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Articling -sole practitioner - salary range

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I hope that anyone with some insights, if in Ontario, takes the time to review the LSO materials and possibly make submissions - if you're looking for something briefer, the Slaw piece I linked to outlined the four options and some pluses and minuses of each:

"The Law Society is currently consulting on four options for pathways to licensure as part of its analysis of the lawyer licensing process. Comments from the professions, candidates and the public are welcome.

Read about the options in the Consultation Document (PDF). Additional reference and background materials are available on the Materials page.

We will also be organizing a series of events across the province to provide opportunity for input. More information will be made available in the coming weeks.

You may submit written input online or by mail by October 26, 2018." [some emphasis added, some in original]

https://lsodialogue.ca/participate/

Re the original topic, take a look at the LSO guide for opening your own practice:

http://www.lsuc.on.ca/Guide-to-Opening-Your-Practice-for-Lawyers/

Except to the extent any of this work can be (ethically) contracted out, which has its own costs, this is all stuff a sole practitioner has to do. On top of actually practicing law, advising clients, etc. Dealing with an articling student is on top of that. As others have posted, there are people not just willing, but even desperate to article even for $0. It's not (with some possible exceptions) greed or uncaring lawyers seeking to exploit unpaid articling students that's driving that.

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Posted (edited)

 

@easttowest Your argument is best suited to the deans of the law schools, not the members of the bar, but then those deans have no obligation to their students except to provide quality education. So I guess this reiterates the "what exactly it is that you see as the problem?" question. 

The licensing of law is based on having a Canadian law degree or a foreign degree could with passing NCA exams, each of which are necessary conditions to become a member of the bar. However, in order to be sufficiently practiced in legal work, you are required to obtain one year of practical experience under a lawyer duly qualified to train you in the practice of law.

Now this sort of thing happens in a lot of other professions. Engineers need a certain number of hours as an EIT under a PEng, residents need a certain number of whatever the heck residents need under a MD, all manner of trades require up to four years of experience in their industry under a journeyman in their trade before they are capable of being journeymen (journeypeople?).

Now I don't really hear about an apprenticeship crisis, but I can bet there are thousands more people graduating from technical schools who struggle to get hours to fill their blue book than there are law students who can't get articles. So why is it such a big deal for law students? I figure it's because A, you're in the legal marketplace and you mostly only care to here about other people in the legal profession, and/or B because debt/general entitlement to practice should allow law students to earn an above average income as compared to an apprentice plumber. 

So whats makes law different from any other profession that has to compete for training and jobs?

Edited by celli660
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9 minutes ago, easttowest said:

So I'm suggesting that we either make it harder to become a law student in the first place, or coherently connect the education of law with the licensing of law. 

Why? There's exactly one other field where we do that - doctors - and we do that because the government is the main employer of doctors in this country.  

Why is it that law students, demonstrably some of the smartest, most accomplished people in their generation (draw the conclusions you will about the intelligence and competency of the generation), need to be protected from the evils of convincing someone to hire them while everyone else - nurses, engineers, scientists, tradespeople, etc - have to actually convince an employer to give them a job to use their degree? 

Think of all the actual problems we could solve in Ontario if all of the intellectual horsepower and money that has gone into helping mediocre-to-worse law students in this province avoid the basic societal requirement of convincing someone to pay you had actually gone towards addressing real societal problems. 

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4 minutes ago, easttowest said:

No, I don't agree with that. 

I think there is probably a better system (...and I very well could be wrong. I often am!) than one where on the one hand we train an increasing number of people to become lawyers, and then on the other require them to obtain articles through unrelated institutions, who don't necessarily need more lawyers. 

So I'm suggesting that we either make it harder to become a law student in the first place, or coherently connect the education of law with the licensing of law. 

The "race to the bottom" has happened; students are already working for free.  

 

If I want to start a business making widgets, and was going to invest my time and financial resources into my widget making business, the FIRST thing I would do is a market study.

Does the world need another widget maker? Or is the widget market already saturated? Are there enough people able and willing to buy widgets at the price I am going to have to charge to make a living? 

If I failed to do my market research and was struggling to find customers for my widgets should I ask the government to limit the number of widget makers, so that I could pursue my chosen business?

You can dance around it all you want, talking about "coherently connect the education of law with the licensing of law", but in essence what you are talking about is someone intervening into the free market to limit the supply of a given commodity (lawyers). And you are asking that this be done at the expense of the consumers of legal services. Why should we favour the suppliers of legal services over the consumers of legal services? 

 

 

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5 minutes ago, BlockedQuebecois said:

 

Why is it that law students, demonstrably some of the smartest, most accomplished people in their generation 

 

I have run across quite a few lawyers in practice who would put the lie to your assertion. ;) 

Getting a law degree and passing the bar do not necessarily make you the best and brightest of your generation. 

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8 minutes ago, OWH said:

 

I have run across quite a few lawyers in practice who would put the lie to your assertion. ;) 

Getting a law degree and passing the bar do not necessarily make you the best and brightest of your generation. 

I definitely do not think lawyers are the best and brightest. SOME are, but a lot are not. A lot are there through invisible privileges and it annoys me to no end to hear them described this way. Getting a 3.6 in any undergrad program and a 158 LSAT in no way makes you the best or brightest. 

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20 minutes ago, OWH said:

If I want to start a business making widgets, and was going to invest my time and financial resources into my widget making business, the FIRST thing I would do is a market study.

Does the world need another widget maker? Or is the widget market already saturated? Are there enough people able and willing to buy widgets at the price I am going to have to charge to make a living? 

If I failed to do my market research and was struggling to find customers for my widgets should I ask the government to limit the number of widget makers, so that I could pursue my chosen business?

You can dance around it all you want, talking about "coherently connect the education of law with the licensing of law", but in essence what you are talking about is someone intervening into the free market to limit the supply of a given commodity (lawyers). And you are asking that this be done at the expense of the consumers of legal services. Why should we favour the suppliers of legal services over the consumers of legal services? 

 

 

Yeah, the law schools and law societies should do a better job of weeding out the incompetent so legal employers don’t have to do it. 

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1 hour ago, easttowest said:

I don't agree with how you've sensationalized my first point, and I did not actually say the second thing. 

Regarding point two, as I said above ("account[ing] for protectionism") perhaps everyone must complete the LLP upon passing the bar. That way, everyone who passes the bar can become licensed to practice law in Ontario. 

There are obvious problems with that plan - more debt for all law students immediately comes to mind, and no articling students for firms who actually need them. However, at least in this basic plan, people who graduate law school and pass the bar can charge money for the services they went to school for, and potentially earn enough money to make a living. Additionally, there would likely be another race to the bottom, this time among recent calls. And, I admit that this would inevitably lead to poor client service. This version of that idea, essentially drawn up on the back of a napkin, obvious needs work!

I just think that we can come up with a system that allows graduates of Canadian law schools to practice law in Canada. 

The system is apparently working for you. It's also working for me. That doesn't mean that it's working.

Any line of reasoning that continues at length about what's best for would-be lawyers (no matter the path) and then considers what's needed to protect clients only as an afterthought is not worthy of debate. I'm not saying you're the only one. This approach is depressingly common. But it's unfortunate to hear this attitude from any member of the profession. And barely less so from an aspiring member of the profession. 

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To be perfectly frank (because I’ve hedged so much in this conversation), I think anyone who rejects the idea that most law students are within the top 10-15% or so of their generation in terms of academic achievement has lost sight of what the average academic achievement of a Canadian is. Only 25-30% of Canadian adults have a university degree. Even amongst young Canadians, that number only jumps to 34% or so. 

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11 minutes ago, Diplock said:

Any line of reasoning that continues at length about what's best for would-be lawyers (no matter the path) and then considers what's needed to protect clients only as an afterthought is not worthy of debate. I'm not saying you're the only one. This approach is depressingly common. But it's unfortunate to hear this attitude from any member of the profession. And barely less so from an aspiring member of the profession. 

And I agree with you. 

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Posted (edited)

I've said this before, and I'll say it again. There IS an interesting argument to be made for more closely tying available workers in each trade/profession to available jobs. But that argument essentially presupposes a FAR more managed economy than we currently have. Maybe not communism, but something closer to classic socialism at least. 

 Anyone who really wants that for legal training needs to show me either (a) why the practice of law is so damn special that it deserves to be an exception to the economy generally, or (b) some true commitment to reforming the whole system, that goes beyond rank and naked self-interest. Mainly, it's been my observation, that the people who complain most are those who are very, very happy to reap the rewards of our competitive economic marketplace so long as they are winning, but complain bitterly when they lose.

Excessive focus on articling as the focal point of all this supposed unfairness to law students and would-be lawyers is a red herring. Students complain about whatever hurdle is in their way. Weak applicants insist they deserve a chance in law school. Weak law graduates insist they deserve a chance to become licensed. Weak job seekers argue they shouldn't face excessive completion for jobs and clients, BECAUSE they were allowed to attend law school and become licensed to practice.

Get comfortable with the competition for what you want. Or at least be intellectually honest and argue for socialism. You can't have it both ways. 

Edited by Diplock
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20 minutes ago, Diplock said:

I've said this before, and I'll say it again. There IS an interesting argument to be made for more closely tying available workers in each trade/profession to available jobs. But that argument essentially presupposes a FAR more managed economy than we currently have. Maybe not communism, but something closer to classic socialism at least. 

 Anyone who really wants that for legal training needs to show me either (a) why the practice of law is so damn special that it deserves to be an exception to the economy generally, or (b) some true commitment to reforming the whole system, that goes beyond rank and naked self-interest. Mainly, it's been my observation, that the people who complain most are those who are very, very happy to reap the rewards of our competitive economic marketplace so long as they are winning, but complain bitterly when they lose.

Excessive focus on articling as the focal point of all this supposed unfairness to law students and would-be lawyers is a red herring. Students complain about whatever hurdle is in their way. Weak applicants insist they deserve a chance in law school. Weak law graduates insist they deserve a chance to become licensed. Weak job seekers argue they shouldn't face excessive completion for jobs and clients, BECAUSE they were allowed to attend law school and become licensed to practice.

Get comfortable with the competition for what you want. Or at least be intellectually honest and argue for socialism. You can't have it both ways. 

Aside from any other objections, it also presupposes it be done competently.

How many people would be comfortable with the Doug Ford buck-a-beer economic paradigm of how to make things better (which is ridiculous given the costs of producing beer these days, as articles have pointed out) being applied to trades and professions (in Ontario, aren't trades now recognized and regulated as a profession?)? If one is comfortable with that, would you be comfortable if the Wynne government had been in charge, or Horwath? Or pick applicable people in one's own province.

And as you note (and as I and others have noted in the past), if one is going to do this, why limit it to law? Perhaps tie education etc. to markets, wouldn't that mean we should force people to study particular subjects in university - if the state deems it appropriate for them to go - based on market needs? Maybe one history student per year per university? Don't get me wrong, I really like history, I'm glad it's a popular course of study, I think it teaches people to think (if taught well), but it's not like there's a strong market demand for historians outside academia (and some research environments).

I liked the Slaw article I referenced because - while I don't agree with everything - the focus was on what's good for the public, that setting goals too high, e.g. higher than competence, has costs and may not benefit the public.

Engineering requires 4 years experience, used to require two. Should law require two years, or four years, not just one? Or would that be setting the level too high and be counterproductive? What if law were a regular undergrad degree (like in UK) and then 4 years of experience were required, like engineering, would that produce better, more competent lawyers, with lower costs of entry to the profession? Or what about entry after 1 year university, and 2 years experience? Aside from the US influence, do we have law as a graduate degree because that's how universities could charge more?

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, BlockedQuebecois said:

To be perfectly frank (because I’ve hedged so much in this conversation), I think anyone who rejects the idea that most law students are within the top 10-15% or so of their generation in terms of academic achievement has lost sight of what the average academic achievement of a Canadian is. Only 25-30% of Canadian adults have a university degree. Even amongst young Canadians, that number only jumps to 34% or so. 

I can agree they have more education than most but do not agree that this makes them the brightest and the best. For some, it just means they are the most privileged. Many university degrees are not challenging at all academically, but the money, support etc that it takes to get to university can be. Those are the barriers to more people having degrees, not their brains. 

Edited by providence
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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, providence said:

I definitely do not think lawyers are the best and brightest. SOME are, but a lot are not. A lot are there through invisible privileges and it annoys me to no end to hear them described this way. Getting a 3.6 in any undergrad program and a 158 LSAT in no way makes you the best or brightest. 

I've always been curious about the connection between high LSAT / GPAs and top-tier lawyers. I view achieving a fantastic LSAT and GPA as indicia of a strong work ethic and ambition, not necessarily intelligence. I think that's what it takes to be a top-tier lawyer, a very strong work ethic and ambition. I'm genuinely not sure, though. I guess this discussion requires a thorough understanding of what we mean by intelligence. Theoretical physicists seem to be brilliant. A top M&A lawyer? I'm not sure. Perhaps you didn't imply what I thought you implied, either. If that's the case, my apologies.

If this is too off-topic, feel free to split or move the post. I would love to hear what people think, though. 

Edit 1 - Reading your most recent post, I think I may have misinterpreted what I quoted. Apologies! 

Edited by TdK

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3 minutes ago, TdK said:

I've always been curious about the connection between high LSAT / GPAs and top-tier lawyers. I view achieving a fantastic LSAT and GPA as indicia of a strong work ethic and ambition, not necessarily intelligence. I think that's what it takes to be a top-tier lawyer, a very strong work ethic and ambition. I'm genuinely not sure, though. I guess this discussion requires a thorough understanding of what we mean by intelligence. Theoretical physicists seem to be brilliant. A top M&A lawyer? I'm not sure. Perhaps you didn't imply what I thought you implied, either. If that's the case, my apologies.

If this is too off-topic, feel free to split or move the post. I would love to hear what people think, though. 

To think intelligence plays zero role in acquiring a high GPA and lsat is just patently false. I also think that, taken together, they point more to cognitive ability than they do hard work and work ethic. I had a good lsat and very high GPA. I have a horrible work ethic, that I've improved over time. I obviously don't make the statistics alone. I'm one data point. All of the data points together make the case.

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20 minutes ago, TdK said:

I've always been curious about the connection between high LSAT / GPAs and top-tier lawyers. I view achieving a fantastic LSAT and GPA as indicia of a strong work ethic and ambition, not necessarily intelligence. I think that's what it takes to be a top-tier lawyer, a very strong work ethic and ambition. I'm genuinely not sure, though. I guess this discussion requires a thorough understanding of what we mean by intelligence. Theoretical physicists seem to be brilliant. A top M&A lawyer? I'm not sure. Perhaps you didn't imply what I thought you implied, either. If that's the case, my apologies.

If this is too off-topic, feel free to split or move the post. I would love to hear what people think, though. 

Edit 1 - Reading your most recent post, I think I may have misinterpreted what I quoted. Apologies! 

High LSATS yes, but not necessarily 155 or 160 after 3 or 4 writes. 4.0 GPAs in tough programs, absolutely. 3.5 in bird courses, not so much. 

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12 minutes ago, pzabbythesecond said:

To think intelligence plays zero role in acquiring a high GPA and lsat is just patently false. I also think that, taken together, they point more to cognitive ability than they do hard work and work ethic. I had a good lsat and very high GPA. I have a horrible work ethic, that I've improved over time. I obviously don't make the statistics alone. I'm one data point. All of the data points together make the case.

I suppose all we'll receive here are individual cases. I think someone with a horrible work ethic who managed to achieve a very high GPA and LSAT would be an outlier, though. In a way, I think you make my point; if you had kept the same work ethic, you'd probably be a terrible lawyer. 

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26 minutes ago, providence said:

I can agree they have more education than most but do not agree that this makes them the brightest and the best. For some, it just means they are the most privileged. Many university degrees are not challenging at all academically, but the money, support etc that it takes to get to university can be. Those are the barriers to more people having degrees, not their brains. 

Yeah, see, I would say that your intellectual privilege is really blinding you to the abilities of the average Canadian. Getting an A average and 158 LSAT easily puts you near the top of the intelligence curve. It doesn't make you a genius, but it probably safely lands you in the top quartile at the very lowest. 

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Just now, providence said:

High LSATS yes, but not necessarily 155 or 160 after 3 or 4 writes. 4.0 GPAs in tough programs, absolutely. 3.5 in bird courses, not so much. 

I suppose you would have to have a great deal of logical intelligence to score a 178 or something similar. Although, what can we say about the person who studies for 8 months, 5 days a week to score that 178? Perhaps they cold-scored a 150. Are they more intelligent than the person who studied for 4 weeks and scored a 160? I don't know the answer, but it's interesting to consider what we view as intelligence. At least I find it interesting. 

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20 minutes ago, providence said:

I can agree they have more education than most but do not agree that this makes them the brightest and the best. For some, it just means they are the most privileged. Many university degrees are not challenging at all academically, but the money, support etc that it takes to get to university can be. Those are the barriers to more people having degrees, not their brains. 

I don't think @BlockedQuebecois was saying they're the best and brightest, but only that they generally have high academic achievement. Which is rather different. And I also recognize that not everyone has the opportunity for much (or sometimes any) post-secondary formal education, let alone people who've been deprived of even more basic education. I generally prefer to socialize with intelligent, knowledgeable (including life experience) people, but that's because they're more interesting to talk to. And if a person lacks a certain basic goodness/niceness, even if they're interesting, I'm not going to tolerate them in more than small doses unless it's to my benefit (e.g. work reasons) to do so. I've met multiple autodidacts without a degree who were intelligent, smart and knowledgeable. And contrariwise, I've met multiple people with extensive formal education and were intelligent by any normal meaning of the word, who were in at least some respects, very stupid - and worse, lacked insight into their condition.

I mean, isn't anyone who rejects medicine in favour of alternative medicine stupid? I don't mean to include as stupid, someone who e.g. has made the choice that the side effects from radiation treatment and chemotherapy are too difficult and that therefore they will not pursue it and they might as well try something alternative, because why not. Or someone who decides e.g. that aggressive treatment that on average shortens their lifespan (because of risk of death) but may give them a better quality of life if successful, those are not stupid decisions. Or someone who while pursuing normal medical advice/treatment tries something along with that, that doesn't interfere with or make less effective the medical treatment, like acupuncture, because, if one feels better and it doesn't harm you and you can afford it, why not?

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