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woodyhey

Job Types on Bay St.

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I'm in my first year and as of right now, I would love to work at a corporate, downtown Toronto firm.  I'm just curious as to what the split is between lawyers practicing litigation as opposed to solicitor, more transaction type law? Additionally, are there areas of law which have a larger concentration of lawyers (e.g. tax, securities)? 

Obviously, my preference will be informed by what I enjoy doing but any advice would be helpful in determining questions like whether to be involved in a moot etc.  

 

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14 minutes ago, woodyhey said:

First year if law school at uOttawa.  I'm just thinking ahead to when I graduate...

If Bay Street is your goal, you really should have been exploring those avenues this year so you can make an informed decision next year during OCIs. You likely won't have the chance to participate in any moots prior to November next year. 

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A good place to start is by checking out each firm's NALP page: https://www.nalpcanada.com. While most firms purport to be "full-service", the NALP profiles give you a breakdown of how many lawyers practice in each department.

Overgeneralizing here, but the largest headcount groups in Bay St firms are usually corporate/commercial, banking & financial services, commercial litigation, securities  and other practices where you need to throw a lot of bodies at files. Typically smaller groups would be practices like real estate, tax, competition, labour and employment and IP. The smallest groups may only consist of a handful of partners in areas like environmental, municipal, immigration, aboriginal law, entertainment. Differs firm by firm and what they choose to focus on of course. 

Edited by OzStudent

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52 minutes ago, woodyhey said:

I'm in my first year and as of right now, I would love to work at a corporate, downtown Toronto firm.  I'm just curious as to what the split is between lawyers practicing litigation as opposed to solicitor, more transaction type law? Additionally, are there areas of law which have a larger concentration of lawyers (e.g. tax, securities)? 

Obviously, my preference will be informed by what I enjoy doing but any advice would be helpful in determining questions like whether to be involved in a moot etc.  

 

This is going to vary by firm, but generally I'd think of litigation/advocacy accounting for something like 15-30% of a firm's lawyers, with solicitors/adivsory/planning lawyers accounting for the balance.  There is some overlap between those areas, so for example, you often see labour/employment lawyers handling both solicitor type work and litigation work, ditto tax lawyers dealing with both planning and tax disputes (not necessarily litigation, but administrative appeals and audits) or competition lawyers both advising on deals and handling competition tribunal files.  

Within the solicitor/advisory side, you generally have

(i) Corporate
(ii) Securities
(iii) Real Estate
(iv) Banking/Financial Services/Bankruptcy
(V) Competition
(vi) Tax
(vii) Labour/Employment
(viii) IP
(ix) Commercial (huge area - franchises, licensing, construction, etc.)
(vi) Various others specialized areas (think environmental, pensions, trade/customs - practices that a firm might have one or two practitioners - be careful about telling people you're interested in these areas). 

I've probably missed some, but those are the obvious ones.  Some of those are obviously huge areas, too.  So for example, Securities would include people who do public company M&A and investment fund or structured product work, which are very different practices

Obviously, different firms organize themselves differently and call their groups different things.  And, equally, obviously, there's often a fair bit of overlap between some of those areas.  So, for example, many corporate lawyers also do commercial work M&A transactions, after all, are just big commercial transactions).  Securities lawyers do corporate work and commercial work (their clients tend to be public companies).  Real estate law often overlaps with finance.  And, frankly, to be a tax lawyer you have to be fairly knowledge about matters of corporate, commercial or securities law, since the tax analysis typically builds on it.  

Litigation tends to be more generic in its structure, although you do see tax litigation, IP litigation or labour litigation separate from litigators more broadly (either as part of the tax, IP or Labour group, or in their own group) .  But there's still areas of expertise - people specialize in construction disputes, or securities disputes or class actions.  

Finally, absolutely zero downside to being involved in a moot.  Even if you end up as a solicitor it helps to understand how the contract you drafted will play out in court in a decade.  So its worth getting some exposure to litigation even if you have zero interest in practicing.  

 

 

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