Positives of working as a lawyer

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Stanford4Me
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Re: Positives of working as a lawyer

Postby Stanford4Me » Thu Mar 24, 2011 1:15 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 like you.

Sup Kid
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Re: Positives of working as a lawyer

Postby Sup Kid » Thu Mar 24, 2011 1:16 am

Veyron wrote:
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.

He clearly wrote 14 hour days (9am-11pm) M-F, and "long days" on weekends (which I estimated at 7 hours). If he meant something else, fine, but my point was that he was needlessly giving false information out to people who may not know better. I was aiming to correct that error.

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Stanford4Me
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Re: Positives of working as a lawyer

Postby Stanford4Me » Thu Mar 24, 2011 1:23 am

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

wut.

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AreJay711
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Re: Positives of working as a lawyer

Postby AreJay711 » Thu Mar 24, 2011 1:26 am

Stanford4Me wrote:
Veyron wrote:I believe you misunderstood his numbers. Seems like he was saying 12 hour days during the week, which seems reasonable.

wut.

Well when I read it first, I thought he meant 9 to 9 or 11 to 11 (and I secretly thought that 11 to 11 sounded legit since you could beat all the traffic but questioned it because it might cause problems with clients and the rest of the world).

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XxSpyKEx
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Re: Positives of working as a lawyer

Postby XxSpyKEx » Thu Mar 24, 2011 1:42 am

Sup Kid wrote:
Veyron wrote:
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.

He clearly wrote 14 hour days (9am-11pm) M-F, and "long days" on weekends (which I estimated at 7 hours). If he meant something else, fine, but my point was that he was needlessly giving false information out to people who may not know better. I was aiming to correct that error.


I screwed up the numbers, I meant either 9:30-11 or 9-10:30, which is still 13.5 hours a day though. Those were the hours that senior NYC biglaw associates gave me for the actual hours they worked their first couple years at their respective v10 firms. Yes, 70-80+ hours a week was typical at these firms for the first couple years. You have to recognize you are going to take breaks and waste time in there as well. Figure 2 hours a day in there for lunch and dinner, about 30 mins in the morning checking emails, weather, etc (pretty much all the attorneys I talked to did this stuff), etc, etc. I think the biggest thing, though, is wasted time. If you sit there and waste 15 hours on something that should have only taken a competent attorney (i.e. an attorney with a few years experience who knows what he or she is doing) 10 hours, you are not going to be able to bill 15 hours to the client – keep in mind these firms are billing at like $400 /hour. Wasted time like this was the biggest thing that attorneys mentioned as the reason you are going to end up working a lot of hours. Well, that and the fact that you are trying to prove yourself the first couple years and will want to show that you are willing to work a lot. With respect to wasted time, a lot of associates I spoke with said a huge issue was the fact that associates would try to figure stuff out by themselves and not ask questions when they should have. Again, I’m not just making these hours up. Those are the hours I was given by actual v10 attorneys who I spoke with about how their days were the first few years out as a junior associate. If you don’t like the numbers, then that’s another thing. I’m also not claiming that these are the hours that all v10 junior associates work, I’m just passing along the information I was given by actual associates who worked at v10 NYC firms. It’s completely possible that I only spoke to a random sample of attorneys who really made things out to be much worse than they actually were though (I personally thought some of the days they threw out were a bit ridiculous).

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Re: Positives of working as a lawyer

Postby Sup Kid » Thu Mar 24, 2011 2:10 am

XxSpyKEx wrote:I screwed up the numbers, I meant either 9:30-11 or 9-10:30, which is still 13.5 hours a day though. Those were the hours that senior NYC biglaw associates gave me for the actual hours they worked their first couple years at their respective v10 firms. Yes, 70-80+ hours a week was typical at these firms for the first couple years. You have to recognize you are going to take breaks and waste time in there as well. Figure 2 hours a day in there for lunch and dinner, about 30 mins in the morning checking emails, weather, etc (pretty much all the attorneys I talked to did this stuff), etc, etc. I think the biggest thing, though, is wasted time. If you sit there and waste 15 hours on something that should have only taken a competent attorney (i.e. an attorney with a few years experience who knows what he or she is doing) 10 hours, you are not going to be able to bill 15 hours to the client – keep in mind these firms are billing at like $400 /hour. Wasted time like this was the biggest thing that attorneys mentioned as the reason you are going to end up working a lot of hours. Well, that and the fact that you are trying to prove yourself the first couple years and will want to show that you are willing to work a lot. With respect to wasted time, a lot of associates I spoke with said a huge issue was the fact that associates would try to figure stuff out by themselves and not ask questions when they should have. Again, I’m not just making these hours up. Those are the hours I was given by actual v10 attorneys who I spoke with about how their days were the first few years out as a junior associate. If you don’t like the numbers, then that’s another thing. I’m also not claiming that these are the hours that all v10 junior associates work, I’m just passing along the information I was given by actual associates who worked at v10 NYC firms. It’s completely possible that I only spoke to a random sample of attorneys who really made things out to be much worse than they actually were though (I personally thought some of the days they threw out were a bit ridiculous).

Hey, I'm not going to call you a liar -- I believe you were told that, but they were either the top-1% billing attorneys in all of NYC, or they were exaggerating their hours. In doing the calculations, I did only assume that 2/3 of working time was billable (i.e., 10 out of every 15 hours, as you stated), even though as you work more hours, you become more efficient. Even with that 2/3 write-off, and the slightly shorter days built in, the math still works out to upwards of 3000 billable hours per year, which is just not accurate. Even in 2007, when there was plenty of work to go around, the very highest billers still only were between 2500-2800 billable hours (and got massive, $50k+ bonuses for doing it). These days, that's not happening. A better estimate is 60-65 hours/week, roughly 10 hours/day M-F, and working at home for another 10-15 nights and weekends, which gets you to 2000-2200 billable hours/year, which is the level needed to keep up with your class, get a full bonus, etc. Again, yes, you work a lot, and some weeks will be much more than 60-65 hours, but 80-hour weeks are not the norm.

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Veyron
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Re: Positives of working as a lawyer

Postby Veyron » Thu Mar 24, 2011 2:15 am

^ ITE many firms have chosen to work current associates harder rather than hire. 2500+ is becoming less and less uncommon.

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Stanford4Me
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Re: Positives of working as a lawyer

Postby Stanford4Me » Thu Mar 24, 2011 2:43 am

Veyron wrote:^ ITE many firms have chosen to work current associates harder rather than hire. 2500+ is becoming less and less uncommon.

Provide numbers like he did.

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Alex-Trof
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Re: Positives of working as a lawyer

Postby Alex-Trof » Thu Mar 24, 2011 2:59 am

Personally, I don't believe in stories of 80+ hours a week of work. I have been part of an organization where everyone promised that type of environment; those promises never materialized in the end. IMO, nobody can work 80+ hours a week for more than few month and not burn out and still be productive.

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Re: Positives of working as a lawyer

Postby Sup Kid » Thu Mar 24, 2011 3:25 am

Veyron wrote:^ ITE many firms have chosen to work current associates harder rather than hire. 2500+ is becoming less and less uncommon.

I agree that there are fewer associates now in biglaw than a few years ago, but that does not prove associates are working longer hours. I would argue that it's a different correlation -- because firms have relatively less work now than in the 2006-2007 heyday, less associates are needed. Regardless, the ATL survey indicated that only 17% of associates billed more than 2500 hours in 2010. While that may be more than in the past (I have no idea), it is still a small minority, and a large majority billed less than 2300.

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Veyron
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Re: Positives of working as a lawyer

Postby Veyron » Thu Mar 24, 2011 11:40 am

Sup Kid wrote:
Veyron wrote:^ ITE many firms have chosen to work current associates harder rather than hire. 2500+ is becoming less and less uncommon.

I agree that there are fewer associates now in biglaw than a few years ago, but that does not prove associates are working longer hours. I would argue that it's a different correlation -- because firms have relatively less work now than in the 2006-2007 heyday, less associates are needed. Regardless, the ATL survey indicated that only 17% of associates billed more than 2500 hours in 2010. While that may be more than in the past (I have no idea), it is still a small minority, and a large majority billed less than 2300.


OMG, an ATL SURVEY! How SCIENTIFIC.

Snark aside, you are also correct, many assiciates have seen their billing drop thru the floor. Depends on if your firm/group was one that weathered the recession well. Feast or famine is what I hear.

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AreJay711
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Re: Positives of working as a lawyer

Postby AreJay711 » Thu Mar 24, 2011 11:42 am

Veyron wrote:
Sup Kid wrote:
Veyron wrote:^ ITE many firms have chosen to work current associates harder rather than hire. 2500+ is becoming less and less uncommon.

I agree that there are fewer associates now in biglaw than a few years ago, but that does not prove associates are working longer hours. I would argue that it's a different correlation -- because firms have relatively less work now than in the 2006-2007 heyday, less associates are needed. Regardless, the ATL survey indicated that only 17% of associates billed more than 2500 hours in 2010. While that may be more than in the past (I have no idea), it is still a small minority, and a large majority billed less than 2300.


OMG, an ATL SURVEY! How SCIENTIFIC.

Snark aside, you are also correct, many assiciates have seen their billing drop thru the floor. Depends on if your firm/group was one that weathered the recession well. Feast or famine is what I hear.


Also, these are associates on ATL. Just sayin'

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Always Credited
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Re: Positives of working as a lawyer

Postby Always Credited » Thu Mar 24, 2011 11:49 am

MrPapagiorgio wrote:doing lines of cocaine off of your briefs.


I do this now and I'm a 1L




APPELLLAAAAATE BRIIIIIIEF HOOOOO!!!

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Stanford4Me
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Re: Positives of working as a lawyer

Postby Stanford4Me » Thu Mar 24, 2011 11:54 am

Veyron wrote:
OMG, an ATL SURVEY! How SCIENTIFIC.

Better than your conjecture. Just saying.

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sundance95
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Re: Positives of working as a lawyer

Postby sundance95 » Thu Mar 24, 2011 12:13 pm

Stanford4Me wrote:
Veyron wrote:
OMG, an ATL SURVEY! How SCIENTIFIC.

Better than your conjecture. Just saying.

+100

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Veyron
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Re: Positives of working as a lawyer

Postby Veyron » Thu Mar 24, 2011 12:37 pm

Stanford4Me wrote:
Veyron wrote:
OMG, an ATL SURVEY! How SCIENTIFIC.

Better than your conjecture. Just saying.


How is my survey of associates in any way inferior to ATLs? Did they have a statistically significant sample size and a proper sampling methodology? Lol, Elie.

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AreJay711
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Re: Positives of working as a lawyer

Postby AreJay711 » Thu Mar 24, 2011 12:42 pm

Veyron wrote:
Stanford4Me wrote:
Veyron wrote:
OMG, an ATL SURVEY! How SCIENTIFIC.

Better than your conjecture. Just saying.


How is my survey of associates in any way inferior to ATLs? Did they have a statistically significant sample size and a proper sampling methodology? Lol, Elie.

Actually, the sample size is probably legit it just isn't random enough. I have a hard time believing the real workaholics are on ATL taking surveys.

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rayiner
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Re: Positives of working as a lawyer

Postby rayiner » Thu Mar 24, 2011 12:49 pm

Alex-Trof wrote:Personally, I don't believe in stories of 80+ hours a week of work. I have been part of an organization where everyone promised that type of environment; those promises never materialized in the end. IMO, nobody can work 80+ hours a week for more than few month and not burn out and still be productive.


My dad has been doing it for about 30 years. You get used to it.

The 9-11 number isn't that unbelievable if you think about it. That's about 14 hours. Subtract at least 2 for lunch and dinner, and 1 for goofing off during the day. That's 11 hours. Say 70% of your time is billable. That's 7-8 hours per day. Then let's say you get into the office at 10 on a weekend day and leave at 4. That's 6 hours, but you take an hour for lunch and an hour goofing off and you're at 4 hours. Say on average you work 75% of weekend days - that leaves you with about 6 hours worked each weekend, or about 4 hours billed. Adding it up, that's about 42-44 hours a week billed or about 2200-2300 hours a year.

If it seems unrealistic that you'd spend hours a day eating and goofing off, you've never worked an intense, intellectually-demanding job. You'd think that 42 hours a week billed with 70% efficiency = 60 hours a week worked means 9-9 5 days a week with the weekends off. You'll never manage that! You can't sit with your head down and work for 12 hours a day, every day. You need to talk to your office mate, zone out, check reddit.com, etc. That time quickly adds up and you have to factor it in.
Last edited by rayiner on Thu Mar 24, 2011 1:04 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Positives of working as a lawyer

Postby Sup Kid » Thu Mar 24, 2011 12:57 pm

AreJay711 wrote:
Veyron wrote:
Stanford4Me wrote:
Veyron wrote:
OMG, an ATL SURVEY! How SCIENTIFIC.

Better than your conjecture. Just saying.


How is my survey of associates in any way inferior to ATLs? Did they have a statistically significant sample size and a proper sampling methodology? Lol, Elie.

Actually, the sample size is probably legit it just isn't random enough. I have a hard time believing the real workaholics are on ATL taking surveys.

The point is that the original comment stated as fact that the average associate has 3000 billable hours per year. That is incorrect, and as one piece of proof I cited to an ATL survey. If someone has a more legitimate survey, I would love to see it. Until then however, an anonymous ATL survey with hundreds/thousands of responses is better than a survey of a couple of associates you happen to talk to.

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Re: Positives of working as a lawyer

Postby Veyron » Thu Mar 24, 2011 12:58 pm

The point is that the original comment stated as fact that the average associate has 3000 billable hours per year. That is incorrect, and as one piece of proof I cited to an ATL survey. If someone has a more legitimate survey, I would love to see it. Until then however, an anonymous ATL survey with hundreds/thousands of responses is better than a survey of a couple of associates you happen to talk to.


Oh oh, SOMEONE failed statistics. Get thee to law school!

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loblaw
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Re: Positives of working as a lawyer

Postby loblaw » Thu Mar 24, 2011 1:05 pm

1. When yelling at customer service/bank representatives, you can cite case law proving your point. You can very liberally threaten to sue, and they will take you seriously.

2. If you're married, you can represent yourself in your (inevitable) divorce. Hopefully, you were a lawyer before you got married and designed yourself an infallible pre-nup.

3. Sweet pens in unlimited supply.

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sundance95
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Re: Positives of working as a lawyer

Postby sundance95 » Thu Mar 24, 2011 1:05 pm

Veyron wrote:
The point is that the original comment stated as fact that the average associate has 3000 billable hours per year. That is incorrect, and as one piece of proof I cited to an ATL survey. If someone has a more legitimate survey, I would love to see it. Until then however, an anonymous ATL survey with hundreds/thousands of responses is better than a survey of a couple of associates you happen to talk to.


Oh oh, SOMEONE failed statistics. Get thee to law school!

Wrong. :roll: He said better, not perfect.

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AreJay711
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Re: Positives of working as a lawyer

Postby AreJay711 » Thu Mar 24, 2011 1:09 pm

loblaw wrote:1. When yelling at customer service/bank representatives, you can cite case law proving your point. You can very liberally threaten to sue, and they will take you seriously.

2. If you're married, you can represent yourself in your (inevitable) divorce. Hopefully, you were a lawyer before you got married and designed yourself an infallible pre-nup.

3. Sweet pens in unlimited supply.


Hmmm, so lawyers get the nice pens not the standard bics? Nice!

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Emma.
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Re: Positives of working as a lawyer

Postby Emma. » Thu Mar 24, 2011 1:15 pm

BeenDidThat wrote:
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.


--LinkRemoved--

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Re: Positives of working as a lawyer

Postby Nogameisfair » Thu Mar 24, 2011 1:16 pm

Veyron wrote:
The point is that the original comment stated as fact that the average associate has 3000 billable hours per year. That is incorrect, and as one piece of proof I cited to an ATL survey. If someone has a more legitimate survey, I would love to see it. Until then however, an anonymous ATL survey with hundreds/thousands of responses is better than a survey of a couple of associates you happen to talk to.


Oh oh, SOMEONE failed statistics. Get thee to law school!


Congratulations, you just made your 2323rd crappy, douchy post! What are you going to do now!?!




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