jobs with work/life balance

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nosaj123
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jobs with work/life balance

Postby nosaj123 » Sat Sep 11, 2010 12:05 pm

What job options are available that pay >$90k out of law school but still allow for some level or work/life balance?

I currently work 8:30-6 M-F, plus the occasional weekend, and would not want to work much more than that. However, everything I have read about life at law firms, big or small, says that they require significantly more and very uncertain hours. Are there firms (or specialties) or non-firm employers that offer work/life balance available to someone coming out of a T20 school but still pay >$90k? What about positions available after 2-3 years of experience at a large firm? Finally, if you can give information on a specific job you are familiar with, how important is it to go to a top law school (so I know if it would be better to go to a school with a more pleasant culture and a big scholarship)?

Thank you!

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chup
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Re: jobs with work/life balance

Postby chup » Sat Sep 11, 2010 12:07 pm

El Oh El.

nosaj123
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Re: jobs with work/life balance

Postby nosaj123 » Sat Sep 11, 2010 12:13 pm

chup wrote:El Oh El.



Glad I could make you laugh :)

Whatever you know that made my comment funny to you could actually be very helpful to me. Any chance you want to explain?

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ggocat
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Re: jobs with work/life balance

Postby ggocat » Sat Sep 11, 2010 12:15 pm

nosaj123 wrote:What job options are available that pay >$90k out of law school but still allow for some level or work/life balance?

Very few firms.


Are there firms (or specialties) or non-firm employers that offer work/life balance available to someone coming out of a T20 school but still pay >$90k?

Very few. Federal government starts at about 60K but will be around $90K after 3 years.


What about positions available after 2-3 years of experience at a large firm?

Federal government.


Finally, if you can give information on a specific job you are familiar with, how important is it to go to a top law school (so I know if it would be better to go to a school with a more pleasant culture and a big scholarship)?

It's helpful but not necessary for most federal government. I work at a state appellate court. Clerks and staff attorneys range from top schools to fourth tier. You will see ranges at every employer, but generally going to a national school gives you a leg up. (i.e., not much difference between T2 and T3, but a big difference between top10 and top50

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chup
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Re: jobs with work/life balance

Postby chup » Sat Sep 11, 2010 12:19 pm

Finding anything resembling work/life balance at a firm is going to be like finding a needle in a haystack. And that needle also happens to be made of diamonds and unicorn farts. Your best option is government work, though depending on the practice area, you might still be on the "work" side of the work/life balance. Government work also won't get you your desired 90k/year -- at least not for awhile, and those positions that do pay well are insanely competitive.

tingles
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Re: jobs with work/life balance

Postby tingles » Sat Sep 11, 2010 4:54 pm

In-house positions are known to have a nice work-life balance. However, there's very few corporations that would higher straight out of law schools. To get those positions, you'd have to work at least 5+ yrs for a firm.

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haus
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Re: jobs with work/life balance

Postby haus » Sat Sep 11, 2010 5:09 pm

I know that earning a law degree and and passing the bar is a nice feather to place in one's cap. But it does sound awfully funny that someone with no real work experience to bring to bear is looking for an opportunity to ensure that they do not work all that hard, but in order to offset their desire to not work all that hard by accepting a salary that is only approaching the double the median household income for the nation.

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Sobriquet
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Re: jobs with work/life balance

Postby Sobriquet » Sat Sep 11, 2010 5:29 pm

Tax associates have the most work/life balance w/in BigLaw, but that doesn't say much. Practice area wise, I've heard tax > real estate or employee comp/benefits > litigation > other transactional > M&A but even at the best, you're still working late hours at times.

revolution724
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Re: jobs with work/life balance

Postby revolution724 » Sat Sep 11, 2010 5:31 pm

nosaj123 wrote:I currently work 8:30-6 M-F, plus the occasional weekend, and would not want to work much more than that.


Don't go into law.

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johnnyutah
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Re: jobs with work/life balance

Postby johnnyutah » Sat Sep 11, 2010 5:44 pm

nosaj123 wrote:What job options are available that pay >$30k out of law school but still allow for some level or work/life balance?

Fixed that for you.

nosaj123
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Re: jobs with work/life balance

Postby nosaj123 » Sun Sep 12, 2010 1:23 pm

tingles wrote:In-house positions are known to have a nice work-life balance. However, there's very few corporations that would higher straight out of law schools. To get those positions, you'd have to work at least 5+ yrs for a firm.


Thank you tingles, I definitely plan to look into this a option a lot more. I don't mind working big-law hours for a few years, but want to work more reasonable hours when I start a family, so transisitiong to in-house work after gaining big-law experience sounds like a good fit.

yellowjacket2012
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Re: jobs with work/life balance

Postby yellowjacket2012 » Sun Sep 12, 2010 1:52 pm

Again, a series of biglaw brainwashed responses; OP, there are several midlaw/small law firms where you'll pull in 70-100k in salary, and work around 40-50 hours a week. This is a good 20k below what you're looking for, but if your market is not NYC; this could work out effectively.

If litigation is what you're after, the hours are very dependent on the cases - so regardless of which law firm you work at, external factors dominate in these situations, the litigation lifestyle is all ebb and flow, you could find yourself up your rear with work, then a case settles, and boom - your work evaporates; but at a mid size law firm with a limited caseload - even the ups and downs of litigation could AVERAGE OUT less than what you can expect in big law.

If you're IP, there are SEVERAL options for you to pull this off in prosecution (these guys can work from home, and have very very stable lifestyles); and even litigation (much easier billables than prosecution); look for any midlaw IP boutique (50+ attorneys), they'll go so far as to pay near market (130-140k), and the hours are VERY doable. Bonuses here are much smaller than big law, and partnership in these firms won't pay you as much as big law; to lateral to big law is tough out of these firms, but obviously ridiculously easy if you START at big law.

You asked about whether there were certain law specialties; patent prosecution is where it's at. You can work 40 hours a week as a patent prosecutor for a small-to-mid size prosecution boutique, pull in six figures, and that's the end of that. I'm pretty sure a big patent boutique like Townsend or Fish is going to want more than 40 hours per week even off a pure prosecutor, the billables are tougher in prosecution than litigation, but those places pay market (160k).

In short, there are certain specialties (patent pros), and certain law firm types (small-to-mid) where you make sacrifices in $$ in both short/long term, but you gain in lifestyle. You won't find information about these firms in any of the popular websites around here (Vault, Chambers, etc. etc.) - but you can find a lot of information on NALP and at your law school's career office if they're any good. These firms will obviously place a premium on geographic ties, so look mostly for places near your city.

You're not going to find much sympathy for your position and sought after lifestyle on this website, everyone here is part of the herd that you're trying to get away from.

gulcregret
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Re: jobs with work/life balance

Postby gulcregret » Sun Sep 12, 2010 2:46 pm

90k is one of those salaries that are hard to come by straight out of law school. Some of the energy companies, GE, and Citi hire straight out but not sure of salary. Work hours are going to be decent, in the range you proposed. There are jobs out there that meet your criteria, but they will take work to find. Some of the government honors programs offer close to 90k, but you are going to need a background in the area (ie-finance for the SEC).

Don't follow the herd of sheep that have no clue what to do with themselves and choose biglaw for 3-5 years to figure it out.

nosaj123
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Re: jobs with work/life balance

Postby nosaj123 » Sun Sep 12, 2010 2:58 pm

yellowjacket2012 wrote:In short, there are certain specialties (patent pros), and certain law firm types (small-to-mid) where you make sacrifices in $$ in both short/long term, but you gain in lifestyle. You won't find information about these firms in any of the popular websites around here (Vault, Chambers, etc. etc.) - but you can find a lot of information on NALP and at your law school's career office if they're any good. These firms will obviously place a premium on geographic ties, so look mostly for places near your city.

You're not going to find much sympathy for your position and sought after lifestyle on this website, everyone here is part of the herd that you're trying to get away from.


Thanks Yellowjacket. Patent/IP may be tough because I don't have an engineering background, but it's good to know those types of options are available. I 100% plan to put my school's career office to use, and the quality/attentiveness of the career office is going to play a big role when I finally choose a school.

Thanks again for the information.

yellowjacket2012
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Re: jobs with work/life balance

Postby yellowjacket2012 » Sun Sep 12, 2010 3:02 pm

you can repair your patent bar ineligibility with about a year of work at any community college.. maybe if you get deferred at big law, you can enroll in a local school or something, I knew of like 4 guys at georgia tech who were in their 30s and had come back just for 1 year to take the requisite engineering courses (they were not degree students)

don't let uspto requirements make it seem like you have to 'do over' college - they're not really barriers, they're just hoops you have to jump through

but before all this talk, you need to read a couple of patents and see if you'd enjoy drafting them, maybe get in touch with a prosecutor and see if you'd like to correspond with the PTO for a living.

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DavidYurman85
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Re: jobs with work/life balance

Postby DavidYurman85 » Sun Sep 12, 2010 4:07 pm

there are some firms that offer good work-life balance, but you really have to do a lot of research to find them (check rankings, message boards and other sources to find out info about QOL). my gf, for instance, works at a bl firm that pays market and the culture really respects QOL. when a big case is coming up things might get more hectic, but for the most part our life doesn't revolve around her firm, she doesn't have to cancel plans, we see each other often and can take trips, make dates, go to the occasional happy hour, and she's home before the sun sets.

edit: should mention that she has a specialty

nosaj123
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Re: jobs with work/life balance

Postby nosaj123 » Sun Sep 12, 2010 5:47 pm

DavidYurman85 wrote:there are some firms that offer good work-life balance, but you really have to do a lot of research to find them (check rankings, message boards and other sources to find out info about QOL). my gf, for instance, works at a bl firm that pays market and the culture really respects QOL. when a big case is coming up things might get more hectic, but for the most part our life doesn't revolve around her firm, she doesn't have to cancel plans, we see each other often and can take trips, make dates, go to the occasional happy hour, and she's home before the sun sets.

edit: should mention that she has a specialty


While I'm sure I'll end up choosing a specialty primarily based upon the classes that pique my interest at law school, could you give me some examples of specialties where it may be easier to find a firm that has a good work-life balance? Also, do you have any information about the competitiveness of these specialties?

Wavelet
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Re: jobs with work/life balance

Postby Wavelet » Sun Sep 12, 2010 5:59 pm

yellowjacket2012 wrote:you can repair your patent bar ineligibility with about a year of work at any community college.. maybe if you get deferred at big law, you can enroll in a local school or something, I knew of like 4 guys at georgia tech who were in their 30s and had come back just for 1 year to take the requisite engineering courses (they were not degree students)

don't let uspto requirements make it seem like you have to 'do over' college - they're not really barriers, they're just hoops you have to jump through

but before all this talk, you need to read a couple of patents and see if you'd enjoy drafting them, maybe get in touch with a prosecutor and see if you'd like to correspond with the PTO for a living.


Please stop telling people to sit for the patent bar through Option B or C. The patent bar is unnecessary for patent litigation. And for prosecution, firms won't even consider you without an advanced technical degree (exceptions for certain engineering fields where a BS suffices); what makes you think they'll hire a patent prosecutor without any technical degree?

savagecheater
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Re: jobs with work/life balance

Postby savagecheater » Sun Sep 12, 2010 6:01 pm

So you want to work at a legal job that does work that's specifically interesting to you, has the easy hours you want, and a decent amount of pay?

LOL.

Renzo
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Re: jobs with work/life balance

Postby Renzo » Sun Sep 12, 2010 6:05 pm

yellowjacket2012 wrote: there are several midlaw/small law firms where you'll pull in 70-100k in salary, and work around 40-50 hours a week.

I agree, there are several such firms. Several as in more than two, less than dozens.

kevin261186
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Re: jobs with work/life balance

Postby kevin261186 » Sun Sep 12, 2010 6:25 pm

tingles wrote: However, there's very few corporations that would higher straight out of law schools. To get those positions, you'd have to work at least 5+ yrs for a firm.


LOL'd at this.

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DavidYurman85
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Re: jobs with work/life balance

Postby DavidYurman85 » Sun Sep 12, 2010 6:32 pm

nosaj123 wrote:
DavidYurman85 wrote:there are some firms that offer good work-life balance, but you really have to do a lot of research to find them (check rankings, message boards and other sources to find out info about QOL). my gf, for instance, works at a bl firm that pays market and the culture really respects QOL. when a big case is coming up things might get more hectic, but for the most part our life doesn't revolve around her firm, she doesn't have to cancel plans, we see each other often and can take trips, make dates, go to the occasional happy hour, and she's home before the sun sets.

edit: should mention that she has a specialty


While I'm sure I'll end up choosing a specialty primarily based upon the classes that pique my interest at law school, could you give me some examples of specialties where it may be easier to find a firm that has a good work-life balance? Also, do you have any information about the competitiveness of these specialties?


ip, for instance, is a specialty. my ip friends in bl all agree that they're practice area seems more laid back than what they've heard from their peers in other groups at v100 firms. however, ip isn't exactly the kind of area where you can just choose to specialize. most of these folks have highly coveted tech degrees and backgrounds; and choosing ip or another "specialty", doesn't preclude you from the grueling hours or expectations that are inherent in bl.

it might be better for you to seek out firms that feel like a good fit for your career goals, personality and the kind of quality of life you would like to maintain.

i'm not sure about the competitiveness of "specialty" gigs in a normal economy but ITE ALL jobs are competitive. as someone said prior, certain government positions tend to offer more flexibility. there are also jobs in smaller practices, or family-friendly firms that tend to offer a better work-life balance. but you will find most of this out, as you begin to research different firms.

nosaj123
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Re: jobs with work/life balance

Postby nosaj123 » Sun Sep 12, 2010 6:37 pm

kevin261186 wrote:
tingles wrote: However, there's very few corporations that would higher straight out of law schools. To get those positions, you'd have to work at least 5+ yrs for a firm.


LOL'd at this.


Why? (If you have any specific examples or sources that contradict what Kevin said, I'd love to hear them)

nosaj123
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Re: jobs with work/life balance

Postby nosaj123 » Sun Sep 12, 2010 6:39 pm

Renzo wrote:
yellowjacket2012 wrote: there are several midlaw/small law firms where you'll pull in 70-100k in salary, and work around 40-50 hours a week.

I agree, there are several such firms. Several as in more than two, less than dozens.


Even in secondary markets? (I prefer to live in mid-sized cities)

yellowjacket2012
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Re: jobs with work/life balance

Postby yellowjacket2012 » Sun Sep 12, 2010 6:41 pm

Wavelet wrote:
yellowjacket2012 wrote:you can repair your patent bar ineligibility with about a year of work at any community college.. maybe if you get deferred at big law, you can enroll in a local school or something, I knew of like 4 guys at georgia tech who were in their 30s and had come back just for 1 year to take the requisite engineering courses (they were not degree students)

don't let uspto requirements make it seem like you have to 'do over' college - they're not really barriers, they're just hoops you have to jump through

but before all this talk, you need to read a couple of patents and see if you'd enjoy drafting them, maybe get in touch with a prosecutor and see if you'd like to correspond with the PTO for a living.


Please stop telling people to sit for the patent bar through Option B or C. The patent bar is unnecessary for patent litigation. And for prosecution, firms won't even consider you without an advanced technical degree (exceptions for certain engineering fields where a BS suffices); what makes you think they'll hire a patent prosecutor without any technical degree?


I wasn't referring to patent litigation when I mentioned the alternative options. My reference to the patent bar was solely directed at prosecution. But thanks for quoting me out of context.




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