UofM for 2L. The tuition is not bad either, at $18,000 for non residents and $9,000 for residents. But this was 15+ years ago; I don't know if it's the same story. I would look into some U.S. options as well. Traveling might not be so bad and it may be easier to transition back. Plus, you won't be competing against high school grads.
  19. Nobody really asks what rank your international law school was, so I don't know how many of my colleges went to a top ranked school. If one went to Leicester and another went to Nottingham, and another to Melbourne, I wouldn't know how to rank them and I probably wouldn't. I don't know that an employer would either. Most employers won't be able to name even half of the top 8 in Australia, or the top 7 in so and so. Most probably won't know that your school is not ranked. They will just know the top schools internationally (e.g. Harvard, Oxford, Cambridge) and the domestic law schools. Sorry man:(. Good luck with your NCAs:)
  20. In my experience, most employers just think NCA from school A is the same as NCA from school, B; unless we are talking about Harvard or Oxford or something like that. Many people say things like -"X school was ranked #1, by _____ magazine, ____ years in a row." -"Y school is located in the birth place of the common law." -"I went to Z school for the international experience." Literally, all employers hear is "I could not get into a Canadian law school because I had poor grades and/or a bad LSAT score." Whether that is true or not isn't important, it's just the stigma that comes with it. Don't let a school's 'international reputation' or 'Ranking' influence your decision, unless you are taking about something like Harvard. There is no point in going abroad to these law schools unless you have incredible work experience or a strong network where you are guaranteed a job.
  21. I used to speak Punjabi fluently as a child, but then sadly stopped speaking it and forgot most of it. But, for a brief time in high school, my social circle spoke it a lot and I really wanted to learn it as well. Within a month, I was almost fluent. A decade later, my social circle changed and my Punjabi became broken again. I tried to take lessons last summer to relearn it, just for business purposes. After several weeks, nothing really changed. I know it's because I did really want to learn it. I also lived in Kyrgyzstan for a summer and tried to learn Russian, just because I though it would help my career. I was totally immersed in the culture but did not learn a thing. This was also because I didn't really want to learn it. I just thought it would be good for me. That was the same story with French. I believe that if you are REALLY interested in learning Mandarin, it should be pretty easy. The key is to immerse yourself in it, and HAVE FUN doing it:). Watch Mandarin movies/shows, listen to audiobooks, talk to people, etc. If you find it fun, then it will be easy:). If you are just doing it for the sake of doing it, it will suck.
  22. This may sound silly of me to ask, but have you talked to your supervising lawyer about any of this? Not just ask him for the money, but tell him what's going on in your life and how it is even affecting your clients. Perhaps he doesn't know how bad things are with you, and ultimately, his practice. After you lay everything out, he might just cut you a check right then and there. Edit: I've summered for an SP with a very busy practice and he was constantly late paying his employees. Not because he didn't have the money or didn't want to pay, but just because he was so disorganized. Sometimes, I didn't get paid for a month. I would just talk to him when we wasn't busy, and he would cut me a check for everything he owed me.
  23. Just to add, it's my understanding that there are two pools. Tier one is reserved for previous lawyers, and Tier 2 is for former students. So first they would have to run out of Tier 1 candidates before the consider looking at us.
  24. I actually know of people kind of paying to get articling experience. At a law office I worked in, clients would ask the lawyer to take on their son/daughter/family member, in exchange for sending the firm more business. It actually goes on a lot more then most people know...
  25. If you are just looking to get your feet wet, you might consider offering a 4 month placement for an LPP candidate. Ryerson will screen the 100s of resumes into a small number of high quality resumes (ones without any spelling/grammar mistakes at least) that meet the specific criteria you outline. They will also take care of all the paper work and deal with the LSUC. All you have to do is sign an agreement. If you don't like any of the students you interviewed, you can re-post the job or pull the position altogether. Candidates don't really mind this, there are so many positions coming and going. e.g. You want to hire a student that passed both bar exams, and has a ton of clinical experience, those are the resumes you get. After you interview the candidate, they have 24 hours to accept the offer, so you won't get strung around for a few weeks. You also pay whatever you think the student is worth. If you believe they are deserving of more and can afford it, many employers opt to give a big bonus at the end of the placement and/or extend it. Just a thought:P
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