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swedsled

Law Career in BC Questions

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Hi everyone, I am currently fresh in university and considering pursuing a future career as a lawyer here in BC. I’ve heard many mixed opinions about this career, and am trying to weigh the pros and cons. 
 

1. What is the job market like (saturation, opportunities) for the Thompson-Okanagan region in interior BC? Current and predicted? 
 

2. Regarding the previous question, what does an average salary in the Thompson-Okanagan region look like? Both for articling/first few years and beyond? I’m trying to get a more personified answer than the Canada job bank statistics. 

I’m guessing it must differ noticeably from the average in say, Vancouver, due to smaller firms. I know this can be a difficult answer but reason for asking is concerns regarding student loans. 
 

3. How much truth and exaggeration is there to the talk about the extremely long hours that lawyers work? I’ve heard tales of the wealthy lawyer who has time for all other pursuits which I’m sure is unrealistic but on the flip side I’ve heard stories about 80-90 hour weeks. 
 

4. Any other insights into the career/schooling (preferable here in good old BC) would be much appreciated. 
 

Thanks! 

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1. and 2. - I would contact TRU admissions; they probably have the best information on this topic. If you want to work in that region, it's honestly probably the best school for you to go to because you'll show you're committed to living in the area and I'm sure networking opportunities will be better. Firms in smaller cities/towns worry a lot about flight risks. 

3. You wouldn't be working hours like that in the Interior in civil lit/solicitor work, according to my friends who are working there. They work like 9-6. Some other points: 

  • The only wealthy lawyers I know who don't work a lot are rainmaker partners at Big Law firms in Vancouver, presumably Toronto as well.
  • If you're working in a major city at a Big Law firm, you'll have weeks with those hours but it's certainly not every single week. Usually when you're in trial as a litigator or on a bunch of closings as a solicitor.
  • I think Crim/Family gets super busy too but I'm probably the least qualified person on this forum to talk about either of those practice areas. 

4. What kinds of insights are you looking for? I'm articling in Vancouver, happy to try to answer some questions. Just can't think of anything too helpful off the top of my head. Haha. 🙂 

Edited by Starling
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On 1/21/2021 at 3:13 AM, swedsled said:

1. What is the job market like (saturation, opportunities) for the Thompson-Okanagan region in interior BC? Current and predicted? 

Kelowna and Kamloops are both growing quite a bit. The job market seems pretty good. When I was cold applying to firms for articling I had more interview offers in the Thompson-Okanagan than the Lower Mainland.

TRU is the only school that offers Interior BC OCIs, and outside of OCIs firms in that region still prefer TRU grads. Some downtown Vancouver firms have opened up satellite offices in Kelowna (Lawson Lundell, Farris, Murphy Battista).

On 1/21/2021 at 3:13 AM, swedsled said:

2. Regarding the previous question, what does an average salary in the Thompson-Okanagan region look like? Both for articling/first few years and beyond? I’m trying to get a more personified answer than the Canada job bank statistics. 

I’m guessing it must differ noticeably from the average in say, Vancouver, due to smaller firms. I know this can be a difficult answer but reason for asking is concerns regarding student loans. 

Depends greatly on the firm you end up at. The "big" firms in this region are going to pay less than equivalent firms in the lower mainland because cost of living is lower (though not by much).

If I had to guess, the average articling student in the interior probably makes $30-$40k, bumped up to $60-$70k as a first year associate. Possibly $45-$55k during articles if you're at a bigger firm like Fulton & Co, Morelli Certkow, Farris, Lawson.

On 1/21/2021 at 3:13 AM, swedsled said:

3. How much truth and exaggeration is there to the talk about the extremely long hours that lawyers work? I’ve heard tales of the wealthy lawyer who has time for all other pursuits which I’m sure is unrealistic but on the flip side I’ve heard stories about 80-90 hour weeks. 

I think @Starling is right about less strenuous hours in general, but ultimately it depends on several factors: practice area, firm culture, and who you are as a person. I have friends who don't need to work 90 hours a week but they do it anyway because they're workaholics. I'm working 45ish hours a week as an articling student in the lower mainland at a mid-size firm, and I'm still getting all my work done.

You'll make more money the more you work, but it's not worth it for everyone.

On 1/21/2021 at 3:13 AM, swedsled said:

4. Any other insights into the career/schooling (preferable here in good old BC) would be much appreciated. 

If your goal is to work in the interior, TRU provides an advantage because of its relationship to local firms and their interior OCIs. However, the tuition is 2x what UBC and UVic costs. You'll still be able to secure a job in the interior with a UBC/UVic law degree, but you'll have to do more leg work on your own to find opportunities.

Try reaching out to these schools' career services offices for more information.

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Thanks @Starling and @canuckfanatic for the thorough advice and info. You guys answered the majority of my questions, I just went ahead and emailed TRU Law Admissions for more info. 
 

Pretty stoked to have found this forum, I’ll definitely be back here next time I have a question. Cheers :)  

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