Why is working in BigLaw "teamwork"?

(On Campus Interviews, Summer Associate positions, Firm Reviews, Tips, ...)
Forum rules
Anonymous Posting

Anonymous posting is only appropriate when you are revealing sensitive employment related information about a firm, job, etc. You may anonymously respond on topic to these threads. Unacceptable uses include: harassing another user, joking around, testing the feature, or other things that are more appropriate in the lounge.

Failure to follow these rules will get you outed, warned, or banned.
roranoa
Posts: 588
Joined: Sat Aug 22, 2009 11:18 am

Why is working in BigLaw "teamwork"?

Postby roranoa » Sun Jul 03, 2011 2:50 am

Yes, I'm a 0L and know nothing about working as a lawyer yet.

So I'm curious. Why is working at BigLaw "teamwork"? I understand that people work as team, but don't basically everyone work alone taking care of their own particular assignments? For example, if a partner tells you to do X, Y, and Z, you take care of that, then get feedback, and do some more of it or get a new assignment. Right? How do team dynamics take place in this?

I'm asking this because I don't understand why law firms emphasize "teamwork" so much. I read on this forum by a legal recruiter that they favor students who were in Varsity sports teams when in undergrad or those who have military experience for example. I do understand that you need a good personality because everyone has to get along, but apart from that, why does (I repeat) "teamwork" matter?

flcath
Posts: 1502
Joined: Fri Nov 06, 2009 11:39 pm

Re: Why is working in BigLaw "teamwork"?

Postby flcath » Sun Jul 03, 2011 3:00 am

I always figured it was a euphemism for "not being an asshole everyone in the office fucking hates."

roranoa
Posts: 588
Joined: Sat Aug 22, 2009 11:18 am

Re: Why is working in BigLaw "teamwork"?

Postby roranoa » Sun Jul 03, 2011 3:03 am

flcath wrote:I always figured it was a euphemism for "not being an asshole everyone in the office fucking hates."


Wow, those are strong words, but yeah that's what I thought but then, why do you think people recruiters favor former athletes or soldiers? Do you think it's just b/c of their personality or specific socials they carry?

flcath
Posts: 1502
Joined: Fri Nov 06, 2009 11:39 pm

Re: Why is working in BigLaw "teamwork"?

Postby flcath » Sun Jul 03, 2011 3:11 am

roranoa wrote:
flcath wrote:I always figured it was a euphemism for "not being an asshole everyone in the office fucking hates."


Wow, those are strong words, but yeah that's what I thought but then, why do you think people recruiters favor former athletes or soldiers? Do you think it's just b/c of their personality or specific socials they carry?

Proven ability to work diligently and reliably in sub-optimal / stressful circumstances.

User avatar
glewz
Posts: 785
Joined: Tue Jun 08, 2010 4:32 pm

Re: Why is working in BigLaw "teamwork"?

Postby glewz » Sun Jul 03, 2011 3:13 am

flcath wrote:
roranoa wrote:
flcath wrote:I always figured it was a euphemism for "not being an asshole everyone in the office fucking hates."


Wow, those are strong words, but yeah that's what I thought but then, why do you think people recruiters favor former athletes or soldiers? Do you think it's just b/c of their personality or specific socials they carry?

Proven ability to work diligently and reliably in sub-optimal / stressful circumstances.

Agree with flcath. Also for soldiers, does the GI Bill/federal funding factor into this? (oblivious...just throwing it out there.)

User avatar
thesealocust
Posts: 8448
Joined: Mon Oct 20, 2008 8:50 pm

Re: Why is working in BigLaw "teamwork"?

Postby thesealocust » Sun Jul 03, 2011 3:22 am

Almost every project in a big firm involves teams. A deal will have a deal team, litigation will have a team, etc. People sit second chair on trials, you'll be working with paralegals and assistants below you and senior associates / counsel / partners above you. Certain discrete tasks will be you vs. a memo or you vs. legal research, but the end product from any law firm will be the result of dozens of discrete tasks done and combined by a group of attorneys and support staff. It might not be quite as fast paced as setting your teammate up for a rebound on a basketball court, but there's a huge amount of group interaction at firms.

Being ready to assist people even if not directly called upon, knowing when and who to ask for support, not being a raging asshole when you're flying to London with a partner, etc. all plausibly falls under the umbrella of teamwork and is crucially important to your day to day life.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273479
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Why is working in BigLaw "teamwork"?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jul 03, 2011 3:25 am

Do you not understand the concept of teams? You team up so that you can take on more as a collective unit than you can as an individual. So while individuals in the team handle specific corners of a deal, all those corners come together in a timeframe that would be pretty much impossible otherwise.

User avatar
PDaddy
Posts: 2073
Joined: Sat Jan 16, 2010 4:40 am

Re: Why is working in BigLaw "teamwork"?

Postby PDaddy » Sun Jul 03, 2011 3:55 am

flcath wrote:I always figured it was a euphemism for "not being an asshole everyone in the office fucking hates."



This. Anyone watches "Suits" will soon figure out that you need to establish an intraoffice network of people who are better than you at some things, so you can use them. It's really about each person's "need" to call on other people for help at will...and get it. It's survival. When employers ask for team-players, they want people who can get along and solve problems without calling on mamagement. If you wind up getting credit for something you really didn't do on your own, so beit.

That's the real world. Team players are pimps!

roranoa
Posts: 588
Joined: Sat Aug 22, 2009 11:18 am

Re: Why is working in BigLaw "teamwork"?

Postby roranoa » Sun Jul 03, 2011 6:23 am

Anonymous User wrote:Do you not understand the concept of teams? You team up so that you can take on more as a collective unit than you can as an individual. So while individuals in the team handle specific corners of a deal, all those corners come together in a timeframe that would be pretty much impossible otherwise.


First of all, why anon?? (seriously, why?)

Second, yes, I understand the concept of teams. But then what do law firms mean when they say they are looking for team players? That's my question. To me it just seems like doing individual work and then the senior associates or partner(s) integrate everyone's work. Where does the team work, or being a team player factor come in?

Oh, you don't have to give me an answer to this. I pretty much got the idea now from everyone else's comments.
Last edited by roranoa on Sun Jul 03, 2011 6:26 am, edited 1 time in total.

roranoa
Posts: 588
Joined: Sat Aug 22, 2009 11:18 am

Re: Why is working in BigLaw "teamwork"?

Postby roranoa » Sun Jul 03, 2011 6:25 am

PDaddy wrote:
flcath wrote:I always figured it was a euphemism for "not being an asshole everyone in the office fucking hates."



This. Anyone watches "Suits" will soon figure out that you need to establish an intraoffice network of people who are better than you at some things, so you can use them. It's really about each person's "need" to call on other people for help at will...and get it. It's survival. When employers ask for team-players, they want people who can get along and solve problems without calling on mamagement. If you wind up getting credit for something you really didn't do on your own, so beit.

That's the real world. Team players are pimps!


I don't watch that show but I think I can relate to this. "solving problems without calling on management".

Damn, I regret that I played tennis instead of football or basket ball or something.

User avatar
Bronte
Posts: 2128
Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2009 10:44 pm

Re: Why is working in BigLaw "teamwork"?

Postby Bronte » Sun Jul 03, 2011 11:24 am

roranoa wrote:I don't watch that show but I think I can relate to this. "solving problems without calling on management".

Damn, I regret that I played tennis instead of football or basket ball or something.


Lol, you might be taking that a bit too literally. Trust me, being a former team athlete or soldier is far from a prerequisite for big law.

User avatar
dood
Posts: 1639
Joined: Tue Apr 21, 2009 11:59 am

Re: Why is working in BigLaw "teamwork"?

Postby dood » Sun Jul 03, 2011 12:06 pm

lol @ this aspie thread

User avatar
rayiner
Posts: 6184
Joined: Thu Dec 11, 2008 11:43 am

Re: Why is working in BigLaw "teamwork"?

Postby rayiner » Sun Jul 03, 2011 12:42 pm

roranoa wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Do you not understand the concept of teams? You team up so that you can take on more as a collective unit than you can as an individual. So while individuals in the team handle specific corners of a deal, all those corners come together in a timeframe that would be pretty much impossible otherwise.


First of all, why anon?? (seriously, why?)

Second, yes, I understand the concept of teams. But then what do law firms mean when they say they are looking for team players? That's my question. To me it just seems like doing individual work and then the senior associates or partner(s) integrate everyone's work. Where does the team work, or being a team player factor come in?

Oh, you don't have to give me an answer to this. I pretty much got the idea now from everyone else's comments.


As a summer associate or first year, you will probably largely get discrete assignments. Teamwork at that stage means maintaining good communications with the rest of the team. Making sure you understand assignments, being able to interact with the senior associate in making revisions, etc. Spotting things that might affect other people on your team and letting the senior associate know. As a junior you won't be in a conference rooming figuring things out with other people on the team, but you'll need good communications with the rest of the team.

After a few years, you'll be a mid-level and running part of a deal (or a whole deal). Teamwork at that point means being able to interact with the partner and the other mid-levels on the project, giving assignments to juniors and helping them make revisions, etc. As a mid-level and junior, you will be sitting in a conference room talking things out with the other people on a team.

roranoa
Posts: 588
Joined: Sat Aug 22, 2009 11:18 am

Re: Why is working in BigLaw "teamwork"?

Postby roranoa » Sun Jul 03, 2011 1:20 pm

dood wrote:lol @ this aspie thread

I know right?

ShiftyPig
Posts: 126
Joined: Sat Dec 06, 2008 3:18 pm

Re: Why is working in BigLaw "teamwork"?

Postby ShiftyPig » Sun Jul 03, 2011 3:34 pm

roranoa wrote:
dood wrote:lol @ this aspie thread

I know right?


There's a fair amount of truth to the lol'ing.

If your name was associated with this thread and it appeared in a generic Google search, you would likely never get a callback. Ever.

roranoa
Posts: 588
Joined: Sat Aug 22, 2009 11:18 am

Re: Why is working in BigLaw "teamwork"?

Postby roranoa » Mon Jul 04, 2011 7:22 am

ShiftyPig wrote:
roranoa wrote:
dood wrote:lol @ this aspie thread

I know right?


There's a fair amount of truth to the lol'ing.

If your name was associated with this thread and it appeared in a generic Google search, you would likely never get a callback. Ever.



I think I know what you mean. Thanks.
But honestly I was just curious and interested in other people's opinions. I guess all this would sound immature though.

User avatar
daesonesb
Posts: 499
Joined: Thu Oct 15, 2009 2:18 pm

Re: Why is working in BigLaw "teamwork"?

Postby daesonesb » Mon Jul 04, 2011 12:18 pm

I've worked some terrible jobs, really menial work. Always gotta be a team player, no matter what it is
Last edited by daesonesb on Sun May 06, 2012 12:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

CanadianWolf
Posts: 10439
Joined: Wed Mar 24, 2010 4:54 pm

Re: Why is working in BigLaw "teamwork"?

Postby CanadianWolf » Mon Jul 04, 2011 12:38 pm

In addition to what has been noted above, biglaw teamwork for young asssociates also means sometimes working on a small aspect of a case that may never be used beyond in-house purposes.

roranoa
Posts: 588
Joined: Sat Aug 22, 2009 11:18 am

Re: Why is working in BigLaw "teamwork"?

Postby roranoa » Mon Jul 04, 2011 2:39 pm

daesonesb wrote:Working well with others is not a revolutionary concept, and it is important for every job. I've worked some terrible jobs, really menial work. Even in that environment, people get fired for antisocial or uncooperative behavior.

At the end of the day, there aren't too many jobs where you can be an island. The few fields I can think of are academia and certain areas of government.


Yes, and doctors (or dentists) with private practices.




Return to “Legal Employment”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.