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TrialPrep

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  1. 40% is low. 50% is normal. But all depends on the quality of work. If you’re in a specialized area like aviation or tax law where the firm brings in great clients who you can bill all day for then 40% may be good, but if you’re bringing in your own clients then you might as well go solo if they won’t do a reasonable %.
  2. Would have to see the numbers to confirm what the judge actually did. Sometimes the phrases split custody and shared custody are used incorrectly but applied correctly. Split is one kid full time in each home and shared is near equal time between both homes. Calculating table amounts for 3 kids table is not simply triple 1 kid. The additional kids are incremental, for example 1 kid could be $300 total and then 2 kids could be $525 total etc. So the first kid ($300) is more expensive than the second (add $225) and the third (add $190). If there were 3 kids all shared you would typically set off the guideline calculations for 3 kids, but if one is full time with mom then mom should get more than that because you don't set off her income against the child in her home, but not a whole separate guideline 1 kid calculation more (say $300) because then it could be too much since dad already paid the higher first kid price when calculating the other two. I suspect that’s what the judge meant here and applied but can’t tell without looking.
  3. I'm not sure HR can be administered from a central hub. Lawyers get into all kinds of disputes such as whose office has nicer windows, why my parking spot is smaller, and which assistant started here first. That can only be resolved with a gentle hand at the helm. Follow this out. If you have one HR style for all the clinic offices and it turns toxic, there's no where to go. However, if you have hundreds of private offices each administered differently and one turns toxic, people will just leave that office and go to a more well managed office. The distribution of HR is therefore preferable.
  4. In BC it's really hard to breakdown the numbers to determine the cost of a clinic lawyer vs certificate (we call certificates contracts here). But it has to be higher than the per hour basis. When you administer an office, in addition to overhead, you have to deal with human resource issues and all the drama that comes along with it. When you hand out certificates, you transfer all that to the hundreds of private offices instead, which should save the government a lot of money.
  5. That purpose makes sense. It’s also not mutually exclusive with a lawyer on certificate / contract to handle court attendance. What has also frustrated me in the past with clinics here is they hold the file until sometimes less than a month before trial and then ask lawyers in our office to take it on.
  6. As someone who has been around the court system in BC in my opinion the legal aid budget in BC is too small because the self reps likely end up costing the system more, but I don’t have data to prove that. On the clinic issue, clinics make no sense to me. You’re spending more money to administer employees who have little incentive to work long hours. When you offer certificates or contracts, if you offer a competitive rate, then people can hire lawyers from the same pool of those who have money, which evens the playing field. If legal aid lawyers are paid by the hour, there in an incentive for them to stay late and finish drafting documents.
  7. Cuts make headlines and are therefore an opportunity to shape the narrative about why the public should pay more for lawyers. For perspective, Ontario’s legal aid budget is 455 million. BC’s legal aid budget is 92 million. The population of Ontario is 3x BC’s, but it’s legal aid budget is 5x BC’s.
  8. Most of the comments support the cuts. Lawyers have an image problem. People just don’t understand what we do. A reality show following the daily life of a lawyer would help, but with no cameras in the court room that’s impossible to do even if we could get over the confidentiality issues.
  9. This is a really common issue and it’s even more frustrating. I think the best solution is to communicate in writing, even if you’re following up on a conversation, just confirm your understanding in writing. This is a useful skill to employ with instructions from clients, agreements with opposing counsel, and judges when they make orders. Write it down and read it back to them. I’ve been on both sides of it. As an articling student, I’ll never forget the feeling when a lawyer asked me to find a legal definition, which I did. He then got yelled at by a senior partner for not applying the definition in case law. Naturally, he proceeded to yell at me for not applying the definition in case law. “But you didn’t ask me for an application, you asked me for a definition and I gave you a definition,” I said, and this just made him even more furious. As a lawyer, articling students often miss a key word, or mistake or misapply similar but very difffernet words when researching, like “prohibitive” with “prejudice”. It’s really important to have a follow up on the task soon after it’s been started, and it will be good practice for you, whether you’re a student or a lawyer, to initiate that practice of following up and writing it down.
  10. This is a great example of why our bar exams should be difficult like they are in the US. If the bar to entry is really high, then it doesn’t really matter how someone came to acquire the necessary knowledge.
  11. Burnout is very real and it’s great that you’re thinking about it before it happens. For me, a week away somewhere hot does the trick every time. Even if I bring a laptop and stay connected, just being away does wonders. Perspective is important. I once thought I was burning out and went to a burn out conference. For a short period of time I was procrastinating with work, using alcohol or substances almost daily after work, and wanting to quit law. After hearing stories of what a real burnout is I realized I was a 5/10 on the burnout scale. Burnout can be very serious if ignored. People can cry in their offices at the start and end of each day, get suicidal, hate their clients, lose their friends, drink during work hours etc. Just try to stay ahead of it.
  12. The paradox of choice is that choices seem to make us less happy.
  13. I honestly don’t know if it’s truly easier for most people to live within one’s means with a simply a higher income. I have been poor before, over $150k in student loans living in a shithole apartment with roommates and bugs. That experience taught me how to live within my means, so now I don’t buy the Porsche. But I have friends with higher incomes who have bought the Porsche and a second place in whistler, and their stress levels seem higher than mine ever were when I was poor. The issue is with new money comes new temptations. But if we run out of desires then we get bored, so it’s a double edged sword to be balanced. I believe there are studies that show income correlates with happiness to an extent and then it tapers out after a certain point.
  14. I am happy with my income. I think the secret is being happy with one’s fixed expenses. So long as you keep those under control and have more to play around with, it’s hard not to be happy. I have a friend who makes 50x what I do, talking 8 figures, and he’s not happy with his income.
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