If you had no debt, would you still do Biglaw?

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If you had no debt, would you still do Biglaw

Yes
89
77%
No
27
23%
 
Total votes: 116

Anonymous User
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If you had no debt, would you still do Biglaw?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Oct 14, 2010 11:44 pm

Lucky enough to say this is my situation. While I see that almost everyone jumps on Biglaw, many students tell me its just a mere tool to erase their debt before they take a job with more sane hours. What say you?

Anonymous User
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Re: If you had no debt, would you still do Biglaw?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Oct 15, 2010 8:31 am

Spoke to a few profs about biglaw v. not and the consensus seemed to be that biglaw opens many, many doors that other jobs won't, unless you can get an extremely selective government/PI gig or a coveted clerkship. As for me personally, I've done a lot of government legal work before and during law school, and I know there's little training and guidance. Biglaw resources and training are things I just can't seem to get anywhere else.

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Blindmelon
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Re: If you had no debt, would you still do Biglaw?

Postby Blindmelon » Fri Oct 15, 2010 8:34 am

While biglaw has tons more resources and more formal training, I don't agree that its more training in general. In government/PI work you learn more on your feet generally and will get more responsibility quicker. While biglaw people are doing almost all doc review till year 4, many PI attorneys will be taking depositions, writing motions, etc.

I will be doing biglaw though even though I won't have a lot of debt. I'm just going to save as much as possible - enough to put a down on a house or a nice condo.

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jchoggan
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Re: If you had no debt, would you still do Biglaw?

Postby jchoggan » Fri Oct 15, 2010 8:59 am

I agree with the "it opens a lot of doors" argument. It's definitely a lot easier to go from Biglaw into another legal career field than to go the other direction. If you're under 30 (and especially if you're single), you won't be at a disadvantage if you go Biglaw and want to change after a few years.

But who knows... maybe you'll end up (*gasp!*) enjoying it! :)

solidsnake
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Re: If you had no debt, would you still do Biglaw?

Postby solidsnake » Sun Oct 17, 2010 1:20 am

Definitely. Then I'd actually be rich.

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Re: If you had no debt, would you still do Biglaw?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Oct 17, 2010 9:16 am

While biglaw people are doing almost all doc review till year 4,


This is just not true. At many firms, you won't last beyond year two doing "almost all doc review."

midwestls
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Re: If you had no debt, would you still do Biglaw?

Postby midwestls » Sun Oct 17, 2010 9:40 am

I don't know if my firm qualifies as BigLaw (deep NLJ 250), but I'm in this position and - for me - it was a no-brainer. I liked the work and the people over the summer, was fortunate enough to get an offer, and jumped at it. Would I have been equally happy as a prosecutor, federal clerk, law prof or government lawyer? Probably (actually, almost certainly more happy if it was a prosecutor's position or federal clerkship), but nobody was offering me a guaranteed job in those areas. I'll work for the firm for a few years and then evaluate where I'm at. To me, taking the firm job just seemed like the smartest option on a variety of levels.
Last edited by midwestls on Sun Oct 17, 2010 2:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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KMaine
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Re: If you had no debt, would you still do Biglaw?

Postby KMaine » Sun Oct 17, 2010 10:16 am

jchoggan wrote:I agree with the "it opens a lot of doors" argument. It's definitely a lot easier to go from Biglaw into another legal career field than to go the other direction. If you're under 30 (and especially if you're single), you won't be at a disadvantage if you go Biglaw and want to change after a few years.
But who knows... maybe you'll end up (*gasp!*) enjoying it! :)


Just curious (as I am over 30 and married) what you mean by this. Are you saying that Biglaw would be harder if you are older and married or are you saying you won't have other options after Biglaw. I have, of course, done my own research on this and I am curious where you are getting your info. Not trying to be confrontational, just curious.

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Icculus
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Re: If you had no debt, would you still do Biglaw?

Postby Icculus » Sun Oct 17, 2010 10:25 am

KMaine wrote:
jchoggan wrote:I agree with the "it opens a lot of doors" argument. It's definitely a lot easier to go from Biglaw into another legal career field than to go the other direction. If you're under 30 (and especially if you're single), you won't be at a disadvantage if you go Biglaw and want to change after a few years.
But who knows... maybe you'll end up (*gasp!*) enjoying it! :)


Just curious (as I am over 30 and married) what you mean by this. Are you saying that Biglaw would be harder if you are older and married or are you saying you won't have other options after Biglaw. I have, of course, done my own research on this and I am curious where you are getting your info. Not trying to be confrontational, just curious.


I am also curious, as I would be 34 upon graduation and think that I would like Biglaw if I could swing it. I am single, but I think there is an assumption among many of the younger people on here that early 30's is exceptionally old, and while I may have had that thought when I was 22, I can assure everyone this is not the case. In fact, I would argue that the work experience I have had thus far would help me over a 25 year old since I already know how to work with a manager, how to manage people and time, and how to work with colleagues even when I want to do nothing more than throw them out a window. Not to mention, even at 35 I would have at least 30 years of working in my future.

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Blindmelon
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Re: If you had no debt, would you still do Biglaw?

Postby Blindmelon » Sun Oct 17, 2010 10:38 am

I think being older is only an issue with firms that eat your life hours-wise. If you have a wife/kids, its going to be stressful when its Sunday and you're out with your family and your BBerry vibrates and you need to go to the office. Its pretty understood that the firm owns your time (well, depending on the firm), so those who are single and with less obligations can drop everything easier.

I do think being older and having WE is an advantage though. A lot of people I've met at these firm events have a lot of growing up to do - one event there was someone with an offer pounding drinks saying "aw man, open bar, im going to get wasted" with a managing partner right there. Yea, he'll go far.

colovia
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Re: If you had no debt, would you still do Biglaw?

Postby colovia » Sun Oct 17, 2010 10:41 am

I've actually seen a paper that said that people with no debt were actually more likely to go into biglaw than people with a lot of debt. Which makes sense, because of loan repayment programs. If you have no debt, the marginal cost of taking a $40,000 public interest job over $160,000 biglaw is maybe $60,000 (net of taxes). If you have $200k of debt, and would be making $30k payments per year (net of tax deduction), then the marginal cost of taking the public interest job is only $30,000--so, ceteris paribus, you should paradoxically actually be more willing to turn down big law if you have a lot of debt.

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Re: If you had no debt, would you still do Biglaw?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Oct 17, 2010 11:12 am

no, but I'm not trying for Biglaw with tons of debt either. (T6)

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nealric
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Re: If you had no debt, would you still do Biglaw?

Postby nealric » Sun Oct 17, 2010 1:14 pm

I really couldn't get into my desired practice area any other way. So yes, I would still do biglaw without debt.

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Re: If you had no debt, would you still do Biglaw?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Oct 17, 2010 1:32 pm

I am in a similar position as OP. I have $20k in total student loan debt, but I had a fully scholarship and I actually took the money and invested it while I was in school. So I actually have the full $20k and can write a check, and I have the interest...thus no actual debt. I chose to go biglaw, but I'll be at a small office. I wouldn't actually classify it as biglaw it's NLJ250 so I guess that counts but it operates more like a midsize. My goal is to do in-house with a very specific entity and the firm where I'm going is practically the pipeline to get there. So I'm using the law firm to get experience, training, networking, and then in 2-3 years I'll be looking to move to in-house.
BTW I am over 30, married and have significant WE. Because of these factors I had no intention on working at a soul-sacrificing, first-year associate devouring, firm. I'm past the point in my life where I'm willing to put up with that kind of lifestyle. So when I met with 1st and 2nd year associates at the firm that told me they leave the office by 6:30 and that is the standard I was 100% on board.

I agree with the poster that factored in loan repayment programs for PI work. Those types of programs are a significant factor in choosing lower paying jobs. Unfortunately, I don't think that's the thought process for most grads. It's my impression that students (with debt) given the option will take on higher paying jobs over PI w/ LRAP just because. People who want to do PI want to do it for the LRAP, job satisfaction, personal and professional goals, (and of course some don't have other options). Most people that want to do the law firm route do so because it's seen as prestigious, it's and easy route to higher pay, it's invaluable experience and networking and it's a chance to dabble in a bunch of different practice groups before deciding on an area, which is great if you have no passion or desire to work somewhere specific.
So while money is definitely a driving force behind biglaw I think there's many of conditions that account for whether it's right for you or not.

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Re: If you had no debt, would you still do Biglaw?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Oct 17, 2010 2:04 pm

Yes. I am in this precise situation.

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jchoggan
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Re: If you had no debt, would you still do Biglaw?

Postby jchoggan » Sun Oct 17, 2010 2:15 pm

mjcaccio wrote:
KMaine wrote:
jchoggan wrote:I agree with the "it opens a lot of doors" argument. It's definitely a lot easier to go from Biglaw into another legal career field than to go the other direction. If you're under 30 (and especially if you're single), you won't be at a disadvantage if you go Biglaw and want to change after a few years.
But who knows... maybe you'll end up (*gasp!*) enjoying it! :)


Just curious (as I am over 30 and married) what you mean by this. Are you saying that Biglaw would be harder if you are older and married or are you saying you won't have other options after Biglaw. I have, of course, done my own research on this and I am curious where you are getting your info. Not trying to be confrontational, just curious.


I am also curious, as I would be 34 upon graduation and think that I would like Biglaw if I could swing it. I am single, but I think there is an assumption among many of the younger people on here that early 30's is exceptionally old, and while I may have had that thought when I was 22, I can assure everyone this is not the case. In fact, I would argue that the work experience I have had thus far would help me over a 25 year old since I already know how to work with a manager, how to manage people and time, and how to work with colleagues even when I want to do nothing more than throw them out a window. Not to mention, even at 35 I would have at least 30 years of working in my future.

Oh, my comment had nothing to do with being disadvantaged from a career standpoint or anything to that effect. I will be right around 30 at graduation, and my own sense is that I would dislike having to change careers at this stage in my life (I am in the military now with 6 years experience and a family... DEFINITELY looking forward to settling down). I'm excited about biglaw, as I think a lot of people over 30 are. I said what I did only to indicate people over 30 are probably (1) not as shocked when they have to work long hours or in a biglaw environment, (2) are less inclined to make short-term career decisions, and (3) don't really want Biglaw to be a 'filler.' I suppose some experienced people probably do it, and my overall point was that using biglaw as a jumping off point isn't a bad career move if you want to use it as such. Sorry for the confusion.

And, for the record, over 30 is definitely not 'exceptionally old.' At least, I hope not. :)

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let/them/eat/cake
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Re: If you had no debt, would you still do Biglaw?

Postby let/them/eat/cake » Sun Oct 17, 2010 3:34 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I am in a similar position as OP. I have $20k in total student loan debt, but I had a fully scholarship and I actually took the money and invested it while I was in school. So I actually have the full $20k and can write a check, and I have the interest...thus no actual debt. I chose to go biglaw, but I'll be at a small office.....


I thought when you take out money for student loans you've got to like sign something that basically says "i'm using this shit for the costs of my education." Maybe that's only for federal loans and you took out private ones? Just curious.

ToTransferOrNot
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Re: If you had no debt, would you still do Biglaw?

Postby ToTransferOrNot » Mon Oct 18, 2010 10:07 am

colovia wrote:I've actually seen a paper that said that people with no debt were actually more likely to go into biglaw than people with a lot of debt. Which makes sense, because of loan repayment programs. If you have no debt, the marginal cost of taking a $40,000 public interest job over $160,000 biglaw is maybe $60,000 (net of taxes). If you have $200k of debt, and would be making $30k payments per year (net of tax deduction), then the marginal cost of taking the public interest job is only $30,000--so, ceteris paribus, you should paradoxically actually be more willing to turn down big law if you have a lot of debt.


Jesusfuckingchrist. Really? Really?

Also, this analysis fails to account for the fact that the biglaw person's salary is ramping up more quickly than the PI person's salary - and as the PI person's salary goes up, some of the benefit of the LRAP is lost anyway (though that is offset by increased taxes for the biglaw person). Not sure why everyone always bases the entire calculation on 1st-year salaries.

Anyway - I would do biglaw regardless, because the thought of doing PI work makes me ill to my stomach.

09042014
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Re: If you had no debt, would you still do Biglaw?

Postby 09042014 » Mon Oct 18, 2010 10:13 am

Hell I'm taking out the debt in hopes of big law.
Last edited by 09042014 on Mon Oct 18, 2010 10:47 am, edited 1 time in total.

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nealric
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Re: If you had no debt, would you still do Biglaw?

Postby nealric » Mon Oct 18, 2010 10:43 am

Desert Fox wrote:Hell I'm taking out the debt to do big law.


Aren't you a 1L?

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Re: If you had no debt, would you still do Biglaw?

Postby 09042014 » Mon Oct 18, 2010 10:47 am

nealric wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:Hell I'm taking out the debt to do big law.


Aren't you a 1L?


I should say in the hopes of big law. I'm massively fucked if I fail.

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Re: If you had no debt, would you still do Biglaw?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Oct 18, 2010 11:29 am

I will have no debt at graduation thanks to family money. I am still going BigLaw, but my lack of debt allowed me to turn down V5/V10 in NYC and go to a regional firm in the city I wanted for a lot less than $160k.




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