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Leafs1973

Move back to private practice- crazy?

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I am 20 years at the bar. Work for a regulator and make 200k. Hours are great. People are mostly nice.I believe I am good at what I do.

1 problem- I cannot do this for another 15-20 years. So bored of same work. Nowhere appealing to go within organization.

Thinking of a return to private practice. Would be willing to make less. Is this crazy??

thank you.

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Articled clerk here, private practice, but have worked in other environments. I watch those in my firm at various career stages quite closely. So maybe not as much help.

To me I think you'd have to be insane to make that switch. Sounds like you're in a grass is greener situation. There will be boredom a plenty in private practice, especially if you stick in the same practice area as an expert. All jobs suck after a while, but there are very real differences in stress-load. Almost all public positions I've seen have humane work expectations or a union that insulates from high expectations.

If there is a pension attached to your current gig, I'd stick it out until you feel you've got a solid pension to fall back on.

The only reason I'd go to private practice is if you were okay taking a massive pay cut and working as your own boss, solo or in a cost share, and therefore could dictate how you spend your days and which files you take on. I've seen someone who did this after a career in the RCMP (read: pension), keeps his overhead low and seems to live a great life.

Big private practice? I have no idea why any person in their right mind would want to spend time there. But I've also determined that I am not wired the same way as most folks in the legal world, to my nascent career's detriment. So perhaps my words aren't much of a help.

Maybe a secondment or a sabbatical is a better option to recharge the batteries.

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4 hours ago, Leafs1973 said:

I am 20 years at the bar. Work for a regulator and make 200k. Hours are great. People are mostly nice.I believe I am good at what I do.

1 problem- I cannot do this for another 15-20 years. So bored of same work. Nowhere appealing to go within organization.

Thinking of a return to private practice. Would be willing to make less. Is this crazy??

thank you.

With 20 years under your belt, I'm sure you have more insight into the industry than 90% of the people on this board. Having said that, life is way to short to do something that makes you bored. Would you say a lot of your skills are transferable to a private practice roll, and are you looking to stay in the same area?

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I could definitely see a law firm with a substantial regulatory practice hiring this type of candidate in an associate counsel role. Experienced associate counsel can generally negotiate more favourable employment terms, so the hours expectations would be different from a typical associate. Is that what you have in mind?

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Hi there guys, 

Sorry to hijack the thread, but i was wondering if anyone knows about a stigma of going in-house early in one's career. Some folks I've talked to have suggested that moving in-house should be done once you have a few years of firm experience. 

The position I'm looking at is for insurance defence so it may be a different scenario than the above mentioned regulatory position.

Any advice is welcome. Thank you!

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I'm not sure about stigma, but I have a number of friends who went in-house earlier (between 2 and 5 years post-call), and all seem to be very happy. No idea how that translates into their prospects of moving back into private practice or other areas.

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Moving in-house very early on has become more the norm now. I know quite a few Bay Street lawyers moving in-house within the first 2-5 years of practice. It is especially the case for insurance defence which is frankly dying at the firm level, as most of the insurance companies are now hiring in-house counsel. There are also a lot more in-house articling positions now for students., who then transition into counsel roles after their call to the bar.

If you are in insurance defence, I think moving in-house would actually be the smart plan because many of the firms are crashing and burning. Just look at what happened to Hughes Amys and Lawson LLP.

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44 minutes ago, Deadpool said:

Moving in-house very early on has become more the norm now. I know quite a few Bay Street lawyers moving in-house within the first 2-5 years of practice. It is especially the case for insurance defence which is frankly dying at the firm level, as most of the insurance companies are now hiring in-house counsel. There are also a lot more in-house articling positions now for students., who then transition into counsel roles after their call to the bar.

If you are in insurance defence, I think moving in-house would actually be the smart plan because many of the firms are crashing and burning. Just look at what happened to Hughes Amys and Lawson LLP.

While perhaps you've spotted a recent trend (which some lawyers argue operates in a cyclical manner), the health of a firm specializing in insurance defence depends on, unsurprisingly, the clients that the firm maintains, as well as whether the firm specializes further than insurance defence. Are firms that do generic AB and small/medium scale tort files being squeezed out in favour of in-house? Likely. However, something else to consider: it seems that there are many smaller mutual insurers that are not large enough to staff an in-house team, providing great opportunities for private counsel.

It seems that the firms that are feeling the crunch in insurance defence are the myriad of downtown toronto firms that are fighting over the same clients and attempting to justify ridiculous hourly billings while doing so.

There are many other reasons for Hughes Amys and Lawson "crashing and burning" which I choose not to divulge here. However, when you consider the fact that the vast majority of counsel from those firms are currently employed at other private firms (practicing insurance defence), there is some reason to doubt your somewhat apocalyptic outlook re: private practice insurance defence. 

Edited by TdK

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1 hour ago, TdK said:

While perhaps you've spotted a recent trend (which some lawyers argue operates in a cyclical manner), the health of a firm specializing in insurance defence depends on, unsurprisingly, the clients that the firm maintains, as well as whether the firm specializes further than insurance defence. Are firms that do generic AB and small/medium scale tort files being squeezed out in favour of in-house? Likely. However, something else to consider: it seems that there are many smaller mutual insurers that are not large enough to staff an in-house team, providing great opportunities for private counsel.

It seems that the firms that are feeling the crunch in insurance defence are the myriad of downtown toronto firms that are fighting over the same clients and attempting to justify ridiculous hourly billings while doing so.

There are many other reasons for Hughes Amys and Lawson "crashing and burning" which I choose not to divulge here. However, when you consider the fact that the vast majority of counsel from those firms are currently employed at other private firms (practicing insurance defence), there is some reason to doubt your somewhat apocalyptic outlook re: private practice insurance defence. 

Fair enough. I do not work in this area and my thoughts are just from observations and what I've heard from many lawyers in the field. OP will have to do his/her own research and decide what is the best path for them to take moving forward.

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May I ask you how to look for a position like you have. Looking to leave private practice as I cannot balance my life. 

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2 hours ago, pele24 said:

May I ask you how to look for a position like you have. Looking to leave private practice as I cannot balance my life. 

Could you two arrange a swap somehow, officially or even unofficially? Any chance you too look alike - could possibly even have a twin separated at birth? We could really have a plotline here. 

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