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How much does a Bay Street partner make?


keenerbeaver
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keenerbeaver
  • Law Student

It seems like there's a pretty standard salary scale across law firms for associates, but I wasn't able to find very much information about how much partners - new and experienced - make at big law firms in Toronto. Does anyone have any insight into this?

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Telephantasm

It varies significantly across firms and within firms. For example, Osler has a reported profit-per-equity-partner of over $1mil whereas Gowling's is $392,500. But there are so many obvious issues with relying on those numbers as metrics. For one, they're from a 2018 self-reported survey, and numbers like that can vary a lot over a short period of time. For another, profit-per-equity-partner does not equal profit-per-partner because some firms have salaried partners. For another another, a lot of that profit is likely reinvested or otherwise contributed to something such that it does not find its way into the pockets of the equity partners. Finally, consider that different firms have different compensation models, such that experience level matters less than how much business the partner brings in. So a greenhorn breadwinner might be bringing in a larger slice of the pie than an older partner who chose to spend more time with their family.

That's probably an unsatisfactory answer, but the crux of the matter is that partner salaries are kept fairly confidential in Canada and you're unlikely to find an answer that rings true outside of a particular firm.

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BlockedQuebecois
  • Lawyer
9 hours ago, Telephantasm said:

Osler has a reported profit-per-equity-partner of over $1mil whereas Gowling's is $392,500.

Not that I have a particularly grand opinion of Gowling, but that number seems quite low. You sure that isn’t in either GBP or USD?

Edited by BlockedQuebecois
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Rashabon
  • Lawyer

Appears to be pulled from a wiki with 2017 revenue for a random sample of firms, and it’s in USD. No idea if the numbers are accurate

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chicken

I've heard numbers from $300,000 to $1.5 million. And this is just what I heard, no one really knows. Bay street partners if you are on this forum... tell us! 

Edited by chicken
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Aureliuse
  • Lawyer

Pro Tip: Look at some family law decisions involving Bay St partners where spousal/child support is an issue.

For example: This one is from Oslers.

https://www.canlii.org/en/on/onsc/doc/2020/2020onsc4948/2020onsc4948.html?autocompleteStr=mantello&autocompletePos=1

Look at paragraphs 19 and 67.

There are other divorce cases involving Bay St partners, but many are too old to gauge recent income trends.

Edited by Aureliuse
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  • 1 month later...
QueensGrad
  • Lawyer
2 minutes ago, spacecadet said:

"Equity partner compensation [at Blakes] ranged from $625,000 to $5,250,000. The average was about $1.4-million." Source: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/article-wage-gap-between-male-female-equity-partners-at-top-law-firm-averages/

Pretty much as expected. Hourly rate of $500-$1000+, 2000 hours per year, minus 30% overhead, plus some additions (creating the outliers) based on file generation by rainmakers. 

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asparagus4444
  • Lawyer
2 hours ago, QueensGrad said:

Pretty much as expected. Hourly rate of $500-$1000+, 2000 hours per year, minus 30% overhead, plus some additions (creating the outliers) based on file generation by rainmakers. 

I think it’s also interesting when you consider a lot of partners are probably working significantly lower hours than their associates (anywhere from 1000 - 1500) depending on group. They also are probably taking a slice off of whatever those associates bring in, ex. average mid level at $400/hr for 1700 hours = $680,000 in gross income brought in by each associate (with a salary reduction of 130k or 150k to that gross). I wish we knew what targets were for each equity partner but I’m sure there’s huge discrepancies based on billing rates.

Really speaks to the fact that associates should work for people they like, considering how much firms profit vs actual salaries.

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Sometimes I feel like I shouldn't have left, but I do like my cushy $200K nine to five job with no hustling for clients.

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asparagus4444
  • Lawyer
5 minutes ago, Jaggers said:

Sometimes I feel like I shouldn't have left, but I do like my cushy $200K nine to five job with no hustling for clients.

Honestly, this is a great deal. The longer I stay on Bay, the more I can’t figure out whether I want to move in-house to have an actual life, stick it out for a shot in the dark at Canadian partnership, or go south to make double for my same hours. Really torn between my options at the moment. 

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I don't even really know how my life would be any different with all that money. I'd probably have a nicer apartment, but other than that, I pretty much have everything I want.

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1 hour ago, Jaggers said:

I don't even really know how my life would be any different with all that money. I'd probably have a nicer apartment, but other than that, I pretty much have everything I want.

Do you have an insight into what partners actually do with the money they make? Even accounting for two kids in private school, a mortgage on a nice house, and one or two German cars you'd still have a six figure sum left over every year on the kind of money these guys make. Do they just stuff it all into retirement funds? 

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QueensDenning
  • Law Student
8 minutes ago, Orbis said:

Do you have an insight into what partners actually do with the money they make? Even accounting for two kids in private school, a mortgage on a nice house, and one or two German cars you'd still have a six figure sum left over every year on the kind of money these guys make. Do they just stuff it all into retirement funds? 

Add in a divorce, a cottage in Muskoka and adult kids that can’t support themselves and I imagine it could dwindle away pretty quick. 

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Barry
  • Law Student
15 minutes ago, Orbis said:
1 hour ago, Jaggers said:

 

Do you have an insight into what partners actually do with the money they make?

Probably not taxes

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  • 2 weeks later...
Kimura
  • Law Student
On 9/30/2021 at 1:57 PM, Orbis said:

Do you have an insight into what partners actually do with the money they make? Even accounting for two kids in private school, a mortgage on a nice house, and one or two German cars you'd still have a six figure sum left over every year on the kind of money these guys make. Do they just stuff it all into retirement funds? 

Hopefully plan to retire early - that'd be the dream!

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Kimura
  • Law Student
24 minutes ago, Jaggers said:

They are insecure and require the validation that work provides. Plus they have spent four decades ignoring their family, and aren't about to start spending time with them at 65.

Having worked on Bay St, do you think you would have been able to balance commitments to family while pursuing partnership track? 

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I remember once at the firm, they put on a session about work-life balance, and the partner they found talked about how she made it a goal to have dinner with her family twice a week. That may have been the moment I checked out for good.

I get that some people do better at this than the person they put up to talk to us. But it just underlined for me how the firm did not give a fuck about anyone's family, that they thought this was a good model to teach to junior associates.

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QueensGrad
  • Lawyer
16 hours ago, Jaggers said:

They are insecure and require the validation that work provides. Plus they have spent four decades ignoring their family, and aren't about to start spending time with them at 65.

Lol come on. A lot of these people just love to work. 

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CleanHands
  • Articling Student
2 hours ago, QueensGrad said:

Lol come on. A lot of these people just love to work. 

Yes, who wouldn't love pouring over documents for 70 hours a week so that Walmart can pay fewer taxes and mining companies can exploit slave labour in Eritrea?

Oh, wait...literally every damn person on the planet.

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