BIG LAW

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Xptboy
Posts: 23
Joined: Sat Mar 06, 2010 2:25 pm

BIG LAW

Postby Xptboy » Mon Mar 15, 2010 7:35 pm

I want to know more about BIG LAW.
I've heard that this is the law where you get paid the most and 10+ years out of law school you could make half a million upwards. But I wanna know what it requires, will I be able to
1. have a life whilst still getting promotions and producing top work.
2. be able to support my ethical morals?

Is it true that I'll basically be helping big corporations make more money by keeping on taking advantage of lower class people? Is it possible to have a job in biglaw to serve justice and help make a change or would I have to accept a lower salary in the public sector/state for that?

I'm just really interested in biglaw, because the more I look at it, the more it seems like I'm going to end up having a clash between $$$ and morals/life.

reverendt
Posts: 499
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2007 10:56 am

Re: BIG LAW

Postby reverendt » Mon Mar 15, 2010 7:39 pm

It's selling your soul for money.

If you haven't been using your soul much anyway, it's a pretty good deal.

270910
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Re: BIG LAW

Postby 270910 » Mon Mar 15, 2010 7:42 pm

Most biglaw has to do with business - transactions, lobbying, etc. You won't be crushing the poor man beneath your heel, but you also won't be saving whales.

Starting salary is 160K at the biggest firms, and average work week is in the 60 hours range.

Promotions work as follows: Every year, everyone gets more money. At some point you get to be a partner and share in the firms profits. Attrition is VERY high every year, because the work is hard and long so people voluntarily leave for other opportunities. Something like 5-15% of each hired class stays on to make partner.

At big firms, profits per partner range from just under a million to a high in the 3 million dollars range. Obviously newer partners make less than that.

If you start at a biglaw job, there's a good chance you won't ever make less than six figures during your legal career. But it's also extremely unlikely that you'll make partner (want to make partner).

Every year only about 1/10 law graduates has the credentials to make biglaw, and it's skewed by school. The best schools (T14) historically send 50% of the class plus, while the worst struggle to send 5 to 10%.

It's all based on first year grades.

reverendt
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Re: BIG LAW

Postby reverendt » Mon Mar 15, 2010 7:52 pm

Disco...the first year grade model seems to be falling apart to an extent (or biglaw is simply scaling back hiring radically....I think it's both.)
The old model of "1st year grades get you a rocking 2L summer job" has become unstable at best. Even most of the people who did pretty well (at least at my school) are happy to get any paid position for their 2L summer....largely due to the drastically reduced number of firms who came on campus to do OCI (last year at my school 60 firms came...this year 24 came.)
So either biglaw has shit the bed permanently or they're gonna be hiring people who didn't do biglaw their 2L summer.

270910
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Re: BIG LAW

Postby 270910 » Mon Mar 15, 2010 7:59 pm

reverendt wrote:Disco...the first year grade model seems to be falling apart to an extent (or biglaw is simply scaling back hiring radically....I think it's both.)
The old model of "1st year grades get you a rocking 2L summer job" has become unstable at best. Even most of the people who did pretty well (at least at my school) are happy to get any paid position for their 2L summer....largely due to the drastically reduced number of firms who came on campus to do OCI (last year at my school 60 firms came...this year 24 came.)
So either biglaw has shit the bed permanently or they're gonna be hiring people who didn't do biglaw their 2L summer.


No, they are not going to be hiring people who didn't do biglaw their 2L summer. The recruitment model shows no signs of changing - only downsizing.

IIRC last year 10 big firms in the country hired any 3Ls according to the NALP or NLJ or whatever data.

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SteelReserve
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Re: BIG LAW

Postby SteelReserve » Mon Mar 15, 2010 8:11 pm

reverendt,

I'm a 2L so same year as you. The model itself has not changed at all, but rather the number of SAs hired was dramatically reduced so that only a handful of people at T2s and below (or possibly none at lower schools) got an SA this summer. Worse yet is that many T14ers missed the boat as well--people who legitimately relied on their school name to justify the epic debt.

Things may very well have changed permanently with regard to a dramatically reduced hiring class size (eg the numbers for the class of 2011 may very well continue indefinitely). Hardly any firms have changed from the billable hour, lockstep compensation, practically no one getting partner, etc.

To the OP, you have so much research to do before you go to school--your questions about biglaw evidence the fact that you clearly know practically nothing about what biglaw is about and what the typical day entails. I would encourage you to try to contact biglaw associates, just find a way to get in touch. You should also talk to all sorts of other lawyers. I did all these things before I took the law school plunge. Good luck.

Xptboy
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Joined: Sat Mar 06, 2010 2:25 pm

Re: BIG LAW

Postby Xptboy » Mon Mar 15, 2010 11:43 pm

Steelreserve,I agree with you that I do not know anything of Biglaw. But I'm asking to know more about it to see whether or not I want to pursue it or not. I'm still a freshman, and law school is only one of the career paths I'm looking at right now, but I want to know job prospects for after school, because quite honestly, all my friends think I am very intelligent and they all say ''If you're so smart why don't you go to law school.'' It's only after all these comments that I started to get an interest in law (never was interested in highschool) and now have started doing my research for law, and law school, it all seems very interesting to be honest and definitely am considering the path, which is why any advice from more experienced members could help.

If anyone has any useful links that could shed some light on biglaw and different types of law jobs that would really help.

Also what does it mean when you ''make partner''

Renzo
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Joined: Tue Dec 02, 2008 3:23 am

Re: BIG LAW

Postby Renzo » Tue Mar 16, 2010 12:02 am

Xptboy wrote:Steelreserve,I agree with you that I do not know anything of Biglaw. But I'm asking to know more about it to see whether or not I want to pursue it or not. I'm still a freshman, and law school is only one of the career paths I'm looking at right now, but I want to know job prospects for after school, because quite honestly, all my friends think I am very intelligent and they all say ''If you're so smart why don't you go to law school.'' It's only after all these comments that I started to get an interest in law (never was interested in highschool) and now have started doing my research for law, and law school, it all seems very interesting to be honest and definitely am considering the path, which is why any advice from more experienced members could help.

If anyone has any useful links that could shed some light on biglaw and different types of law jobs that would really help.

Also what does it mean when you ''make partner''

There are two classes of lawyers at firms (well, four really, but forget that for a second): there are employees, called associates, and partners. Associates do the work assigned to them for a fixed salary. Partners are the employers of the associates, are responsible for bringing business into the firm, and make a share of the firm's profits. The large majority of associates will either voluntarily leave before they are considered for partnership, and the majority that don't will be politely shown the door. But the very small number of associates who do make partner at a biglaw firm will make literally millions.

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NewtonCampusKid
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Re: BIG LAW

Postby NewtonCampusKid » Tue Mar 16, 2010 12:28 am

Very succint breakdown.

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prezidentv8
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Re: BIG LAW

Postby prezidentv8 » Tue Mar 16, 2010 12:28 am

Biglaw - it's BIG

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soullesswonder
Posts: 553
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Re: BIG LAW

Postby soullesswonder » Tue Mar 16, 2010 12:56 am

Xptboy wrote:Steelreserve,I agree with you that I do not know anything of Biglaw. But I'm asking to know more about it to see whether or not I want to pursue it or not. I'm still a freshman, and law school is only one of the career paths I'm looking at right now, but I want to know job prospects for after school, because quite honestly, all my friends think I am very intelligent and they all say ''If you're so smart why don't you go to law school.'' It's only after all these comments that I started to get an interest in law (never was interested in highschool) and now have started doing my research for law, and law school, it all seems very interesting to be honest and definitely am considering the path, which is why any advice from more experienced members could help.

If anyone has any useful links that could shed some light on biglaw and different types of law jobs that would really help.

Also what does it mean when you ''make partner''


Bolded is incredibly stupid, but unfortunately not that unusual.

Can't think of any really good links off the top of my head, but I know quite a few books...

"How Lawyers Lose Their Way: A Profession that Fails its Creative Minds", by Jean Stefancic
"The Destruction of Young Lawyers: Beyond 1L", by Douglas Litowitz

Two really critical and sobering perspectives on the modern practice of law

"In the Shadow of the Law", by Kermit Roosevelt
"Anonymous Lawyer", by Jeremy Blachman

Two works of fiction that do a decent job of giving you the flavor of BigLaw life (also good reads in and of themselves)

"Convictions", by John Kroger
Memoir of a former Assistant US Attorney

"The Last Lawyer", by John Temple
Follows the post-conviction work of a death penalty defense organization.

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Bronte
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Re: BIG LAW

Postby Bronte » Tue Mar 16, 2010 1:01 am

Folks, this is a clear-cut flame.

Renzo
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Joined: Tue Dec 02, 2008 3:23 am

Re: BIG LAW

Postby Renzo » Tue Mar 16, 2010 1:20 am

Bronte wrote:Folks, this is a clear-cut flame.

Maybe. But the freshman-asking-questions shtick is believable and (so far) unoffensive. I'll try and be helpful until it stops being both of those.

Xptboy
Posts: 23
Joined: Sat Mar 06, 2010 2:25 pm

Re: BIG LAW

Postby Xptboy » Tue Mar 16, 2010 9:08 am

lol sorry, but I can assure you I'm not flaming. I also know that some of the stuff I said may be very ignorant, which is why I want to expand my knowledge, and I also know that those guys who say ''omg you're so smart, why don't you go to law school?'' are just as ignorant, but I'm the type of person who always listens to other people and likes to fully consider his options before making a decision so even these ignorant comments can be quite effective sometimes.

Anyways, I'll definitely look into a few of those books you suggested. You guys have all been somehwat helpful.

CyLaw
Posts: 1557
Joined: Thu Jul 17, 2008 1:59 pm

Re: BIG LAW

Postby CyLaw » Sun Mar 21, 2010 1:29 am

soullesswonder wrote:"Anonymous Lawyer", by Jeremy Blachman


Just picked this up on audible and been listening to it tonight. This book is awesome.

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whitman
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Re: BIG LAW

Postby whitman » Sun Mar 21, 2010 2:24 am

I don't have time to read these books, but care to give a short (even one sentence) synopsis?

soullesswonder wrote:
Xptboy wrote:Steelreserve,I agree with you that I do not know anything of Biglaw. But I'm asking to know more about it to see whether or not I want to pursue it or not. I'm still a freshman, and law school is only one of the career paths I'm looking at right now, but I want to know job prospects for after school, because quite honestly, all my friends think I am very intelligent and they all say ''If you're so smart why don't you go to law school.'' It's only after all these comments that I started to get an interest in law (never was interested in highschool) and now have started doing my research for law, and law school, it all seems very interesting to be honest and definitely am considering the path, which is why any advice from more experienced members could help.

If anyone has any useful links that could shed some light on biglaw and different types of law jobs that would really help.

Also what does it mean when you ''make partner''


Bolded is incredibly stupid, but unfortunately not that unusual.

Can't think of any really good links off the top of my head, but I know quite a few books...

"How Lawyers Lose Their Way: A Profession that Fails its Creative Minds", by Jean Stefancic
"The Destruction of Young Lawyers: Beyond 1L", by Douglas Litowitz

Two really critical and sobering perspectives on the modern practice of law


"In the Shadow of the Law", by Kermit Roosevelt
"Anonymous Lawyer", by Jeremy Blachman

Two works of fiction that do a decent job of giving you the flavor of BigLaw life (also good reads in and of themselves)

"Convictions", by John Kroger
Memoir of a former Assistant US Attorney

"The Last Lawyer", by John Temple
Follows the post-conviction work of a death penalty defense organization.

CyLaw
Posts: 1557
Joined: Thu Jul 17, 2008 1:59 pm

Re: BIG LAW

Postby CyLaw » Sun Mar 21, 2010 2:27 am

Anonymous Lawyer is a fictional book written in blog format that tells the story of a hiring partner at a Big Law firm and his interactions with summer associates and the other people at the firm. He writes the blog a way of trying to connect with someone about the stupid crap he deals with daily that he has not been able to talk to anyone about for 18years. He is an asshole but hysterical.

It is connected to http://anonymouslawyer.blogspot.com/

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TTH
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Re: BIG LAW

Postby TTH » Sun Mar 21, 2010 10:19 am

CyLaw wrote:Anonymous Lawyer is a fictional book written in blog format that tells the story of a hiring partner at a Big Law firm and his interactions with summer associates and the other people at the firm. He writes the blog a way of trying to connect with someone about the stupid crap he deals with daily that he has not been able to talk to anyone about for 18years. He is an asshole but hysterical.

It is connected to http://anonymouslawyer.blogspot.com/


Hm...I'll have to check this out.

heyguys
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Re: BIG LAW

Postby heyguys » Sun Mar 21, 2010 10:34 am

I don't think I understand the whole 'selling your soul' perspective that seems to be so pervasive in discussions regarding law firms. I mean, is there something that distinguishes biglaw from any other entry level position that works 60 or so hours per week?

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Kiersten1985
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Re: BIG LAW

Postby Kiersten1985 » Sun Mar 21, 2010 10:43 am

I am scared shtless for anyone who goes into BigLaw without having worked in it. I know way too many lawyers who went in having heard about it but not living it and they pretty much hate their lives. On the other hand, those who had real expectations about the hours and workload and stress and crazy partners seem to genuinely enjoy their lives.

I'm at trial right now and have worked 85 hours from last Monday through last night, got here at 8:30 am (yes, it's Sunday) and will be here again until 1 or 2 am. So... it becomes your life. If you want law to be your "job" and have a regular life outside of it, then don't do BigLaw. If you don't mind or even enjoy having your life be your career, then jump on board and enjoy the cashflow.

My advice: take a year or two and work in BigLaw. It's really the only way to see if it's for you.

EDIT: Oh, and as a freshman, the only thing you should really worry about is getting the best GPA possible if you want to go to law school. And TAKE TIME OFF between college and law school. Work at a firm, see if it's for you. Lawyers who hate being lawyers never truly knew what being a lawyer entailed.

thegor1987
Posts: 323
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Re: BIG LAW

Postby thegor1987 » Sun Mar 21, 2010 4:06 pm

here is a fairly accurate definition of big law from a highly credible source

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=big+law

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Puffy
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Re: BIG LAW

Postby Puffy » Sun Mar 21, 2010 4:18 pm

Do people truly believe that 60 hours a week for 160k is some kind of soul-leeching labor camp life?

texaspecial88
Posts: 253
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Re: BIG LAW

Postby texaspecial88 » Sun Mar 21, 2010 4:33 pm

disco_barred wrote:Most biglaw has to do with business - transactions, lobbying, etc. You won't be crushing the poor man beneath your heel, but you also won't be saving whales.

Starting salary is 160K at the biggest firms, and average work week is in the 60 hours range.

Promotions work as follows: Every year, everyone gets more money. At some point you get to be a partner and share in the firms profits. Attrition is VERY high every year, because the work is hard and long so people voluntarily leave for other opportunities. Something like 5-15% of each hired class stays on to make partner.

At big firms, profits per partner range from just under a million to a high in the 3 million dollars range. Obviously newer partners make less than that.

If you start at a biglaw job, there's a good chance you won't ever make less than six figures during your legal career. But it's also extremely unlikely that you'll make partner (want to make partner).

Every year only about 1/10 law graduates has the credentials to make biglaw, and it's skewed by school. The best schools (T14) historically send 50% of the class plus, while the worst struggle to send 5 to 10%.

It's all based on first year grades.


why is it based only on the first year?

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prezidentv8
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Re: BIG LAW

Postby prezidentv8 » Sun Mar 21, 2010 4:34 pm

texaspecial88 wrote:
disco_barred wrote:Most biglaw has to do with business - transactions, lobbying, etc. You won't be crushing the poor man beneath your heel, but you also won't be saving whales.

Starting salary is 160K at the biggest firms, and average work week is in the 60 hours range.

Promotions work as follows: Every year, everyone gets more money. At some point you get to be a partner and share in the firms profits. Attrition is VERY high every year, because the work is hard and long so people voluntarily leave for other opportunities. Something like 5-15% of each hired class stays on to make partner.

At big firms, profits per partner range from just under a million to a high in the 3 million dollars range. Obviously newer partners make less than that.

If you start at a biglaw job, there's a good chance you won't ever make less than six figures during your legal career. But it's also extremely unlikely that you'll make partner (want to make partner).

Every year only about 1/10 law graduates has the credentials to make biglaw, and it's skewed by school. The best schools (T14) historically send 50% of the class plus, while the worst struggle to send 5 to 10%.

It's all based on first year grades.


why is it based only on the first year?


Timing of 2nd year SA interviews, I presume

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SteelReserve
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Re: BIG LAW

Postby SteelReserve » Sun Mar 21, 2010 4:49 pm

Do people truly believe that 60 hours a week for 160k is some kind of soul-leeching labor camp life?


While I have never aspired for biglaw, I do understand the draw and I understand why people would want to do it and I would never second guess them for wanting to work in biglaw.

But as some of the actual posters here that work(ed) in biglaw can attest, it's not just an issue of hours worked. 60 may be average but there are many times when the workload is much higher.

The real problem with it is the control over one's life that the firm (rightfully so at 160k) exercises. I think most people wouldn't really mind 60 hour weeks if you could do it 8 to 8 but it doesn't work that way. You can't just clock out at 8 if you want to get noticed--it's very important to stay late.

But the real rub is the uncertainty of when a partner will drop something on your lap, forcing you to cancel plans with friends, family, and dates. Many assignments require lots of work during the weekends. So even if your work is more spread out, it really does suck to work every single day of the week...it can be soul-crushing to not have a day off.
Now think what that does to a young single/guy gal. You want to go out on weekends and unwind, but you can't. You can't stay out late on friday night when you have to hit the office early Saturday. So you really are signing away your twenties (which some people would argue is the best time of life outside childhood) over to the firm.
That's just something to think about. Bottom line is law is not the field to go into if you want a 40 hour work week.




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