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Which 7 Sister Firm is Most Entrepreneurial?


BayStLwr19

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Appreciating that it is generally the firms outside of the "seven sister" designation that tend to foster more of an entrepreneurial spirit for associates, I am wondering if anyone has any insight as to which seven sister firm(s), if any, would be supportive of associates bringing in business? By support, I mean encouragement, partner willingness to assist and also through allocation of firm resources (i.e. proposal team time, BD budgets (where there is a business case for it), etc.).  Obviously, the types of files being brought in would need to suit the practice in terms of budget and type of work, but I understand some firms are less entrepreneurial than others where the rhetoric is more so: "we only want a certain type of client" or "we don't need any more work so don't even bother".  If anyone has any first hand knowledge of mid- to senior-level associates who get support building their own book, I think that is fairly indicative and I would love to hear at which of Blakes, Stikemans, Osler, McCarthys, Goodmans, Davies or Torys those associates are getting that support. Thank you.

Edited by BayStLwr19
nits.
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20 minutes ago, Barry said:

Ok I’m curious..  Why is it so important to you to “build your own book”? 

To make money? Job security? Portability? There are tons of reasons.

Not sure there is any difference between any of those firms in this area, though. All of them will support you in client development.

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GGrievous
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4 minutes ago, Jaggers said:

To make money? Job security? Portability? There are tons of reasons.

Not sure there is any difference between any of those firms in this area, though. All of them will support you in client development.

Sure but I wasn’t asking why anyone would, I was curious why OP, who I’m assuming isn’t yet in law school wanted to narrow down the biggest firms to that one aspect.

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Kimura
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I think OP is confused - he/she is really looking for Wildeboer Dellelce.

Beat ya'll to it.

Edited by Kimura
Before I get flamed, I'm well aware WD is NOT a 7 sister.
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OP is not interested in a dustbag firm like Wildeboer. Sad, though, that they don't have the horsepower to get in at a place like Morgans, where they will literally feed you both clients and entertainment budget, until you can't take any more of either.

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I am asking because a friend of mine is an associate with a book that is considering a lateral move and they are trying to figure out which of the firms they are considering will facilitate them maintaining and continuing to build that book. I’ve heard that at least a couple specific firms I’ve named are less supportive in this regard and they prefer associates be groomed to support the firms existing institutional clients instead of having associates grow something themselves independently. However, I’d like to hear what people have actually experienced.

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PePeHalpert
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14 hours ago, BayStLwr19 said:

but I understand some firms are less entrepreneurial than others where the rhetoric is more so: "we only want a certain type of client" or "we don't need any more work so don't even bother".  If anyone has any first hand knowledge of mid- to senior-level associates who get support building their own book, I think that is fairly indicative and I would love to hear at which of Blakes, Stikemans, Osler, McCarthys, Goodmans, Davies or Torys those associates are getting that support. Thank you.

I have a hard time imaging a firm saying "we don't need any more work so don't even bother".  It's also a bit strange to me that an associate working on Bay Street, who apparently has enough experience to have started to generate their own book of business, would be so wedded to the idea of only working a seven sisters firm knowing the outdated origins of that term.

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GGrievous
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1 hour ago, BayStLwr19 said:

. I’ve heard that at least a couple specific firms I’ve named are less supportive in this regard

Which ones? 

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45 minutes ago, PePeHalpert said:

I have a hard time imaging a firm saying "we don't need any more work so don't even bother".  It's also a bit strange to me that an associate working on Bay Street, who apparently has enough experience to have started to generate their own book of business, would be so wedded to the idea of only working a seven sisters firm knowing the outdated origins of that term.

Not sure why everyone is so certain the term is outdated.  A quick glance at Chambers for corporate/M&A work on Bay Street shows that the same seven firms continue to dominate:  https://chambers.com/legal-rankings/corporate-commercial-the-elite-ontario-20:2667:12885:1

 

 

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KOMODO
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1 hour ago, CanadaWater said:

Not sure why everyone is so certain the term is outdated.  A quick glance at Chambers for corporate/M&A work on Bay Street shows that the same seven firms continue to dominate:  https://chambers.com/legal-rankings/corporate-commercial-the-elite-ontario-20:2667:12885:1

 

 

Because Bay Street law firms are about more than just their corporate departments, and corporate departments can also be about more than just the type of files that earn high rankings on that list. Nobody is disputing that those seven firms do a great job on very high value corporate transactions, they're just disputing the idea that "seven sister law firm" = "best law firm".

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KOMODO
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17 hours ago, BayStLwr19 said:

.... Obviously, the types of files being brought in would need to suit the practice in terms of budget and type of work, but I understand some firms are less entrepreneurial than others where the rhetoric is more so: "we only want a certain type of client" or "we don't need any more work so don't even bother". ....

This is the issue. Associates looking for support in entrepreneurial pursuits at huge firms with institutional clients can very very rarely bring in the type of work that will fit the firm's expertise / the type of client that can pay the firm's fees. Trust me, if an associate can bring in a major file from a deep pocketed client, any of those firms will fall over themselves to take the work and support the associate. But most of the time, the associate is bringing in work from a startup that can't pay full freight or a family friend whose requirements are just for basic corporate support, and it's not remotely cost effective to take those types of files which aren't recoverable at the same rates.

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WhoKnows
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37 minutes ago, KOMODO said:

This is the issue. Associates looking for support in entrepreneurial pursuits at huge firms with institutional clients can very very rarely bring in the type of work that will fit the firm's expertise / the type of client that can pay the firm's fees. Trust me, if an associate can bring in a major file from a deep pocketed client, any of those firms will fall over themselves to take the work and support the associate. But most of the time, the associate is bringing in work from a startup that can't pay full freight or a family friend whose requirements are just for basic corporate support, and it's not remotely cost effective to take those types of files which aren't recoverable at the same rates.

I'm not so sure even about this. I've heard rumours (that I admittedly can't substantiate) of at least one firm where they do not give matter origination credit to associates, regardless of their role in bringing in the client. They may well be happy to take on the work, but in terms of appropriately crediting the associate, not so much. I've similarly heard of firms that while happy to bring in those clients, won't actually support an associate in trying to seek that work out. 

OP - the best thing your friend can do is to reach out to some current more senior associates at those firms, or to well-known recruiter to get some answers. If they have some friends at one of the 7, it'd be a good time to start asking around. 

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  • 2 months later...
jdavis
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On 2/25/2022 at 9:04 AM, PePeHalpert said:

I have a hard time imaging a firm saying "we don't need any more work so don't even bother".  It's also a bit strange to me that an associate working on Bay Street, who apparently has enough experience to have started to generate their own book of business, would be so wedded to the idea of only working a seven sisters firm knowing the outdated origins of that term.

Right. And frankly if I have a full book of business at that stage of my career, I'm not sure I need that BD support, and I might be interested in a smaller shop where I'm not constantly getting conflicted out of my own clients.

The 12-15 biggest firms are built on 'blue chip' clients. TSX60 types. There's no way a senior associate counts those among their portable book of business. But their clients will be bumping into those companies on a regular basis, and there's no way a scrappy upstart junior partner is rolling into McCarthys (or Faskens or McMillan or BLG) and bumping a senior partner off a RBC or Manulife or Rogers matter.

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On 2/24/2022 at 11:22 PM, Jaggers said:

OP is not interested in a dustbag firm like Wildeboer. Sad, though, that they don't have the horsepower to get in at a place like Morgans, where they will literally feed you both clients and entertainment budget, until you can't take any more of either.

Why is Wildeboer a "dustbag" firm? Can you define this degrading term? Curious.

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CleanHands
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2 minutes ago, jomar said:

Why is Wildeboer a "dustbag" firm? Can you define this degrading term? Curious.

He was being sarcastic, given that Wildeboer is the most elite and competitive firm in the country, offering unparalleled salary, benefits, work-life balance and training, and the opportunity to work on the most important and complex files possible. Calling it "dustbag" is a joke because everyone else in the industry is in awe of Wildeboer and waiting in the wings for any chance to get their foot in the door.

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35 minutes ago, CleanHands said:

He was being sarcastic, given that Wildeboer is the most elite and competitive firm in the country, offering unparalleled salary, benefits, work-life balance and training, and the opportunity to work on the most important and complex files possible. Calling it "dustbag" is a joke because everyone else in the industry is in awe of Wildeboer and waiting in the wings for any chance to get their foot in the door.

Just went to NALP and looks like you are right

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AHappyLawyer
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On 2/25/2022 at 4:58 AM, BayStLwr19 said:

I am asking because a friend of mine is an associate with a book that is considering a lateral move and they are trying to figure out which of the firms they are considering will facilitate them maintaining and continuing to build that book. I’ve heard that at least a couple specific firms I’ve named are less supportive in this regard and they prefer associates be groomed to support the firms existing institutional clients instead of having associates grow something themselves independently. However, I’d like to hear what people have actually experienced.

What kind of book do they have? Is it an acquisitive company? Growing PE roll-up platform? The firms you mentioned (and the others) do have different philosophies, business models and strengths, so I'm curious. 

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