Big Law: As bad as it sounds? What's your opinion on it?

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Ioannis
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Big Law: As bad as it sounds? What's your opinion on it?

Postby Ioannis » Mon Oct 22, 2012 4:41 pm

Anyone here work in Big Law? What's your opinion? Hate it? Love it? Worth it? Dislikes/likes? Whered you go to school? hours a week? is truly 70+ every week?
Last edited by Ioannis on Mon Oct 22, 2012 4:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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ExBiglawAssociate
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Re: Big Law: As bad as it sounds? What's your opinion on it?

Postby ExBiglawAssociate » Mon Oct 22, 2012 4:44 pm

It's fine for a few years, if you can handle the hours/stress. Partnership prospects are becoming more of a joke at most biglaw firms, so it's kind of annoying that you're going into it knowing you'll have to switch to something else 3-5 years down the line. Other than that, it's like any other job: it depends on your firm's culture and the people you work with. Some biglaw offices are full of assholes. Some are full of nice people.

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dingbat
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Re: Big Law: As bad as it sounds? What's your opinion on it?

Postby dingbat » Mon Oct 22, 2012 4:46 pm

Biglaw_Associate_V20 wrote:It's fine for a few years, if you can handle the hours/stress. Partnership prospects are becoming more of a joke at most biglaw firms, so it's kind of annoying that you're going into it knowing you'll have to switch to something else 3-5 years down the line. Other than that, it's like any other job: it depends on your firm's culture and the people you work with. Some biglaw offices are full of assholes. Some are full of nice people.

How is this worse than in previous years?
I always thought making partner was a matter of being able to bring in business (as opposed to being a really good lawyer), and I can't imagine that has changed

Ioannis
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Re: Big Law: As bad as it sounds? What's your opinion on it?

Postby Ioannis » Mon Oct 22, 2012 4:46 pm

Biglaw_Associate_V20 wrote:It's fine for a few years, if you can handle the hours/stress. Partnership prospects are becoming more of a joke at most biglaw firms, so it's kind of annoying that you're going into it knowing you'll have to switch to something else 3-5 years down the line. Other than that, it's like any other job: it depends on your firm's culture and the people you work with. Some biglaw offices are full of assholes. Some are full of nice people.

how many hours u work per week? days?

Anonymous User
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Re: Big Law: As bad as it sounds? What's your opinion on it?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Oct 22, 2012 4:47 pm

Biglaw_Associate_V20 wrote:It's fine for a few years, if you can handle the hours/stress. Partnership prospects are becoming more of a joke at most biglaw firms, so it's kind of annoying that you're going into it knowing you'll have to switch to something else 3-5 years down the line. Other than that, it's like any other job: it depends on your firm's culture and the people you work with. Some biglaw offices are full of assholes. Some are full of nice people.

That's really what it comes down to. When you work with great people the job is pretty great. It is possible to like it, you just have to seek out people you enjoy working with and find the work that interests you. Even within the same firm, there is no consistent biglaw experience.

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ExBiglawAssociate
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Re: Big Law: As bad as it sounds? What's your opinion on it?

Postby ExBiglawAssociate » Mon Oct 22, 2012 5:06 pm

dingbat wrote:
Biglaw_Associate_V20 wrote:It's fine for a few years, if you can handle the hours/stress. Partnership prospects are becoming more of a joke at most biglaw firms, so it's kind of annoying that you're going into it knowing you'll have to switch to something else 3-5 years down the line. Other than that, it's like any other job: it depends on your firm's culture and the people you work with. Some biglaw offices are full of assholes. Some are full of nice people.

How is this worse than in previous years?
I always thought making partner was a matter of being able to bring in business (as opposed to being a really good lawyer), and I can't imagine that has changed


It is about bringing in business, but partners are making more money these days and they expect you to bring in more business than was required in the past to make partner. Partners only want to make other people partners if they are going to increase their bottom line profit and this is only going to happen if you're bringing in an above-average (or you at least have the clear potential to bring in an above-average) amount of business. Granted, I'm only talking about equity partners here.

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ExBiglawAssociate
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Re: Big Law: As bad as it sounds? What's your opinion on it?

Postby ExBiglawAssociate » Mon Oct 22, 2012 5:10 pm

Ioannis wrote:
Biglaw_Associate_V20 wrote:It's fine for a few years, if you can handle the hours/stress. Partnership prospects are becoming more of a joke at most biglaw firms, so it's kind of annoying that you're going into it knowing you'll have to switch to something else 3-5 years down the line. Other than that, it's like any other job: it depends on your firm's culture and the people you work with. Some biglaw offices are full of assholes. Some are full of nice people.

how many hours u work per week? days?


It varies dramatically from week to week. I'm on pace to bill between 2200 and 2400.

keg411
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Re: Big Law: As bad as it sounds? What's your opinion on it?

Postby keg411 » Mon Oct 22, 2012 6:03 pm

Biglaw_Associate_V20 wrote:
dingbat wrote:
Biglaw_Associate_V20 wrote:It's fine for a few years, if you can handle the hours/stress. Partnership prospects are becoming more of a joke at most biglaw firms, so it's kind of annoying that you're going into it knowing you'll have to switch to something else 3-5 years down the line. Other than that, it's like any other job: it depends on your firm's culture and the people you work with. Some biglaw offices are full of assholes. Some are full of nice people.

How is this worse than in previous years?
I always thought making partner was a matter of being able to bring in business (as opposed to being a really good lawyer), and I can't imagine that has changed


It is about bringing in business, but partners are making more money these days and they expect you to bring in more business than was required in the past to make partner. Partners only want to make other people partners if they are going to increase their bottom line profit and this is only going to happen if you're bringing in an above-average (or you at least have the clear potential to bring in an above-average) amount of business. Granted, I'm only talking about equity partners here.


Just because your firm has non-equity partners doesn't mean that all firms do. There are still a bunch of firms that have traditional all-equity partnerships. The fact that you emphasize this in like half of your posts makes me think that your V20 is a TTT full of non-equity partners (even if that's not true, it's annoying to keep bringing up).

Also, making partner/how long you even want to try and stick around and have the chance to gun for it is going to vary from firm-to-firm and from practice group to practice group; with the only constant being that you basically have to give up your life for a shot at it (at least in terms of traditional BigLaw) and like anon168 said in the other thread, most people really aren't up for that (and I'll include myself in that lot; I don't really foresee myself being every a partner, nor is it the type of pressure I'd want).

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ExBiglawAssociate
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Re: Big Law: As bad as it sounds? What's your opinion on it?

Postby ExBiglawAssociate » Mon Oct 22, 2012 6:19 pm

I brought up equity vs. non-equity partners because I think it's an important aspect of some biglaw firms that people should be aware of, especially when considering what it means to be "partner." It's a structural change that is spreading to many firms which have traditionally had all-equity partnerships, so it's something to watch out for even if you're at a firm with only equity partners. I'm not really sure why it "annoys" you?

Also, why are you looking at all my posts (creepy)?

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Perseus_I
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Re: Big Law: As bad as it sounds? What's your opinion on it?

Postby Perseus_I » Mon Oct 22, 2012 6:49 pm

dingbat wrote:
Biglaw_Associate_V20 wrote:It's fine for a few years, if you can handle the hours/stress. Partnership prospects are becoming more of a joke at most biglaw firms, so it's kind of annoying that you're going into it knowing you'll have to switch to something else 3-5 years down the line. Other than that, it's like any other job: it depends on your firm's culture and the people you work with. Some biglaw offices are full of assholes. Some are full of nice people.

How is this worse than in previous years?
I always thought making partner was a matter of being able to bring in business (as opposed to being a really good lawyer), and I can't imagine that has changed


I'm pretty sure that being a really good lawyer is an important component of bringing in (and keeping) business. Nobody likes to pay for losers. I'm sure the clients' management consultants can sniff out waste and ineffectiveness pretty adroitly these days.

As for the question, I'm pretty sure it depends on personality. Not all of us like stress and continuous pressure. I imagine if you're a Type A personality, big law is good for you. Type C's might do well in some contexts, too, particularly tax. But B's would be miserable, and D's get booted pretty quickly.
Last edited by Perseus_I on Mon Oct 22, 2012 7:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.


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Re: Big Law: As bad as it sounds? What's your opinion on it?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Oct 22, 2012 8:01 pm

I started at a firm in DC last month. Given the paycheck I can't really complain, but the unpredictable hours can be annoying. For instance, last Saturday a partner emailed me that he forgot a motion was due on Monday, and asked me to draft it by Sunday morning. Today I came in this morning with no work on my plate, and by noon I had four different tasks which will likely occupy me for the week. Last week, however, I had trouble finding work because the partners and senior associates I work with were traveling for litigation matters. The hours are by no means brutal, but I have no idea which weeks will require 40 hours and which will require 60-70 hours.

Anonymous User
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Re: Big Law: As bad as it sounds? What's your opinion on it?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Oct 22, 2012 8:16 pm

May I ask what firm?

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Re: Big Law: As bad as it sounds? What's your opinion on it?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Oct 22, 2012 11:55 pm

The hard thing about big law is not the pure hours. It is the complete lack of control over your life.

I'm a third year associate in a major market at a large law firm. I will bill around 2000 hours this year while still taking 3 weeks vacation. I generally work from 9:15am-8:30pm with a little work on the weekend. The hours per week don't seem bad, but I also went a few months working until midnight most nights. I will sometimes go on 4 hours of sleep 3 nights out of the week (probably nearing 80 hours a week or more at times). Until recently, I'd usually have at least one 3-5am night per month and I would return at fairly normal time the next day.

I often make plans with friends and family and have to cancel because something comes up last minute. Of course, some nights I can leave at 5 or 6pm, but the trade-off is not even. The ups and downs are brutal, because it is so difficult to plan anything in your life. I can't wait to have my life back... but at the same time I love the work and the people so am honestly torn about what I will do in the future.


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Re: Big Law: As bad as it sounds? What's your opinion on it?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 23, 2012 7:45 am

Putting aside the comments from these junior big law lawyers, I thought I'd throw in the opinion of a more experienced attorney.

Big law is a shitty job. I also think a lot of people do a decent job or have the capacity to be successful in big law. Too many people, actually. That's why there is annual institutional attrition built into big firm's business models. It's built on the premise of "merit" but really it's more complicated. Many, many things can derail your career. None of which have anything to do with your ability to be an excellent attorney.

The people who aren't getting sacked, are looking for greener pastures because there is very little career stability. I found the lack of stability to be troubling, so I left (gracefully) to clerk. And went to the US Attorney's Office immediately after as a line AUSA. Life is lovely. For me.

Friends of mine who were fired/laid off, however, were fucked career wise. Why bother gambling in a place that might fuck you over, when you could go in-house or to the federal government -- both of which don't have annual institutional attrition built into their business models. Any smart person is going to scram. The unlucky ones get sacked before they had a chance to find a landing pad. I know of a few people who are still in big law, but no one plans on staying for much longer and are actively looking to move in house when the right opportunity hits.

Associates locked up for 6-8 years in big law won't have clients. At that point, the difficulty is continuing to build billable work. If your institutional client thinks you are too expensive, you're fucked. If some more junior kid starts getting your work or partners begin hoarding work, you're fucked. If your big book partner leaves to work across the street without you in tow (verrrrrrrrry common) you're fucked. But it's just the nature of the game.

I've seen so many bright, talented people get pushed out of the industry for being at the wrong place at the wrong time. One thing I wasn't prepared for after graduating law school is that to a great degree, your future as a lawyer is driven by luck as much as talent, ambition, and smarts. I am incredibly humble and grateful for my fortunate circumstances because but for the grace of God...

It's not rocket science as to why people run away from such places.

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Re: Big Law: As bad as it sounds? What's your opinion on it?

Postby turkeysub » Tue Oct 23, 2012 8:12 am

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