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Keith123

Headed to the U.K. in the fall

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1 hour ago, QuincyWagstaff said:

You have not even started articling, correct? I'd hold off a year or two before opining that. 

I borrowed minimally and worked during law school.  I went to another Canadian school, eschewing U of T and paying about 1/3 the tuition. 

Enjoy your $1700 payments, hope you don't find yourself on EI after your articling term ends.

I'll be leasing a fine Italian sports car with that sum, instead. 

Thank you for your response. Luckily I don't have these $1700 payments and I hope that no one finds themselves on EI after articling. If you ever are open to sharing more of your wisdom and practical knowledge over a long open road,  I won't turn down the experience to ride in one of your leased fine Italian sports cars haha 🚘

Edited by Jacq

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2 hours ago, QuincyWagstaff said:

You have not even started articling, correct? I'd hold off a year or two before opining that. 

I borrowed minimally and worked during law school.  I went to another Canadian school, eschewing U of T and paying about 1/3 the tuition. 

Enjoy your $1700 payments, hope you don't find yourself on EI after your articling term ends.

I'll be leasing a fine Italian sports car with that sum, instead. 

I have no horse in this race or anything; but I really gotta ask:

 

what in the sweet fuck is your problem?

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1 hour ago, Jacq said:

Thank you for your response. Luckily I don't have these $1700 payments and I hope that no one finds themselves on EI after articling. If you ever are open to sharing more of your wisdom and practical knowledge over a long open road,  I won't turn down the experience to ride in one of your leased fine Italian sports cars haha 🚘

I've seen it happen.

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Many articling positions aren't even intended to be a door for hireback. That's even ignoring the fact that in many cases the student isn't hired back due to funding issues, better competition, poor performance, etc.

Contract employment should always be assumed to be temporary. So a safe assumption is that EI post articling is wholly a possibility. For how long depends on the market at the time, and the candidate. 

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I've got no particular stake in this discussion to this point, but to the extent that this conversation has become about financial realities, there are some strikingly ignorant opinions in this discussion. The fact is, significant debt requiring monthly payments that rival or exceed rent for many people - that's crippling to anyone's finances unless they are earning an income that is likewise significantly higher than usual. That's just a matter of simple math.

The two unstated assumptions in this conversation are that every qualified lawyer earns a lawyer's income consistently and without periods of unemployment, and that everyone working as a lawyer earns a high income. And both are, to be direct, simply false.

To the first ignorant assumption, it's a fallacy and tendency of students who hang around on this site (and likely students everywhere) to focus only on the hurdle immediately in front of them and to imagine that everything past this hurdle is smooth sailing. Students applying to law school imagine if they only get it it'll all work out. Students attending law schools in the UK imagine that if they just finish law school it'll work out. And yes, students who have found articles and are facing the reasonable guarantee of getting called to the bar imagine that after they've become lawyers, it'll all work out. That isn't true. Lawyers struggle to maintain employment. They find themselves unable to secure long-term positions. They struggle. Not always, but sometimes. And without regular employment, anyone's finances are bad. Someone with significant debt is super screwed - probably to the point of true destitution if it lasts any length of time.

To the second ignorant assumption, even lawyers who have regular and steady employment are not guaranteed a high income. I've said before that Canada is in better shape than the U.S. in this regard, and I stand by this. In Canada, it's basically impossible to work as a lawyer and not earn a decent income - but that's a decent income by ordinary standards. Let's say, $45-50k at minimum. And obviously many lawyers do far better than this, and incomes go up over time as with any career. But many lawyers do hover at the bottom end of lawyerly income - making what qualifies as a reasonable income by any normal standard, but just isn't enough to cover monthly debt payments of the sort under discussion here.

Elsewhere on this site, there are students literally getting hard at the news that Big Law firms are now paying articling students as much as $1,900/month. Numbers like those are generally all you hear in many law circles. But let me clear, once again - this is just not the reality for the majority of the legal marketplace. You can hope for this sort of income if that's the sort of career you're looking for - that is to say, Big Law - but let's just agree it can't possibly be guaranteed. And it's really just a fallacy of students (again, an ignorant one) that if articling students are earning X over there, that this is somehow representative of income everywhere in the legal marketplace. Again, just not true.

Anyway, I'll leave it alone now. But before we mislead other students, or allow students posting here to mislead themselves, it just needs to be restated. You can't base your willingness to tolerate debt on the presumption of a Big Lawesque income. It's just not the sort of thing you can or should assume, or lead anyone else into assuming.

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1 hour ago, Diplock said:

Elsewhere on this site, there are students literally getting hard at the news that Big Law firms are now paying articling students as much as $1,900/month. Numbers like those are generally all you hear in many law circles. But let me clear, once again - this is just not the reality for the majority of the legal marketplace. You can hope for this sort of income if that's the sort of career you're looking for - that is to say, Big Law - but let's just agree it can't possibly be guaranteed. And it's really just a fallacy of students (again, an ignorant one) that if articling students are earning X over there, that this is somehow representative of income everywhere in the legal marketplace. Again, just not true.

**$1,900/week. Though I think they typo emphasizes your point that the numbers being thrown around aren't representative of what many lawyers actually bring in.

To OP: when planning out debt, assume the worst and base your debt load on what you can pay when shit inevitably hits the fan. You will be paid well as a lawyer but a lot of the time it's backloaded to the end of your career. Plan on the lower end of the pay spectrum when you are articling, junior (and midlevel to some extent in some practices). 

$1700 is a lot anywhere you practice. Let's not forget that a lot of the salaries thrown around for lawyers are commensurate with cost of living in the jurisdiction and the hours your work.

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1 minute ago, setto said:

**$1,900/week. Though I think they typo emphasizes your point that the numbers being thrown around aren't representative of what many most lawyers actually bring in.

To OP: when planning out debt, assume the worst and base your debt load on what you can pay when shit inevitably hits the fan. You will be paid well as a lawyer but a lot of the time it's backloaded to the end of your career. Plan on the lower end of the pay spectrum when you are articling, junior (and midlevel to some extent in some practices). 

$1700 is a lot anywhere you practice. Let's not forget that a lot of the salaries thrown around for lawyers are commensurate with cost of living in the jurisdiction and the hours your work.

Fixed that.

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22 minutes ago, erinl2 said:

Fixed that.

I don't have the data or experience to make that statement, so I'll defer to your expertise. Any actual data on lawyer's total compensation is frustratingly hard to find. It's akin to finance... but with professional corporations fudging the numbers even more.

You look at docs like this:

http://www.quadcom.gc.ca/archives/2007/Media/Pdf/2007/Resources/CommentsNavigant Report.pdf

And get the impression that most lawyers are making $1,900/wk (~98k/yr) (or at least they were in 2007). But the sample sizes are small and it's wrought with statistical issues.

At the end of the day, it doesn't change my stance: don't base loan repayment on some figure you think is guaranteed. Nothing is.

Edited by setto
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1 hour ago, setto said:

I don't have the data or experience to make that statement, so I'll defer to your expertise. Any actual data on lawyer's total compensation is frustratingly hard to find. It's akin to finance... but with professional corporations fudging the numbers even more.

You look at docs like this:

http://www.quadcom.gc.ca/archives/2007/Media/Pdf/2007/Resources/CommentsNavigant Report.pdf

And get the impression that most lawyers are making $1,900/wk (~98k/yr) (or at least they were in 2007). But the sample sizes are small and it's wrought with statistical issues.

At the end of the day, it doesn't change my stance: don't base loan repayment on some figure you think is guaranteed. Nothing is.

The $1900/wk was for students, not lawyers. Most articling students are not making anywhere close to $1900/wk.

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6 hours ago, erinl2 said:

The $1900/wk was for students, not lawyers. Most articling students are not making anywhere close to $1900/wk.

He wasn't talking about the $1900/wk being paid by McCarthys, he's talking about how the survey suggests most lawyers were purported to be earning more than $98K annualized in 2007 (which works out to $1900/wk).

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Leaving aside any other methodological issues with this survey, in a discussion about the debt that law students graduate with, an industry-wide picture of how much all lawyers are earning isn't relevant. No matter what area of practice someone is in, their income will almost inevitably rise over time. So comparing 30-year calls among first year lawyers is just silly. Not to say the survey was silly in context, since it was trying to find reasonable compensation for judges. But it isn't of serious use in this discussion.

This is one of these times I don't need a survey, even if there was a good one, and I'd reject hard data even if it were available. Statistical evidence won't tell you the reality out there. And I'm simply telling you there are many lawyers, well into journeyman practice, who are still trying to scrape into the $80K+ income range that too many of you are blithely assuming is an articling student's entry wage. There are also a lot of lawyers doing very well financially - I don't need a survey to tell me that, either. It's the assumption that everyone's income looks like that, and that we can safely saddle all graduating students with six-figure debt, that freaks me the hell out. It just isn't true.

I'll go one farther, and throw in some macro-level financial analysis for anyone who wants to think about it deeply for a moment. If we assume a marketplace than can and will pay the cost of whatever lawyers happen to cost, and if we jack up the price of the raw materials involved (in this case, the education of lawyers) then the marketplace will eventually just have to pay more. And that's a fine theory for private clients with a lot of money. But what drives me crazy is that you know, you all fucking KNOW, that legal services aren't only used by large corporations and privately wealthy individuals. Even those who aspire to working for large corporations should at least be able to observe reality and appreciate that ordinary people also use lawyers, and poor people need lawyers too, sometimes, whether they want to need them or not. How could anyone imagine that these clients could absorb the passed-on costs of lawyers graduating with massive debt to pay off? How could anyone other than an ignorant ass imagine that the lawyers serving these clients are also rolling in money? Where the fuck do you imagine the money is coming from?

The government just announced massive cuts to Legal Aid funding. This is how lawyers get paid when they work for people who need legal help but can't possibly pay for it themselves. The government theoretically has lots of money - they raise taxes as they need to and allocate within their priorities. They could pay lawyers more. But instead, they are cutting to the bone. This is just one example, of course, and I could write for pages and pages. But do you think that just because law schools choose to charge more tuition, that the government automatically pays more to the lawyers who agree to represent the truly impoverished? Even I think that's insane. Law schools can't charge whatever the hell they want and then hope to pass on the debt-servicing of their graduates to the taxpayers. And you'd be amazed how many lawyers in the marketplace are ultimately being paid out of the public purse in some form or other.

Anyway, I'm done. But the bottom line takeaway is this. Pull your heads out of your asses and look at the whole legal marketplace.

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On 7/6/2019 at 10:26 AM, erinl2 said:

No one is going to the UK because it's less expensive than U of T. 

Didn't say that. Was commenting on the high cost of tuition at U of T. Generally speaking, you wouldn't think leaving the country to attend law school abroad would be cheaper, in this case it might be.

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