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Zina

Quitting 2L Offer

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Bloc's point may have been harsh, but even if we're to assume OP hadn't made up their mind and was looking for reassurance as opposed to advice (how it seems to me given the subsequent posts), OP still decided to continue the interview process with firm 2 AFTER accepting firm 1. That's extremely questionable conduct. In fact it does break the LSUC guidelines (Either directly if they apply to all summer legal employment or indirectly if not) and OP should really have been asking these questions before accepting the offer from firm 1.

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10 minutes ago, msea said:

Why don’t you just take a big step back and realize what you’re saying here. I don’t know the OP and it seems like they might be on the verge of making a bad decision, but if they had already made a decision to go back on their word then they wouldn’t have made a thread. Obviously they want advice, and advice was given.

I don’t know if that advice will be followed, but to imply that someone won’t be a good lawyer or won’t be successful in their chosen career path because they are tempted to do something that they think will be better for their career and life then I think what you wrote says a lot more about you then it does about them.

It's not the temptation that leads me to feel bad for the firm. 

It's the fact that OP broke their commitment to the first firm by continuing to participate in the recruitment at another firm.

In doing so, OP did several things I find inappropriate: 

1) They violated the spirit of their contract with the firm, if not the actual terms of the contract. 

2) They tarnished, or potentially tarnished, their professional reputation before they even had the chance to work a day in the field.

3) They violated their obligations to the regulatory body for the profession they're seeking to enter, risking their ability to be licensed due to their bad character. 

Not only that, but OP came to the internet seeking advice and chose to argue against the opinions of people with actual knowledge of the field (and those without, like me), rather than accepting that advice. 

If I owned a firm in a field in which licensing is a pre-requisite to practice and reputation is key, I would be very upset to find out that my brand new employee may be unable to be licensed and has a tarnished reputation. I'd be even more upset to find out that those things are the result of that student hiding information from me during my recruitment of them.

Edited by BlockedQuebecois
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10 minutes ago, msea said:

Why don’t you just take a big step back and realize what you’re saying here. I don’t know the OP and it seems like they might be on the verge of making a bad decision, but if they had already made a decision to go back on their word then they wouldn’t have made a thread. Obviously they want advice, and advice was given.

I don’t know if that advice will be followed, but to imply that someone won’t be a good lawyer or won’t be successful in their chosen career path because they are tempted to do something that they think will be better for their career and life then I think what you wrote says a lot more about you then it does about them.

Several lawyers every year are tempted to misappropriate trust funds and find it better for their life to do so because they need the money for debts.

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2 minutes ago, providence said:

Several lawyers every year are tempted to misappropriate trust funds and find it better for their life to do so because they need the money for debts.

Quote

Law Society '80%' sure missing lawyer died weeks after millions disappeared from trust

The hunt for missing Toronto lawyer Javad Heydary and millions of dollars in missing trust account funds took a bizarre twist Tuesday when the Law Society said it is now "80%" sure the lawyer died overseas

http://business.financialpost.com/legal-post/law-society-80-sure-missing-lawyer-javad-heydary-has-died-weeks-after-millions-went-missing-from-trust-account

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2 minutes ago, BlockedQuebecois said:

It's not the temptation that leads me to feel bad for the firm. 

It's the fact that OP broke their commitment to the first firm by continuing to participate in the recruitment at another firm.

In doing so, OP did several things I find inappropriate: 

1) They violated the spirit of their contract with the firm, if not the actual terms of the contract. 

2) They tarnished, or potentially tarnished, their professional reputation before they even had the chance to work a day in the field.

3) They violated their obligations to the regulatory body for the profession they're seeking to enter, risking their ability to be licensed due to their bad character. 

Not only that, but OP came to the internet seeking advice and chose to argue against the opinions of people with actual knowledge of the field (and those without, like me), rather than accepting that advice. 

If I owned a firm in a field in which licensing is a pre-requisite to practice and reputation is key, I would be very upset to find out that my brand new employee may be unable to be licensed and has a tarnished reputation. I'd be even more upset to find out that those things are the result of that student hiding information from me during my recruitment of them.

Please don’t get me wrong, I completely agree that once you’ve given your word then that should be final and that you shouldn’t continue looking. 

 

Its another thing entirely if the OP were to actually accept the 2nd offer, I think that would be relatively more serious. But there are way more serious ways someone could breach the LSUC guidelines than doing some interviews after accepting a 2L position. Does it reflect badly - yes. Is it a mistake - yes. But I have to take issue with implying that someone won’t be a good lawyer or that a firm will be unhappy with their work or unhappy to have them just because of something relatively minor like the situation so far as it’s been made clear.

 

No one’s been murdered here but everyone seems pretty excited to rush down off Mt. Pious to admonish the OP for something that in all likelihood (assuming the 2nd offer isn’t taken) really isn’t the end of the world.

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6 minutes ago, providence said:

Several lawyers every year are tempted to misappropriate trust funds and find it better for their life to do so because they need the money for debts.

Surely though you have to see a difference between that and a 2L student doing an interview when they shouldn’t have. 

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2 minutes ago, msea said:

Please don’t get me wrong, I completely agree that once you’ve given your word then that should be final and that you shouldn’t continue looking. 

 

Its another thing entirely if the OP were to actually accept the 2nd offer, I think that would be relatively more serious. But there are way more serious ways someone could breach the LSUC guidelines than doing some interviews after accepting a 2L position. Does it reflect badly - yes. Is it a mistake - yes. But I have to take issue with implying that someone won’t be a good lawyer or that a firm will be unhappy with their work or unhappy to have them just because of something relatively minor like the situation so far as it’s been made clear.

 

No one’s been murdered here but everyone seems pretty excited to rush down off Mt. Pious to admonish the OP for something that in all likelihood (assuming the 2nd offer isn’t taken) really isn’t the end of the world.

Does their attitude give you comfort that they won’t accept it?

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1 minute ago, msea said:

Please don’t get me wrong, I completely agree that once you’ve given your word then that should be final and that you shouldn’t continue looking. 

 

Its another thing entirely if the OP were to actually accept the 2nd offer, I think that would be relatively more serious. But there are way more serious ways someone could breach the LSUC guidelines than doing some interviews after accepting a 2L position. Does it reflect badly - yes. Is it a mistake - yes. But I have to take issue with implying that someone won’t be a good lawyer or that a firm will be unhappy with their work or unhappy to have them just because of something relatively minor like the situation so far as it’s been made clear.

 

No one’s been murdered here but everyone seems pretty excited to rush down off Mt. Pious to admonish the OP for something that in all likelihood (assuming the 2nd offer isn’t taken) really isn’t the end of the world.

Hey, to each their own. 

As someone that's been involved in hiring decisions in the past, I can say I would be incredibly frustrated to find out that a brand new employee lied to me. If I were in either firm's place and discovered the dishonesty, I wouldn't be offering the student an articling or associate position. If I could swing it, I would be telling them they won't be working for me that summer (but if you need the bodies, you need the bodies). 

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1 hour ago, providence said:

You accepted their offer knowing what they were paying, and made a binding agreement with them.

Yes but did they give him a peppercorn 

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36 minutes ago, thereleasestg said:

Yes but did they give him a peppercorn 

I like you 

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Accept the 2nd offer, it'll reopen a posting for people who still need jobs. If we're lucky, it'll open two. 

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10 hours ago, providence said:

And you got unanimous advice - turn down the second firm explaining you already took an offer (but you can certainly let them know you would still like to be considered for articles as your position does not offer them) and work at the first firm as you agreed to. That is your only choice.

The answer to this question could turn on the representations firm 1 made to him. If, after interviewing with firm 1, they PRESSURED him into accepting the offer by a deadline prior to his already scheduled interview with firm 2, then I see absolutely no bad faith here and he can accept the 2nd offer. That said I’m not certain how the process works...my hunch is firm 1 made it seem like he had to accept or lose the opportunity, which wouldn’t bind him to the agreement at all because there was duress.

If it isn’t a situation like that, then I agree OP unfortunately pulled the trigger too quickly on firm 1 and will have to stay the course, keeping his hopes up for articling. 

Edited by thereleasestg

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8 minutes ago, thereleasestg said:

The answer to this question could turn on the representations firm 1 made to him. If, after interviewing with firm 1, they PRESSURED him into accepting the offer by a deadline prior to his already scheduled interview with firm 2, then I see absolutely no bad faith here and he can accept the 2nd offer. That said I’m not certain how the process works...my hunch is firm 1 made it seem like he had to accept or lose the opportunity, which wouldn’t bind him to the agreement at all because there was duress.

If it isn’t a situation like that, then I agree OP unfortunately pulled the trigger too quickly on firm 1 and will have to stay the course, keeping his hopes up for articling. 

Yeah of course they would make it seem like that. What would be the consequence for them? They would have to go through the entire recruitment process for them at a less than ideal time... there was not duress; with all due respect, that is ridiculous. Please think of the position these firms are in when they take the significant financial risk on you as a 2L. If you don’t make them money, trust me, they and their entire firm and family feels it. It’s much more noticeable than you may think. They are not taking advantage of you, or anything of the like, they are being reasonable and responsible in their circumstance and honestly doing the student a favour. You make money on 2nd-5th year associates, not articling students.

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17 minutes ago, thereleasestg said:

The answer to this question could turn on the representations firm 1 made to him. If, after interviewing with firm 1, they PRESSURED him into accepting the offer by a deadline prior to his interview with firm 2, then I see absolutely no bad faith here and he can accept the 2nd offer. That said I’m not certain how the process works...my hunch is firm 1 made it seem like he had to accept or lose the opportunity, which wouldn’t bind him to the agreement at all because there was duress.

If it isn’t a situation like that, then I agree OP unfortunately pulled the trigger too quickly on firm 1 and will have to stay the course, keeping his hopes up for articling. 

1

This is not how duress works. No court in the world would void an employment contract based on the fact that the offer was time limited. 

Hell, no court in the world would void any contract based on the fact that the offer was time limited. In fact, the fact that contract offers are time limited is considered in the common law both explicitly, in that firm offers are not binding (corrected by statute in some jurisdictions), and implicitly, in that acceptance must be communicated within a reasonable timeframe. If the common law voided contracts because there was a time limitation on acceptance both of those doctrines would be unnecessary, and the reasonable timeframe requirement would violate the common law's own rule against time limitations.

Edited by BlockedQuebecois
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17 minutes ago, thereleasestg said:

The answer to this question could turn on the representations firm 1 made to him. If, after interviewing with firm 1, they PRESSURED him into accepting the offer by a deadline prior to his already scheduled interview with firm 2, then I see absolutely no bad faith here and he can accept the 2nd offer. That said I’m not certain how the process works...my hunch is firm 1 made it seem like he had to accept or lose the opportunity, which wouldn’t bind him to the agreement at all because there was duress.

If it isn’t a situation like that, then I agree OP unfortunately pulled the trigger too quickly on firm 1 and will have to stay the course, keeping his hopes up for articling. 

The deadline to make and accept offers is set by the law society and everyone knows when and what it is. The "pressure" is built into the process. That's not duress. 

If you know you have 2 interviews, and you prefer Firm B because they're paying more and can offer articles, then it is your responsibility to either not accept Firm A, or let both firms know your dilemma, or if you choose Firm A because Firm B isn't getting back to you, to reconcile yourself to letting Firm B go. 

There are plenty of times in practice when you'll have hard ethical choices to make, and this isn't duress. 

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44 minutes ago, thereleasestg said:

The answer to this question could turn on the representations firm 1 made to him. If, after interviewing with firm 1, they PRESSURED him into accepting the offer by a deadline prior to his already scheduled interview with firm 2, then I see absolutely no bad faith here and he can accept the 2nd offer. That said I’m not certain how the process works...my hunch is firm 1 made it seem like he had to accept or lose the opportunity, which wouldn’t bind him to the agreement at all because there was duress.

If it isn’t a situation like that, then I agree OP unfortunately pulled the trigger too quickly on firm 1 and will have to stay the course, keeping his hopes up for articling. 

Reading their post again, it seems like they applied to both firms, got an offer from Firm A and nothing from Firm B, and Firm B just recently contacted them months later (I assume maybe Firm B's student bailed on them for some reason, or they were able to add another student.) So there was no pressure or duress with Firm A... it was the only offer they had and while it was less than ideal, it was an offer, so they took it. And when they did, they created a binding contract. The exact reason for that is to protect both parties - a "better" firm can't just hire your student away at the last minute, and a student can't jump ship and leave a firm high and dry at the last minute.  Edit: and a firm can't change their mind and hire a "better" student and get rid of the one they've already committed to when it's too late for them to find another job.

Edited by providence
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3 minutes ago, providence said:

Reading their post again, it seems like they applied to both firms, got an offer from Firm A and nothing from Firm B, and Firm B just recently contacted them months later (I assume maybe Firm B's student bailed on them for some reason, or they were able to add another student.) So there was no pressure or duress with Firm A... it was the only offer they had and while it was less than ideal, it was an offer, so they took it. And when they did, they created a binding contract. The exact reason for that is to protect both parties - a "better" firm can't just hire your student away at the last minute, and a student can't jump ship and leave a firm high and dry at the last minute. 

Fair enough...Obviously I know contracts are all time limited to a degree, but I thought maybe if firm 1 made it seem like there's a line of candidates waiting to get in and if you don't accept within X unreasonable time frame, we're giving it to someone else, I don't think that would be contracting in good faith (wouldn't be duress, because it was still a voluntary agreement, i misused the terminology)...but if we're talking several months then it's not an issue. OP should drop firm 2 

Edited by thereleasestg

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Just now, thereleasestg said:

Fair enough...Obviously I know contracts are all time limited to a degree, but I thought maybe if firm 1 made it seem like there's a line of candidates waiting to get in and if you don't accept within X unreasonable time frame, we're giving it to someone else, I don't think that would be contracting in good faith...but if we're talking several months then it's not an issue. OP should drop firm 2 

But that is exactly how the recruitment process works - the firm doesn't have to say that, because everyone knows that. You can't sit on an offer from a firm for weeks or months as that is unfair to the other applicants.

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