I have a few questions about employment and labour law as areas of practice in Ontario.
Is it feasible opening up a solo practice as an employment and labour lawyer? Harder than maybe doing so as a criminal or family lawyer? But perhaps still doable? It's just that I typically see areas like family, criminal, wills and estates, etc, as solo areas.
Would you actually get any labour clients? E.g. an individual member of an union? I am not sure how representing an union member would work. Do they get to choose their own lawyer, or would the union have one (or more) appointed to represent its members?
How many employment lawyers work purely off of contingency? Or is this a bad idea? What about at least offering such an arrangement? I understand that this would delay payment, but is the conclusion of employment disputes really that far off into the future?
Is there a minimum population for a city that would be required to do only employment, labour, and adjacent areas (e.g. worker's comp, etc) as a sole practitioner? Or is it just as viable to perhaps work in an under served, but lower population market? What about places like Hamilton, Ottawa, Toronto, etc? I don't have an idea of how saturated different markets are for these areas of law. If you work in the right market, would you be able to practice employment, or employment and labour, without also practicing these adjacent areas (e.g. worker's comp)?
And perhaps a more general question, but how difficult would it be to move to a firm in another city after a couple of years of practice, if the city was sufficiently far away that you weren't able to bring clients with you, but you were still able to demonstrate years of experience, billable hours hit, etc? I mean, are firms looking for years of experience due to acquired competence, or a book of business?
Also, what is the typical split for arrangements where firms don't pay you a salary, but instead just a % of your billings. I've seen figures on here ranging from 40-60% going to the lawyer. Does this include scenarios where the firm still provides clients?
Thanks for reading my post.