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Articling during COVID-19 shutdown

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I will be messaging the LSO tomorrow to seek an official answer, but does anyone have any idea what might happen because of the Ontario court shutdown starting on Tuesday? specifically, I think of the following questions:

1. If our firms don’t have enough work for us to keep going and we essentially do no work for 3-6 weeks, will the law society still consider us to have completed articling requirements? Might they abridge articles based on “compassionate grounds”? 

2. Can a law firm lay off an articling student due to a lack of work? If the office shuts down and other lawyers are temporarily laid off?

3. What happens if the June call to the bar is cancelled? 
 

Also, I realize some people may be less affected than others, but I think everyone is going to be affected in some way. 
 

I know The answers here will be largely speculative, but I think the discussion is interesting and people can update based on the info they receive from the LSO. 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

This is something I've been concerned with since the beginning. The LSO has been completely mum on this, and frankly it's disappointing. 

Edited by whoknows

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How do we think the pandemic will affect hireback rates?

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2 minutes ago, wtamow said:

How do we think the pandemic will affect hireback rates?

Or hiring at all. If you weren't going to be hired back anyway:

1) who is calling people in for interviews right now? 

2) who has budget in an economic downturn to hire?

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2 minutes ago, harveyspecter993 said:

What happened to people who weren't hired back during the last financial crisis? How long did it take them to get jobs?

I've come across several people who articled on Bay Street the year before the last financial crisis and ended up working at smaller firms. They never made their way back to Big Law

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Just now, kakoke said:

I've come across several people who articled on Bay Street the year before the last financial crisis and ended up working at smaller firms. They never made their way back to Big Law

Okay...but that's true of a lot of people, at every time. Frankly, folks, some concern is warranted. As a self-employed practitioner with staff to pay, I'm worried about my cash flow also. But this isn't a marketplace you can control, even at the best of times. Your career will be an endless series of opportunities to either succeed at some goal you've set for yourself, or else fail at that goal and learn to redirect your energy in a new way.

But more simply, no one promised you a career in Biglaw anyway. If that's the only possible future you can imagine for yourself, then planning for other options is a good exercise in all events - regardless of how good or bad the market may be.

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Posted (edited)
20 minutes ago, Diplock said:

Okay...but that's true of a lot of people, at every time. Frankly, folks, some concern is warranted. As a self-employed practitioner with staff to pay, I'm worried about my cash flow also. But this isn't a marketplace you can control, even at the best of times. Your career will be an endless series of opportunities to either succeed at some goal you've set for yourself, or else fail at that goal and learn to redirect your energy in a new way.

But more simply, no one promised you a career in Biglaw anyway. If that's the only possible future you can imagine for yourself, then planning for other options is a good exercise in all events - regardless of how good or bad the market may be.

I completely agree. I fell through the cracks during 2L OCIs and learned this the hard way. I managed to brush it off and got a job at a mid-sized firm that's a national leader in its particular area of specialty. I just find it extremely ironic that some of those people who believe they "won" during OCIs might have actually lost. The shoe might actually go on the other foot in some cases

Edited by kakoke
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10 hours ago, kakoke said:

I completely agree. I fell through the cracks during 2L OCIs and learned this the hard way. I managed to brush it off and got a job at a mid-sized firm that's a national leader in its particular area of specialty. I just find it extremely ironic that some of those people who believe they "won" during OCIs might have actually lost. The shoe might actually go on the other foot in some cases

Eek. Looks like you may have had some toxic classmates.

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Posted (edited)
13 hours ago, wtamow said:

How do we think the pandemic will affect hireback rates?

Assuming biglaw, incredibly negatively. This year's class is going to have a very hard time. 

I'm expecting my articling offer will be honoured, just because they will need the bodies, but I'm not planning on being hired back. Hoping, because it would be nice, but definitely not planning on it.

Edited by easttowest
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13 minutes ago, easttowest said:

Assuming biglaw, Incredibly negatively. This year's class is going to have a very hard time. 

I'm expecting my articling offer will be honoured, just because they will need the bodies, but I'm not planning on being hired back. Hoping, because it would be nice, but definitely not planning on it.

What about government and public interest?

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1 minute ago, wtamow said:

What about government and public interest?

I have no idea, I have no experience with or understanding of either. (just replying so your question doesn't twist in the inter-ether). 

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Posted (edited)

Firms are very concerned about cash-flow. A small (but renowned and profitable) firm an acquaintance works at just laid off quite a few lawyers and is keeping on the rest on reduced wages. I don't think there is any doubt that people just entering the legal market in what will very likely be a recession will have a more difficult time securing permanent employment compared to even just last year, given that both transactional and litigation work has been interrupted for the foreseeable future. Like it will not be the end of the world and everyone ends up where they should be eventually. I think bankruptcy lawyers will have a great go of the next few months however. 

Regarding government, during the last recession they reasonably maintained hiring and funding levels. I don't think government will be affected all that much besides unexpected supplementary budget approvals that will be required to manage the outbreak. I don't work in government anymore however so I could just be flat out wrong; better to ask someone else. 

Edited by adVenture
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2 minutes ago, adVenture said:

Firms are very concerned about cash-flow. A small (but renowned and profitable) firm an acquaintance works at just laid off quite a few lawyers and is keeping on the rest on reduced wages. I don't think there is any doubt that people just entering the legal market in what will very likely be a recession will have a more difficult time securing permanent employment compared to even just last year, given that both transactional and litigation work has been interrupted for the foreseeable future. Like it will not be the end of the world and everyone ends up where they should be eventually. I think bankruptcy lawyers will have a great go of the next few months however. 

Regarding government, during the last recession they reasonably maintained hiring and funding levels. I don't think government will be affected all that much besides unexpected supplementary budget approvals that will be required to manage the outbreak. I don't work in government anymore however so I could just be flat out wrong; better to ask someone else. 

My thoughts exactly... thankful I got some bankruptcy experience in my summer!

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Posted (edited)
8 minutes ago, adVenture said:

Firms are very concerned about cash-flow. A small (but renowned and profitable) firm an acquaintance works at just laid off quite a few lawyers and is keeping on the rest on reduced wages. I don't think there is any doubt that people just entering the legal market in what will very likely be a recession will have a more difficult time securing permanent employment compared to even just last year, given that both transactional and litigation work has been interrupted for the foreseeable future. Like it will not be the end of the world and everyone ends up where they should be eventually. I think bankruptcy lawyers will have a great go of the next few months however. 

Regarding government, during the last recession they reasonably maintained hiring and funding levels. I don't think government will be affected all that much besides unexpected supplementary budget approvals that will be required to manage the outbreak. I don't work in government anymore however so I could just be flat out wrong; better to ask someone else. 

In your opinion, does this extend to articling offers? Can you see many firms revoking articling offers for 2020 summer students?

Edited by kakoke

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I disagree with Diplock. I can't see how firms with zero cash flow will prioritize student programming over paying a few months of survival wages to furloughed staff.

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