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Everything posted by Uriel

  1. Depends on the area of law you're practicing. OBA has really cheap CLE and covers areas outside of litigation. The Advocates' Society has CLE that tends to be less academic and more skills-oriented and networky.
  2. Counterpoint: this may require you to practice family law
  3. On the other hand it runs pretty hot trying to choke through Civ VI and The Long Dark in the hotel room, so your mileage may vary.
  4. Boy, I don't know. I would almost think that for a "solid" factum maybe civil because you will have more time to work on it. I imagine there are more facta in criminal than anywhere else, but that they might be a bit more perfunctory as a rule. What does the audience think here?
  5. Good timing -- I just got back after a few months away on a personal thing. (For context, OP, I'm a 7th year Bay Street litigation associate.) 1) I spoke to older students and they indicated opportunities in family law are limited, esp. with OCIs. Further, it became apparent that those Toronto firms/big firms that do specialize in family law don't hire too often/a lot. Is this true? lol no Okay, some more detail is obviously warranted. First of all, you should barely even be relying on people like me to give you insight into the legal market. There's tons I don't know about everything outside of my own experience. You may have noticed that law students from time to time may lack for humility when in fact they don't know anything about a given subject. The legal market is one of those subjects. To say that opportunities in family law are limited is like saying that forestry is a pretty limited industry. Paper's cheap. Now gold mining --- that's where it's at! Do you even know how expensive gold is?! If you have a passion for family law and will apply yourself to it, you will stand to do very, very well. People that can afford lawyers get divorced a lot, and custody disputes and property equalization bring clients back over and over and over again to resolve or amend settlements. Some of the wealthiest lawyers I know are family lawyers in boutique shops. Family law is also extremely portable in a way most other areas of practice are not. I'm a class action lawyer --- ooo! look at those millions and billions of dollars in issue! --- and there's no way I could practice in Thunder Bay. I'd have to completely retool my skill set. And if I ever wanted to work in the kind of small town I grew up in, I'd have to become a family or criminal lawyer. Now, these folks are correct that family law boutiques don't participate in the OCI process. You'll have to get those jobs through some good old-fashioned shoe leather. But they're confusing opportunity with convenience. All of family law involves repeat business, which is great, and people are willing to pay lawyers whatever they charge when it comes to access to their kids. They're less inclined to shell out to defend a slip-and-fall, or to accept a big contingency payment in a personal injury case. So the top end of family lawyers is sky-is-the-limit. You could be a partner in a specialized firm and be worth millions. The average salary for family lawyers will likely be lower than average, but not as low as some other work like (most) criminal defence and immigration consulting. And you'll also have very high labour mobility. Lots of opportunity, below-average to above-average pay, no ceiling on earnings, freedom to practice wherever you wish. Not a bad field to get into. 2a) Is personal injury lucrative/are there opportunities? I know there are some PI firms on Bay. Yes, but personal injury law is generally a volume business. Because you're only getting 20-30% of a settlement that could come out to $80,000 or so for a strong case that you've been working on all year, you have to carry dozens, if not hundreds, of cases at a time in order to keep the lights on. The alternative is to work at a firm that specializes in catastrophic injury: places where the average case swings around $200,000-$400,000 and you walk away with $50,000-$100,000 (minus tax). The reason why the PI bar takes a lot of heat is because of the perception this completely necessary business model creates. If you're dealing with dozens of cases at a time, you might forget details, ask generic questions, submit largely generic pleadings, and so on. You can't invest two whole weeks in each case and still work on 150 of them. And the work becomes largely transactional: here are the medicals, what will you give me for this claim? That's not to say you're not lawyering -- no one will ever do more examinations for discovery than a PI lawyer. But most of your day will be kept up in administration and negotiation, rather than drafting a compelling factum and preparing for a jury trial. That all being said, any practice is lucrative if you work hard at it. A PI firm does well if it either manages a tremendous slough of cases, or if it manages to attract the most significant injuries. That's why PI firms advertise all over the city. Some of the best-off lawyers in the province of Ontario were PI lawyers that built a significant apparatus below them to deal with claims and handled the most significant injuries (and, yes, class actions) themselves. 2b) I read about insurance defence, is this in the scope of personal injury and tort law? Would this be considered as "corporate law"? Nope, it's a different thing. Insurance defence is the mirror image of personal injury: the voice on the other end of the phone during their negotiations. They also have a massive caseload and spend most of their time doing discoveries and negotiating settlements. Insurance defence lawyers represent the insurance companies that cover and defend the people blamed for personal injury claims, and seek to minimize the amount paid out under the relevant policies. Insurance defence lawyers also have a bit of a broader legal role in that they have to be mindful of precedents that are being set that could damage their clients in the future, and keeping legal results in line with corporate expectations. 3) What is corporate/business law? I understand its law pertaining to corporate/business needs. But when people tell me they want to go into corporate and/or business law, what kind of law do they want to practice? Is it just that they want to be legal counsel for a corporation/business? "Corporate" or "business" law is generally understood as the law pertaining to the day-to-day operation of a business, including acquiring other businesses. Drafting shareholder agreements, conducting due diligence on the acquisition of a supplier, maintaining the minute books and share register... these are all "corporate lawyer" things to do. Corporate lawyers also act as the company's quarterback. When someone has done something shady and legal action needs to be taken, executives will typically call up their (corporate) counsel, who will then put them on the phone with me to talk about starting a lawsuit. They're the filter of legal needs from the client side out. I don't think merging businesses will bring me joy. Is there more to it? I've gone into some detail as to why M&A is actually very interesting elsewhere, but briefly put, if you don't already think it's interesting to build a business from nothing, to see it grow and adapt to change, then no. If you don't think it would be immensely rewarding to help an entrepreneur land a giant customer and hire 50 new people, gradually becoming a brand name of some repute, then it's unlikely you'll be able to talk yourself into it. To answer this, I reached out to some older students. oh no They indicated that most corporate law firms are full service, where they offer legal services to a wide variety of cases. So, if a lawyer were to work/apply there, would they be expected to be well rounded in regards to the type of law they specialize in? This is only kind of true. Most corporate law firms are small. Bay Street is an institutional corporate law practice. Banks, blue-chip companies. Most of Canada's businesses are small- to medium-sized, and they rely on the competence and professionalism of small, 1-10 lawyer shops. And so, yes, those firms offer a broad range of services, but I think that your informal mentors intend to suggest that most corporate law firms are Bay Street firms that practice everything, and that's not true. Regardless of where you choose to work, we know you don't know anything and are willing to train you. That's our job, and we welcome it. You don't have to be well-rounded coming in. You just have to be smart and work hard. If I wanted to pursue a legal career with a specialization/interest in tort law, do I have a place in a corporate law firm? I hope you can see my confusion. Again, depends on what you mean by a corporate law firm. If there's a small business law firm that specializes in advising small businesses, then there's unlikely to be work for a torts litigator. If you mean Bay Street, then yeah. I'm someone with a legal career with a specialization/interest in tort law, and here I am. 4) I have people telling me they want to do litigation. I know what that is, but what is that in the sense of a career? It's the warrior class of lawyers: the people whose expertise is in advocacy. Although we might also have other areas of expertise, we are all adept at the rules of court and tribunals, and the law of evidence. Another way of thinking of litigation is to call it "dispute resolution". Litigators get involved when there's a fight. Do firms explicitly hire litigators? No, they tend to imply it subtly and you wink back and then you work there. I thought a lawyer once called are litigators and solicitors. Barristers and solicitors. I could go off on a whole legal history tangent here about how these names no longer really have any connection to their original meaning, but suffice to say that you're all called barristers ("courtroom lawyers") and solicitors ("paperwork lawyers") because you're qualified to do both. That's not to say you're going to be adept at one or the other. When I have to fill in "Occupation" on my kids' school forms, I write "Barrister". I'm not much of a solicitor at all. Are litigators people that only do litigation? By definition, yes, but there's always going to be a lot of leak-through. I handle things like recalls and trying to avoid lawsuits, which puts me in more of an advisory role from time to time. Municipal litigators might do tribunal work, courtroom work, and urban planning. Securities litigators might also be able to help you with public disclosures. Is a sailor someone that only sails a ship? I mean, by definition yes, but he might also be a cook or lobster fisherman. And if so, do they have a certain type of law the specialize in or is it mixed (I think you can see my confusion lies somewhere with the idea of specializing)? I am assuming they need to be hired at a firm that has good amount of litigation cases. It depends on the shop. Not much more to say about it, since very small shops and very elite shops both take any case that comes through the door and there are entire litigation firms in the middle that only do, say, labour disputes or pharmacy regulation or bankruptcy and insolvency litigation, etc. Lastly, is it the case that a law student will find a type of law they want to practice, and apply to a firm that specializes in that type of law? Or is it more complicated than that? That's up to the student! We get a lot of people here that have no idea what they want to do, and we welcome their exploration with open arms around here. Smaller shops are going to expect that student to have demonstrated an interest in the kind of work they do, because it will cut down on extensive training time that they might not be able to afford. Also, often students end up taking jobs they don't expect to take that guide their decision-path for the rest of their careers. Like my friend that wanted to do banking regulation but did a summer of immigration law and couldn't imagine doing anything else. Or another friend that fluked into a pension law boutique when he wasn't hired back on Bay Street, and by virtue of his unique experience had his pick of dozens of lucrative in-house positions. All you can really do is pursue your interests, look into what employers can advance those interests, and make a decision accordingly. One last point I try to make as often as I can: your friends are going to be emphasizing over and over that you need to get the "best" job you can. Usually they base these decisions on rigged and under-inclusive magazine rankings. Try to tune that out. Bay Street jobs are 1-3 year gigs for most people, and after that time it can be hard to transition to something completely different. If you really do have a passion for family law, I strongly encourage you to start making connections now. Go to industry events, introduce yourself as a 1L with an interest in family law, employers will be all over you. Finding someone with a genuine interest in an area of law people tend to avoid is like finding gold in a stream. Your path to a lucrative partnership might be faster and easier than your friends as they mount the rugged slopes of Bay Street.
  6. I'm writing this at work on my own laptop. We have firm-issued desktop computers and can request laptops, but I prefer having the privacy of my own computer. As was mentioned, I can remote in to work on this computer if I choose to. In terms of which computer to get, if you're thinking about litigation, may I humbly suggest a Surface? The ability to lay the screen flat is a big help in court, where you (a) don't risk the ire of the judge who thinks you might not be paying attention by writing with a pen; and (b) can take the laptop with you up to the podium without creating a disruptive wall between yourself and the witness you're examining. I've seen lawyers of smaller stature bring their laptop up to the podium to make submissions to the Court and actually be unable to make eye contact with the judge because the laptop screen is in the way. Also, having done some mock trials, I can tell you that as a witness I didn't feel nearly as intimidated by counsel when they were hiding behind a laptop.
  7. I haven't done this myself, but a colleague of mine that made the switch put her finger on two of the issues you raise. The hours are significantly longer, and that's taking some time to adjust, but she missed the company of lawyers (if you can imagine that!). We always have some opinion on the news of the day, we've typically got weird interests that we put way too much effort into... that was a big driver for me going from a good workplace to law school in the first place. I've found it's much easier to find people I like hanging out with here at the firm than it was at a corporation.
  8. (For the record, the managing partner was very cool about it)
  9. I guess I'll find out soon, but I'd expect it to cleave to roughly the same 10-15% per annum raise as we've had all the way up...?
  10. Just got out of three interviews. You guys are doing great. Make sure you get some sleep tonight!
  11. Good! Got a few interviews down, hoping to pick up a couple more this weekend and then start posting them.
  12. Not one that mighty! And to be fair, I'm not holding this guy I just found on an image search up as a style icon or promoting a Regatta look around the office. And I'm certainly not saying that every one of the outfits on this Instagram are gold. Some are absolutely brutal. Obviously linking to a site with more than one example was a mistake! The simple point I was trying to make is that a larger guy can look good in a vest, particularly where the vest is a different fabric from the suit as a whole. Sounds like the crowd isn't with me on that. Fair enough. We don't all have to like the same things.
  13. Yeah, I'm not a fan of this look either.
  14. Whoa, whoa, whoa. No one is running down the pocket floof, earl of the pocket squares. I said once that at the very least you should have a neat square, and that a floof might not be appropriate in all situations. I've got a Robert Talbott situation going on here today. Let's stop this firefight before it starts.
  15. @epeeist: Okay, "all" is an overstatement. But it does remove the issue of the belt visibly slipping lower over the course of the day, and it allows you to wear a high-rise trouser while hiding the waistband, which avoids the issue of whether you want to wear a belt all the way around your stomach or pull it up underneath. It also makes braces easier and less distracting to wear. I guess we can all disagree. I think it's a great look because it doesn't try to hide anything. I read it like a look that embraces a larger size and makes a broader guy look forceful. But if I'm alone in this, I guess that tells you something about the risks of going in that direction. That's a shame, though. I'd love to see more of this stern-industrialist look kicking around.
  16. Oh, I'll take you all on over this one. A vest does away with all issues having to do with the waistband/waistline and obviates any issues corresponding to tie length. It's often just a matter of changing the fabric for the third piece. https://www.instagram.com/sartorial_en_plus/
  17. One thing I might add about when-and-when-not: I don't see nearly enough three-pieces on big fellas. It's an awesome look, especially for a barrister. I think a guy with a huskier build can get away with wearing a three-piece a little more often.
  18. Probably more correlated to the fact that there are something like six times as many OCIs to go around in 2L than 1L. You can survive without an Interests section. It's just there to help your interview go smoothly, in my view. It shouldn't have any impact on whether you get an interview or not.
  19. (Just posting to be updated on replies)
  20. Definitely don't consider these hard rules of "etiquette". It's just an analysis of when you want to distinguish yourself visually from other people: when you want to do it, how, and why. People really notice when someone takes a step towards just looking different from everyone else. I still cleave to the idea that it's not that you "earn it", but that, as someone said, you don't want your clothes to define you. You want them to follow along from who you are. (I think it was Cary Grant that said the man has to wear the suit, and not the other way around?) You just don't want to look like a 12-year-old smoking: trying to establish an identity for yourself artificially. People don't react well to that. Our most flamboyant dresser here at the firm is insanely wealthy. If I were to dress like him, people would wonder what was wrong with me and why I was trying to attract so much attention. But because it's him, it's just like spotting a butterfly. There goes that dude, living his best life. Shouldn't there be a champagne flute in his hand? The only other associate I knew who wore a three-piece was a securities regulation guy, and he started from Day One. People noticed. He was well-liked, but he was also someone that would make you do a spit take if he got on the dance floor. Again, it suited him. He was a buttoned-down kind of guy. Organized, respectful, a cool head in a tight situation. The suit did become part of his identity, but like me, it reinforced the personal attributes that he was happy to promote. People assumed that he was quiet, maybe uptight. And... he kind of was, so there was no conflict there. People's assumptions came into line with how he presented himself. There was something authentic about a sweet, thoughtful, dutiful first-gen dude in a three-piece suit. He looked like who he was. By the same token, we had a dudebro corporate associate with a loud love of the Leafs and beers switch to a double-breasted look. He seemed clownish, like he was wearing his dad's suit or doing a Don Cherry impression. It amplified the boorish yooooo part of his personality. That didn't last long. You've gotta have one hell of a swagger to pull off a double-breasted suit unless you're pencil-thin.
  21. The one place I'll differ from you is on the pocket square. I'm almost at the point where I feel like it's sloppy not to have one. Maybe that's just me. But even if you're in a plain navy suit, white shirt, red tie, a quarter-inch of plain white pocket square I think can only improve the way you look, no matter the audience. Floofy squares, of course, are another story.
  22. I retract my statements about the Boss outfits and defer to those that have some idea what they're talking about. I'm not nearly enough of a fashion guy to know the first thing about womenswear. I also agree with everyone above about the risks of three-piece suits. As I mentioned, I had a little list going of what sorts of things I'd tend to wear and when; and it would have made clear that you definitely don't wear one for a job interview, for all the reasons stated above. As Jaggers says, you kind of just know when you're that guy. Another way of saying you wear what suits you. Your marketing team will call it 'branding'. I came into my firm with some unshakeable first impressions. I came out of the U of T with a bunch of publications, and one of my first steps with the firm was to get them to help out with one of them. I studied class actions way too much and knew all the case names off the top of my head when I arrived, which struck some people. I found myself getting basically all of the research memo work for big cases. Mrs. Uriel was doing her Ph.D. I have an 18th century copy of Charles I's death certificate and a Shakespeare lithograph on the wall. Everyone running into me on the subway usually caught me with my nose in some kind of book six inches thick. It didn't take much to become the Rupert Giles of the litigation department, cleaning my glasses ruefully as the summer students knocked me down on their way up to a free cocktail reception. That reputation had its ups and downs. I got a lot of work and people relied on me, but partners were hesitant to let me argue trials until they had actually seen me cross-examine someone. They put a lot of emphasis on landing clients because it wasn't clear if that was something the Phantom of the Library could do. A few years in, rather than trying to fight it I just embraced it, started wearing the three-piece as often as I liked and declining the occasional event because I hate fun and youth and the rock-and-roll musicks. It became part of the brand. So when I turn up in a tweedy three-piece with a cognac briefcase, sure --- that's Uriel. But I would never wear it to make any kind of first impression at a business event, job interview, witness examination. Once you get to know me a little better, though, I'm told it fits the personality. And, on balance I think for better, just about everyone knows who I am. I'm not just another faceless bearded white guy in a navy suit (and brother, there are a lot of us). By the same token, we've got the dealmaking partner that is allergic to jackets and just wears slacks and a tie all day (definitely not to show off that he still works out every day at 45). We've got the force-of-nature M&A guy that will boast that he hasn't worn a tie since the '80s and then get out drinking with the summer students until 3 AM. There's the regulatory partner that got into this business to wear all the best labels and doesn't leave an inch of her walk-in closets unturned. There's the construction lawyer that doesn't even come into the office if he can avoid it, and who takes pride in having mud on all his shoes. The tax lawyer with the surgeon's cuffs and the actual, fresh flower in his custom-cut sport coat's boutonniere every day. The labour partner who seems to have an inexhaustible supply of Jedi robes and bangles to drape herself in. The research lawyer working his way through a cargo container of identical beige polo shirts. The two real estate partners who buy all the best, most shiny stuff, none of which goes together. The cycling enthusiast who kicks around the office in a dress T-shirt and a $150,000 watch. And about 300 other lawyers that just wear whatever will get them through the week until they're up at the cottage. This profession is forgiving and even encouraging of eccentricity. You just have to grow into it a bit and sort out what your style is, what makes you comfortable, and how well that's going to fit with how you want to present yourself professionally.
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