Why big law?

(On Campus Interviews, Summer Associate positions, Firm Reviews, Tips, ...)
Forum rules
Anonymous Posting

Anonymous posting is only appropriate when you are revealing sensitive employment related information about a firm, job, etc. You may anonymously respond on topic to these threads. Unacceptable uses include: harassing another user, joking around, testing the feature, or other things that are more appropriate in the lounge.

Failure to follow these rules will get you outed, warned, or banned.
Anonymous User
Posts: 273104
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Why big law?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 25, 2010 3:47 pm

Seriously. I interviewed with some big firms in NYC over flyout week. Some of them were even the more palatable ones in terms of people (GDC, Paul Weiss).

But it sucked. Completely. You do mind numbing work for 5 years before they force you out.

Are there any other reasons besides paying off debt and good exit opportunities? Isn't 4-5 years a long time to hate your life?

I find myself dreading the possibility of having to work at one of these sweatshops, when I know I should just feel blessed to have any job offers.

Does big law have any redeeming qualities?
Last edited by Anonymous User on Sat Sep 25, 2010 3:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Kohinoor
Posts: 2756
Joined: Sat Oct 25, 2008 5:51 pm

Re: Why big law?

Postby Kohinoor » Sat Sep 25, 2010 3:48 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Seriously. I interviewed with some big firms in NYC over flyout week. Some of them were even the more palatable ones in terms of people (GDC, Paul Weiss).

But it sucked. Completely. You do mind numbing work for 5 years before they force you out.

Is there any other reason besides pay off debt and good exit opportunities? Isn't 4-5 years a long time to hate your life?

I find myself dreading the possibility of having to work at one of these sweatshops, when I know I should just feel blessed to have any job offers.

Does big law have any redeeming qualities?

Where did you work before law school?

Anonymous User
Posts: 273104
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Why big law?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 25, 2010 3:50 pm

Kohinoor wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Seriously. I interviewed with some big firms in NYC over flyout week. Some of them were even the more palatable ones in terms of people (GDC, Paul Weiss).

But it sucked. Completely. You do mind numbing work for 5 years before they force you out.

Is there any other reason besides pay off debt and good exit opportunities? Isn't 4-5 years a long time to hate your life?

I find myself dreading the possibility of having to work at one of these sweatshops, when I know I should just feel blessed to have any job offers.

Does big law have any redeeming qualities?

Where did you work before law school?


Straight through. But before you smugly give the punchline -- there ARE legal careers out there that I could be genuinely happy doing. Securing them and being able to pay off debt with them is another story...

Anonymous User
Posts: 273104
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Why big law?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 25, 2010 3:56 pm

I don't know why you think the work is mind-numbing. I like doing the kind of work I will be doing, and in respect to some of the less intellectual assignments (doc review, which can be somewhat interesting sometimes, and putting together binders) you are incredibly overcompensated. To each his own, but there are a lot of positive things about working for a large firm. You learn from the best, you get exposed to cutting edge legal issues, and are paid very well. I hope to stick it out as long as I'm welcome.

270910
Posts: 2437
Joined: Thu May 21, 2009 9:51 pm

Re: Why big law?

Postby 270910 » Sat Sep 25, 2010 3:56 pm

.
Last edited by 270910 on Mon Sep 27, 2010 12:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

t14underground
Posts: 71
Joined: Mon Mar 01, 2010 4:23 am

Re: Why big law?

Postby t14underground » Sat Sep 25, 2010 3:57 pm

Because that is how it is everywhere, except government, which is really competitive. Welcome to the profession. I worked at a smaller firm last summer and the billable hours requirement was the same as biglaw. Arguably worse because lawyers at my firm didn't get some BS "quality time" (pro bono, interviewing, etc.) like large firm attorneys get. The reason biglaw is better is because you actually get paid decently for the time that you work and there's a lot of prestige there.

Also, obviously, the smaller of a law firm you get the more responsibility you get sooner. But the flip side is that you also don't get nearly as interesting/high profile cases (e.g. you will be working Joe Blow's automobile accident neck injury, as oppose to representing the Lehman Bros in their bankruptcy).

Anonymous User
Posts: 273104
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Why big law?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 25, 2010 3:59 pm

disco_barred wrote:It's... work. You give up labor in exchange for $$$. In these cases, it's intense work and work that often requires a great deal of intellect. Untold millions in this country flip burgers, clean linens, pick corn, cold call for money, wash cars, pump gas, serve sandwiches, clean bathrooms, etc. The fact that you can have a job with enormous perks/fringe benefits + a staggering salary straight out of law school is enough reason to consider it even if it's licking toilets. Beyond that, the nature of the work will vary a lot. The constant is intensity - but there's nothing inherently wrong with working hard.

And when you get forced out or decide to go, there are phenomenal exit options - not because of group think, but because a lot of other employers (many more desirable to you) think that the big firm experience is excellent legal training.


It's work, but the work sucks. I actually think it's a tossup as to whether the big law associate experience is that much more interesting than cold calling for money or flipping burgers.

You're a glorified research assistant.

I don't mind intense work, but I went to law school to be a lawyer. You're a lawyer in name only at big law firms.

Because that is how it is everywhere, except government, which is really competitive. Welcome to the profession. I worked at a smaller firm last summer and the billable hours requirement was the same as biglaw. Arguably worse because lawyers at my firm didn't get some BS "quality time" (pro bono, interviewing, etc.) like large firm attorneys get. The reason biglaw is better is because you actually get paid decently for the time that you work and there's a lot of prestige there.

Also, obviously, the smaller of a law firm you get the more responsibility you get sooner. But the flip side is that you also don't get nearly as interesting/high profile cases (e.g. you will be working Joe Blow's automobile accident neck injury, as oppose to representing the Lehman Bros in their bankruptcy).


I would 100% take a firm that allowed me to represent Joe Blow in court over being the 15th name on a Supreme Court brief. I'd happily do 2500 hours of the former.

I want to be a lawyer.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Sat Sep 25, 2010 4:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273104
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Why big law?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 25, 2010 4:02 pm

The hours don't bother me at all. I'd put in 3000 hours somewhere that lets me put on witnesses or take depos in the first couple years and enjoy it.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273104
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Why big law?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 25, 2010 4:05 pm

..oops, double post
Last edited by Anonymous User on Sat Sep 25, 2010 4:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273104
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Why big law?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 25, 2010 4:06 pm

What do you think being a lawyer entails? Watch too much Law & Order?

You do research and writing, draft and argue motions, come up with arguments, take and defend depos, sift through facts, look for evidence. You get to use your mind. Have you actually done that kind of work?

I'm lucky enough to be going to a firm where more substantive work is available (K&E) to young associates but I think if you hustle, you can develop and utilize skills early on at many firms.

If it isn't for you, don't do it. But don't be a hater. Worse than burger flipping? Try flipping burgers for $6/hr and let me know.


Anonymous User wrote:
disco_barred wrote:It's... work. You give up labor in exchange for $$$. In these cases, it's intense work and work that often requires a great deal of intellect. Untold millions in this country flip burgers, clean linens, pick corn, cold call for money, wash cars, pump gas, serve sandwiches, clean bathrooms, etc. The fact that you can have a job with enormous perks/fringe benefits + a staggering salary straight out of law school is enough reason to consider it even if it's licking toilets. Beyond that, the nature of the work will vary a lot. The constant is intensity - but there's nothing inherently wrong with working hard.

And when you get forced out or decide to go, there are phenomenal exit options - not because of group think, but because a lot of other employers (many more desirable to you) think that the big firm experience is excellent legal training.


It's work, but the work sucks. I actually think it's a tossup as to whether the big law associate experience is that much more interesting than cold calling for money or flipping burgers.

You're a glorified research assistant.

I don't mind intense work, but I went to law school to be a lawyer. You're a lawyer in name only at big law firms.

09042014
Posts: 18282
Joined: Wed Oct 14, 2009 10:47 pm

Re: Why big law?

Postby 09042014 » Sat Sep 25, 2010 4:06 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Seriously. I interviewed with some big firms in NYC over flyout week. Some of them were even the more palatable ones in terms of people (GDC, Paul Weiss).

But it sucked. Completely. You do mind numbing work for 5 years before they force you out.

Are there any other reasons besides paying off debt and good exit opportunities? Isn't 4-5 years a long time to hate your life?

I find myself dreading the possibility of having to work at one of these sweatshops, when I know I should just feel blessed to have any job offers.

Does big law have any redeeming qualities?


Sounds like a residency that you get paid good money for, and you don't kill anyone on accident. Sounds good to me. Pay off those loans and exit somewhere nice.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273104
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Why big law?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 25, 2010 4:07 pm

You do research and writing, draft and argue motions, come up with arguments, take and defend depos, sift through facts, look for evidence. You get to use your mind. Have you actually done that kind of work?


And if I could get significant experience within my first couple years doing the bolded in big law, I wouldn't be complaining.

Unfortunately, that doesn't seem to be the case in most big firms, or at least the opportunities are very, very limited for younger associates.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273104
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Why big law?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 25, 2010 4:09 pm

Desert Fox wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Seriously. I interviewed with some big firms in NYC over flyout week. Some of them were even the more palatable ones in terms of people (GDC, Paul Weiss).

But it sucked. Completely. You do mind numbing work for 5 years before they force you out.

Are there any other reasons besides paying off debt and good exit opportunities? Isn't 4-5 years a long time to hate your life?

I find myself dreading the possibility of having to work at one of these sweatshops, when I know I should just feel blessed to have any job offers.

Does big law have any redeeming qualities?


Sounds like a residency that you get paid good money for, and you don't kill anyone on accident. Sounds good to me. Pay off those loans and exit somewhere nice.


They're doing more than just researching illnesses in residencies.

270910
Posts: 2437
Joined: Thu May 21, 2009 9:51 pm

Re: Why big law?

Postby 270910 » Sat Sep 25, 2010 4:09 pm

.
Last edited by 270910 on Mon Sep 27, 2010 12:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

270910
Posts: 2437
Joined: Thu May 21, 2009 9:51 pm

Re: Why big law?

Postby 270910 » Sat Sep 25, 2010 4:11 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
You do research and writing, draft and argue motions, come up with arguments, take and defend depos, sift through facts, look for evidence. You get to use your mind. Have you actually done that kind of work?


And if I could get significant experience within my first couple years doing the bolded in big law, I wouldn't be complaining.

Unfortunately, that doesn't seem to be the case in most big firms, or at least the opportunities are very, very limited for younger associates.


It really depends on the firm. There are large law firms out there where the associates are more scared of the responsibility/learn curve than the tedium, because they are structured in a way to give juniors a lot of early substantive work.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273104
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Why big law?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 25, 2010 4:14 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
You do research and writing, draft and argue motions, come up with arguments, take and defend depos, sift through facts, look for evidence. You get to use your mind. Have you actually done that kind of work?


And if I could get significant experience within my first couple years doing the bolded in big law, I wouldn't be complaining.

Unfortunately, that doesn't seem to be the case in most big firms, or at least the opportunities are very, very limited for younger associates.


Gro a free market firm (K&E or GDC). Or take pro Bono cases that allow you to do these things and demonstrate your experience/skills to partners. I expect that motivated associates can start getting decent assignments a couple years in at most places, earlier at some. If it were just research, and didn't require thought, they wouldn't care about your mental abilities so much in the hiring process. And some people like research---reading cases, learning about new areas of the law, distilling complex info into something easy to understand.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273104
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Why big law?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 25, 2010 4:17 pm

And for those of us who don't, a firm like K&E or GDC presents the opportunity to actually get out there and do early on?

I interviewed with both, and while I really liked the people, I didn't get the vibe that they did all that much early on.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273104
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Why big law?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 25, 2010 4:18 pm

At the same time, this is a question you should ask yourself and be able to answer clearly (with terms other than $$ and prestige) before you embark. The op would likely be miserable, and so will a lot of people that didn't think this through and followed the herd. One good thing about ITE is that a lot of people will be prevented from making the mistake if it indeed isn't right for them. :/

Anonymous User
Posts: 273104
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Why big law?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 25, 2010 4:19 pm

Anonymous User wrote:And for those of us who don't, a firm like K&E or GDC presents the opportunity to actually get out there and do early on?

I interviewed with both, and while I really liked the people, I didn't get the vibe that they did all that much early on.


Then you've done zero research. I'm starting to think you are flame. K&E certainly, it is what they are known for. But any firm that really buys into free market is going to reward those who seek experience.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273104
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Why big law?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 25, 2010 4:20 pm

Anonymous User wrote:At the same time, this is a question you should ask yourself and be able to answer clearly (with terms other than $$ and prestige) before you embark. The op would likely be miserable, and so will a lot of people that didn't think this through and followed the herd. One good thing about ITE is that a lot of people will be prevented from making the mistake if it indeed isn't right for them. :/


I have done some research and have interviewed at places I could genuinely and absolutely be happy. Problem is they're smaller and have much less space, so this thread is more of "if I strike out at these, then wtf do I do without being miserable?"

Then you've done zero research. I'm starting to think you are flame. K&E certainly, it is what they are known for. But any firm that really buys into free market is going to reward those who seek experience.


I know about the free market systems at both. However, free market doesn't mean always getting a "yes" to the type of work you want to do, it just means you're free to try and secure it rather than having someone assign stuff without your input.

At least that's how I understood it.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Sat Sep 25, 2010 4:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
A'nold
Posts: 3622
Joined: Sat Oct 04, 2008 9:07 pm

Re: Why big law?

Postby A'nold » Sat Sep 25, 2010 4:21 pm

I agree with most of the biglaw advocates here have to say. However, I must admit that I always chuckle a little bit when I hear people poo-hooing "representing 'joe blow' on a car accident case." I can basically guarantee that many PI type cases completely annihilate some kind of random M&A case when it comes to being interesting. I was at a state supreme court argument this summer over a PI based interpretation of an evidentiary standard that even a lay person would have found fascinating.

270910
Posts: 2437
Joined: Thu May 21, 2009 9:51 pm

Re: Why big law?

Postby 270910 » Sat Sep 25, 2010 4:24 pm

A'nold wrote:I agree with most of the biglaw advocates here have to say. However, I must admit that I always chuckle a little bit when I hear people poo-hooing "representing 'joe blow' on a car accident case." I can basically guarantee that many PI type cases completely annihilate some kind of random M&A case when it comes to being interesting. I was at a state supreme court argument this summer over a PI based interpretation of an evidentiary standard that even a lay person would have found fascinating.


Eh, it's apples to oranges. The most important thing is figuring out what you want, like, respond well to, are well compensated for, and are good at. A close second is doing that thing over and over until you die :lol:

But it's absolutely a different strokes / different folks kind of thing.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273104
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Why big law?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 25, 2010 4:26 pm

Problem is, T14ers are stuck in this mentality that it is biglaw or bust. Ask your friends at lower ranked schools what they plan to do. Many schools do not have OCI and send 5% to mid-large firms. There are a lot of lawyers out there. Not everyone who doesn't go to a large firm is unemployed, the VAST majority of law grads don't. With payment programs like IBR, huge debt isn't as crippling as it once was. Get creative.

Plus, happiness in what you do for work is 90% a matter of attitude. Jobs aren't generally intrinsically fun, unless you mentally convince yourself of this.


Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:At the same time, this is a question you should ask yourself and be able to answer clearly (with terms other than $$ and prestige) before you embark. The op would likely be miserable, and so will a lot of people that didn't think this through and followed the herd. One good thing about ITE is that a lot of people will be prevented from making the mistake if it indeed isn't right for them. :/


I have done some research and have interviewed at places I could genuinely and absolutely be happy. Problem is they're smaller and have much less space, so this thread is more of "if I strike out at these, then wtf do I do without being miserable?"

Anonymous User
Posts: 273104
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Why big law?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 25, 2010 4:27 pm

amyLAchemist wrote:One thing I never understand in these discussion is why people think that they would be qualified to do some of these things early on. For example. as much as taking a depo would be cool, I couldn't do that now. I'd need to see it done a few times, and have strategies either pointed out to me, or learn them by observation. I was also under the impression you would guided through depos by a more senior person for a while, even if you do start to take them early on.

Depending on new associates to perform research - and not miss anything - and then write that either into a memo or a draft brief.....is actually a good deal of responsibility.

Re: doc review: a lot of the firms I interviewed with K that out.


Of course, but if an associate hasn't been allowed to see enough of that within the first year or two to start doing the smaller ones on their own, then something is wrong.

ToTransferOrNot
Posts: 1928
Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2009 12:45 am

Re: Why big law?

Postby ToTransferOrNot » Sat Sep 25, 2010 4:43 pm

I'm sorry, are there supposed to be reasons outside of paying off loans and making a ridiculously high salary?

Large-scale Chapter 11 only exists in biglaw, and is legitimately far more interesting than other kinds of bankruptcy work, so that's the reason I have outside of the real reason.




Return to “Legal Employment”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.