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UpUpnAway

2 articling Offers but strict deadlines?

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Hi everyone,

Could I get your input on two things?: (1) Which articling position to choose, (2) how to navigate negotiation

Context: My family lives in Victoria (BC), but I did my undergrad and law school in Toronto (so I'm very used to Toronto and having my independence). I received two job offers: one in Toronto, the other in Victoria. 

(1) Which articling position to choose:

Toronto Offer: 

  • solo prac
  • Mostly criminal, but dabbles in other areas
  • offers experience beyond poverty law (which I prefer) 
  • Pay is 50k/annum; 10 month contract; no benefits; no LSO fees
  • Pro: Independence; not poverty law
  • Con: I will pay off student loans slower (will be living alone)

Victoria offer

  • Poverty law
  • Files in varied fields (which I prefer)
  • Pay is TBD (still waiting to receive terms); 12 month contract; PLTC covered; benefits included after 3 mos
  • Pro: Will pay off student loans faster (will be living at home); files in varied fields
  • Con: Lose independence; don't want to do poverty law as career; sounds stressful 

(2) how to navigate negotiation:

The Toronto offer is only available to discuss terms next week, but the Victoria offer has given me until this Friday to decide. Should I email the solo prac & let them know I have another offer (and would thus like to discuss my contract ASAP)? 

I'd appreciate any input on either of these Qs. Thanks! 

 

 

Edited by UpUpnAway
clarification

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Which province you want to have a career in seems like the biggest factor. 

Is the "poverty law" position at a legal clinic or something like that? Those quasi-governmental positions tend to actually be less stressful than private practice. I'm not sure they really pigeon hole people that strongly either. Anecdotally, I articled in "poverty law" as one of three students: I am now a real estate solicitor, one is a criminal lawyer in private practice, and the third is still in the clinic field. 

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7 minutes ago, BringBackCrunchBerries said:

Which province you want to have a career in seems like the biggest factor. 

Is the "poverty law" position at a legal clinic or something like that? Those quasi-governmental positions tend to actually be less stressful than private practice. I'm not sure they really pigeon hole people that strongly either. Anecdotally, I articled in "poverty law" as one of three students: I am now a real estate solicitor, one is a criminal lawyer in private practice, and the third is still in the clinic field. 

It's akin to legal aid but not legal aid. The stress would come from supervising law students while being responsible for my own files. Being that I did not go to LS in BC, I'd be really paranoid of getting a point of law wrong & being held responsible. Thanks, I'm glad to hear your experience. 

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1 hour ago, UpUpnAway said:

(2) how to navigate negotiation:

The Toronto offer is only available to discuss terms next week, but the Victoria offer has given me until this Friday to decide. Should I email the solo prac & let them know I have another offer (and would thus like to discuss my contract ASAP)? 

It is perfectly reasonable to either (1) ask Toronto if they are open to discussing terms earlier, or (2) ask Victoria if they can give you till end of next week. The worst is they will say no. My general sense is that, since this is not articling season, they will be flexible, but particular circumstances can vary.

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Hi all,

I have a dilemma. I have offers from two firms (super grateful!). One firm is solo prac in Toronto, offering $50k/annum for 10 month contract (no benefits, no LSO fees). The other firm is in Victoria BC, small-size, and is offering $44k/annum for 12 month contract (benefits, PLTC and licensing fees covered).

The Victoria firm has given me until this Friday morning to decide (they've made it clear this is a very strict deadline). I informed the Solo Prac about this deadline; I told them it is a strict deadline, and asked if they're able to discuss contract terms either today or tomorrow (ie. before Friday). The Solo prac says they are "absolutely unavailable" before next week Monday. 

This means my hands are tied with the solo prac. I can't negotiate compensation/ LSO fees or anything with them until next week. But the Victoria firm has given me this Friday as deadline.

I feel like I'm being forced to make an uninformed decision. What to do?

Edit: I should add Victoria firm has made it clear there's no hireback, which I don't mind. But solo prac has "slight possibility" of hireback.

Edited by UpUpnAway

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No idea why you would make a second thread about this. 

Just pick your preferred job. It sounds like you have all the relevant details. 

You didn't answer before - do you want to practice in Ontario or BC? That's the huge factor.

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I echo crunchberries - where do you want to practice? 

Regarding the work, the salaries are comparable once you include LSO fees. The type of work will be quite different. Do you prefer litigation? Solicitor work? The crim position will likely involve more varied hours (jail calls, after hour arrests) while I imagine the poverty law position is more business-hours friendly gig.

Though, as an aside, 50k for a crim articling position is quite good. I wouldn't count on negotiating benefits as SPs don't even have them, nor will you likely have your law society fees either - budgets generally are quite firm with SPs. 

You can also have independance in Victoria by not moving in with family. 

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54 minutes ago, BringBackCrunchBerries said:

No idea why you would make a second thread about this. 

Just pick your preferred job. It sounds like you have all the relevant details. 

You didn't answer before - do you want to practice in Ontario or BC? That's the huge factor.

Thanks. I'd enjoy both but I like the idea of BC to start. 

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11 hours ago, UpUpnAway said:

Thanks. I'd enjoy both but I like the idea of BC to start. 

Even this response indicates that you have no idea where you want to practice/live. I'm not sure you should think of this as a transient or short term decision. It probably makes sense to assume that this provincial decision could define where you spend the rest of your life. 

Transferring between provinces in Canada isn't technically difficult as far as I understand but that does not mean it is easy to just up and switch jurisdictions. For most people it would become harder the further they are out of law school - you develop area ties and your accrued knowledge is jurisdiction specific. You already said articling in BC makes you a bit nervous since you went to school in Ontario but you should note that as an articling student your principal is ultimately responsible for the files. Articling is kind of a good context for switching jurisdictions because you have a supportive environment, you can ask all the "stupid" questions you want and those questions are actually expected.  

Basically, if switching jurisdictions makes you uncomfortable now, when you are still a student and you are not even responsible at the end of the day, imagine how uncomfortable it would make you when you are the lawyer actually responsible for everything from the moment you start practicing in the new place.

* big caveat here is that some areas of practice make it much easier to jump around provinces and it actually may not be a big deal. 

Edited by BringBackCrunchBerries

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18 minutes ago, BringBackCrunchBerries said:

Even this response indicates that you have no idea where you want to practice/live. I'm not sure you should think of this as a transient or short term decision. It probably makes sense to assume that this provincial decision could define where you spend the rest of your life. 

Transferring between provinces in Canada isn't technically difficult as far as I understand but that does not mean it is easy to just up and switch jurisdictions. For most people it would become harder the further they are out of law school - you develop area ties and your accrued knowledge is jurisdiction specific. You already said articling in BC makes you a bit nervous since you went to school in Ontario but you should note that as an articling student your principal is ultimately responsible for the files. Articling is kind of a good context for switching jurisdictions because you have a supportive environment, you can ask all the "stupid" questions you want and those questions are actually expected.  

Basically, if switching jurisdictions makes you uncomfortable now, when you are still a student and you are not even responsible at the end of the day, imagine how uncomfortable it would make you when you are the lawyer actually responsible for everything from the moment you start practicing in the new place.

* big caveat here is that some areas of practice make it much easier to jump around provinces and it actually may not be a big deal. 

Wouldn't poverty law and criminal law be two such practices? Assuming poverty law is mostly criminal? I may be wrong.

 

If poverty law is largely dealing with government entitlements, housing, etc than that's obviously not true.

Edited by pzabbythesecond

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28 minutes ago, pzabbythesecond said:

Wouldn't poverty law and criminal law be two such practices? Assuming poverty law is mostly criminal? I may be wrong.

If poverty law is largely dealing with government entitlements, housing, etc than that's obviously not true.

Crim, probably for obvious reasons.

Poverty law I would think not. You tend to deal primarily with provincial statutes and structures. Unless the position is like, crim duty counsel? 

(but I really don't know on either front)

Edited by BringBackCrunchBerries

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35 minutes ago, BringBackCrunchBerries said:

Crim, probably for obvious reasons.

Poverty law I would think not. You tend to deal primarily with provincial statutes and structures. Unless the position is like, crim duty counsel? 

(but I really don't know on either front)

Yeah exactly. My point was it depends on what the organization does as "poverty law". 

That's an umbrella term for different areas of law. Depending on which areas of law they actually handle, it could be very mobile, or very immobile.

In general, I disagree with your statement below. I think this forum tends to over-localize law and minimize transferability of skills.

1 hour ago, BringBackCrunchBerries said:

It probably makes sense to assume that this provincial decision could define where you spend the rest of your life. 

 

Edited by pzabbythesecond
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19 hours ago, UpUpnAway said:

Hi everyone,

Could I get your input on two things?: (1) Which articling position to choose, (2) how to navigate negotiation

Context: My family lives in Victoria (BC), but I did my undergrad and law school in Toronto (so I'm very used to Toronto and having my independence). I received two job offers: one in Toronto, the other in Victoria. 

(1) Which articling position to choose:

Toronto Offer: 

  • solo prac
  • Mostly criminal, but dabbles in other areas
  • offers experience beyond poverty law (which I prefer) 
  • Pay is 50k/annum; 10 month contract; no benefits; no LSO fees
  • Pro: Independence; not poverty law
  • Con: I will pay off student loans slower (will be living alone)

Victoria offer

  • Poverty law
  • Files in varied fields (which I prefer)
  • Pay is TBD (still waiting to receive terms); 12 month contract; PLTC covered; benefits included after 3 mos
  • Pro: Will pay off student loans faster (will be living at home); files i n varied fields
  • Con: Lose independence; don't want to do poverty law as career; sounds stressful 

(2) how to navigate negotiation:

The Toronto offer is only available to discuss terms next week, but the Victoria offer has given me until this Friday to decide. Should I email the solo prac & let them know I have another offer (and would thus like to discuss my contract ASAP)? 

I'd appreciate any input on either of these Qs. Thanks! 

 

 

If you don’t want to do poverty law, don’t take the job. This isn’t rocket science. 
 

The only real question should be whether you should accept the Toronto job, which is something you have to answer on your own and mainly depends on if you would be happy living in Toronto.

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30 minutes ago, pzabbythesecond said:

In general, I disagree with your statement below. I think this forum tends to over-localize law and minimize transferability of skills.

There are non-law reasons that location is sticky. Friends, relationships, home ownership, children... 

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9 minutes ago, BringBackCrunchBerries said:

There are non-law reasons that location is sticky. Friends, relationships, home ownership, children... 

I still disagree that your articling location will, for law reasons or not, determine where you spend the rest of your life.

You determine that. Not your articling location. Not your first legal job. Not your second, third, or 10th.

I'm only saying this because law students already have a tremendous amount of anxiety about what career path they'll be "locked" into with their path right out of law school. Adding to that isn't good when it's simply not true.

Edited by pzabbythesecond
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Just now, pzabbythesecond said:

I still disagree that your articling location will, for law reasons or not, determine where you spend the rest of your life.

You determine that. Not your articling location. Not your first legal job. Not your second, third, or 10th.

I would never say that it would categorically determine that but c'mon - you have to admit that he starting point has a massive influence on where someone ends up living their life. 

If you took a sample of articling students who were on the fence between two jurisdictions before their call, the vast majority stick in the same place they get called. It's probably not even close. 

It's fine to say that switching is possible. Sure, anyone can. Most don't.

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1 minute ago, BringBackCrunchBerries said:

I would never say that it would categorically determine that but c'mon - you have to admit that he starting point has a massive influence on where someone ends up living their life. 

If you took a sample of articling students who were on the fence between two jurisdictions before their call, the vast majority stick in the same place they get called. It's probably not even close. 

It's fine to say that switching is possible. Sure, anyone can. Most don't.

I'm really just looking to clarify for the poster and any other student that they're not "trapped" in that jurisdiction and or field of law. That the vast majority of people tend to stay in the same place and practice area as their articles is a function of choice, not enclosure or "being stuck".

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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.

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54 minutes ago, BringBackCrunchBerries said:

There are non-law reasons that location is sticky. Friends, relationships, home ownership, children... 

A year of life in youth indeed changes many things. One year is one-tenth of one's 20s.

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Why don't you just go live at home for a year, save some money to pay of your debts, and afterwards you can move away from home to downtown Victoria. I think considering that with Covid-19 you can't even do much right now, living at home for a year rent-free isn't necessarily a bad thing. After your articling you can always evaluate what you want to do, try to shift to another area of law if you are unhappy, and leave your parents house. 

Edited by Lawstudent3210
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