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About bertiewooster

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  1. Small firm in a small SW Ontario city. I was very worried as I just started at this firm in January (after completely uprooting my life and moving). I'm not very busy with files of my own yet. I have a few, but most of the work I'm doing is on other lawyers' files, and those other lawyers are now seeing their work slow down significantly so could easily take on what I've been given. They're talking about reducing assistants' hours, although they've promised full pay for at least the next month. They've told me they want me for the long haul and we're going to stick it out. I feel for them, and still think there's a chance that could change, but I'm very grateful right now.
  2. I'm 5.5 years out, and I left the firm I'd articled with for a new firm at the end of 2019, so I can offer some of my own experience for what it's worth. I found my new position through a friend who knew one of the partners at my new firm, and knew they were looking for a young lawyer as they have a few retirements coming up. It took me about a year to find it, though. I did a lot of networking - attending CPD programs and introducing myself, talking to friends (who I knew would keep my search confidential) - and also just kept my eyes on the Ontario Reports and sites like Indeed. Indeed did actually yield an interview and a job offer, which I turned down for various reasons. When it came to breaking the news to my old firm, I worried a LOT, unnecessarily. Wouldn't they be hurt if I took off after they'd mentored me through my articles and my first few years of practice? How would they manage without me? In the end I realized that I'm not irreplaceable, and as much as we all liked each other, this was a business relationship, and they'd get over it. And with the exception of one partner who took it a little personally at first, everyone was supportive and understanding. I gave quite a bit of notice and worked very hard to make the transition smooth and not to leave messes for others to clean up. My reason for leaving was to relocate closer to family and friends, but I think the whole process has been good for me professionally, too. I went about it slowly, but I think (I hope) that has meant that I've now found a really good fit, where I'll want to stick around for a long time.
  3. This may not apply depending on the type of loan you have, but I spoke to my bank shortly after starting to pay off principal and they reduced my interest rate. I did some looking around and told them I was considering moving my debt elsewhere, and they reduced my interest by 2.5%.
  4. I was not a young law student - I started at 27 - but I look much younger than my age. I've never found it to be an issue with other lawyers, but clients do comment on it, which I find really frustrating. Some people come right out and ask if I'm old enough to be a lawyer. Sometimes if I can tell they're thinking it and not saying anything, I'll find a way to shoehorn the fact that I've been practicing for 5 years into the conversation. I know I shouldn't let it bug me, but it does. The best way around the issue is just to show people what you're capable of.
  5. I'm 5 years out. I was very unhappy as an articling student and in my first couple of years of practice. I felt totally out of my depth and had no control over the files I worked on (standard, I know), and had very little support or mentorship at my firm. I also had a pretty thin skin with difficult clients. Time has cured a lot of that. My stress level has reduced exponentially as I've become more confident in my abilities in the last couple of years. I also now have some control over the kind of work I take on. It also helped that I did some work with a job coach last year, when I was starting to think about looking for a new position (because I don't like where I live, not because I don't like my work). This kind of goes with what Hegdis said above about the myth that everyone has a "dream job" in which they'll always be happy. I had definitely bought into that, and when I wasn't always happy in my work, I thought it was because I'd gotten it wrong. My job coach helped me see that actually, I could be satisfied by many different kinds of work, and no job is perfect. There is a lot about my work that I find engaging and fulfilling, and I'm good at it. I also have lots of non-work interests that I pursue in my spare time (which, as a small-town solicitor, I do have). I'm still paying off student loans, so I would like to make more money, but that will come with time, too.
  6. Realistically, I think the distance is far enough that I won't bring many clients with me, if any. The new firm has no solicitor at the moment but lots of files, so the work is sort of there waiting for me.
  7. Last year (my 4th year out) I collected approx. $210k, and made about $9,500.00 commission. So my total compensation of $84,500.00 was just over 40% of my receipts. (edited because I misread your question)
  8. I'm a 5th year call, in the process of leaving the firm I articled with for a new firm and starting to negotiate pay. I'm a solicitor, practicing primarily in wills and estates with some real estate. I'm in a small community, moving to another small community, and am finding it difficult to get much information about pay outside of the larger centres. I do, however, think that what I'm currently making is kind of odd. I get a base of $75k, plus 10% of anything I bring in over $150k, and 20% of anything I bring in over $175k. My impression from others I've talked to is that this is a bit unusual, but my problem is that my good friends, who are willing to talk money, are in Toronto, and I'm not close enough with any of the young lawyers in my town to ask. I'd like to shoot for a higher commission. What I'm not clear on is whether it's more common to be paid a lower commission on everything collected, or a higher commission only on collected billings above a certain target. If this has been discussed before, please point me to the proper thread - I did search but didn't see any discussion of this particular question.
  9. Apologies if this has been discussed before - if it has, please direct me! I'm 5 years in, and an associate at the same small-town firm I articled with. It's been pretty good, really, but I want to move closer to family and friends. I practice primarily in estate planning and administration, substitute decision-making, and real estate. I've pinpointed several firms I think I can offer something to, only one of which I have an indirect connection to. I'm impatient to get things moving, but I don't want to jump the gun and end up turning people off. So, my question is, what's the best way to approach these firms if I don't already have an "in"? I'm not a student or new call, so the playing field feels a bit more level, and my sense is that I should be able to be more direct about what I'm looking for and what I think I can offer. If it were me, I think I'd prefer an email and maybe a follow-up call, rather than a cold call that interrupted my day. That said, I've never job-hunted as a lawyer, so advice would be very much appreciated.
  10. I graduated almost 4 years ago about $95k in debt (some OSAP but mostly a LOC). I'm coming up to 3 years post-call and am down to about $60k. I think about it every day. I live and practice in a small town so I'm not making Bay St. money, although my expenses are lower - then again, I'm single, so they're all on me. I'm saving a little, but not much - Christmas bonuses and any other extras go straight on the LOC. I don't regret law school but the debt does weigh on me.
  11. I made $40k articling at a small-town (population 16,000) Ontario firm of 8 lawyers. After call I went up to $50k. The firm pays all LSUC/insurance/CLE etc fees and paid for my robes. I think that's about average from what I've learned speaking to others.
  12. Thanks so much for the good advice. I did talk to the partner. He was annoyed, but I think he agreed with me in the end. I got the client in again and re-took the instructions, brought a witness, took extensive notes, explained the potential that the will could be contested, etc etc. I feel much more confident now that I've taken my usual precautions. To what widget said - yeah, I do have to remind myself sometimes I'm not a student anymore, and I'm not just doing as I'm told.
  13. I was called in June 2014 and have been with the same medium-sized firm since my articles. My practice is focused on estates. A few days ago a partner (who does very little estate work) asked me to sit in on an appointment to take will instructions. Based on those instructions and what I know of the client's background, I think the will is almost certain to be contested. The circumstances of the appointment - elderly client, sole beneficiary hanging around outside the door, very little discussion with the client, no questions to assess capacity - were such that I think a will challenge might very well succeed. I thought I was there as a witness, so I didn't jump in, but if it was my own client I would have done things very differently. Then, following the appointment, the partner handed me the file and said "here, why don't you finish this up and then you can see him to sign it". I want to tell the partner I'll draft the will but would like him to be the one who sees the client who signs it. Either that, or I could re-take the instructions without the beneficiary in the building and have a much more thorough discussion with the client, take extensive notes, etc. I feel very awkward about it and I know I'm still very green, but I don't want that potential liability if I haven't had the opportunity to take the precautions I ordinarily would. Any thoughts? Should I just bite the bullet and tell the partner I'm uncomfortable with the instructions that were taken and will not see the client again? He's generally a good-natured guy (and I do him a lot of favours), but I can see this pissing him off.
  14. It's true - I work with an excellent lawyer who's close to retirement and worries about being called into court when he's 90. I'm still new at it, but I have refused to do a few and always take extensive notes if I have any sense at all that the will could be challenged. Still, I love it - it never seems dry to me.
  15. My firm (medium-sized, Ontario) paid my licensing fees and paid for my robes when I was called.
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