Hypothetical Question

(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.
lawex2012
Posts: 8
Joined: Mon Mar 12, 2012 8:29 am

Hypothetical Question

Postby lawex2012 » Tue Mar 13, 2012 4:27 am

1L PhD with 1.5 yrs work exp. as a patent agent gets a 1st yr internship at a $160k/yr type IP firm. 1L finishes summer internship and asks for a patent agent job at that firm while transferring to part time law school or deferring her 2L and 3L years to start a family. Goal would be to finish law school a few years down the line and start as an associate when family is better established.

Would this be acceptable to top-tier firms generally? 1L has top pedigree, grades, LSAT, etc. etc. etc.

My wife is the 1L and we're about to call it quits because, having done the Top 3 MBA -> Management Consulting thing after being raised by parents with crazy careers, I'm pretty sure I don't want the same for my kid. I'm not asking whether the hypothetical career path is the best idea, just whether it's completely crazy/unheard of.

Money is not an issue here as neither of us has crazy tastes, and MBAs make plenty by any reasonable standard. (I guess you can always have more though.) Timing is a significant issue due to age/place in life/etc etc.

Thanks for the perspectives. Just asking about the acceptability of the career path at top tier firms, as we've gone round and round for months on the life priorities question.

User avatar
Tom Joad
Posts: 4542
Joined: Thu Dec 04, 2008 5:56 pm

Re: Hypothetical Question

Postby Tom Joad » Tue Mar 13, 2012 4:30 am

No idea, others may know better, but congrats on the awesome wife and family.

lawex2012
Posts: 8
Joined: Mon Mar 12, 2012 8:29 am

Re: Hypothetical Question

Postby lawex2012 » Tue Mar 13, 2012 4:37 am

Tom Joad wrote:No idea, others may know better, but congrats on the awesome wife and family.


No awesome family yet. Hoping to start one but it's not looking good...

User avatar
bk1
Posts: 18418
Joined: Sun Mar 14, 2010 7:06 pm

Re: Hypothetical Question

Postby bk1 » Tue Mar 13, 2012 4:41 am

Moved to more appropriate forum.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273254
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Hypothetical Question

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Mar 13, 2012 12:05 pm

Damn. Congrats man. Can we trade lives?
(Haters: I said lives, not wives. :D )
At least tell me she is fat and ugly so there's some justice in the world.
(Jk man. Well done.)

Anonymous User
Posts: 273254
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Hypothetical Question

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Mar 13, 2012 1:40 pm

I'm surprised to hear that she would want to return to work as a patent agent. They are easily one of the most exploited groups in law: See threads on iplaw (http://www.intelproplaw.com/ip_forum/). Doing essentially the same work that patent attorneys do, but for less than half the pay and being treated like a secretary. (at both V50 firms I worked at, too.) There are exceptions, but they are few. And going back to school after the family is "better established" -- well, is she willing to wait until they are in college? A family is never "established."

If she is finishing up her 1L year, the next couple years will be much better. Did you guys consider having a child in the next couple years? School is actually a great time to have kids -- no matter what your job (law or not), none is as flexible as classes that you can just record or get notes for. Four of my classmates had kids in law school -- one even during her 1L year. Lots of threads and blogs on this.

caminante
Posts: 208
Joined: Thu Jun 16, 2011 12:59 pm

Re: Hypothetical Question

Postby caminante » Tue Mar 13, 2012 2:07 pm

Why don't you take a few years off or take a part-time job until your family is "more established" and let her get her career started? You have had the opportunity to get the degree and job that you wanted, it seems really selfish to ask her to essentially put her goals on hold so that you have the picture perfect dream life that you want.

User avatar
bk1
Posts: 18418
Joined: Sun Mar 14, 2010 7:06 pm

Re: Hypothetical Question

Postby bk1 » Tue Mar 13, 2012 2:37 pm

Reminder: the anonymous feature is for people posting personal job info that could out them, not for telling someone you disagree with their viewpoint.

ejeric
Posts: 26
Joined: Sun Sep 26, 2010 8:58 pm

Re: Hypothetical Question

Postby ejeric » Tue Mar 13, 2012 4:06 pm

I would be very, very, very careful about choosing to go the part-time route. It's well known that part time programs are easier to get into, and they do not carry much weight among top firms. Georgetown is just about the only exception. I know I'll get a lot of flack for this, but we all know it's true. Most part-timers get screened out at the HR resume stage.

You said she has good credentials and sounds like she is doing well. I'd recommend that she think carefully before giving all that up. She must have worked hard to get there.

http://www.law.com/jsp/nlj/PubArticleNLJ.jsp?id=1202541306229&slreturn=1

http://blog.powerscore.com/lsat/should-i-choose-a-part-time-law-school-program/

P.S. About children: big firms have good policies for part-tme/flex/parental leave (even if it's just to save face; but they are available.) Small ones don't because they can't afford it. Part-time schools don't get you into the top firms.

lawex2012
Posts: 8
Joined: Mon Mar 12, 2012 8:29 am

Re: Hypothetical Question

Postby lawex2012 » Tue Mar 13, 2012 11:18 pm

ejeric wrote:I would be very, very, very careful about choosing to go the part-time route. It's well known that part time programs are easier to get into, and they do not carry much weight among top firms. Georgetown is just about the only exception. I know I'll get a lot of flack for this, but we all know it's true. Most part-timers get screened out at the HR resume stage.


Thanks for the thoughts. Does this apply even if you're already in to the top tier firm? In Management Consulting, once you're in you're in, so the worries about placement don't apply. I'd like to see her finish the 1L internship, defer 2L/3L for a couple years until kid 1 is into daycare (while working as a PT patent agent if desired), then return to fulltime law either as a student or patent agent. Of course this doesn't work if law firms have some kind goodwill expiration date for former employees.

I can understand the "go go go" career attitude of many of the respondents, and I appreciate the perspective. Spouse says much the same thing, probably because all her classmates at Prestigious Law School feel the same. She's now very similar to b-school ladies in that regard, which was a rude awakening when the PhD girlfriend turned into the law school gunner wife!

The real impasse: your typical careerist won't slow down until absolutely required, and your traditional family person won't start having kids until it's certain that they'll be priority 1 or 2 along with the spouse. I know that all the big firms tout their family friendly policies, but please believe me when I tell you it's a pipe dream. If you're in professional services, your job as an associate is to churn out work and make your partner rich, and if you can't do that you're gone. For career-driven people, that just won't be an option and other things (i.e. family) will suffer.

As I said, I'm the product of a family with two intensely career-focused parents (my mom has a top 20 MBA and my dad owns a small business), and it was pretty damn terrible. Not going to put my (hypothetical) kids through the same thing. Hopefully things work out, guess we'll see.

Any other comments on the viability of the plan would be appreciated. Not whether it would be the fastest path to equity partnership, just whether it would be acceptable by any significant number of top-tier firms. Thanks again.

User avatar
lrslayer
Posts: 586
Joined: Mon Jul 11, 2011 10:38 am

Re: Hypothetical Question

Postby lrslayer » Tue Mar 13, 2012 11:22 pm

caminante wrote:Why don't you take a few years off or take a part-time job until your family is "more established" and let her get her career started? You have had the opportunity to get the degree and job that you wanted, it seems really selfish to ask her to essentially put her goals on hold so that you have the picture perfect dream life that you want.

+1
slightly off put by this thread as well. wtf decade are we in here?

lawex2012
Posts: 8
Joined: Mon Mar 12, 2012 8:29 am

Re: Hypothetical Question

Postby lawex2012 » Tue Mar 13, 2012 11:43 pm

lrslayer wrote:
caminante wrote:Why don't you take a few years off or take a part-time job until your family is "more established" and let her get her career started? You have had the opportunity to get the degree and job that you wanted, it seems really selfish to ask her to essentially put her goals on hold so that you have the picture perfect dream life that you want.

+1
slightly off put by this thread as well. wtf decade are we in here?


What I didn't mention is that I've made 3 major career decisions over the last 4 years in order to keep us together, taking a slight downgrade in prestige/money each time. Dumb luck is really the only reason I'm still doing well careerwise, because I certainly didn't make the smart career moves. Who the hell goes looking for a job at the bottom of the biggest recession in 80 years? I did.

I do like BSG, but if an alcoholic space fighter pilot is your hero, I don't think we share similar approaches to life planning. Thanks for the reply though.

User avatar
lrslayer
Posts: 586
Joined: Mon Jul 11, 2011 10:38 am

Re: Hypothetical Question

Postby lrslayer » Wed Mar 14, 2012 12:32 am

Image

seriously though, i don't care. if she goes along with it then that's on her.

keg411
Posts: 5935
Joined: Tue Apr 21, 2009 9:10 pm

Re: Hypothetical Question

Postby keg411 » Wed Mar 14, 2012 7:38 am

Honestly? She's going to have a really tough time convincing anyone that she actually wants to be a lawyer if she takes time off the have kids... she might not even go back to law school at all, and if that happens, she might look back and seriously resent you for pushing her in this type of direction.

You can also consider having kids while she's in law school since it's not like 2L/3L aren't conducive to it, and if she gets an offer from her 1L summer job (which sounds like a paying SA), then it's not like she'd have to over-stress about grades or anything.

Also, if you're really going to break up with her if she doesn't want to have kids now or bend to what you want her to do... you really shouldn't be having kids. Kids aren't a fix for a marriage. Because transferring to a lower-tiered school PT or taking time off has a good chance of totally killing her legal career.

Renzo
Posts: 4265
Joined: Tue Dec 02, 2008 3:23 am

Re: Hypothetical Question

Postby Renzo » Wed Mar 14, 2012 8:21 am

Your plan is crazy, and will not work (even setting aside the almost comical levels of sexism).

There are no acceptable deviations from the path to biglaw; once you step off the treadmill, you aren't allowed back on. If your wife wants to work as an attorney, she needs to do everything she can to look like nothing in life matters to her but that, at least until she is actually sitting in her office with her JD hanging on the wall behind her.

bmore
Posts: 302
Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2010 12:28 pm

Re: Hypothetical Question

Postby bmore » Wed Mar 14, 2012 8:37 am

Very disturbed by this post. Why don't you wait til you actually HAVE a baby before you BOTH decide. Hate to say it, but it isn't always that easy. Personally, I think she needs to run. You are clearly not on the same page.

lawex2012
Posts: 8
Joined: Mon Mar 12, 2012 8:29 am

Re: Hypothetical Question

Postby lawex2012 » Wed Mar 14, 2012 10:20 am

Sounds like the consensus is that you can never make it back to a top firm as an associate once you've stepped off the chosen track. The only options in the PT/deferment path would then be patent agent at biglaw or associate at a boutique. Is that right?

One other question: have any of the respondents worked at top law firms (say, top 50 or so) as associates for any significant number of years (3-5)? That's the level of experience which I'm looking for. If those type of people don't frequent the board, could someone point me in the direction of an employed lawyer forum? Thanks.

I'll hold comment on the life coaching and charges of sexism, save this: if you're unwilling to make sacrifices for your family, and expect/welcome similar levels of selfishness in your spouse, then you probably don't need to be married. I've seen the life paths of that sad little segment during my time in Manhattan, SF and LA. No thanks.

Children of an Internet billionaire and a neurosurgeon:
--LinkRemoved--

Anonymous User
Posts: 273254
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Hypothetical Question

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Mar 14, 2012 11:51 am

One other question: have any of the respondents worked at top law firms (say, top 50 or so) as associates for any significant number of years (3-5)? That's the level of experience which I'm looking for. If those type of people don't frequent the board, could someone point me in the direction of an employed lawyer forum? Thanks.


Yes. Several years at a V20 firm. Then, when I was an associate in good standing (though this was on the eve of ITE, so who knows what would have happened if I had stayed), my spouse got a dream job -- think political appointment or a tenure-track academic position -- and we moved to a secondary or tertiary market (depending on your definition). I took a drastic pay cut (50%) to work for a boutique, and then turned out to hate the small firm environment (though the firm dissolved within a few years, so it may have just been THAT small firm). I moved to the government in search of the good work and found it -- though at the price of another huge pay cut (down to about 25% of biglaw comp). Throw in unexpected twins, and the gradual bleeding of our savings from the biglaw years started to escalate. The kids and my spouse's job have now reached the point where we can concentrate on my professional goals, so we're making some big career changes in the next year -- moving back to a big market temporarily, prestigious job for me, etc.

Question #1: Do I resent my spouse for my career sacrifice? Yes, at times. Moreso when the spouse starts complaining about the sacrifice s/he is now asked to make. I gave up a $250k-a-year job to move to the boonies for his/her (prestigious, but much less lucrative) job. We've essentially spent our savings as a result. The fact that s/he is going to have to commute between two cities for a few months before his/her (also prestigious-but-temporary) job starts is not even close to the same.

Question #2: Would I have done it again? Hmm. I certainly wouldn't have done it the same way. Honestly, I don't think I realized how crappy the crappy legal work is outside of the big markets. Yes, the hours suck, but once you get to the midlevel associate point, you really are doing interesting and sophisticated work (or at least I was). If I could go back a few years before that and positioned myself to move into more interesting fields in the secondary/tertiary market (academia, USAO, etc.), I think that's what I would have tried to do. But hindsight is 20-20!

Question #3: Could I now move back to biglaw? Probably. My impending job has a pretty good track record of placing people like me (more experienced, had been in biglaw but left for a bit) in firms at the counsel or "senior associate" level. But (1) I don't think that's what I want to do with three kids, and (2) I really lucked into this job -- I think it is probably much more difficult for anyone without that luck.

Hope this helps!

netonprototyp
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Mar 14, 2012 1:35 pm

Re: Hypothetical Question

Postby netonprototyp » Wed Mar 14, 2012 1:46 pm

Yes, V25 attorney and longtime TLS lurker, I joined just so I can comment on this. Look, I'm sorry to hear you had a tough childhood, but that's something you need to deal with your parents, or with a therapist. Don't destroy your marriage over it. You're essentially driving away your spouse because of a fear you have from your childhood. In most families, both parents work. Children of working parents don't all come out as scarred and fearful as you are. Children of a stay-at-home parent -- well, there are lots that are pretty messed up too. There is a ton of established research on this.

Does she "want" children? That's by far the most important factor. Many women are afraid or don't want to, and for good reason. But if she wants kids, which sounds like she does, she will make it work. She seems to have already handled juggling multiple things in her life.

Why don't you give her more credit? It sounds like she is smart, hardworking, and has done well, clearly without any emotional support or even understanding from her spouse. That's quite a feat. Yes, family and children are hard, even with support and understanding from the spouse, which is so painfully lacking in her case.

You said you made some life choices in the past to keep the two of you together -- well, you worked hard to get here. Why self-destruct now? Don't throw it all away by insisting on your way, and demanding an unreasonable, needlessly limiting path of your spouse.

bruss
Posts: 470
Joined: Tue May 24, 2011 3:58 am

Re: Hypothetical Question

Postby bruss » Wed Mar 14, 2012 1:58 pm

Wow you guys are assuming way to much. If she doesn't want to have kids then she won't have them. If she doesn't want to quite then she won't. You guys are acting like she's some retard who magically got a phd and is too dumb to make her own choices.

Just because one half of the marriage wants something doesn't mean its gonna happen.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273254
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Hypothetical Question

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Mar 14, 2012 4:31 pm

bruss wrote:Wow you guys are assuming way to much. If she doesn't want to have kids then she won't have them. If she doesn't want to quite then she won't. You guys are acting like she's some retard who magically got a phd and is too dumb to make her own choices.

Just because one half of the marriage wants something doesn't mean its gonna happen.


I wish you were right. It's not always so. You would be amazed to find out how many smart, hardworking women like the OP's wife end up as disgruntled homemakers or unfulfilled support staff becuase her husband (or mother or MIL or friend) convinces her that's the only way to do it. Or threaten to leave unless she does. Yes, even today, in 2012.

I worked with mothers who left to raise their children. I have also interviewed mothers who wanted to return to the workforce (yes, at a law firm). It's tough. You are nowhere near as marketable as you were, your knowledge of the market is outdated, and firms already look at you with certain presumptions. It's not right, but it's how things are.

Some mothers leave because they think they want to, only to realize that they are ready to poke their eyes out because of the monotony and lack of stimulation. When they are ready to return, the employers aren't willing to take them back. There are armies of blogs and studies on this. You think their kids are happy? Forcing your wife into something she does not want is exactly how to NOT create picture-perfect, happy children. Or even "hypothetical" children.

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/02/09/mothers-returning-to-work-low-paid-jobs_n_1265057.html

Anonymous User
Posts: 273254
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Hypothetical Question

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Mar 14, 2012 4:50 pm

OP:

I am a law student and I was in a similar situation. My wife and I were both raised by SAHM's and we wanted the same thing for our kids. Everything was set up for my wife to quit work once we started having kids; I switched things up at the last second when I got this crazy idea about law school.

We delayed having kids by a couple years, I enrolled in a PT-program, we had our first kid at twenty-nine and, against our better judgment, we did the daycare thing for about a year. My single biggest regret in life is putting my kid in daycare and my wife feels even more strongly about it. I'm not saying that daycare is wrong for everyone, it just wasn't the right thing for our family. There are many parents who are happy using daycare; I make no judgment about what is best for other families. I just know it wasn't what was best for our family.

I quit my job during my third year of school. I now stay home with our kid during the day and then my wife takes over in the evening while I am in class. Our goal is to switch roles after graduation. My dream of graduating law school debt free is over as we'll probably have to take out loans for the final semester of school. In all honesty, I wish I had quit when our kid was born and just taken out the damn loans.

I don't have any answers for you other than to tell you that, IMHO, if you feel strongly about the way you want to raise your kids, do not compromise about it. If you and your wife are unable to find common ground on this issue, do not have kids. Having kids changes you as an individual and it changes the dynamics of your marriage in ways that you can't anticipate. If you already feel this strongly about this issue right now, you're bound to have stronger feelings about it in the future.

I agree with the sentiment in this thread that once she gets off the biglaw train it will be hard for her to get back on.

One thing that isn't clear: Why is it out of the question for you to drop out of the workforce and stay home with the kids? Your wife's income should be enough to carry your household if you want to make it work. I've really enjoyed the time I've spent with our daughter and we have an awesome relationship because of it. If my wife was agreeable to it, I would have no problem being a SAHD. Unfortunately, my wife has always wanted to be a SAHM and I'm not about to try to switch that up.

ejeric wrote:I would be very, very, very careful about choosing to go the part-time route. It's well known that part time programs are easier to get into, and they do not carry much weight among top firms. Georgetown is just about the only exception. I know I'll get a lot of flack for this, but we all know it's true. Most part-timers get screened out at the HR resume stage.


I wouldn't put too much stock in this. I went through OCI in 2011 as a student in a PT-program. I had five offers from market-paying firms, including two of the most selective firms at our OCI. I know for a fact that all but one of the PT-students on our law review had multiple, market-paying offers at OCI. Of all the firms that came to our OCI, only one did not make an offer to a PT-student.

Anonymous User wrote:Yes. Several years at a V20 firm.


Thank you for sharing your story. I really appreciate it.

netonprototyp wrote:Why don't you give her more credit? It sounds like she is smart, hardworking, and has done well, clearly without any emotional support or even understanding from her spouse. That's quite a feat. Yes, family and children are hard, even with support and understanding from the spouse, which is so painfully lacking in her case.


I'm not sure how being smart, hardworking, and doing well in her career and law school translates to being a good spouse or parent. Plenty of smart, hardworking attorneys do well for themselves while not being the very good spouses and parents.

I'm also confused as to why OP even needs to be supportive through all of this. If this isn't what OP signed up for, I don't think OP needs to go along with it. Plenty of wives divorce their workaholic spouses and go find themselves, true love, blah blah blah.

It seems like every other year a book based on this premise makes the NYT Best Seller List.

Anonymous User wrote:I wish you were right. It's not always so. You would be amazed to find out how many smart, hardworking women like the OP's wife end up as disgruntled homemakers or unfulfilled support staff becuase her husband (or mother or MIL or friend) convinces her that's the only way to do it. Or threaten to leave unless she does. Yes, even today, in 2012.


I don't think OP is asking his wife to be a SAHM. I'm reading OP as asking his wife to go back to her prior career, where the hours are presumably more manageable (40 hrs/week?).

I generally agree with your post. If a parent--man or woman--isn't wired to stay home with the kids, the parent will be absolutely miserable in that role. It doesn't sound like OP's wife has any interest in being a SAHM and I think it would be a disaster if he tried to force her into that role.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273254
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Hypothetical Question

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Mar 14, 2012 6:10 pm

As a father I can tell you that there is nothing more destructive to children than a controlling, demanding, my-way-or-the-high-way parent. If this is how you treat your spouse and her views, I am afraid to see how you would handle your children. Your "concern" for them is a thin veil for your own need to manipulate your spouse into your own worldview that seems more appropriate for the Colonial times perhaps -- "do as I say or it's over." I agree with above. She should run the hell away while she can.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273254
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Hypothetical Question

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Mar 14, 2012 6:16 pm

My wife just had a kid while I am in law school. It is hard, but not totally unmanageable. Why not plan to have the kid either during winter break during 2L/3L or during summer after 3L? If your wife downgrades now, she's unlikely to ever get back on the horse.

realtimeoblivion
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Mar 13, 2012 4:09 pm

Re: Hypothetical Question

Postby realtimeoblivion » Wed Mar 14, 2012 6:18 pm

lrslayer wrote:
caminante wrote:Why don't you take a few years off or take a part-time job until your family is "more established" and let her get her career started? You have had the opportunity to get the degree and job that you wanted, it seems really selfish to ask her to essentially put her goals on hold so that you have the picture perfect dream life that you want.

+1
slightly off put by this thread as well. wtf decade are we in here?


+1.

Let me get this straight. You married a high-credentials, PhD, clearly smart and hardworking, ambitious woman and you were "shocked" to find that she didn't want to be your baby-popping machine?

So from your wife's perspective, her choices are:
1) stay married, work at a dead-end, no respect, underpaid and overworked job for a few years, pop out children, and somehow manage to convince firms afterward that being an atty was what she wanted all along despite all the evidence pointing the other way;
2) stay married, drop down to a low-ranked, low placement rate, barely-accredited school (not all, but a vast majority of those offer PT, let's be realistic), pop out children, and somehow magically find a job that would be as interesting and financially rewarding as the one she would have had but was forced to give up;
or
3) get divorced.

Damn. What's in it for her?




Return to “Legal Employment”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.