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barelylegal

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barelylegal last won the day on August 18 2018

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  1. How was/is your relationship with your family law professor? If it's positive, given your level of engagement - perhaps that professor could write you a reference letter for the articling recruit? At my firm, a C-range grade would certainly be noticed on a transcript (though unlikely to be considered a negative in isolation), but I occasionally interview students whose application packages include a reference letter from a prof to the effect that the student was engaged in the course, had thoughtful and critical insights during class discussions, and shows a lot of potential, and the ultimate mark in the course is not a true reflection of their abilities for one reason or another. Can't speak for anyone else, at my firm or otherwise, but I find those types of letters to be fairly compelling.
  2. My understanding/experience is: This can vary quite substantially by firm, and also can vary by whether the firm offers non-equity partnership. Are you asking about equity or non-equity partnership? I.e. do you care about owning part of the firm, or are you also interested in just the prestige of the title? I've very rarely come across very senior associates - the end game, as far as a firm is concerned, is partnership. If you've been around for a long time and don't seem like a viable option for partnership, it's more likely that you'd be pushed (or "gently suggested") out, unless the firm offers some kind of counsel or other non-partnership track option through which you could continue adding value. So your question is framed a bit oddly - if an associate doesn't choose to leave biglaw, then in most cases, they will (a) become partner, (b) move into a non-partnership track position, or (c) leave the firm. It's not like the U.S. where people can stay associates forever, and partnership is relatively less common. This one I can't answer, as I'm not a partner and don't have access to that kind of compensation information. I expect your question won't produce meaningful responses unless you specify particular practice areas, though.
  3. I think the comments above about still needing to be accountable for your billables/hours/targets, and managing flexibility with priorities, are really important. The flexibility you can have in private practice is not at the expense of your targets. My fairly flexible approach to the workday means I likely have fewer billable hours on an average weekday than others - but I still have targets and workload, so I'm more likely to work some time on weekends as a trade-off. That's consistent with my priorities at the moment, but I might think differently if I had a family I wanted to be able to spend weekends / nights with - in which case I may be less likely to take breaks or do errands during a weekday. Ultimately, my version of flexibility helps me manage work-week stress, and I can live with having to do a few extra work hours on a weekend to get that, but to each their own.
  4. Flexibility is definitely a large benefit, as far as I'm concerned. It takes a lot of forms for me. I can work from home pretty much whenever I want, subject to meetings/attendances. If I suddenly have a day clear in my calendar and no impending deadlines, I can just take the day off, on no notice and without needing to account to anyone. If I'm working on a factum and hit a roadblock or a tired spell, I might just leave the office at 3 or 4 to go to the gym, then keep working from home - or I might do the same if I have errands to run and the stores close early. I can meet friends for coffee or lunch whenever I want, and those lunches might spontaneously turn into two-hour catch-ups if my workload/deadlines permit. If I have a big evening event of some sort, I might work late or early in the days leading up to it to make sure I get things done, and then just take a half-day on the day of the event. I take full advantage of this kind of flexibility, and find it helps my stress levels. There are really countless ways you can take advantage of the flexibility. Note, though, that the amount of flexibility you get will vary by type of job. I'm a senior associate at a large Toronto boutique. Those working for government or quasi-government employers or in-house positions, for example, might not have quite the same nature or amount of flexibility.
  5. Completely agree with the comments made by @jlw2 and @ItsJasper. My general philosophy with most out-of-work plans is to make them, but be prepared to break them. I always, always make sure I have my schedule in order to attend very important plans (e.g. family or friend birthdays, holiday celebrations), but otherwise, while I do everything I can to make plans, I make clear that I may need to check in closer to the time to confirm re: work, and don't feel bad if I have to cancel/reschedule. Same goes for my weekly activity - it's something that I always try to go to, but if I can't make it, everyone understands (and the activity is with mostly other lawyers, so same rules go for everyone). Ultimately, out-of-work plans are supposed to be a way to relieve stress from work. If they become obligations, such that you stress about missing them because your absence is meaningful and they create real conflicts with work obligations, then what's the point? If you're going to schedule an activity or other plan, then it should be something that's fun and flexible and isn't at risk of becoming an additional source of stress.
  6. I'm at a large Toronto boutique and a senior associate now, but I have a weekly activity with law school friends that I've been doing since I was a first year associate. It requires me to leave the office at 6 on a particular day each week. My firm has no issue with it - they think it's great, and my whole practice group knows I leave by 6 that day. Sure, if I'm in a hearing or have a massive or urgent deadline or important firm event, I may have to miss it occasionally, but for the most part I keep it up every week. It's all about how you manage your work and schedule (my constant advice to new lawyers is to sort out your time management skills - being able to prioritize and slot tasks into your week to ensure you have time for everything, work or otherwise, is so, so helpful).
  7. Are you talking about drafting court documents like pleadings, notices of motion, etc.? If so, note that all of those documents are standard court forms and are available online at http://ontariocourtforms.on.ca/en/rules-of-civil-procedure-forms/. Those are usually a good guideline for how things should look. In the Statement of Claim, for example, you'll see that the "boilerplate" language at the beginning is single-spaced.
  8. You can describe the general nature of a case, steps that were taken, your role, the results. None of that should be identifying enough to breach confidentiality obligations. Avoid names, dates, anything too specific or identifying. And yes, you can expect to be asked about your experience, so you should keep this in mind.
  9. Interpreting this as the things I get to spend money on that I wouldn't if I didn't have my job/salary, and that help make the hours and stress feel worthwhile: 1. Buying relatively fancy cheese without thought - whether that's buying the truffle gouda I happened to sample at St. Lawrence Market, or paying the extra couple of dollars for pre-shredded mozzarella at Loblaws. 2. Seeing that a Friday and Monday in my upcoming calendar are suddenly and unexpectedly open, and booking a long weekend getaway on a week's notice. 3. Keeping a healthy stock of my favourite face masks that are a bit more expensive, but have the most luxurious-feeling serum and the most relaxing lavender scent...
  10. I see sentences like that all the time and it makes me want to scream. Whenever I'm asked to review/edit a document like that, I will insert a comma into every single appropriate spot. I'm sure my track changes get eye rolls, but no one ever undoes it. ETA: My personal theory is that this results from people dictating documents, and their assistants trying to type the document quickly and not adding commas. Which is legitimate, they have a ton of work to get through. I'm still fixing it though.
  11. The "special sauce" is whatever particular characteristics or experiences the particular firm prioritizes/values. You are highly unlikely to be able to find out what those are, and each firm is unique. All you can do is put together the best application package you can, tailored as much as reasonably possible to the firm to which you're applying. Which is where working with your CDO can be helpful. You're looking for some magic secret that doesn't exist.
  12. What students don't seem to understand is that firms are looking for different things. If every firm defined a "top candidate" the same way, then every firm would be giving interviews and making offers to the exact same people. That doesn't happen. So, there must be some differentiation in what each firm is looking for. Maybe a firm knows they'll likely only be able to hire people into their employment and tax groups, so their "top candidates" are those with some demonstrated interest in those areas - someone could have excellent grades and good experience, but no demonstrated interest in those areas, so they're out. Maybe a firm primarily uses their students for research, and they've found that historically their best students are those with law journal or RA experience, so their "top candidates" are those with law journal or RA experience - someone could have great grades and be stacked with moot and clinic experience, but that's not the kind of experience this firm values for the kind of work their students do, so they're out. Each firm is different, and could be looking for different kinds of experience/grades for different reasons. There's no clear answer to your question.
  13. No, derivative actions are quite common. They're often brought in conjunction with an oppression claim, but they still happen. Why would you limit your routes to a remedy? Say I'm a 50% shareholder of a company, and the other 50% shareholder has been stealing company funds. I may bring an oppression claim, seeking damages amounting to half of the stolen funds (i.e. the stolen funds are the company's funds, to which I have a 50% entitlement). The company would also have a claim, e.g. breach of fiduciary duty, which would need to be pursued through a derivative action. If the other 50% shareholder had assistance from someone in stealing the funds, that derivative action might also include a claim for knowing assistance in breach of fiduciary duty, which could be more difficult to accomplish solely through an oppression claim. Aside from offering another route to remedy, I may get some kind of strategic advantage from being able to add additional parties/claims. Derivative actions come up all the time.
  14. I'm not really sure why these questions are generating so much discussion. The answers are simple. No, there's no such divide in the context of shareholder disputes/derivative actions. No firms specialize in acting for the corporation as opposed to shareholder(s). It is not comparable to the management/labour divide, or the insurance/PI divide. Yes, boutiques have practices including shareholder disputes and derivative actions. It certainly is not limited to large / full-service firms. The scale of the dispute may vary, but all shapes and sizes of companies have shareholder issues, and all manner of firms act in them.
  15. I wouldn't consider that kind of organizational file management to be "above and beyond" - it sounds pretty routine to me, and I'd be concerned if my assistant were consistently dropping those types of tasks. My own practice isn't to have my assistant keep track of deadlines / routine steps, but they do keep track of things like service lists and file contact pages (and update them without my needing to ask whenever a party is added/removed, counsel changes, etc.), which seems like a similar thing.
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