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Biglaw Firm Stereotypes (toronto)


Ish
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I’m trying to educate myself on the corporate law firms in Toronto. I didn’t go to a Canadian law school so I missed out on the regular gossip and rumour trading. Obviously, the best and most accurate way to get up to speed is to rely solely on stereotypes. Therefore, anyone want to share some firm stereotypes that they've picked up as a student, through oci, or through practice?

edit: informed reputation opinions are also welcome, I guess.

 

Edited by Ish
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BlockedQuebecois
  • Lawyer

I don't have the write ups, but I have his tiers noted down: 

  1. Tier 1 — Davies
  2. Tier 2 — Baker McKenzie, Bennet Jones, Blakes, Goodmans, Stikes, Torys, McCarthys, McMillan, Osler
  3. Tier 3 — BLG, DLA Piper, Dentons, Fasken, Gowlings, Norton Rose
  4. Tier 4 — Aird & Berlis, Cassels, Miller Thompson, Fogler Rubinoff, WeirFoulds
Edited by BlockedQuebecois
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On 9/1/2021 at 8:36 PM, Ish said:

I’m trying to educate myself on the corporate law firms in Toronto. I didn’t go to a Canadian law school so I missed out on the regular gossip and rumour trading. Obviously, the best and most accurate way to get up to speed is to rely solely on stereotypes. Therefore, anyone want to share some firm stereotypes that they've picked up as a student, through oci, or through practice?

edit: informed reputation opinions are also welcome, I guess.

 

If you want to know "reputations" in terms of practice areas, you can take a look at Chambers or Lexpert.

If you want to know "reputations" based on which firm is the most "collegial", which firm is the most "fun" to work at, or which firm is filled with "nerds", I just don't think what most people tell you will be that useful, and especially not what law students gossip about. The big law firms in Toronto all have between 150-350 lawyers working at their office, and hundreds of staff on top of that. When you're in a class with 200ish students at your law school, people tend to have really different personalities and their own way of doing things and I don't find it's that different when you start working either. No firm is going to hire the same person 200 times to fill their roster and your experience of the social aspect as well as what it's like to work at the firm is really going to depend on which people in particular you work with. 

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On 9/4/2021 at 1:40 PM, QMT20 said:

If you want to know "reputations" in terms of practice areas, you can take a look at Chambers or Lexpert.

If you want to know "reputations" based on which firm is the most "collegial", which firm is the most "fun" to work at, or which firm is filled with "nerds", I just don't think what most people tell you will be that useful, and especially not what law students gossip about. The big law firms in Toronto all have between 150-350 lawyers working at their office, and hundreds of staff on top of that. When you're in a class with 200ish students at your law school, people tend to have really different personalities and their own way of doing things and I don't find it's that different when you start working either. No firm is going to hire the same person 200 times to fill their roster and your experience of the social aspect as well as what it's like to work at the firm is really going to depend on which people in particular you work with. 

I'm more asking for the fun stereotypes here. I'm new to the Canadian legal market but I'm already employed so I'm not making a decision based on this. I do think though (and has been my experience elsewhere) that stereotypes prevalent in law school lead to some degree of self-selection which ends up perpetuating the stereotype, regardless of whether it was true when it originated. This was true in other markets anyway. Even it's a small effect, it's still interesting. 

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goonersfc
  • Law Student

Throughout my time at law school, I have always heard of people referring to lenzer slaught as a 'cool' firm. I do not know how this rumour started, or how much truth is there in it. Neither did I work for that firm, nor do I personally know anyone who has worked there. I remember some of my classmates being so influenced by the grapevine that they didn't apply for 1L recruit because lenzer slaught only recruited 2L that year.

Edited by goonersfc
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nestlepurelife
  • Law Student
49 minutes ago, goonersfc said:

Throughout my time at law school, I have always heard of people referring to lenzer slaught as a 'cool' firm. I do not know how this rumour started, or how much truth is there in it. Neither did I work for that firm, nor do I personally know anyone who has worked there. I remember some of my classmates being so influenced by the grapevine that they didn't apply for 1L recruit because lenzer slaught only recruited 2L that year.

 

FWIW, as a 2L who recently applied to many many firms, Lenczner Slaught's website definitely had the best graphic design and user interface of all firms I considered (imo) lol. Maybe small things like this are adding to that "cool" perception.

Edited by nestlepurelife
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BlushAndTheBar
  • Law Student
1 hour ago, goonersfc said:

Throughout my time at law school, I have always heard of people referring to lenzer slaught as a 'cool' firm. I do not know how this rumour started, or how much truth is there in it. Neither did I work for that firm, nor do I personally know anyone who has worked there. I remember some of my classmates being so influenced by the grapevine that they didn't apply for 1L recruit because lenzer slaught only recruited 2L that year.

Goodmans has certainly developed that reputation in recent times.

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goonersfc
  • Law Student
34 minutes ago, BlushAndTheBar said:

Goodmans has certainly developed that reputation in recent times.

With Goodmans, I guess there is a clearly discernible reason- them being the only firm without the stringent billable hours requirement. 

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goosie
  • Articling Student

Stikes has a stereotype that they hire a lot of athletes/former athletes. I can think of a couple from the people I know who work there, but I'm not really sure how accurate it is on the whole (or whether it's a stereotype that applies more to recent student hires as opposed to laterals or people hired as students years ago).

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Rashabon
  • Lawyer
43 minutes ago, goonersfc said:

With Goodmans, I guess there is a clearly discernible reason- them being the only firm without the stringent billable hours requirement. 

Most firms aren’t strict about billable hours but I find the “no target” shtick to be the opposite - if you have no objective yard stick, you never feel safe or that you’ve done enough. Davies has always advertised the no billable hour target aspect too and to me it just led to ever shifting goal posts.

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I know that when I was starting out as an associate, what I really wanted my firm to have during my formative years was good graphic design and a great user interface.

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CleanHands
  • Lawyer
26 minutes ago, goosie said:

Stikes has a stereotype that they hire a lot of athletes/former athletes. I can think of a couple from the people I know who work there, but I'm not really sure how accurate it is on the whole (or whether it's a stereotype that applies more to recent student hires as opposed to laterals or people hired as students years ago).

I don't follow BigLaw stuff at all so I didn't even know the stereotype, but my impression gleaned from limited exposure was that Stikes hires douchebros.

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Pendragon
  • Lawyer
3 hours ago, goosie said:

Stikes has a stereotype that they hire a lot of athletes/former athletes. I can think of a couple from the people I know who work there, but I'm not really sure how accurate it is on the whole (or whether it's a stereotype that applies more to recent student hires as opposed to laterals or people hired as students years ago).

This is very accurate. I made this comment to a couple friends of mine over the years as I saw the people hired there - Caucasian men who played on the varsity and intramural sports teams. If you play hockey, are attractive, and have decent grades, then you have a good chance. They also seem to like JD/MBAs. I know Queen's and Osgoode JD/MBAs hired there.  

6 hours ago, goonersfc said:

Throughout my time at law school, I have always heard of people referring to lenzer slaught as a 'cool' firm. I do not know how this rumour started, or how much truth is there in it. Neither did I work for that firm, nor do I personally know anyone who has worked there. I remember some of my classmates being so influenced by the grapevine that they didn't apply for 1L recruit because lenzer slaught only recruited 2L that year.

This just goes to show how stupid and naïve law students can be. Not even applying to a recruit because you want to take a chance on a litigation firm that hires only 10-13 students. Not to mention the fact that Biglaw firm litigation departments may be equally as good, or even better, than Lenczner Slaght. 

I was told by a Partner on Bay Street that Torkin Manes loves to hire attractive Asian/racialized women. It seemed to be true when I perused their website. 

Davies like Ivey grads. I've also seen other business grads from schools like Laurier, Rotman, and Queen's commerce regularly hired there. You obviously still need high grades in law school, but good grades and a business/STEM background seems to give you an edge.  

Norton Rose Toronto Office hires a lot of BIPOC students. I wonder if a reason could be the racialized partners they have there. 

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BlockedQuebecois
  • Lawyer
37 minutes ago, Pendragon said:

This just goes to show how stupid and naïve law students can be. Not even applying to a recruit because you want to take a chance on a litigation firm that hires only 10-13 students. Not to mention the fact that Biglaw firm litigation departments may be equally as good, or even better, than Lenczner Slaght.

Well it would, except it actually just shows how insecure law students are. All the students I knew who “didn’t apply to the 1L recruit because they wanted to work at [specific OCI firm]” actually just didn’t have the grades to make the cut in the 1L recruit. If that was actually the reasoning, they’d go work at Blakes or Davies for the summer, hold their offer, then apply to Lenczner for 2L. Or if they had something cooler to do, they’d just say they wanted to do the cooler thing.

But law students are too insecure to be honest, so instead they need to make up an excuse for not getting a 1L job. 

Edited by BlockedQuebecois
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  • 2 weeks later...
Barry
  • Law Student
On 9/10/2021 at 1:23 AM, Pendragon said:

I was told by a Partner on Bay Street that Torkin Manes loves to hire attractive Asian/racialized women.

I only made it through page 1 of their team profiles, but this rumour does not appear accurate. 

Edited by Barry
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