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TrialPrep last won the day on September 29 2019

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  1. Your background would be fantastic for family law. You can do more than help people, you can change the course of lives for kids in abusing relationships by getting court orders that govern the communications and conduct of the parents who are often dealing with their own substance abuse, violence, or mental health issues. This really helps avoid more abuse from occurring. If someone breaches the order, there is a real consequence and the living environment changes. Timeline, we are all only here for a very short time. Law is a long road. How do you want to remember yourself on your last day?
  2. Check your employment contract. Most have non-competes that would prevent this, I imagine. And if it does not, I would first speak to your employer about it because it could cause a serious issue for them. Each person only has so much brain power available for work and most legal employers expect to receive 100% of it.
  3. I would first enumerate the problems or issues you want addressed before numbering the proposed solutions. That way both sides to each issue can be looked at. I think you need to see the partner's perspective on each issue so that you can either negotiate value for them in exchange for value for you, or force their hand in some place where you actually have power. Keep in mind, many people will gladly take your position, but I think you already stated and understand your bargaining position is poor. The way partners may read your proposals are: 1. I want to work less time 2. I want control over the type of work I do 3. I want to be paid more for the work I do 4. I want to work less time. And in exchange, presumably, you are offering the partners the potential to have more happy associates working for them, at least for now. Is that a deal they are likely to take? Could you strengthen your position with: 1. problem is burn out due to no down time - potential solution is to set hours at which time associate will turn email and phone on. This way the partner can knock themselves out emailing you 24/7, you're not restricting them, but they can't expect an answer until work hours. The upside to the associate is greater efficiency at work, and the upside to the partner is more efficient associate. 2. problem is associates feeling lack of control, which leads to anxiety and burnout - potential solution is associate committees with scheduled meeting to discuss overlapping issues with partner committees. This improves communication for everyone in the firm, for everyone is discussing the same issues at the same time, and everyone's input has a chance to be heard. A schedule of items to be discussed may include recreational opportunities, business development events, work schedules, assistant management etc. etc. 3. problem is feeling compensation is fair, leading to resentment - potential solution is greater transparency over compensation. An issue here is associates knowing how much the partners are making may lead to even greater resentment. What other solutions might work here? Is comparing associate to partner salary really important? Perhaps partners could breakdown the associate pay by sharing the cost of overhead per lawyer, so that at least the associate can see how much of their dollar goes into the office, into their pocket, and into the partnership's pocket, and then compare their value received from the firm with other opportunities. This lets the partners know the associates are on board with a mutually beneficial work for pay agreement and puts less stress on human resources. 4. problem is burn out from working too hard - potential solution is a four day work week. This would potentially benefit partners too if everyone worked four days. The issue is, the world is on 24/7, and work days correspond to when things are open, like markets and courts. There's nothing wrong with a four day work week in theory but it has to conform to the practical realities of the rest of the world. Another potential solution may be to discuss an annual calendar and allocate your future billable hours ahead of time so that more days off can be planned throughout the year. The partners may also benefit from a better organized schedule.
  4. Employers might be cautious about opening up an employment law or human rights can of worms. There should be a line between work and family and I think it may have been a mistake for your firm to call itself family, and for you to believe it. Law societies have assistance available. What I would recommend though is take initiative and create the work environment you want to see by reaching out to peers and setting things up.
  5. Time for an expectations adjustment.
  6. My two cents are do what you have to do to make a choice, but don’t burden your potential employers with your problem. Dilly dallying and asking for accommodations before you start is a risky move that may hurt their first impression of you as a colleague. Once you’ve made up your mind, dive in 100% and don’t look back. Regrets and what ifs add no value and are potentially harmful distractions. Good luck!
  7. The only way you’re going to get faster at research is with practice. It sometimes takes me five minutes to do what used to be a whole day and a half.
  8. I'm really sorry to hear that. It's hard, but try not to blame yourself. You didn't create this situation. You didn't sign up to be responsible for the consequences of other people's decisions. I've had clients die before too, and you can't help but second guess your handling of the file. You can PM me for more details if you want to talk about it. The worst situation I think about from time to time is when a child died in the custody of the other parent who had been supervised before but wasn't at the time of death, and I wondered if I should have pushed for their contact to be supervised. But the evidence at the time didn't warrant that. Still, maybe I should have dug deeper? It's one of those things that comes along with dealing with difficult subject matter and talking about it helps. Again, it wasn't your fault, and you shouldn't take responsibility for it.
  9. I hope someone else can speak for Ontario, but in BC we work with numbers a lot! You have to calculate equity shares in homes and businesses, figure out % contributions of resulting trusts from parents, how those change over time, what happens and to what extent when excluded property owned by one spouse goes to pay down a shared debt, such as a line of credit, and then the line of credit is used again for a family purpose. In addition, there are spousal support calculations which may have to be imputed based on prior income, adding in business expenses for personal use and retained earnings. You have to determine the tax effect of lump sum vs periodic payments and negotiate that in light of the asset divisions or capital gains tax that may apply. I also can't speak for other areas of law, but we use spreadsheets a lot and have to triple check our calculations. Assets aren't valued until trial so it's an ongoing process too.
  10. Technically possible maybe but why? You risk a humiliating failure, possibly lose your job, and miss out on basic knowledge for practice. Just do your readings.
  11. You’re right. That said you can burn out working on complex asset division too, reading bank and credit card statements everyday. Mix it up a little with a file or two on the side? A little help helps a lot.
  12. IMO child protection work gives you the best opportunity to make a real difference. Not only are you able to help people get into addictions treatment, get on an anger management program, get in a room with long lost relatives, get reconnected with a lost community, get into housing, make apologies, get closure... but also, you push files forward that will otherwise linger for years. Kids sit in care for years sometimes before anyone even picks up their file and considers whether extended family could maybe help reunite parents and bring a family back together. The greatest blemishes on Canadian history come from the way we have brought indigenous youth into Canadian society, and it's still very much going on. If you're in family practice anyway, you might as well get involved and do something.
  13. Family law is a trip. You get to represent the best and the worst that litigation has to offer. Achieve justice for those fleeing family violence, seize assets from a child support cheat, save kids from truly hellish living environments. And on the other side, when you’re starting out and can’t really pick your clients, you get to represent the 36 year old coke dealer who lives at home with his mom and likes to snort more than he sells. The sort of guy who circles his ex around the neighborhood in his truck and will casually make racist and disparaging remarks toward his child’s mother, seemingly oblivious to the fact that his child shares her ethnicity too. Someone has to represent these duds with kids and, when just starting out, that someone could be you! Enjoy!
  14. If you haven’t worked at a Seven Sister you haven’t lived.
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