Jump to content
pep

Vancouver Firm Insights

Recommended Posts

I am not from the Vancouver area and feel unfamiliar with the firms in the city. I have done my research on them (as much as you can from a website) and have reached out to a number of individuals at the firms. Hoping that people on this forum might be able to offer some insight on their subjective perspectives on (but not limited to) the following firms. Not looking for answers on who is the "best" just what your general thoughts/opinions/feelings are towards these firms (feel free to add any extras I missed). Thanks! 

Alexander Holburn

Oyen Wiggs 

Harper Grey 

Young Anderson

Guild Yule 

Miller Titerle 

Lawson Lundell

BJs

Gowling 

(please feel free to add what you like) 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Alexander Holburn - Big insurance practice, some solicitors' side work, dealt with some junior lawyers there, nice and smart.

Oyen Wiggs - arguably the best IP boutique in Vancouver, some really smart people there, you need to have solid technology background to get in, they teach IP law @UBC. 

Harper Grey - dominates medical malpractice, some lawyers are gold medal/BCCA level sharp, some are not- you even wonder how they got hired, I have the feeling their turnover rate is a bit high.

Young Anderson - maybe the top municipal law boutique in the town, they teach municipal law @UBC 

Guild Yule -  big player in insurance work, love students who do well in Civil Pro/Evidence and moot (and of course insurance law which they [email protected]

Miller Titerle - little knowledge, hear they are doing well in aboriginal law practice. 

Lawson Lundell - Local/Western firm but doing top transaction/corporate works, strong Asia connections, high turnover rate for juniors.

BJs - smaller office compared to Calgary/Toronto, strong presence in tax practice. 

Gowling -quite small office compared to other offices, generally speaking has a reputation of sweatshop even among big laws.

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, criseaster55 said:

Alexander Holburn - Big insurance practice, some solicitors' side work, dealt with some junior lawyers there, nice and smart.

Oyen Wiggs - arguably the best IP boutique in Vancouver, some really smart people there, you need to have solid technology background to get in, they teach IP law @UBC. 

Harper Grey - dominates medical malpractice, some lawyers are gold medal/BCCA level sharp, some are not- you even wonder how they got hired, I have the feeling their turnover rate is a bit high.

Young Anderson - maybe the top municipal law boutique in the town, they teach municipal law @UBC 

Guild Yule -  big player in insurance work, love students who do well in Civil Pro/Evidence and moot (and of course insurance law which they [email protected]

Miller Titerle - little knowledge, hear they are doing well in aboriginal law practice. 

Lawson Lundell - Local/Western firm but doing top transaction/corporate works, strong Asia connections, high turnover rate for juniors.

BJs - smaller office compared to Calgary/Toronto, strong presence in tax practice. 

Gowling -quite small office compared to other offices, generally speaking has a reputation of sweatshop even among big laws.

Thanks for your insightful information, and it is of great help to those who are seeking "a good fit firm". 

Would you mind provides more insights about firms like: Clark Wilson, Stikeman, RBS, McMillan, Miller Thomson, Farris, and Singleton. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 12/28/2020 at 12:49 PM, criseaster55 said:

Alexander Holburn - Big insurance practice, some solicitors' side work, dealt with some junior lawyers there, nice and smart.

Oyen Wiggs - arguably the best IP boutique in Vancouver, some really smart people there, you need to have solid technology background to get in, they teach IP law @UBC. 

Harper Grey - dominates medical malpractice, some lawyers are gold medal/BCCA level sharp, some are not- you even wonder how they got hired, I have the feeling their turnover rate is a bit high.

Young Anderson - maybe the top municipal law boutique in the town, they teach municipal law @UBC 

Guild Yule -  big player in insurance work, love students who do well in Civil Pro/Evidence and moot (and of course insurance law which they [email protected]

Miller Titerle - little knowledge, hear they are doing well in aboriginal law practice. 

Lawson Lundell - Local/Western firm but doing top transaction/corporate works, strong Asia connections, high turnover rate for juniors.

BJs - smaller office compared to Calgary/Toronto, strong presence in tax practice. 

Gowling -quite small office compared to other offices, generally speaking has a reputation of sweatshop even among big laws.

Thank you very much for taking the time to do this, this is extremely helpful for me (and hopefully others)!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 12/27/2020 at 1:34 PM, pep said:

Miller Titerle 

They've been the talk of the town for the last few years in terms of "firm culture". They're the "hip" and "cool" place to be, but they're a relatively small boutique so space is limited. 

Other boutiques you might want to look into include Owen Bird and Boughton.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 12/28/2020 at 5:04 PM, Franknku said:

Would you mind provides more insights about firms like: Clark Wilson, Stikeman, RBS, McMillan, Miller Thomson, Farris, and Singleton. 

If it helps at all, here's my thoughts and what I've heard for some of these firms.

Clark Wilson: A regional firm similar to Lawson Lundell, however they only have a Vancouver office. Pretty large and full service firm, I've only heard good things about them.

Stikeman: National firm but smaller Vancouver office, mostly solicitor work

RBS: Mid size firm with over 70 different practice areas. Oldest law firm in BC, strong connection to Vancouver, and many of their clients are multi-generational

McMillan: Known for their corporate work, and I've heard their capital markets practice is the best in the city

Miller Thomson: The only notable thing I know about them is that their office is an open-concept design (personally not my cup of tea, but some students might be attracted to it)

Farris: Another BC based, full service firm. My interactions with them haven't been great, they seem to give off a "fratboy" vibe

Singleton: Best construction law boutique in the city

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just want to thank everyone who is posting in this thread. I don't even know if I will be applying to anything in Vancouver, but as someone with zero connections to the legal profession or to the region, it is extremely useful just to have these little tidbits as starting points.

Also

35 minutes ago, rcfc said:

RBS:.... Oldest law firm in BC

Today I learned that there is more than one law firm claiming to be the oldest in BC. (There is one in Victoria which claims the same). Odd and unimportant, but amusing to me, at least. ;)

-GM

Edited by GrumpyMountie
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, GrumpyMountie said:

Just want to thank everyone who is posting in this thread. I don't even know if I will be applying to anything in Vancouver, but as someone with zero connections to the legal profession or to the region, it is extremely useful just to have these little tidbits as starting points.

Also

Today I learned that there is more than one law firm claiming to be the oldest in BC. (There is one in Victoria which claims the same). Odd and unimportant, but amusing to me, at least. ;)

-GM

https://creaseharman.com ?

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, almostnot said:

Yes! I tried to figure out some logical explanation for the discrepancy, but couldn't come up with anything, other than RBS having spent longer under its current name? Of course, I have no idea what criteria are generally used to determine the age of a firm. 

-GM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, GrumpyMountie said:

Yes! I tried to figure out some logical explanation for the discrepancy, but couldn't come up with anything, other than RBS having spent longer under its current name? Of course, I have no idea what criteria are generally used to determine the age of a firm. 

-GM

I suspect they go with whatever criteria they want. (Ex: https://www.guildyule.com/who-we-are/)

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Miller Thomson - high turnover from what I've seen, of 3 people I know who articled with MT, all 3 left shortly after becoming associates

Farris - after law firm tours and OCIs, this was the firm that was least desired by students generally. As mentioned further up on this thread, it had a "frat boy" vibe, and the physical office itself was kind of dimly lit and depressing. After visiting, a number of students suddenly realized how important natural light is in an office space.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, GrumpyMountie said:

Just want to thank everyone who is posting in this thread. I don't even know if I will be applying to anything in Vancouver, but as someone with zero connections to the legal profession or to the region, it is extremely useful just to have these little tidbits as starting points.

Also

Today I learned that there is more than one law firm claiming to be the oldest in BC. (There is one in Victoria which claims the same). Odd and unimportant, but amusing to me, at least. ;)

-GM

Honestly, I wouldn't put too much stock in this thread. No offense to people who have posted. Unless someone has actually worked at a firm or has very close friends who do, I don't really think their opinion is super helpful. Especially if it's based on firm tours or just a general impression. 

There's a lot of firms that seem one way during OCIs but are totally different to actually work at, based on my good friends' candid experiences. And I work at one of the firms mentioned here and I would say my experience is completely different from what people have posted. 

Edited by Starling
  • Like 4
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 minutes ago, Starling said:

Honestly, I wouldn't put too much stock in this thread. No offense to people who have posted. Unless someone has actually worked at a firm or has very close friends who do, I don't really think their opinion is super helpful. Especially if it's based on firm tours or just a general impression. 

There's a lot of firms that seem one way during OCIs but are totally different to actually work at, based on my good friends' candid experiences. And I work at one of the firms mentioned here and I would say my experience is completely different from what people have posted. 

It's generally important to take any/all opinions with a grain of salt. Any given firm culture/environment might be perfect for one person and hell for another. Miller Thomson's open-concept office is a pretty good example of that.

Edited by canuckfanatic
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
58 minutes ago, canuckfanatic said:

Miller Thomson - high turnover from what I've seen, of 3 people I know who articled with MT, all 3 left shortly after becoming associates

Farris - after law firm tours and OCIs, this was the firm that was least desired by students generally. As mentioned further up on this thread, it had a "frat boy" vibe, and the physical office itself was kind of dimly lit and depressing. After visiting, a number of students suddenly realized how important natural light is in an office space.

How things change. Several years ago, when I was interviewing, Farris was among the most desirable. I wouldn’t describe it as “fratty”. 
 

The offices resembled a TV set built for a law firm show. 
 

Miller Thomson, however, I recall being one of the least desirable/prestigious. 

Edited by QuincyWagstaff
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 minutes ago, QuincyWagstaff said:

The offices resembled a TV set built for a law firm show. 

This is what turns a lot of students and young lawyers off these days. Maximum natural light, contemporary furniture, etc. are attractive. Off the top of my head, I've heard a lot of people compliment the Vancouver offices of Norton Rose, Whitelaw Twining, and McCarthy Tetrault.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 minutes ago, canuckfanatic said:

This is what turns a lot of students and young lawyers off these days. Maximum natural light, contemporary furniture, etc. are attractive. Off the top of my head, I've heard a lot of people compliment the Vancouver offices of Norton Rose, Whitelaw Twining, and McCarthy Tetrault.

If you want to talk “frat boy” vibes, this place has to be one of the worst offenders. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, QuincyWagstaff said:

If you want to talk “frat boy” vibes, this place has to be one of the worst offenders. 

This tracks with my experience. To be fair, I can't think of a downtown Vancouver firm that isn't fratty to some degree.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, canuckfanatic said:

It's generally important to take any/all opinions with a grain of salt. Any given firm culture/environment might be perfect for one person and hell for another. Miller Thomson's open-concept office is a pretty good example of that.

 

2 hours ago, canuckfanatic said:

This is what turns a lot of students and young lawyers off these days. Maximum natural light, contemporary furniture, etc. are attractive. Off the top of my head, I've heard a lot of people compliment the Vancouver offices of Norton Rose, Whitelaw Twining, and McCarthy Tetrault.

Definitely agree that different firm cultures might be perfect for one person and hell for another; I'm saying it's very difficult to get an actual feel for the firm's culture/environment unless you work there or know someone who works there well enough that they'll be candid with you.

Using the natural light example, I have heard Farris gives students their own exterior offices with giant windows, whereas only partners and very senior associates get exterior offices at NRF. Not that it matters, obviously NRF is a great firm. Just using it as an example. 

Edited by Starling

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Agreed that you should definitely hear what you take with a grain of salt. Experiences within a firm vary greatly dependent on your practice group, and even based on which partners in that practice group you work with. I know some students and associates at my firm who absolutely love this place while there are others who are very unhappy, largely based on the specific group of partners and clients they work with.

I find overall culture at a firm is set by the senior people at the firm, and at a high-level, it varies between firms based on things like whether you’re actually expected to hit your billable target, how much autonomy partners give associates in terms of their dress code and managing their time, how lavishly the firm lets people spend on wining and dining, whether the office is independent (or whether it’s basically a satellite office for Toronto, which is the case for some national firms in Vancouver), etc. However, even within a firm, the culture can vary greatly between practice groups. Some practice groups at my firm let associates dress casually and show up at the office when they feel like it (within reason), host a lot of social events, and go on trips together, while other groups expect their associates to dress formally every day and show up by 8 am latest, and never host group social events because the partners see themselves more as independent contractors sharing an office rather than a cohesive social unit.

Edited by hitman9172
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, hitman9172 said:

Agreed that you should definitely hear what you take with a grain of salt. Experiences within a firm vary greatly dependent on your practice group, and even based on which partners in that practice group you work with. I know some students and associates at my firm who absolutely love this place while there are others who are very unhappy, largely based on the specific group of partners and clients they work with.

I find overall culture at a firm is set by the senior people at the firm, and at a high-level, it varies between firms based on things like whether you’re actually expected to hit your billable target, how much autonomy partners give associates in terms of their dress code and managing their time, how lavishly the firm lets people spend on wining and dining, whether the office is independent (or whether it’s basically a satellite office for Toronto, which is the case for some national firms in Vancouver), etc. However, even within a firm, the culture can vary greatly between practice groups. Some practice groups at my firm let associates dress casually and show up at the office when they feel like it (within reason), host a lot of social events, and go on trips together, while other groups expect their associates to dress formally every day and show up by 8 am latest, and never host group social events because the partners see themselves more as independent contractors sharing an office rather than a cohesive social unit.

My bosses never really discussed dress code with me or the other associates apart from telling us not to look sloppy. I usually rock a dress shirt and dress pants most days with the occasional tie and suit when I’m in court that day. Do many people have explicit dress codes that are enforced? Seems lame.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.


  • Recent Posts

    • I don’t think this is true. While UofT definitely has higher admission standards than the other schools in Ontario, I don’t think think that directly translates into UofT student = smarter and brighter than all other law students. Even to go to/get into UofT, requires a certain amount of privilege, that not all law students will possess. And there are a number of reasons to choose one school over another. Also, one may be successful at the undergrad level and not as successful at law school, that’s just the nature of the curve. 
    • Osler and AHBL have sent their ITCs. 
    • Above is correct. They do not drop any low grades, they only calculate and consider the cumulative average of your best 2 years of fulltime studies
    • Thank you for your response. Relocating out of GTA/Durham Region isn't possible for me so I will take that under advisement. I appreciate your honesty
    • It's a process to transfer jurisdictions after being called so I agree that you should at least figure out what province you want to live in, and that's where you probably should do articling. That said, I have plenty of friends who articled here in Ontario and left the province when they were done (to go back to their home province or whatever). So it's not a hard and fast rule. If you are truly torn (i.e., don't mind having to leave the province after you've articled), then take the job you think you'll like and is in an area of law that's connected with your interests. If you like criminal law, the good news is that it's federal so anywhere you go after you article will be able to make use of your experience. You may have to learn some local civ pro but that should not be difficult to figure out.

×
×
  • Create New...