Categories
Law Students and Young Lawyers

Be Sure You See the Candy First!

From time to time I hear stories about Big Law offering Big Money to attract first year lawyers to sign away their souls in Toronto, or U.S. firms opening the vaults and waving around signing bonuses to lure Canadian legal newbies south of the border.

While throwing money at junior folks can be a good thing, I think that a warning is in order. Since no one else appears to be issuing one, yet again it falls to me to cut through the bullshit, state the obvious, and protect the new generation of lawyers.

I will draw my inspiration from the love of my life, who, nurturing parent that she is, used to warn her young children about “Stranger Danger.”  More specifically, she would say: “Don’t be stupid about it. Be sure that you see the candy BEFORE you get in the van.”

I will leave it to you intelligent young folks to search for meaning in my warning and being lawyers, Govern Yourselves Accordingly.

Categories
Law Students and Young Lawyers

Resigning as a Shareholder

I had only been a lawyer for a few months when I had my first shareholders dispute to deal with.

My boss told me to take the position with opposing counsel that his client’s resignation from “all positions with the corporation” included his resignation as a minority shareholder.  I told him that his argument was ridiculous. One cannot resign as a shareholder.

Categories
Law Students and Young Lawyers

There’s No Accounting for Distaste

When I started practicing law, I joined a firm which had one exceptionally large client and very many small clients.

The large client needed help with interesting transactions, sophisticated corporate reorganizations, financings with lots of zeros, and creative corporate structures. Large files with large billings.

The smaller clients brought simpler work such as incorporations, small business purchases, and simple shareholders agreements. Small files with small billings.

Categories
Law Students and Young Lawyers

Lawyers Whining About Mentoring

Those of us who hang out with lawyers know that there may be some wine involved, but more often, there will just be whining.

Lawyers complain about many and varied things, such as how hard they work, the stress, their demanding clients, their Associates, and their Partners. The list of gripes goes on and on. In my retirement, I have learned to tune most of them out. However, recently a rising crescendo of complaints from young lawyers about the scarcity of good mentoring has risen above the usual cacophony of complaints and careened into my consciousness.

Categories
Law Students and Young Lawyers

You may be Incompetent, but Potential Clients Don’t Know That

“You look like you don’t have a clue what you are doing,” said absolutely nobody the first time that they met their Dentist. Or their Surgeon. Or their Accountant.

Categories
Law Students and Young Lawyers

I Want My Parents Dead

Many years ago when I was working 1,000 hours a week and my daughter was very young, I was trying to get her to eat an apple after a busy day at work. She was having none of it. Frustration levels were rising on both sides. Finally, with tears streaming down her face, she blurted out, “I want my parents dead.”

Categories
Law Students and Young Lawyers

What I Would Have Done Differently

I whine a fair bit about the legal profession. Occasionally someone asks me what I would have done differently if I could go back and start over. Of course, the trite answer is “be an optometrist.”  (Some neat things about being an optometrist: (i) you get to wear a white coat; (ii) the hours are fairly regular; (iii) you rarely have to worry about getting sued for prescribing the wrong lenses; and (iv) according to Dr. Google, your average salary will be higher than the average salary of a lawyer.)

Categories
Law Students and Young Lawyers

Ignorance is not Bliss

One of the most intelligent lawyers who I ever met tells a story about the early days of her marriage as she adapted to the daily routines of domestic life while balancing the pressures of law school. One of the chores which she attended to every week was defrosting her freezer and throwing out the meat that was past its best before date. Yes, from the freezer. Every week. Then, one day, she was chatting with her mother on the phone and lamented the time and money wasted doing this every week. Her mother’s response was one of incredulous laughter. As my friend tells the story, she simply did not know what she did not know.

Categories
Law Students and Young Lawyers

In Praise of Articling Students

It is a slow news day in my retirement world, so I thought that I would break from my own tradition of writing lengthy posts and just post a brief thought.

I need an articling student. You know, those law students who we hire to write articles for us which we can publish under our own name. (That is why they call them “articling” students, isn’t it?)  Of course, those of us who have real class include an acknowledgment that we were ‘assisted’ by the articling student, giving a whole new meaning to the word ‘assist’ which now means “to do all of the work.”

If I had an articling student, I would have had something useful to post today instead of this drivel.

I need an articling student.

Categories
Law Students and Young Lawyers Uncategorized

My One and Only Karate Lesson

I know absolutely nothing at all about Karate. I am about to prove that.

I had only one Karate lesson in my life. Actually, it was my young son who had the Karate lesson. I was along as part of one of those “Dad and Son” programs.