To NYC biglaw associates who lived in NJ for 1st year

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thesealocust
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Re: To NYC biglaw associates who lived in NJ for 1st year

Postby thesealocust » Mon May 13, 2013 4:30 pm

Anonymous User wrote:what i meant by try it for my first year was that if it didnt work out, i would move somewhere closer to the office or figure something else out. i think reevaluating after a year is a good idea, despite the unpredictability.


I'd recommend playing it defensively for the first year. The wear and tear of the unpredictability + hours + stress of this job can be enormous. It's not an exageration that first year's at big NYC firms can have nights that run past midnight and start before 9 am... to some associates, on some nights, commuting time is going to be taken directly from sleeping time.

I would think it would be much better to put yourself in the best position possible to mitigate that first year, then re-evaluate as you get used to it, rather than pinching pennies from day 1 and letting whatever happens happen.

Anonymous User
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Re: To NYC biglaw associates who lived in NJ for 1st year

Postby Anonymous User » Mon May 13, 2013 4:36 pm

thesealocust wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:what i meant by try it for my first year was that if it didnt work out, i would move somewhere closer to the office or figure something else out. i think reevaluating after a year is a good idea, despite the unpredictability.


I'd recommend playing it defensively for the first year. The wear and tear of the unpredictability + hours + stress of this job can be enormous. It's not an exageration that first year's at big NYC firms can have nights that run past midnight and start before 9 am... to some associates, on some nights, commuting time is going to be taken directly from sleeping time.

I would think it would be much better to put yourself in the best position possible to mitigate that first year, then re-evaluate as you get used to it, rather than pinching pennies from day 1 and letting whatever happens happen.


Thats sort of been my assumption/approach as well. Figured might as well start very close, see how it goes, and move a bit further away once I realize it is possible. Since the alternative is to start off further away, and then risk being in a situation where I wish I was closer.

NYstate
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Re: To NYC biglaw associates who lived in NJ for 1st year

Postby NYstate » Mon May 13, 2013 4:37 pm

thesealocust wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:what i meant by try it for my first year was that if it didnt work out, i would move somewhere closer to the office or figure something else out. i think reevaluating after a year is a good idea, despite the unpredictability.


I'd recommend playing it defensively for the first year. The wear and tear of the unpredictability + hours + stress of this job can be enormous. It's not an exageration that first year's at big NYC firms can have nights that run past midnight and start before 9 am... to some associates, on some nights, commuting time is going to be taken directly from sleeping time.

I would think it would be much better to put yourself in the best position possible to mitigate that first year, then re-evaluate as you get used to it, rather than pinching pennies from day 1 and letting whatever happens happen.


I hope people listen to this advice. Exhaustion coupled with stress is hard to explain to people who haven't been in this position. Plus moving isn't that easy to do, though I guess you can use vacation days if needed. The UES isn't a bad place to live and getting home will be fast most nights if you work late. And getting to work early is simple.

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Re: To NYC biglaw associates who lived in NJ for 1st year

Postby Anonymous User » Mon May 13, 2013 4:43 pm

Thats why I'm leaning toward Long Island City for my commute to Grand Central, as opposed to NJ. Would be just one stop away on the 7 train, so I could be there in a matter of minutes, and not even have to pay Manhattan prices. As much as I love being on the NJ side, LIC just seems so much closer.

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Re: To NYC biglaw associates who lived in NJ for 1st year

Postby Anonymous User » Mon May 13, 2013 5:07 pm

I understand what you guys are saying about the stress of long hours, etc. and the need to live very close.

Here's my situation: Am an older guy who is married to someone from are country who is NOT excited about the prospect of living in NYC. I'll be starting in corporate at a firm very close to GCT. How manageable would it be to live in a commuter town on the Metro North?

I am willing to sacrifice sleep to have a happy spouse at home. As in, I don't mind having to be at the firm very early one morning, provided there is an hour's notice. How likely is it that I wouldn't have an hour's notice that I would have to be in at an unusual time? Based on my experience last summer (talking to corporate bros--not actual biglaw experience, which I understand is pretty limited for SAs), it seems unlikely that I would be put in a situation in which a partner emails at 6am and says get here in 20 min.

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thesealocust
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Re: To NYC biglaw associates who lived in NJ for 1st year

Postby thesealocust » Mon May 13, 2013 6:14 pm

Anonymous User wrote:How manageable would it be to live in a commuter town on the Metro North?


Probably much less wear and tear than trying to do the haul from NJ.

Anonymous User wrote:
I am willing to sacrifice sleep to have a happy spouse at home. As in, I don't mind having to be at the firm very early one morning, provided there is an hour's notice. How likely is it that I wouldn't have an hour's notice that I would have to be in at an unusual time? Based on my experience last summer (talking to corporate bros--not actual biglaw experience, which I understand is pretty limited for SAs), it seems unlikely that I would be put in a situation in which a partner emails at 6am and says get here in 20 min.


It depends. I've had client emergencies before 9 am, but you'll basically never have it in the context of "you must physically appear in the office." A lot can be handled by logging in remotely - I often wake up, do work, and then get into the office at regular starting times. If you aren't busy, most big firms have a culture that's at least tolerant of not getting into the office until 10:00 am or later too...

A good example of a real problem is European closings. If something goes wrong with closing, it's probably going to go wrong before 10 am, and being out of contact for an hour could be an issue. You might have literally no work to do, but just be on blackberry watch for the inevitable 11th hour panic you can't time in advance.

The flip side of all this doom saying is that... life goes on. You don't need to live in your office, and if you're out of contact and something Important happens it might cause tension but realistically, it's not going to be the end of the world. Having said that, I am glad I didn't voluntarily put myself in the position of having a nasty commute my first year. Chasing back to the office, coming in on weekends, and late nights followed by early mornings take less of a bite out of me as a result. Those things don't happen every day, but when they happen a few days back to back you take comfort anywhere you can find it.

NYstate
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Re: To NYC biglaw associates who lived in NJ for 1st year

Postby NYstate » Mon May 13, 2013 6:31 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I understand what you guys are saying about the stress of long hours, etc. and the need to live very close.

Here's my situation: Am an older guy who is married to someone from are country who is NOT excited about the prospect of living in NYC. I'll be starting in corporate at a firm very close to GCT. How manageable would it be to live in a commuter town on the Metro North?

I am willing to sacrifice sleep to have a happy spouse at home. As in, I don't mind having to be at the firm very early one morning, provided there is an hour's notice. How likely is it that I wouldn't have an hour's notice that I would have to be in at an unusual time? Based on my experience last summer (talking to corporate bros--not actual biglaw experience, which I understand is pretty limited for SAs), it seems unlikely that I would be put in a situation in which a partner emails at 6am and says get here in 20 min.


You need to talk to some people at your firm to get a better handle on this. Don't mention that your spouse doesn't like the city. Find some people to ask in a way that it doesn't become a big deal.

You might be willing to trade sleep now, but unless you have tons of energy and can live on a few hours of sleep when needed, I think you are underestimating the kind of toll this can take. I just can't speak to what is typical at your firm. I don't want to oversell this though. It might work out fine for you. Just know that when you say that you might have to get in early "one morning" it can easily be several mornings in a row. So get advice from some co- workers. Get their input.

Check the train schedules too. The people I know who commute on the train are all clients not associates ( lol) . The clients have regular hours even if they get in insanely early they know they will be home at some relatively reasonable point. The couple of partners I know who live in Connecticut have cars drive them everywhere.

You understand that time spent commuting is also time you won't be home with your spouse.

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Re: To NYC biglaw associates who lived in NJ for 1st year

Postby Anonymous User » Mon May 13, 2013 8:00 pm

Ty vy much to sealocust and nystate- very helpful and I really appreciate it.

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Re: To NYC biglaw associates who lived in NJ for 1st year

Postby Anonymous User » Mon May 13, 2013 10:15 pm

thesealocust wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:what i meant by try it for my first year was that if it didnt work out, i would move somewhere closer to the office or figure something else out. i think reevaluating after a year is a good idea, despite the unpredictability.


I'd recommend playing it defensively for the first year. The wear and tear of the unpredictability + hours + stress of this job can be enormous. It's not an exageration that first year's at big NYC firms can have nights that run past midnight and start before 9 am... to some associates, on some nights, commuting time is going to be taken directly from sleeping time.

I would think it would be much better to put yourself in the best position possible to mitigate that first year, then re-evaluate as you get used to it, rather than pinching pennies from day 1 and letting whatever happens happen.


I agree except that for me it's not about pinching pennies but rather about finding a suitable location so that my wife and I can live together. Not denying that it's gonna be rougher than living in Chelsea.....but it's all about priorities. Family comes first, no job can ever change that.

NYstate
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Re: To NYC biglaw associates who lived in NJ for 1st year

Postby NYstate » Tue May 14, 2013 2:28 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
thesealocust wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:what i meant by try it for my first year was that if it didnt work out, i would move somewhere closer to the office or figure something else out. i think reevaluating after a year is a good idea, despite the unpredictability.


I'd recommend playing it defensively for the first year. The wear and tear of the unpredictability + hours + stress of this job can be enormous. It's not an exageration that first year's at big NYC firms can have nights that run past midnight and start before 9 am... to some associates, on some nights, commuting time is going to be taken directly from sleeping time.

I would think it would be much better to put yourself in the best position possible to mitigate that first year, then re-evaluate as you get used to it, rather than pinching pennies from day 1 and letting whatever happens happen.


I agree except that for me it's not about pinching pennies but rather about finding a suitable location so that my wife and I can live together. Not denying that it's gonna be rougher than living in Chelsea.....but it's all about priorities. Family comes first, no job can ever change that.


The job might not change your priorities but make sure your priorities don't hinder your job. You need to do well at this job to set up your career. This line of thinking sounds great in the abstract but biglaw is going to require you to make this choice all the time: dinner, appointments, parties, even vacations sometimes. I once needed to come back to work after the funeral of a relative. My Mom is still upset about that one.

You and your wife understand that, outside of emergencies, your job expects to come first, right? Putting family first for decisions is not going to work all the time or even most of the time in biglaw. I don't want to paint a horrible picture, but be realistic. Maybe it will work out better for you, but why not be prepared for a very demanding job?
Why not put your career first for the first couple of years to get a solid start. I don't know why your wife wouldn't support that idea.

Just curious, how many hours does your wife expect you to be home? Is it going to be a problem with her if you are working a lot of the time you are at home? I don't want to read into this but your wife doesn't sound like she is on board with the biglaw job requirements.

edit to add: just be careful about showing the attitude that family comes first at the office. Everyone loves their families and their kids. Don't let people know that your wife hates the city.

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CG614
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Re: To NYC biglaw associates who lived in NJ for 1st year

Postby CG614 » Wed May 15, 2013 4:09 pm

Can anyone speak to any issues with taking the bus through the Lincoln Tunnel in the morning? Thinking of Weehawken and will be working close to Port Authority.

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guano
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Re: To NYC biglaw associates who lived in NJ for 1st year

Postby guano » Wed May 15, 2013 4:15 pm

CG614 wrote:Can anyone speak to any issues with taking the bus through the Lincoln Tunnel in the morning? Thinking of Weehawken and will be working close to Port Authority.

There are special bus lanes during rush hour and the NJ Transit schedule is fairly accurate - most of the time. But, you never know when it can suddenly freeze up, like yesterday.

Leaving is worse than coming, as you could be waiting in Port Authority for well over an hour, but if you avoid the 5pm to 7pm departure block, that shouldn't be an issue

Anonymous User
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Re: To NYC biglaw associates who lived in NJ for 1st year

Postby Anonymous User » Wed May 15, 2013 8:39 pm

NYstate wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
thesealocust wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:what i meant by try it for my first year was that if it didnt work out, i would move somewhere closer to the office or figure something else out. i think reevaluating after a year is a good idea, despite the unpredictability.


I'd recommend playing it defensively for the first year. The wear and tear of the unpredictability + hours + stress of this job can be enormous. It's not an exageration that first year's at big NYC firms can have nights that run past midnight and start before 9 am... to some associates, on some nights, commuting time is going to be taken directly from sleeping time.

I would think it would be much better to put yourself in the best position possible to mitigate that first year, then re-evaluate as you get used to it, rather than pinching pennies from day 1 and letting whatever happens happen.


I agree except that for me it's not about pinching pennies but rather about finding a suitable location so that my wife and I can live together. Not denying that it's gonna be rougher than living in Chelsea.....but it's all about priorities. Family comes first, no job can ever change that.


The job might not change your priorities but make sure your priorities don't hinder your job. You need to do well at this job to set up your career. This line of thinking sounds great in the abstract but biglaw is going to require you to make this choice all the time: dinner, appointments, parties, even vacations sometimes. I once needed to come back to work after the funeral of a relative. My Mom is still upset about that one.

You and your wife understand that, outside of emergencies, your job expects to come first, right? Putting family first for decisions is not going to work all the time or even most of the time in biglaw. I don't want to paint a horrible picture, but be realistic. Maybe it will work out better for you, but why not be prepared for a very demanding job?
Why not put your career first for the first couple of years to get a solid start. I don't know why your wife wouldn't support that idea.

Just curious, how many hours does your wife expect you to be home? Is it going to be a problem with her if you are working a lot of the time you are at home? I don't want to read into this but your wife doesn't sound like she is on board with the biglaw job requirements.

edit to add: just be careful about showing the attitude that family comes first at the office. Everyone loves their families and their kids. Don't let people know that your wife hates the city.


Sorry, I think you've confused me with another anonymous poster. My wife doesnt hate the city, she has a govt job in NJ which requires her to live in NJ, so we will find somewhere to live that is equidistant and feasible for both of us, which will end up being a 45 minute commute via train for me.

Re: "your job comes first", Work is definitely the top priority insofar as I need to do a good job and meet all of my responsibilities, but at the end of the day, though, family does come first....not in terms of the micro "i'm meeting my wife for dinner instead of getting this work done at the office", but in terms of the macro "theres nothing more i enjoy than being with my family, and if this job has not allowed me to do so, i may need to reevaluate my career trajectory...perhaps taking less money to be with my family more"......anyways, there are so many variables and there is always time to make changes. bottom line is, i already have a religion and a family...work is never going to replace or become more important than either of those. if it ever gets to the point where I am giving up either of those for a prolonged period of time, it might be time for a change. that being said, i am going to work as hard as i can and do the best job that i can, and go from there. best to keep a balanced perspective.

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Re: To NYC biglaw associates who lived in NJ for 1st year

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Mar 19, 2015 1:53 am

I want to reawaken this thread, so hopefully you guys still get notified when it's bumped.

Until tonight, I had been planning living in the city, and hopefully finding a place within 15 minutes of my job for $2k-2.5k, but after looking up some places on StreetEasy, it has become pretty clear that unless I get ridiculously lucky, I will not find a place in that price change that's nice or really even decent. I'm referring to a 1 BR.

Currently, I commute from Midwood to NYU from the Q to B train and it takes about 45 minutes. My commute to BigLaw would be about the same since it's only the Q train to 6th Avenue in the 40s. My current place in Brooklyn would likely cost me $1,300 if I renew the lease for two years after I graduate in 2016, $1,350 tops. I assume that keeping my apartment stocked with food would be another $200 and utilities another $200. Then I assume $1k-1.5k/mo for misc expenses. I'll end up with about $170k in loans after the initial interest, and I figure that with those numbers, I could pay off close to $65k off the first year and $75k off the second year given BigLaw salaries and the cheap rent in Brooklyn. I'm guessing I'd be paying an extra $1.5k-$2k more per month if I lived somewhere within 15 minutes of my job. So basically, ~$25k more per year, which would lead to it take ~5 years to pay off loans as opposed to ~2.5 years to do so.

I'm going to want to sleep 6-7 hours a night, but can function on 5 randomly, as I did that for most of my first semester in law school during the week, and survived.

How valuable is an extra hour of non-commute free time a day during the first two years in BigLaw? Is it worth the extra ~$2k a month to have an apartment of equal "niceness" within 15 minutes of my job? Or is it possible to bite the bullet for the first ~2 years of BigLaw and then move into a gorgeous place near my job for year 3 with only ~$40k in loan left to pay of instead of having ~$100k left to pay off by year 3 if not more?

Any input would be really appreciated. Would looking into options in Jersey City be a good idea?

Other perks of my apartment in Brooklyn is that my girlfriend lives a 5 minute walk away and I know all the grocery stores in the area and where to find my food for cheap.

Oh, I left out a couple of things. First off, I would have an extra ~$1,100 for MetroCard for the year living in Brooklyn, but would likely also need one in the city, so those cancel each other out. And, I will likely make $2-3k a year in odd jobs, but I'm not sure if that would be really relevant to this discussion.

Edit: I will likely be working in Litigation, so more predictable hours. And I will have a chance to test out the commute this summer, but how different is first year from summer in terms of commute relevance?

dixiecupdrinking
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Re: To NYC biglaw associates who lived in NJ for 1st year

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Thu Mar 19, 2015 12:47 pm

Midwood is too far IMO. Park Slope or so is doable but about as far out as is advisable. That extra 20 minutes each way will kill you.

exitoptions
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Re: To NYC biglaw associates who lived in NJ for 1st year

Postby exitoptions » Thu Mar 19, 2015 1:03 pm

Anonymous User wrote: Sorry, I think you've confused me with another anonymous poster. My wife doesnt hate the city, she has a govt job in NJ which requires her to live in NJ, so we will find somewhere to live that is equidistant and feasible for both of us, which will end up being a 45 minute commute via train for me.

Re: "your job comes first", Work is definitely the top priority insofar as I need to do a good job and meet all of my responsibilities, but at the end of the day, though, family does come first....not in terms of the micro "i'm meeting my wife for dinner instead of getting this work done at the office", but in terms of the macro "theres nothing more i enjoy than being with my family, and if this job has not allowed me to do so, i may need to reevaluate my career trajectory...perhaps taking less money to be with my family more"......anyways, there are so many variables and there is always time to make changes. bottom line is, i already have a religion and a family...work is never going to replace or become more important than either of those. if it ever gets to the point where I am giving up either of those for a prolonged period of time, it might be time for a change. that being said, i am going to work as hard as i can and do the best job that i can, and go from there. best to keep a balanced perspective.


I'm in the same boat as you -- wife has a cushy gov't job in NJ and I'm at biglaw in midtown -- we live in JC and it's really manageable. Her commute is 30 minutes and min is 40-45 in the morning and 25-30 by car at night. I also value family more than work -- although it is really easy to get caught up in the biglaw "THIS CASE IS EVERYTHING" mentality. Just work hard, make connections with the right people, and don't let them get in your head; then you'll be fine.

Anonymous User
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Re: To NYC biglaw associates who lived in NJ for 1st year

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Mar 19, 2015 1:17 pm

Anyone out there has real experience commuting from Hoboken/Union City to Midtown east?

catinthewall
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Re: To NYC biglaw associates who lived in NJ for 1st year

Postby catinthewall » Thu Mar 19, 2015 2:04 pm

I'll be working Downtown, so Jersey City is really appealing to me. Is is just me, or are apartments in JC costing as much as they are in Williamsburg, Brooklyn? Am I looking in the wrong places?

Anonymous User
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Re: To NYC biglaw associates who lived in NJ for 1st year

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Mar 20, 2015 7:10 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Anyone out there has real experience commuting from Hoboken/Union City to Midtown east?


Commute from Hobo to Midtown, but it's not that much different than to Midtown east. It's about 35-40 minutes door to door, the PATH train is usually reliable running from 33rd-Hoboken. The only issue with the Midtown east commute would be you would likely have to choose between walking 10 minutes or so from 33rd (fine in nice weather), or taking the N one stop to 42nd and then taking the shuttle to Grand Central. That second step may be a hassle, but I think it's well worth it if you can get a good deal on an apartment in Hoboken.

Anonymous User
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Re: To NYC biglaw associates who lived in NJ for 1st year

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Mar 20, 2015 7:56 pm

dixiecupdrinking wrote:Midwood is too far IMO. Park Slope or so is doable but about as far out as is advisable. That extra 20 minutes each way will kill you.


Most places in Park Slope at 30-35 minutes, though. Midwood where I am, is 46.




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