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rglasgow

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rglasgow last won the day on June 1

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  1. Yeah - that's part of my portfolio. Government procurement is a really interesting area and there's a lot of room for particular focuses. I started out focused nearly purely on the Trade Law aspects. Nearly all of Canada's FTAs with other countries include procurement chapters that have certain binding commitments on how procurement is conducted. This used to be focused nearly entirely on federal entities (outside of the AIT, which had no really useful enforcement mechanism). Now though the CFTA, CETA, and the CPTPP all have commitments on the provinces on how they (and their sub-entities including Crown Corps) conduct procurement. What's interesting here is that suppliers of "a Party" may bring a complaint - not just suppliers of the "other" party. So if you're a Canadian company that thinks a procurement was conducted improperly you can rely on the treaty to bring a complaint. It also helps that the federal board that conducts these inquiries (the CITT) is notoriously picky about conduct. Paul Emanuelli is likely the foremost authority in Canada on the subject and I took an advanced CPD course of his on the subject and he noted, multiple times, that cases decided by courts in favour of the purchasing entity almost certainly would have gone the other way in front of the Tribunal. So that's how I started - helping companies bring complaints to the CITT regarding inappropriately conducted procurements. That then led to more study on the subject and delving into the subject more generally. As I expanded my focus I now increasingly work with our Projects team more on the solicitor side - helping to craft RFPs that will withstand challenge. As in most compliance functions it can get really tricky because you're essentially the Red Team on a lot of files and throwing up roadblocks. The biggest one that gets a lot of pushback (especially from entities not used to the application of the Trade Agreements, "No, you cannot require Canadian suppliers/Canadian Products/local labour participation". I'd also note there's room to come at it from the other end. There's a partner I work with in litigation that has had a thriving practice that started focused on construction law (for obvious reasons) and then branched into procurement and then public procurement. That's how we ended up tag teaming on files together where she brings extremely good litigation skills and advocacy, and I supply a giant brain full of stuff about procurement law. So yeah, there's a lot of space to do what you want. Are you more of a corporate lawyer? Then get into RPP and focus on public projects/infrastructure. Are you more of a litigator? I'd likely look into construction law and municipal law as that's where a lot of the action ends up being. Are you a bit of both - trade law awaits (I know I owe someone a bit more summary of trade law but I'm a bit backed up).
  2. To be fair - this isn't what McConnell and Senate Republicans are saying (or the White House). They're all portraying the reasonably good economic indicators (in the circumstances) as proof that we're out of the woods - rather than proof that we're currently the coyote carrying on over thin air. If you have enough government support you'll keep going to the other side... but McConnell seems hell bent on not re-upping programs and leading to a likely collapse in the summer/early fall.
  3. I think it highly depends on the firm. A lot of trade law is done by dedicated boutiques. They'd be rather open to litigators because a lot of them have a focus on dumping and government procurement challenges - both of which practice before the CITT and a lot of trade lawyers don't have the same skill sets as dedicated litigators (and I include myself in those that don't have the same polish in litigation as a dedicated litigator). Just know that going from a big firm to a boutique in a niche area is a move that may be hard to pull back from. There are a few big firms that do trade law as a dedicated area. McCarthy's, Bennett Jones, and BLG are the three biggest (though BJ has taken a hit recently since BLG poached three of their four trade partners about 2 years ago). A number of other firms run smaller departments within another specialty like competition. McMillan for example I think mixes the two. Similarly a number of firms have one person (usually a relatively old partner) that does the work and have a need for a junior or two. I know our firm has a fairly voracious appetite for juniors. Even through the COVID pandemic we've been relatively slammed (seriously - I worked through the entire weekend, though that was more because of a particular file than general pace). We also traditionally do a lot more BD work than others. It's a lot like tax - a lot of talks, a lot of blogs/articles/client updates, going out to see people (though that's been cut down now). Plus when we get a big file like a dumping case we almost always need a junior from the general lit population to help. I keep a roster of 3-4 juniors that aren't trade lawyers but have worked on my files and who I trust get it enough that I don't have to teach them from basics again. This pattern likely holds for the other big players. For one of the smaller places, do some research on the lawyers in the practice area and then approach them to see if they have work they need help with. One drawback of being a niche lawyer is a lot of students/juniors don't want to take your work compared to a partner in general lit that's perceived to have more sway. So having a volunteer that's eager to engage is usually fairly welcome. One good way to get into it is to volunteer to help out drafting some non-billable legal alerts - and look at that, CUSMA is about to come into force. This both helps the partner/senior associate out (since we know we have to write something), shows an interest in the area, and likely teaches you a bit about it so we know you're not useless. I would warn though, that some places where it really is just a single partner it may not work out. I say that as a guy that went into the field at a time when there were only two partners and no associates. But we've always punched well above our weight.
  4. As @BlockedQuebecois I'm a trade lawyer and have been in the field for about 7 years or so now. I have something of an answer on the go but it's a bit sprawling. I know the field seems niche, but I think you'll find when you talk to any niche practitioner they'll quickly point out just how expansive the field is. I think it may help to break apart the issue to answer on a more point by point basis - first to try and avoid giant wall of text, and second to make sure it's something I can knock out during down time grabbing a cup of coffee in the midst of pounding out some work. So if there's one over-riding thing you want to know to start with - who does this work, how do firms usually organize trade lawyers/departments, what kind of work do you usually do (though this will likely have to sub-divide), what's the bar like, nonono I meant the legal bar not the bar you go to when you're tired of work... then we can have a bit more of a back and forth.
  5. I'll always remember an old Globe piece that interviewed a number of dads on Bay Street (in law, finance, and other professional fields) about being a dad and a professional and balancing work/life. I think it may have been a father's day figure. I think it was Awi Sinha (litigation partner at McCarthy Tetrault and all around hilarious personality if you've ever met him - and if you haven't you really really should). He made a point of saying that as a Bay Street Litigator he always wants to win. He wants to win bids for clients. He wants to win cases. And he wants to win fatherhood. If he heard about someone doing something awesome with their kids he wouldn't rest until he's done something equivalent or better. He applied his relentless thirst for competition to being the best dad. Was an interesting take. It was also (from my POV) entirely and completely honest.
  6. So a lot of this is how you structure it. Let's take an example. You're a second year associate. You earned $100K last year, and worked hard and got a 25% bonus. That bonus is paid in February and direct to your RRSP and so bypasses withholding. Let's also assume it's a rough year, so your salary for 2020 is held at $100K (just to make the math easier to see). Right now your 2019 income is $100K, and your 2020 income is $125K (since your bonus was paid to you in 2020). However, you're only withheld on $100K since that $25K bypassed withholding. You can now make a choice on how to designate your RRSP amount (assuming you deposited the bonus in the stump period of 2020) - to 2019 or 2020 taxes. If you assign the RRSP to the 2020 tax year, it will offset itself so leaving you with nothing owing. Come year end they'll say "Your income was $25K, but you have a $25K RRSP deduction, so it's a wash". You withheld on $100K, you have $100K taxable, so no changes. Your 2019 income will also be $100K and you withheld on $100K so you, again, have no changes. If you assign the RRSP to the 2019 tax year, then things change. Now in 2019 you have only $75K taxable but the government withheld on $100K. So you're owed a fairly hefty tax refund that they'll pay you in April 2020. However, because you designated that $25K deduction to 2019, you now have no similar deduction for 2020. So you'll only have withheld $100K worth of taxes, even though your taxable income for 2020 is $125K. So you'll owe taxes on that $25K. Unless you kill it again and get another 25K bonus for the 2020 year and assign that back to your 2020 tax year. That's the "overhang" that you have to be prepared for. But by doing so you get the immediate refund you can turn around and invest/use as essentially an interest free loan until the end of the tax year.
  7. So now I'm not a tax person so don't rely on this, but I believe it's that it gets around withholding. Most Bay Street firms pay out bonuses in January/February for the year prior. So ordinarily they'd be subject to full withholding (including CPP/EI). If your employer makes a payment of your bonus directly to a registered account (either through an e-transfer or through a cheque completed in a manner that designates it specifically to the Registered Account and notes that it is a bonus, and provides a letter of direction to the recipient entity), then you don't get charged any withholding for that money. Now it still counts as income in the year it's earned, so you still owe taxes on it. But you can claim the RRSP deduction for the year prior (as you can on any contribution up to a certain cut off - I think this year it was March 1), and instead of paying withholding immediately, you end up only owing it in the following year's taxes. When you can use your next bonus to offset the bonus amount of the year prior. Eventually if you get fired, or get no bonus, or move to a position that doesn't pay a bonus, you end up having a bigger tax bill owing, but you've deferred that money for some time.
  8. I would also note most people I know invest their bonus money into their RRSP as that also has some beneficial tax deferral benefits.
  9. I practice in the trade and government procurement space. My colleagues in the group also do a lot of regulatory work (labeling, product standards, etc.). Practice is pretty bumping at the moment.
  10. Remember Bill Ackman bet big on Herbalife failing - didn't go that well for him (among other bad bets). Lots of people with big money will make the wrong call (indeed, from a regression to the mean perspective most of them are due to given the role of luck and "timing" in a lot of their success). I'd also echo @WiltedGlory - I'd likely stake a lot more on the view if it were more of an academic observation (or if it were initially made prior to the investment of funds). Once the funds are invested, it becomes all that much more difficult to get yourself out of a position and accept you were wrong. Note - I could be entirely wrong about this. But I think we also have no real playbook because we've never really done the whole "shut this thing down for a couple months, pay people to keep them stocked in cash, and then turn the system back on with all that pent up demand".
  11. So as one note - in my own practice area there's a lot to be said for a wholly domestic firm. You may think that working for an international firm means that they must have a top notch international trade group. The problem is in flow - when you're in an international firm you generally only get inflow from your other offices. If you're Mayer Brown, do you want to be feeding the Canadian arm of one of your US competitors? Or would you rather channel it to a firm that essentially only practices in Canada - knowing that your core business in the US is safe? It's why the top notch trade firms in Canada are McCarthy Tetrault, BLG, and BJ (the latter two are a funny story - because it used to be just McT and BJ, but then BLG poached three big name in the space partners and a passel of associates splitting the group in two). I'd also note that just as ranking entities like Chambers/Lexpert etc. are supergranulated, the expertise/regard of firms is similarly granular. You'll get firms that are good not just at "real property" but "real property transactions in the P3 space" or REIT specialists etc. Trying to come up with a ranking that's holistic and measures absolutely everything on a global basis is (in my view) a fool's errand.
  12. Don't know what you're talking about. I'm completely stealthy and unknown.
  13. Come on man. It was right there for you.
  14. Yeah that characterization isn't right - but the poster there was strongly playing into type for it. I also agree pro bono isn't a replacement, but I think it's important for lawyers to try and engage in at least some form of community involvement in providing accessible legal services or education. To go along with massive increases in funding by the Ontario government for legal aid/modernization of the system to take things into at very least the early 2000s in terms of technology (I'm not asking for much).
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