Are the Biglaw junior associate stories true?

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desertlaw
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Re: Are the Biglaw junior associate stories true?

Postby desertlaw » Sat Apr 21, 2012 4:41 pm

Doritos wrote:
Curious1 wrote:So getting back on track, this thread kind of terrifies me.


Yeah, biglaw is demanding that's for sure. Then again, what job can you think of that pays your north of 100k in your mid-20s that isn't really demanding? I guess you could invent facebook or be an heiress. I think it's good for threads like this to exist so people can get in their mind that, though the pay is nice, you really are going to be making some life trade offs and because of this you really should avoid the golden handcuffs. All the associates I know put that near the top of the list when it comes to advice for new associates. Don't structure your life in a way where you are dependent on that biglaw paycheck because maybe you don't want to live like that down the line but if you have big debt and you've just been paying the interest on your loans you may be stuck.

The moral of this thread to me is to pay off your debt ASAP by maintaining a quality of life just above that of a hobo so you are not shackled to the cruel mistress of biglaw for one second longer than you have to be


I can't agree more with your reasoning and conclusion. Every wise attorney mentor that I've talked with says that you'll be tempted after a long week to "treat yo self" with a new suit/Benz/prostitute. Resist that urge until you've paid off your loans.

I suppose that there's a counter argument that says you wouldn't be able to get through another terrible case without seeing that suit/Benz/prostitute at the end of the tunnel, but it seems like you'll be better off if you can resist that urge until you're in a better financial stage.

To that end, the people I see on threads/Reddit that are in BigLaw with little to no debt, seem to actually enjoy their work and are cool with the trade-off for the time being. It's when the debt monster is staring you down that makes life more stressful.

TXIPLitigator
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Re: Are the Biglaw junior associate stories true?

Postby TXIPLitigator » Sat Apr 21, 2012 4:59 pm

Wyld Stallyns wrote:Does everyone in this thread work in New York? Does everyone on this board work/want to work in New York?


Not in NYC. Somewhere in TX. My friends, coworkers, etc., and I still work a lot, but I don't think it's anything like NYC.

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thesealocust
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Re: Are the Biglaw junior associate stories true?

Postby thesealocust » Sat Apr 21, 2012 5:00 pm

Yep. Even with full debt load and living in NYC a biglaw associate is going to have a lot of cash sloshing around. Being chained to your desk actually minimizes a lot of other costs - no expensive vacations, no expensive obligation to feed yourself in the evening when the firm picks up the tab, only pay commuting costs (a) on the way to the office (b) on days you didn't stay there over night, no flexibility or time to pursue women, etc!

I plan to eat dollar pizza, pay down debt, invest in low-cost index funds, and retire at 30 to a tent in the wilderness.

shoeshine
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Re: Are the Biglaw junior associate stories true?

Postby shoeshine » Sat Apr 21, 2012 5:09 pm

thesealocust wrote:Yep. Even with full debt load and living in NYC a biglaw associate is going to have a lot of cash sloshing around. Being chained to your desk actually minimizes a lot of other costs - no expensive vacations, no expensive obligation to feed yourself in the evening when the firm picks up the tab, only pay commuting costs (a) on the way to the office (b) on days you didn't stay there over night, no flexibility or time to pursue women, etc!

I plan to eat dollar pizza, pay down debt, invest in low-cost index funds, and retire at 30 to a tent in the wilderness.

I take all your advice super seriously so I am not sure what to do with this one.

I guess I will go look up tent prices.

Anonymous User
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Re: Are the Biglaw junior associate stories true?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Apr 21, 2012 5:14 pm

As a biglaw associate, anyone have any feedback on the social life? Crazy shopping sprees? Hot dates? Or does your life just completely suck?

r6_philly
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Re: Are the Biglaw junior associate stories true?

Postby r6_philly » Sat Apr 21, 2012 5:16 pm

thesealocust wrote:... and retire at 30 to a tent in the wilderness.


You can do that now. Tents are generally pretty cheap.

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Samara
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Re: Are the Biglaw junior associate stories true?

Postby Samara » Sat Apr 21, 2012 5:53 pm

Stanford4Me wrote:
Wyld Stallyns wrote:Does everyone in this thread work in New York? Does everyone on this board work/want to work in New York?

I'll be working in Dallas. From my observations as an SA I noticed that the hours can get hectic even in secondary markets (though nowhere near as bad as NYC), and a big plus--in Dallas at least--was that associates could leave the office and work from home. Overall, the work culture there seems much more laid back, but there are still some stressful times.

Are Chicago firms/offices more on the NYC or Dallas side of things?

ToTransferOrNot
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Re: Are the Biglaw junior associate stories true?

Postby ToTransferOrNot » Sat Apr 21, 2012 6:06 pm

Samara wrote:
Stanford4Me wrote:
Wyld Stallyns wrote:Does everyone in this thread work in New York? Does everyone on this board work/want to work in New York?

I'll be working in Dallas. From my observations as an SA I noticed that the hours can get hectic even in secondary markets (though nowhere near as bad as NYC), and a big plus--in Dallas at least--was that associates could leave the office and work from home. Overall, the work culture there seems much more laid back, but there are still some stressful times.

Are Chicago firms/offices more on the NYC or Dallas side of things?


Kirkland is more on the NYC side of things, the other big Chicago firms are closer to non-NYC markets. Or that's what I've heard, anyway.

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Stanford4Me
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Re: Are the Biglaw junior associate stories true?

Postby Stanford4Me » Sat Apr 21, 2012 6:10 pm

Samara wrote:
Stanford4Me wrote:
Wyld Stallyns wrote:Does everyone in this thread work in New York? Does everyone on this board work/want to work in New York?

I'll be working in Dallas. From my observations as an SA I noticed that the hours can get hectic even in secondary markets (though nowhere near as bad as NYC), and a big plus--in Dallas at least--was that associates could leave the office and work from home. Overall, the work culture there seems much more laid back, but there are still some stressful times.

Are Chicago firms/offices more on the NYC or Dallas side of things?

I'll have an answer for you at the end of the summer, if that's of any help.

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Samara
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Re: Are the Biglaw junior associate stories true?

Postby Samara » Sat Apr 21, 2012 7:27 pm

Stanford4Me wrote:I'll have an answer for you at the end of the summer, if that's of any help.

It would definitely be of help. Thanks!

ToTransferOrNot wrote:Kirkland is more on the NYC side of things, the other big Chicago firms are closer to non-NYC markets. Or that's what I've heard, anyway.

Thanks! That's good to know. Any idea on what Winston & Strawn is like? They seem a little more laid back from their Vault and Lateral Link profiles, but it's hard to tell.

keg411
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Re: Are the Biglaw junior associate stories true?

Postby keg411 » Sat Apr 21, 2012 7:29 pm

There are plenty non-NYC firms that are just as sweatshop-y as the NYC firms. Don't be fooled.

ToTransferOrNot
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Re: Are the Biglaw junior associate stories true?

Postby ToTransferOrNot » Sat Apr 21, 2012 7:31 pm

Samara wrote:
Stanford4Me wrote:I'll have an answer for you at the end of the summer, if that's of any help.

It would definitely be of help. Thanks!

ToTransferOrNot wrote:Kirkland is more on the NYC side of things, the other big Chicago firms are closer to non-NYC markets. Or that's what I've heard, anyway.

Thanks! That's good to know. Any idea on what Winston & Strawn is like? They seem a little more laid back from their Vault and Lateral Link profiles, but it's hard to tell.


My understanding is that you're going to be in the 2000-2400 (normally closer to 2000-2200) at Jenner, Winston, Sidley, and Mayer; 2400 is the low end for Kirkland.

This, of course, all varies based on what you're staffed on.

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Julio_El_Chavo
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Re: Are the Biglaw junior associate stories true?

Postby Julio_El_Chavo » Sat Apr 21, 2012 9:01 pm

Anonymous User wrote:As a biglaw associate, anyone have any feedback on the social life? Crazy shopping sprees? Hot dates? Or does your life just completely suck?


When you're not working your ass off, you are resting. If you rest by going on crazy shopping sprees and developing your social life/dating, good for you. I think I would die if I had to do biglaw plus all of that 24/7.

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presh
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Re: Are the Biglaw junior associate stories true?

Postby presh » Sat Apr 21, 2012 10:20 pm

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Last edited by presh on Sun Dec 27, 2015 11:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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sundance95
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Re: Are the Biglaw junior associate stories true?

Postby sundance95 » Sat Apr 21, 2012 10:21 pm

ToTransferOrNot wrote:
Samara wrote:
Stanford4Me wrote:I'll have an answer for you at the end of the summer, if that's of any help.

It would definitely be of help. Thanks!

ToTransferOrNot wrote:Kirkland is more on the NYC side of things, the other big Chicago firms are closer to non-NYC markets. Or that's what I've heard, anyway.

Thanks! That's good to know. Any idea on what Winston & Strawn is like? They seem a little more laid back from their Vault and Lateral Link profiles, but it's hard to tell.


My understanding is that you're going to be in the 2000-2400 (normally closer to 2000-2200) at Jenner, Winston, Sidley, and Mayer; 2400 is the low end for Kirkland.

This, of course, all varies based on what you're staffed on.

2400 is Kirkland's low end? For billables? Ima call bullshit on that one.

Anonymous User
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Re: Are the Biglaw junior associate stories true?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Apr 21, 2012 10:49 pm

sundance95 wrote:
ToTransferOrNot wrote:
Samara wrote:
Stanford4Me wrote:I'll have an answer for you at the end of the summer, if that's of any help.

It would definitely be of help. Thanks!

ToTransferOrNot wrote:Kirkland is more on the NYC side of things, the other big Chicago firms are closer to non-NYC markets. Or that's what I've heard, anyway.

Thanks! That's good to know. Any idea on what Winston & Strawn is like? They seem a little more laid back from their Vault and Lateral Link profiles, but it's hard to tell.


My understanding is that you're going to be in the 2000-2400 (normally closer to 2000-2200) at Jenner, Winston, Sidley, and Mayer; 2400 is the low end for Kirkland.

This, of course, all varies based on what you're staffed on.

2400 is Kirkland's low end? For billables? Ima call bullshit on that one.


I know a couple of 2-3 year associates that billed 2500+ at Kirkland chicago. I got the impression that 2500+ was fairly common there and wouldn't be surprised if 2400 was the low end

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Re: Are the Biglaw junior associate stories true?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Apr 21, 2012 10:51 pm

sundance95 wrote:
ToTransferOrNot wrote:
Samara wrote:
Stanford4Me wrote:I'll have an answer for you at the end of the summer, if that's of any help.

It would definitely be of help. Thanks!

ToTransferOrNot wrote:Kirkland is more on the NYC side of things, the other big Chicago firms are closer to non-NYC markets. Or that's what I've heard, anyway.

Thanks! That's good to know. Any idea on what Winston & Strawn is like? They seem a little more laid back from their Vault and Lateral Link profiles, but it's hard to tell.


My understanding is that you're going to be in the 2000-2400 (normally closer to 2000-2200) at Jenner, Winston, Sidley, and Mayer; 2400 is the low end for Kirkland.

This, of course, all varies based on what you're staffed on.

2400 is Kirkland's low end? For billables? Ima call bullshit on that one.


yea same. i was at v15 in nyc over the summer and asked a bunch of associates what they're on target to bill. most answered in the low 2000's. (i received answers anywhere from 1950-2200 as a normal year). a few mentioned they hit 2300 in a busy year, which i'm assuming was around 07. and these associates were by no means relaxing going home at 6. they stayed late plenty of nights/weekends. billing 2000 is still pretty tough - people make it sound like it's a walk in the park if you're only hitting 2000.

to be honest, if you only plan to stay at a firm for less than 3 years, it seems like a waste to bill anything more than like 2100. i was talking to an associate off the record at a v3, and she said she bills around 2100, she candidly admitted she says 'no' to work on several occasions and that she was there just to get the name on the resume. after gunning our whole life it might be hard to just apply the breaks and aim for being mediocre and not having to be the best in your class, but honestly this seems like the best strategy for 90% of incoming associates.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Sat Apr 21, 2012 10:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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joeshmo39
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Re: Are the Biglaw junior associate stories true?

Postby joeshmo39 » Sat Apr 21, 2012 10:52 pm

During my Kirkland NYC callback a 4th or 5th year associate explained, very excitedly, that she didn't mind her commute because she could bill that time reading depos or briefs. She was certain no one else was thinking of this, and it let her get her billables up. "So what if my commute is an extra hour a day, I can bill that time! I really need to get up there so I can make partner." I got this vibe from several people at Kirkland, they just didn't seem loose at all. Maybe it was a busy day, maybe it was the people I met. Kirkland does have that rep though, and my visit did nothing to convince me it wasn't true. Of course, they're good at what they do, no doubt.

keg411
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Re: Are the Biglaw junior associate stories true?

Postby keg411 » Sat Apr 21, 2012 11:03 pm

joeshmo39 wrote:During my Kirkland NYC callback a 4th or 5th year associate explained, very excitedly, that she didn't mind her commute because she could bill that time reading depos or briefs. She was certain no one else was thinking of this, and it let her get her billables up. "So what if my commute is an extra hour a day, I can bill that time! I really need to get up there so I can make partner." I got this vibe from several people at Kirkland, they just didn't seem loose at all. Maybe it was a busy day, maybe it was the people I met. Kirkland does have that rep though, and my visit did nothing to convince me it wasn't true. Of course, they're good at what they do, no doubt.


That's so... Kirkland. Free market system + black box compensation will do that to you.

Anonymous User
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Re: Are the Biglaw junior associate stories true?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Apr 22, 2012 1:38 am

I've worked at Kirkland Chicago. A lot of people there have been really busy the past couple years because the firm cut back a bit during the recession, but their business never slowed much. If (at least in lit) your group had a trial or two you'd get up to 2400-2500 easy. So when you've got a huge case (think BP or Apple v. HTC), you've got tons of people billing a lot of hours.

I'm not liking all the Kirkland hate on here though- I wouldn't call it a sweatshop like some NYC firms. The free market system really allows people to go get interesting work (if they're proactive about it), so at least when you're billing a ton, it's not always crap work. And the culture of the firm more generally is very entrepreneurial/merit-based/individualistic, which to me isn't very sweatshop-like. Personally, I think it's a great firm with a cool culture.

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bceagles182
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Re: Are the Biglaw junior associate stories true?

Postby bceagles182 » Sun Apr 22, 2012 2:14 am

Re: The workload and whether it's worth it, honestly I think it depends on (1) your personality and (2) your other commitments. I slaved away as a paralegal at a V5 for two years, and saw pretty much everything during it. I'm a 2L now, and when OCI came around, I still shot for (and got) biglaw. If I was married or if I had children, I would've been a lot more hesitant. But as a young, single guy, I expect to work hard. There will be days where you hate your life, no doubt. But I think that's true at the junior level of any worthwhile career path. I also think that the type of people who become lawyers are the type of people who just like to complain. Even if you cut back the workload, I think many would still complain. It's just sort of a way that young associates can all relate to each other. Well, it's a way that all the normal ones can, at least. The other people are drones.

Re: Whether the hours are better in other cities, I ended up taking an offer in Boston over NYC. But that was really only because I'm from Boston. I don't expect the workload to be much lighter, and if I had been offered at my old firm, I probably would've accepted. As a transfer coming from a T2, I'm pretty sure that I only got the screener as a courtesy though.

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Re: Are the Biglaw junior associate stories true?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Apr 22, 2012 2:36 am

Now that we've talked a lot about lit and NYC big law deals work, can someone talk a little about smaller-deals business (eg. Non-deals tax, VC/PE fund formation, start-up rep, benefits/employment)?

I've SAed in transactional M&A and capital markets and saw How crazy 16+ hours a day was when a deal deadline was coming. I liked the idea of having 15 smaller deals at a time instead of a 150 attorney Paul Weiss M&A deal where there were 6 levels of babysitting and people getting sent to doc review for not being detail oriented on the wrong piece of work product at three AM. It seems like hours and life are stuctured differently when you have one partner to answer to, ten dedicated clients at a time, and less prominent deadlines. Thoughts?

TXIPLitigator
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Re: Are the Biglaw junior associate stories true?

Postby TXIPLitigator » Sun Apr 22, 2012 10:32 am

Anonymous User wrote:
yea same. i was at v15 in nyc over the summer and asked a bunch of associates what they're on target to bill. most answered in the low 2000's. (i received answers anywhere from 1950-2200 as a normal year). a few mentioned they hit 2300 in a busy year, which i'm assuming was around 07. and these associates were by no means relaxing going home at 6. they stayed late plenty of nights/weekends. billing 2000 is still pretty tough - people make it sound like it's a walk in the park if you're only hitting 2000.

to be honest, if you only plan to stay at a firm for less than 3 years, it seems like a waste to bill anything more than like 2100. i was talking to an associate off the record at a v3, and she said she bills around 2100, she candidly admitted she says 'no' to work on several occasions and that she was there just to get the name on the resume. after gunning our whole life it might be hard to just apply the breaks and aim for being mediocre and not having to be the best in your class, but honestly this seems like the best strategy for 90% of incoming associates.


Your first paragraph is in line with what many of my NYC friends do. At work for 14 hours a day, billing around 10. Lots of sitting around and waiting for assignments. Very low efficiency. Sounds like a terrible experience.

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Re: Are the Biglaw junior associate stories true?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Apr 22, 2012 11:04 pm

keg411 wrote:
joeshmo39 wrote:During my Kirkland NYC callback a 4th or 5th year associate explained, very excitedly, that she didn't mind her commute because she could bill that time reading depos or briefs. She was certain no one else was thinking of this, and it let her get her billables up. "So what if my commute is an extra hour a day, I can bill that time! I really need to get up there so I can make partner." I got this vibe from several people at Kirkland, they just didn't seem loose at all. Maybe it was a busy day, maybe it was the people I met. Kirkland does have that rep though, and my visit did nothing to convince me it wasn't true. Of course, they're good at what they do, no doubt.


That's so... Kirkland. Free market system + black box compensation will do that to you.


Compensation at K&E isn't black box. It's market base salary + bonus, which is higher than market the more you bill 2,000 or so hours (varies in either direction, depending on the state of the firm). The only x factor is how much more than market you'll make. Jones Day is black box.

keg411
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Re: Are the Biglaw junior associate stories true?

Postby keg411 » Sun Apr 22, 2012 11:17 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
keg411 wrote:
joeshmo39 wrote:During my Kirkland NYC callback a 4th or 5th year associate explained, very excitedly, that she didn't mind her commute because she could bill that time reading depos or briefs. She was certain no one else was thinking of this, and it let her get her billables up. "So what if my commute is an extra hour a day, I can bill that time! I really need to get up there so I can make partner." I got this vibe from several people at Kirkland, they just didn't seem loose at all. Maybe it was a busy day, maybe it was the people I met. Kirkland does have that rep though, and my visit did nothing to convince me it wasn't true. Of course, they're good at what they do, no doubt.


That's so... Kirkland. Free market system + black box compensation will do that to you.


Compensation at K&E isn't black box. It's market base salary + bonus, which is higher than market the more you bill 2,000 or so hours (varies in either direction, depending on the state of the firm). The only x factor is how much more than market you'll make. Jones Day is black box.


I know the bonus is higher then market, but for some reason I didn't think it was solely hours based. Although I suppose that makes it even worse since then you're really fighting over work.




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