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Toronto seven sister firms - hours, salaries

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2 hours ago, Deadpool said:

Do people in practice still use this moniker where it has any tangible meaning?

No.

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4 hours ago, easttowest said:

That’s an oddly specific list. But maybe they’ve posted jobs or something.

I didn’t look in this thread, but the title seems promising: 

 

The “Toronto Raises 2020” thread referred to on the last page of that thread is generally accurate.

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Hi OP,

I admittedly don't work at one of the 'classic' seven sisters (Blakes, Davies, Goodmans, McCarthy, Osler, Stikeman, and Torys) nor do I work in Toronto, but I work at an international firm in another busy market. I also find that asking people what time they log on/off every day is not the best manner of testing workload, since there are periods of chaos and calm at big firms so these numbers vary widely week to week or month to month.  It's also so difficult to get a sense of workload this way because some lawyers work 8 am - 7 pm, but only bill 7 hours because they're socializing and browsing the internet in between files or taking a full lunch. Others work 8 am - 5 pm but bill 8 hours because every waking moment is on the clock. 

You may want to ask people how many billable and non billable hours they fulfill a month/year, or just ask more generally what their lives look like. For example, I will clock 1850 billable hours for the year as of next week. Some weeks are hell for me and I hate my life and want to die. Other times I am so happy to be at my job and I have great balance and finish at 4 pm for days straight. I may bill 13 hours one day, but then I'll try and take the next day entirely off to decompress. Overall it's tough to sustain and you sacrifice a lot. Reaching that target is hard and requires a lot of work. I'm sure someone here at a large firm in Toronto can provide some insight into their specific lifestyle. I imagine it's the same though, if not worse.

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Ok I don’t know if this is helpful, probably not, but I know someone that works at a 7 sisters (I google which ones are but tbh I’m still not sure cause the names are slightly different.) but it’s a commercial firm downtown Toronto, and this person is always on vacation. 

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I typically work between 9 and 12 hours most weekdays and generally work at least one of Saturday/Sunday every weekend. A weekend completely off is rare. I tend to bill most of my time, though I'm expected to contribute in non-billable ways too (articles, etc.). I'll have the odd week where I work from 7am until 2-4am every day, but those weeks are relatively few and far between (once every 2-3 months or so) and are typically the result of multiple deals heating up at one time (and there's not a ton you can do about that as a junior). There are also days where I don't bill at all and am told to leave the office at noon. All in all, I've found my schedule to be very unpredictable (which I'm OK with, but many people find frustrating).

That being said, I'm not a litigator, and I'd speculate that litigators at least have a bit more predictability. @Uriel would be able to provide a more useful response.

Edited by Rearden
Apparently I don't know how to @ someone...
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Re: the person saying they know someone always on vacation: perhaps you know a very senior partner. In that case, yes, the person you know might rarely be in the office. In any event, that person is certainly not representative of the vast majority of lawyers on Bay St.

 

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6 minutes ago, easttowest said:

Re: the person saying they know someone always on vacation: perhaps you know a very senior partner. In that case, yes, the person you know might rarely be in the office. In any event, that person is certainly not representative of the vast majority of lawyers on Bay St.

 

Definitely not a partner

but on further investigation I don’t think it’s a 7 sister, just similarly named 

 

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2 hours ago, legallybrunette3 said:

Ok I don’t know if this is helpful, probably not, but I know someone that works at a 7 sisters (I google which ones are but tbh I’m still not sure cause the names are slightly different.) but it’s a commercial firm downtown Toronto, and this person is always on vacation. 

No; it is nonsensical. 

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13 hours ago, easttowest said:

It was likely a COVID cut. A few firms did this. Some have restored the salary and paid back pay. Other firms laid lawyers off, sometimes permanently.

Do we know what the current salaries are?

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1 hour ago, QuincyWagstaff said:

No; it is nonsensical. 

Obviously I didn’t mean it to be representative of the average, just that I know one person that is on bay and vacations A LOT. They may be doing long hours also, but they’re  also getting much more than 3 weeks off a year 

my point being that if OP is asking in terms of work/life balance. This is one anecdotal case of life being balanced. 

Edited by legallybrunette3

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14 hours ago, easttowest said:

It was likely a COVID cut. A few firms did this. Some have restored the salary and paid back pay. Other firms laid lawyers off, sometimes permanently.

There is a difference between tier 1A "sister" firms and 1B firms. The layoffs / paycuts point to this dynamic - to my understanding, no sister firm moved forward with pay cuts or layoffs; the partners simply ate the cost by not taking draws for a few months (and promptly made it up with significant file activity for the balance of the year)…and I have to believe maintaining image and prestige are substantial considerations. Reputationally, a pay cut would send negative signals about the state of a "sister" firm, and in retrospect, the ability for these firms to stay busy during the pandemic point to a slice of the market segment that other, typically "non-sister" firms do not have ready access to. Same goes with matching other sister firms on COVID subsidies, matching payscale raises, etc., with caveat for the Davies outlier.

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14 minutes ago, legallybrunette3 said:

Obviously I didn’t mean it to be representative of the average, just that I know one person that is on bay and vacations A LOT. They may be doing long hours also, but they’re  also getting much more than 3 weeks off a year 

my point being that if OP is asking in terms of work/life balance. This is one anecdotal case of life being balanced. 

IMHO, f you bill enough/get your work done, no one will care how much time you spend out of the office, at least after you've spent a bit of time proving yourself. "Facetime"/being present is important when you start; I think it becomes less important over time. 

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2 minutes ago, conge said:

IMHO, f you bill enough/get your work done, no one will care how much time you spend out of the office, at least after you've spent a bit of time proving yourself. "Facetime"/being present is important when you start; I think it becomes less important over time. 

Of course I’m sure it varies on a bunch of different factors, my only point was that it is possible to have a successful career on bay (this person has been there a few years so I assume they do well for the firm), and also have plenty of time for yourself 

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2 minutes ago, prospective said:

There is a difference between tier 1A "sister" firms and 1B firms. The layoffs / paycuts point to this dynamic - to my understanding, no sister firm moved forward with pay cuts or layoffs; the partners simply ate the cost by not taking draws for a few months (and promptly made it up with significant file activity for the balance of the year)…and I have to believe maintaining image and prestige are substantial considerations. Reputationally, a pay cut would send negative signals about the state of a "sister" firm, and in retrospect, the ability for these firms to stay busy during the pandemic point to a slice of the market segment that other, typically "non-sister" firms do not have ready access to. Same goes with matching other sister firms on COVID subsidies, matching payscale raises, etc., with caveat for the Davies outlier.

I’m not sure why you’re replying to me. Responding to a question about two specific firms that cut salary, I said that in response to COVID, “some firms” cut salary and laid lawyers off. That is true. From the very first post of this thread, the discussion included non-“sister” firms.

 

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9 minutes ago, legallybrunette3 said:

Of course I’m sure it varies on a bunch of different factors, my only point was that it is possible to have a successful career on bay (this person has been there a few years so I assume they do well for the firm), and also have plenty of time for yourself 

Why are you pushing a line you have no knowledge of? You don’t live this person’s life and have no idea how much they work. People who actually work where you’re purporting to speak with authority about disagree with you. 

Is it possible to balance that career and personal time? Yes, sometimes, but also no as well. Things inevitably come up. And I’d be shocked if an associate or partner said they had “plenty of time for themselves” in the sense a normal person would understand that notion. Plenty of time for myself is two solid days in a row away from a keyboard, but I’d be checking email the whole time. Try explaining that to someone who clocks out until Monday every Friday, without fail, and they’d say that sounded crazy. 

Edited by easttowest
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1 minute ago, easttowest said:

I’m not sure why you’re replying to me. Responding to a question about two specific firms that cut salary, I said that in response to COVID, “some firms” cut salary and laid lawyers off. That is true. From the very first post of this thread, the discussion included non-“sister” firms.

 

I am responding to the general sentiment on this forum that the "seven sisters" moniker is unhelpful, outdated, and used only by hyped up law students.

The term still holds fairly well as a general proxy for firms who regularly work in the top tier and charge top rates (which also impacts the type of clients those firms can take on). Of course there are exceptions, but as a matter of branding, the term still has some weight and meaning, and the COVID paycuts / layoffs are a case in point. That's why your post came up as a quote.

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33 minutes ago, easttowest said:

Why are you pushing a line you have no knowledge of? You don’t live this person’s life and have no idea how much they work. People who actually work where you’re purporting to speak with authority about disagree with you. 

Is it possible to balance that career and personal time? Yes, sometimes, but also no as well. Things inevitably come up. And I’d be shocked if an associate or partner said they had “plenty of time for themselves” in the sense a normal person would understand that notion. Plenty of time for myself is two solid days in a row away from a keyboard, but I’d be checking email the whole time. Try explaining that to someone who clocks out until Monday every Friday, without fail, and they’d say that sounded crazy. 

I wasn’t arguing with what anyone said. Where on earth did I “speak with authority”? 

I said above, they might still work long hours. But I know their vacation time, because they detail it at length, and I know they’ve been on Bay Street for a few years. That’s the only info I know. I was hardly “pushing” any line

Again though, not that serious and not worth fighting about. I’ll stand down. just wanted to clarify that I’m not an idiot 😆

Edited by legallybrunette3

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11 minutes ago, legallybrunette3 said:

it is possible to have a successful career on bay (this person has been there a few years so I assume they do well for the firm), and also have plenty of time for yourself 

Is it, though?

I have several friends working at large full-service firms, spanning from their second to fifth year of call. While the workloads vary and some are more efficient than others, I wouldn't say that any have "plenty of time" for themselves.

Maybe it's possible, but it shouldn't be the expectation. High salaries tend to come with significant responsibilities to the firm and its clients, which in turn, tend to limit vacation and down time. 

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1 hour ago, GreysAnatomy said:

Do we know what the current salaries are?

Honestly, I wouldn't bother applying. You seem lazy and lack research skills based on your posts in this thread. It's unlikely you'll get an offer.

(1) relying on the 7 sister title and wildly getting them wrong in your first post

(2) continuing to ask for what current salaries are despite being provided this information by other members of the forum.

Do some digging by yourself, Bay Street firms in general like hard workers that show initiative. 

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