V10 Midlevel Associate. Taking Questions.

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Re: V10 Midlevel Associate. Taking Questions.

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Dec 10, 2012 9:47 am

V10 anon.
M458 wrote:Thank you very much for taking time to answer these questions. I'm also an 0L in the same situation--Mexican without a green card/citizenship but who went to undergrad here and will likely be attending a T-14.

Might the reason the majority of foreign employees are Canadian be due to the ease of getting a TN Visa? Since Mexicans and Canadians qualify for this Visa and it's a lot easier to acquire (it's a very minimal expense and a very quick process--just need a letter from employer) than the typical H1-B, I think that could possibly explain it. At least, I'm hoping that'll give me an advantage over other foreign students looking for BigLaw jobs.
This definitely makes sense and would explain why Canadians seem to have a much easier time of getting hired by big law firms. Based on your easier visa situation, you probably will have an advantage over other foreign students. The fewer obstacles a firm that wants to hire you faces, the more likely you are to get hired (and I would say that holds true for employers in general).

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Re: V10 Midlevel Associate. Taking Questions.

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Dec 10, 2012 10:28 am

V10 anon.
Lincoln wrote:I think the non-citizen, non-green card questions are very valid concerns, but they are better moved to a separate thread at this point. They are derailing and clogging this thread a bit (and are difficult to read because at least one person don't know how to use the the quote function), V10 anon has stated his/her opinion, and other people who are or were in this situation are likely to have more detailed answers to this questions anyway.
I agree with you somewhat, but:

1. I am here to answer anyone's big law-related questions, so I don't mind foreign JDs and would-be JDs asking as many questions as they have. I am not here to debate with people whose experiences supposedly differ from mine, however, so I do mind attempts to engage me in arguments and ask those who want to argue to start their own threads.

2. I am here to post responsibly, not to lead people astray or give false hope. You are about as likely to see foreign students with middling grades, no exceptional qualifications, and no connections being extended permanent offers in big law as you are to see pudgy, short-legged, bottom-heavy people winning olympic sprinting events. It would be irresponsible of me to hold myself out as a source of trustworthy, experience-based advice and then encourage people to plan to be exceptions to clear rules. If the exceptions want to hold themselves out as the norm, however, all I ask that they start their own threads.

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Re: V10 Midlevel Associate. Taking Questions.

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 03, 2013 7:11 pm

V10 anon,
Thanks for the Career Warfare book recommendation. Quick Christmas Break read that I really enjoyed. In your experience, how many of your peers "get it", in terms of approaching their careers in the ways that are outlined in the book?

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Re: V10 Midlevel Associate. Taking Questions.

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jan 04, 2013 12:56 pm

V10 anon,
Appreciate the help your throwing our way. Federal clerkships are universally recommended at my school by professors and the career office. While they seem prestigious and competitive, im wondering if clerkships are worth the effort and time if one's ambitions are fixed on biglaw and then in-house or PI later on down the road. For certain career paths (academic, judges, etc) they seem invaluable, but any input you can give on the benefits of clerkships in regards to biglaw (either in the hiring stage or once your at the firm) would be crucial to this 1L wondering if he should invest the time and energy in the clerkship hunt.

Thanks again for taking the time to do this!

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Re: V10 Midlevel Associate. Taking Questions.

Postby Torney12 » Wed Jan 09, 2013 11:02 am

V10 anon here.
Anonymous User wrote:V10 anon,
Thanks for the Career Warfare book recommendation. Quick Christmas Break read that I really enjoyed. In your experience, how many of your peers "get it", in terms of approaching their careers in the ways that are outlined in the book?

You're very welcome. Career Warfare is one of the few books that I read early on and can say today was 100% right. I haven't the slightest idea how many of my peers "get it." Some of the craftiest operators register on hardly anyone's radar until it's time to get promoted. Judging from the blunders people keep making, however, I'd say that the majority are academically and even socially smart, but politically dense as hell. But who knows - maybe they have some master plan I'm not privy to. I'm sure some people are baffled by some of my moves. All I care about is making sure that I get it and continue to refine my understanding of what it is to get it so that I can run my agenda, instead of falling prey to someone else's.

Aside: Torney12 is my username. I thought I'd use it for things other than this thread, hence why I started the thread as Anon. I am going public now though. Also, whether I was a "midlevel" was questionable when I made this thread, but nowadays, I'm firmly in the "senior" associate category.

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Re: V10 Midlevel Associate. Taking Questions.

Postby Torney12 » Wed Jan 09, 2013 11:26 am

V10 anon here.
Anonymous User wrote:V10 anon,
Appreciate the help your throwing our way. Federal clerkships are universally recommended at my school by professors and the career office. While they seem prestigious and competitive, im wondering if clerkships are worth the effort and time if one's ambitions are fixed on biglaw and then in-house or PI later on down the road. For certain career paths (academic, judges, etc) they seem invaluable, but any input you can give on the benefits of clerkships in regards to biglaw (either in the hiring stage or once your at the firm) would be crucial to this 1L wondering if he should invest the time and energy in the clerkship hunt.

Thanks again for taking the time to do this!

I cannot categorically advise you to pursue or avoid a clerkship. What do you see yourself doing in big law (and you really should wait until you get to big law to think you know this for sure)? A clerkship is invaluable for litigation not so much because you might learn something useful (you might not), but because litigators value clerkships highly because they have either clerked or wish they could have clerked. To a litigator, regardless of how much or how little you actually did and learned during your clerkship, even if you are as dumb as a box of rocks and got your clerkship solely through nepotism, a clerkship on your resume is a proxy for high intelligence, mastery of the law, connections to big shots, and incredible promise. If, however, you are planning to do M&A work, a clerkship is most likely a waste of time because (1) it will teach you nothing about that work and (2) higher ups will not value the clerkship all that much. Almost without exception, they will not have cared to clerk themselves even if their credentials were good enough. No one in corporate is going to be gushing over which judge you clerked for and secretly envying you. Better to pursue job experience in that scenario.

Another issue you should consider is timing. Sometimes, it is smarter to get job experience and then clerk. Not only do alums seem more competitive (from what I have seen, the clerkships they get tend to be better with lower stats), but it will be easier to land a post-clerkship job if you have some applicable pre-clerkship experience. When the economy is good, virtually all clerks get jobs. As we learned in 2008 and 2009, however, when the economy is doing poorly, clerks suffer too. Back then, a good number of clerks who went straight through without working were left jobless because firms rescinded offers and sharply decreased hiring and the govt, too, restricted or froze hiring. Clerks who had pre-clerkship work experience had a much easier time finding jobs and were less likely to have their offers rescinded because they had built real connections (not frivolous summer connections) at their firms. You can hope that the economy will continue to improve and that clerks will never again have to worry about employment, but one cannot count on such things.

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Re: V10 Midlevel Associate. Taking Questions.

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jan 09, 2013 3:48 pm

Anonymous User wrote:V10 anon here.

In dealing with pre-law students, law students, and new associates, I am always surprised by the naivete and outright denial a lot of people are in about the nature of big law. I came across the following article today and I had to share it with this forum because its depiction of big law is accurate and frank:

--LinkRemoved--

In fact, virtually all the articles on this blog (written by a former Sullivan & Cromwell associate and federal clerk turned psychotherapist) are sadly accurate. I have done quite well in big law and have no intention of leaving big law any time soon, but I believe I was able to carve out a life for myself and find happiness because I arrived here with my eyes wide open.


This article should be posted everywhere on TLS more.

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Re: V10 Midlevel Associate. Taking Questions.

Postby 5ky » Wed Jan 09, 2013 4:03 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:V10 anon here.

In dealing with pre-law students, law students, and new associates, I am always surprised by the naivete and outright denial a lot of people are in about the nature of big law. I came across the following article today and I had to share it with this forum because its depiction of big law is accurate and frank:

--LinkRemoved--

In fact, virtually all the articles on this blog (written by a former Sullivan & Cromwell associate and federal clerk turned psychotherapist) are sadly accurate. I have done quite well in big law and have no intention of leaving big law any time soon, but I believe I was able to carve out a life for myself and find happiness because I arrived here with my eyes wide open.


This article should be posted everywhere on TLS more.


Man, that bro sure seems to hate Mitt Romney a lot, for some reason.

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Re: V10 Midlevel Associate. Taking Questions.

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jan 09, 2013 5:16 pm

Thanks for doing this thread! I work at a medium (under 100 attorneys) firm in NYC. It seems to me like people are happy, don't work too many weekends, and perform valuable work in interesting cases with high profile clients. First year associate salaries are around 150k. (before bonuses)

Is the salary difference really that big that biglaw is worth it? What are the exit options for someone wanting to go into PI if they start at a smaller firm and work there for a few years? Obviously this firm is not ranked by Vault or anything, but why is biglaw so preferred by graduating lawyers?

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Re: V10 Midlevel Associate. Taking Questions.

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jan 09, 2013 5:44 pm

V10 anon.
Anonymous User wrote:Thanks for doing this thread! I work at a medium (under 100 attorneys) firm in NYC. It seems to me like people are happy, don't work too many weekends, and perform valuable work in interesting cases with high profile clients. First year associate salaries are around 150k. (before bonuses)

Is the salary difference really that big that biglaw is worth it? What are the exit options for someone wanting to go into PI if they start at a smaller firm and work there for a few years? Obviously this firm is not ranked by Vault or anything, but why is biglaw so preferred by graduating lawyers?

The differences between big law and a medium firm aren't limited to just salary. Exit options, name recognition, the respect accorded to the name (and to you by association), and access to an often large and very accomplished network are some of the considerable advantages that big law provides over midlaw. Job security is also another advantage because smaller firms almost invariably feel any shift in the legal profession and economy sooner and harder than big law firms do. Access to the most high profile work and cases is yet another advantage. Even work that is boring and mundane in big law is often more high profile than the most high profile work that most smaller firms do. Compensation is also almost always far better in big law because your bonuses are probably not as big (even in this economy of stingy big law bonuses), your benefits and perks are probably not as good, and the gaps in salary will only increase over time from 10k to 20k to far more.

Does all of this make the stress and aggravation that big law involves worth it? I am not even sure how to go about measuring that. I can only say that a very strong case can be made that choosing big law over medium law is a sensible decision. I cannot speak to your exit options because I am not part of the midlaw, but I can say that my acquaintances at smaller firms have almost without exception faced much steeper drop-offs in compensation and much fewer options than my big law peers have.

Edit: This is torney12. Forgot to click regular quote.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Thu Jan 10, 2013 4:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: V10 Midlevel Associate. Taking Questions.

Postby westphillybandr » Thu Jan 10, 2013 3:16 am

What role do 1L summer experiences play in the interview process? Are legal yet non-traditional jobs viewed any differently? What do you look for in a 1L summer experience outside of general legal writing and researching?

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Re: V10 Midlevel Associate. Taking Questions.

Postby Torney12 » Thu Jan 10, 2013 4:07 pm

westphillybandr wrote:What role do 1L summer experiences play in the interview process? Are legal yet non-traditional jobs viewed any differently? What do you look for in a 1L summer experience outside of general legal writing and researching?
1. Your job experience is relevant. 2. Depends on what is non-traditional about the job, I suppose. 3. That's about it. No one expects you to be doing much during 1L summer except working a legal job.

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Re: V10 Midlevel Associate. Taking Questions.

Postby westphillybandr » Fri Jan 11, 2013 2:00 am

Torney12 wrote:
westphillybandr wrote:What role do 1L summer experiences play in the interview process? Are legal yet non-traditional jobs viewed any differently? What do you look for in a 1L summer experience outside of general legal writing and researching?
1. Your job experience is relevant. 2. Depends on what is non-traditional about the job, I suppose. 3. That's about it. No one expects you to be doing much during 1L summer except working a legal job.

Thank you for answering.

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Re: V10 Midlevel Associate. Taking Questions.

Postby Torney12 » Tue Jan 15, 2013 2:19 pm

westphillybandr wrote:
Torney12 wrote:
westphillybandr wrote:What role do 1L summer experiences play in the interview process? Are legal yet non-traditional jobs viewed any differently? What do you look for in a 1L summer experience outside of general legal writing and researching?
1. Your job experience is relevant. 2. Depends on what is non-traditional about the job, I suppose. 3. That's about it. No one expects you to be doing much during 1L summer except working a legal job.

Thank you for answering.

You're welcome. Apologies for the vague answers but your questions were quite vague and you did not provide any background info.

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Re: V10 Midlevel Associate. Taking Questions.

Postby Torney12 » Tue Jan 15, 2013 2:20 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:V10 anon here.

In dealing with pre-law students, law students, and new associates, I am always surprised by the naivete and outright denial a lot of people are in about the nature of big law. I came across the following article today and I had to share it with this forum because its depiction of big law is accurate and frank:

--LinkRemoved--

In fact, virtually all the articles on this blog (written by a former Sullivan & Cromwell associate and federal clerk turned psychotherapist) are sadly accurate. I have done quite well in big law and have no intention of leaving big law any time soon, but I believe I was able to carve out a life for myself and find happiness because I arrived here with my eyes wide open.


This article should be posted everywhere on TLS more.
I do agree, but I suspect it would fall on deaf ears (or blind eyes in this case).

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Re: V10 Midlevel Associate. Taking Questions.

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jan 15, 2013 5:10 pm

Hi v10 anon. Thanks so much for all of your help.

I'll be a summer associate this summer (2l) and was curious if you have any advice for avoiding the career-ruining no offer? Any thoughts on what makes a good SA vs a no-offerable SA? Anything you recommend brushing up on before the summer?

Thanks!!

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Re: V10 Midlevel Associate. Taking Questions.

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jan 16, 2013 9:05 pm

How's your health and that of fellow associates? Partners at my firm seem to be relatively unhealthy...cancer seems fairly prevalent.

Is adderall/ritalin usage rampant for those late nights? I've had a prescription for many years and have been needing to rely on it pretty regularly for those super late nights. Before starting work, I had significantly cut down my use of it because I don't like how it makes me feel. I'm not a fan of using it again... I feel like it can't be good for me. I'm curious whether this is pretty typical or whether other associates are just tough as nails and can swing 4 hours of sleep on a regular basis at times without performance enhancers.

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Re: V10 Midlevel Associate. Taking Questions.

Postby Torney12 » Thu Jan 17, 2013 2:26 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Hi v10 anon. Thanks so much for all of your help.

I'll be a summer associate this summer (2l) and was curious if you have any advice for avoiding the career-ruining no offer? Any thoughts on what makes a good SA vs a no-offerable SA? Anything you recommend brushing up on before the summer?

Thanks!!

I've already given detailed advice in this thread about how summers should conduct themselves and do work. Short answer is that you should be conservatively dressed (funny how many students think that the summer is one long fashion show - it is not and being noted for your fashion sense is often very bad even if you are truly fashionable), complaisant, hard working, and show that you are interested. As a general rule, there isn't anything I recommend brushing up on. Better to wait until you start the job, pay close attention to whatever you are asked to do, ask questions, and do a good job.

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Re: V10 Midlevel Associate. Taking Questions.

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 17, 2013 2:53 pm

Torney12/V10 anon here

Clicked Anon by accident.


Anonymous User wrote:How's your health and that of fellow associates? Partners at my firm seem to be relatively unhealthy...cancer seems fairly prevalent.

Is adderall/ritalin usage rampant for those late nights? I've had a prescription for many years and have been needing to rely on it pretty regularly for those super late nights. Before starting work, I had significantly cut down my use of it because I don't like how it makes me feel. I'm not a fan of using it again... I feel like it can't be good for me. I'm curious whether this is pretty typical or whether other associates are just tough as nails and can swing 4 hours of sleep on a regular basis at times without performance enhancers.
My health is excellent. I arrived in big law fully intending to survive this place intact and so far, I have. I do not smoke, do not use any drugs (prescription or otherwise), rarely drink alcohol, and almost never drink coffee. I have never in my life used adderall, ritalin, or any other "performance-enhancer." When I cannot sleep more than five hours in a night, I try to take cat naps throughout the day (I keep a pillow and blanket in my office.). My sole vice is food. I eat far too many sweets and have been known to comfort myself with a muffin upon receiving a distressing call from a partner or client, lol. My cholesterol/BP/triglycerides are either normal or excellent, however, and I am not medically or visually overweight.

Most of my colleagues, especially those who last more than three years (most emotionally healthy people leave quickly, honestly), do not live the way I do. Sleep deprivation is a problem, but I wouldn't say it is their biggest problem. Poorly managed stress is what will ruin your life if you let it. Take the usual overachiever's type A personality and multiply it by a constant fear of being sabotaged, scapegoated, lied on, railroaded, and fired. These people - including partners...especially partners - are constantly on high alert as if they are locked up in San Quentin and waiting to be shivved by a prisoner or executed. That sort of perpetual watchfulness and (sadly, justified) paranoia takes its toll very quickly. My colleagues not only eat too much, but also smoke, drink too much alcohol, drink too much coffee, and do legal and illegal substances. Many, if not most, of them are propped up by ill-advised mixes of anti-anxiety drugs, anti-depressants, anti-psychotics, sleeping pills, and stimulants. Many of them are overweight and I have long noticed that within a year of arriving at the firm, most associates gain 15-20 pounds. On top of all of this, many, if not most, of my colleagues make bad choices in who they date and marry. They choose significant others for their looks, wealth, connections and other reasons related to keeping up with the Joneses. As a result, they have no meaningful emotional support and no one to talk them down from the ledge when they are doing terrible things to themselves out of self-loathing, depression, and stress.

Big law is a mess and if it was my job to help the sorry people here, I wouldn't know where to start. The money and annual 10-15% pay increases are great, however, especially considering that ours may be a dying or at least rapidly declining profession.

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Re: V10 Midlevel Associate. Taking Questions.

Postby westphillybandr » Thu Jan 17, 2013 10:21 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Torney12/V10 anon here

Clicked Anon by accident.


Anonymous User wrote:How's your health and that of fellow associates? Partners at my firm seem to be relatively unhealthy...cancer seems fairly prevalent.

Is adderall/ritalin usage rampant for those late nights? I've had a prescription for many years and have been needing to rely on it pretty regularly for those super late nights. Before starting work, I had significantly cut down my use of it because I don't like how it makes me feel. I'm not a fan of using it again... I feel like it can't be good for me. I'm curious whether this is pretty typical or whether other associates are just tough as nails and can swing 4 hours of sleep on a regular basis at times without performance enhancers.
My health is excellent. I arrived in big law fully intending to survive this place intact and so far, I have. I do not smoke, do not use any drugs (prescription or otherwise), rarely drink alcohol, and almost never drink coffee. I have never in my life used adderall, ritalin, or any other "performance-enhancer." When I cannot sleep more than five hours in a night, I try to take cat naps throughout the day (I keep a pillow and blanket in my office.). My sole vice is food. I eat far too many sweets and have been known to comfort myself with a muffin upon receiving a distressing call from a partner or client, lol. My cholesterol/BP/triglycerides are either normal or excellent, however, and I am not medically or visually overweight.

Most of my colleagues, especially those who last more than three years (most emotionally healthy people leave quickly, honestly), do not live the way I do. Sleep deprivation is a problem, but I wouldn't say it is their biggest problem. Poorly managed stress is what will ruin your life if you let it. Take the usual overachiever's type A personality and multiply it by a constant fear of being sabotaged, scapegoated, lied on, railroaded, and fired. These people - including partners...especially partners - are constantly on high alert as if they are locked up in San Quentin and waiting to be shivved by a prisoner or executed. That sort of perpetual watchfulness and (sadly, justified) paranoia takes its toll very quickly. My colleagues not only eat too much, but also smoke, drink too much alcohol, drink too much coffee, and do legal and illegal substances. Many, if not most, of them are propped up by ill-advised mixes of anti-anxiety drugs, anti-depressants, anti-psychotics, sleeping pills, and stimulants. Many of them are overweight and I have long noticed that within a year of arriving at the firm, most associates gain 15-20 pounds. On top of all of this, many, if not most, of my colleagues make bad choices in who they date and marry. They choose significant others for their looks, wealth, connections and other reasons related to keeping up with the Joneses. As a result, they have no meaningful emotional support and no one to talk them down from the ledge when they are doing terrible things to themselves out of self-loathing, depression, and stress.

Big law is a mess and if it was my job to help the sorry people here, I wouldn't know where to start. The money and annual 10-15% pay increases are great, however, especially considering that ours may be a dying or at least rapidly declining profession.

What is your view as to why and how law is a declining profession?

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Re: V10 Midlevel Associate. Taking Questions.

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 17, 2013 10:54 pm

My health is excellent. I arrived in big law fully intending to survive this place intact and so far, I have. I do not smoke, do not use any drugs (prescription or otherwise), rarely drink alcohol, and almost never drink coffee. I have never in my life used adderall, ritalin, or any other "performance-enhancer." When I cannot sleep more than five hours in a night, I try to take cat naps throughout the day (I keep a pillow and blanket in my office.). My sole vice is food. I eat far too many sweets and have been known to comfort myself with a muffin upon receiving a distressing call from a partner or client, lol. My cholesterol/BP/triglycerides are either normal or excellent, however, and I am not medically or visually overweight.


Hello, V10 anon midlevel. I am a V10 anon junior. We are the same, and good to know there are others like us out there.

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Re: V10 Midlevel Associate. Taking Questions.

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 17, 2013 11:23 pm

Asked this question in another thread, but I wanted various perspectives:

I'm a current 3L. I have a job lined up. Many of my classes this semester are pass/no pass. In fact, I only have one regular graded class. Will this look bad? Will it limit my lateral opportunities? I have a pretty good GPA overall (at least top 25%), but I don't want this to hold me back.

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Re: V10 Midlevel Associate. Taking Questions.

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jan 18, 2013 10:56 am

Anonymous User wrote:Torney12/V10 anon here

Clicked Anon by accident.


Anonymous User wrote:How's your health and that of fellow associates? Partners at my firm seem to be relatively unhealthy...cancer seems fairly prevalent.

Is adderall/ritalin usage rampant for those late nights? I've had a prescription for many years and have been needing to rely on it pretty regularly for those super late nights. Before starting work, I had significantly cut down my use of it because I don't like how it makes me feel. I'm not a fan of using it again... I feel like it can't be good for me. I'm curious whether this is pretty typical or whether other associates are just tough as nails and can swing 4 hours of sleep on a regular basis at times without performance enhancers.
My health is excellent. I arrived in big law fully intending to survive this place intact and so far, I have. I do not smoke, do not use any drugs (prescription or otherwise), rarely drink alcohol, and almost never drink coffee. I have never in my life used adderall, ritalin, or any other "performance-enhancer." When I cannot sleep more than five hours in a night, I try to take cat naps throughout the day (I keep a pillow and blanket in my office.). My sole vice is food. I eat far too many sweets and have been known to comfort myself with a muffin upon receiving a distressing call from a partner or client, lol. My cholesterol/BP/triglycerides are either normal or excellent, however, and I am not medically or visually overweight.

Most of my colleagues, especially those who last more than three years (most emotionally healthy people leave quickly, honestly), do not live the way I do. Sleep deprivation is a problem, but I wouldn't say it is their biggest problem. Poorly managed stress is what will ruin your life if you let it. Take the usual overachiever's type A personality and multiply it by a constant fear of being sabotaged, scapegoated, lied on, railroaded, and fired. These people - including partners...especially partners - are constantly on high alert as if they are locked up in San Quentin and waiting to be shivved by a prisoner or executed. That sort of perpetual watchfulness and (sadly, justified) paranoia takes its toll very quickly. My colleagues not only eat too much, but also smoke, drink too much alcohol, drink too much coffee, and do legal and illegal substances. Many, if not most, of them are propped up by ill-advised mixes of anti-anxiety drugs, anti-depressants, anti-psychotics, sleeping pills, and stimulants. Many of them are overweight and I have long noticed that within a year of arriving at the firm, most associates gain 15-20 pounds. On top of all of this, many, if not most, of my colleagues make bad choices in who they date and marry. They choose significant others for their looks, wealth, connections and other reasons related to keeping up with the Joneses. As a result, they have no meaningful emotional support and no one to talk them down from the ledge when they are doing terrible things to themselves out of self-loathing, depression, and stress.

Big law is a mess and if it was my job to help the sorry people here, I wouldn't know where to start. The money and annual 10-15% pay increases are great, however, especially considering that ours may be a dying or at least rapidly declining profession.


Thanks for this. It might be the most insightful comment in the thread.

Do you feel pressured to keep up with the Joneses? Would it be a bad career move to not care about NYC wealth, prestigious schools for your kids, nice cars, etc. just in terms of personal branding and signalling?

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Re: V10 Midlevel Associate. Taking Questions.

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jan 19, 2013 3:57 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Torney12/V10 anon here

Clicked Anon by accident.


Anonymous User wrote:How's your health and that of fellow associates? Partners at my firm seem to be relatively unhealthy...cancer seems fairly prevalent.

Is adderall/ritalin usage rampant for those late nights? I've had a prescription for many years and have been needing to rely on it pretty regularly for those super late nights. Before starting work, I had significantly cut down my use of it because I don't like how it makes me feel. I'm not a fan of using it again... I feel like it can't be good for me. I'm curious whether this is pretty typical or whether other associates are just tough as nails and can swing 4 hours of sleep on a regular basis at times without performance enhancers.
My health is excellent. I arrived in big law fully intending to survive this place intact and so far, I have. I do not smoke, do not use any drugs (prescription or otherwise), rarely drink alcohol, and almost never drink coffee. I have never in my life used adderall, ritalin, or any other "performance-enhancer." When I cannot sleep more than five hours in a night, I try to take cat naps throughout the day (I keep a pillow and blanket in my office.). My sole vice is food. I eat far too many sweets and have been known to comfort myself with a muffin upon receiving a distressing call from a partner or client, lol. My cholesterol/BP/triglycerides are either normal or excellent, however, and I am not medically or visually overweight.

Most of my colleagues, especially those who last more than three years (most emotionally healthy people leave quickly, honestly), do not live the way I do. Sleep deprivation is a problem, but I wouldn't say it is their biggest problem. Poorly managed stress is what will ruin your life if you let it. Take the usual overachiever's type A personality and multiply it by a constant fear of being sabotaged, scapegoated, lied on, railroaded, and fired. These people - including partners...especially partners - are constantly on high alert as if they are locked up in San Quentin and waiting to be shivved by a prisoner or executed. That sort of perpetual watchfulness and (sadly, justified) paranoia takes its toll very quickly. My colleagues not only eat too much, but also smoke, drink too much alcohol, drink too much coffee, and do legal and illegal substances. Many, if not most, of them are propped up by ill-advised mixes of anti-anxiety drugs, anti-depressants, anti-psychotics, sleeping pills, and stimulants. Many of them are overweight and I have long noticed that within a year of arriving at the firm, most associates gain 15-20 pounds. On top of all of this, many, if not most, of my colleagues make bad choices in who they date and marry. They choose significant others for their looks, wealth, connections and other reasons related to keeping up with the Joneses. As a result, they have no meaningful emotional support and no one to talk them down from the ledge when they are doing terrible things to themselves out of self-loathing, depression, and stress.

Big law is a mess and if it was my job to help the sorry people here, I wouldn't know where to start. The money and annual 10-15% pay increases are great, however, especially considering that ours may be a dying or at least rapidly declining profession.

Original question poster here. Thanks for the response. I often have to go through periods where I'll get 2-3 hours of sleep in a night, maybe a little more the next night (4-5) and then another 2-3 hours of sleep the third night...which is just hard to do physically while still being able to turn-out decent work product. During those times I am busy to the point where I am grinding hard the entire day (if I wasn't, I'd be going home earlier) so cat naps aren't an options unfortunately. Adderall seems like the only option unfortunately for these periods of times.

Anonymous User
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Re: V10 Midlevel Associate. Taking Questions.

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jan 19, 2013 4:54 pm

Given the environment you described, would you recommend someone follow your path or accept a job at a firm in a secondary market where the hours seem much more palatable, the work seems not to suffer in terms of sophistication, and there is very little, if any, anticipated attrition? The advantages to your path appear to be market, exit strategies and whatever the delta is between salary and cost of living in your market and in that in a secondary market.

Am I looking at it wrong?




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