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Porkypig

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  1. Just my personal opinion... Assuming money is not a factor, I would take Oxford or Cambridge over any Canadian school. All other schools in the UK are not worth it.
  2. My view is that there is a market for tax planning in all high tax jurisdictions, big or small. People and corporations in Edmonton and Winnipeg, too, do not like paying more taxes unnecessarily. The bigger issue is that the whole industry of tax planning, especially from a global perspective, has been under tremendous pressure in recent years. FATCA, CRS, economic substance, registration of local situs assets in the UK and France, the list goes on and on.... Basically the major authorities are coming up with something brand new every couple years to hurt us. To a point where I am convinced that they want to wipe us out altogether. I am just glad that I am on my way out of this business. And I have been telling young lawyers interested in tax to think twice before getting into tax planning; perhaps a focus on tax litigation will make more sense.
  3. In my experience, you do not need more than basic arithmetic to be a tax lawyer or a tax accountant. Sometimes you might run into slightly more complicated calculations such as bond yields, internal rate of return, etc. But those are to be handled by the computers. The important thing is to understand the concepts. Having an accounting background is helpful to a tax lawyer, although it is by no means required. For example, I was having a discussion last week with two other lawyers on s.104(13)(a) of the Income Tax Act . We were talking about how the capitalisation of trust’ income is not expressly addressed in the Act, but can be inferred by the said subsection. A lawyer with no accounting or finance background was having a difficult time to grasp the idea at the beginning as he is not familiar with trust accounting (a branch of accounting which is a bit different to the usual accounting for corporate entity). But all it took was a 2-minute precise and clear explanation, and he fully understands the thing now. These are not rocket science. Sometimes you just need a colleague with good communication skills who is willing to share knowledge and experience.
  4. OK, you may be right. I did mine sequentially; and can imagine the stress of doing it concurrently with law school. However, a CFA or a CPA is still worthwhile for a lawyer working in PE. Typically, a lawyer’s involvement is in advising on the appropriate structure for an investor (i.e. a PE fund) to get in a target company and drafting the mountain of documents to get the deal done. Obviously, before these processes can begin, a lot of work has to be done in understanding the deal, performing due diligence, negotiating with the lawyers of the other parties, etc. There are just tons of financial issues every step along the way. While you will be working with other professionals, having a finance background yourself really helps; especially the transactions nowadays are getting more and more complex.
  5. This may be a bit of a stretch but if you are genuinely interested in the private equity industry, it wouldn’t hurt to get a CFA or a CPA to go with your legal qualification. You can do that as your extracurricular activity during law school.
  6. Seriously, if your goal is to make money, law school is not what you should be looking at. While lawyers make a decent income that is way ahead of the general public, we are nowhere near the top of the food chain. The economy today is so different compared to 20, 10 years ago. The features today are insanely disproportionate asset prices, uncontrollable polarization of wealth, ridiculously high taxes.... Basically nothing in favour of the people relying on the income from a steady job, including lawyers. If you are genuinely interested in making money, get into TMT, finance, Fintech, etc. and focus on investing.... Good luck.
  7. No offence to the U of T. It is just not in the same league with Oxford, not even close, when it comes to international recognition. An Oxford degree is well respected everywhere in the world. While outside of Canada, the U of T is just another school. I am not saying that the quality of the education you can get at Oxford will be much better than what you can get at the U of T. Not at all. My guess is that the two are probably very comparable in terms of the quality of the education they offer. I am just pointing out the perception of people, whether it is justifiable or not. It is what it is. Good luck.
  8. Yes, sometimes noise can be an issue. Bring a pair of earplugs just in case.
  9. Just out of curiosity, why do we do without the wig nowadays? Thanks.
  10. Outside of Canada, Osgoode does have a much stronger reputation. Or is it more accurate to say ‘name recognition’.... I was having a beer in Singapore with a few guys from a niche American firm a few weeks ago. Three Americans, one is from NYU, one from Georgetown, one from Cornell; and a French guy from Sorbonne. When I said I went to Osgoode, they immediately recognized it, and said it is “the best school in Canada”. Then we talked a little bit more about Canada. It is quite clear to me that they only know Osgoode, U of T, and McGill. These are international people who travel and work around the globe. They are all in their 40s and have been around for a while. I am not saying that Osgoode is better than Queens, not at all. Just want to point out that, for what it’s worth, when it comes to international recognition, Osgoode wins. Good luck.
  11. Assuming your mother tongue is English, Montreal will give you more opportunities to use French. The goal is, by the time you graduate, you will be proficient in French to a point where you can use it to provide legal services.
  12. It’s a different economy out there now. Property prices have gone through a prolonged period of growth that far outpaced the increase in earnings of regular working people, including lawyers. To keep up, it might be necessary to be more active, or even aggressive, in looking for investment opportunities outside of our regular job or law practice.
  13. I am starting to go over the materials; and have completed (or so I think) my initial study on Civil Producre. I used more than one set of studying materials; and one thing really stands out to me is that different programs seem to present the materials very differently. They cover the same topics, and the overall “models” on how the laws work are the same. But there are quite a bit of differences on the detailed little rules that each program focuses on. For example, while all programs mention that the most important topic in civil procedure is jurisdiction (personal and subject matter), one illustrates the model by a diagram which I found easy to understand and memorize, but it does not say much about the little rules such as what if the person in question is a minor or incompetent. The other program persents the whole thing in paragraphs, which I found harder to comprehend; but it has a lot of little rules that the first program does not cover at all. I suppose the first program has the philosophy that by the end of the whole thing, there will be too many little things that it is not realistic to memorize all, so let’s just focus on the basics. I am fine with this but also worry that I might miss out on a lot of important details if I do not supplement my studies with another program. It would be quite inefficient and time-consuming if I have to go over two, or even multiple, programs for each topic. But it seems like that’s the way it will be... For those of you who had gone through the process, was that your experience, too? Thanks.
  14. Why not? People are more than willing to pay... It is proven beyond reasonable doubt that it is a market where demand far far exceeds supply....
  15. If I was in your shoes, I would 1) apply for articling abridgement; and 2) ask a qualified individual at your current organisation to act as your articling principal. Your experience would very likely afford you an abridgement that would cut your articling period in half (e.g. 5 months instead of 10). The benefit of getting someone within your current organisation to be your articling principal is that you can stay at your current job while articling. So you can keep your current salary instead of taking a pay cut to do entry level work somewhere else. The downside of this arrangement is that you will probably not get the training that others get. But you will get called anyway... Good luck!
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