I am only a 2017 call already have a few classmates from my year of call doing this. They seem to be doing as well, or better, financially than many of us employed as associates at law firms (full service Bay Street firms aside). But they generally seem a lot happier than those of us working as associates. Perhaps it flows from being their own boss. Or maybe it is all smoke and mirrors, and they are actually financially strapped and full of anxiety. I would imagine part of it is self-selection too, in that those who start their own firms early are more likely to be those that would not be able to tolerate working under a more senior lawyer (or lawyers) as an associate. Who knows. Hopefully some recent calls that have taken the plunge chime in and share their experiences. The conventional wisdom is that starting your own firm with only a few years of experience is too risky. But my anecdotal observations seem to betray that line of thinking.
Both your examples don’t engage access to justice issues. You’re literally saying that certificate clients have too many competent criminal lawyers to go to and that PI clients are able to get access to justice because of the contingency structure PI lawyers use.
Satisfaction is a temporary state. First we are challenged. Then we rise to that challenge. If we succeed, then we are satisfied. Our new found success eventually becomes our baseline. We then want more, we become unsatisfied, and the cycle repeats. Billionaires are not satisfied. Celebrities destroy their lives with drugs. Many top partners suffer from depression/health complications due to overworking themselves.
Imagine if you were, in this moment and for the rest of your life, completely satisfied. Would you ever change, grow, advance? I'd guess this cycle of satisfaction is just human nature, and it keeps us productive and doing things. Buddhism attempts to remove a person from attachments, and presumably enlightenment results in a satisfied state. The things you do don't satisfy you, its the way you think about them.
If you really reflected on yourself, most people would realize they probably don't really care about making $300k+, being the best in their field, or having a prestigious job. Most people could probably live a lifestyle they were happy with making $30k if they had all the things they actually want out of life.
The other thing about this is that the true answers are scary. What if in your reflections, you learn that law isn't for you, you are wasting your life doing it, and you need to be in a far less lucrative career? Or far more risky career? Would you radically alter your life to be where you think you should be? Probably not. After all, most people don't like their job.
On your death bed, will you look back and smile on the year you worked 2,500 hours? Will you be enriched by the vacation your kids are taking to Cabo using your money instead of Cuba? Will you remember how many years it took to pay off that student loan? Will anyone remember your name after the publisher renames your textbook after the new editors? Does your spouse want to hear that one war story from the firm you have told a thousand times that isn't really that interesting to anyone outside your specialty?
It isn't about your career. Its about what your career allows you to do.
But what I’m saying is that a many law students (I would argue most law students) are just going to get the same grades regardless of their effort level (within reason). If I was a B student who would get a B while gunning it and would get a B while slacking, I’d slack.
SCC and ONCA are post Christmas (well into January). I think AB was the only court which had applications due before Christmas, and they required applicants to send their fall grades when they became available.