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celli660 last won the day on January 8 2016

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  1. Being an articling student, but having worked in a pure commission environment in a previous career, I would be inclined to ask for something in the vein of eat what you kill minus shared expenses or something close to 60-40 in your favour than a straight 40% cut. Depends on who you're working with and what the capacity is for increases in business. Again, I am an articling student. I have literally 0 experience with law firm pay structures, but this is something I think about a lot. If you're not going to be doing any business development, then I would be inclined to think that they may as well have you on a salary. Look at it from an objective perspective and think how your current structure could be as easily structured as a straight 85k salary and see why that makes sense. Your current salary structure is also kind of weird to me, it might as well be 77,500 with 20% of receipts over 175k/year. If you're considering splits, I would always ask to the see three years receivables and billables before accepting or even mulling the idea over. I was offered one of: 55k/year, 35k/year base with 20% split on all receipts, or a 40% split as an articling student/first year with fees/insurance/CPLED covered by employer.
  2. I imagine space law is a combination of international property law, maritime law, and contract law. So bone up on those? I can't imagine what else it could possibly entail, perhaps some international criminal stuff for hacking and destroying? In any event, I don't imagine that there's going to be much of a niche for space law as a distinct area of practice that won't just be given to top firms in the sectors I already mentioned. Or in other words, I don't think you could ever open partner partner llp boutique space law firm.
  3. I just brought a keyboard to exams. I hate all laptop keyboards and only tolerate typing on them for notes because I'm not lugging around a damn keyboard everywhere.
  4. So as a new lawyer, your question needs to be "okay so how much work are you going to give me?" If its none, then why should you even work for this person?
  5. Maybe it's because I assume most articling students haven't ever had a real career, but in the future, whenever you take a job that has a discrete ending date, you should start looking for new opportunities about 2-3 months before the end of that date. Even if you think there's a 100% chance you will get renewed or 'hired back' you should still interview in the wide world to see what opportunities there are. I can't stress this enough but your career is YOUR career and nobody is going to hand you everything on a platter and let you dig in whilst rewarding you hundreds of thousands of dollars. Either you get in the mindset early on that you and your employer or partners or whomever are each benefiting from the arrangement and you're each balancing your interests, or you learn to accept whatever comes your way and not to bitch about it (ie: you get what you get and you don't get upset). If you decide to start approaching your career as a potential asset to others that has a cost, you are more likely see your cost and your work in a positive light. You will also understand decisions and circumstances, like the one you find yourself in, have nothing to do with you personally. I can almost guarantee that nothing about what happened at your firm had anything to do with you, and had a shitload more to do with partner trying to shield the other partners from the fact that s/he is leaving.
  6. Well, I mean if you invest in a non-reg account you could probably get the effective rate pretty low, depending on your marginal tax bracket. And if you specifically targeted Canadian corporations through an index that paid eligible dividends, you might come out ahead over the life of the loan (15 years). The issue is that you're also stuck paying back the principal unless your dividend rate covers the interest and the principal payment, which seems unlikely to me.
  7. Yeah good question. I'm dividing by five for rent, utilities, insurance, etc since I do not get any support from the conveyancer and I do substantial amounts of the receptionist's work in addition to my own. I acknowledge in that quote that perhaps the receptionist's salary should be factored in. If it would make you contribute more to the conversation then we could attribute an additional $1k/month for my share of the receptionist's salary. This was a really good point that I thought about for a while... I don't think my boss has 300k in work to give out, so that's a non-start position. I would imagine that it's more like my boss has 150-200k to give out and if I was billing 300k and he said "now that you're doing 150/year of your own business, I'm going to hire another associate so I can make an extra 4k on the work I would normally give you" I would just leave. So my concern in all this is how to properly balance the cost to me of needing to get my own business as a very junior lawyer (I'm just starting articles) against the value my employer receives from me obtaining my own work.
  8. Firm is very unspecialised, basically like working for a solo in a small town. On 2, I'm just attributing a ratio to me based on 10k per month for the office divided by 5 staff. Perhaps that should be more with if accounting for the receptionist, but I'm also pulling the phone to pick up for people when nobody else is around so I figure that would even out. With respect to three, if I don't do it then it won't get done and I prefer to have those things for at least the veneer of professionalism it brings.
  9. Just for clarity, I know what the firm's billings are and while I gather that a lot of the firm's revenue is generated from the goodwill of the owner (there are only two lawyers, plus me and staff) that if I want to make anywhere near enough money to so much as pay down my loans on the set schedule, that I would need to hustle my own business from basically minute 1. Now, I have other advantages that are unique to me (this is my fifth year with the firm for example) and I know a lot of the clients, and I do a lot of my own work with little to no supervision, but I'm not convinced that a 40% split is reasonable for me. With regards to the response by Diplock, I have been self-employed in a professional service role before and more than understand the rule of thirds. In this case the firm is largely operating on alternative fee structures and very few of our files work on time incurred, so I can't actually turn more hours spent into more receivables for me (or the firm for that matter). What I am concerned about is what the 40% translates into in real dollars vs. what I get for my 60%. Again, having seen the billings I can guarantee that if I did all the work of the firm year over year, I would be pocketing less than a 5th year lock-step employee with a big firm. To better clarify what I am canvassing opinions on: 1. What is a reasonable percentage for accounts and files that I bring in compared to files that are handed to me? Is there a point in differentiating those amounts? What is the value of the goodwill in percentage terms? If I'm going to negotiate an alternative to the currently proposed split, then I need to come up with something that's fair. I'm considering two possible alternatives. One would have 20% going to whoever brings in the account, then the remainder being split equally between me and firm, so if boss hands me all my work for the year, then sure, the 60-40 split stands, but then I'm making 60% on work I'm bringing in the door, or at least 20% on work I bring in that I don't or can't do. The other way I conceived would have tranches or cutoffs, so I would be on a 40-60 for the first 100k, 60-40 on the next 100k, and 80-20 on anything above 200k. At 300k per year of billings that would work out to about 120k going to employer and 180 going to me, but employer is actually taking about 84k in profit (based on cost estimates below), fulfilling that rule of thirds. 2. How much actual cost would be attributable to an associate that doesn't have an assistant? The way that I cracked down the numbers, it looks like it's about 6k per year for basic liability insurance, 4k/year for dues, another 2k/year for excess e&o coverage, and then about 2k per month for attributable share of office expenses. So that puts me at $36k for a year in terms of raw cost to employer. Does that seem right? 3. If I'm on a pure split arrangement, should I then still be subject to a fixed schedule and how do we address non-billable hours? Over the past year I have spent a lot of time making a website, developing forms, writing blog posts, etc. but once I'm on a percentage, why would I spend time doing that for employer for free? Do people on splits have any basis for how to compensate for those hours?
  10. What a fantastic question to ask a bunch of law students. I got in to U of T everyone! Now how do I defraud the student aid office?
  11. Anyone shed some light on split ratios? I'm being proposed a 40% of receivables and time billed on receivables and want to know if that's fair and where the heck the rest of the 60% fits in as a cost.
  12. I have been told that Calgary is the second largest legal market in Canada, to give some frame of reference to why salaries are different between cow-town and Edmonton. Not sure if this is still the case, but I wouldn't be surprised.
  13. I just opened a site for our firm. We use godaddy hosting, email, and the website builder. it''s easy and intuitive.
  14. Even if I took everything you said on face value, that's still not the profession. The original and most damning comment that I replied to was " Insofar as people are complaining to the law society because they think their working hours are "unreasonable" or they are too stressed out, I'd suggest they quit right now because the practice of law is not for them. " That's not the same as 'biglaw might not be for you' and that shouldn't be the metric that we put everyone to in any event. Law is flexible and demanding at the same time, so that yes people can and will self-select into or out of those kinds of roles or workloads. My point remains that lawyers should not tell people that they should give up on their chosen career because they and their colleagues like to work ridiculous hours every year week in and week out.
  15. I wasn't responding to the article in my original reply above, I was responding to goodlaw as quoted. Fair point all round.
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