Is BigLaw boring?

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LawIdiot86
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Re: Is BigLaw boring?

Postby LawIdiot86 » Sun Mar 18, 2012 11:17 am

Fresh Prince wrote:Biglaw isn't boring, but it can be frustrating. As the guy at the bottom of the totem pole, you're expected to "fill" in the blanks for everyone above you. Finding the information to fill the blanks with in can be very daunting.

Also, just make sure your workspace is in good condition. I'd say that 99% of my frustration comes with the fact that my computer is slow, the firm programs are buggy, and my computer periodically crashes. Yes, there is wonderful IT support, but I don't have time to send my computer in to get checked out when the partner is telling me to turn comments on a draft by morning.

Also, stay super duper fucking organized.


This is the biggest issue I've seen in BigGov/BigLaw. Because everyone is so paranoid about security, they erect the most annoying firewalls and scanners. But because they want the latest technology, they load stuff that uses java and flash (think WestlawNext v. Westlaw). Well, if you have a connection that is scanning everything and preventing persistent connections, those sorts of apps will crash. And then sticking it on old machines with unique firm-created programs that are slow and buggy just makes it worse. Hopefully as firms continue to grow in size, more off the shelf packages will be created.

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vamedic03
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Re: Is BigLaw boring?

Postby vamedic03 » Sun Mar 18, 2012 11:23 am

FYI - Big Law salaries are incredibly high as a result of the salary war that was waged by the firms from the late 90's to the mid 00's. The top firms are/have been in competition for the same relatively small pool of students. West Coast firms or certain NY firms would boost their salary to gain an edge in recruiting. The other firms would match to avoid losing the edge. This cycle drove salaries up from <$100k starting in the late 90's to $160k by 2007. The unfortunate byproduct of this was law schools taking advantage of this to crank up their tuition exponentially.

Anonymous User
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Re: Is BigLaw boring?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Mar 18, 2012 11:46 am

nealric wrote:Of course, YMMV and all that, but I don't find biglaw boring at all.

The meme that biglaw requires no mental horsepower is mostly a myth. Sure, there are tasks that can be tedious to do, but you are expected to figure out how and when to do them with essentially no instruction. The truly boring/tedious tasks are far more rare than is commonly assumed (especially today). Clients don't want to pay for diligence/doc review to the extent they used to, which means that the associates who are left tend to do more substantive work.

I spent some time as a personal injury paralegal during law school. It was a good experience because I had a good boss, but the level of sophistication in the work was incomparably lower. There is still plenty of drudge work at that level, but there are also fewer complicated legal issues to work through. Courtroom time is rare even in the world of PI these days.


which is why working at a small firm that deals with typical biglaw cases or where opposing parties are represented by biglaw can be most rewarding.

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nealric
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Re: Is BigLaw boring?

Postby nealric » Sun Mar 18, 2012 12:08 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
nealric wrote:Of course, YMMV and all that, but I don't find biglaw boring at all.

The meme that biglaw requires no mental horsepower is mostly a myth. Sure, there are tasks that can be tedious to do, but you are expected to figure out how and when to do them with essentially no instruction. The truly boring/tedious tasks are far more rare than is commonly assumed (especially today). Clients don't want to pay for diligence/doc review to the extent they used to, which means that the associates who are left tend to do more substantive work.

I spent some time as a personal injury paralegal during law school. It was a good experience because I had a good boss, but the level of sophistication in the work was incomparably lower. There is still plenty of drudge work at that level, but there are also fewer complicated legal issues to work through. Courtroom time is rare even in the world of PI these days.


which is why working at a small firm that deals with typical biglaw cases or where opposing parties are represented by biglaw can be most rewarding.


The boutique option is usually litigation specific, however. I've never had a boutique on the other side of any deal I have worked on.

vamedic03 wrote:FYI - Big Law salaries are incredibly high as a result of the salary war that was waged by the firms from the late 90's to the mid 00's. The top firms are/have been in competition for the same relatively small pool of students. West Coast firms or certain NY firms would boost their salary to gain an edge in recruiting. The other firms would match to avoid losing the edge. This cycle drove salaries up from <$100k starting in the late 90's to $160k by 2007. The unfortunate byproduct of this was law schools taking advantage of this to crank up their tuition exponentially.


I'm not sure law firm salaries have much to do with tuition. Other graduate programs, such as Business school and even programs like public policy have similarly increased tuition over the same period. I think the unlimited supply of government loans has a lot to do with it.

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nealric
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Re: Is BigLaw boring?

Postby nealric » Sun Mar 18, 2012 12:23 pm

G. T. L. Rev. wrote:
SBL wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:About 70% of the work I did as a SA were things a high school kid could do. Yes, I was a SA, but if I didn't do it a first year would've. The other 30% was challenging and meaningful work.

My impression is they tend to give summers MORE challenging work in a lot of instances too (e.g. not doc review).

Emphatically true


Sometimes. I've definetly pawned off some less interesting work on summers :mrgreen:

Anonymous User
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Re: Is BigLaw boring?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Mar 18, 2012 12:28 pm

nealric wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
nealric wrote:Of course, YMMV and all that, but I don't find biglaw boring at all.

The meme that biglaw requires no mental horsepower is mostly a myth. Sure, there are tasks that can be tedious to do, but you are expected to figure out how and when to do them with essentially no instruction. The truly boring/tedious tasks are far more rare than is commonly assumed (especially today). Clients don't want to pay for diligence/doc review to the extent they used to, which means that the associates who are left tend to do more substantive work.

I spent some time as a personal injury paralegal during law school. It was a good experience because I had a good boss, but the level of sophistication in the work was incomparably lower. There is still plenty of drudge work at that level, but there are also fewer complicated legal issues to work through. Courtroom time is rare even in the world of PI these days.


which is why working at a small firm that deals with typical biglaw cases or where opposing parties are represented by biglaw can be most rewarding.


The boutique option is usually litigation specific, however. I've never had a boutique on the other side of any deal I have worked on.

vamedic03 wrote:FYI - Big Law salaries are incredibly high as a result of the salary war that was waged by the firms from the late 90's to the mid 00's. The top firms are/have been in competition for the same relatively small pool of students. West Coast firms or certain NY firms would boost their salary to gain an edge in recruiting. The other firms would match to avoid losing the edge. This cycle drove salaries up from <$100k starting in the late 90's to $160k by 2007. The unfortunate byproduct of this was law schools taking advantage of this to crank up their tuition exponentially.


I'm not sure law firm salaries have much to do with tuition. Other graduate programs, such as Business school and even programs like public policy have similarly increased tuition over the same period. I think the unlimited supply of government loans has a lot to do with it.


my firm is actually not "boutique" ... it's actually a general practice small law firm. there are some personal injury cases, but our opposing parties have been represented by cooley, green traurig, wilmerhale....

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Re: Is BigLaw boring?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Mar 18, 2012 12:38 pm

I try to give summers work that fall between the judgment required of a first year and of a paralegal, and where the tedious-level of it is so high that I don't want to have to deal with it.

You're making $3,000/week in a glorified networking program. I really don't give a shit whether you enjoy your work or not. Do I get to go on free lunches every day? No. Do I have the time to go to every golf-outing, cruise, cooking class, etc.? No.

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Re: Is BigLaw boring?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Mar 19, 2012 8:03 pm

Anyone here has experience with the "free market" assignment system? How does that work exactly? For some reason I imagine a database or bulletin board somewhere with a list stuff that people need to get done, and you can pick whatever you want... ? But I wouldn't be surprised to learn that the "free market" thing is a meaningless term they throw around to lure unsuspecting candidates to the firm... Which is it?

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TTTLS
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Re: Is BigLaw boring?

Postby TTTLS » Mon Mar 19, 2012 8:24 pm

OP's question brought an old XO post to mind...

Congratulations!

Based on your reaction to getting the offer, this is probably the best thing that could have ever happened to you. I encourage you to enjoy the summer and take accept their offer as nothing in the world will cure you of your prestige obsession quicker than some time at S&C.

During orientation, they'll give you an S&C shoulderbag and you'll wear it with the S&C logo facing outward so any other commuters in the know can see it and you'll just know that they're either impressed or envious. And that will make you happy and proud. And then you'll try to figure out the best way to ensure that you're sworn in as soon as possible after receiving your bar results because then you'll get the box full of business cards that say "Sullivan & Cromwell LLP" with your actual name underneath. You'll be giddy at the thought of casually passing one (mid-conversation) to some acquaintance from undergrad you've lost touch with.

You'll start working and you'll notice that there are an awful lot of "Farewell" emails and someone will tell you that the farewell emails can only contain 4 names at a time per firm policy because the partners decided sometime in 2004 that emails indicating 6 or 7 people were leaving the firm in a two week period might cause some unhelpful whispering. You'll talk to a midlevel associate who is super-psyched to work at S&C and you'll find out that he (not a lot of shes) lateralled from some firm that frankly you would never have considered working for (too TTT for you). When you get back to your office, this will trouble you a bit, you'll wonder if your own escutcheon is being blemished by the presence of this type of person (i.e., non-elite) at your S&C. But that feeling will pass as you'll find plenty of other like-minded first years who equally relish the prestige as you you head for a drink at Ulysses (shoulderbag logo facing outward).

Then you'll get staffed on your first big deal and you'll work late night after late night and then on the weekend and on to the next weekend and then on to the weekend when you had planned to go to a friend's wedding. And you won't go because the work has to get done and you have dues to pay (or so you'll be told). You'll get a little bit upset about this turn of events, but the arrival of those business cards will soften the blow.

You'll meet more and more laterals from firms that you would never work for (some you've never even heard of). You'll note in the farewell emails that some of the junior and midlevel associates leaving S&C are going to those very same firms. Survival of the fittest you'll say. But late at night, when the air conditioning clicks down from a barely perceptible hissing sound to complete silence, these things will bother you. But you'll tell yourself you're just tired and frustrated and anyway you have work to do.

You'll have lunch with Rodge and he'll tell you that business is good and that he's listening to associates' concerns about quality of life issues. You'll notice that some of the senior associates visibly roll their eyes at each other when this comes up, but you won't mind that much because, really, what other firm's managing partner regulalry has lunch with associates to hear their concerns (and takes notes!)

A few months will pass, a few marathon deals will happen, you'll have to re-schedule a vacation but you'll tell yourself that that is to be expected.

About a year in, a couple of your classmates will crack and start talking about how much the job sucks. They'll very likely have gone to Yale Law School. You'll joke that they couldn't hack it when they leave the firm for a clerkship, or an academic position or to go to a firm in another city.

Things will go on in this pattern and you'll notice the fact that you're working a lot harder than your friends who went to "peer" firms. At first you'll be proud of this and brag about it, but after a while you'll find yourself downplaying it. At least when you have the time to get out and socialize with your law school friends.

Something will happen: a partner will scream at you, a senior associate gunning for partner will blame you for her mistake, the partner will tell you that the trip to Europe your spouse meticulously planned just won't be able to happen (he'll be really sorry and will tell you a funny story about the exotic vacation he missed or cut short). Doesn't matter what, but you'll get really pissed and you'll start to take some of the 4 or 5 calls from headhunters that you'll receive every day at that point (vultures spell blood). They'll give you the names of firms that you laughed on in the days when you posted on the XOXO board, but you'll find yourself looking into them. The headhunter will encourage to just listen to their offer and you'll consider doing so. But you won't leave because then you'd have to give up your business cards. And stop wearing the shoulder bag. And the bonus is only x months away so you'll start thinking about it then.

Until one day you won't be able to take it any more and you'll find yourself arranging to meet with people from a lightly regarded firm for a position in their New York office. And you'll worry that the XOXO crowd will see you.

And you don't believe any of this will happen, but I suggest you print this out and keep it in the top desk of your drawer so late at night when you're feeling sorry for yourself, you can add to the list of reasons to be miserable this fact: someone told you this was going to happen and you thought that person was crazy.

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Big Shrimpin
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Re: Is BigLaw boring?

Postby Big Shrimpin » Mon Mar 19, 2012 8:59 pm

TTTLS wrote:really long poast


I was wondering where this poast was hiding. Classic.

Anonymous User
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Re: Is BigLaw boring?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Mar 19, 2012 9:11 pm

Never seen this on these board, but given that it's some 15 years old, it's probably old news to you guys. Still, here goes: http://www.city-journal.org/html/7_1_a2.html

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Re: Is BigLaw boring?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Mar 19, 2012 9:51 pm

Friends of mine who summered at firms with that system usually said that work available from the central hub (sometimes operated as web board) was available, but less interesting. The best assignments were snapped up very quickly. And many of the most interesting were secured via alternative (e.g., person to person) channels. This can often be the case for junior associates too.


I work at a free market firm and it's not like this at all.

Free market systems essentially depend on your networking ability. You do a couple assignments for people, and then through that network you are given more work. It has less to do with the "best assignments" and more about "who you know." As you gain a good reputation, more people will approach you.

Anonymous User
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Re: Is BigLaw boring?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Mar 20, 2012 12:03 am

G. T. L. Rev. wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Friends of mine who summered at firms with that system usually said that work available from the central hub (sometimes operated as web board) was available, but less interesting. The best assignments were snapped up very quickly. And many of the most interesting were secured via alternative (e.g., person to person) channels. This can often be the case for junior associates too.


I work at a free market firm and it's not like this at all.

Free market systems essentially depend on your networking ability. You do a couple assignments for people, and then through that network you are given more work. It has less to do with the "best assignments" and more about "who you know." As you gain a good reputation, more people will approach you.

I do not see how my post differs from yours. In mine, I said that person to person connections mattered greatly; in yours, you say the same thing.


I mostly differed with this statement:

The best assignments were snapped up very quickly.


In a free market system, associates aren't gunning for "the best assignments." You just get whatever falls on your plate by virtue of the network you've established. Sometimes it's the "best assignments," other times it isn't. As you attain a good reputation, the "best assignments" find their way to you rather than the other way around. And at least at my firm, there's no central system from which to get assignments.

spets
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Re: Is BigLaw boring?

Postby spets » Tue Mar 20, 2012 12:46 am

Anonymous User wrote:Never seen this on these board, but given that it's some 15 years old, it's probably old news to you guys. Still, here goes: http://www.city-journal.org/html/7_1_a2.html


That was depressing :|

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paratactical
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Re: Is BigLaw boring?

Postby paratactical » Tue Mar 20, 2012 12:51 am

As someone who has worked in biglaw for more than five years as a paralegal, how boring it is is related strongly to the partner you work for. When I was working for partners who kept me informed, even the most tedious work had a stated goal that I understood. Knowing how the work I was doing affected the case at large made what I was doing less boring. It occasionally made the work, dare I say it, exciting. However, working for a partner that didn't want to explain the larger perspective of the case, either because of time or confidentiality, made cases and the work that they involved far more boring and repetitive. It really goes on a case by case and partner by partner basis. I moved to a smaller, in-house kind of position and I honestly miss biglaw work because it was, while way less demanding on an assignment basis, more exciting as a larger whole.

rad lulz
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Re: Is BigLaw boring?

Postby rad lulz » Tue Mar 20, 2012 1:41 am

.
Last edited by rad lulz on Sun Apr 21, 2013 4:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Big Shrimpin
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Re: Is BigLaw boring?

Postby Big Shrimpin » Tue Mar 20, 2012 8:54 am

rad lulz wrote:
Big Shrimpin wrote:
TTTLS wrote:really long poast


I was wondering where this poast was hiding. Classic.

Needs moar "brother"


Duly noted, brother.

Anonymous User wrote:In a free market system, associates aren't gunning for "the best assignments." You just get whatever falls on your plate by virtue of the network you've established. Sometimes it's the "best assignments," other times it isn't. As you attain a good reputation, the "best assignments" find their way to you rather than the other way around. And at least at my firm, there's no central system from which to get assignments.


Bolded sounds highly suspect, breh.

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TTTLS
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Re: Is BigLaw boring?

Postby TTTLS » Tue Mar 20, 2012 9:16 pm

spets wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Never seen this on these board, but given that it's some 15 years old, it's probably old news to you guys. Still, here goes: http://www.city-journal.org/html/7_1_a2.html


That was depressing :|


Loved it.

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Big Shrimpin
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Re: Is BigLaw boring?

Postby Big Shrimpin » Tue Mar 20, 2012 9:41 pm

TTTLS wrote:
spets wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Never seen this on these board, but given that it's some 15 years old, it's probably old news to you guys. Still, here goes: http://www.city-journal.org/html/7_1_a2.html


That was depressing :|


Loved it.


+1, brother.

FloridaCoastalorbust
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Re: Is BigLaw boring?

Postby FloridaCoastalorbust » Tue Mar 20, 2012 10:07 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Never seen this on these board, but given that it's some 15 years old, it's probably old news to you guys. Still, here goes: http://www.city-journal.org/html/7_1_a2.html


would make for a great DS

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Ded Precedent
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Re: Is BigLaw boring?

Postby Ded Precedent » Tue Mar 20, 2012 10:37 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Never seen this on these board, but given that it's some 15 years old, it's probably old news to you guys. Still, here goes: http://www.city-journal.org/html/7_1_a2.html

Amazing.




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