NLJ 250 firms w/ best quality of life

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fetalposition
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NLJ 250 firms w/ best quality of life

Postby fetalposition » Mon Mar 07, 2011 2:27 pm

I like money but I don't really feel like working 80+ hours a week. I'd certainly be willing to compromise some of that hefty BigLaw salary for more time at home. Which NLJ 250 firms have (or are known to have) the best quality of life or salary-to-hours-worked ratio?

Just so you know, I'm an east coaster so you can leave out firms in Denver, Seattle, Phoenix, Texas, etc. Oh, and Florida sucks too.

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dpk711
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Re: NLJ 250 firms w/ best quality of life

Postby dpk711 » Mon Mar 07, 2011 2:28 pm

I would be very much interested in this too.

fetalposition
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Re: NLJ 250 firms w/ best quality of life

Postby fetalposition » Mon Mar 07, 2011 2:47 pm

anyone?

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Big Shrimpin
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Re: NLJ 250 firms w/ best quality of life

Postby Big Shrimpin » Mon Mar 07, 2011 3:14 pm

1. Vault has some specialty rankings that include both Vault and NLJ (non-Vault) firms). I think you need "gold" membership to read them, though.

2. Midlevel associate's survey via law.com: http://www.law.com/jsp/tal/PubArticleTA ... hbxlogin=1

3. Other law.com surveys (some require membership): http://www.law.com/career_center/lists_rankings.shtml

As with any survey, you'll want to be wary of response rate.

A general rule of thumb is that larger markets are going to have more demanding hours than smaller markets, higher payscale (scaled to local market) is going to have more demanding hours than lower payscale, etc... Moreover, high associate attrition rates at big firms are due in part to poor QOL (to be sure, attrition is actually a mix of self-selection and force-outs).

Keep in mind, however, that some people say that certain firms will have more of a QOL/lifestyle focus than others, even in large markets. This claim is often firm-dependent. Yet, unless you've (a) spoken to someone there or (b) have worked there yourself, it is largely impossible to corroborate such claims. Bottom line: QOL is a subjective metric. Some are more content with the environment than others. Much of these QOL/job satisfaction metrics are based in part upon a person's expectations before starting work. QOL will vary, to a certain degree, amongst firms. "By how much/to what degree" is an almost impossible question to answer. In part for that reason, do we not have 2L OCI/summer SAs?

edit: GTL raises some great points as well.

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thesealocust
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Re: NLJ 250 firms w/ best quality of life

Postby thesealocust » Mon Mar 07, 2011 6:06 pm

The most important thing to realize is that the value associates add at large firms (remember, the NLJ 250 is nothing but a ranking of America's 250 biggest firms by lawyer head count) is billing time, and billing time all of the time. The former is direct profit, the latter allows for the development of expertise and ability to deliver quick legal services. Firm work tends to be short deadline and high stakes.

That makes "quality of life" largely mythical, accept in a narrow and relative sense. Yes, it'll be worse at Wachtell than most anywhere else on the planet - but you're VERY unlikely to find "good" because it's antithetical to the business model itself.

Your overcompensation comes largely because of the personal sacrifices (absolute number of hours and unpredictability).

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20160810
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Re: NLJ 250 firms w/ best quality of life

Postby 20160810 » Mon Mar 07, 2011 6:21 pm

A good rule of thumb I've been told (by law students and attorneys in CA, I'm sure things are more hellish in NYC/DC) is to take whatever you're given as the billable hours expectation for associates and add 20-25%.

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Marionberry
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Re: NLJ 250 firms w/ best quality of life

Postby Marionberry » Mon Mar 07, 2011 6:24 pm

What kind of hours does gov work, and firm work in secondary markets usually involve?

Sup Kid
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Re: NLJ 250 firms w/ best quality of life

Postby Sup Kid » Mon Mar 07, 2011 9:36 pm

Some firms in NJ are in the NLJ250 and offer slightly less pay for slightly fewer hours worked (for example, I'm pretty sure Lowenstein Sandler pays $150/year and requires 1800 billable).

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nealric
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Re: NLJ 250 firms w/ best quality of life

Postby nealric » Tue Mar 08, 2011 12:18 am

Your practice area and the partners you work for will often be much more determinative of quality of life than the firm that you work fork for. That said, there a certain firms that have reputations as being particularly hours intensive. Those firms tend to be higher in the vault rankings.

Also, keep in mind that hours don't tell the whole story. It's much easier to work a steady 9AM-8PM job than it is to work a job that is 10-6 one day and 10-Midnight the next with often little warning on the late days. Corporate is much more likely to cause the latter situation than other practice areas.

d34d9823
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Re: NLJ 250 firms w/ best quality of life

Postby d34d9823 » Tue Mar 08, 2011 12:23 am

nealric wrote:Your practice area and the partners you work for will often be much more determinative of quality of life than the firm that you work fork for. That said, there a certain firms that have reputations as being particularly hours intensive. Those firms tend to be higher in the vault rankings.

Also, keep in mind that hours don't tell the whole story. It's much easier to work a steady 9AM-8PM job than it is to work a job that is 10-6 one day and 10-Midnight the next with often little warning on the late days. Corporate is much more likely to cause the latter situation than other practice areas.

Weirdly enough, my work is much more the latter situation (although I typically work 50-60), and I like that much better. Once you know you're not going home, it's much easier psychologically.

keg411
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Re: NLJ 250 firms w/ best quality of life

Postby keg411 » Tue Mar 08, 2011 12:33 am

Sup Kid wrote:Some firms in NJ are in the NLJ250 and offer slightly less pay for slightly fewer hours worked (for example, I'm pretty sure Lowenstein Sandler pays $150/year and requires 1800 billable).


I <3 Lowenstein and the rest of it's NJ peers, but they aren't "lifestyle" firms by any stretch of the imagination.

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nealric
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Re: NLJ 250 firms w/ best quality of life

Postby nealric » Tue Mar 08, 2011 12:34 am

Weirdly enough, my work is much more the latter situation (although I typically work 50-60), and I like that much better. Once you know you're not going home, it's much easier psychologically.


It can really wreak havoc on your social/family life over the long term to constantly have to cancel plans or refuse to make them. To each their own I suppose.




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