Biglaw areas with (relatively) consistent work schedules?

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Anonymous User
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Biglaw areas with (relatively) consistent work schedules?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Oct 10, 2012 4:40 pm

It seems that Biglaw corporate M&A and litigation jobs tend to have the most inconsistent work schedules. Are there transactional practice groups that have more predictable hours, generally speaking?

Specifically, I'm wondering if Real Estate in Biglaw is less volatile than corporate work. I've heard that Tax is not as bad as M&A.

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drmguy
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Re: Biglaw areas with (relatively) consistent work schedules?

Postby drmguy » Wed Oct 10, 2012 5:04 pm

Space law is very consistent.

imchuckbass58
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Re: Biglaw areas with (relatively) consistent work schedules?

Postby imchuckbass58 » Wed Oct 10, 2012 5:36 pm

Anonymous User wrote:It seems that Biglaw corporate M&A and litigation jobs tend to have the most inconsistent work schedules. Are there transactional practice groups that have more predictable hours, generally speaking?

Specifically, I'm wondering if Real Estate in Biglaw is less volatile than corporate work. I've heard that Tax is not as bad as M&A.


More unpredictable/hectic:
-M&A
-Bankruptcy (usually)
-Cap markets (though less than the other two)
-Internal investigations

More predictable:
-Litigation
-Fund formation
-Tax
-Regulatory / compliance

Basically, two factors will influence predictability:
(1) How deal-driven / short deadlined your work is. M&A is terrible because you MUST hit a series of short deadlines to get a deal done ASAP. Litigation is much better because you're operating on a court schedule laid out months in advance, so you know when the heavy periods will be. Same with fund formation - the fundraising timeline stretches over months, so you can plan.

(2) How client-driven your work is. M&A is also unpredictable because the deal is constantly changing and the client is always calling up asking you to research this structure, or look into that set of contracts in case the terms of the contract change as the business people negotiate. With litigation, clients won't randomly order you to do things as much since your firm "owns" the process a lot more.

Based on that, real estate (at least if you're talking about deals) is probably more similar to corporate work than litigation.

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vanwinkle
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Re: Biglaw areas with (relatively) consistent work schedules?

Postby vanwinkle » Wed Oct 10, 2012 5:38 pm

imchuckbass58 wrote:More predictable:
-Litigation

Image

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ryanmot
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Re: Biglaw areas with (relatively) consistent work schedules?

Postby ryanmot » Wed Oct 10, 2012 5:39 pm

vanwinkle wrote:
imchuckbass58 wrote:More predictable:
-Litigation

Image


+1

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monkey85
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Re: Biglaw areas with (relatively) consistent work schedules?

Postby monkey85 » Wed Oct 10, 2012 5:39 pm

imchuckbass58 wrote:-Fund formation
-Tax


Agree.

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IAFG
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Re: Biglaw areas with (relatively) consistent work schedules?

Postby IAFG » Wed Oct 10, 2012 5:40 pm

Depends on what kind of litigation you're dealing with.

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ben4847
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Re: Biglaw areas with (relatively) consistent work schedules?

Postby ben4847 » Wed Oct 10, 2012 5:41 pm

monkey85 wrote:
imchuckbass58 wrote:-Fund formation
-Tax


Agree.


Also agree.

But to add to that: despite the funny images ITT, litigation is more predictable than corporate.

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camelcrema
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Re: Biglaw areas with (relatively) consistent work schedules?

Postby camelcrema » Wed Oct 10, 2012 5:54 pm

I've heard public finance work is generally pretty stable

Omerta
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Re: Biglaw areas with (relatively) consistent work schedules?

Postby Omerta » Wed Oct 10, 2012 6:53 pm

I agree with an earlier poster; creating a "not" list is almost as helpful:

Not consistent includes: M&A and Bankruptcy for sure, almost all litigation, securities work, anything with "finance" in the name.

I'm not really sure if I would put any in the "consistent" category. Tax is usually a service group, so you're getting dragged into "WE MUST KNOW THE ANSWER TO THIS COMPLICATED TAX QUESTION" that is certain to arise in other groups.

I guess industry stuff, real estate, and regulatory seem like they would be the most predictable. There are fires in every practice area.

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Re: Biglaw areas with (relatively) consistent work schedules?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Oct 10, 2012 8:07 pm

Most Predictable in Biglaw:

Tax, Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation, Trusts & Estates.

(So basically the 3 tax groups)

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Lincoln
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Re: Biglaw areas with (relatively) consistent work schedules?

Postby Lincoln » Wed Oct 10, 2012 8:11 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Most Predictable in Biglaw:

Tax, Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation, Trusts & Estates.

(So basically the 3 tax groups)


This is very true for my firm. Also, M&A is more predictable than usual these days. Predictably slow, that is.

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Stanford4Me
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Re: Biglaw areas with (relatively) consistent work schedules?

Postby Stanford4Me » Wed Oct 10, 2012 8:22 pm

Real Estate people at my office consistently left at 7:30-8 each day.

imchuckbass58
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Re: Biglaw areas with (relatively) consistent work schedules?

Postby imchuckbass58 » Wed Oct 10, 2012 9:30 pm

IAFG wrote:Depends on what kind of litigation you're dealing with.


I agree. In response to the big green pear (which, admittedly, is something of a trump card):

I'm not saying that litigation is totally predictable. I'm just saying as far as biglaw goes, it is definitely on the more predictable side. You typically know when your motions, responses, etc. are due weeks if not months in advance. OP asked about "predictable" - not "regular." In M&A it's actually relatively common to be doing absolutely nothing until 4pm on a Thursday when a client comes and says "holy crap we're doing this deal and need to close it before markets open on Monday." Rarely in litigation will you be sitting around not anticipating anything when your client suddenly says "trial on monday, guys."

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Re: Biglaw areas with (relatively) consistent work schedules?

Postby bdubs » Wed Oct 10, 2012 9:48 pm

imchuckbass58 wrote:
IAFG wrote:Depends on what kind of litigation you're dealing with.


I agree. In response to the big green pear (which, admittedly, is something of a trump card):

I'm not saying that litigation is totally predictable. I'm just saying as far as biglaw goes, it is definitely on the more predictable side. You typically know when your motions, responses, etc. are due weeks if not months in advance. OP asked about "predictable" - not "regular." In M&A it's actually relatively common to be doing absolutely nothing until 4pm on a Thursday when a client comes and says "holy crap we're doing this deal and need to close it before markets open on Monday." Rarely in litigation will you be sitting around not anticipating anything when your client suddenly says "trial on monday, guys."


A huge variable in litigation is the judge. Frequently you will file motions with the judge which will sit with him/her for weeks and sometimes months. You have no idea when the judge will rule on your motion but once they do you have to scramble to interpret the ruling and then a new clock starts running. Many judges also set unreasonable schedules which litigators have to pretend to try to follow. That means working like crazy only to have to ask for an extension which may or may not be granted.

Bottom line is that, IMO, judges can be really random and potentially just as disruptive as M&A clients. I think the problem is more acute in M&A, but it's not like litigation always has a predictable schedule.

ajr
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Re: Biglaw areas with (relatively) consistent work schedules?

Postby ajr » Wed Oct 10, 2012 9:54 pm

Predictable is different from consistent. Litigation is more predictable than transactional work (the ups and downs), though it is feast-or-famine...

keg411
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Re: Biglaw areas with (relatively) consistent work schedules?

Postby keg411 » Wed Oct 10, 2012 10:01 pm

Stanford4Me wrote:Real Estate people at my office consistently left at 7:30-8 each day.


And the Real Estate people at my office had the reputation of having consistent hours... in that they consistently worked more hours than any other group. I think that's one of the practice groups where it really is firm-to-firm.

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Julio_El_Chavo
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Re: Biglaw areas with (relatively) consistent work schedules?

Postby Julio_El_Chavo » Wed Oct 10, 2012 10:21 pm

IAFG wrote:Depends on what kind of litigation you're dealing with.


CR. Some kinds of doc review projects allow you to work whenever you want for however long you want, assuming some urgent deadline isn't coming up (which is usually the case, but not always). Other kinds of litigation are worse than most corporate work (see, e.g., preparing for an ITC 337 trial).

Also, in before the "lol, I'm not talking about doc review. It's not litigation!" comments. Doc review is litigation. You will do it at some point during your career if you want to do litigation.

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Deep Trench
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Re: Biglaw areas with (relatively) consistent work schedules?

Postby Deep Trench » Wed Oct 10, 2012 10:26 pm

patent prosecution (for the firms that still have patent prosecution practice)

ruski
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Re: Biglaw areas with (relatively) consistent work schedules?

Postby ruski » Thu Oct 11, 2012 4:40 pm

corporate IP, ERISA, tax, trust and estates, fund formation, derivatives, and regulatory work/corp governance are low key (relatively speaking). pretty much these are not as deal oriented as others and if they are (like tax and ERISA can be) you are only working on a tiny portion of the deal. also many of these dont have set deadlines like securities/m&a work so while the amount of work might be the same, you have more control over the timline so can spread it out.

Real esate can be consistent. it is very firm specific. firms where its very deal driven it is just as bad as other corporate groups.

interesting to hear about bk. im not that familiar with it but i heard it was average in terms of inconsistency. (not as bad as M&A but not as good as tax)

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BlaqBella
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Re: Biglaw areas with (relatively) consistent work schedules?

Postby BlaqBella » Thu Oct 11, 2012 4:45 pm

LOL @ BIGLAW + consistent in the same sentence.

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androstan
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Re: Biglaw areas with (relatively) consistent work schedules?

Postby androstan » Thu Oct 11, 2012 4:52 pm

BlaqBella wrote:LOL @ BIGLAW + consistent in the same sentence.


Patent prosecution really seriously is "consistent."

The biggest firms don't do it, but plenty of midsized and ip boutiques do, and many of those pay market to first year associates.




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