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Compensation in and around Vancouver: 2018 Edition

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I have compiled a list of salaries and other compensation structures that I have come across in 2018. I can't say whether this list is representative of other peoples' experiences, but I figured it might be useful to someone else as there is not a lot of posted information regarding salaries (especially at smaller firms). The list below is for firms in and around Vancouver. Hope this helps!

 

Articling:

 

Small solicitor’s firm in Vancouver: $20,000

Small full-service firm in Vancouver: $30,000

Small debt collection firm in Surrey: $30,000

Large full-service firm in Vancouver: $55,000

 

 

First Year Associate:

 

Sole practitioner (full-service): Individual lost money

Fee split 65(firm)/35 (lawyer), firm provided no business: Individual lost money

Small debt collection firm in Surrey: $40,000

Fee split 60 (firm)/40 (lawyer), firm provided files: Individual earned approximately $45,000

Small firm in Surrey (legal aid crim & family): $50,000

Sole practitioner (corporate law), individual had connections from articling firm: $60,000

Small family boutique in Vancouver: $60,000

Small family firm in Surrey: $60,000

Small civil litigation firm in Victoria: $60,000

Small real estate firm in Surrey: $60,000

Small business law firm in Vancouver: $60,000

Small personal injury firm in Vancouver: $70,000

Mid-sized full-service firm in Fraser Valley: $80,000

Large family firm in Vancouver: $80,000

Large insurance defense firm in Vancouver: $80,000

Large full-service firm in Vancouver: $94,000

Large full-service firm in Vancouver: $100,000

 

Second Year Associate:

 

Small family firm in Vancouver: $70,000

Small debt collection firm in Vancouver: $75,000

Fee split 50/50, firm provided no files: $75,000

Fee split 60 (firm)/40 (lawyer), firm provided files: $80,000

Large insurance defense firm in Vancouver: $80,000

Mid-sized full-service firm in Fraser Valley: $90,000

Mid-sized full-service firm in Abbotsford: $90,000

Large family firm in Vancouver: $90,000

Large full-service firm in Vancouver: $105,000


 

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Based on what it costs to live in Vancouver what you're telling me is that I'll be on a ramen and Mr. Noodle diet until I'm a 2 year call... awesome.

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It’s not going to get better either - probably worse with the new caps on MVA cases coming in next year. MVA PI was one of the few bright spots outside of Biglaw but that is about to change. It will affect both the plaintiff and defence side. Many civil lit firms are about to scale back their hiring as a result.

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On 9/1/2018 at 8:42 PM, Lawby said:

Based on what it costs to live in Vancouver what you're telling me is that I'll be on a ramen and Mr. Noodle diet until I'm a 2 year call... awesome.

If you're working at some of the lowest-paid positions in the City, then yes, maybe. 

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I'm a current articling student at a big firm downtown, and I'm hearing rumblings that other firms are increasing their articling salary? Any insight on this because I'm really hoping that my firm follows the trend if true! 

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1 minute ago, Cruizer said:

I'm a current articling student at a big firm downtown, and I'm hearing rumblings that other firms are increasing their articling salary? Any insight on this because I'm really hoping that my firm follows the trend if true! 

You are assuming they'd increase it retroactively instead of just for next year?    They've already got you, why would they pay you more?  

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21 minutes ago, kurrika said:

You are assuming they'd increase it retroactively instead of just for next year?    They've already got you, why would they pay you more?  

Point taken - you got me. Still curious as to whether it is true that articling salaries are going up.

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Most big firms in Vancouver are currently paying $55,000 for articling students (went up from $50,000 last year, in 2017). However, I have heard that one of the big firms is now paying $65,000 for articling students, and that other firms may follow suit.

For first year associates, many big firms are paying between $101,000 and $104,000 base salary. Some pay a bit more (usually $106,000 or $108,000, with a very small handful paying even more). Approximately $10,000 per year increase for each corresponding year of call. 

 

Edited by hitman9172

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6 hours ago, hitman9172 said:

Most big firms in Vancouver are currently paying $55,000 for articling students (went up from $50,000 last year, in 2017). However, I have heard that one of the big firms is now paying $65,000 for articling students, and that other firms may follow suit.

For first year associates, many big firms are paying between $101,000 and $104,000 base salary. Some pay a bit more (usually $106,000 or $108,000, with a very small handful paying even more). Approximately $10,000 per year increase for each corresponding year of call. 

 

About goddamn time.

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On 9/5/2018 at 7:20 AM, ronlawyer1420 said:

It’s not going to get better either - probably worse with the new caps on MVA cases coming in next year. MVA PI was one of the few bright spots outside of Biglaw but that is about to change. It will affect both the plaintiff and defence side. Many civil lit firms are about to scale back their hiring as a result.

You think so? The cap only applies to a relatively narrow field of injuries (I think the most controversial exclusions are things like PTSD), and there's a dispute process in the CRT that can be used to argue for an exemption when borderline cases are in dispute between ICBC and the plaintiff. I could imagine that the amount of disputes over if the cap applies could compensate at least somewhat for the lost litigation, especially for defence work.

Edited by bobainia

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18 hours ago, bobainia said:

You think so? The cap only applies to a relatively narrow field of injuries (I think the most controversial exclusions are things like PTSD), and there's a dispute process in the CRT that can be used to argue for an exemption when borderline cases are in dispute between ICBC and the plaintiff. I could imagine that the amount of disputes over if the cap applies could compensate at least somewhat for the lost litigation, especially for defence work.

Not sure the cap is so narrow as you say.  In Alberta, the cap is fairly narrow but I see the BC legislation captures chronic pain, STI, psych conditions including depression/PTSD unless certain conditions are met  - such as having an injury lasting one year or more plus established by regulation (likely an ongoing functional impairment). I believe the AG and ICBC were trying to cap maybe 60-80% of all claims.  We'll know more when the actual regulations come out in November 2018.

The CRT process is designed to cut down on lawyer involvement and the tribunal will be considered an "expert tribunal" so judicial reviews will be hard.  The idea is for adjusters to attend instead of defence counsel once the system is established after a year or so. So, I'm thinking there will be a major hit to PI practice bar both plaintiff and defence in BC.

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7 hours ago, ronlawyer1420 said:

Not sure the cap is so narrow as you say.  In Alberta, the cap is fairly narrow but I see the BC legislation captures chronic pain, STI, psych conditions including depression/PTSD unless certain conditions are met  - such as having an injury lasting one year or more plus established by regulation (likely an ongoing functional impairment). I believe the AG and ICBC were trying to cap maybe 60-80% of all claims.  We'll know more when the actual regulations come out in November 2018.

The CRT process is designed to cut down on lawyer involvement and the tribunal will be considered an "expert tribunal" so judicial reviews will be hard.  The idea is for adjusters to attend instead of defence counsel once the system is established after a year or so. So, I'm thinking there will be a major hit to PI practice bar both plaintiff and defence in BC.

Yeah, I'm not super familiar with the cap, I just briefly read an article about it before posting. I guess my assumption was that broken bones and/or 12 months of impairment (I didn't see the part about 'and meets prescribed criteria' until you pointed it out) were far more common in accidents than they actually are. That's a bummer.

Edited by bobainia

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Can someone shed light on the salaries again. How much is the salary in Abbotsford and Chilliwack for first and second year associate.

 

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Any updates on what full service/Bay St equivalent firms are paying in Vancouver these days? 

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6 minutes ago, Prospero said:

Any updates on what full service/Bay St equivalent firms are paying in Vancouver these days? 

NALP has a decent breakdown. Generally though:

2nd Year Student: $1250/wk

Articling: $65,000

1st Year: $105,000

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7 minutes ago, Smorr53 said:

NALP has a decent breakdown. Generally though:

2nd Year Student: $1250/wk

Articling: $65,000

1st Year: $105,000

Man that seems low given cost of living in Van. But thanks for the info

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2 hours ago, Prospero said:

Man that seems low given cost of living in Van. But thanks for the info

Basically any salary in any field seems low once you factor in Vancouver’s housing costs. 
 

If you actually need to work for a living, you’ll feel poor in Vancouver. 

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