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celli660 last won the day on January 8 2016

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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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?
  4. 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?
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. I just opened a site for our firm. We use godaddy hosting, email, and the website builder. it''s easy and intuitive.
  8. 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.
  9. I wasn't responding to the article in my original reply above, I was responding to goodlaw as quoted. Fair point all round.
  10. Any time I don't understand a topic discussed in class, my go to is blacks, or the CED. I find those resources consistently clarify everything my professors and textbook authors muddle.
  11. I'm not saying firms need to be asinine with their human capital deployment. The problem, as I see it, is that when you have literally hundreds of lawyers in an office, it's hard to imagine that the firm couldn't employ a hundred more to lessen the burden on the existing staff instead of demanding 'more'. As a thought experiment, consider how your firm would operate if instead of setting an expectation that associates or partners bill 1800 hours a year or more, that they were not allowed to bill more than 1800 hours per year. The mere fact that "document review" is a career trajectory for any lawyer is proof that these opportunities exist and the bare assertion that "if you can't hack working 3100 hours per year, then choose a different profession dum-dum" is at best an endorsement of a broken system and at worst an excuse to belittle people who have a view of life that isn't focused on money, workaholism, or really any feeling of entitlement to actually live the life you work so hard to finance. With respect to sole practitioners, but nodding especially to the criminal trial lawyers, I can appreciate that the financial aspect of your career is certainly less prominent and the expectation that you work a certain number of hours is more reflective of your desire to be effective counsel than a desire to use your occupation to thrust you into the upper middle class. That being said, you are not target of the "if you can't hack consistently 60 hour weeks, you're not suited to the profession" lines that are flouted at people exiting law school and being subjected to abusive articling environments or 'up-or-out' firm structures.
  12. Yeah, see, but that is in fact toxic. You have drunk the koolaid and are now shilling it around. The fact is, law firms, especially the kind to expect associates to work consistently 60 hour weeks, are massively profitable. The margins are staggering and the business is pretty much dead simple. Not only is it not necessary that those employees work 60-70 hours per week, every week, but it's not necessary that most lawyers even work 2000 hours per year. If law firms wanted to, they could have everyone work 30 or 40 hours per week on average ( sometimes those hours would still be bad) and pay them literally 1/2 of the salary that they pay their current associates and come out only slightly behind. The reality here is that law firms want to maximize the amount of revenue per chair or per licensing fee, or whatever the hell metric you decide to use, but the important part is that the only reason this is the expectation is because "the partners aren't going to be hiring any more associates than we already budgeted for" coupled with "the partners get paid according to how much they bill, plus some bonuses for how much work they bring in to the firm". And let's all stop this shit about law not being for anyone who isn't willing to work those kinds of bullshit hours. Yes, sometimes you will have to work harder, you will have a long trial with dailies and harsh deadlines, briefs due at 9 am in a trial where you just finished at 5:30 pm. Or you might have to put together a deal, or what have you, but in law there's a lot more opportunity to structure your life positively with lots of down time instead of running from tire fire to tire fire dabbing it out with your clients' hundred-dollar bills.
  13. Greater competition doesn't cause greater expectations? I would assume downtown lawyers are more competent than an outskirts lawyers on average because of the competition factor. If you want to start talking about microcosms, that's cool too. That's certainly a great way to approach life, but it's mentally taxing and inefficient.
  14. My boss suggested that you always have your assistants swear your client's oaths for affidavits. that way if the lawyer goes down to court with the client as a witness and they get crossed on the affidavit, they can't just say "I dunno, my lawyer wrote it and made me sign it". The assistants are gung-ho to make sure they don't get in shit for taking untrue affidavits and the lawyer can say that the client swore to an independent person that it was true.
  15. As someone who worked for a law firm before law school, knowing how to read the important parts of cases is really handy and you don't really know how to do that until you have read lots of cases. A good way to learn how that works is to look at case law on Canlii and to read a case where they summarize a rule from another case. Here's an example from an Ontario Court of Appeal case: https://www.canlii.org/en/on/onca/doc/2019/2019onca112/2019onca112.html That link will take you to the case, and in paragraph 7-10, they cite Borowski v. Canada (Attorney General), 1989 CanLII 123 (SCC), Then they go on to discuss the legal test. So if you read borowski, it's quite a bit longer than what they take from the case. If you really, really wanted to practice reading cases in advance of law school, my exclusive advice would be to read cases, then find citations where they mention a "legal test." Then stop reading and go to the cited case and see if you can figure out what the legal test is, then go back to the case and see if you came to the same conclusion as the judge/justices. If you can do that reliably, then you have mastered a skill that people struggle with throughout law school and it will save you a lot of time in reading.
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