Law job without killer hours?

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A'nold
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Re: Law job without killer hours?

Postby A'nold » Mon May 09, 2011 8:29 pm

Here's the thing. You could be working 30 hours a week in a "punch the timecard" kind of job and hate every minute of what you do. I worked as a low-level accountant, 40 hours a week and I looked at the clock hundreds of times a day. I hated every second being there. Middle management is the worst thing I've ever experienced in the real world. Have you ever been called into the boss' office to be yelled at for not stapling your invoices correctly? I have.

I would rather work 50 hours a week at a job where the time absolutely flies by and I feel like I'm doing something important than just being another corporate cog. It is the worst. I always thought I could just put in the hours and then enjoy my "free time." Not so. These horrible jobs permeated my entire life. All I could think about starting at 5:01 on Friday was that I would have to come back to the office at 8:00 a.m. on Monday, and then work till Friday. I felt like I was emotionally and intellectually dead.

Conclusion: I went to law school to do something I thought I would enjoy. So far, I am very happy with my decision.

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vamedic03
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Re: Law job without killer hours?

Postby vamedic03 » Mon May 09, 2011 8:49 pm

unc0mm0n1 wrote:
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.


All those jobs require way more than 40 hours/week. I doubt if most F500 CEOs have had a full weekend of in the past decade, let alone work only 40 hour week.

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ResolutePear
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Re: Law job without killer hours?

Postby ResolutePear » Mon May 09, 2011 8:57 pm

vamedic03 wrote:
unc0mm0n1 wrote:
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.


All those jobs require way more than 40 hours/week. I doubt if most F500 CEOs have had a full weekend of in the past decade, let alone work only 40 hour week.


You're definitely doing what you love though - and the fact that it's F500 means you're for the most part, successful. You're managing a business and you're potentially the face of it. (Ballmer(lol) and Jobs(lulz.))

It helps that you're getting paid per-hour more than most of the population.

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Lawst
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Re: Law job without killer hours?

Postby Lawst » Mon May 09, 2011 10:26 pm

A'nold wrote:Here's the thing. You could be working 30 hours a week in a "punch the timecard" kind of job and hate every minute of what you do. I worked as a low-level accountant, 40 hours a week and I looked at the clock hundreds of times a day. I hated every second being there. Middle management is the worst thing I've ever experienced in the real world. Have you ever been called into the boss' office to be yelled at for not stapling your invoices correctly? I have.

I would rather work 50 hours a week at a job where the time absolutely flies by and I feel like I'm doing something important than just being another corporate cog. It is the worst. I always thought I could just put in the hours and then enjoy my "free time." Not so. These horrible jobs permeated my entire life. All I could think about starting at 5:01 on Friday was that I would have to come back to the office at 8:00 a.m. on Monday, and then work till Friday. I felt like I was emotionally and intellectually dead.

Conclusion: I went to law school to do something I thought I would enjoy. So far, I am very happy with my decision.


So true and so well said.

newbienew
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Re: Law job without killer hours?

Postby newbienew » Tue May 10, 2011 8:13 am

You make a good point, a'nold. I agree: if I enjoy my job enough, these considerations I'm putting out there won't matter too much. I guess I had been seeing law as the type of job I'll enjoy MORE than almost any other job (other than a job in the field I had been pursuing, which unfortunately seems to be a dead end leading to $20-30K a year tops), but still not more than my time with family/friends/myself. Of course I'd prefer to be a lawyer than a middle-management type, but I can't see myself preferring time at the office, for ANY job, over time outside of the office. That's just me. So, I'm hoping to find a job that's reasonably intellectually engaging and takes up only 40-50 hours a week (with rare weekend commitments), and I'm willing to sacrifice $$$ to do it.

keg411--Thanks a lot for your post. It's been one of the most helpful thus far. I have considered working as a DA/Public Defender, and these jobs sound interesting to me beyond some of the benefits they could provide. Does anyone know if the benefits/hours vary wildly from state to state, and district to district?

I hadn't really even considered the idea of working "in-house" before this thread. What types of businesses have in-house lawyers? Insurance and finance companies have been mentioned, but what else? Yes, I know this is research I can and will do on my own, but now that we've started this discussion, I'm curious what everyone knows.

Thanks again to everyone for all your thoughts. I appreciate all the help thus far.

BeenDidThat
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Re: Law job without killer hours?

Postby BeenDidThat » Tue May 10, 2011 10:14 am

newbienew wrote:...
I hadn't really even considered the idea of working "in-house" before this thread. What types of businesses have in-house lawyers? Insurance and finance companies have been mentioned, but what else? Yes, I know this is research I can and will do on my own, but now that we've started this discussion, I'm curious what everyone knows.

Thanks again to everyone for all your thoughts. I appreciate all the help thus far.


(virtually?) All publicly-traded companies will have in-house lawyers. Basic bread-and-butter issues will be compliance with the vast array of regulations at work for publicly-traded companies, reviewing contracts, etc.

Think: Exxon, GlaxoSmithKline, 3M, G.E., the automobile companies (while they are still around, heh), Waste Management, and damn near every other big-name company.

Moreover, I would imagine the larger privately-held companies also retain huge staffs of in-house attys.

You could work your way into in-house positions if you know folks and demonstrate an ability early on. I know some companies hire in-house straight out of school. But a lot of them also like Biglaw laterals.

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Patriot1208
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Re: Law job without killer hours?

Postby Patriot1208 » Tue May 10, 2011 12:10 pm

unc0mm0n1 wrote:
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.

You can do other things with a JD, I don't think people dispute that. The difference is that a JD doesn't necessarily make you much more competitive for those positions. Spending 200k for an extremely slight boost doesn't necessarily make sense. If you want to do banking, business, or consulting, you are better off spending time working and then getting into a top MBA. Or getting into a top econ or finance graduate program. Some JD's get hired by Mckinsey, but not enough for it to warrant going to 99% of law schools if you don't want to practice law. Also, HLS will be a bit of an exception. But most law schools that shot becomes a lot less.
Last edited by Patriot1208 on Tue May 10, 2011 2:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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A'nold
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Re: Law job without killer hours?

Postby A'nold » Tue May 10, 2011 1:50 pm

newbienew wrote:You make a good point, a'nold. I agree: if I enjoy my job enough, these considerations I'm putting out there won't matter too much. I guess I had been seeing law as the type of job I'll enjoy MORE than almost any other job (other than a job in the field I had been pursuing, which unfortunately seems to be a dead end leading to $20-30K a year tops), but still not more than my time with family/friends/myself. Of course I'd prefer to be a lawyer than a middle-management type, but I can't see myself preferring time at the office, for ANY job, over time outside of the office. That's just me. So, I'm hoping to find a job that's reasonably intellectually engaging and takes up only 40-50 hours a week (with rare weekend commitments), and I'm willing to sacrifice $$$ to do it.

keg411--Thanks a lot for your post. It's been one of the most helpful thus far. I have considered working as a DA/Public Defender, and these jobs sound interesting to me beyond some of the benefits they could provide. Does anyone know if the benefits/hours vary wildly from state to state, and district to district?

I hadn't really even considered the idea of working "in-house" before this thread. What types of businesses have in-house lawyers? Insurance and finance companies have been mentioned, but what else? Yes, I know this is research I can and will do on my own, but now that we've started this discussion, I'm curious what everyone knows.

Thanks again to everyone for all your thoughts. I appreciate all the help thus far.


Dude, trust me, I prefer spending time w/ my family more than anything else. I'm just talking about 30 hours a week = killself vs. 50 hours a week = don't even know where the time went b/c it went by so quickly.

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Re: Law job without killer hours?

Postby alumniguy » Tue May 10, 2011 2:08 pm

Reading this thread was quite funny. It is basically a handful of people spewing vitriol towards OP when OP says he doesn't want to work more than 50 hours a week...crazy. Basically, it seems as if TLS is filled with a bunch of strivers that can't wait to belittle anyone who doesn't share their same prestige obsessed view of what it means to practice law.

Yes, there are PLENTY of legal jobs that only require 40-50 hours a week. Other posters have already commented on the majority of them - small firms, government, in-house/compliance. No, OP isn't going to get rich working these jobs. They do exist and they pay liveable wages. My only addition is that these jobs are more likely than not rather un-intellectual. Yes you may need a JD to complete the required work, but the level of intellectualism is not very high. Of course there are exceptions, but most small firm work is probably centered around personal issues or small business issues, which likely won't be all that intellectually stimulating. Sames goes for working compliance in-house.

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Borhas
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Re: Law job without killer hours?

Postby Borhas » Tue May 10, 2011 2:13 pm

a school's career office people probably work 35 hours a week

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crazycanuck
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Re: Law job without killer hours?

Postby crazycanuck » Tue May 10, 2011 2:35 pm

Borhas wrote:a school's career office people probably work 35 hours a week


I guess that depends on the definition of work...

They are in their career office for 35 hours a week if that's what you mean?

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ArchRoark
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Re: Law job without killer hours?

Postby ArchRoark » Tue May 10, 2011 2:53 pm

Patriot1208 wrote:
unc0mm0n1 wrote:
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.

You can do other things with a JD, I don't think people dispute that. The difference is that a JD doesn't necessarily make you much more competitive for those positions. Spending 200k for an extremely slight boost doesn't necessarily make sense. If you want to do banking, business, or consulting, you are better off spending time working and then getting into a top MBA. Or getting into a top econ or finance graduate program. Some JD's get hired by Mckinsey, but not enough for it to warrant going to 99% of law schools if you don't want to practice law. Also, HLS will be a bit of an exception. But most law schools that shot becomes a lot less.


The question becomes murkier when the total COA for the JD is free-20k. Also, it seems law school is unique in that it places such an emphasis on the LSAT and thus provides the opportunity for many splitter applicants to attend a top school or a T1 with a full tuition, or close to, scholarship (sub-3.0 GPA is the death nail for almost all other graduate programs). Not to mention that many applicants have a rather unmarketable liberal arts degree that if they chose to forgo law school their job prospects are slim.

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Patriot1208
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Re: Law job without killer hours?

Postby Patriot1208 » Tue May 10, 2011 3:07 pm

ArchRoark wrote:
Patriot1208 wrote:
unc0mm0n1 wrote:
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.

You can do other things with a JD, I don't think people dispute that. The difference is that a JD doesn't necessarily make you much more competitive for those positions. Spending 200k for an extremely slight boost doesn't necessarily make sense. If you want to do banking, business, or consulting, you are better off spending time working and then getting into a top MBA. Or getting into a top econ or finance graduate program. Some JD's get hired by Mckinsey, but not enough for it to warrant going to 99% of law schools if you don't want to practice law. Also, HLS will be a bit of an exception. But most law schools that shot becomes a lot less.


The question becomes murkier when the total COA for the JD is free-20k. Also, it seems law school is unique in that it places such an emphasis on the LSAT and thus provides the opportunity for many splitter applicants to attend a top school or a T1 with a full tuition, or close to, scholarship (sub-3.0 GPA is the death nail for almost all other graduate programs). Not to mention that many applicants have a rather unmarketable liberal arts degree that if they chose to forgo law school their job prospects are slim.


Certainly, but you have to also take into account opportunity cost and the school you are attending. Getting consulting or banking from American law school is going to be virtually impossible. You may have an opportunity after practicing law, doing very well at that, and then using contacts to make the switch. But going straight from American to that type of job is not going to happen. You'd have to attend a top school to have those opportunities and a splitter isn't getting a full ride at a top school. Maybe if your parents are covering the expenses than it is different. In your scenario (a useless LA degree with a bad undergrad gpa) your best bets getting into these types of jobs is probably to network, take whatever business job you get, EXCEL at that job, and then you can get into a top MBA program. All top MBA programs have a few people like that. Then you can make the jump. Not to mention that a lot of LA people get into consulting or banking straight out of undergrad, but they are generally from top schools.
Last edited by Patriot1208 on Tue May 10, 2011 3:11 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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Re: Law job without killer hours?

Postby Lwoods » Tue May 10, 2011 3:07 pm

ArchRoark wrote:
The question becomes murkier when the total COA for the JD is free-20k. Also, it seems law school is unique in that it places such an emphasis on the LSAT and thus provides the opportunity for many splitter applicants to attend a top school or a T1 with a full tuition, or close to, scholarship (it seems sub-3.0 GPA is the death nail for almost all other graduate programs). Not to mention that many applicants have a rather unmarketable liberal arts degree that if they chose to forgo law school their job prospects are slim.


This is a myth. Major doesn't matter for the majority of entry-level positions. I'm an analyst at a Fortune 500 retailer, and, while I have a fashion degree, the girl who had this job before me (and left this spot for a promotion) has a BFA in Studio Art from an okay-but-not-prestigious regional school. I have plenty of sorority sisters with liberal arts degrees also working in finance and business.
Now, if it's unmarketable because it's from an unremarkable school in a market with no good jobs, fair enough. However, simply blaming the major is lazy; I've found it to mean very little. Personality and job experience (including internship and part-time experience during school) carry much more weight.

InvictusFortis
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Re: Law job without killer hours?

Postby InvictusFortis » Tue May 10, 2011 3:10 pm

OP-

I currently intern at a Public Defender's Office and can tell you from experience that there are attorneys that do not work more than 45 hours a week. Hell, the lights and computers in the office automatically shut off at 5:30. Sure they only make between 40-60k per year, but they also have every holiday off (plus time between Christmas and New Years). Also, the work is intellectually stimulating and interesting. I'm sure you will have to find a smaller market, but it is out there.

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Re: Law job without killer hours?

Postby gjr8891 » Tue May 10, 2011 5:12 pm

InvictusFortis wrote:OP-

I currently intern at a Public Defender's Office and can tell you from experience that there are attorneys that do not work more than 45 hours a week. Hell, the lights and computers in the office automatically shut off at 5:30. Sure they only make between 40-60k per year, but they also have every holiday off (plus time between Christmas and New Years). Also, the work is intellectually stimulating and interesting. I'm sure you will have to find a smaller market, but it is out there.


+1, and I intern at the DA's office and see the exact same thing. Sure, during a huge trial, I'm not seeing first-hand all of the hours these prosecutors are putting in at home but, I watch this place turn into a ghost town when the clock strikes 5pm every weekday.

OP, I definitely suggest government work. The starting salary here for a misdemeanor prosecutor is around $50,000 and 40 hrs/week is the norm (45-50 hrs/week MAX during a big trial.)

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A'nold
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Re: Law job without killer hours?

Postby A'nold » Tue May 10, 2011 7:43 pm

Lwoods wrote:
ArchRoark wrote:
The question becomes murkier when the total COA for the JD is free-20k. Also, it seems law school is unique in that it places such an emphasis on the LSAT and thus provides the opportunity for many splitter applicants to attend a top school or a T1 with a full tuition, or close to, scholarship (it seems sub-3.0 GPA is the death nail for almost all other graduate programs). Not to mention that many applicants have a rather unmarketable liberal arts degree that if they chose to forgo law school their job prospects are slim.


This is a myth. Major doesn't matter for the majority of entry-level positions. I'm an analyst at a Fortune 500 retailer, and, while I have a fashion degree, the girl who had this job before me (and left this spot for a promotion) has a BFA in Studio Art from an okay-but-not-prestigious regional school. I have plenty of sorority sisters with liberal arts degrees also working in finance and business.
Now, if it's unmarketable because it's from an unremarkable school in a market with no good jobs, fair enough. However, simply blaming the major is lazy; I've found it to mean very little. Personality and job experience (including internship and part-time experience during school) carry much more weight.

Interesting. I've found this viewpoint to be a myth, unless you are talking like Poli Sci vs. English or something like that. That is probably the case b/c I doubt you are talking History vs. Accounting/engineering, etc. (fields actually sought after).

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Re: Law job without killer hours?

Postby crazycanuck » Tue May 10, 2011 7:52 pm

A'nold wrote:
Lwoods wrote:
ArchRoark wrote:
The question becomes murkier when the total COA for the JD is free-20k. Also, it seems law school is unique in that it places such an emphasis on the LSAT and thus provides the opportunity for many splitter applicants to attend a top school or a T1 with a full tuition, or close to, scholarship (it seems sub-3.0 GPA is the death nail for almost all other graduate programs). Not to mention that many applicants have a rather unmarketable liberal arts degree that if they chose to forgo law school their job prospects are slim.


This is a myth. Major doesn't matter for the majority of entry-level positions. I'm an analyst at a Fortune 500 retailer, and, while I have a fashion degree, the girl who had this job before me (and left this spot for a promotion) has a BFA in Studio Art from an okay-but-not-prestigious regional school. I have plenty of sorority sisters with liberal arts degrees also working in finance and business.
Now, if it's unmarketable because it's from an unremarkable school in a market with no good jobs, fair enough. However, simply blaming the major is lazy; I've found it to mean very little. Personality and job experience (including internship and part-time experience during school) carry much more weight.

Interesting. I've found this viewpoint to be a myth, unless you are talking like Poli Sci vs. English or something like that. That is probably the case b/c I doubt you are talking History vs. Accounting/engineering, etc. (fields actually sought after).


There are very few accounting majors at my big 4 in the 1st year class. Most of them just got the required accounting classes once they had finished their degree.

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Re: Law job without killer hours?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue May 10, 2011 8:02 pm

I work for Dept of Homeland Security in DC in a 110-person office and I'd guess 40-50 coworkers have JDs. A few folks went to Michigan and Boalt but it seems like most studied at GW, Catholic and American. 40 hours a week is the norm, but it looks a bit better if you take on some additional assignments that push it closer to 50. If you stay beyond that people just assume you're a dumbass or you're goofing off during work hours. The most entry-level positions here for JDs are GS-9, but pretty much everyone is a 12 or above. So 75k+. You may not have partners lavishing you with expensive lunches and sky box tickets to the Wizards :P but it's an extremely interesting and low-stress gig that allows ample time to spend on family, friends and all the other things you'll thank yourself for focusing on when your car start hydroplaning on the freeway.

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FreshMan15
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Re: Law job without killer hours?

Postby FreshMan15 » Tue May 10, 2011 8:37 pm

Patriot1208 wrote: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.

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Mroberts3
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Re: Law job without killer hours?

Postby Mroberts3 » Tue May 10, 2011 9:01 pm

A'nold wrote:Here's the thing. You could be working 30 hours a week in a "punch the timecard" kind of job and hate every minute of what you do. I worked as a low-level accountant, 40 hours a week and I looked at the clock hundreds of times a day. I hated every second being there. Middle management is the worst thing I've ever experienced in the real world. Have you ever been called into the boss' office to be yelled at for not stapling your invoices correctly? I have.

I would rather work 50 hours a week at a job where the time absolutely flies by and I feel like I'm doing something important than just being another corporate cog. It is the worst. I always thought I could just put in the hours and then enjoy my "free time." Not so. These horrible jobs permeated my entire life. All I could think about starting at 5:01 on Friday was that I would have to come back to the office at 8:00 a.m. on Monday, and then work till Friday. I felt like I was emotionally and intellectually dead.

Conclusion: I went to law school to do something I thought I would enjoy. So far, I am very happy with my decision.


Not surprising to me at all that A'nold has the best post in this thread.

Ignoring the specifics of exactly how much one works in what job, the problem with most of the posts here is that they talk about a job as a fungible asset. I've worked jobs where I looked at the clock all day and jobs where the time flew by -- A'nold is exactly right here because it makes a huge difference in your overall happiness.

OP, the point is that you should NOT avoid going to law school and take a shitty 9-5 job just because "the opportunity cost of law school is too high! -- you could make the same amount right now!" (Imagine me saying that in a whiny wannabe econ major voice). If you think you would enjoy being a lawyer, then go to law school. You can find jobs where you work mostly 9-5 and make a decent salary (especially since loans are not an issue).

Its true that people who are really engaged in their jobs often choose to work longer hours, but there is no logical reason why someone can't enjoy their 9-5 job and leave work at work.

To reiterate: anyone who starts blabbing about not going to law school because other jobs pay the same without the 3 years of education should be ignored (unless there are serious concerns about loan repayment). These people have clearly not worked in jobs they hated for an extended period of time.

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Re: Law job without killer hours?

Postby timbs4339 » Tue May 10, 2011 9:13 pm

I worked for a direct services public interest organization. They weren't litigating huge impact cases or anything (direct services works one on one with clients and tries to solve their individual and immediate problems), but the attorneys all loved their jobs and clients, came in at around 10 and left at 4:30-5 and made about 60K a year. The supervisors worked about the same hours and made more but had been there awhile (might have worked from home, idk). There are many of these organizations in metro areas, they work in all sorts of areas like housing, education, welfare rights, etc. You won't be bringing any Brown v. Board type cases (those public interest jobs are very hard to get and usually require long hours) but it's a solid middle-class life.
Last edited by timbs4339 on Tue May 10, 2011 9:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Lawquacious
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Re: Law job without killer hours?

Postby Lawquacious » Tue May 10, 2011 9:13 pm

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.



+1

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Lawquacious
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Re: Law job without killer hours?

Postby Lawquacious » Tue May 10, 2011 9:18 pm

G. T. L. Rev. wrote:Loan situation? If none, then the answer is yes, you can definitely find a legal job that suits those specs. If you do have loans in any subatantial amount, well, then your 50k number is going to be very problematic.


What about Income Based Repayment (IBR)? Even for those with a lot of loans to pay back, IBR can make a relatively low-paying job manageable since it is a percentage (15, or maybe now 10%?) of the income that gets paid back per month.

I personally think I will jump if given the opportunity at biglaw (with attendant salary), but I am realizing that I will probably be happier doing govt. work or something that is not private sector (or at least not mainly dealing with civil issues in a firm context).

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Re: Law job without killer hours?

Postby Wactawshus » Tue May 10, 2011 9:31 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I work for Dept of Homeland Security in DC but it's an extremely interesting and low-stress gig that allows ample time to spend on family, friends and all the other things you'll thank yourself for focusing on when your car start hydroplaning on the freeway.


Hmmmm....for some reason I do not find this comforting.......get to work!




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