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Salaries & 1st Year Associate Jobs


Chief Keef
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Chief Keef
  • Articling Student

Anyone got any information on first year associate salaries at boutiques in Toronto like Hull & Hull, Goddard Gamage, Tupman & Bloom etc?

Also, more generally, does anyone have advice for getting into one of these firms after articling at a full-service regional firm?

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Mountebank
  • Lawyer

I don't have direct knowledge, but no one else has answered and I know a bit about the market.

First, in W&E, if you're hiring a new call then you tend to prefer to hire from within if you can (I.e. your own students whom you've trained). There's a mild need for mid-level calls in Wills & Estates (and an even greater need for senior associates) in various parts of the province so there are from time to time a few boutiques outside of Toronto who are actively looking and even more who, though not actively looking, would entertain resumes. If you're offered hire back at your current firm, you may try to get a couple years experience under your belt first before trying to do a lateral move provided that they can offer you a W&E position. 

Some of these firms also like to see the TEP designation. Perhaps your current firm would support you in studying for this?

The foregoing applies more to the solicitor side of things. If you're thing is estate litigation, then there are greater opportunities for that.

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pinball
  • Lawyer

I feel for W&E solicitors. There's plenty of work, but they're getting squeezed hard at the lower end of the market, with DIY wills kits and smaller firms/Axess offering to do wills for a very low flat fee. This can lead to W&E mid/senior associates not being able to charge their usual hourly rate (or having to deeply discount fees), as fewer clients want to pay $300-$500/hour to have their wills done. But as noted above, I've heard estate litigation is still booming.

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Chief Keef
  • Articling Student
2 hours ago, Mountebank said:

I don't have direct knowledge, but no one else has answered and I know a bit about the market.

First, in W&E, if you're hiring a new call then you tend to prefer to hire from within if you can (I.e. your own students whom you've trained). There's a mild need for mid-level calls in Wills & Estates (and an even greater need for senior associates) in various parts of the province so there are from time to time a few boutiques outside of Toronto who are actively looking and even more who, though not actively looking, would entertain resumes. If you're offered hire back at your current firm, you may try to get a couple years experience under your belt first before trying to do a lateral move provided that they can offer you a W&E position. 

Some of these firms also like to see the TEP designation. Perhaps your current firm would support you in studying for this?

The foregoing applies more to the solicitor side of things. If you're thing is estate litigation, then there are greater opportunities for that.

Thanks for this. Fortunately I’m interested in both so it seems like getting some litigation experience is a good idea. Will definitely look into the TEP designation.

1 hour ago, pinball said:

I feel for W&E solicitors. There's plenty of work, but they're getting squeezed hard at the lower end of the market, with DIY wills kits and smaller firms/Axess offering to do wills for a very low flat fee. This can lead to W&E mid/senior associates not being able to charge their usual hourly rate (or having to deeply discount fees), as fewer clients want to pay $300-$500/hour to have their wills done. But as noted above, I've heard estate litigation is still booming.

Thanks for the input! I’m sure the will kits are definitely helping bring business to the litigation side at least

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Mountebank
  • Lawyer
13 minutes ago, Chief Keef said:

Thanks for this. Fortunately I’m interested in both so it seems like getting some litigation experience is a good idea. Will definitely look into the TEP designation.

Thanks for the input! I’m sure the will kits are definitely helping bring business to the litigation side at least

Will kits have been around for years. The factors leading to the current demand for estate litigation are multiple, but have a lot more to do with the current transfer of wealth and, in particular, the value of land, more than anything else.

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plainview
  • Articling Student

Hey guys, looking to bump this topic in re: salary expectations for 1st year associates.

In August I’ll be beginning articling at a smaller estate litigation firm in Toronto, at a 50K plus benefits salary. Wondering what’s reasonable to expect if they ask me to continue on as an associate next year? The firm does estate planning, administration, and litigation. I would, presumably, be hired back for estate litigation. I’ve looked around for a market salary range but can’t really pin anything down. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

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Mountebank
  • Lawyer
On 6/16/2021 at 2:11 PM, plainview said:

Hey guys, looking to bump this topic in re: salary expectations for 1st year associates.

In August I’ll be beginning articling at a smaller estate litigation firm in Toronto, at a 50K plus benefits salary. Wondering what’s reasonable to expect if they ask me to continue on as an associate next year? The firm does estate planning, administration, and litigation. I would, presumably, be hired back for estate litigation. I’ve looked around for a market salary range but can’t really pin anything down. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Since no one else answered, I'll say that $50k for your articles is already slightly low for an estate litigation boutique in Toronto.

As far as comp for an associate goes, that would be all over the map especially with smaller firms and may or may not have a fee split model.

Word to the wise for anyone interested in estate litigation, the smartest boutiques get most of their work from solicitor colleagues. So make connections with as many Estate lawyers as you can.

Word to the wise for anyone interested in solicitor work, some of these boutiques pay referral fees so make some connections of your own 😉

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hdhfbskefjhbsjk
  • Lawyer

I'm starting as a first year associate for a firm that does real estate, wills and estates, and corporate (strictly solicitor, no litigation). I'm in Kingston, but there haven't been many responses and I thought it might help to compare. I'm starting at $60,000 for the rest of the year (July-December, I went to Lakehead so I don't have to article) and they are covering the LSO fees, LawPro insurance, and any CPD, and I'm starting with 6 sick days and 3 weeks paid vacation a year. 

I'm a big believer in sharing salaries so that we can all get a better idea of what's out there. I am not super sure what is considered normal in terms of benefits, so if anyone has any input, that would be great! Let me know if you have any questions. 

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  • 2 weeks later...
crepetastic
Posted (edited)
On 6/8/2021 at 11:09 AM, Mountebank said:

I don't have direct knowledge, but no one else has answered and I know a bit about the market.

First, in W&E, if you're hiring a new call then you tend to prefer to hire from within if you can (I.e. your own students whom you've trained). There's a mild need for mid-level calls in Wills & Estates (and an even greater need for senior associates) in various parts of the province so there are from time to time a few boutiques outside of Toronto who are actively looking and even more who, though not actively looking, would entertain resumes. If you're offered hire back at your current firm, you may try to get a couple years experience under your belt first before trying to do a lateral move provided that they can offer you a W&E position. 

Some of these firms also like to see the TEP designation. Perhaps your current firm would support you in studying for this?

The foregoing applies more to the solicitor side of things. If you're thing is estate litigation, then there are greater opportunities for that.

Sorry to hijack your thread OP -- I just had a bit of a tangential question for this very kind commenter. I didn't take Estates in law school, nor did I take Real Estate. I did quite well in property though and I understand the concepts fairly well. My knowledge of estates law is limited to my property course + the many hours of personal research I've done working in estates at my law firm as a summer student. I have a basic understanding of it, but definitely not a lot of depth. If I didn't take Estates in law school, could I still work at an W&E firm at a later point in my career/for articling? Or would I need to take some sort of professional seminar offered by the OBA? 

Thank you in advance. 

Edited by crepetastic
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Mountebank
  • Lawyer
Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, crepetastic said:

Sorry to hijack your thread OP -- I just had a bit of a tangential question for this very kind commenter. I didn't take Estates in law school, nor did I take Real Estate. I did quite well in property though and I understand the concepts fairly well. My knowledge of estates law is limited to my property course + the many hours of personal research I've done working in estates at my law firm as a summer student. I have a basic understanding of it, but definitely not a lot of depth. If I didn't take Estates in law school, could I still work at an W&E firm at a later point in my career/for articling? Or would I need to take some sort of professional seminar offered by the OBA? 

Thank you in advance. 

Taking the course would have been helpful, but like any practice area you do a lot of learning on the job. Find someone who specializes in this area and work under them for a few years. Do your articles in this area if you can. In the meantime, there's a lot of CPD and commentary available to help you. You can also take the diploma course through the Society of Estate and Trust Practitioners, which is internationally recognized and in-depth.

Edit: btw, I didn't take real estate in law school either and so I learned it along the way. But it definitely put me at a disadvantage and not having taken the course in school is a regret of mine. I took both Estates courses and they were definitely useful.

Edited by Mountebank
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  • 2 weeks later...
maybemaybe
  • Applicant
On 6/23/2021 at 8:16 AM, hdhfbskefjhbsjk said:

I'm starting as a first year associate for a firm that does real estate, wills and estates, and corporate (strictly solicitor, no litigation). I'm in Kingston, but there haven't been many responses and I thought it might help to compare. I'm starting at $60,000 for the rest of the year (July-December, I went to Lakehead so I don't have to article) and they are covering the LSO fees, LawPro insurance, and any CPD, and I'm starting with 6 sick days and 3 weeks paid vacation a year. 

I'm a big believer in sharing salaries so that we can all get a better idea of what's out there. I am not super sure what is considered normal in terms of benefits, so if anyone has any input, that would be great! Let me know if you have any questions. 

what kind of firm is this? big, medium, boutique? this sounds like a great job, congrats!

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