Sunday, November 21, 2004

Corporate Law Firms

On Friday we toured some firms on Toronto's infamous Bay Street. Our first stop was Fraser Milner. Although the initial representatives who greeted us were young and friendly, the speakers were almost all old, white men. The one exception was a woman in Competition Law who didn't even seem to get along with the Old Boyz sitting next to her. They were a pretty sad lot.

The worst part was listening to the partner handling class action law suits. He seemed to be the typical selfish, only-in-it-for-the-money lawyer who gives the profession a bad name. He started by saying that he loves his job because he gets to travel so much. Miami in winter, Europe, et cetera. Not the clients, not the issues, not what he's doing for society (which is nothing) - he likes the travel. When he spoke of the individuals bringing "alleged" injuries forward (as part of a mass group), his voice was full of disdain. How does this guy sleep at night? I kept thinking of Vioxx - would he argue that 39-year-old Janet Huggins did not die because of the drug? Guys like him represent the Merck's of the world. I know someone's got to do the job, but when they do it just for money and travel I can't respect that. Definitely not my cup of tea.

Then we went to Osler Hoskin and Harcourt LLP. Although the firms in general look the same, there was a distinct change going from Fraser to Osler's. The panelists were not old, stoggy men. Instead, they were young, dynamic, stylish lawyers who enjoyed being challenged and appreciated diverseness. It was like a breath of fresh air. Another huge plus from Osler's is that they offer guaranteed hire-back for their articling students. Unlike most firms, the students aren't all competing with each other. It creates a professional, relaxed atmosphere. I imagine everyone at Osler's loves their job.

I'd recommend the tour for anyone thinking of working on Bay Street. Before the tour, I didn't think I would ever want to end up there, but now I'm not so sure. It could be that Osler's does, in practice, all the same nasty things of the other firms, but it seemed better. Hmmm. . . . did I just succumb to their marketing ploy?

[I should add that I shared my opinions on Osler's with a classmate and he wasn't nearly as impressed. He felt like the whole thing was a show and we were the audience. He admitted that they put on a better show than the others but he wouldn't grant that they were any better of a firm. Could be . . . ]


Post a Comment

<< Home