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lawlskewl

Articling crisis / problems with entry in to the Canadian legal market [split]

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As to the rate, I think that's pretty close to the real rate that governmental student loans charge (pretty sure Alta was prime plus 2 and Canada was prime plus 2.5 or so for floating, but prime plus 5% for fixed rates). So really, 7% is actually lower than most people pay on fixed rate.

 

Floating rate is currently: 5.20 % Floating.  So if I was on fixed I'd be paying 7.7%. 

 

There is a tax credit for the interest, so you get 15% of the interest paid on a federal student loan as a non-refundable credit off of federal tax (provincial treatment will likely vary).   

Edited by kurrika

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(Correction to my previous post: It's Dean Morse, not "Dean Bradford". I mixed up his first and last names.)

 

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Also from the Slaw post:

 

 

Am I alone in spotting the rather glaring factual error with this analysis?  Sure, if you assume an interest rate that's more than twice what most students are paying (or have paid at any time since 2008?) ....

 

Sure, you need to make a $162K a year to pay off a $120k student loan in 10 years, if you accept as a baseline that you NEED a before-tax income of $130K  (e.g., the equivalent income after factoring the before tax income you need to pa $16k a year to service a $120K debt at real interest rates) a year (e.g., almost twice the average family income in this country to live, and more than 95% of Canadians make) to have a decent lifestyle in this country.  Now, am I alone in thinking that that proposition is so obviously false that it's embarrassing that a TRU grad (I presume) would make it, or that the dean of TRU would cite it as a credible argument.    

 

At the risk of being an asshole, someone needs to check their privilege, people live happy, comfortable, fulfilling lives making well shy of $130K a year.  

 

Do I follow that you need to make $130k before tax to live in Toronto? Is that the reasoning at work?

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As to the rate, I think that's pretty close to the real rate that governmental student loans charge (pretty sure Alta was prime plus 2 and Canada was prime plus 2.5 or so for floating, but prime plus 5% for fixed rates). So really, 7% is actually lower than most people pay on fixed rate.

If they borrowed at a fixed rate and only from the federal government (which you can't do), you might pay more than 7%.  But no one at UofT - the school she was specifically talking about - is borrowing $120K at 7%, when they can borrow $100K at 3.2% from the BNS separate from government student loans.     Even with the tax credit, that you'd be crazy to do that.  Moreover, many provinces and the federal government impose caps on what you can borrow from the G, so even if you wanted to, you can't borrow $120k at 7%.

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Do I follow that you need to make $130k before tax to live in Toronto? Is that the reasoning at work?

That might be the reasoning. It would still be wrong (because (a) you can live nicely in Toronto on less than $130k, and (b) many (most, maybe?) UofT grads don't work in Toronto and © even if you do work in Toronto, you don't need to live in Toronto to work there). 

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the market is awful. I am a recent graduate from Osgoode with decent marks (lots of volunteering but no legal work experience). Lawyers are often rude and behave like you are sh**. If they call me for an interview and I say I cannot come at this specific time, they refuse to reschedule and say that your application will not be considered. Very bad market, or I am quite unlucky. It seems that not only me. 

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the market is awful. I am a recent graduate from Osgoode with decent marks (lots of volunteering but no legal work experience). Lawyers are often rude and behave like you are sh**. If they call me for an interview and I say I cannot come at this specific time, they refuse to reschedule and say that your application will not be considered. Very bad market, or I am quite unlucky. It seems that not only me.

Ummm, don't take this the wrong way, but if you're looking for a job, you don't really have the luxury of dictating when they should interview you. You adjust your schedule accordingly. If this is something that comes as a surprise to you or sounds unreasonable, then perhaps your attitude is a greater contributor to your lack of success than the market.

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It's pretty reasonable to expect an employer to provide more than a single timeslot to interview a candidate. Standard practice in my experience would be to say "how about next Tuesday afternoon, Wednesday morning, or Thursday afternoon." I've never, ever heard of an interviewer saying "1pm next Monday and if you can't make it then we're not interested." I think that's a strong sign the employer is a turd. The only time I've heard of anything like that is if you have a hiring person visiting from another country with a limited window, which they would explain as the reason they're pushing so hard for a single time.

 

If I'm unemployed and have no better options maybe I bend over backwards to make it work with that employer, but it's not a good sign or reasonable behavior from a hiring person.

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the market is awful. I am a recent graduate from Osgoode with decent marks (lots of volunteering but no legal work experience). Lawyers are often rude and behave like you are sh**. If they call me for an interview and I say I cannot come at this specific time, they refuse to reschedule and say that your application will not be considered. Very bad market, or I am quite unlucky. It seems that not only me.

Yeah, but I've had the same experience when I've applied to stand behind a counter at Best Buy. Put differently, employers dictate how the hiring process goes (subject to human rights / some employment law). If they're picking between hundreds of applications and dozens of qualified applicants, then they can afford to move down the list if you can't make an interview. Maybe you've had particularly bad experiences, but this doesn't sound like a rude lawyer / legal market thing. It sounds like a normal hiring thing.

 

Edit: didn't see that others had already posted pretty similar responses.

Edited by realpseudonym
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Ummm, don't take this the wrong way, but if you're looking for a job, you don't really have the luxury of dictating when they should interview you. You adjust your schedule accordingly. If this is something that comes as a surprise to you or sounds unreasonable, then perhaps your attitude is a greater contributor to your lack of success than the market.

 

we are people, right? And we do have other responsibilities. I have a small child, and  I cannot come anytime. I try, but sometimes it is just not possible. I kindly ask people to reschedule. The market is so bad that even scheduling to a different time is considered as not enough interest. If a person sends me an email late night on Tuesday and wants me to come on Wednesday with no possibility to reschedule  - is it reasonable?

 

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we are people, right? And we do have other responsibilities. I have a small child, and  I cannot come anytime. I try, but sometimes it is just not possible. I kindly ask people to reschedule. The market is so bad that even scheduling to a different time is considered as not enough interest. If a person sends me an email late night on Tuesday and wants me to come on Wednesday with no possibility to reschedule  - is it reasonable?

 

 

Probably when you tell people "I can't make (meeting time during 9AM-5PM Monday to Friday) because of my kid" they're afraid that's what they're going to hear when they ask you to turn around some work quickly.

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we are people, right? And we do have other responsibilities. I have a small child, and  I cannot come anytime. I try, but sometimes it is just not possible. I kindly ask people to reschedule. The market is so bad that even scheduling to a different time is considered as not enough interest. If a person sends me an email late night on Tuesday and wants me to come on Wednesday with no possibility to reschedule  - is it reasonable?

 

 We obviously don't know all the facts, but if you're talking about a sole practitioner or a small firm, I have a fair degree of sympathy.  Hiring people is a pain in the ass and takes a lot of time and effort. It's hard enough when you're a big firm with full-time people responsible for dealing with all the administrative bullshit and sorting the wheat from the chaff, but if you're a solo or a partner at small firm, who has to balance your client obligations, business obligations, family obligations (because, hey, lawyers have small children too)  and all the hassle of doing the hiring, I can see them saying, "hey, I'm not the one looking for work here".  Maybe they could be more sympathetic, but hey, they're people too.

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we are people, right? And we do have other responsibilities. I have a small child, and  I cannot come anytime. I try, but sometimes it is just not possible. I kindly ask people to reschedule. The market is so bad that even scheduling to a different time is considered as not enough interest. If a person sends me an email late night on Tuesday and wants me to come on Wednesday with no possibility to reschedule  - is it reasonable?

 

 

 

The assumption, if you're unemployed, is that you're available during business hours. If you're under employed, I guess that's a different story.

 

However, I also wonder what kind of steps (if any) you've taken to plan for the possibility that you may need to go to an interview on short notice. Are there no child-care arrangements you could make on an emergency basis? If not, how will this play out when your client has an emergency that requires assistance?

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The assumption, if you're unemployed, is that you're available during business hours. If you're under employed, I guess that's a different story.

 

However, I also wonder what kind of steps (if any) you've taken to plan for the possibility that you may need to go to an interview on short notice. Are there no child-care arrangements you could make on an emergency basis? If not, how will this play out when your client has an emergency that requires assistance?

My child will go to daycare when I start articling. I think it is obvious. If I do not have a job, i do not have money to pay for nanny or daycare. Everything will be arranged to provide best services possible to clients.

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We obviously don't know all the facts, but if you're talking about a sole practitioner or a small firm, I have a fair degree of sympathy. Hiring people is a pain in the ass and takes a lot of time and effort. It's hard enough when you're a big firm with full-time people responsible for dealing with all the administrative bullshit and sorting the wheat from the chaff, but if you're a solo or a partner at small firm, who has to balance your client obligations, business obligations, family obligations (because, hey, lawyers have small children too) and all the hassle of doing the hiring, I can see them saying, "hey, I'm not the one looking for work here". Maybe they could be more sympathetic, but hey, they're people too.

Oh I see. That's why lawyers are so inflexible and cannot schedule an interview at a comfortable to both people time. Because they also have families and kids. Weird logic

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the market is awful. I am a recent graduate from Osgoode with decent marks (lots of volunteering but no legal work experience). Lawyers are often rude and behave like you are sh**. If they call me for an interview and I say I cannot come at this specific time, they refuse to reschedule and say that your application will not be considered. Very bad market, or I am quite unlucky. It seems that not only me. 

 

- I think you are putting the cart before the horse.

Edited by kcraigsejong
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Oh I see. That's why lawyers are so inflexible and cannot schedule an interview at a comfortable to both time. Because they also have families and kids. Weird logic

How so?  You, of all people, should know the constraints that having children and families impose on people.   For many lawyers (and especially litigator whose daytime regimes may be dictated by court schedules or travel obligations) their "flexible" time, the time when they do all the shit they need to run their practice, that doesn't involve meeting with clients, going to court, etc. is early in the morning or late at night after their kids have gone to bed - their day is devoted to clients and family.  You are neither.

 

It would be nice if they were to do something more to accommodate you, a complete stranger, whom they have never met before and owe nothing, but they're kinda doing you a favour by meeting with you and considering you (I know you don't see it that way), I don't think you can expect them to put much effort into it.     

 

Perhaps as a better strategy, try to find some sort of emergency childcare arrangement (family, friends, neighbours, back-up babysitters, whatever) who could help you out on short notice.  I say this not only because this is an obvious way to address your particular situation, but because you're going to need such arrangements in the future.   There will be days when the daycare calls, and junior is running a fever of 104 and barfing and they need you to pick him or her up (and, lord knows, I've had those days), and you're going to be in court in Newmarket defending some poor slob and will not be able to get away without pissing off your client and even then it'll be 3 hours for you to fight your way through rush hour traffic to get to the daycare.     Might as well try to find some arrangement now.  

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1. The employer dictating the interview time is the norm in any sort of business, and not an indicator of the strength of the market. It sucks, but welcome to capitalism: subject to scant few restraints, it works like, "Employer says what to do, employee does the thing." Your willingness and ability to buy into that basic structure is at the very root of your employability, no less so than wearing clothes to your interview. If someone said, "I have no money for clothes, so I'm just going to show up to the job interview naked, but I'll totally wear clothes as soon as I'm hired...or, well, two weeks in, once you've started paying me...or, well, I have some credit card debt, so maybe six months in..." that person would be being unreasonable. The norm is, "Wear clothes to work"; the norm is also "Show up when the boss wants you to show up"; if there's a reason you can't do that for the interview, it's reasonable for the boss to think you might not be able to do that once the job starts.

 

2. In absolutely every industry, there are some candidates who have trouble finding work. If 99.99% of candidates can find work, the anecdotal evidence of the 0.01% do not point to a "crisis". Indeed, when someone comes in and says, "I'm one of the extremely few people who can't find a law job...and the biggest reason for that is that I've gone out of my way to structure my life in a way that will make it harder for me to find a law job," that's more evidence that there is no crisis.

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Oh I see. That's why lawyers are so inflexible and cannot schedule an interview at a comfortable to both people time. Because they also have families and kids. Weird logic

 

I'm sure you feel picked on, at the moment, so please remember that I did my best in that other thread to offer constructive advice. I'm doing the same still.

 

Whether you intend this or not, I feel like your bitterness regarding your situation and the legal market is coming through in self-defeating ways. As a single parent, I'm sure your situation is difficult. And it would not be at all surprising if you felt resentful towards classmates and other job-seekers who only need to take care of themselves, and who have far greater flexibility in terms of finances, lifestyle, schedule, etc. It would also be very natural to resent prospective employers who refuse to show any flexibility or understanding regarding your situation. But you've got to find a way to put that aside. Whether it's fair or unfair, this isn't a situation where "from each according to their ability" and "to each according to their needs" applies. Instead, it's more like "you're applying for a job where your primarily role will be to solve everyone else's scheduling issues - so if you have any of your own, don't even bother."

 

I know it sucks. But it is what it is. Especially when you're applying to smaller practices, you have to realize that even for low pay you represent a significant overhead for a sole practitioner or a small partnership. And you are applying for a position where you may be the only flexible resource in their entire practice. If you show any signs of inflexibility, you're screwed. In a fairer world, they'd care more about your circumstances. But imagine that you, right now, could employ one person to help you. And only one. Wouldn't you be asking for a helper who could do what you need on zero notice?

 

There's no point dwelling on whether it's fair or unfair. It is. It's what you're dealing with right now. One day, law may be a flexible career that allows you to provide for your family on a schedule you can (mostly kinda) dictate. But in order to get there, you have to pay your dues. I can't tell you how you're going to do that easily, or even at all. One of the reasons why the professional single parent is such a folk hero is exactly because it's so fucking hard. You've got to stop expecting it to be easy, or even not-hard.

 

I still don't know what kind of day care you expect to obtain that will allow you to work late evenings, weekends, etc. on short notice. But whatever your childcare options may be, I urge you strongly, as I have before, to confront some uncomfortable truths about the sacrifices you're going to need to make here. Otherwise, you're going to become a statistic.

Edited by Diplock
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