Is BigLaw Like Law School?

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X_Soda
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Is BigLaw Like Law School?

Postby X_Soda » Thu May 10, 2012 9:07 pm

Is Big Law like law school in the sense that people say "Oh my god I have to work like 12 hours a day" when in reality they put in maybe 6 hours of disciplined work, with the rest distributed between Facebooking, complaining about work with colleagues, and staring off into space? And if so, is it acceptable to lie about your billable hours if you're putting in disciplined time with a work product that matches your colleagues' but the amount of hours you actually bill is far less?

Renzo
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Re: Is BigLaw Like Law School?

Postby Renzo » Thu May 10, 2012 9:18 pm

So, just to be clear, you are asking if fraud is OK because your law school classmates goof off in the library while they say they are studying?

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Big Shrimpin
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Re: Is BigLaw Like Law School?

Postby Big Shrimpin » Thu May 10, 2012 9:19 pm

X_Soda wrote:Is Big Law like law school in the sense that people say "Oh my god I have to work like 12 hours a day" when in reality they put in maybe 6 hours of disciplined work, with the rest distributed between Facebooking, complaining about work with colleagues, and staring off into space? And if so, is it acceptable to lie about your billable hours if you're putting in disciplined time with a work product that matches your colleagues' but the amount of hours you actually bill is far less?


Nope. And the latter portion of your poast is an ethical violation.

Renzo
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Re: Is BigLaw Like Law School?

Postby Renzo » Thu May 10, 2012 9:27 pm

Big Shrimpin wrote:
X_Soda wrote:Is Big Law like law school in the sense that people say "Oh my god I have to work like 12 hours a day" when in reality they put in maybe 6 hours of disciplined work, with the rest distributed between Facebooking, complaining about work with colleagues, and staring off into space? And if so, is it acceptable to lie about your billable hours if you're putting in disciplined time with a work product that matches your colleagues' but the amount of hours you actually bill is far less?


Nope. And the latter portion of your poast is an ethical violation.


And a crime, if anyone could ever prove it.

X_Soda
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Re: Is BigLaw Like Law School?

Postby X_Soda » Thu May 10, 2012 9:31 pm

So you're telling me the dudes that can only manage to pay 15 minutes at a time of attention to their case books suddenly morph into disciplined monks that can run through 10 straight hours of document review?

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Big Shrimpin
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Re: Is BigLaw Like Law School?

Postby Big Shrimpin » Thu May 10, 2012 9:40 pm

X_Soda wrote:So you're telling me the dudes that can only manage to pay 15 minutes at a time of attention to their case books suddenly morph into disciplined monks that can run through 10 straight hours of document review?


If you do that shit, you'll either get canned or in trouble with the bar/authorities. Also, you don't necessarily have to do law school work to do well in law school, and if you don't do your work, nobody fires you from law school, nor slaps you with a malpractice suit. People who don't care enough to do the job well will either quit after a year or get fired.

X_Soda
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Re: Is BigLaw Like Law School?

Postby X_Soda » Thu May 10, 2012 9:46 pm

Okay, but realistically, how much Facebook time is included per billable hour. Cuz I know it ain't zero.

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Big Shrimpin
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Re: Is BigLaw Like Law School?

Postby Big Shrimpin » Thu May 10, 2012 9:51 pm

X_Soda wrote:Okay, but realistically, how much Facebook time is included per billable hour. Cuz I know it ain't zero.


A hot second or two, especially during coffee breaks. But don't bill it. The volume of work will incentivize you to minimize your at-work diversions in favor of maximizing time for after-work activities/models and bottles.

X_Soda
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Re: Is BigLaw Like Law School?

Postby X_Soda » Thu May 10, 2012 9:53 pm

Damn, so cats really are serious about making a billable hour a true hour? I was under the impression that 10 minutes or so may have been discretely sliding off of each hour.

shoeshine
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Re: Is BigLaw Like Law School?

Postby shoeshine » Thu May 10, 2012 9:54 pm

X_Soda wrote:Damn, so cats really are serious about making a billable hour a true hour? I was under the impression that 10 minutes or so may have been discretely sliding off of each hour.

Yeah except you bill in 15 or 6 minute increments so that FB surfing may happen you just don't bill it.

Anonymous User
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Re: Is BigLaw Like Law School?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu May 10, 2012 10:19 pm

Big Shrimpin wrote:
X_Soda wrote:Okay, but realistically, how much Facebook time is included per billable hour. Cuz I know it ain't zero.


A hot second or two, especially during coffee breaks. But don't bill it. The volume of work will incentivize you to minimize your at-work diversions in favor of maximizing time for after-work activities/models and bottles.


can guarantee you that no one is this anal about billing time. i know people who ball park their times at the end of the day, or worse at the end of the week. you really think everyone is sitting there recording every 6 minute increment of their entire day. that would drive a normal person crazy. not saying people dont - there are plenty who do. but i guarantee you not everyone is that disciplined.

and op's observation is partly true. there is a lot of dicking around going on during the day. for one thing, no one starts working until 10am, regardless if you stayed late the day before. and plenty of people like to dick around all morning and really only start work in the afternoon and then stay in the office all night.

unfortunately OP unlike law school, you will be working in teams. so you cant just say, hey i'll come in at 7am, work 12 hours and leave the office at 7pm. for one thing the work is too sporatic. you won't know exactly what needs to be done days in advance. but what makes it worse is that because everyone else likes to dick around all day, and since you work in teams, you are at the mercy of these people's schedule. you get to the office at 7am to get a head start, except no one else is there. and a lot of law involves waiting around for people to get back to you (whether its partners or clients). and believe me, no one will get back to you at 8 oclock in the morning. most likely they will get back to you late afternoon, killing your evening. as you can see, due to the nature of the work itself, as well as the culture of working with a bunch of procrastinators, biglaw will involve a lot of useless stress, but unlike law school you can't really do anything about it. thats why a lot of people leave - it's not the sole number of hours per se thats crushing, its the incredible needless inefficiency with which a law firm runs.

X_Soda
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Re: Is BigLaw Like Law School?

Postby X_Soda » Thu May 10, 2012 10:35 pm

Ah, that is more in line with what I expected. I did not, however, realize that everything was so team/response dependent. That is a serious downer. Sounds utterly miserable in fact. Crazy workloads I can learn to deal with, but when I need to wait around on others just to get things done, and those others seem to be perfectly content with whittling their time away in some sterile office, the caged bird starts to sing....

lawschoolftw
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Re: Is BigLaw Like Law School?

Postby lawschoolftw » Thu May 10, 2012 10:38 pm

Big Shrimpin wrote:
X_Soda wrote:Okay, but realistically, how much Facebook time is included per billable hour. Cuz I know it ain't zero.


A hot second or two, especially during coffee breaks. But don't bill it. The volume of work will incentivize you to minimize your at-work diversions in favor of maximizing time for after-work activities/models and bottles.



THIS, started working midlaw recently, i am the ultimate facebooker, gchatter during class, and the only time i checked fb was during lunch breaks. crazy what a deadline will do to someone.

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Big Shrimpin
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Re: Is BigLaw Like Law School?

Postby Big Shrimpin » Thu May 10, 2012 10:42 pm

@anon above: my poast was mostly sarcasm with the anal-ness of billing, but the general idea has been my experience. Certainly, few would like use a stopwatch, but many are diligent about their hours.

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Re: Is BigLaw Like Law School?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu May 10, 2012 10:47 pm

OP's tone may justifiably be rubbing some people the wrong way, but his question is not an unreasonable one. And while no one should condone fraud, the self-righteousness in this thread is a bit much.

So you're telling me the dudes that can only manage to pay 15 minutes at a time of attention to their case books suddenly morph into disciplined monks that can run through 10 straight hours of document review?


Seriously. Especially given the generational attention deficit issues (study after study has shown that we can't stick to one thing for very long), I too find this hard to believe. Billing occurs in 6 minutes increments. I have a very hard time believing that someone who blocked out 2-3 hours of legal research and fucked around on FB for a 10 mins block in the middle of it is billing that break.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Thu May 10, 2012 10:52 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Is BigLaw Like Law School?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu May 10, 2012 10:49 pm

X_Soda wrote:Ah, that is more in line with what I expected. I did not, however, realize that everything was so team/response dependent. That is a serious downer. Sounds utterly miserable in fact. Crazy workloads I can learn to deal with, but when I need to wait around on others just to get things done, and those others seem to be perfectly content with whittling their time away in some sterile office, the caged bird starts to sing....


I was told that my firm monitored Internet traffics. Thus, I did not dare to surf or visited facebook with my firm laptop or BB. Not sure how others could actually browse the Internet on their firm laptop.

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Re: Is BigLaw Like Law School?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu May 10, 2012 10:56 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
X_Soda wrote:Ah, that is more in line with what I expected. I did not, however, realize that everything was so team/response dependent. That is a serious downer. Sounds utterly miserable in fact. Crazy workloads I can learn to deal with, but when I need to wait around on others just to get things done, and those others seem to be perfectly content with whittling their time away in some sterile office, the caged bird starts to sing....


I was told that my firm monitored Internet traffics. Thus, I did not dare to surf or visited facebook with my firm laptop or BB. Not sure how others could actually browse the Internet on their firm laptop.

Nowadays, in the age of smartphones and tablets, even the fear of internet use monitoring is no longer sufficient to keep people away from the web.

All workplaces claim to monitor internet traffic. I've surfed liberally at work for years and never got in trouble for it. Though you're not supposed to use company resources for personal stuff, it's been my experience that as long as you do your work, no one gives shit. Of course, I never worked at a place where I billed my time.

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roaringeagle
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Re: Is BigLaw Like Law School?

Postby roaringeagle » Thu May 10, 2012 11:01 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Big Shrimpin wrote:
X_Soda wrote:Okay, but realistically, how much Facebook time is included per billable hour. Cuz I know it ain't zero.


A hot second or two, especially during coffee breaks. But don't bill it. The volume of work will incentivize you to minimize your at-work diversions in favor of maximizing time for after-work activities/models and bottles.


can guarantee you that no one is this anal about billing time. i know people who ball park their times at the end of the day, or worse at the end of the week. you really think everyone is sitting there recording every 6 minute increment of their entire day. that would drive a normal person crazy. not saying people dont - there are plenty who do. but i guarantee you not everyone is that disciplined.

and op's observation is partly true. there is a lot of dicking around going on during the day. for one thing, no one starts working until 10am, regardless if you stayed late the day before. and plenty of people like to dick around all morning and really only start work in the afternoon and then stay in the office all night.

unfortunately OP unlike law school, you will be working in teams. so you cant just say, hey i'll come in at 7am, work 12 hours and leave the office at 7pm. for one thing the work is too sporatic. you won't know exactly what needs to be done days in advance. but what makes it worse is that because everyone else likes to dick around all day, and since you work in teams, you are at the mercy of these people's schedule. you get to the office at 7am to get a head start, except no one else is there. and a lot of law involves waiting around for people to get back to you (whether its partners or clients). and believe me, no one will get back to you at 8 oclock in the morning. most likely they will get back to you late afternoon, killing your evening. as you can see, due to the nature of the work itself, as well as the culture of working with a bunch of procrastinators, biglaw will involve a lot of useless stress, but unlike law school you can't really do anything about it. thats why a lot of people leave - it's not the sole number of hours per se thats crushing, its the incredible needless inefficiency with which a law firm runs.


Why does this post remind me of the hungover blonde adviser dude in the Hunger Games?


Ah. blunt and jaded.

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TTTLS
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Re: Is BigLaw Like Law School?

Postby TTTLS » Thu May 10, 2012 11:49 pm

:|

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Re: Is BigLaw Like Law School?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri May 11, 2012 12:19 am

Take this with a grain of salt, but as a secretary for a V100 firm, my activity was constantly monitored. I would assume the same is done for actual attorneys. And the attorneys that I worked for were always busy. Or researching. Granted, I predominantly worked in the litigation department so I know more of that culture, but if you are planning to work for a law firm, assume no Facebook time. And seriously, what person legitimately needs to be that hooked to social media? I would just look at a local newspaper for media headlines. Everything else, done at lunch or done while commuting.

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kalvano
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Re: Is BigLaw Like Law School?

Postby kalvano » Fri May 11, 2012 12:37 am

In law school, if you screw off, you don't know the answer if you get called on in class. In the really real world, if you screw off, you miss deadlines or billables and lose your $13K a month job and have to explain that in every job interview you go on after getting fired.

So yeah, people tend to take it a little more seriously.

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sunynp
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Re: Is BigLaw Like Law School?

Postby sunynp » Fri May 11, 2012 12:41 am

X_Soda wrote:Is Big Law like law school in the sense that people say "Oh my god I have to work like 12 hours a day" when in reality they put in maybe 6 hours of disciplined work, with the rest distributed between Facebooking, complaining about work with colleagues, and staring off into space? And if so, is it acceptable to lie about your billable hours if you're putting in disciplined time with a work product that matches your colleagues' but the amount of hours you actually bill is far less?

No. And, No.

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NoleinNY
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Re: Is BigLaw Like Law School?

Postby NoleinNY » Fri May 11, 2012 12:54 am

Flame? No living thing that has the cognitive capability to effectively operate a keyboard to convey English language words can be this dense.

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kalvano
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Re: Is BigLaw Like Law School?

Postby kalvano » Fri May 11, 2012 12:56 am

NoleinNY wrote:Flame? No living thing that has the cognitive capability to effectively operate a keyboard to convey English language words can be this dense.


Philosopher King.

X_Soda
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Re: Is BigLaw Like Law School?

Postby X_Soda » Fri May 11, 2012 1:56 am

NoleinNY wrote:Flame? No living thing that has the cognitive capability to effectively operate a keyboard to convey English language words can be this dense.


Yet a number of people in this thread have confirmed my suspicion -- that there is more to a billable hour than a billable hour, that people do not suddenly shift from the slackers that 90% of us were in law school to perfectly focused gurus of doc review. My tone was intentionally a bit inflammatory, and of course if I were to actually flub my hours a bit by ignoring facebook breaks I would call it by a name other than "lying." But let's drop the cheesy righteousness crap and get real here -- the point of this thread was to see if billable hours were really as devoid of distraction time as people make them out to be. The evidence is leaning toward NO.




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