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Mountebank

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Mountebank last won the day on September 12 2020

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  1. Do it. With the volume you're already handling, you'll be fine. How much of an increase would that be? I'm in a smaller centre, but with a booming residential market. I've had a couple cold calls who decided to go elsewhere after shopping around but otherwise clients are either existing or come from referrals such as realtors and brokers and haven't expressed an issue with the fee. I've expanded my real estate practice in the past few months due to high demand, but I've never liked this area, put a good deal of time into each file, and can't bring myself to do it for less than that. If people think it's too much and want to go with the lowest bidder, I understand that and support them going elsewhere.
  2. Like many others, I completely relate to the above situation(s). Last month was my most stressful of my career and I had a lot of thoughts about whether I could afford to buy a property and live in the woods and support my family on selling the timbers on-site (for real. Like, I was weirdly fixated on this fantasy). I'm leaving things sitting for too long, am not on-top of a number of files, and am taking much longer than normal to get back to clients. Things are better this month as there's less work, but motivation is still tough and I completely relate to feeling like I'm operating below standards. I agree with @BringBackCrunchBerries's characterization of everything as being just so...tiresome. The only good thing about it is that lots of other people are in the same boat, are just as tired, and as a result people are generally being forgiving of this right now. I haven't heard a lot of complaints about my response time because a lot of the people I deal with, including clients, are taking forever as well. Since I went solo, I've always missed being around colleagues during the day (having a fellow associate stop in the office for a chat, going to lunch last minute, having someone to bounce ideas off of, etc.) but I definitely feel this more keenly these days. I'm generally working in-office these days, so that helps a bit with focus but it's still lonely work all the same. This may not be suitable for everyone, but one of the ways in which I'm dealing with emails is that I'm just not replying at all. I immediately forward to my assistant and ask her to set up a call in a few days. By the time the call happens, the client and I both have organized ourselves and have obviated the need for a chain of emails back-and-forth that would have transpired if we didn't have a call on the horizon.
  3. $1,250 plus HST and disbursements. I'm not a believer in the low-balling that goes on with real estate and this is the smallest fee that justifies the work to me. I don't adjust for value of the real estate but have in the past considered adopting the working group's fee schedule.
  4. Advertising such as what you are referring to was formerly forbidden (I believe until the 1980s or so. Perhaps @MOL can help us out with a contemporaneous account) and is still considered to be somewhat vulgar (slapping your face on advertisement media is the domain of the realtor, not the lawyer, in my elitist opinion). But, yes, I think you are correct that some personal injury firms have as their business model mass advertising to attract unsophisticated clients on name-recognition alone. I suspect it also is thought to actually generate personal injury claims by having viewers consider seeking a lawyer for their issue when perhaps they otherwise would not have.
  5. Great post OP. Out of curiosity, is this in Ontario or are you out West?
  6. I saw that. Probably related to their recent acquisition by Dye & Durham. It's especially disappointing given Unity's, frankly, shit performance in 2020. I assume a better open cloud-based alternative will emerge in the coming few years given the speed at which these new companies are developing.
  7. As lawyers, our duties to our clients and the Court are of the highest consequence. We are not merely workers. We carry on a profession. Being a member of a profession means that your professional obligations may not be undermined by complaints that you have insufficient lunch breaks. As lawyers, we give ourselves to service and, as long as we enjoy the distinction of practicing law, we wear our professional obligations at all hours. If you are not prepared to serve this ideal, then you do not belong as a practicing member of the bar. But it is not all bad news. In exchange for the sacrifices we make as a body of professionals, the society we serve grants us a substantial living, personal privilege, and, frankly, more political and social power than any other group. Finally, one of the many privileges we enjoy as lawyers is the ability to carry on practice on our own without working as anyone's employee. Anyone who chooses to accept employment, and thereby navigate the natural tension between the employee/employer relationship and our obligations as lawyers, has to accept this or move along to something else.
  8. No kidding. By way of contrast, I was in that salary range as a a 1st year associate well outside the GTA. Could this somehow be in USD? That would be about CAD$83,500 to $115,500. Still seems slightly low, but less shocking.
  9. While I know these companies have in-house teams, my impression is that these are quite lean and I suspect the majority of the counsel jobs are out of the US rather than Canada (e.g. with Fidelity rather than Chicago). This is all just my conjecture though. I say contact the legal team directly and see what's what.
  10. I guess I should mention that if you want more freedom/reduced hours you could consider sole practice. I work full-time but I often don't roll in until 10am and sometimes I leave at 3 or 4 if I don't feel like working or want to be home for when the schoolbus arrives. I also do some consulting work on the side and have been considering doing an LLM for fun/possibly to get into publishing something one day (Mountebank on Remedies anyone? Pre-order now!). It's not a bad gig if you want more flexibility/freedom. Then again, sometimes shit goes down and I'm working til midnight but meh nothing is perfect.
  11. I've known a handful of part-time solicitors, but they're always at least 35-40 years post-call who pull it off due to their seniority, reputation, experience, and existing big books (i.e., they don't drum up any new work and their practice is dwindling, but it doesn't matter because it is so large, built up over decades, that it amply sustains them and will, ultimately, outlive them). And even then, those part-time solicitors that I've known still practice 4 or 5 days a week. It's just more of a Noon-4:30pm, easing into retirement/the grave type job. Edit: I guess I should add that part of the reason these senior solicitors are kept around, and may still be in the partnership, is that part of their gig is that they mentor younger lawyers/articling students. My principal was one of these solicitors and I learned a ton just by watching him do his thing.
  12. I don't have personal experience with this in my own practice, but my old firm purchased a few solicitor practices while I was there. Every situation is unique, but generally solicitor practices aren't worth all that much unless the retiring lawyer has a great reputation/relationships and agrees to stay onboard for a few years to help with the transition. Otherwise, if the lawyer is retiring and it's a small community, you're going to pick up quite a few of those clients for free anyway (a new savvy sole in my community just moved into a retiring lawyer's space and made sure she secured his phone number for her practice. She now gets new clients just because she has his old number. She tells them he's retired and her practice now occupies the space. Often as not, they retain her since they now have no lawyer and they're on the phone with her anyway). I know this doesn't directly answer your question, but you may consider reaching out to that lawyer to find out how you can become his natural successor without having to actually take over the business (i.e. inherit his minute books and Will bank, but not necessarily his staff, liabilities, old equipment, etc.). As far as your last question goes, COVID initially impacted things for a couple months but everything is moving quite well right now (might also be a good time to sign a favourable commercial lease). Out of interest, are you comfortable sharing what region you're looking at?
  13. I think his idea was to pay out the student loan right before it begins to accrue interest. Presumably the interest on the student loan is higher than the LOC (plus from a cash perspective, the repayment is probably proportionally higher relative to the debt). Then again, you get a tax credit for interest paid on national student loans and the student loc can cause problems if you try to get a mortgage in the next few years (as a revolving line, lenders have no way to amortize the debt for financing application purposes. As a result, they will generally impute a repayment of 3% monthly regardless of the actual payment. This is problematic for two reasons: first, your actual monthly payment is likely a fraction of this; second, they sometimes impute the 3% as against the draw limit and not the current balance even if the LOC is no longer open for further draws).
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