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Working as a Crown - Answering Questions


Judgelight
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N. Mink
  • Lawyer

@Thrive92 LOL, NO. 

I just sidled up to the office and turned on the charm. May not work if you’re not particularly charming, of course. 

1 minute ago, Hegdis said:

Every legal aid office has some one that needs help right now, or is a difficult client generally, or who just needs a goddamn lawyer to walk by and be available for five minutes. Be the lawyer who checks in, says hello, helps some one out in the moment without getting paid. Do a good turn and you're going to get it back tenfold.

Aside from being just decent behaviour, it gives you a good reputation with the people on the ground. They are the ones who have the power to point clients to you.

100% this.

I definitely took some clients that more experienced counsel wouldn’t (or couldn’t any longer) represent.  

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I should mention that Crown are also a good source of clients, believe it or not. If they're running a crazy bail court, and some one in the back is turning themselves in on a warrant but is visibly nodding off or tweaking or looking like they are going to bolt, Crown are going to be scanning the room for defence who can just stand up and get the file moving along. From there, if you can't land a client, you're in the wrong practise.

 

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Thrive92
  • Applicant
5 minutes ago, N. Mink said:

I just sidled up to the office and turned on the charm. May not work if you’re not particularly charming, of course. 

6 minutes ago, Hegdis said:

Every legal aid office has some one that needs help right now, or is a difficult client generally, or who just needs a goddamn lawyer to walk by and be available for five minutes. Be the lawyer who checks in, says hello, helps some one out in the moment without getting paid. Do a good turn and you're going to get it back tenfold.

2 minutes ago, Hegdis said:

I should mention that Crown are also a good source of clients, believe it or not. If they're running a crazy bail court, and some one in the back is turning themselves in on a warrant but is visibly nodding off or tweaking or looking like they are going to bolt, Crown are going to be scanning the room for defence who can just stand up and get the file moving along. From there, if you can't land a client, you're in the wrong practise.

 

I can do this.

Although I am not particularly charming, I have a crushing need to be liked and accepted, going out of my way to get an attaboy.

Thank god that I dont have to bribe.

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CleanHands
  • Lawyer
5 minutes ago, realpseudonym said:

I think regardless of jurisdiction, that this is important. Looking at the amount you can potentially bill is just that: potential. You have to get the work first, before you can do the case and bill it out. Once you have a lot of work, you can bill a lot, even to Legal Aid. But building your reputation to the point where people want you to be their lawyer (or working for another lawyer) is the key part, and the challenge in starting any practice. 

You're absolutely right about building a practice being a daunting grind (and to be clear I don't have the experience of having done it yet so the value of my input here is limited), but I do disagree with the "regardless of jurisdiction" and the "any practice" aspect of this post.

If someone wants to start off in Toronto or Vancouver that is going to be a struggle in an oversaturated market. But there are places where there are too many files and not enough lawyers. The first defence lawyers to employ me got called in Saskatchewan when starting out so they could immediately get work and even take on even the sort of serious, high-complexity files that one needs to be a 10 year call in BC to get (with mentors to lean on at the early stages, of course). They advised me that if I was willing to go there after getting called I'd have clients lining up at the door and could have a house bought and paid for in a few years. It's a path I've been tempted to pursue.

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realpseudonym
  • Lawyer
1 minute ago, CleanHands said:

do disagree with the "regardless of jurisdiction" and the "any practice" aspect of this post.

If someone wants to start off in Toronto or Vancouver that is going to be a struggle in an oversaturated market. But there are places where there are too many files and not enough lawyers. The first defence lawyers to employ me got called in Saskatchewan when starting out so they could immediately get work and even take on even the sort of serious, high-complexity files that one needs to be a 10 year call in BC to get (with mentors to lean on at the early stages, of course). They advised me that if I was willing to go there after getting called I'd have clients lining up at the door and could have a house bought and paid for in a few years. It's a path I've been tempted to pursue.

I agree. I didn’t mean to imply that there’s a uniform level of difficulty in building a practice. Just that finding clients is always a prerequisite to being able to bill out work. Regardless of whether it’s by choosing an underserved client base, getting in good with legal admins, connecting with other lawyers, etc, you need to have clients. Which is pretty self-evident, but I just wanted to note that the “how much can you bill” question puts the cart before the horse. 

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