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Diplock

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Diplock last won the day on March 14

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  1. This. I won't give you employment law advice, or advice relating to your status as an articling student. But as a criminal lawyer currently responding to this situation, I'll just say that no emergency, short of the total breakdown of society, means that we throw out the rule book. We may turn to unfamiliar pages of the book, and argue over unusual applications of rules to unexpected situations, but we don't just ignore how things ordinarily work. Any lawyer should know that, including your employer. And if he/she doesn't, the Law Society certainly does. Good luck.
  2. Although this may cause some short-term problems for me, I'm not really concerned about the future of my practice. Criminals are gonna crim.
  3. Okay...but that's true of a lot of people, at every time. Frankly, folks, some concern is warranted. As a self-employed practitioner with staff to pay, I'm worried about my cash flow also. But this isn't a marketplace you can control, even at the best of times. Your career will be an endless series of opportunities to either succeed at some goal you've set for yourself, or else fail at that goal and learn to redirect your energy in a new way. But more simply, no one promised you a career in Biglaw anyway. If that's the only possible future you can imagine for yourself, then planning for other options is a good exercise in all events - regardless of how good or bad the market may be.
  4. While I can't speak for the legal market as a whole, in terms of gaining legal experience you're going to be responding to an unprecedented problem that no one knows what the holy fuck to do about. And that is, of itself, valid legal experience. Tomorrow, I'm going to a court to figure out a very messed up situation with a client caught up in this (intentionally vague, here) and then I'll be working some more on related issues. It's true that the cash flow for legal businesses may be impacted. And it's possible some articling jobs may be threatened as a result. I can't dismiss that possibility. But it would take either a very tight-fisted or desperate employer to fire articling students over this. Almost any lawyer I know would save money or take the hit elsewhere first, until there were no other options. Bottom line - this is going to create a significant amount of work (just responding to the general mess) before it creates no work. And then courts are still going to need to find a way to function. Which again, may occur in novel ways that constitute some of the best training available. Also, what solutions exist will be technology-driven, so younger folks may have an advantage there. So basically, buckle up, be prepared to be creative and flexible, try to maintain some positivity, and learn as much as you can from this experience. The very definition of lawyering is responding to shit that no one else knows how to deal with. If it was as simple and straight-forward as paint-by-numbers all the time, then any idiot could be good at it and we wouldn't get paid as well as we do. Some lawyering is routine. But honestly, that shit is basic and you can learn it any time. If there's less of that happening right now, it's no great loss. It's learning how to deal with the very not-routine stuff that will teach you how to be good at this.
  5. Piling on for the sake of it should be avoided, absolutely. But there are also times when a good pile-on is exactly what's called for in order to make a point. I won't claim I'm infallible at telling the difference, but I'm pretty sure this one is clearly on the side of making a valid point. I think one of the reasons my so-called "smack downs" are popular is because I genuinely mean them to be constructive. And note, I sometimes need to correct my own clients in similar terms. Believe it or not, people who are actually paying me get this same treatment sometimes. The basic point is that you can't help someone unless and until they are able to see the same reality you're trying to help them in. It isn't that I think the OP is a bad person who should get cancer and/or kill themselves. People who say that kind of dumb shit on the Internet are not anyone I would ever defend (until they're charged with a crime for doing it) and I do not see myself in the same category. My issue isn't with the OP's personality. It's with the fact that I know what it takes to function as a working defence lawyer, and he is missing that mark at present. Worse, he doesn't see why or how. Anyway, I'll stop. But leaving language aside (and sometimes it's just satisfying to swear) the correction is well intentioned. I've had a few such corrections in my life too, and I was better for every one of them.
  6. I find myself with time to weigh in on this, since I was summoned. I originally had the OP pegged with two, fairly common problems. I've since added a third. This is going to be a longish post, but what the hell. It's not like I'm allowed to go anywhere anyway. Good Old-Fashioned Arrogance This is the least interesting thing the OP is doing. I wasn't going to start with this, but everything else stems from it. It basically boils down to this. You've got some strange ideas in your head based in limited exposure to actual legal practice. That's fine - it happens to all of us. But most of us are willing and able to correct our strange beliefs when we get better information from people who know more than we do. So far, with limited exceptions, OP has not done that. And unless he (she? - I'll say "he" until corrected) fixes that approach, it's going to make their whole career harder and more limited. I've said this before in other contexts, but the problem with law students is that prior to law school, most of us are used to being one of the smartest people in many environments we find ourselves. So we get used to the idea that our thoughts and opinions - even formed in relative ignorance - are often better than the thoughts and opinions of others. It's gross to say it that way, but often still true. Then we get to law school and most of us learn better. For the first time, we're surrounded by people as smart or smarter than we are. And that doesn't mean we can't have good ideas of our own. But it does mean that the first thing that pops into our head probably isn't the brilliant insight everyone was waiting for. Somehow, OP got all the way through law school and into articling with that ridiculous arrogance intact. And I fail to see why. Was this person even a particularly distinguished law student? If so, I fail to understand how or why they ended up articling for crap wages in a not-especially prestigious practice. Don't get me wrong - good students can and do pursue crim. But seriously - get the hell over yourself. If you were Marie Henein's star recruit then maybe, maybe a thimble-full of arrogance (and not the truckload you've got) would be warranted. As stands, you are fucking nobody. And you think you have all the answers? The only good lawyers I know are ones who are constantly open to the possibility that someone else around them - judges, opposing counsel, students, anyone - might be about to say something smart they haven't considered yet. When you close your mind to that, it isn't proof of your superior insight. It's proof that you are just a stupid kid who hasn't gotten over the ego you developed in high school when everything was easy. Excessive Ideological Identification With Your "Side" I find it ironic that the OP wanted to go about Crowns that he feels are being too Crowny. First let me say it does happen on occasion that Crowns are just too Crowny. But it also happens at times that defence are too defencey. And most of the time neither is true. So let me start where the OP is being flatly, ridiculously ignorant. To suggest that "all Crowns are this" is something he can't possible even have perspective on. See arrogance, above. And also, he's heard differently from many practicing lawyers now. So either learn the lesson or don't. Most Crowns have an excellent perspective on the law and take a balanced approach to it within how the law actually works. See below. Where this gets amusing rather than just ignorant is that the OP seems to expect Crowns, in order to be "fair," to move to positions that any practicing lawyer would deem ridiculous. Wanting a conditional sentence in Humbolt...I can't even. Let me get back to arrogance for a moment. You are a fucking articling student with no experience at all and you're looking at a high profile case and thinking "the Crowns aren't doing their jobs right, the defence aren't doing their job right, the judge obviously can't do their job right either..." Who in the holy fuck do you think you are?!? I don't know the bar in BC which means I don't know the players involved. But when I saw pictures of those lawyers going in and out of court with their client, I saw lawyers with the weight of the world on their shoulders and I empathized with them. And you saw...lawyers with decades of experience that you don't have, but who clearly need to take a lesson in sentencing from your punk ass? Back to my previous point. There is an objective truth to the law. There is a sentencing range for driving offences causing death. Defence know it, Crowns know it, and one day you'll know it too. The law isn't based on your gut-check opinion - or mine or anyone else's. It changes and develops, yes, but it still moves within parameters and with reference to existing jurisprudence. If your idea of "good" Crown judgment is that the Crowns should entirely abandon those existing standards and advocate a defence-friendly reformation of the law...that's just fucking crazy. There are times when defence may advocate for something entirely novel. Even those situations are rare. Expecting the Crown to join us is impossibly stupid of you. And the only way you can imagine that, the ONLY way you can think that's not ridiculous, is if you are ideologically buried up to the neck in your own ass. This is why your accusation is ironic. Either side can get afflicted with this problem. And you are developing a bad case of it already. Don't turn into one of those idiot defence lawyers (and there are a few, just like there are some Crowns) who believes everything the Crown does is wrong, stupid, and prejudicial. That's like being a fan who screams at the ref every time they make a call against your team - as though you honestly believe that everything the ref calls against your team is wrong, and somehow the league has recruited an entire squad of refs who hate your team specifically. As a fan you can believe that if you want to. It still makes you a stupid fan, but fandom comes with that right. As a lawyer, it makes you a very stupid and ineffective lawyer. Thinking Your Opinion Matters Based on new issues you've raised, I'm going to add this. And I'm quoting (and paraphrasing) the late, great Eddie Greenspan. When a client sits down in your office (or when you visit one in jail) you don't know if that client is guilty or innocent. After you've heard his story, you still don't know. You will never know until the court pronounces guilt or innocence, at which point it becomes someone else's problem. This may be a point too subtle for you to appreciate right now, but you need to remember and absorb it over time. Legal guilt is a product of the justice system. It happens when a court pronounces guilt. It isn't perfect and it isn't the same thing as factual guilty. Factual guilt is between the client and God. Legal guilt is something far more complex and artificial than that. And the reason I say that is because you are one small part of the legal process that is going to create an outcome. You cannot prejudge that outcome when a client sits down across from you. If you think that you can, that means that you believe your knee-jerk opinion is larger than the system itself. See arrogance, above. And read it several times again. Your opinion, not now and not after 40 years of legal practice, is NOT a substitute for the entire justice system operating with its checks and balances. If you think that it is, get the fuck out now and find an area of work you are better suited for. We have an adversarial justice system. Your job as defence counsel is to advocate one side of the case, and to argue it as best you can against a Crown whose job is to advocate the other side. We both have rules to follow within those roles - the rules are asymmetrical but we still have rules to follow. And then based on everything that goes before the court (again, following rules) the judge (or jury) will find fact. That's how this works. Right now, your problems span arrogance and attitude and your general misapprehension of how this all works. You don't only want to abandon your own appropriate role, you fault the Crown for not abandoning theirs. There's so much wrong with your ideas here I could write for pages and pages more and still not capture it all. Bottom line - you are an articling student because you need to learn. Law school cannot and does not teach practical criminal law (or probably practical anything) in a useful way. So basically, as someone who just started, you know fuck-all nothing. And that's fine. You could get good at this, if you actually learn what you're there to learn. But I'll tell you, based on your interactions here, you're not off to a good start. Good luck.
  7. We're talking hypotheticals now. But could also be a long-time lurker. We have a lot of those.
  8. You haven't been here long, and that's fine. But there are definitely people on this site who, regardless of whether I know them in person, I would trust to advise me on various practice-related issues far more than most people I know in real life. Far more important questions have been asked and answered here than "how should I go about hiring someone?"
  9. I think the issue here is that some people responded to the op as though he or she were just a student, being douchy about wanting only to hear from lawyers who actually do the hiring. In fact, looks like the op is in fact hiring. And in that position, I wouldn't want students putting their ignorant views in either.
  10. Look. The things that you are looking for in law and in medicine come with certain inevitable associations and trade-offs, and those associations and trade-offs will be present in any comparable position. You want the job where you get paid a lot of money for doing something very important to other people? And where you are respected for exactly the reason that what you do cannot be done by some interchangeable worker who happens to be filling in for you when you aren't around? Those sorts of jobs are not, generally speaking, conducive to work/life balance. The only way you can "punch out" and say "leave me alone until Monday" is if you're doing work that is not critical to anyone else's life on an urgent basis, and where you can be replaced by some other person if the work needs doing. Which, by definition, means you aren't so special after all. You can't have it all ways. I won't beat you up as much as I might just for asking the question. But either see why your expectations were unreasonable, and learn the lesson as it applies to law and the various alternatives you may be considering, or not. It isn't the legal profession you're a bit ignorant of, right now. It's just...life.
  11. As long as you've got the direction you need, I'm not really fussed about how you take it. But if a plan is ridiculous, you want to hear that it is, rather than getting the wrong impression from supportive answers that dance around the point. Just saying.
  12. In concentrating on replies, I admit I missed the OP's express statement that he was somehow hoping to operate in both spheres. So I still have a bit of an issue with your reply in that taking a ridiculous plan at face value - and pointing out the problems that would follow if some completely impossible arrangement were put into place - is still a bit dangerous in that it lends credibility to the plan rather than dismissing it completely. But I apologize for the strength of my response. Just to reiterate my general position. There may be value in a practitioner of either law or social work being aware of the intersection of these two fields. Certainly I know lawyers who work with mental health cases and it's an asset for them to know the social work environment. Then again, the knowledge they need and obtain won't generally be learned in a MSW program - it's practical, on the ground information, and they learn it regardless. I potentially see more value if you're on the other side, and working on social work policy. Ultimately, the case for combined degrees generally isn't based in "get these two degrees, and you'll end up doing some specialized job you couldn't do with just one or the other." It's based more in "if you're interested in both of these areas, learning for its own sake can be valuable" and also, sometimes, unexpected opportunities occur in strange places. But it certainly isn't something you can bank on, or plan.
  13. I almost offered you a much more snide response than this, but you can either take the lesson from someone who's actually been practicing law from 10 years, or you can continue to disagree with me from your seat in whichever law school you attend. You would NEVER, EVER, EVER hold yourself out as providing legal and counseling services to the same client. It's insane to even imagine a scenario where that could happen. I can imagine a client who needs both forms of service. Many of my own clients fit that description. But that doesn't mean they would ever get it in the same place. In fact I'm quite sure that any responsible instructor in this joint program would introduce that very point on day one. If you are qualified in both fields it could easily lend the impression you might be doing both for the same client. Dispelling that notion is the very first thing you do. I repeat, again. Whatever this program may be for, it isn't to create professionals who provide counseling services and legal services to the same client. There are people out there with both law degrees and medical degrees too, you know. And there is literally no one who imagines those degrees exist in combination so that the same professional can fix you up on an operating table and then help you sue the guy who ran you over.
  14. Having both qualifications doesn't mean there is, or ever should be, any confusion about which role you're acting in at given time. You would never actually be someone's lawyer and therapist simultaneously. That said, and for the same reason, it does make you question where the compatibility between these two programs is even located. For a senior role in administering social work programming...maybe. But I can't see where or how this would be an asset in terms of the actual practice of law.
  15. I opened this expecting yet another thread about how automation is going to destroy the legal profession and how we're all going to be replaced with super-sophisticated search functions and auto-generated legal submissions. We're due for that one again. I'm glad I was wrong.
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