Law job without killer hours?

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newbienew
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Re: Law job without killer hours?

Postby newbienew » Mon May 09, 2011 1:41 pm

crazycanuck--Of course work is a part of life, so you're right to say that the term "work/life balance" is not wholly representative of what I mean. Instead, I should say "work/other interests" balance. I want to go to law school in part to discover whether there really is a legal job that I can get excited enough about to want to work at it 60 hours a week...but assuming that doesn't happen, I'd like to have a sense of what I should do to try to secure a sustainable salary while working closer to 40 hours a week. And to answer your question: I have no idea if working "in-house" is what I want to do. It's something that's come up in this thread as a potential option, but it seems to me like I'm better off going through law school, exploring my interests and expanding my opportunities, than committing myself now. That is: with the prospect of 0 debt, as I am fortunate enough to have.

flips--Maybe? I'm really not interested in prestige or money. I just want to enjoy my life, and if teaching at a community college turns out to be the best way to do that, then sure. Given that I'm not sure at this point, and that I very well might fall in love with a different aspect of law, I want to go to law school. But if I get through it, and find myself with a desire to teach and for free time, that may well end up being the route I'd go. So, I ask again: how does one get such jobs?

AP-375
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Re: Law job without killer hours?

Postby AP-375 » Mon May 09, 2011 1:45 pm

The animosity in this thread is funny. OP has a sweet deal to go to law school for free, so who cares about the financial or time cost- dude wants to be a lawyer. And if he wants to work 30 hours a week making $50k while his trust fund collects interest, more power to him.

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unc0mm0n1
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Re: Law job without killer hours?

Postby unc0mm0n1 » Mon May 09, 2011 1:46 pm

Patriot1208 wrote:
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.


No offense Patriot but you are completely wrong at least when it comes to JAG (at least Army JAG). It is possible, not probable but most definately possible. So many people come on here and make statements about places they have never worked (not saying you were doing this Pat). I worked JAG for 4 1/2 yrs. You can definately make way more money than that working way less hours than 60hrs/wk in some case less than 40. When I was stationed in the Netherlands. We started work at 9 got off at 4. Took an hour and a half lunch where we went to the gym or did whatever else we wanted and basically if you wanted to leave early you could whenever you wanted as long as you had someone to cover for you. We took care of all of our business during the workday like paying bills, or getting our car fixed. The total compensation a year out of law school was almost 100,000 (not including bonuses or loan repayment) not to mention a boatload of perks like free flights, cheap food and gas, full health and dental etc. Ok that's amazing right! Now comes the reality. This is a two year assignment. Then you have to go to a real job. I do know some people who "hideout in jobs like this" but you're never going to be promoted past major if you stay in a job like this more than 2 (maybe 3) years. Also even if you say you don't care and will hideout in a place like the Netherlands it's unlikely you'll get that job, there are about 7 other jobs like that in Army JAG and it's likely you're never get one of any of those jobs. But the best case scenerio say you get a job like this and you manage to stay there for four or five years. You'll get deployed immedately after that and you'll work at least 12hrs a day 6 or 7 days a week. It all evens out sorta. The average JAG attorney that I worked with works five days a week and puts in about 45-50hrs/wk (not including physical training and lunch). There is always exceptions if you're a trial attorney you're definately working more. If you're a section chief you're working more if you're a staff judge advocate, deputy staff judge advocate or want to make Colonel one day you're working more.
Last edited by unc0mm0n1 on Mon May 09, 2011 6:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Bildungsroman
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Re: Law job without killer hours?

Postby Bildungsroman » Mon May 09, 2011 1:50 pm

Patriot1208 wrote:
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.

Hate to tell you, but you are absolutely off-base here. I'm not sure how extensive your post-college professional work experience is, but there are plenty of professional fields where you work 40 hours a week without it being "the bare minimum". My father is an engineer and it's very much a 9 to 5 job for the majority of weeks.

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Flips88
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Re: Law job without killer hours?

Postby Flips88 » Mon May 09, 2011 1:50 pm

AP-375 wrote:The animosity in this thread is funny. OP has a sweet deal to go to law school for free, so who cares about the financial or time cost- dude wants to be a lawyer. And if he wants to work 30 hours a week making $50k while his trust fund collects interest, more power to him.

The problem is dude doesn't want to necessarily be a lawyer. What's the point of getting a JD from Cornell if you want to teach poli sci at a community college?

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unc0mm0n1
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Re: Law job without killer hours?

Postby unc0mm0n1 » Mon May 09, 2011 1:52 pm

Flips88 wrote:
AP-375 wrote:The animosity in this thread is funny. OP has a sweet deal to go to law school for free, so who cares about the financial or time cost- dude wants to be a lawyer. And if he wants to work 30 hours a week making $50k while his trust fund collects interest, more power to him.

The problem is dude doesn't want to necessarily be a lawyer. What's the point of getting a JD from Cornell if you want to teach poli sci at a community college?


I think he wants to be a lawyer just not working Biglaw/ elite PI hours.

BeenDidThat
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Re: Law job without killer hours?

Postby BeenDidThat » Mon May 09, 2011 1:54 pm

OP, you may not have noticed my prior post. You should read it. The people here on TLS, for the most part, have little idea about the legal world outside of BIGLAW and prestigious gov't and public interest work. 40-50 hrs/wk is quite doable, though you would probably start in the 40-60k range.

Basis for knowledge: both parents lawyers, know tons of them (as in, 50 or 60 in my hometown).

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Patriot1208
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Re: Law job without killer hours?

Postby Patriot1208 » Mon May 09, 2011 1:55 pm

Uncommon, I never claimed to know anything about JAG attorneys.

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reasonable_man
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Re: Law job without killer hours?

Postby reasonable_man » Mon May 09, 2011 1:56 pm

For My first and a good part of my second year out of law school, I was at a mid-law firm. I likely averaged about 55 to 70 hours a week (give or take).

I left for a much smaller firm in the financial district (Manhattan). I now work about 50 to 55 hours a week on average. However, if there is a major trial coming up, I have worked 80 or more hours in a week. I also travel anywhere in absurd weather, take phone calls from clients outside of the office, always have my blackberry glued to my hip and realize that my job, essentially, comes first and that weekend plans may have to be rescheduled at times, etc (though not often - thankfully). My salary is not astronomical, but I do earn over 80k (with a nice year end bonus and raise each year), and have all benefits paid for (with generous tech allowances like new laptop, laser pringer, etc.). My job is probably about as good as it gets as far as work life balance. My job is not at all common though and you will work the first few years finding one like this (firms of my sort do not hire 3Ls - they hire experienced attorneys generally). Moreover, I got this job by, essentially, being a partner-track type associate at my old mid-law firm, which required killer hours..

Not sure how helpful this was at all, but I guess the take home is that you will likely kill yourself for a few years, but if you look hard enough and are willing to give on points like compensation, etc., you can find a nice balance... That said, 40 to 50 hour weeks are always going to be hard to come by in a customer service profession like law.

newbienew
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Re: Law job without killer hours?

Postby newbienew » Mon May 09, 2011 1:58 pm

BeenDidThat--I'm sorry for not acknowledging your first post; I did read and appreciate it. I'm still looking for a range of perspectives, so I've kept the thread going, but I was glad to see that you have anecdotal evidence of the types of jobs I'm looking for. Thanks.

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Patriot1208
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Re: Law job without killer hours?

Postby Patriot1208 » Mon May 09, 2011 1:58 pm

Bildungs, engineers are a bit of a different breed. My father is also an EE and his work schedule was always 35 hours one week then 65 the week his project was due. And admittedly I know less about engineering and IT.

bartleby
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Re: Law job without killer hours?

Postby bartleby » Mon May 09, 2011 1:59 pm

is it easy to get a job as a CC prof w/ a jd? i imagine it still isn't that easy... i'm not sure though. jeez i wouldn't mind doing that. grading / laughing at all the stupid kids papers can be pretty intellectually stimulating (note: i went to CC for a few semesters so i fall under "stupid kids").

newbienew
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Re: Law job without killer hours?

Postby newbienew » Mon May 09, 2011 2:00 pm

Flips--The point of doing it, without debt, is that I'm very intrigued by the study of law, and would like to find out if practicing it is for me. If it's not, I'll have gained a degree, acquired zero debt, and perhaps enhanced my credentials for some (albeit limited) non-law jobs. If I was convinced I wanted to be a teacher, I'd go get a Masters. But that's not the case, and so this seems like a more sensible option.

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ArchRoark
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Re: Law job without killer hours?

Postby ArchRoark » Mon May 09, 2011 2:09 pm

crazycanuck wrote:
ArchRoark wrote:
Patriot1208 wrote:
ArchRoark wrote:How about non-legal jobs? If one is relatively certain they don't have a desire to practice law and will graduate with little to no-debt, is attending law school still a bad idea?

What do you expect to get out of it? Sounds like opportunity cost> than any expected ROI could be for non-legal jobs.

A free/almost-free graduate degree that hopefully provides the necessary academic credentials to secure an entry level position in a career with decent work/life/pay balance.


Those kinds of jobs won't require a JD if it's not in the legal field.

Sure, many of these jobs any masters degree would suffice, but I doubt I would receive a full tuition scholarship to any masters programs (super splitter etc).

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Patriot1208
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Re: Law job without killer hours?

Postby Patriot1208 » Mon May 09, 2011 2:11 pm

ArchRoark wrote:
crazycanuck wrote:
ArchRoark wrote:
Patriot1208 wrote:What do you expect to get out of it? Sounds like opportunity cost> than any expected ROI could be for non-legal jobs.

A free/almost-free graduate degree that hopefully provides the necessary academic credentials to secure an entry level position in a career with decent work/life/pay balance.


Those kinds of jobs won't require a JD if it's not in the legal field.

Sure, many of these jobs any masters degree would suffice, but I doubt I would receive a full tuition scholarship to any masters programs (super splitter etc).

I'm confused, what type of job in what industry are you thinking?

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Lwoods
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Re: Law job without killer hours?

Postby Lwoods » Mon May 09, 2011 2:14 pm

newbienew wrote:Flips--The point of doing it, without debt, is that I'm very intrigued by the study of law, and would like to find out if practicing it is for me. If it's not, I'll have gained a degree, acquired zero debt, and perhaps enhanced my credentials for some (albeit limited) non-law jobs. If I was convinced I wanted to be a teacher, I'd go get a Masters. But that's not the case, and so this seems like a more sensible option.


Watch out for that. Unless you have WE, you're more likely narrowing the field for yourself as many employers will see you both over- and under-qualified.
I do think the legal librarian suggestion is a good one. You might need an MLS, though.


Patriot... no one in my department works more than 45 hours/week... typically closer to 40. That's the case all the way up including the VPs (who, at my company, are more senior than directors and report to the CFO). The same goes for marketing, communications and HR. Those in finance have slightly more demanding hours, but still nothing too crazy. I think entry-level starts around $50k here, but I'm not sure. It's certainly better than BigLaw, Medicine, and Finance (I-Banking/PE/Hedge Funds), but I'm not sure it's that much better than other Midwestern F500 companies.

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ArchRoark
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Re: Law job without killer hours?

Postby ArchRoark » Mon May 09, 2011 2:21 pm

Patriot1208 wrote:I'm confused, what route of job in what industry are you thinking?

Tbh, I don't have any clear passion/substantive direction. Working in some capacity in higher education, teaching K-12, random fed job, non-profit manager/coordinator, editor, are a few paths I have considered.

The other option I have recently been considering is to just return to get another bachelor's degree in comp sci. Pros being that I can actually see myself enjoying the line of work, I could do it an about 2 yrs, and my local univ has a top-10 comp sci program that is heavily recruited out of. Cons being that it will cost in state tuition and it is just another bachelor's degree.

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crazycanuck
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Re: Law job without killer hours?

Postby crazycanuck » Mon May 09, 2011 2:22 pm

ArchRoark wrote:Sure, many of these jobs any masters degree would suffice, but I doubt I would receive a full tuition scholarship to any masters programs (super splitter etc).


High education is not always the best way to a job. Opportunity cost.

Really what you should do is go into industry work for a few years and get an MBA. More beneficial for a wide spread of jobs.

If you get a JD and then start applying for jobs outside of the legal field the employers are going to assume that you will jump ship for a law firm ASAP, not a good position to be in.

Just because you CAN doesn't mean you SHOULD if it gets you no where (which a JD will if you do not want a job in the legal field).

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ArchRoark
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Re: Law job without killer hours?

Postby ArchRoark » Mon May 09, 2011 2:30 pm

crazycanuck wrote:
ArchRoark wrote:Sure, many of these jobs any masters degree would suffice, but I doubt I would receive a full tuition scholarship to any masters programs (super splitter etc).


High education is not always the best way to a job. Opportunity cost.

Really what you should do is go into industry work for a few years and get an MBA. More beneficial for a wide spread of jobs.

If you get a JD and then start applying for jobs outside of the legal field the employers are going to assume that you will jump ship for a law firm ASAP, not a good position to be in.

Just because you CAN doesn't mean you SHOULD if it gets you no where (which a JD will if you do not want a job in the legal field).


I hear that idea often thrown around, but speaking with a couple of people who work in higher education and state agencies, and who are involved substantially in hiring decisions (staff positions, non-faculty), they have expressed that as long as the applicant has a coherent reason on why he/she doesn't want to pursue a career in law that they have never seen a JD candidate as a liability/flight-risk. Searching google is a different story, it is about an even split of anecdotes, with the extreme on one side saying they have resorted to leaving their JD off their resume.
Last edited by ArchRoark on Mon May 09, 2011 2:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Lwoods
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Re: Law job without killer hours?

Postby Lwoods » Mon May 09, 2011 2:30 pm

crazycanuck wrote:
ArchRoark wrote:Sure, many of these jobs any masters degree would suffice, but I doubt I would receive a full tuition scholarship to any masters programs (super splitter etc).


High education is not always the best way to a job. Opportunity cost.

Really what you should do is go into industry work for a few years and get an MBA. More beneficial for a wide spread of jobs.

If you get a JD and then start applying for jobs outside of the legal field the employers are going to assume that you will jump ship for a law firm ASAP, not a good position to be in.

Just because you CAN doesn't mean you SHOULD if it gets you no where (which a JD will if you do not want a job in the legal field).


Or just go into industry work for a few years and not waste your time/money getting an MBA... ;) (In many cases, there isn't much of a value-add).

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crazycanuck
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Re: Law job without killer hours?

Postby crazycanuck » Mon May 09, 2011 2:33 pm

ArchRoark wrote:
crazycanuck wrote:
ArchRoark wrote:Sure, many of these jobs any masters degree would suffice, but I doubt I would receive a full tuition scholarship to any masters programs (super splitter etc).


High education is not always the best way to a job. Opportunity cost.

Really what you should do is go into industry work for a few years and get an MBA. More beneficial for a wide spread of jobs.

If you get a JD and then start applying for jobs outside of the legal field the employers are going to assume that you will jump ship for a law firm ASAP, not a good position to be in.

Just because you CAN doesn't mean you SHOULD if it gets you no where (which a JD will if you do not want a job in the legal field).


I hear that idea often thrown around, but speaking with a couple of people who work in higher education and state agencies, and who are involved substantially in hiring decisions (staff positions, non-faculty), they have expressed that as long as the applicant has a coherent reason on why he doesn't want to pursue a career in law that they have never seen a JD candidate as a liability/flight-risk. Searching google is a different story, it is about an even split of anecdotes, with the extreme on one side saying they have resorted to leaving their JD off their resume.


So even if they don't mind it, it adds very little value for a 3 year investment in time where you are making 0 earnings. Not worth it at all IMO (which is why I did not pursue a career in law, I didn't particularly want to be a lawyer).

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crazycanuck
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Re: Law job without killer hours?

Postby crazycanuck » Mon May 09, 2011 2:34 pm

Lwoods wrote:
crazycanuck wrote:
ArchRoark wrote:Sure, many of these jobs any masters degree would suffice, but I doubt I would receive a full tuition scholarship to any masters programs (super splitter etc).


High education is not always the best way to a job. Opportunity cost.

Really what you should do is go into industry work for a few years and get an MBA. More beneficial for a wide spread of jobs.

If you get a JD and then start applying for jobs outside of the legal field the employers are going to assume that you will jump ship for a law firm ASAP, not a good position to be in.

Just because you CAN doesn't mean you SHOULD if it gets you no where (which a JD will if you do not want a job in the legal field).


Or just go into industry work for a few years and not waste your time/money getting an MBA... ;) (In many cases, there isn't much of a value-add).


True that.

keg411
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Re: Law job without killer hours?

Postby keg411 » Mon May 09, 2011 4:09 pm

Here are a few suggestions from what I know are law jobs with manageable hours.

1) State gov't - as long as you find a state with awesome benefits, prosecutor and similar jobs might be right up your alley. Yes, you may have to pull an occasional long week, but a sweet pension and retirement at around 50 will give you plenty of time to enjoy life.

2) In-house work - one of my parents pursued this type of work out of law school in order to have a "humane" life and works in-house for an insurance company. Probably works around 50-ish hours a week total unless there is a trial, but that is maybe once ever 10 years. Goes into work on a weekend maybe two or three times a year. Additionally, staying at these types of jobs for a long time can lead to a ton of vacation time once you are older.

3) Work for a small estates & trusts/residential real estate firm. It's one thing to start one of these firms, but latching onto an existing small firm in this type of area should lead to much better hours.

4) Academia - but this will be impossible to get unless you finish at the very very top of your class.

5) Career law clerks - some judges hire permanent rather than yearly clerks; but again, I'm pretty sure these types of jobs involve very high grades on the federal level (and previous time clerking) and whether or not judges are elected or appointed on the state level. My knowledge is much more hazy in this area than in the above; so if I'm wrong, I'm wrong.

OP, another thing you may want to do is talk to career services (once you are allowed to) in November about what type of internships and summer jobs to look for with your goals so that you can have a job secured at graduation and so you're not staring at unemployment and end up taking the first thing you can get. Your job search is likely going to be very very different than 80% of your classmates and you better have a good plan or it could all backfire on you.

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Ikki
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Re: Law job without killer hours?

Postby Ikki » Mon May 09, 2011 5:45 pm

Working 40 hours a week is TTT.

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unc0mm0n1
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Re: Law job without killer hours?

Postby unc0mm0n1 » Mon May 09, 2011 6:43 pm

Patriot1208 wrote:I'm confused, what type of job in what industry are you thinking?


I know everybody says basically you can't do anything with a JD except a legal job. I'm not sure I agree with that. During the HLS ASW the dean made a great point. She said HBS had produced the most F500 CEO's the school that produced the second most was HLS. I'm pretty sure a Lawyer from a top program can at least have a shot in politics, business, consulting, foreign service jobs, various government positions, military, law enforcement and many other general skills jobs like management.




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