How do you all feel about Biglaw?

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The Invisible Man
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Re: How do you all feel about Biglaw?

Postby The Invisible Man » Fri May 07, 2010 10:41 am

OperaSoprano wrote:
disco_barred wrote:The thing to realize is that outside of big law, lawyers aren't quitting work at 4, heading to the beach, sipping margaritas and going "what are those other guys thinking?"

The law is a professional and inherently adversarial field that is going to demand time/energy and put you in stressful situations no matter what. Sure, big firm work can be the worst, but for an incremental increase in stress and hours pay can literally triple.

The point is that working in general isn't a picnic, and if you take the parts of big law that are objectively worse/harder/more stressful than any other office job (legal or otherwise) big law starts to look like fantasy land. The perks are incredible, the work can be interesting (if that's your thing), the exit options bountiful, and the compensation down right silly.

People saying things like 'rofl there are better ways to make money' are kidding themselves. Yeah, if you go into ibanking and do well you'll pull down more $$$ than a lawyer. But it's not like fresh faced grads from college are turning down 100K salaries to give law school a shot... it is VERY difficult to find an entry point to a six figure salary in this world, and it almost always requires hard work, sacrifice, and talent. Such is life.


It is a pretty severe trade-off to get that money, however. At my nonprofit, most of the attorneys leave between 5 and 6, and the support staff sometimes goes home before 5. I was once in there until 6:30 or so, finishing up a project, and the lights had been turned out when I left. QoL is amazing, and while the salary is less than half of NYC market, I could live on it, but I wouldn't be able to repay my loans if I took that job. It actually pays too much to qualify for my school's LRAP (under $100k to be sure, but still almost double what the average new college grad makes), so I would rely solely on IBR. I should note that I am far from assuming the organization would hire me full time: they have hundreds of applicants for every unpaid summer position they list.

If given the choice, people of TLS, which would you take? I should add that the work is fascinating and personally meaningful.


Take the fascinating and personally meaningful position.

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The Invisible Man
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Re: How do you all feel about Biglaw?

Postby The Invisible Man » Fri May 07, 2010 10:42 am

motiontodismiss wrote:biglaw is inifinitely easier to get into than midlaw/tax/bankruptcy boutique fresh out of law school and pays much more. And I might like it, who knows.


you sure about that, buddy?

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rbgrocio
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Re: How do you all feel about Biglaw?

Postby rbgrocio » Fri May 07, 2010 10:42 am

I'm not interested. I want to work only enough to live comfortably. I'm happy with a honda, a $30 dollar purse no diamonds (other than my wedding ring which i already have and would never upgrade for something else) or a mansion in the mountains. I just want to travel, spend time with my husband and future kids, and buy a dog. The law thing is something that I like but I could make the amount of money I need for the lifestyle I want without going into law.

Pearalegal
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Re: How do you all feel about Biglaw?

Postby Pearalegal » Fri May 07, 2010 10:43 am

paratactical wrote:
MC Southstar wrote:
The Invisible Man wrote:if i do biglaw, it will be to pay off school debt as quickly as possible. once my debt is gone (or close to done), i'm out.


This, but I'm also holding onto the possibility that I might actually like it.


I've been in biglaw as a paralegal for the last 4+ years and I love it. :oops:


Me too, only for 2 years.

Admittedly, para works for a New York firm and I'm in DC, so her experience might be different...but while the hours are rough, almost all of my attorneys find a life/work balance where they can be happy or they leave for the govenment after paying off most of their debt in a few years. Some people are miserable, but I'd bet they'd be miserable in any field.

Yes, its hard work with long hours, but you can say that about almost every profession. Unless a trial is coming up Most of the attorneys I work for get in around 8 or 9 and leave around 6:30, keeping an eye on their blackberries from home and hopping on their laptops if need be. Its really not that terrible. Its also what you signed up for. They're not going to pay you 200,000 out of law school to play with bunnies.

All the stereotypical freakouts about the hours and work is usually just a bunch of dorks who like to draw attention to themselves. I was on a deposition trip with a bunch of associates, and the socially awkward attorneys were doing the whole, "how could you EVER think about going to law school!! Its awful!!! Never work in biglaw!!" While most of the other associates rolled their eyes.

motiontodismiss
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Re: How do you all feel about Biglaw?

Postby motiontodismiss » Fri May 07, 2010 10:44 am

OperaSoprano wrote:
disco_barred wrote:The thing to realize is that outside of big law, lawyers aren't quitting work at 4, heading to the beach, sipping margaritas and going "what are those other guys thinking?"

The law is a professional and inherently adversarial field that is going to demand time/energy and put you in stressful situations no matter what. Sure, big firm work can be the worst, but for an incremental increase in stress and hours pay can literally triple.

The point is that working in general isn't a picnic, and if you take the parts of big law that are objectively worse/harder/more stressful than any other office job (legal or otherwise) big law starts to look like fantasy land. The perks are incredible, the work can be interesting (if that's your thing), the exit options bountiful, and the compensation down right silly.

People saying things like 'rofl there are better ways to make money' are kidding themselves. Yeah, if you go into ibanking and do well you'll pull down more $$$ than a lawyer. But it's not like fresh faced grads from college are turning down 100K salaries to give law school a shot... it is VERY difficult to find an entry point to a six figure salary in this world, and it almost always requires hard work, sacrifice, and talent. Such is life.


It is a pretty severe trade-off to get that money, however. At my nonprofit, most of the attorneys leave between 5 and 6, and the support staff sometimes goes home before 5. I was once in there until 6:30 or so, finishing up a project, and the lights had been turned out when I left. QoL is amazing, and while the salary is less than half of NYC market, I could live on it, but I wouldn't be able to repay my loans if I took that job. It actually pays too much to qualify for my school's LRAP (under $100k to be sure, but still almost double what the average new college grad makes), so I would rely solely on IBR. I should note that I am far from assuming the organization would hire me full time: they have hundreds of applicants for every unpaid summer position they list.

If given the choice, people of TLS, which would you take? I should add that the work is fascinating and personally meaningful. I don't expect that I'd really get an offer from them and an SA--> permanent biglaw offer, but it is an interesting contrast to make.


I'd take the position that's more likely to turn into a full time job. An employed/miserable lawyer>>>>>>>>an unemployed lawyer.

My mindset going into law school is "I'm going into biglaw, and I'm going to be working 8-10 M-S for the first 24 months. Minimum." And I'm still prepared to do it. I also don't ever plan on retiring-you can only play golf so many times before you get bored.
Last edited by motiontodismiss on Fri May 07, 2010 10:47 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Dtackpat75
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Re: How do you all feel about Biglaw?

Postby Dtackpat75 » Fri May 07, 2010 10:45 am

disco_barred wrote:The thing to realize is that outside of big law, lawyers aren't quitting work at 4, heading to the beach, sipping margaritas and going "what are those other guys thinking?"

The law is a professional and inherently adversarial field that is going to demand time/energy and put you in stressful situations no matter what. Sure, big firm work can be the worst, but for an incremental increase in stress and hours pay can literally triple.

The point is that working in general isn't a picnic, and if you take the parts of big law that are objectively worse/harder/more stressful than any other office job (legal or otherwise) big law starts to look like fantasy land. The perks are incredible, the work can be interesting (if that's your thing), the exit options bountiful, and the compensation down right silly.

People saying things like 'rofl there are better ways to make money' are kidding themselves. Yeah, if you go into ibanking and do well you'll pull down more $$$ than a lawyer. But it's not like fresh faced grads from college are turning down 100K salaries to give law school a shot... it is VERY difficult to find an entry point to a six figure salary in this world, and it almost always requires hard work, sacrifice, and talent. Such is life.


+1 Exactly. And not to mention ibankers work a ton, comparable hours if not more than in big law. These are the guys often sitting across the table from the M&A associates at your firm at 1 am on deadline day.

I don't know where this whole I just want to make 100K at some point in time and have a nice family life, be a t-ball coach, retire early mentality comes from. It frankly is not a reality. Lawyer, banker, doctor, accountant, consultant, all of these jobs pay well (generally) and require alot of time. If you want to have a nice house, nice things, do "interesting work", be able to put kids through college, and spend the last 20 years of your life in retirement, then your are going to have to work...and work hard. Ofcourse, you could always take out a lot of deby, finance everything and just die before the bill collectors take everything. I mean your kids will pay it all off for you. Plus, what does it matter to you, you will be dead.

Sorry the movies aren't real boys and girls.

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MC Southstar
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Re: How do you all feel about Biglaw?

Postby MC Southstar » Fri May 07, 2010 10:47 am

I have a feeling a lot of the naysayers are people who have never had a real job before and are just spoiled schoolchildren, probably coasted through an easy lib arts major too.

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Shot007
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Re: How do you all feel about Biglaw?

Postby Shot007 » Fri May 07, 2010 10:47 am

Call me Naive but I was thinking of doing BigLaw and being Happily married, the girl I am interested in, is most likely going to be an MD...is this a recipe for no time together????

Also here in Canada, the Billable requirements are more along the lines of 1700-1800 for some of the most prestigious Law firms. So I think I could manage that...and a Life

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MC Southstar
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Re: How do you all feel about Biglaw?

Postby MC Southstar » Fri May 07, 2010 10:48 am

Shot007 wrote:Call me Naive but I was thinking of doing BigLaw and being Happily married, the girl I am interested in, is most likely going to be an MD...is this a recipe for no time together????

Also here in Canada, the Billable requirements are more along the lines of 1700-1800 for some of the most prestigious Law firms. So I think I could manage that...and a Life


I actually think it will avoid the complications of one person having too MUCH freetime and creating an unbalanced relationship.

Pearalegal
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Re: How do you all feel about Biglaw?

Postby Pearalegal » Fri May 07, 2010 10:49 am

MC Southstar wrote:I have a feeling a lot of the naysayers are people who have never had a real job before and are just spoiled schoolchildren, probably coasted through an easy lib arts major too.


Back off. My double anthropology and creative writing degree allows me to watch people and then write a poem about them like a BEAST.

motiontodismiss
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Re: How do you all feel about Biglaw?

Postby motiontodismiss » Fri May 07, 2010 10:50 am

American Biglaw expects 2000+ billables. At 2/3 efficiency that's 3000 hours/year. With 2 weeks' worth of government holidays, and 4 weeks of vacation, that's 66 hours a week, a little more than 13 hours a day working M-F.

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paratactical
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Re: How do you all feel about Biglaw?

Postby paratactical » Fri May 07, 2010 10:50 am

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Last edited by paratactical on Wed Feb 13, 2013 9:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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MC Southstar
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Re: How do you all feel about Biglaw?

Postby MC Southstar » Fri May 07, 2010 10:51 am

Pearalegal wrote:
MC Southstar wrote:I have a feeling a lot of the naysayers are people who have never had a real job before and are just spoiled schoolchildren, probably coasted through an easy lib arts major too.


Back off. My double anthropology and creative writing degree allows me to watch people and then write a poem about them like a BEAST.


I live among humans and write and perform poetry about them without a degree.

hth

Pearalegal
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Re: How do you all feel about Biglaw?

Postby Pearalegal » Fri May 07, 2010 10:53 am

motiontodismiss wrote:American Biglaw expects 2000+ billables. At 2/3 efficiency that's 3000 hours/year. With 2 weeks' worth of government holidays, and 4 weeks of vacation, that's 66 hours a week, a little more than 13 hours a day working M-F.



So you work 7am to 6pm M-F and then A few saturdays. Home in time to make dinner for the kids and watch some bad sitcoms.

Though show me a young associate who takes 4 weeks of vacation, and I'll show you a young associate who doesn't care about getting ahead in the firm.

Which is not a bad thing, for godsake. Most jobs start you out on a week of vacation a year if that.

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Duralex
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Re: How do you all feel about Biglaw?

Postby Duralex » Fri May 07, 2010 10:53 am

My take on this is that you should try for it if it appeals to you, and get those loans paid off as quickly as possible, but don't bet/plan on staying there forever. It's bad to get passed over, stick around too long, and wind up figuring out that the first job you got out of school is going to be the best one you'll ever get.
Last edited by Duralex on Fri May 07, 2010 10:55 am, edited 1 time in total.

Pearalegal
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Re: How do you all feel about Biglaw?

Postby Pearalegal » Fri May 07, 2010 10:53 am

MC Southstar wrote:
Pearalegal wrote:
MC Southstar wrote:I have a feeling a lot of the naysayers are people who have never had a real job before and are just spoiled schoolchildren, probably coasted through an easy lib arts major too.


Back off. My double anthropology and creative writing degree allows me to watch people and then write a poem about them like a BEAST.


I live among humans and write and perform poetry about them without a degree.

hth


I'm jealous. That means you can go to the anthropology/creative writing Olympics. As a professional, I had to say goodbye to that dream years ago.

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MC Southstar
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Re: How do you all feel about Biglaw?

Postby MC Southstar » Fri May 07, 2010 10:56 am

Pearalegal wrote:I'm jealous. That means you can go to the anthropology/creative writing Olympics. As a professional, I had to say goodbye to that dream years ago.


Aww.. we can go into a smokey basement and play bongos together one day though. Call me.

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OperaSoprano
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Re: How do you all feel about Biglaw?

Postby OperaSoprano » Fri May 07, 2010 10:57 am

I have a classmate who paralegaled both in NYC and in DC, and she says there is a gigantic difference. She claims DC is an epic, epic quality of life win. I debated the merits of arguing with her, but I have only ever visited DC, so I doubted I could do so effectively. She seemed to think I should consider leaving New York at graduation.

Pearalegal
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Re: How do you all feel about Biglaw?

Postby Pearalegal » Fri May 07, 2010 10:59 am

OperaSoprano wrote:I have a classmate who paralegaled both in NYC and in DC, and she says there is a gigantic difference. She claims DC is an epic, epic quality of life win. I debated the merits of arguing with her, but I have only ever visited DC, so I doubted I could do so effectively. She seemed to think I should consider leaving New York at graduation.


A lot of this stems from DC biglaw being very involved with government work, which shuts down at 5 pm every effing day. And do not even TRY to think about extending that.

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paratactical
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Re: How do you all feel about Biglaw?

Postby paratactical » Fri May 07, 2010 11:00 am

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Last edited by paratactical on Wed Feb 13, 2013 9:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

270910
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Re: How do you all feel about Biglaw?

Postby 270910 » Fri May 07, 2010 11:06 am

Pearalegal wrote:
OperaSoprano wrote:I have a classmate who paralegaled both in NYC and in DC, and she says there is a gigantic difference. She claims DC is an epic, epic quality of life win. I debated the merits of arguing with her, but I have only ever visited DC, so I doubted I could do so effectively. She seemed to think I should consider leaving New York at graduation.


A lot of this stems from DC biglaw being very involved with government work, which shuts down at 5 pm every effing day. And do not even TRY to think about extending that.


Depends on the government. The political process world never sleeps, and a lot of biglaw is involved in that. I doubt many big firm attorneys who were working HCR, as an example, were doing chest bumps and body shots come 5 pm on their way our the door.

motiontodismiss
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Re: How do you all feel about Biglaw?

Postby motiontodismiss » Fri May 07, 2010 11:06 am

Pearalegal wrote:
motiontodismiss wrote:American Biglaw expects 2000+ billables. At 2/3 efficiency that's 3000 hours/year. With 2 weeks' worth of government holidays, and 4 weeks of vacation, that's 66 hours a week, a little more than 13 hours a day working M-F.



So you work 7am to 6pm M-F and then A few saturdays. Home in time to make dinner for the kids and watch some bad sitcoms.

Though show me a young associate who takes 4 weeks of vacation, and I'll show you a young associate who doesn't care about getting ahead in the firm.

Which is not a bad thing, for godsake. Most jobs start you out on a week of vacation a year if that.


Still leaves 2 hours short every day and 4 billables short every week, assuming 2/3 efficiency.

luckycurl84
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Re: How do you all feel about Biglaw?

Postby luckycurl84 » Fri May 07, 2010 11:07 am

If I get it, I'm going to hit it then quit it.

In-house. That's where it's at. 8)

Pearalegal
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Re: How do you all feel about Biglaw?

Postby Pearalegal » Fri May 07, 2010 11:09 am

motiontodismiss wrote:
Pearalegal wrote:
motiontodismiss wrote:American Biglaw expects 2000+ billables. At 2/3 efficiency that's 3000 hours/year. With 2 weeks' worth of government holidays, and 4 weeks of vacation, that's 66 hours a week, a little more than 13 hours a day working M-F.



So you work 7am to 6pm M-F and then a few saturdays. Home in time to make dinner for the kids and watch some bad sitcoms.

Though show me a young associate who takes 4 weeks of vacation, and I'll show you a young associate who doesn't care about getting ahead in the firm.

Which is not a bad thing, for godsake. Most jobs start you out on a week of vacation a year if that.


Still leaves 2 hours short every day and 4 billables short every week, assuming 2/3 efficiency.


With the Saturdays?

270910
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Re: How do you all feel about Biglaw?

Postby 270910 » Fri May 07, 2010 11:10 am

motiontodismiss wrote:
Pearalegal wrote:
motiontodismiss wrote:American Biglaw expects 2000+ billables. At 2/3 efficiency that's 3000 hours/year. With 2 weeks' worth of government holidays, and 4 weeks of vacation, that's 66 hours a week, a little more than 13 hours a day working M-F.



So you work 7am to 6pm M-F and then A few saturdays. Home in time to make dinner for the kids and watch some bad sitcoms.

Though show me a young associate who takes 4 weeks of vacation, and I'll show you a young associate who doesn't care about getting ahead in the firm.

Which is not a bad thing, for godsake. Most jobs start you out on a week of vacation a year if that.


Still leaves 2 hours short every day and 4 billables short every week, assuming 2/3 efficiency.


It shouldn't come as a surprise that the work is hardly regular, and some days you'll be extremely efficient for long hours while other days not so much. It makes it very hard to back up from the #of weeks in a year or a billable hours target to come up with the actual amount of work it takes. Kind of an exercise in futility, really.

Billable hours surveys suggest that the average work week only breaks 65 or pushes 70 hours per week at a very small number of firms. Most associates reported average working hours per week in the high 50s or low 60s. That's probably a better way to think about it.




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