Law job without killer hours?

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newbienew
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Law job without killer hours?

Postby newbienew » Mon May 09, 2011 8:50 am

Here are the facts:

1) I don't care about making more money than I need. ($50,000 a year would be just fine.)

2) I was accepted to Cornell Law, starting this fall.

3) I'm excited to learn about law, but also would prefer not to be working 60 hours a week after law school, ever. I'm just not passionate enough about any "job" to spend the majority of my awake time in a week doing it.

4) I'll leave law school with no loans.

I just want to know if I have ANY hope of getting a job in law that won't kill me in terms of hours, and can let me just live my life and spend most of my time with my family. If there is any job like this, what is it? What should I focus on in law school to make sure I can get it?

Thanks, and I'll look forward to both the sarcastic and real responses.
Last edited by newbienew on Mon May 09, 2011 9:10 am, edited 1 time in total.

newbienew
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Re: Law job without killer hours?

Postby newbienew » Mon May 09, 2011 9:10 am

Sorry, should have mentioned--no loans. Lucky, I know.

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Patriot1208
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Re: Law job without killer hours?

Postby Patriot1208 » Mon May 09, 2011 9:31 am

any professional job will regularly require 50-60 hours a week throughout a career. I'd start to really think about what it takes to be an adult.

duckmoney
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Re: Law job without killer hours?

Postby duckmoney » Mon May 09, 2011 9:34 am

What are hours like for government jobs? What about JAG?

newbienew
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Re: Law job without killer hours?

Postby newbienew » Mon May 09, 2011 9:38 am

Thanks, Patriot--it's something I think about all the time, actually. It makes perfect sense to me that if someone wants to make big bucks, he/she should be prepared to work big hours. But if I just want to make a living, and am content with lower-middle class salaries, why should I also be working over 40 hours a week?

To me, being an adult means having the independence to prioritize your own life, while also making sure you aren't a burden on anyone else. I don't see why I wouldn't be able to do that with a $50K a year salary, especially if I have a wife making a similar or higher salary. I don't think preferring a more leisurely, less wealthy lifestyle is a choice that makes me any less of an adult than if I had the opposite preference. All I want to know is whether (and which) law jobs will earn me that happy medium.

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Patriot1208
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Re: Law job without killer hours?

Postby Patriot1208 » Mon May 09, 2011 9:44 am

duckmoney wrote:What are hours like for government jobs? What about JAG?

Anecdotally, all federal government attorneys I know work at least 50-55 hours a week.

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homestyle28
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Re: Law job without killer hours?

Postby homestyle28 » Mon May 09, 2011 9:45 am

newbienew wrote:Thanks, Patriot--it's something I think about all the time, actually. It makes perfect sense to me that if someone wants to make big bucks, he/she should be prepared to work big hours. But if I just want to make a living, and am content with lower-middle class salaries, why should I also be working over 40 hours a week?

To me, being an adult means having the independence to prioritize your own life, while also making sure you aren't a burden on anyone else. I don't see why I wouldn't be able to do that with a $50K a year salary, especially if I have a wife making a similar or higher salary. I don't think preferring a more leisurely, less wealthy lifestyle is a choice that makes me any less of an adult than if I had the opposite preference. All I want to know is whether (and which) law jobs will earn me that happy medium.


I don't understand why you're going to law school. If you simply want to make 50k and only put in 40 hours, go become a licensed trades-person. I.e. an electrician or a plumber. Law is a client service job there will always be times when things come up at the last minute and require longer hours. It sounds like you just want to punch a clock. It's the wrong field for that.

flounder
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Re: Law job without killer hours?

Postby flounder » Mon May 09, 2011 9:49 am

Patriot,
I respectfully disagree. I currently hold a "Professional" position that I only work 40 hours in. My wife is a Corporate Trainer and she works 40 hours per week.

The number of hours worked does not equal "maturity." I think the op is very muture in realizing there is more to life than sitting at a desk for 60+ hours a week.

newbienew
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Re: Law job without killer hours?

Postby newbienew » Mon May 09, 2011 9:51 am

homestyle--To respond to your question, law is significantly more appealing than a tradesperson job, because I do enjoy intellectual engagement. As I said, law school excites me, and I'm really looking forward to being challenged in a new way. A career in law (I hope) can be an intellectually fulfilling one for me, and plumbing would not. Besides, I'm not handy at all. :)

Is there really no intersection between "intellectually challenging job" and "job that allows you to spend most of your waking hours outside of it"? Maybe so, and I suppose that's why I'm asking. But I would like to think that I could work 40 hours a week, enjoying my time at the office while there, and spend most of my time with people I love, like family or friends. I just don't see why that's such an unrealistic or juvenile goal.

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NCtoDC
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Re: Law job without killer hours?

Postby NCtoDC » Mon May 09, 2011 9:54 am

newbienew wrote:homestyle--To respond to your question, law is significantly more appealing than a tradesperson job, because I do enjoy intellectual engagement. As I said, law school excites me, and I'm really looking forward to being challenged in a new way. A career in law (I hope) can be an intellectually fulfilling one for me, and plumbing would not. Besides, I'm not handy at all. :)

Is there really no intersection between "intellectually challenging job" and "job that allows you to spend most of your waking hours outside of it"? Maybe so, and I suppose that's why I'm asking. But I would like to think that I could work 40 hours a week, enjoying my time at the office while there, and spend most of my time with people I love, like family or friends. I just don't see why that's such an unrealistic or juvenile goal.


Start a solo practice....problem fixed.

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YankeesFan
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Re: Law job without killer hours?

Postby YankeesFan » Mon May 09, 2011 9:56 am

No lawyer I know, small firm, big law, government of PI works less than 50 hours a week. There are attorneys who work 60+ hours for a 50,000 paycheck in shitlaw. The OP wants the same pay, with substantially less work. Its an unrealistic goal, unless you want doc review, or part time legal work.

Also, $50,000 (even times 2 with your wife) doesn't go as far as you would think. Especially when kids start getting involved. Life becomes very expensive very quickly. I am not saying Big law or bust, but you should understand that a combined income of 100,000 isn't as appealing as it once was.

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Flips88
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Re: Law job without killer hours?

Postby Flips88 » Mon May 09, 2011 9:57 am

YankeesFan wrote:No lawyer I know, small firm, big law, government of PI works less than 50 hours a week. There are attorneys who work 60+ hours for a 50,000 paycheck in shitlaw. The OP wants the same pay, with substantially less work. Its an unrealistic goal, unless you want doc review, or part time legal work.

Also, $50,000 (even times 2 with your wife) doesn't go as far as you would think. Especially when kids start getting involved. Life becomes very expensive very quickly. I am not saying Big law or bust, but you should understand that a combined income of 100,000 isn't as appealing as it once was.

QF NYC worldview bias

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Lwoods
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Re: Law job without killer hours?

Postby Lwoods » Mon May 09, 2011 9:59 am

Just a 0L but have spent most of my life around lawyers.

My dad was a prosecutor at the county level, and while he worked 50 hour weeks + late night phone calls from the cops, almost all of the public defenders in town were part time. The elected prosecutor was also par-time in the prosecutors office but had a private practice as well (probably working 90 hour weeks when all was said and done). In my hometown, I doubt the part time public defenders made $50k, though... probably closer to $35k.

When my dad was a judge, he worked 45 hour weeks and had the highest salary of his career. Nice work if you can get it, but it's not easy to get, and if it's an elected position and you're not in the majority party of your constituency, not easy to keep.

The holy grail for biglaw associates I worked with who hated the lack of work/life balance in biglaw was going in-house for a corporation. Those are typically 40-50 hour/week jobs (depending on your department... I imagine litigators always have bad lifestyles). The downside is the pay is typically less than BigLaw, and the complicated "fun stuff" gets tossed to the outside counsel....from what I've heard.

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homestyle28
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Re: Law job without killer hours?

Postby homestyle28 » Mon May 09, 2011 10:01 am

newbienew wrote:homestyle--To respond to your question, law is significantly more appealing than a tradesperson job, because I do enjoy intellectual engagement. As I said, law school excites me, and I'm really looking forward to being challenged in a new way. A career in law (I hope) can be an intellectually fulfilling one for me, and plumbing would not. Besides, I'm not handy at all. :)

Is there really no intersection between "intellectually challenging job" and "job that allows you to spend most of your waking hours outside of it"? Maybe so, and I suppose that's why I'm asking. But I would like to think that I could work 40 hours a week, enjoying my time at the office while there, and spend most of my time with people I love, like family or friends. I just don't see why that's such an unrealistic or juvenile goal.


It sounds like you have a dilemma on your hands, unless you can think of a 40 hour/week but also very engaging job. I tend to think the more intellectually engaging the job, the more time it takes because, if you are interested in the work, you want to give the job more time...it's a cyclical thing. Even the tenured philosophy profs I know work 50+ hours a week b/c they love what they do.

So you have to decide what's more important to you intellectual engagement or an expectation of 40 hour work weeks?

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NCtoDC
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Re: Law job without killer hours?

Postby NCtoDC » Mon May 09, 2011 10:01 am

YankeesFan wrote:No lawyer I know, small firm, big law, government of PI works less than 50 hours a week. There are attorneys who work 60+ hours for a 50,000 paycheck in shitlaw. The OP wants the same pay, with substantially less work. Its an unrealistic goal, unless you want doc review, or part time legal work.

Also, $50,000 (even times 2 with your wife) doesn't go as far as you would think. Especially when kids start getting involved. Life becomes very expensive very quickly. I am not saying Big law or bust, but you should understand that a combined income of 100,000 isn't as appealing as it once was.


This has to be a matter of opinion and lifestyle choices. My husband and I gross about 45k a year (combined!). We do not have kids. However, we live pretty comfortably. I would say there is definite room for improvement, but at 100k combined I think we would have a sweet living situation. Even with kids, 100k combined wouldn't be unmanageable. It is all in what is important to the individual and how much value they place on material things.

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FeelTheHeat
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Re: Law job without killer hours?

Postby FeelTheHeat » Mon May 09, 2011 10:11 am

YankeesFan wrote:No lawyer I know, small firm, big law, government of PI works less than 50 hours a week. There are attorneys who work 60+ hours for a 50,000 paycheck in shitlaw. The OP wants the same pay, with substantially less work. Its an unrealistic goal, unless you want doc review, or part time legal work.

Also, $50,000 (even times 2 with your wife) doesn't go as far as you would think. Especially when kids start getting involved. Life becomes very expensive very quickly. I am not saying Big law or bust, but you should understand that a combined income of 100,000 isn't as appealing as it once was.


This is a spectacularly shitty post.

jd1969a
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Re: Law job without killer hours?

Postby jd1969a » Mon May 09, 2011 10:13 am

This is just anecdotal, but my stepmom is a prosecutor and she normally works 40 hour weeks. She usually gets to work between 9 and 10am and is always home by 6pm, and she her lunch breaks are usually about an hour long. When she has a particularly big case, she will work more, but that normally means going in an hour early/staying an hour or two late, not anything crazy. In the 24 years I've known her, I have probably seen her go into the office on a weekend less than 10 times. She makes $120,000 a year, which isn't big law money, but definitely pays the bills.

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Patriot1208
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Re: Law job without killer hours?

Postby Patriot1208 » Mon May 09, 2011 10:16 am

flounder wrote:Patriot,
I respectfully disagree. I currently hold a "Professional" position that I only work 40 hours in. My wife is a Corporate Trainer and she works 40 hours per week.

The number of hours worked does not equal "maturity." I think the op is very muture in realizing there is more to life than sitting at a desk for 60+ hours a week.

Except I never mentioned maturity. Being an adult doesn't equate to maturity. Certainly there are tons of adults in professional jobs who aren't mature.

You may be an exception, but I have a sneaking suspicion that you either 1) work more than that when you take in the amount of time you work from home, take calls outside of normal business hours, attend events, etc. or that 2) because you only do the bare minimum you aren't having any career advancement and your co-workers work far more than you or 3) You work in HR, which does seem to be an exception, but who really wants to do that?

I guess the other option may be that you work in a small town or europe where it is more acceptable to work less.
Last edited by Patriot1208 on Mon May 09, 2011 10:17 am, edited 1 time in total.

BeenDidThat
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Re: Law job without killer hours?

Postby BeenDidThat » Mon May 09, 2011 10:17 am

Definitely doable, depending on where you want to live. I know of a number of law firms handling things like divorces, prenups, wills & estates, and contractual matters in smaller markets (think Buffalo, Scranton, and other similar-sized cities) that tend to work 9-5 or 9-6. It might be a bit over 40 hours, and you might have to take a bit of work home with you on the weekends, but it would not expose you to the more hectic Biglaw hours and responsibilities.
Last edited by BeenDidThat on Mon May 09, 2011 10:35 am, edited 1 time in total.

Renzo
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Re: Law job without killer hours?

Postby Renzo » Mon May 09, 2011 10:17 am

Flips88 wrote:
YankeesFan wrote:No lawyer I know, small firm, big law, government of PI works less than 50 hours a week. There are attorneys who work 60+ hours for a 50,000 paycheck in shitlaw. The OP wants the same pay, with substantially less work. Its an unrealistic goal, unless you want doc review, or part time legal work.

Also, $50,000 (even times 2 with your wife) doesn't go as far as you would think. Especially when kids start getting involved. Life becomes very expensive very quickly. I am not saying Big law or bust, but you should understand that a combined income of 100,000 isn't as appealing as it once was.

QF NYC worldview bias


Yep. My SO and I lived a very comfortable life that would have allowed me to raise kids making about $75K between us in the western US. Since moving to NYC, I'd need about $120K to sustain a slightly lower (but still comfortable) quality of life.

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Flips88
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Re: Law job without killer hours?

Postby Flips88 » Mon May 09, 2011 10:20 am

Renzo wrote:
Flips88 wrote:
YankeesFan wrote:No lawyer I know, small firm, big law, government of PI works less than 50 hours a week. There are attorneys who work 60+ hours for a 50,000 paycheck in shitlaw. The OP wants the same pay, with substantially less work. Its an unrealistic goal, unless you want doc review, or part time legal work.

Also, $50,000 (even times 2 with your wife) doesn't go as far as you would think. Especially when kids start getting involved. Life becomes very expensive very quickly. I am not saying Big law or bust, but you should understand that a combined income of 100,000 isn't as appealing as it once was.

QF NYC worldview bias


Yep. My SO and I lived a very comfortable life that would have allowed me to raise kids making about $75K between us in the western US. Since moving to NYC, I'd need about $120K to sustain a slightly lower (but still comfortable) quality of life.

Yeah $100k combined is more than enough outside of DC, NYC, Chicago, and LA

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Patriot1208
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Re: Law job without killer hours?

Postby Patriot1208 » Mon May 09, 2011 10:21 am

Flips88 wrote:
Renzo wrote:
Flips88 wrote:
YankeesFan wrote:No lawyer I know, small firm, big law, government of PI works less than 50 hours a week. There are attorneys who work 60+ hours for a 50,000 paycheck in shitlaw. The OP wants the same pay, with substantially less work. Its an unrealistic goal, unless you want doc review, or part time legal work.

Also, $50,000 (even times 2 with your wife) doesn't go as far as you would think. Especially when kids start getting involved. Life becomes very expensive very quickly. I am not saying Big law or bust, but you should understand that a combined income of 100,000 isn't as appealing as it once was.

QF NYC worldview bias


Yep. My SO and I lived a very comfortable life that would have allowed me to raise kids making about $75K between us in the western US. Since moving to NYC, I'd need about $120K to sustain a slightly lower (but still comfortable) quality of life.

Yeah $100k combined is more than enough outside of DC, NYC, Chicago, and LA

TBF, it's more then enough to live in those cities, most of the residents don't make that much. You are just living far below what most posters on here want to live at.

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Flips88
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Re: Law job without killer hours?

Postby Flips88 » Mon May 09, 2011 10:25 am

Patriot1208 wrote:
Flips88 wrote:Yeah $100k combined is more than enough outside of DC, NYC, Chicago, and LA

TBF, it's more then enough to live in those cities, most of the residents don't make that much. You are just living far below what most posters on here want to live at.

Must. have. Manhattan. High rise.

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Patriot1208
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Re: Law job without killer hours?

Postby Patriot1208 » Mon May 09, 2011 10:29 am

Flips88 wrote:
Patriot1208 wrote:
Flips88 wrote:Yeah $100k combined is more than enough outside of DC, NYC, Chicago, and LA

TBF, it's more then enough to live in those cities, most of the residents don't make that much. You are just living far below what most posters on here want to live at.

Must. have. Manhattan. High rise.

I had a high school teacher who left teaching to try and break into television. His first job as an associate producer at some small company paid him like 38k a year and he lived in NYC and seemed to love life when I last talked to him. I think he was living in a railroad apartment at first though, which sucks.

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YankeesFan
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Re: Law job without killer hours?

Postby YankeesFan » Mon May 09, 2011 10:34 am

Flips88 wrote:Yeah $100k combined is more than enough outside of DC, NYC, Chicago, and LA


But who would want to live anywhere else?




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