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HopefulJD1992

Salary and Compensation in Edmonton

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I know, I know it's taboo to talk about pay, but my student loans that will need to be paid off after I graduate definitely has large role in where I would like to end up.

I am hoping someone could help me out with what the expected salary would be for an articling student and year 1,2,3... etc year of call might be at the larger regional firms in Edmonton (any info is much appreciated).  I listed some of the larger regional firms in Edmonton for reference, however I would love to hear any feedback from any firms I did not list as well.  Also, do most of the regional firms pay very similar salaries/total compensation, and how do they typically compare to Dentons and BJ here in Edmonton and Calgary, not sure if I will be able to land at either of those two large cahunas, trying to keep my expectations realistic.  

McLennan Ross

Duncan Craig 

Miller Thompson

Bishop & McKenzie

Brownlee

Witten

Field 

Parlee

 

I searched through other posts on here however most info is outdated, well at least I hope so lol, a post from 2006 said 30k was first year associate which can not be true anymore

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10 minutes ago, NucksFTW said:

This is a good starting point: https://www.zsa.ca/salary-guide/

The pay at most of the large firms in Edmonton will be very similar in your first few years.

I have no idea if you have any knowledge or have read anything about this before - but why is Edmonton such leaps behind Calgary? What's happening in Calgary that isn't happening in Edmonton that warrants a wage nearly half of what Calgary associates are making?

Disclaimer: I have seen in the past that there was something weird about the wages reported on this salary guide and how it doesn't adequately reflect wages

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55 minutes ago, thesizzlingwok said:

I have no idea if you have any knowledge or have read anything about this before - but why is Edmonton such leaps behind Calgary? What's happening in Calgary that isn't happening in Edmonton that warrants a wage nearly half of what Calgary associates are making?

Disclaimer: I have seen in the past that there was something weird about the wages reported on this salary guide and how it doesn't adequately reflect wages

Calgary is far and away the business centre of Alberta. Has many more head offices and a much larger business community. Edmonton is a government town. 

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20 minutes ago, Constant said:

Calgary is far and away the business centre of Alberta. Has many more head offices and a much larger business community. Edmonton is a government town. 

Is Calgary’s economy diversified though?  Once the major oil and gas producers begin to further curtail future expansions I have a sneaking suspicion that legal workloads will follow suit and decline.  I would like to think that as Edmonton is the capital of Alberta and has the provincial legislature, new businesses would want to do work inside of Edmonton, as using lawyers who are closer to the regulatory machine that is the government might seem like a tangible benefit?  Furthermore isn’t Edmonton growing at a faster pace compared to Calgary?  

Edited by HopefulJD1992

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1 hour ago, NucksFTW said:

This is a good starting point: https://www.zsa.ca/salary-guide/

The pay at most of the large firms in Edmonton will be very similar in your first few years.

 

1 hour ago, thesizzlingwok said:

I have no idea if you have any knowledge or have read anything about this before - but why is Edmonton such leaps behind Calgary? What's happening in Calgary that isn't happening in Edmonton that warrants a wage nearly half of what Calgary associates are making?

Disclaimer: I have seen in the past that there was something weird about the wages reported on this salary guide and how it doesn't adequately reflect wages

I have heard the same thing in person that the ZSA guide is useful as a starting point but not much else as in many cases it doesn’t apply, although it’s not a magnitude difference between reported and actual, I’ve been told it can be quite deceiving, with the report more often than not skewing down incorrectly as opposed to reporting too high of a number.   

 

Edit: I have read on the forums here that sometimes the numbers are bang on so I guess it’s a lot of YMMV

Edited by HopefulJD1992

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1 hour ago, HopefulJD1992 said:

Is Calgary’s economy diversified though?  Once the major oil and gas producers begin to further curtail future expansions I have a sneaking suspicion that legal workloads will follow suit and decline.  I would like to think that as Edmonton is the capital of Alberta and has the provincial legislature, new businesses would want to do work inside of Edmonton, as using lawyers who are closer to the regulatory machine that is the government might seem like a tangible benefit?  Furthermore isn’t Edmonton growing at a faster pace compared to Calgary?  

Sure in 20 years Edmonton might catch up. Doubt it though. 

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4 hours ago, HopefulJD1992 said:

Is Calgary’s economy diversified though?  Once the major oil and gas producers begin to further curtail future expansions I have a sneaking suspicion that legal workloads will follow suit and decline.  I would like to think that as Edmonton is the capital of Alberta and has the provincial legislature, new businesses would want to do work inside of Edmonton, as using lawyers who are closer to the regulatory machine that is the government might seem like a tangible benefit?  Furthermore isn’t Edmonton growing at a faster pace compared to Calgary?  

I can't speak to the growth of Edmonton, but being near the 'regulatory machine' doesn't seem to matter much. 

It's almost like comparing Toronto and Ottawa. There are a lot more government offices in Ottawa but that doesn't translate into where the business opportunities are. As a result the salaries, cost of living, etc are much higher in Toronto 

Even if Calgary declines I don't think Edmonton will become the province's new business hub

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@HopefulJD1992 If you're worried about knocking down your debt (which I can appreciate), can you temporarily relocate to a more lucrative market for a few years? Might be worth it to work in Calgary at least for the first few years. My understanding is that the cost of living in Calgary is still reasonable (whereas a move to Van or Toronto might not make sense because of the living costs)

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I have been told that Calgary is the second largest legal market in Canada, to give some frame of reference to why salaries are different between cow-town and Edmonton. Not sure if this is still the case, but I wouldn't be surprised.

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17 hours ago, thesizzlingwok said:

I have no idea if you have any knowledge or have read anything about this before - but why is Edmonton such leaps behind Calgary? What's happening in Calgary that isn't happening in Edmonton that warrants a wage nearly half of what Calgary associates are making?

Disclaimer: I have seen in the past that there was something weird about the wages reported on this salary guide and how it doesn't adequately reflect wages

In addition to what was said above, Edmonton also has a lower cost of living, lower billable targets and generally a better work-life balance. I know a couple people who moved down to the Calgary market to cash in on the salaries but ended up popping right back up to Edmonton.

It all depends what you want and what your goals are.

Oh, and some firms in Edmonton will match the Calgary market. Those associates must be living like kings in Edmonton.

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Articling salaries seemed to hover around $50,000 in Edmonton when I was a student (about a year ago). It's possible the bigger firms were a bit higher (I was in a boutique firm), but I would be surprised if articling salaries exceeded $60 or $65k, even at bigger shops. I suspect first-year associates are looking at $65-$75, with a $10-$15 bump each year after that, but YMMV. 

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1 hour ago, jjbean said:

Articling salaries seemed to hover around $50,000 in Edmonton when I was a student (about a year ago). It's possible the bigger firms were a bit higher (I was in a boutique firm), but I would be surprised if articling salaries exceeded $60 or $65k, even at bigger shops. I suspect first-year associates are looking at $65-$75, with a $10-$15 bump each year after that, but YMMV. 

This is pretty accurate.

They are around 55,000-60k for articling now (if you include signing bonus) at most of the bigger shops. BJ and Dentons pay more than the others and the "we pay top of market" firms don't try to match them.

First years are around 77-80k at most firms until January where you'll be around 90-95k (not including bonuses which will vary from 6-30k from the people I've spoken to).

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