Positives of working as a lawyer

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greg737
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Positives of working as a lawyer

Postby greg737 » Wed Mar 23, 2011 7:12 pm

OK.. so I'm considering going to law school and becoming a lawyer, but between what I've heard from my friends (in both law school and as practicing attorneys) and online on message boards, I'm terrified I"m going to hate it, if only because everywhere I see, lawyers are always said to be miserable people who hate their jobs.

So, does anyone who may be working as an attorney, have positives they enjoy out of the job? I mean, I think I'll like it; I'll enjoy the analysis and learning about the ever-changing law, but it's kind of hard to see that if everything I hear is always so negative.

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fatduck
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Re: Positives of working as a lawyer

Postby fatduck » Wed Mar 23, 2011 7:14 pm

it's really easy to remember your hours when you work 8 to 8. you only have to remember one number, instead of two.

EK14
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Re: Positives of working as a lawyer

Postby EK14 » Wed Mar 23, 2011 7:18 pm

Don't have to worry about the status of your soul.

gabbagabba
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Re: Positives of working as a lawyer

Postby gabbagabba » Wed Mar 23, 2011 7:19 pm

You can impress people at cocktail parties by telling them "I'm a lawyer" . . . of course, don't expect any tail from said party to follow you home, since you'll be living in a cardboard box or your parents place for most of your adult life.

EK14 wrote:Don't have to worry about the status of your soul.


Going once . . . going twice . . . SOLD to the red gentlemen in the back with the horns

Jessep
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Re: Positives of working as a lawyer

Postby Jessep » Wed Mar 23, 2011 7:22 pm

I enjoy working in a high pressure atmosphere with people who are some of the best at what they do - I don't have to tolerate peers who are inept. The compensation is nice. The hours are really the only downside, and if you enjoy what you do, they don't feel as bad. That said, I can't imagine being a lawyer if I didn't enjoy it.

For lawyers who enjoy the job, I think they tend to be a little nerdy, and can find seemingly mundane changes/details interesting. The people I know who hate their jobs are often younger with no work experience. They have nothing to compare their job against so do not appreciate some of the better aspects of the job (read spoiled brats).

You need to be a "go-getter" who works well with others, can let things roll off your back, and have a bit of an entrepreneurial streak.

At least, that's my 2 cents.

fatduck wrote:it's really easy to remember your hours when you work 8 to 8. you only have to remember one number, instead of two.

8 to 8?! Lifestyle firms are for the weak. :)

BeenDidThat
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Re: Positives of working as a lawyer

Postby BeenDidThat » Wed Mar 23, 2011 7:22 pm

gabbagabba wrote:You can impress people at cocktail parties by telling them "I'm a lawyer" . . . of course, don't expect any tail from said party to follow you home, since you'll be living in a cardboard box or your parents place for most of your adult life.

EK14 wrote:Don't have to worry about the status of your soul.


Going once . . . going twice . . . SOLD to the red gentlemen in the back with the horns


Models & bottles, son. Models & bottles.

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Veyron
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Re: Positives of working as a lawyer

Postby Veyron » Wed Mar 23, 2011 7:23 pm

Most law students hate being lawyers because they never really wanted to be lawyers in the first place.

sighsigh
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Re: Positives of working as a lawyer

Postby sighsigh » Wed Mar 23, 2011 7:26 pm

Veyron wrote:Most law students hate being lawyers because they never really wanted to be lawyers in the first place.


Yeah, I have the opinion too. Nothing stops you from getting into law school. Not organic chemistry courses or bad UG pedigree or...even a bad GPA or LSAT.

It can be everybody's miserable backup plan.

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fatduck
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Re: Positives of working as a lawyer

Postby fatduck » Wed Mar 23, 2011 7:36 pm

Jessep wrote:
fatduck wrote:it's really easy to remember your hours when you work 8 to 8. you only have to remember one number, instead of two.

8 to 8?! Lifestyle firms are for the weak. :)

:D

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Julio_El_Chavo
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Re: Positives of working as a lawyer

Postby Julio_El_Chavo » Wed Mar 23, 2011 8:54 pm

it really depends on what kind of lawyer

a lot of low-paying government jobs are highly rewarding, fun, and interesting. most entry-level, high-paying jobs are SHIT, PURE SHIT, but at least you're making good $$$. for me personally, i can't think of anything worse than being a 1st year litigation associate at a firm like Skadden: ghost writing memos and (later on) briefs, doing doc review, and otherwise being a bitch for partners -- who are making 10-15x what you make while "managing" the case -- seems like a pretty hellish existence. but, then again, at least you're making six figs

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nealric
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Re: Positives of working as a lawyer

Postby nealric » Wed Mar 23, 2011 9:42 pm

There are quite a few things I enjoy about being a lawyer (1st year biglaw specialty group):

1) My job is very intellectually demanding
2) My co-workers are uniformly intelligent
3) Even though I work long hours, I also have a good deal of autonomy. I'm not forced to take lunch at a certain hour or punch in and out every day
4) I enjoy solving problems- and there are plenty of those to solve
5) I'm learning new things every day- useful things - not BS some prof decided should be on the syllabus
6) I feel very respected, even by my superiors. I am often sincerely thanked for the work I do.
7) My office has a nice view :-)

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Veyron
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Re: Positives of working as a lawyer

Postby Veyron » Wed Mar 23, 2011 9:55 pm

^ Its funny. For all the complaining that people do on teh interwebs about biglaw, I have never met a biglawyer IRL that disliked their job.

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Sentry
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Re: Positives of working as a lawyer

Postby Sentry » Wed Mar 23, 2011 10:34 pm

Veyron wrote:^ Its funny. For all the complaining that people do on teh interwebs about biglaw, I have never met a biglawyer IRL that disliked their job.

Because online biglaw is exaggerated beyond belief. I know a guy a an NYC V5 who likes his job and says he works 50-60 hrs/week. On TLS NYC biglaw=90hrs/week all the time!

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MrPapagiorgio
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Re: Positives of working as a lawyer

Postby MrPapagiorgio » Wed Mar 23, 2011 10:36 pm

Sentry wrote:
Veyron wrote:^ Its funny. For all the complaining that people do on teh interwebs about biglaw, I have never met a biglawyer IRL that disliked their job.

Because online biglaw is exaggerated beyond belief. I know a guy a an NYC V5 who likes his job and says he works 50-60 hrs/week. On TLS NYC biglaw=90hrs/week all the time!

As well as never seeing your family, sleeping in the office 5 nights a week (at least!) and doing lines of cocaine off of your briefs.

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Veyron
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Re: Positives of working as a lawyer

Postby Veyron » Wed Mar 23, 2011 10:58 pm

TBF, I do know several biglawyers that lay down the 90 hr/wk horror storries, I think that part is true if your practice group is busy/understaffed, otherwise maybe not.

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XxSpyKEx
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Re: Positives of working as a lawyer

Postby XxSpyKEx » Wed Mar 23, 2011 11:35 pm

Sentry wrote:
Veyron wrote:^ Its funny. For all the complaining that people do on teh interwebs about biglaw, I have never met a biglawyer IRL that disliked their job.

Because online biglaw is exaggerated beyond belief. I know a guy a an NYC V5 who likes his job and says he works 50-60 hrs/week. On TLS NYC biglaw=90hrs/week all the time!


The hours worked decrease after a few years (although 50 hours a week still sounds extremely low for an associate in a NYC biglaw firm). From everything I've heard, the first couple years or so are rough as a biglaw associate at a top firm in NYC. Typical hours in seem to be from 9-9:30 to 11-11:30PM Monday through Friday, plus long days on saturday and sunday, and that's when you aren't that busy. When things ramp up, they work even more hours. When you move outside of the major markets, the hours seem to go down substantially (50-60 hours /week seems reasonable for secondary markets -- I've even talked to associates that said they work less than 50 hours /week most weeks, but that's not typical). Texas seems to be one of the best markets in terms of hours worked and salary since they don't seem to work as many hours as NYC biglaw, but get the same salary (plus much lower cost of living). At least that's what I was told by v10 NYC biglaw associates and other biglaw associates (that are in offices throughout the country) that I've talked to.

greg737 wrote:Positives of working as a lawyer


The biggest one with respect to biglaw attorneys is money. The second largest one is prestige. As for shitlaw, not sure I see many positives, except getting more substantive experience sooner (but they also get less challenging work and a shitload less pay).
Last edited by XxSpyKEx on Wed Mar 23, 2011 11:40 pm, edited 3 times in total.

whymeohgodno
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Re: Positives of working as a lawyer

Postby whymeohgodno » Wed Mar 23, 2011 11:36 pm

You put off real life for 3 more years.

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Leira7905
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Re: Positives of working as a lawyer

Postby Leira7905 » Wed Mar 23, 2011 11:43 pm

Note: I am not a lawyer, but have been a Paralegal for a few years.

Not all lawyers hate their jobs. Believe it or not, some of them really really love it. The problem is, 1. many people go to law school for the wrong reasons (models and bottles) and 2. because it is so unlike any other job or profession, it's difficult for people to know whether or not they'll like it, or if they'll be good at it, until they're waist-deep in LS debt.

If you're unsure whether or not this is what you want to do, it may be advisable to try and score a job in the legal field, (file clerk, paralegal, or whatever) for a year or two to get a better idea of what its all about.

whymeohgodno
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Re: Positives of working as a lawyer

Postby whymeohgodno » Wed Mar 23, 2011 11:46 pm

Veyron wrote:^ Its funny. For all the complaining that people do on teh interwebs about biglaw, I have never met a biglawyer IRL that disliked their job.


I have. Someone at a V15. He says he is leaving when his debts are paid for.

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Stanford4Me
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Re: Positives of working as a lawyer

Postby Stanford4Me » Wed Mar 23, 2011 11:50 pm

This is why you work in not New York. All the attorney's I've spoken with in the market I have worked with (people who gave me candid evaluations of their jobs) enjoyed their work for the most part.

Also, models and bottles.

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AreJay711
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Re: Positives of working as a lawyer

Postby AreJay711 » Thu Mar 24, 2011 12:02 am

Stanford4Me wrote:This is why you work in not New York. All the attorney's I've spoken with in the market I have worked with (people who gave me candid evaluations of their jobs) enjoyed their work for the most part.

Also, models and bottles.

I'm a little confused. Are you saying this is why you don't work in New York?

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Stanford4Me
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Re: Positives of working as a lawyer

Postby Stanford4Me » Thu Mar 24, 2011 12:03 am

AreJay711 wrote:
Stanford4Me wrote:This is why you work in not New York. All the attorney's I've spoken with in the market I have worked with (people who gave me candid evaluations of their jobs) enjoyed their work for the most part.

Also, models and bottles.

I'm a little confused. Are you saying this is why you don't work in New York?

Yezzur. A hyphen probably would have made it more clear.

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sundance95
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Re: Positives of working as a lawyer

Postby sundance95 » Thu Mar 24, 2011 12:05 am

Leira7905 wrote:Note: I am not a lawyer, but have been a Paralegal for a few years.

Not all lawyers hate their jobs. Believe it or not, some of them really really love it. The problem is . . . 2. because it is so unlike any other job or profession, it's difficult for people to know whether or not they'll like it, or if they'll be good at it, until they're waist-deep in LS debt.

If you're unsure whether or not this is what you want to do, it may be advisable to try and score a job in the legal field, (file clerk, paralegal, or whatever) for a year or two to get a better idea of what its all about.

100% credited IMO. I hope we continue to see a trend towards law schools looking for 1-2 years (hopefully relevant) work experience.

Sup Kid
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Re: Positives of working as a lawyer

Postby Sup Kid » Thu Mar 24, 2011 1:00 am

XxSpyKEx wrote:From everything I've heard, the first couple years or so are rough as a biglaw associate at a top firm in NYC. Typical hours in seem to be from 9-9:30 to 11-11:30PM Monday through Friday, plus long days on saturday and sunday, and that's when you aren't that busy. When things ramp up, they work even more hours.

Let's do some basic math. 9am-11pm (or 9:30-11:30) is a 14 hour day. Five of those = 70 hours. Not sure how long you are estimating for "long days" on S/Su, but let's say 1/2 the time of one of your regular days (so ~7 hours/day). That's 14 hours on a weekend, making it an 84 hour work week. That is, over the course of a year, 4368 hours, say 4200 if you take 2 weeks off for vacation, sickness, other stuff. Even assuming that only 2/3 of those hours are billable (which is low, considering you wouldn't be working this much unless it was for a client matter), that's still 2800 billable hours. And according to your facts, that's only "typical hours" -- I guess you figure the average attorney bills 3000+ hours/year.

Main point, please think before you post stuff like this. While I agree with the general premise that Biglaw hours suck, especially as a junior associate, this is just clearly not accurate. You mention that you've "heard" this. I think what you heard is that occasionally hours can be this brutal (yes, you may have a week every so ofter where you're working non-stop), but this is not the norm.

Edit: As some further proof, check out ATL's survey on how many billable hours people logged last year, when the economy was improving and 73% of associates hit their hours requirement (http://abovethelaw.com/2011/01/career-c ... able-year/):

Less than 1,900 hours: 21%
1,900 – 2,099 hours: 22%
2,100 – 2,299 hours: 23%
2,300 – 2,499 hours: 17%
2,500 hours and above: 17%

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Veyron
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Re: Positives of working as a lawyer

Postby Veyron » Thu Mar 24, 2011 1:13 am

Sup Kid wrote:
XxSpyKEx wrote:From everything I've heard, the first couple years or so are rough as a biglaw associate at a top firm in NYC. Typical hours in seem to be from 9-9:30 to 11-11:30PM Monday through Friday, plus long days on saturday and sunday, and that's when you aren't that busy. When things ramp up, they work even more hours.

Let's do some basic math. 9am-11pm (or 9:30-11:30) is a 14 hour day. Five of those = 70 hours. Not sure how long you are estimating for "long days" on S/Su, but let's say 1/2 the time of one of your regular days (so ~7 hours/day). That's 14 hours on a weekend, making it an 84 hour work week. That is, over the course of a year, 4368 hours, say 4200 if you take 2 weeks off for vacation, sickness, other stuff. Even assuming that only 2/3 of those hours are billable (which is low, considering you wouldn't be working this much unless it was for a client matter), that's still 2800 billable hours. And according to your facts, that's only "typical hours" -- I guess you figure the average attorney bills 3000+ hours/year.

Main point, please think before you post stuff like this. While I agree with the general premise that Biglaw hours suck, especially as a junior associate, this is just clearly not accurate. You mention that you've "heard" this. I think what you heard is that occasionally hours can be this brutal (yes, you may have a week every so ofter where you're working non-stop), but this is not the norm.

Edit: As some further proof, check out ATL's survey on how many billable hours people logged last year, when the economy was improving and 73% of associates hit their hours requirement (http://abovethelaw.com/2011/01/career-c ... able-year/):

Less than 1,900 hours: 21%
1,900 – 2,099 hours: 22%
2,100 – 2,299 hours: 23%
2,300 – 2,499 hours: 17%
2,500 hours and above: 17%


I believe you misunderstood his numbers. Seems like he was saying 12 hour days during the week, which seems reasonable.




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