Why Big Law?

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missvik218
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Re: Why Big Law?

Postby missvik218 » Mon Apr 26, 2010 4:30 pm

Posner wrote:I want career options so I have the best shot at choosing a job that will challenge me intellectually and allow me to provide for my family and nonprofit causes. Plus, my area of interest pretty much necessitates big law.

What can't I afford with a non-biglaw salary? Well, private school (should children need it) and the best college my children can get into (growing more and more expensive). After that? Provide for aging parents who worked hard to put me through school but are of modest means. Provide for nonprofit pet projects. I'll enjoy a moderately comfortable lifestyle as well, [strike]but my personal tastes aren't expensive[/strike].

Money provides options.

My thoughts exactly only add in paying off my own LS debt in addition to my children's education.

Edit because I wouldn't categorize my personal tastes as "not expensive"
Last edited by missvik218 on Mon Apr 26, 2010 4:48 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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La Grind Date
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Re: Why Big Law?

Postby La Grind Date » Mon Apr 26, 2010 4:40 pm

Posner wrote:
STA0815 wrote:Regarding prestige, who are you trying to impress? Whose validation are you seeking? Regarding $, what do you want that you can't afford with a more modest (i.e. non-BigLaw) salary?

I want career options so I have the best shot at choosing a job that will challenge me intellectually and allow me to provide for my family and nonprofit causes. Plus, my area of interest pretty much necessitates big law.

What can't I afford with a non-biglaw salary? Well, private school (should children need it) and the best college my children can get into (growing more and more expensive). After that? Provide for aging parents who worked hard to put me through school but are of modest means. Provide for nonprofit pet projects. I'll enjoy a moderately comfortable lifestyle as well, but my personal tastes aren't expensive.

Money provides options.


interesting perspective, my man. i'm only 22, so i haven't thought much about children. i feel what you're saying about parents and non-profits.

lawschoollll
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Re: Why Big Law?

Postby lawschoollll » Mon Apr 26, 2010 4:42 pm

Posner wrote:
lawschoollll wrote:
Posner wrote:What can't I afford with a non-biglaw salary? [strike]Well, private school (should children need it) and the best college my children can get into (growing more and more expensive). After that? Provide for aging parents who worked hard to put me through school but are of modest means. Provide for nonprofit pet projects. I'll enjoy a moderately comfortable lifestyle as well, but my personal tastes aren't expensive.[/strike] Lamborghinis.

Money provides options.

Clever.


Yea. See what I did there? (I crossed out a bunch of words and wrote the name of a fancy car instead of those words).

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romothesavior
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Re: Why Big Law?

Postby romothesavior » Mon Apr 26, 2010 4:46 pm

STA0815 wrote:
Posner wrote:
STA0815 wrote:Regarding prestige, who are you trying to impress? Whose validation are you seeking? Regarding $, what do you want that you can't afford with a more modest (i.e. non-BigLaw) salary?

I want career options so I have the best shot at choosing a job that will challenge me intellectually and allow me to provide for my family and nonprofit causes. Plus, my area of interest pretty much necessitates big law.

What can't I afford with a non-biglaw salary? Well, private school (should children need it) and the best college my children can get into (growing more and more expensive). After that? Provide for aging parents who worked hard to put me through school but are of modest means. Provide for nonprofit pet projects. I'll enjoy a moderately comfortable lifestyle as well, but my personal tastes aren't expensive.

Money provides options.


interesting perspective, my man. i'm only 22, so i haven't thought much about children. i feel what you're saying about parents and non-profits.


+1 to everything people are saying. Recent law grads are usually in the most financially unstable position they will ever be in (especially if you factor in the fact they are likely buying a car and possibly taking out a mortgage for a home). It makes sense for a 25 year old recent grad to want to quickly repay those loans and return to some sort of financial stability. For many people, from a financial standpoint it would be awesome to work big law for a few years, repay those loans, put a little coin in the bank, and then get out and work a more stable in-house job with fewer hours while maintaining decent pay. Then you get to provide opportunity to your children and be an active part of their lives.

Posner
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Re: Why Big Law?

Postby Posner » Mon Apr 26, 2010 4:52 pm

...
Last edited by Posner on Thu Jul 08, 2010 4:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

270910
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Re: Why Big Law?

Postby 270910 » Mon Apr 26, 2010 5:07 pm

OP: The most important question to ask yourself is "If not biglaw, what will I be doing?"

If you're answer to that question A) exists and B) is realistic given your backgroound and law school, then fuck biglaw.

I bet very few people have answers to A & B, however.

CordeliusX
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Re: Why Big Law?

Postby CordeliusX » Mon Apr 26, 2010 6:27 pm

I have been reading this thread, and I am now taking time to read the bios and stats from biglaw firms, as a soon-to-be 0L. :shock:

But I am still confused as to 2 main areas:

1. how to differentiate between all the different practice areas like litigation, tax, corporate, etc. (I have vague notions but is there a primer on the "standard" practice areas?)

2. If these huge firms have offices all over, why is NYC the big law capital? Do you get paid more, or get more prestige/opportunities, to be an associate in NYC over LA or DC? I was under the impression these firms only existed in NYC.

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bk1
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Re: Why Big Law?

Postby bk1 » Tue Apr 27, 2010 12:52 am

amyLAchemist wrote:
STA0815 wrote:"Forgive me for raising the subject, but someday--no matter how young you are now--you are going to die. (Yes, it's true. Trust me: I'm a lawyer.) If and when you know your time is up, you will no doubt look back on your life. When you do, what will you think of it? Will you feel smug because you made it to the top in some prestigious law firm? Will you take satisfaction that the net worth of your estate will perhaps be in the millions of dollars? Will you be proud that your actions--and inactions--helped to make the world a worse place?"


That's just silly.


That is to be expected when you quote somebody who interchanges "effect" and "affect."

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romothesavior
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Re: Why Big Law?

Postby romothesavior » Tue Apr 27, 2010 12:58 am

bk1 wrote:
amyLAchemist wrote:
STA0815 wrote:"Forgive me for raising the subject, but someday--no matter how young you are now--you are going to die. (Yes, it's true. Trust me: I'm a lawyer.) If and when you know your time is up, you will no doubt look back on your life. When you do, what will you think of it? Will you feel smug because you made it to the top in some prestigious law firm? Will you take satisfaction that the net worth of your estate will perhaps be in the millions of dollars? Will you be proud that your actions--and inactions--helped to make the world a worse place?"


That's just silly.


That is to be expected when you quote somebody who interchanges "effect" and "affect."


Oh my god, what is with some of you posters? Note: No one thinks it is cute when a new poster comes in and starts criticizing someone's grammar or spelling. You just look like a giant d-bag.

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underdawg
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Re: Why Big Law?

Postby underdawg » Tue Apr 27, 2010 1:15 am

a lot of biglaw people would prefer 40hrs/wk + 100k or something. it's just that those jobs are hard to find and that a good biglaw firm is a good credential to have, especially for the federal government which can sometimes be 100k/40hrs. same thing for why people would rather work at a V25 instead of a V100 or something. prestige matters for a lot of jobs. if someone wants to change the system, that's cool with me.

now this gets funky when you're talking about the difference between say debevoise (supposedly a chiller biglaw firm) and cravath (what is the opposite of "lifestyle firm?"). and sure, there are a few people just into prestige. but if someone wants to work at the DOJ, is it their fault that the DOJ is impressed by a fancy firm on your resume?

this whole "man i'd rather make 100k/40hrs, why are all these people money grubbing assholes?" thing gets really old.

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AngryAvocado
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Re: Why Big Law?

Postby AngryAvocado » Tue Apr 27, 2010 1:48 am

underdawg wrote:a lot of biglaw people would prefer 40hrs/wk + 100k or something. it's just that those jobs are hard to find and that a good biglaw firm is a good credential to have, especially for the federal government which can sometimes be 100k/40hrs. same thing for why people would rather work at a V25 instead of a V100 or something. prestige matters for a lot of jobs. if someone wants to change the system, that's cool with me.

now this gets funky when you're talking about the difference between say debevoise (supposedly a chiller biglaw firm) and cravath (what is the opposite of "lifestyle firm?"). and sure, there are a few people just into prestige. but if someone wants to work at the DOJ, is it their fault that the DOJ is impressed by a fancy firm on your resume?

this whole "man i'd rather make 100k/40hrs, why are all these people money grubbing assholes?" thing gets really old.


+1. Will someone just go ahead and bimodal chart-pwn this thread? Rayiner, where you at?

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DerrickRose
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Re: Why Big Law?

Postby DerrickRose » Tue Apr 27, 2010 2:13 am

I'm no economist, but doesn't it seem like this would work?:

Firm A employs 100 first-year's a year, each required to bill 2000 hrs, each making 160k, thus getting 200k hrs of billable work for $16 million.

Firm B employs 125 first years, each required to bill 1600 hrs, each making 110k, thus getting 200k hrs of billable work for $13.75 million.

Firm B can then do 3 things:
1. Roll that savings onto charging their clients less, undercutting the competition.
2. Advertise themselves to prospective talent as a high-paying "lifestyle" option.
3. Hire more talent, once again, undercutting the competition.

This would also benefit the legal industry generally in 3 ways:
1. More jobs
2. A less stressed, alcoholism and depression-y profession as a whole
3. Clients would be billed more equitably, but not necessarily less overall.

Its the Grand Moff Tarkin Corollary that keeps this from happening. Fear keeps them in line. But what if a V5, king-of-the-jungle type firm tried this? I think it would work gangbusters.
Last edited by DerrickRose on Tue Apr 27, 2010 2:25 am, edited 1 time in total.

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pany1985
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Re: Why Big Law?

Postby pany1985 » Tue Apr 27, 2010 2:19 am

125 x 1500 = 187,500

You'd need to have those 125 first-years billing 1600 hours to get to 200k
Last edited by pany1985 on Tue Apr 27, 2010 2:21 am, edited 1 time in total.

Anonymous User
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Re: Why Big Law?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Apr 27, 2010 2:20 am

DerrickRose wrote:I'm no economist, but doesn't it seem like this would work?:

Firm A employs 100 first-year's a year, each required to bill 2000 hrs, each making 160k, thus getting 200k hrs of billable work for $16 million.

Firm B employs 125 first years, each required to bill 1500 hrs, each making 110k, thus getting 200k hrs of billable work for $13.75 million.

Firm B can then do 3 things:
1. Roll that savings onto charging their clients less, undercutting the competition.
2. Advertise themselves to prospective talent as a high-paying "lifestyle" option.
3. Hire more talent, once again, undercutting the competition.

This would also benefit the legal industry generally in 3 ways:
1. More jobs
2. A less stressed, alcoholism and depression-y profession as a whole
3. Clients would be billed more equitably, but not necessarily less overall.

Its the Grand Moff Tarkin Corollary that keeps this from happening. Fear keeps them in line. But what if a V5, king-of-the-jungle type firm tried this? I think it would work gangbusters.


I know of at least one firm doing this, kinda. But they only cut it to 1750 and 145k. Their billing rates are also significantly lower, and claim to been extremely financially sound/have been hiring SAs like ITE didn't really happen.

My thoughts? Oh hai, hire me, kthxbai.

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PDaddy
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Re: Why Big Law?

Postby PDaddy » Tue Apr 27, 2010 2:24 am

It bodes much better for your long-term career prospects...flexibility, mobility, etc. It's a lot easier to work your way down than up. And it's easier to segwey into other specialties when you have been in BigLaw, b/c of the people you meet. A smart BigLaw associate makes as many contacts as possible while there, and most associates stay for just a few years, so you've gotta have your hussle on. It makes sense that you should go in with a plan. But it beats going to some small firm somewhere and having to win 150 cases before a large firm or corporation will even look at you. And by then, you likely won't want BigLaw anyways, you'll be too good on your own.
Last edited by PDaddy on Tue Apr 27, 2010 2:25 am, edited 1 time in total.

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DerrickRose
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Re: Why Big Law?

Postby DerrickRose » Tue Apr 27, 2010 2:24 am

pany1985 wrote:125 x 1500 = 187,500

You'd need to have those 125 first-years billing 1600 hours to get to 200k


I = Epic Math Fail

Will fix.

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pany1985
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Re: Why Big Law?

Postby pany1985 » Tue Apr 27, 2010 2:29 am

1600 hours for 110k still isn't bad. I think the problem is that a lot (if not most) of people who go into biglaw out of law school are just looking to pay off their loans and generally get out after a few years. They might prefer to bust their ass for the extra 50 grand a year, because it means they can work in biglaw for a shorter amount of time and then lateral out to something else. It's tough to convince someone fresh out of law school with massive loans to pay off that voluntarily taking about a 30% salary cut is actually a good thing. So at that point you're having trouble getting top grads from top schools to join your firm AND you actually have more slots you need to fill than most firms... meaning having to dip further into mediocre people from top schools and good students from lower-ranked schools... meaning that everyone in the legal world, obsessed with prestige, will think less of your firm.
Last edited by pany1985 on Tue Apr 27, 2010 2:32 am, edited 1 time in total.

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DerrickRose
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Re: Why Big Law?

Postby DerrickRose » Tue Apr 27, 2010 2:31 am

Anonymous User wrote:I know of at least one firm doing this, kinda. But they only cut it to 1750 and 145k. Their billing rates are also significantly lower, and claim to been extremely financially sound/have been hiring SAs like ITE didn't really happen.

My thoughts? Oh hai, hire me, kthxbai.


Which firm?

Oh, and while this would be a great idea at any time, its advantage is even greater ITE when the talent pool is more desperate for jobs than at any other time.

If you're a lower-profile Biglaw firm, you could be knee deep in talent while everyone else is burning themselves out running on a skeleton crew. Its not like you have to make any of these associates into partners, big firms kick most of them out anyway.

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DerrickRose
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Re: Why Big Law?

Postby DerrickRose » Tue Apr 27, 2010 2:35 am

pany1985 wrote:1600 hours for 110k still isn't bad. I think the problem is that a lot (if not most) of people who go into biglaw out of law school are just looking to pay off their loans and generally get out after a few years. They might prefer to bust their ass for the extra 50 grand a year, because it means they can work in biglaw for a shorter amount of time and then lateral out to something else. It's tough to convince someone fresh out of law school with massive loans to pay off that voluntarily taking about a 30% salary cut is actually a good thing.


A. 110k is still going to pay off those student loans pretty damn fast.
B. IBR is going to start scaring more people away from Biglaw
C. If the debt addled kids are going to shy away, then you're going to have self-selection for the people with big scholarships, AKA the people with the best credentials going in. That can't be construed as a bad thing.

I mean, the whole BigLaw model is based on grunt work at the bottom weeding out everyone but the superstars to make partner. The bigger your sample size, the better your results.

PR = win, Economics = win, Firm Atmosphere = win.

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underdawg
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Re: Why Big Law?

Postby underdawg » Tue Apr 27, 2010 2:38 am

AngryAvocado wrote:
underdawg wrote:a lot of biglaw people would prefer 40hrs/wk + 100k or something. it's just that those jobs are hard to find and that a good biglaw firm is a good credential to have, especially for the federal government which can sometimes be 100k/40hrs. same thing for why people would rather work at a V25 instead of a V100 or something. prestige matters for a lot of jobs. if someone wants to change the system, that's cool with me.

now this gets funky when you're talking about the difference between say debevoise (supposedly a chiller biglaw firm) and cravath (what is the opposite of "lifestyle firm?"). and sure, there are a few people just into prestige. but if someone wants to work at the DOJ, is it their fault that the DOJ is impressed by a fancy firm on your resume?

this whole "man i'd rather make 100k/40hrs, why are all these people money grubbing assholes?" thing gets really old.


+1. Will someone just go ahead and bimodal chart-pwn this thread? Rayiner, where you at?

that chart's misleading cause of like calculus or optical illusions or something. those 100k jobs exist...but not for most new graduates. boutiques, fed government generally want someone with.....biglaw experience! i think

Anonymous User
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Re: Why Big Law?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Apr 27, 2010 11:34 am

DerrickRose wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I know of at least one firm doing this, kinda. But they only cut it to 1750 and 145k. Their billing rates are also significantly lower, and claim to been extremely financially sound/have been hiring SAs like ITE didn't really happen.

My thoughts? Oh hai, hire me, kthxbai.


Which firm?

Oh, and while this would be a great idea at any time, its advantage is even greater ITE when the talent pool is more desperate for jobs than at any other time.

If you're a lower-profile Biglaw firm, you could be knee deep in talent while everyone else is burning themselves out running on a skeleton crew. Its not like you have to make any of these associates into partners, big firms kick most of them out anyway.


Knobbe Martens. IP firm. They are also recruiting hard core, having dinners at top law schools for tech background ppl, and then offering early pre-OCI interviews over the summer that seem more like "call back interviews," based on their length (10am-3pm). I am guessing they want to scoop some people up before OCI, maybe.

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nealric
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Re: Why Big Law?

Postby nealric » Tue Apr 27, 2010 11:42 am

I'm no economist, but doesn't it seem like this would work?:

Firm A employs 100 first-year's a year, each required to bill 2000 hrs, each making 160k, thus getting 200k hrs of billable work for $16 million.

Firm B employs 125 first years, each required to bill 1500 hrs, each making 110k, thus getting 200k hrs of billable work for $13.75 million.


Ignores the fixed costs of the associate (which are substantial)

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bceagles182
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Re: Why Big Law?

Postby bceagles182 » Tue Apr 27, 2010 11:45 am

STA0815 wrote:I wonder why do so many of you want to work in BigLaw?


OP, to answer to your question:

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.p ... =masochist

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Aeroplane
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Re: Why Big Law?

Postby Aeroplane » Tue Apr 27, 2010 11:55 am

nealric wrote:
I'm no economist, but doesn't it seem like this would work?:

Firm A employs 100 first-year's a year, each required to bill 2000 hrs, each making 160k, thus getting 200k hrs of billable work for $16 million.

Firm B employs 125 first years, each required to bill 1500 hrs, each making 110k, thus getting 200k hrs of billable work for $13.75 million.


Ignores the fixed costs of the associate (which are substantial)

This. Also ignores the inefficiencies & personnel issues that come with managing and delegating to more people. In theory, my pre-law school job could've been done by 4 people, each working 11-12 hours/week. In practice, it would've probably been a mess.

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NayBoer
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Re: Why Big Law?

Postby NayBoer » Tue Apr 27, 2010 12:07 pm

I'm going into tax law; if I'm trying to impress anybody, I've already failed.

I also don't feel like I'm making any ethical compromises by getting people out of paying taxes. If anything, I'm helping the world by somewhat reducing punitive taxation, and depriving the government of money it would use to harass and imprison people.




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