Is being a lawyer what we want to do?

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johndhi
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Is being a lawyer what we want to do?

Postby johndhi » Sun Jan 15, 2012 11:11 pm

The other day I sat down to begin the first day of my internship.
Ah hah - a first assignment! They want me to look into a certain state's common law on a particular cause of action. Fire up Westlaw...

And then I thought to myself, "Gosh, is this it?" The same thing, over and over? Is this what litigation is - the same series of steps, again and again and again? After a couple times, you just get it and only have to change little things to try to win your case?

I'm a little afraid that practicing law might not be as dynamic as I once thought. Maybe this concern is just my nature - I've finally got a little control over my career path and things seem to be, relatively at least, in order, so I find something new to worry about?

I'll admit I can still get drawn into the work and not notice the time flying by as I build up little bits and pieces of a new topic into something I can understand and articulate. I'm just not convinced right now that this is the field I want to do that in. I dedicate myself very intensely to the things I work on. Did I choose the right thing to work on?

Do any of you guys have thoughts like this, and if so, what is your view on them? I've painted a somewhat dreary picture of my own thoughts on the matter, but I am actually somewhat excited and interested to see what it's like out there in the real world - not just an internship where my primary assignments seem to be legal research. I guess what makes me feel better about it is that, just like I can today, in five years, if I decide I'm not happy, I can change directions and move myself in a different direction. What do you think?

AriGoldButNicer
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Re: Is being a lawyer what we want to do?

Postby AriGoldButNicer » Sun Jan 15, 2012 11:15 pm

This is too vague of a question. It all depends on the personality v. actual job.

If it was up to me, I'd be a sportscaster, movie maker, assassin or secret agent, but it's not.

Law is the thing I have decent odds at succeeding at that I'd most want to do, but not any kind of law.

I don't want to help banks kick people out onto the street, I don't want to chase ambulances, screw ex-husbands over in court, put people in jail for smoking a joint, etc., but working on major corporate transactions or representing the mafia seem really cool to me.

This would be like asking if a doctor is what someone wants to do. If someone loves calmness and puppies then maybe the ER isn't right for them, but being a pediatrician would be.

johndhi
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Re: Is being a lawyer what we want to do?

Postby johndhi » Sun Jan 15, 2012 11:23 pm

AriGoldButNicer wrote:This is too vague of a question. It all depends on the personality v. actual job.

If it was up to me, I'd be a sportscaster, movie maker, assassin or secret agent, but it's not.

Law is the thing I have decent odds at succeeding at that I'd most want to do, but not any kind of law.

I don't want to help banks kick people out onto the street, I don't want to chase ambulances, screw ex-husbands over in court, put people in jail for smoking a joint, etc., but working on major corporate transactions or representing the mafia seem really cool to me.

This would be like asking if a doctor is what someone wants to do. If someone loves calmness and puppies then maybe the ER isn't right for them, but being a pediatrician would be.


Despite my vagueness you gave the sort of answer I was looking for :) I have a hard time accepting "pragmatism" that tells you not to try to be a sportscaster if you want to be a sportscaster. That said, I've always done the things that set me up to go down the vanilla roads to success - prepare for med-school, pursue an employable undergrad degree, go to law school. But I've never really wanted to be a sportscaster, movie maker or assassin - I never got enough exposure to them to see much in them, I guess; and, like you, I thought I'd be good at being a lawyer, and figured it made sense to do something I could get really good at. I also fell in love with the romancey lawyers like Melvin Belli and Ed Williams, and have been really impressed with and inspired by the people I've met in the field.

But sometimes I think the legal profession is all a little silly and wonder whether it will get old quickly and will suck my life away. I guess we'll see!

flcath
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Re: Is being a lawyer what we want to do?

Postby flcath » Sun Jan 15, 2012 11:25 pm

I normally totally shit on law, but I'm not on board with the OP at all here.

The work offered by low-end law seems really interesting (relative to other professions): a lot of these people see the inside of a courtroom on a weekly basis. The problem--much discussed on TLS--is that the current supply of lawyers vastly exceeds open positions.

AriGoldButNicer
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Re: Is being a lawyer what we want to do?

Postby AriGoldButNicer » Sun Jan 15, 2012 11:29 pm

johndhi wrote:
AriGoldButNicer wrote:This is too vague of a question. It all depends on the personality v. actual job.

If it was up to me, I'd be a sportscaster, movie maker, assassin or secret agent, but it's not.

Law is the thing I have decent odds at succeeding at that I'd most want to do, but not any kind of law.

I don't want to help banks kick people out onto the street, I don't want to chase ambulances, screw ex-husbands over in court, put people in jail for smoking a joint, etc., but working on major corporate transactions or representing the mafia seem really cool to me.

This would be like asking if a doctor is what someone wants to do. If someone loves calmness and puppies then maybe the ER isn't right for them, but being a pediatrician would be.


Despite my vagueness you gave the sort of answer I was looking for :) I have a hard time accepting "pragmatism" that tells you not to try to be a sportscaster if you want to be a sportscaster. That said, I've always done the things that set me up to go down the vanilla roads to success - prepare for med-school, pursue an employable undergrad degree, go to law school. But I've never really wanted to be a sportscaster, movie maker or assassin - I never got enough exposure to them to see much in them, I guess; and, like you, I thought I'd be good at being a lawyer, and figured it made sense to do something I could get really good at. I also fell in love with the romancey lawyers like Melvin Belli and Ed Williams, and have been really impressed with and inspired by the people I've met in the field.

But sometimes I think the legal profession is all a little silly and wonder whether it will get old quickly and will suck my life away. I guess we'll see!

People always say, "Oh your top 10 law school blah blah, not all lawyers get jobs, etc. It's so awful you won't make 100k."

The issue is they don't look at other fields. To remain anonymous, I won't say exactly what I studied in college, but I will say that my graduating class includes a lot of waiters, taxi drivers, movers and even a call girl. Many of these people were occupying wall street not because of politics, but for the free community.

I think tasting poverty, particularly if you ever see your parents beg friends for food really changes how you look at life. It makes you go from saying, "Oh, I want to be a sportscaster, because it's fun" to just realizing how being able to have a hot food and warm bed is so awesome.

Frankly, I'm grateful I'm smart enough that I'll have an opportunity to live a good life. I think TLSers don't always realize how lucky we are to be blessed academically. I'm going to sound like a cocky dick, but the truth is if I had even average intelligence, I do not know if I would be alive right now.

AriGoldButNicer
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Re: Is being a lawyer what we want to do?

Postby AriGoldButNicer » Sun Jan 15, 2012 11:31 pm

flcath wrote:I normally totally shit on law, but I'm not on board with the OP at all here.

The work offered by low-end law seems really interesting (relative to other professions): a lot of these people see the inside of a courtroom on a weekly basis. The problem--much discussed on TLS--is that the current supply of lawyers vastly exceeds open positions.

agreed. even arguing over traffic tickets is more interesting than what a low level business person does, or what a low level actress would need to do to pay rent.

have you ever fought a traffic ticket before? it isn't fun, but if no money was on the line, it is definitely not the most boring thing in the world.

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ThomasMN
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Re: Is being a lawyer what we want to do?

Postby ThomasMN » Sun Jan 15, 2012 11:31 pm

AriGoldButNicer wrote:This is too vague of a question. It all depends on the personality v. actual job.

If it was up to me, I'd be a sportscaster, movie maker, assassin or secret agent, but it's not.

Law is the thing I have decent odds at succeeding at that I'd most want to do, but not any kind of law.

I don't want to help banks kick people out onto the street, I don't want to chase ambulances, screw ex-husbands over in court, put people in jail for smoking a joint, etc., but working on major corporate transactions or representing the mafia seem really cool to me.

This would be like asking if a doctor is what someone wants to do. If someone loves calmness and puppies then maybe the ER isn't right for them, but being a pediatrician would be.


I know people who are basically assassins and secret agents; the Job isn't everything that it is cracked up to be. The point I'm trying to make there is that a vast majority of work will be work. There will be days in pretty much every job where you do something monotonous. I think the overall goal - or at least my goal - is to find a job that you like the most. The bad thing about law is that to find out of if you like the law you have to put yourself in a position where it is law or bust. Also, as stated above, there are so many different legal jobs out there. I think the problem that a lot of people face is that the only law jobs that pay insane salaries are big law, so most people flock to those positions. It doesn't help that you basically have to make six figures to effectively pay off the debt you accumulate from law school.

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ThomasMN
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Re: Is being a lawyer what we want to do?

Postby ThomasMN » Sun Jan 15, 2012 11:33 pm

flcath wrote:I normally totally shit on law, but I'm not on board with the OP at all here.

The work offered by low-end law seems really interesting (relative to other professions): a lot of these people see the inside of a courtroom on a weekly basis. The problem--much discussed on TLS--is that the current supply of lawyers vastly exceeds open positions.


Notre Dame has really destroyed your soul bro.

AriGoldButNicer
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Re: Is being a lawyer what we want to do?

Postby AriGoldButNicer » Sun Jan 15, 2012 11:34 pm

ThomasMN wrote:
AriGoldButNicer wrote:This is too vague of a question. It all depends on the personality v. actual job.

If it was up to me, I'd be a sportscaster, movie maker, assassin or secret agent, but it's not.

Law is the thing I have decent odds at succeeding at that I'd most want to do, but not any kind of law.

I don't want to help banks kick people out onto the street, I don't want to chase ambulances, screw ex-husbands over in court, put people in jail for smoking a joint, etc., but working on major corporate transactions or representing the mafia seem really cool to me.

This would be like asking if a doctor is what someone wants to do. If someone loves calmness and puppies then maybe the ER isn't right for them, but being a pediatrician would be.


I know people who are basically assassins and secret agents; the Job isn't everything that it is cracked up to be. The point I'm trying to make there is that a vast majority of work will be work. There will be days in pretty much every job where you do something monotonous. I think the overall goal - or at least my goal - is to find a job that you like the most. The bad thing about law is that to find out of if you like the law you have to put yourself in a position where it is law or bust. Also, as stated above, there are so many different legal jobs out there. I think the problem that a lot of people face is that the only law jobs that pay insane salaries are big law, so most people flock to those positions. It doesn't help that you basically have to make six figures to effectively pay off the debt you accumulate from law school.

This is a great point.

A relatively prominent TT lawyer I know wanted to do something in the arts, and is very gifted. Obviously, that would not support his family.

He said, "I was broad shouldered, and strong. I was offered many jobs in construction. Then I looked outside, and it was cold. The guys were cold. I thought I didn't want to be cold. Hmmmm law. Get fat, don't get cold. Doesn't seem so bad."

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YourCaptain
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Re: Is being a lawyer what we want to do?

Postby YourCaptain » Sun Jan 15, 2012 11:34 pm

ThomasMN wrote:
AriGoldButNicer wrote:This is too vague of a question. It all depends on the personality v. actual job.

If it was up to me, I'd be a sportscaster, movie maker, assassin or secret agent, but it's not.

Law is the thing I have decent odds at succeeding at that I'd most want to do, but not any kind of law.

I don't want to help banks kick people out onto the street, I don't want to chase ambulances, screw ex-husbands over in court, put people in jail for smoking a joint, etc., but working on major corporate transactions or representing the mafia seem really cool to me.

This would be like asking if a doctor is what someone wants to do. If someone loves calmness and puppies then maybe the ER isn't right for them, but being a pediatrician would be.


I know people who are basically assassins and secret agents; the Job isn't everything that it is cracked up to be.


and i know people that run giant cruise liners aground in italy that job isnt everything he wished for either

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ThomasMN
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Re: Is being a lawyer what we want to do?

Postby ThomasMN » Sun Jan 15, 2012 11:36 pm

I think part of my problem with a lot of TLS is the fact that I come from a background where 40k a year is a big salary. Making 60K a year is a level of wealth I wouldn't even know what to do with. When I was in the military making around 3K a month I had no idea what to do with all my money. It is hard for me to feel sorry for someone because they didn't end up making a six-figure income, even if they have 100K+ of student debt.

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ThomasMN
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Re: Is being a lawyer what we want to do?

Postby ThomasMN » Sun Jan 15, 2012 11:37 pm

YourCaptain wrote:
ThomasMN wrote:
AriGoldButNicer wrote:This is too vague of a question. It all depends on the personality v. actual job.

If it was up to me, I'd be a sportscaster, movie maker, assassin or secret agent, but it's not.

Law is the thing I have decent odds at succeeding at that I'd most want to do, but not any kind of law.

I don't want to help banks kick people out onto the street, I don't want to chase ambulances, screw ex-husbands over in court, put people in jail for smoking a joint, etc., but working on major corporate transactions or representing the mafia seem really cool to me.

This would be like asking if a doctor is what someone wants to do. If someone loves calmness and puppies then maybe the ER isn't right for them, but being a pediatrician would be.


I know people who are basically assassins and secret agents; the Job isn't everything that it is cracked up to be.


and i know people that run giant cruise liners aground in italy that job isnt everything he wished for either


At least he can breathe without a machine.

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YourCaptain
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Re: Is being a lawyer what we want to do?

Postby YourCaptain » Sun Jan 15, 2012 11:38 pm

ThomasMN wrote:
YourCaptain wrote:
ThomasMN wrote:
AriGoldButNicer wrote:This is too vague of a question. It all depends on the personality v. actual job.

If it was up to me, I'd be a sportscaster, movie maker, assassin or secret agent, but it's not.

Law is the thing I have decent odds at succeeding at that I'd most want to do, but not any kind of law.

I don't want to help banks kick people out onto the street, I don't want to chase ambulances, screw ex-husbands over in court, put people in jail for smoking a joint, etc., but working on major corporate transactions or representing the mafia seem really cool to me.

This would be like asking if a doctor is what someone wants to do. If someone loves calmness and puppies then maybe the ER isn't right for them, but being a pediatrician would be.


I know people who are basically assassins and secret agents; the Job isn't everything that it is cracked up to be.


and i know people that run giant cruise liners aground in italy that job isnt everything he wished for either


At least he can breathe without a machine.


too true. i actually know people in the cia/nsa...i hear it's actually pretty dreadful work, the actual field stuff. just whispers and side-comments, but i didnt get a favorable impression of it.

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ThomasMN
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Re: Is being a lawyer what we want to do?

Postby ThomasMN » Sun Jan 15, 2012 11:41 pm

I have a couple of friends that contract for various OGAs (other government agency). A couple more in group and another guy that is - most likely - in CAG or whatever they call themselves now. Sadly, I actually went to school rather than go to group. I figured it would be better to be fat, warm, and have a family rather than continue to run around some place dangerous. Makes you wonder why I thought law would be the right alternative!

AriGoldButNicer
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Re: Is being a lawyer what we want to do?

Postby AriGoldButNicer » Sun Jan 15, 2012 11:50 pm

i think law, and what you did are similar in certain aspects - kind of need to respect our society, some empathy, like responsibility, but why did you leave?

johndhi
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Re: Is being a lawyer what we want to do?

Postby johndhi » Mon Jan 16, 2012 12:05 am

ThomasMN wrote:I think part of my problem with a lot of TLS is the fact that I come from a background where 40k a year is a big salary. Making 60K a year is a level of wealth I wouldn't even know what to do with. When I was in the military making around 3K a month I had no idea what to do with all my money. It is hard for me to feel sorry for someone because they didn't end up making a six-figure income, even if they have 100K+ of student debt.


(also addressing AriGoldButNicer's similar comments)

My initial question wasn't necessarily directed at how good your job is in relation to what you make; it was something more like, is what we do everyday what we want to be doing, as an absolute matter? But I can see how the two could overlap. My perspective is different from yours - my family is basically upper middle class (although currently struggling to pay their mortgage) and I've always expected to (eventually) make six figures, and maybe that partially explains my viewpoint, which is also different from yours. I think that any job with really shitty working conditions, no matter the pay, is bullshit, and I really feel for guys who work in biglaw but hate every minute of it. That's a LOT of minutes! I've always wanted to have a life I'm proud of living and happy to live; I'd like to be able to take a random snippet of my life, and be content and happy at that point in time. From my experience, I'm not happy when I'm in the office at 2am in the morning. Who knows, maybe I could adapt - I've actually really enjoyed law school, including the high hours and finals pressure - but my goal is to live in the moment and have each moment be relatively enjoyable. At my first day the other day, I had the feeling that my current existence wasn't particularly enjoyable.

AriGoldButNicer
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Re: Is being a lawyer what we want to do?

Postby AriGoldButNicer » Mon Jan 16, 2012 12:51 am

johndhi wrote:
ThomasMN wrote:I think part of my problem with a lot of TLS is the fact that I come from a background where 40k a year is a big salary. Making 60K a year is a level of wealth I wouldn't even know what to do with. When I was in the military making around 3K a month I had no idea what to do with all my money. It is hard for me to feel sorry for someone because they didn't end up making a six-figure income, even if they have 100K+ of student debt.


(also addressing AriGoldButNicer's similar comments)

My initial question wasn't necessarily directed at how good your job is in relation to what you make; it was something more like, is what we do everyday what we want to be doing, as an absolute matter? But I can see how the two could overlap. My perspective is different from yours - my family is basically upper middle class (although currently struggling to pay their mortgage) and I've always expected to (eventually) make six figures, and maybe that partially explains my viewpoint, which is also different from yours. I think that any job with really shitty working conditions, no matter the pay, is bullshit, and I really feel for guys who work in biglaw but hate every minute of it. That's a LOT of minutes! I've always wanted to have a life I'm proud of living and happy to live; I'd like to be able to take a random snippet of my life, and be content and happy at that point in time. From my experience, I'm not happy when I'm in the office at 2am in the morning. Who knows, maybe I could adapt - I've actually really enjoyed law school, including the high hours and finals pressure - but my goal is to live in the moment and have each moment be relatively enjoyable. At my first day the other day, I had the feeling that my current existence wasn't particularly enjoyable.

idk i find even when u like doing something once it's work it sucks.

every time i get a new job, i think this is so much better than my last job, so much more fun. then eventually i wish i had the old job with the current job's pay, etc.

seatown12
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Re: Is being a lawyer what we want to do?

Postby seatown12 » Mon Jan 16, 2012 4:45 pm

johndhi wrote:
My initial question wasn't necessarily directed at how good your job is in relation to what you make; it was something more like, is what we do everyday what we want to be doing, as an absolute matter? But I can see how the two could overlap. My perspective is different from yours - my family is basically upper middle class (although currently struggling to pay their mortgage) and I've always expected to (eventually) make six figures, and maybe that partially explains my viewpoint, which is also different from yours. I think that any job with really shitty working conditions, no matter the pay, is bullshit, and I really feel for guys who work in biglaw but hate every minute of it. That's a LOT of minutes! I've always wanted to have a life I'm proud of living and happy to live; I'd like to be able to take a random snippet of my life, and be content and happy at that point in time. From my experience, I'm not happy when I'm in the office at 2am in the morning. Who knows, maybe I could adapt - I've actually really enjoyed law school, including the high hours and finals pressure - but my goal is to live in the moment and have each moment be relatively enjoyable. At my first day the other day, I had the feeling that my current existence wasn't particularly enjoyable.

Did that first day happen to be your first day of work ever?

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ben4847
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Re: Is being a lawyer what we want to do?

Postby ben4847 » Mon Jan 16, 2012 4:48 pm

I wanna make lots of money, and eat lots of donuts. And drive a pimped out 98 civic.
I'm willing to spend my day doing whatever biglaw-yers do, to get my donuts.

johndhi
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Re: Is being a lawyer what we want to do?

Postby johndhi » Mon Jan 16, 2012 9:06 pm

seatown12 wrote:Did that first day happen to be your first day of work ever?


:o nah hehe. I worked for 2 yrs before law school and have variously done stuff for my parents and for summer money throughout my life. The way I phrased that post made me sound like a bitch, and this concern was just a passing feeling, but I was interested to see if other people have had similar feelings, and to see how they have dealt with them.

09042014
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Re: Is being a lawyer what we want to do?

Postby 09042014 » Mon Jan 16, 2012 9:14 pm

ThomasMN wrote:I think part of my problem with a lot of TLS is the fact that I come from a background where 40k a year is a big salary. Making 60K a year is a level of wealth I wouldn't even know what to do with. When I was in the military making around 3K a month I had no idea what to do with all my money. It is hard for me to feel sorry for someone because they didn't end up making a six-figure income, even if they have 100K+ of student debt.


On 150,000K of debt borrowed from the feds, you are talking about 12 grand a year just to pay off the interest. So just treading water (not reducing your loans at all) costs 12 grand. And you can't just say, oh take 60K to 48K that isn't too bad. That 12 grand comes out of after tax earnings. So it's probably more like 16-18 grand a year. JUST TO PAY THE INTEREST.

Debt is a killer.

09042014
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Re: Is being a lawyer what we want to do?

Postby 09042014 » Mon Jan 16, 2012 9:15 pm

Enjoying your work is such a flame. I don't know anyone who does.

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BruceWayne
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Re: Is being a lawyer what we want to do?

Postby BruceWayne » Mon Jan 16, 2012 9:21 pm

Desert Fox wrote:Enjoying your work is such a flame. I don't know anyone who does.



I don't know what happened to you during 1L but it's like you went from preteen boy to full grown man over a period of two semesters. You're reality checking people left and right.

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arkansawyer
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Re: Is being a lawyer what we want to do?

Postby arkansawyer » Mon Jan 16, 2012 9:23 pm

Desert Fox wrote:Enjoying your work is such a flame. I don't know anyone who does.


Even if you enjoyed your work at some point, it will eventually get boring. It's reality.

Get a hobby, or a hot wife.

charliep
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Re: Is being a lawyer what we want to do?

Postby charliep » Tue Jan 17, 2012 12:28 am





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