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TrialPrep

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  1. BC lawyers only tried this year. The last strike was in 2011, and it failed miserably because there were still enough lawyers willing to do the work and the public/government had no reason to care. This time is different because a group of lawyers formed an association for the strike and had each member who joined the association sign an undertaking to stop work if the strike vote of the association is over 50%. The organization has a logo and it became popular for lawyers to join and use the logo to show their support for a better system, this made the association very popular and almost all of the duty counsel and lawyers who practice legal aid have joined, because you'd look bad and lose reputation if you don't. The vote to strike was 99% in favor. The government saw this was serious and threw money at it right away.
  2. The strike here isn't over yet. It was set to start on April 1, 2019 (no pun), and at the last minute the government gave legal aid lawyers an interim bonus of 25% on all billings, with negotiations to continue through November of this year. Now they've put together a bunch of QCs to negotiate, who probably haven't done a legal aid file this century, but I'm remaining optimistic. We have an NDP government at the moment. Which could be good or bad. The NDP are likely to increase funding to legal aid, they promised to. However, the NDP love clinics because they unionize, and I'm not the biggest fan of that. But either way, it seemed like legal aid lawyers in BC finally got their act together and walked out. We'll see if the energy falls off or picks up by November.
  3. The articling situation is different from other employment disputes because it’s not really about money, it’s about getting called. Whether you’re called or not is up to the law society, and the law society closely governs the articling process here in B.C. there are midterm reports, meeting with bencher, and PLTC. In addition, there are a set of rules about terminating articles. It’s not even allowed for one party to terminate without the law society’s ok. So the law society is not a card of last resort but rather the first place to get this resolved.
  4. I signed up for the legal aid strike here in BC, and encouraged everyone I know to as well. I'm not sure what defines a front line person, but I started out doing legal aid family and child protection files all over the place, including up and down the highway 16.
  5. Waiting for someone else to do it isn’t going to do it.
  6. I understand it's a very tough position you're in. You're right, I don't practice criminal law. But it seems this validates the government's decision to not pay. As I understand it, the government has a constitutional obligation to provide effective counsel in these situations. And if that can be accomplished without giving away tax dollars to lawyers, then the government is both meeting its constitutional obligation and being responsible with tax money.
  7. I understand bridging your obligations to existing clients. That's quite different from maintaining a practice by working for free. In my experience, people are quite understanding when you tell them you're not showing up if you're not getting paid. I do this with private paying clients all the time and they either top up their retainer or move on. It has not once resulted in a complaint.
  8. I understand why lawyers would do this to help others but it actually hurts everyone in the long run because working for free is not sustainable and prolongs the decline of things getting worse until they get better. Things have to get bad before public opinion and priorities change.
  9. You’re 100% wrong and don’t know what you’re taking about.
  10. Yes, we hired someone basically no questions asked on the recommendation of a trusted friend who was relocating and couldn't keep that person on. Turned out great.
  11. Some lawyers have no idea how tenuous their employment situation can be. I've heard of a firm with 15-20 lawyers running a continuous negative balance in their general account for over a year.
  12. Agreed statements of facts in the civil context are used to narrow issues. Some like to send them out early to frame a case while others prefer to wait until after discovery when they have a better sense of what’s going on.
  13. The best referral sources I have now are lawyers from other practice areas and other professionals who I went drinking with when we first started out. When you’re young and have few family obligations, stay after the conference finishes and go out with the team.
  14. What I enjoy most about being a litigator is the high degree of freedom to come and go as I please. Unless I have court, I can work at any hour of the day or night, and by contrast no one expects me to be at my desk at any given moment. Being in house I imagine requires a lot more specific time where you're expected to be at the office.
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