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What does your week look like?


3rdPerson
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3rdPerson
  • Law Student

What does your bread and butter client look like?

How specialized do firms get?

Are there lots of sole practitioners?

Could you afford to live in Toronto with only legal aid cases?

Are the working hours and stress as poor as criminal defence?

Is the business just about volume and/or cornering the market on specific language/racial groups? 

The best part of your week?

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Thrive92
12 minutes ago, 3rdPerson said:

Are the working hours and stress as poor as criminal defence?

No Way What GIF by Adele Morse - Stoned Fox Official

I know that criminal defense lawyers don't make alot of money relative to their biglaw counterparts, but in terms of stress and and the working hours, isnt criminal defense just so - so compared to other legal fields?

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3rdPerson
  • Law Student
54 minutes ago, Thrive92 said:

I know that criminal defense lawyers don't make alot of money relative to their biglaw counterparts, but in terms of stress and and the working hours, isnt criminal defense just so - so compared to other legal fields?

Maybe? All I know is that the criminal defence lawyers I have spoken to (not new calls) work 60+ hours, are on call almost all the time, and have unpredicatable income streams and workflow. From the everyday person's point of view I'd call that pretty poor.

I'm sure biglaw has altogether different kinds of difficulties... but the comparison I made is more interesting to me.

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  • 5 weeks later...
Zenith
  • Lawyer
On 8/5/2021 at 6:20 PM, 3rdPerson said:

1. What does your bread and butter client look like?

2. How specialized do firms get?

3. Are there lots of sole practitioners?

4. Could you afford to live in Toronto with only legal aid cases?

5. Are the working hours and stress as poor as criminal defence?

6. Is the business just about volume and/or cornering the market on specific language/racial groups? 

7. The best part of your week?

Since no one is biting, I will take this one:

1. I practice corporate immigration and all my firm clients are large employers.

2. At my current firm, it is pretty much just corporate immigration (i.e. helping employees obtain/maintain work authorization/PR/green card, albeit from an employer-driven perspective). At smaller-sized firms, you do the same thing, but the primary focus would probably be on family immigration cases (e.g. helping a Canadian individual sponsor their foreign relative). There are also other more specialized immigration areas such as refugee protection/crimmigration/immigration litigation (tribunal/Fed court) - I do not practice them, and so I cannot really comment. To my understanding, outside large/established corporate immigration firms, most immigration practitioners will practice a mix of these immigration areas as opposed to just one. Crimmigration (the intersection between criminal law and immigration law) is probably the most difficult area in immigration, but some immigration practitioners choose to specialize in this area and they are really successful.

3. Yes.

4. Cannot comment since I have not done legal aid.

5. Don't know about my criminal defence colleagues, but I work about 40 to 50 hours per week. This is really a soft cap I put for myself after making sure I still reach my yearly target. If I want, I can always work more hours. I don't find my work stressful since I actually like immigration law. When I started initially, the amount of work was overwhelming; however, this is not so much the case now since I am at a career level where I get to delegate work to assistants/junior lawyers.

6. For corporate immigration, it is about volume. Outside corporate immigration, I guess some practitioners are successful in certain foreign language/racial groups though I don't know many. In my opinion , having foreign language proficiency or belonging to certain racial group has less value in immigration law than one might believe. At the end of the day, clients will hire someone who they trust has the legal competency to handle their work; they are not going to really care about what language/racial background you have. If there is any doubt, you can always just hire a foreign language speaker to do the marketing for you. I would say this is particularly important for new calls/juniors to know, since the immigration market can be very tough/unprofitable for new calls/juniors and even for sole practitioners. Instead of trying to cater to a certain language speaking/racial group, I would say focus on building your expertise in a certain area (e.g. crimmigration/litigation/policy advocacy etc.) that will generate referrals from other lawyers.

7. Seeing case approvals/Friday afternoon.

 

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