Are the Biglaw junior associate stories true?

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Re: Are the Biglaw junior associate stories true?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Apr 23, 2012 12:16 am

keg411 wrote:
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.


I can't quite understand why you continue to bash K&E. No one's "fighting" for work. There's plenty of work to go around and the firm is extremely busy. I can count the number of times I've had to compete for work (zero) and lose count of the number of times I've had to turn down work.

In terms of bonus, it isn't strictly hours based. It's based on quality and quantity, and the entire process is extremely transparent.

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Re: Are the Biglaw junior associate stories true?

Postby keg411 » Mon Apr 23, 2012 9:01 am

I know more than a handful of people in BigLaw, and K&E has a reputation of being a very, very intense place to work. I don't think that's wrong. It's a great firm, but there is a lot of pressure that comes with the free market, and even more when you throw non-lockstep on top of that.

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Re: Are the Biglaw junior associate stories true?

Postby NinerFan » Mon Apr 23, 2012 11:27 am

keg411 wrote:I know more than a handful of people in BigLaw, and K&E has a reputation of being a very, very intense place to work. I don't think that's wrong. It's a great firm, but there is a lot of pressure that comes with the free market, and even more when you throw non-lockstep on top of that.


I also know of some K&E associates and yeah, it's an intense place to work in. I think most biglaw firms are probably pretty intense, but K&E has a rep for it. Some people prefer this type of thing.

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Re: Are the Biglaw junior associate stories true?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Apr 23, 2012 11:46 am

keg411 wrote:I know more than a handful of people in BigLaw, and K&E has a reputation of being a very, very intense place to work. I don't think that's wrong. It's a great firm, but there is a lot of pressure that comes with the free market, and even more when you throw non-lockstep on top of that.


This kind of thing implies that there are a lot of K&E attorneys trying to ratchet up their hours to increase their bonus in a "non-lockstep" fashion. I doubt that--the extra hours end up being an incredibly low hourly rate. Kirkland is a busy place, and they happen to give a large bonus to people who have to put in more hours--I'm not sure I would call that "non-lockstep."

And, personally, I picked Kirkland over other firms specifically for the intensity. I think Kirkland will give the best exit options because of its reputation--especially if I ended up needing to go to NYC.

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Re: Are the Biglaw junior associate stories true?

Postby Samara » Mon Apr 23, 2012 11:49 am

While we seem to still be getting great responses ITT, are "lifestyle" firms real or just places that are 2000 hour requirements instead of 2200?

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Re: Are the Biglaw junior associate stories true?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Apr 23, 2012 11:54 am

Anonymous User wrote:
keg411 wrote:I know more than a handful of people in BigLaw, and K&E has a reputation of being a very, very intense place to work. I don't think that's wrong. It's a great firm, but there is a lot of pressure that comes with the free market, and even more when you throw non-lockstep on top of that.


This kind of thing implies that there are a lot of K&E attorneys trying to ratchet up their hours to increase their bonus in a "non-lockstep" fashion. I doubt that--the extra hours end up being an incredibly low hourly rate. Kirkland is a busy place, and they happen to give a large bonus to people who have to put in more hours--I'm not sure I would call that "non-lockstep."

And, personally, I picked Kirkland over other firms specifically for the intensity. I think Kirkland will give the best exit options because of its reputation--especially if I ended up needing to go to NYC.


I wonder how much "rep" matters. I worked in-house this past summer at a big company that is a desirable post-biglaw job and at least at this company all that matters is that you did biglaw at a known firm. No big-ups if you worked at Davis Polk or Paul Hastings or DLA Piper. They did say that there are a couple firms like Simpson and Cravath that catch their eye (not a ton of rhyme or reason why Davis isn't in that group, this was just spit-ballin' with an attorney who does hiring) but it's not like an auto-lock or anything like that just like a soft factor that is positive. I wonder if this is a common experience in-house and if other post-biglaw jobs care that much about the vault ranking of a firm.

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Re: Are the Biglaw junior associate stories true?

Postby thesealocust » Mon Apr 23, 2012 12:02 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Kirkland is a busy place, and they happen to give a large bonus to people who have to put in more hours--I'm not sure I would call that "non-lockstep."


In this context the term lockstep is by definition bonuses based on solely class year. Calling Kirkland's bonus structure non-lockstep is just descriptively accurately.

Going one way or the other is a deliberate choice. It extends to how partners are compensated, though obviously there's less public information about that. Firms can and do thrive using different setups, but Kirkland's definitely has a cultural impact - which I don't doubt many find a positive thing.

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Re: Are the Biglaw junior associate stories true?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Apr 23, 2012 12:27 pm

thesealocust wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Kirkland is a busy place, and they happen to give a large bonus to people who have to put in more hours--I'm not sure I would call that "non-lockstep."


In this context the term lockstep is by definition bonuses based on solely class year. Calling Kirkland's bonus structure non-lockstep is just descriptively accurately.

Going one way or the other is a deliberate choice. It extends to how partners are compensated, though obviously there's less public information about that. Firms can and do thrive using different setups, but Kirkland's definitely has a cultural impact - which I don't doubt many find a positive thing.


I'm the former K&E person from the last page. In my experience, people worked long hours because the firm was busy, and people just had to get their work done. Sure, there's some gunning for the best assignments and to work with the best partners, but the high number of hours just came with how much business the firm had, not any real choice by anyone to gun hard for it. The anon who posted first on this page of the thread is spot-on.

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Re: Are the Biglaw junior associate stories true?

Postby presh » Mon Apr 23, 2012 12:31 pm

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Last edited by presh on Sun Dec 27, 2015 11:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Are the Biglaw junior associate stories true?

Postby Kochel » Mon Apr 23, 2012 12:33 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
keg411 wrote:I know more than a handful of people in BigLaw, and K&E has a reputation of being a very, very intense place to work. I don't think that's wrong. It's a great firm, but there is a lot of pressure that comes with the free market, and even more when you throw non-lockstep on top of that.


This kind of thing implies that there are a lot of K&E attorneys trying to ratchet up their hours to increase their bonus in a "non-lockstep" fashion. I doubt that--the extra hours end up being an incredibly low hourly rate. Kirkland is a busy place, and they happen to give a large bonus to people who have to put in more hours--I'm not sure I would call that "non-lockstep."

And, personally, I picked Kirkland over other firms specifically for the intensity. I think Kirkland will give the best exit options because of its reputation--especially if I ended up needing to go to NYC.


I wonder how much "rep" matters. I worked in-house this past summer at a big company that is a desirable post-biglaw job and at least at this company all that matters is that you did biglaw at a known firm. No big-ups if you worked at Davis Polk or Paul Hastings or DLA Piper. They did say that there are a couple firms like Simpson and Cravath that catch their eye (not a ton of rhyme or reason why Davis isn't in that group, this was just spit-ballin' with an attorney who does hiring) but it's not like an auto-lock or anything like that just like a soft factor that is positive. I wonder if this is a common experience in-house and if other post-biglaw jobs care that much about the vault ranking of a firm.


Speaking for my in-house legal department, I'd guess that none of the lawyers here has a clue about Vault rankings. We've all got Biglaw backgrounds, so we know what firms are commonly viewed as prestigious. But what matters for us--and, I suspect, for many in-house groups--is the strength of a given Biglaw firm in our field. (It's not one that's dominated by NYC firms, though there are several that do play in our sandbox.) We know which firms have the biggest practices, we know the partners at those firms, and we know their working styles; so we'll have a good idea what to expect from a candidate hailing from one of those firms. Hypothetically speaking, if a Wachtell resume showed up our interest would probably be piqued, but we'd probably rank someone coming from one of the recognized firms in our field over that person. Rarely do we hire a lawyer who hasn't done Biglaw work in our field.

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Re: Are the Biglaw junior associate stories true?

Postby keg411 » Mon Apr 23, 2012 1:35 pm

thesealocust wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Kirkland is a busy place, and they happen to give a large bonus to people who have to put in more hours--I'm not sure I would call that "non-lockstep."


In this context the term lockstep is by definition bonuses based on solely class year. Calling Kirkland's bonus structure non-lockstep is just descriptively accurately.

Going one way or the other is a deliberate choice. It extends to how partners are compensated, though obviously there's less public information about that. Firms can and do thrive using different setups, but Kirkland's definitely has a cultural impact - which I don't doubt many find a positive thing.


That's basically what I was saying. Their structure has a certain kind of impact and attracts a certain kind of person (like the person described in the CB). Whether it's positive or negative depends on the individual. Obviously people who thrive in intense environments are going to excel at K&E.

Samara wrote:While we seem to still be getting great responses ITT, are "lifestyle" firms real or just places that are 2000 hour requirements instead of 2200?


I generally think they're the latter. Although there are certain firms that love to claim they are "lifestyle" places... I would take it with a grain of salt.

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Re: Are the Biglaw junior associate stories true?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Apr 23, 2012 8:32 pm

K&E anon here--

I'm not upset at casting K&E as an intense place, though I do think it's no more intense than Davis Polk, Simpson, Cravath, and S&C, and that it's not as intense as Wachtell.

I am a little miffed at keg casting the firm as some cut-throat environment where associates compete and fight for work so they can get higher bonuses. That's simply not the case. I really don't care whom he/she knows. I work there now and it's simply not true.

Regarding bonuses at K&E:

The amazing thing about K&E's bonuses is that it's been in place for a long time. It wasn't some reactionary implementation to a bad economy (like WilmerHale) and it's not some pitiful excuse for giving below market bonuses (like Orrick). The firm is genuinely interested in rewarding hard work at above market rates. The whole concept of rewarding based on merit is the lifeblood of the firm, and as been part of its culture for at least half a century, if not longer.

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Re: Are the Biglaw junior associate stories true?

Postby aPosseAdEsse » Tue Apr 24, 2012 12:28 am

Great stuff in here. I'm planning on primary market, big law lit, and getting a taste of it this summer. Thanks for the info.

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Re: Are the Biglaw junior associate stories true?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Apr 24, 2012 2:12 am

I encourage you all to read this, for the real deal:

--LinkRemoved--

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Re: Are the Biglaw junior associate stories true?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Apr 24, 2012 8:19 am

Anonymous User wrote:I encourage you all to read this, for the real deal:

--LinkRemoved--


wow interesting link... This post is scarily close to mapping out my life so far but really hope it doesn't end the same. I was telling myself I'd turn it around once I started working:

It started in high school for me, as seems to be the case for many of you. When I realized I could do papers at 1 am the night before they were due and still get A's, I started doing it all the time. Going to sleep late morphed into waking up early to finish homework right before going to school.

And then hey, look, it got me into an HYPS college. Now, I told myself - now is the time to buckle down and get serious. For a few months, I was able to get on top of my stuff - reading the material when it was assigned, outlining and writing essays well before they were due. All it took was one semester where I was time-crunched to pull me back into old habits. When I learned that - even at one of the world's best universities! - I could start writing papers mere hours before they were due and still get A's, I started doing it all the time. Every semester I would tell myself, "Ok, ,.,...,..,.,.,:,;,....,.,:,:,.,.,:,.,.:,:.,:.::,. . This is the semester when you finally get on top of your stuff and STAY on top of your stuff. No more last-minute paper-writing." But it never worked out that way; my procrastination only got worse. By the end of college, I would be starting 15-page papers 5 hours before they were due, figuring that, armed with a fully-packed bowl of weed, Adderall, and the adrenaline forced by an impending deadline, I could produce gold. And generally, it worked. But things were getting worse: my senior year, I started missing paper deadlines for the first time in my life. Of course, at HYPS, an email to the professor about "personal issues" usually gave you a penalty-free extension. No harm, no foul. And I never learned my lesson.

Law school was going to be different. My UG GPA was worse than it could have been because of my procrastination (all those A-'s that could have been A's had I not started studying hours before the final...). Like a lot of you, though, I work really well under time pressure, so I was able to ace the LSAT and get myself into a HYS law school. Now, I told myself - now is the time to turn things around. And for a time during 1L, I did. Reading the material on time, outlining early, studying early, even taking practice exams - I thought I had finally overcome my habits. But after 1L, things started to fall apart again. Having secured a V20 biglaw job, I began coasting. And it didn't stop.

Now I'm in biglaw. End of my first year. And the OP's description of an average work day sounds scarily close to mine.

Brothers, I've made it very far in life despite a terrible procrastination. But like many of you, I know that this isn't just the way that good thinkers work - it's a function of anxiety, stress, and a fear of having my work judged by others. And brothers, I'm dealing with enough all-nighters and sub-standard work products to know that that this can't go on. Brothers, this is no way to live.

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Re: Are the Biglaw junior associate stories true?

Postby TatNurner » Tue Apr 24, 2012 9:06 am

Anonymous User wrote:I encourage you all to read this, for the real deal:

--LinkRemoved--



For those associates who have posted ITT, can you comment on this? How realistic is what this guy is saying? Dunno whether he is trolling or not.

If this guy can get away with this (for the time being), does that mean that if you didnt actually slack and put in some respectable (but not excessive) effort things would keep chugging along?

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Re: Are the Biglaw junior associate stories true?

Postby jkpolk » Tue Apr 24, 2012 10:16 am

Anonymous User wrote:I encourage you all to read this, for the real deal:

--LinkRemoved--


This sounds like consulting or working in an office in general.

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Re: Are the Biglaw junior associate stories true?

Postby Renzo » Tue Apr 24, 2012 11:53 am

TatNurner wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I encourage you all to read this, for the real deal:

--LinkRemoved--



For those associates who have posted ITT, can you comment on this? How realistic is what this guy is saying? Dunno whether he is trolling or not.

If this guy can get away with this (for the time being), does that mean that if you didnt actually slack and put in some respectable (but not excessive) effort things would keep chugging along?


This exact topic came up at lunch with several junior associates once upon a time. The consensus was that if you really did not give a fuck, you could probably last most of a year doing almost no work whatsoever before they would outright fire you. But this doesn't mean you can put in moderate effort and "keep chugging"; essentially it means that if you know you are going to leave (one way or another), you could really milk it for a while.

Edit to add: the idea of flat-out fraudulent billing (which the XO poaster is endorsing) didn't come up. We assumed that while people might "pad" by not working quite as diligently as they could, the wouldn't balls-out make up hours.

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Re: Are the Biglaw junior associate stories true?

Postby loomy78 » Sun Jul 03, 2016 10:30 am

Should I go to law school if I already have a 9-5 70k job that I don't really enjoy but that's not too bad?

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Re: Are the Biglaw junior associate stories true?

Postby Capitol_Idea » Sun Jul 03, 2016 10:32 am

loomy78 wrote:Should I go to law school if I already have a 9-5 70k job that I don't really enjoy but that's not too bad?
Are you going to keep posting variations of this question in different threads until you get the answer you want to hear?

Let's cut to the chase: tell us what answer you want and then we'll talk at you and then you can go do whatever you were going to anywy

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Re: Are the Biglaw junior associate stories true?

Postby BizBro » Sun Jul 03, 2016 11:20 am

Capitol_Idea wrote:
loomy78 wrote:Should I go to law school if I already have a 9-5 70k job that I don't really enjoy but that's not too bad?
Are you going to keep posting variations of this question in different threads until you get the answer you want to hear?

Let's cut to the chase: tell us what answer you want and then we'll talk at you and then you can go do whatever you were going to anywy



Lol I was wondering who bumped this 4 year old thread. I gave up a 9-6 85k job to go to law school but most people should not go.

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loomy78
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Re: Are the Biglaw junior associate stories true?

Postby loomy78 » Sun Jul 03, 2016 11:27 am

BizBro wrote:
Capitol_Idea wrote:
loomy78 wrote:Should I go to law school if I already have a 9-5 70k job that I don't really enjoy but that's not too bad?
Are you going to keep posting variations of this question in different threads until you get the answer you want to hear?

Let's cut to the chase: tell us what answer you want and then we'll talk at you and then you can go do whatever you were going to anywy



Lol I was wondering who bumped this 4 year old thread. I gave up a 9-6 85k job to go to law school but most people should not go.


should you have gone?

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Re: Are the Biglaw junior associate stories true?

Postby Barack O'Drama » Sun Jul 03, 2016 12:06 pm

Capitol_Idea wrote:
loomy78 wrote:Should I go to law school if I already have a 9-5 70k job that I don't really enjoy but that's not too bad?
Are you going to keep posting variations of this question in different threads until you get the answer you want to hear?

Let's cut to the chase: tell us what answer you want and then we'll talk at you and then you can go do whatever you were going to anywy


You should go to a coding bootcamp, that is the TLS CR.

I thought you made up your mind that you weren't going to law school based on what you had read on this thread? I don't think you should give up a 85k/yr job for the chance to be miserable. When I read threads like BernieTrumps that detail the miserable life of a corporate associate, I don't know how anyone could read that and then grapple with if they want to leave their job to do that.

I guess the simple question is: Do you want to be a lawyer? It is pretty obvious you don't and some other reason(s) is compelling you to keep asking until someone convinces you that you should. I guess it all depends on what those reasons are.

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Re: Are the Biglaw junior associate stories true?

Postby elendinel » Sun Jul 03, 2016 1:49 pm

loomy78 wrote:Should I go to law school if I already have a 9-5 70k job that I don't really enjoy but that's not too bad?


Sure, why not. You don't have to be a lawyer once you graduate if you don't want to.

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Re: Are the Biglaw junior associate stories true?

Postby BizBro » Sun Jul 03, 2016 1:55 pm

I pmed you. And yea, I consider law school a very expensive 3-year vacation honestly. But getting 35k for being a summer associate is definitely the best job one can ever hope to have.




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