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International Law: Canadian Immigration Blawg
The Pros and Cons of ... Practicing Solo
I had the opportunity of being interviewed by Susan Hughes for an article for the 4Students publication of Canadian Lawyer Magazine some months ago.
Excerpt (which sounds especially damning for practicing in a firm, which wasn't actually my intent):
Immigration and administrative law, Calgary
? The right temperament is important. ?Assuming you?re entrepreneurial and you?re comfortable with a certain degree of risk ? if you like to set your own hours, if you don?t like to toe the line. Those are the most fulfilling aspects of a solo.?
? Satisfaction from personal contact with clients. ?It really means a lot to you when you bring someone, or their family members, to Canada.?
? Control. You can choose your own client. ?It?s not a file that?s been tossed to you by a senior lawyer.?
? Files that involve humanitarian issues. ?The biggest pro you have as a solo is being able to positively impact someone?s life.?
? Calgary is dynamic. ?There?s a lot of employers and people who need your services. Many of my clientele are employers looking for workers from overseas. There?s always appeals, deportations, Federal Court applications.?
? Very reasonable and affordable lease rates. ?For a lawyer opening up shop, it?s not that bad. For 800 square feet, you?re looking at $30 per square foot. That would probably compare very favourably to any solo starting out in Toronto or Vancouver.?
? ?I really hope more people explore the solo option. I see the look of despair in my brethren?s eyes who work in big firms and have to put in crazy billable hours. If you have a good niche going, you?ll be as profitable and you?ll have a better work/life balance. With technology these days, you can leverage yourself up to do what a larger firm can do. Fundamentally, making partner is going to cost you your soul.?
? ?There is the odd bungling of a decision with serious ramifications for your client.?
? The administrative side of things: accounting, payroll, trust account reconciliations. ?You need to be able to handle technology.?
? ?Starting out in practice is always difficult. It helps if you have a community, a niche, a unique skill set.?
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