A lot of the time on our site we like to present information and opportunities that are accessible to almost anyone, whether they’re just starting out in the workforce or are looking for a change of pace in their current careers. Today though, I wanted to share something just for those of you who might still be in high school or early in your collegiate journey and have an interest in becoming an attorney.
For anyone aspiring to become an attorney, there are a lot of options available when it comes to which type of law to specialize in. One of these areas of specialty is real estate law. The role of a real estate lawyer is to assist and represent either the buyer or seller in a real estate transaction with any and all legal maters. For the buyer, this means the lawyer will explain legal documents, such as the purchase contract, in plain terms and provide instruction in how to proceed through the often times complicated process of purchasing a property. The lawyer will also be present at the closing and will review all the documents that the buyer is required to sign. For the seller, the services provided are similar except that the documents that need to be prepared are a little different (e.g. a purchase and sales agreement as opposed to a purchase contract).
I recently had occasion to talk to Linda Shirref, an attorney in Toronto, about what it took for her to get to where she is today and the state of the real estate market as it relates to real estate law.
“Well first off let me say that real estate lawyers in Toronto are always in high demand. It doesn’t really matter too much what the market is doing. When it’s up, people want to sell like crazy. When it’s down, the opposite happens”, she said. “As far as the pathway to becoming a real estate attorney, until you’re done with law school for the most part it’s not very different from becoming any type of attorney.
“You’ll need an undergrad degree, obviously. Getting into law school is no joke. They don’t just take anyone, so you want to make sure you’re getting good grades. While you’re an undergrad it wouldn’t hurt to also take some other outside courses in real estate. York University regularly has real estate certificate courses.
“Once you get your undergrad degree, you have to take the LSAT. Each law school in Canada requires different scores, and as you’d expect, if you want to go to a really good school like the University of Toronto or McGill or Osgoode Hall at York your scores are going to have to be very good. The better the school, the higher your scores need to be.
“While you’re in law school you should join one of the provincial bar associations as a student member. The Canadian Bar Association has lots of professional development programs where you can get training that you won’t get in law school. You’ll also have the chance to make some great contacts there. When you get out of law school you’ll leave there with either a Bachelor of Laws or a Juris Doctor, and your bar association membership will change status, which will open up more programs for you.
“After that you have to take and pass a the bar and an ethics exam, and do a 10 month apprenticeship at a law firm. One of my favorite firms of real estate lawyers in Toronto, besides my own of course, is Yosowich Patel. Once all this is done and you’ve paid your licensing fee you’re official. You can practice law in that province.
“Finally, after all that, you go and take a certified program to specialize in real estate law.”
We want to give a big shout to Linda for taking the time to talk to me and allowing us to share this great information with you. Thanks Linda!
Throughout the year, as part of my regular job as an employment placement agent, I’ll attend a few job fairs in different areas of Canada. Being that it’s my job to find work placement for qualified but unemployed people, I try to make it habit to attend these fairs when ever I can to keep abreast of what’s going on in the job market; what industries have jobs in demand and what employers are currently looking for in an ideal candidate.
When you arrive at one of these job fairs, your first stop is the registration table where you are checked in and given, amongst other things, a name badge that displays your name and, if applicable, the company you’re representing. The one I got at the most recent fair was a simple rectangular sticker with my name written on it in black Sharpie marker (my company wasn’t denoted as I was there as an individual, not a rep for the company).
These name badges have become a staple of any convention type event, and their usefulness is pretty obvious, especially if you’re looking for a job and trying to work the room. Most of us could care less what the badges actually look like, as long as the information on them is legible, but at this last convention I met an interesting character who takes the design of name badges very, very seriously.
Mike Stankus is a graphic designer for an LA based boutique advertising company. He goes to at least four or five conventions a year, from job fairs to design conferences, and he has become a name badge connoisseur. He sparked up a conversation with me while we were both getting coffee during a break in the action. He saw me fiddling with my name tag, which had started to curl at the edge.
“You can always tell when the person who put [the name badge] together really phoned it in”, Mike told me. “If I had a nickel for every badge I’ve seen that was obviously thrown together in Microsoft Word, I could buy myself a pretty good steak dinner.”
Believe it or not, Mike isn’t alone. Apparently, the obsession with name badges has become a pretty hot button topic in the convention world. Some regular conference attendees actually collect them as souvenirs, and there are online message boards where, I’m told, the discussion can get pretty heated.
I was intrigued so I asked him what makes a good name badge. He told me the best ones are about the size of a business card and come with a plastic sleeve. “It’s cool because if you’re at a convention you’re probably also staying at a hotel and your hotel room key fits nicely in that little plastic sleeve.” He also said that the person’s name, as printed on the badge, should be in a legible font, sized at least 36pts.
“A lot of the good ones I’ve seen come from a company called Imprint Plus”. He says their name badges tow the line nicely between badges that are too little and badges that are too much.
At this point you’re probably wondering why I wrote this post in the first place. Well, besides my desire to tell you that name badge collecting is an actual thing, I wanted to stress that in all seriousness, not matter how “above it” you feel like you might be, don’t let the fact that an employer might require you to wear a name badge sway you away from accepting a position. It’s funny, while was talking to Mike and listening to him get fairly worked up about quality badges, I couldn’t help but think back to some of my previous clients who would get outright offended if they found out a job required them to wear them.
The bottom line is that wearing your name on your shirt or sleeve accomplishes two things. First, it spares you, your co-workers and/or your customers the embarrassment of having to admit that they weren’t paying attention when you introduced yourself. Secondly, and most importantly, if you’re someone who does their job and does it well you’ll WANT people to know your name. That way, when the customers want to compliment you to management they’ll know exactly who to rain that praise down upon!
And who knows, maybe you’ll love your new name badge so much that you’ll start collecting them too. (if so, I’ll let Mike know he’s got a new friend in the hobby).
Until next time!
In our ever-changing and increasingly tumultuous world, the demand for insurance of all kinds is as high as it’s ever been. Along with that demand comes the need for insurance brokers — confident and reliable people to act as a liaison between the client and the ICBC (Insurance Corporation of British Columbia)
Knowing how great an opportunity this line of work could be for the right person, I wanted to break down the steps one would need to take in order to become a licensed insurance broker in British Columbia. I’ve never worked as a broker myself, but, like anyone else who owns and drives a car here in BC, I do have BC auto insurance and as such I have an insurance broker who provides me with my auto insurance policy. Recently, I had an opportunity to speak to my broker at Westland Insurance here in Vancouver and after she helped me with a quick adjustment to my policy that I’d been meaning to make for quite some time., I picked her brain to find out how an interested person could start down the path to becoming an insurance agent.
Like many other fulfilling careers, becoming an insurance agent offers you not only secure employment in a steady industry, but it also provides an opportunity to help each and every client you work with. Your job as an insurance broker is to assess your client’s situation and present them with the best possible options. Working closely and compassionately with your clients will ultimately result in their gaining the coverage – be it auto, home, life, personal or commercial – that will best protect their health, possessions, homes and families.
What Do I Need to Do to Become an Insurance Agent in BC?
Most insurance companies will look for a college education in their potential brokers. A degree in finance, accounting or economics is preferred however not mandatory, so long as you’ve taken courses in finance, economics, business and accounting.
Your next step is to contact Canadian insurance brokers and find one who accepts interns. It’s not mandatory that you do an internship in British Columbia, but the advantage in doing so will be in the contacts you make while completing the internship. If the people you work with and meet are in BC, and you want to work in BC eventually then it’s not a bad idea to stay as close as possible when choosing your internship site. While working your internship, your initial training in the insurance industry will begin. This is where you’ll learn all about Canadian insurance, commission, and licensing laws.
Your next step will be to study for and then take one of either the Fundamentals of Insurance Exam or the Canadian Accredited Insurance Broker (CAIB) exam. Both of these exams are put on by the Insurance Broker Association of British Columbia (IBABC).
Passing either of the two above exams will qualify you for a Level 1 insurance broker’s license. This allows you to actually work in an insurance brokerage. There are many things that you will not be able to touch until you’re licensed at a higher level, but for the time being there is plenty that you can do. These tasks include managing personal lines and home transactions. If you’re someone who prefers to be out of the office, you now qualify to work as a road agent as well.
This one should be pretty self-explanatory. Get your resume together and go pound the pavement until you get yourself hired. For help putting together a great cover letter, check out our tips HERE.
Choose Your Area of Insurance and Apply for Your Brokerage License
When it comes to licensing, different types of insurance have different qualification requirements. Now’s the time to choose which area of insurance you’d like to specialize in. Once you’ve determined it, simply download an application from the ICBC website, send it in with the required fee and in about ten days you should have your license.
Each year, Canadian Business magazine releases their list of the Top 50 Jobs in Canada. The criteria for a job to make the cut are an annual salary equal to or greater than $60,000, and steady growth in both wages and number of people employed (the range being from 2006-2012).
Here’s a quick rundown of the Top 10 Jobs in Canada for 2013:
According to several surveys done for the year 2013, experts are predicting an average salary increase in Canada of approximately 3%. This 3% prediction is an uptick from last year’s number.
Finally some good news.
Breaking it down by province, raises in Ontario, quebec and the Atlantic provinces will be a little below normal. Alberta is forecasted to be the province where the highest average salary increases will occur. This is very likely due to the oil patch jobs — Canada’s oil and gas sector are actually projected to be well above the national average. Rounding up the other big earner sectors are admin jobs, IT jobs and mining.
Here’s a breakdown of each predicted salary increase (in percentage) by province:
How It All Works
The method that most companies use to dole out raises can work in your favor if you’re a star employee. Most companies give out raises based on merit. The way it works is, companies will set aside a certain amount of money specifically for raises. The powers the then then decide how to divvy that money up. The surveys we looked at show that if you’re doing what’s expected of you, you’re likely to receive anywhere from 2.5% to 3%. If you’re an overachiever (something we encourage here!) you could end up with an increase that’s even higher. On the flip side of that, if you’re generally a slacker (and your boss knows it), you might end up with only 1.8% — which also happens to be Canada’s inflation rate. It’s important to note that these numbers refer specifically to hourly, non-union employees. The wage increases for salaried and/or union employees is base on contractual negotiations (and how much pull you or your union rep has with the bosses).
How Does Canada Stack up vs. Other Countries?
In short, we’re doing better than some and not so good than others. We beat out both France and Japan at 2.6% and 2.0% respectively. We’re just behind the US and the UK who are both just above 3%, but we’re WAY behind some of the other industrialized nations such as India (10%), Russia (8.9%), Brazil (5.5%) and China (9.5%)
So, 2013′s looking to be a better year. As long as the US economy continues to recover and the financial situation in Europe stays calm, we should enjoy raises that are well over the annual inflation rate.
If you’re already employed, well then you have something to look forward to. If you’re not, well get moving! Now is as good a time as ever to start your career — hopefully, we here at Forums 2001 can help.