Guess I don't like the law.

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Guess I don't like the law.

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jul 23, 2012 11:04 pm

My SA at a V10 bores the hell out of me. Yes, the work is "high-level." Sure, it's fun and strange to read about clients in the Times. But, I don't think the kick that either of those things occasionally provides is enough to keep me interested for very long. I hate staring at a screen and sitting in a chair all day, every day, especially when I'm reading about yet another board of directors. This summer has really put me through a mental wringer - I have thought, for my whole life, that the desire to succeed, to be the best at something, would drive me forever, but I feel like that rope has run out. I don't care about being the best at anything anymore. I just want to be happy.

The people I work with are brilliant and engaging, but so many of them are unhappy. Several of the associates that I really clicked with have departed the firm during my time here. The other day, after lunch, an associate cornered me in the elevator and said "this is your last chance to get out" without a shred of humor. I tell myself that it would only be for a few years, and then I'd be able to do anything, but man, those years will be the last of my twenties - and does being able to do "anything" just mean being able to do more law?

Obviously this is a story we are all familiar with. More pie. I feel like a fool, because I agonized over the decision to come to law school in the first place, and felt (mostly) good about my choice until now. I know I am very lucky that I did well enough to be gainfully employed, but here I am, realizing that I might have made an awful mistake. Should I drop out? What do I do?

Oh, yeah, I have a "degree" in political science and a $200k debt load. Cue the derision - I know, I know.

(Anon because some classmates know my username.)

jd20132013
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Re: Guess I don't like the law.

Postby jd20132013 » Mon Jul 23, 2012 11:05 pm

"Several of the associates that I really clicked with have departed the firm during my time here. "

wait, you mean during your 8 weeks at the firm several associates have left?

estopped
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Re: Guess I don't like the law.

Postby estopped » Mon Jul 23, 2012 11:08 pm

Pay off your debts, go in-house, work 8-5 and profit. I have an in-house internship now, and those lawyers have a very sweet gig. Everyone is so friendly and happy all the time, the work is interesting, and the hallway lights in the office are out by 6. It's too late to turn back now, but you can still take control!

kaiser
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Re: Guess I don't like the law.

Postby kaiser » Mon Jul 23, 2012 11:12 pm

Maybe there are certain practice areas that would better suit your interests that you haven't had a chance to try out? Or maybe this firm just happens to have a particularly bad environment? Sounds like the firm has high turnover, which usually means low satisfaction.

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Re: Guess I don't like the law.

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jul 23, 2012 11:13 pm

estopped wrote:Pay off your debts, go in-house, work 8-5 and profit. I have an in-house internship now, and those lawyers have a very sweet gig. Everyone is so friendly and happy all the time, the work is interesting, and the hallway lights in the office are out by 6. It's too late to turn back now, but you can still take control!


OP here. They tell me all the people who go in-house did corporate first. Is that true?

estopped
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Re: Guess I don't like the law.

Postby estopped » Mon Jul 23, 2012 11:52 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
estopped wrote:Pay off your debts, go in-house, work 8-5 and profit. I have an in-house internship now, and those lawyers have a very sweet gig. Everyone is so friendly and happy all the time, the work is interesting, and the hallway lights in the office are out by 6. It's too late to turn back now, but you can still take control!


OP here. They tell me all the people who go in-house did corporate first. Is that true?


Yes. Only a very, very few corporations hire directly from law school. Ideal is 3-4 years of corporate, then you can lateral into an in-house position. You would probably find it more interesting because you are pretty much not sticking to only one field of law but just doing what the business needs at that moment. All of the really complicated stuff you would get outside counsel for.

A lot of the attorneys I'm working with are even doing different fields than what they have experience in from their law firm days. A big part of it is that you need to know the workings of a law firm and be able to make sure they aren't overcharging you and are doing quality work.

It's certainly a much happier job than biglaw from what I can tell.

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Re: Guess I don't like the law.

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 24, 2012 12:01 am

jd20132013 wrote:"Several of the associates that I really clicked with have departed the firm during my time here. "

wait, you mean during your 8 weeks at the firm several associates have left?


Associates come and go at Big Law very often. I'd say I've gotten about 5-10 departure notices (firm-wide), and 5-10 lateral hires over the course of the summer.

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sunynp
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Re: Guess I don't like the law.

Postby sunynp » Tue Jul 24, 2012 12:02 am

Holy fuck you owe a fortune. Suck it up and be glad you have a job that will let you get out from under that debt fast. Usually I try to be supportive, but you have dug yourself into a mess here. Did you find out anything about biglaw and the hours, pressure and workload before you went to school? What work did you do before law school?

Maybe try to be happy that you have this job - work on your attitude. You need this job stop wishing for something else.

mvpforme
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Re: Guess I don't like the law.

Postby mvpforme » Tue Jul 24, 2012 12:05 am

estopped wrote:Yes. Only a very, very few corporations hire directly from law school. Ideal is 3-4 years of corporate, then you can lateral into an in-house position.


Is litigation--->in-house difficult?

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99.9luft
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Re: Guess I don't like the law.

Postby 99.9luft » Tue Jul 24, 2012 12:06 am

I say

1. live frugally, pay off the debt
2. quit after 3-5 years or go in house
3. enjoy better life

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Borg
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Re: Guess I don't like the law.

Postby Borg » Tue Jul 24, 2012 12:14 am

There's a reason that every year these V10s can take another 150 associates in their summer classes. It generally sucks working at a firm like that. That said, there are other large firms where people are really happy. The one I worked at last summer was an awesome place to be, and if I hadn't chosen to go into banking instead I would have been very happy to go back and work there. There are plenty of happy people in firms and in corporate legal departments, don't despair.

I think that during the next year of school you should check out from the grades etc. a little bit. Try not to LP or B- or get whatever stupid numerical thing indicates a bad grade at Chicago, but don't be afraid to sacrifice some grades if you can productively use the time to find something else you like more. Take as many classes as you possibly can in the business school, get an internship in an unrelated field, and do some real soul searching about what career you think would be right. Your mistake to begin with was letting yourself be railroaded by someone else's idea of success, so find a way to get the train off the track. Another year of obsessive grade whoring and panic won't help you. Searching for what makes you happy will.

EDIT: Should mention that I think you should obviously accept an offer if this firm gives you one, as you need something. Doing what I argue you should do in the paragraph above will hopefully give you an idea of a place to jump to after getting your debt under control, but I don't advocate abandoning an offer at a good firm.
Last edited by Borg on Tue Jul 24, 2012 12:48 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Bildungsroman
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Re: Guess I don't like the law.

Postby Bildungsroman » Tue Jul 24, 2012 12:14 am

99.9luft wrote:I say

1. live frugally, pay off the debt
2. quit after 3-5 years or go in house
3. enjoy better life

Bad 0L. Scat!

estopped
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Re: Guess I don't like the law.

Postby estopped » Tue Jul 24, 2012 12:22 am

mvpforme wrote:
estopped wrote:Yes. Only a very, very few corporations hire directly from law school. Ideal is 3-4 years of corporate, then you can lateral into an in-house position.


Is litigation--->in-house difficult?


I can only speak about where I'm interning. We have in-house litigation associates that generally came from V20 firms. They handle most of the litigation themselves, even at the appellate level.

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thesealocust
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Re: Guess I don't like the law.

Postby thesealocust » Tue Jul 24, 2012 12:27 am

jd20132013 wrote:"Several of the associates that I really clicked with have departed the firm during my time here. "

wait, you mean during your 8 weeks at the firm several associates have left?


Many V10s hire ~100 SAs every summer. There are 52 weeks per year. Most V10s stay at a relatively constant size.

QED, most V10s have ~1 or 2 attorneys depart per week.

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Shooter
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Re: Guess I don't like the law.

Postby Shooter » Tue Jul 24, 2012 12:31 am

Bildungsroman wrote:
99.9luft wrote:I say

1. live frugally, pay off the debt
2. quit after 3-5 years or go in house
3. enjoy better life

Bad 0L. Scat!


What about this plan screams 0L? Genuinely curious.

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99.9luft
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Re: Guess I don't like the law.

Postby 99.9luft » Tue Jul 24, 2012 12:51 am

Shooter wrote:
Bildungsroman wrote:
99.9luft wrote:I say

1. live frugally, pay off the debt
2. quit after 3-5 years or go in house
3. enjoy better life

Bad 0L. Scat!


What about this plan screams 0L? Genuinely curious.


I am all ears, too. What is your recommendation to the OP?

Anonymous User
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Re: Guess I don't like the law.

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 24, 2012 12:53 am

thesealocust wrote:
jd20132013 wrote:"Several of the associates that I really clicked with have departed the firm during my time here. "

wait, you mean during your 8 weeks at the firm several associates have left?


Many V10s hire ~100 SAs every summer. There are 52 weeks per year. Most V10s stay at a relatively constant size.

QED, most V10s have ~1 or 2 attorneys depart per week.


This. I know several associates and other SAs who work at or have worked at places where leaving was basically a weekly occurrence.

@OP: If you have a problem with sitting in a chair and staring at a screen most of the day then you have surely chosen the wrong profession. There really is no way around that. Even if you ended up with a much more intellectually stimulating legal job, you probably would not be able to fix that part. I think you highlight the essential issue with people chasing brass rings. You will likely never be the best at anything and just trying to constantly achieve that will leave you miserable.

It also sounds like you work at a place that is miserable. Working at a different firm will help you work with less unhappy (maybe not actually happy) people. FWIW, the associates at my firm seem genuinely happy with work for the most part and we have had very we people leave. That being said, my opinion is that you're essentially stuck with biglaw to pay off your debt. Maybe you value happiness over paying off your debt quickly, but I wouldn't. You can leave law or go in-house down the road, but I would at least suffer through biglaw to get out of the red. I mean if you really value your current happiness then go ahead and drop out, but I would forsake your current happiness to have more happiness down the road with less debt.

What do you mean your work is high level? From attorneys I've worked with and talked to, it seems that you are going to have to put in for a few years of drudgery if you want to end up with responsibility (whether you're doing corp or lit). After a while you might be able to do things like negotiate some of the smaller reps on a merger agreement (or something similar), but you aren't going to start there. Do you think that the stuff that more senior associates do is interesting?

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Ruxin1
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Re: Guess I don't like the law.

Postby Ruxin1 » Tue Jul 24, 2012 12:54 am

99.9luft wrote:
Shooter wrote:
Bildungsroman wrote:
99.9luft wrote:I say

1. live frugally, pay off the debt
2. quit after 3-5 years or go in house
3. enjoy better life

Bad 0L. Scat!


What about this plan screams 0L? Genuinely curious.


I am all ears, too. What is your recommendation to the OP?


Your not supposed to post in employment forum as an 0L, that's what he meant

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5ky
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Re: Guess I don't like the law.

Postby 5ky » Tue Jul 24, 2012 12:56 am

99.9luft wrote:
Shooter wrote:
Bildungsroman wrote:
99.9luft wrote:I say

1. live frugally, pay off the debt
2. quit after 3-5 years or go in house
3. enjoy better life

Bad 0L. Scat!


What about this plan screams 0L? Genuinely curious.


I am all ears, too. What is your recommendation to the OP?


The point is that people don't really want advice from 0Ls, who have no real conception with what they are talking about. See this: http://top-law-schools.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=189981.

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99.9luft
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Re: Guess I don't like the law.

Postby 99.9luft » Tue Jul 24, 2012 12:57 am

Ruxin1 wrote:Your not supposed to post in employment forum as an 0L, that's what he meant


ooooh. Fail on my part, then. Thanks! Ironically, I have quite a few LS friends in the same shoes as the OP, so my comments weren't completely out of my ass. Anyway, I shall leave now. :D

OP, best of luck!

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kwais
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Re: Guess I don't like the law.

Postby kwais » Tue Jul 24, 2012 1:06 am

Eh, maybe 0Ls shouldn't post in the employment forum, probably a good rule. But really, the same people who jump down throats for 0L would probably get laughed out of town by a 5th or 10th year lawyer. I mean, a kid who has done 10 weeks of legal work barking at a kid who has done none for not knowing what he is talking about? Come on. It's just how some posters feel important.

News flash: there are many 0Ls out there with more authority to talk about life choices than some K-JD 2L who happens to have completed an SA. But alas, some people cling to status anywhere they can get it.

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bk1
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Re: Guess I don't like the law.

Postby bk1 » Tue Jul 24, 2012 1:08 am

There's a Q&A thread if you wish to talk to the mods about the merits of the "no 0Ls in the law student forums" rule. This is not the thread for that so if you're not posting on topic then don't post here.

shock259
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Re: Guess I don't like the law.

Postby shock259 » Tue Jul 24, 2012 1:10 am

This is my mortal fear.

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dood
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Re: Guess I don't like the law.

Postby dood » Tue Jul 24, 2012 1:41 am

u should do what u like, bc life is short. steve jobs explains it well:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D1R-jKKp3NA

i have so many personal examples of this working out beyond anyones wildest dreams, but not enough time to explain because i have to take the bar tomorrow so i gotta get off internet and to sleep. but bro, always, always do whatever the fuck u want...dont let $ or debt get in the way of happiness/life satisfaction.

good luck.

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cinephile
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Re: Guess I don't like the law.

Postby cinephile » Tue Jul 24, 2012 2:38 am

Everyone here mentions working at your current firm to pay off the debt before going in-house, but if you don't like the work -- not just the hours or the atmosphere of where you're working, but the actual work -- then why not start over and look into other careers after you've paid off your debt?




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