BlaqBella wrote:His point is valid. BIGLAW is the quickest route one can take without having experience to make enough money and pay off debt. Once debt is out the way and you've gained enough substantive experience (at least 4 to 5 years) you have a variety of options, in-house included. In-house often requires BIGLAW experience.
That said, I disagree with his opinion that BIGLAW is a ****hole. I'll conclude that it heavily depends on the firm culture and the people you work with.
I third the original point. Biglaw is the quickest route to in-house (unless you get extremely lucky and land in-house at a major company that does entry level hiring - very few do this though).
Most law school students look at biglaw for the money/prestige, it is true (I would argue there is a general lack of understanding about what biglaw entails as well). Then after 3-5 years, MOST biglaw associates either (i) are informed that they aren't partnership material (i.e., mediocre or bad reviews, given poor work) or (ii) realize they don't want to make the sacrifices that it will entail to try for partnership. This is when mid-levels start to jump ship in-house or move to non-legal careers. The lifestyle in-house is generally much better (typically working on the same type of deals or moving to a compliance type role) and while the pay is less, it is still a good salary (especially if you've fully paid back your loans).
As someone who is still in biglaw and hasn't moved in-house yet, I imagine the work is very similar - which is to say it isn't the most stimulating work out there, but when you have traditional hours it is a very managable job. Compared to biglaw where your work is your life - i.e., you don't get to have much of a personal life and since the work isn't the most stimulating, your life tends to be pretty awful.
Whether biglaw is a s***hole or not, I would argue that best case scenario is that some days it is, some days it isn't. Almost every biglaw lawyer out there will have periods where they want to quit and think the pay isn't enough for the personal sacrifices being made. However, then the deal closes or the case settles and you have a week of 9-5 "work" (where you maybe bill 20 hours a week). These periods of slow time make biglaw tolerable for many people. It is the people that don't get these breaks that I think generally dislike biglaw. Working 6 (or 7) days a week for months on end will generally destroy MOST people. But, I think many biglaw shops are cognizant of burn out and try to give associates a break after major deals close. However, sometimes there is just too much work and breaks aren't possible.