More stressful: 1L law school or 1st year associate?

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More stressful?

1L law school
32
47%
1st year associate
36
53%
 
Total votes: 68

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Mick Haller
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More stressful: 1L law school or 1st year associate?

Postby Mick Haller » Fri Mar 01, 2013 1:48 am

Which is a bigger challenge/more stressful: first year of law school or first year at a large or mid sized firm?

RodneyRuxin
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Re: More stressful: 1L law school or 1st year associate?

Postby RodneyRuxin » Fri Mar 01, 2013 1:58 am

obviously a 0L

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Mick Haller
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Re: More stressful: 1L law school or 1st year associate?

Postby Mick Haller » Fri Mar 01, 2013 2:13 am

RodneyRuxin wrote:obviously a 0L


oh? I just started as an associate earlier this week.

I think work is going to be more stressful than school, was curious how others felt.

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drmguy
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Re: More stressful: 1L law school or 1st year associate?

Postby drmguy » Fri Mar 01, 2013 2:16 am

I like working. I'm pretty sure I will like being an associate more.

Anonymous User
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Re: More stressful: 1L law school or 1st year associate?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Mar 01, 2013 2:24 am

Tough call.

In hindsight, I'd trade my associate position to go back to 1L, because after seeing how terribad of a job biglaw is, I wouldn't be so stressed during 1L (and gunning for big law).

Big law is just soul draining. And then when you realize that even if you're only in for four years and done, you're going to spend ~12,000 more hours of your life working in a job where you're a replaceable grunt defending corporations who screw people over and not developing at all as a lawyer...

You're spending the equivalent of watching 2.5 seasons worth of the regular season games of every single NFL team -- with commercials, and no fast forwarding -- slaving away on doc review, pointless wild goose chase research...and you don't even get to sign your name to the brief when it's finally done. Even if you did all of the work.

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Lasers
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Re: More stressful: 1L law school or 1st year associate?

Postby Lasers » Fri Mar 01, 2013 6:11 am

Anonymous User wrote:Tough call.

In hindsight, I'd trade my associate position to go back to 1L, because after seeing how terribad of a job biglaw is, I wouldn't be so stressed during 1L (and gunning for big law).

Big law is just soul draining. And then when you realize that even if you're only in for four years and done, you're going to spend ~12,000 more hours of your life working in a job where you're a replaceable grunt defending corporations who screw people over and not developing at all as a lawyer...

You're spending the equivalent of watching 2.5 seasons worth of the regular season games of every single NFL team -- with commercials, and no fast forwarding -- slaving away on doc review, pointless wild goose chase research...and you don't even get to sign your name to the brief when it's finally done. Even if you did all of the work.

but you get a decent paycheck and hopefully decent exit options.

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Re: More stressful: 1L law school or 1st year associate?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Mar 01, 2013 10:19 am

I was significantly more stressed out during my SA, especially during the last couple of weeks trying to wrap things up before my review, than I ever was during any time in law school, to the point where I have been wondering ever since whether biglaw is really for me.

I tend to think that those who think that school is more stressful than work have never really worked.

Edit: Tbf, I wasn't gunning for anything in law school and had solid 1L without exceptional effort.

Hutz_and_Goodman
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Re: More stressful: 1L law school or 1st year associate?

Postby Hutz_and_Goodman » Fri Mar 01, 2013 1:59 pm

I would bet that at least half of the people voting in this poll are law students who have never been a 1st year associate (I didn't vote).

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Re: More stressful: 1L law school or 1st year associate?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Mar 01, 2013 2:16 pm

Lasers wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Tough call.

In hindsight, I'd trade my associate position to go back to 1L, because after seeing how terribad of a job biglaw is, I wouldn't be so stressed during 1L (and gunning for big law).

Big law is just soul draining. And then when you realize that even if you're only in for four years and done, you're going to spend ~12,000 more hours of your life working in a job where you're a replaceable grunt defending corporations who screw people over and not developing at all as a lawyer...

You're spending the equivalent of watching 2.5 seasons worth of the regular season games of every single NFL team -- with commercials, and no fast forwarding -- slaving away on doc review, pointless wild goose chase research...and you don't even get to sign your name to the brief when it's finally done. Even if you did all of the work.

but you get a decent paycheck and hopefully decent exit options.


Not worth it.

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Mick Haller
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Re: More stressful: 1L law school or 1st year associate?

Postby Mick Haller » Fri Mar 01, 2013 3:58 pm

Hutz_and_Goodman wrote:I would bet that at least half of the people voting in this poll are law students who have never been a 1st year associate (I didn't vote).


Yeah I figure that is the case. I asked a senior attorney the same question this morning and he said first year associate is much more challenging.


I'd always assumed it would be wonderful to be out of school and in the real world earning $$$. I love the challenge but it seems like people expect life to be easier after 1L and that really isn't the case.

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Re: More stressful: 1L law school or 1st year associate?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Mar 01, 2013 4:07 pm

Mick Haller wrote:
Hutz_and_Goodman wrote:I would bet that at least half of the people voting in this poll are law students who have never been a 1st year associate (I didn't vote).


Yeah I figure that is the case. I asked a senior attorney the same question this morning and he said first year associate is much more challenging.


I'd always assumed it would be wonderful to be out of school and in the real world earning $$$. I love the challenge but it seems like people expect life to be easier after 1L and that really isn't the case.


You mean people expect life to be more substantive and meaningful after 1L.

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Skye
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Re: More stressful: 1L law school or 1st year associate?

Postby Skye » Fri Mar 01, 2013 4:09 pm

Mick Haller wrote:
RodneyRuxin wrote:obviously a 0L


oh? I just started as an associate earlier this week.

I think work is going to be more stressful than school, was curious how others felt.

Were you not an SA at this firm (or at some firm.. that usually fills in the blanks). At least that’s the way it normally works.

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holdencaulfield
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Re: More stressful: 1L law school or 1st year associate?

Postby holdencaulfield » Fri Mar 01, 2013 4:35 pm

I voted for associate, but I've changed my mind. During your first year as an associate, the partners assume you know nothing and that you will make mistakes. During 1L, you have a much higher risk of ruining your career prospects.





FWIW: I think being a second year associate is much more stressful than being a first year associate or 1L

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Ludo!
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Re: More stressful: 1L law school or 1st year associate?

Postby Ludo! » Fri Mar 01, 2013 4:39 pm

Skye wrote:
Mick Haller wrote:
RodneyRuxin wrote:obviously a 0L


oh? I just started as an associate earlier this week.

I think work is going to be more stressful than school, was curious how others felt.

Were you not an SA at this firm (or at some firm.. that usually fills in the blanks). At least that’s the way it normally works.


Even if he was, the summer program doesn't usually resemble what actual life as an associate is like

NotMyRealName09
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Re: More stressful: 1L law school or 1st year associate?

Postby NotMyRealName09 » Fri Mar 01, 2013 5:08 pm

As a "mid-law" associate (a big Detroit firm but mid-west culture), I vote 1L (really first semester 1L). I had to ace my 1L year just to be considered for a job like this. Once that 1L year went so well, it was all bacon from there on in.

Now that I'm here, it is not like "big-law" as described by that dude above. We represent corporate clients, but I think midwest / mid-law firms get their associates into more real-world practice situations sooner. I go to hearings. I take depositions. I'm involved in trials. I draft federal appeals. I handle files from Complaint to settlement. I make good money. I'm in my 3rd year. It's fun. Sure, stressful, but in some sense, not so stressful because I've arrived. 1L year, as mentioned above - you blow it, your (early) career prospects could take a massive hit.

1L was more stressful because no matter what you read about, or how much you prepare - you have no idea whether what you're doing is going to lead to success. In legal practice, you're surrounded by experienced attorneys who can guide you, mentor you, ensure you have experience-level appropriate work. And just as a technical matter, generally the issues you deal with in day-to-day practice are less legal minutia and more going through the appropriate motions.

In my mind, I was waaaayyyyyy more stressed my 1L year.

Hutz_and_Goodman
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Re: More stressful: 1L law school or 1st year associate?

Postby Hutz_and_Goodman » Fri Mar 01, 2013 5:15 pm

I am going to make a thread for "least stressful: first year after making partner, or first year after retirement" and I guarantee dozens of people will vote.

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BaiAilian2013
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Re: More stressful: 1L law school or 1st year associate?

Postby BaiAilian2013 » Fri Mar 01, 2013 5:37 pm

^Well, I think we could all fairly vote on that one, because the answer is obvious. But point taken about who is probably voting.

Work is objectively a much bigger deal than school because real shit is going down, but that cuts both ways. It ought to be more stressful, but it's also much easier to be motivated to do your work than to study. If you don't study today, you can catch up tomorrow. Or the next day. And even if you don't, the actual consequences (grades) are weeks and weeks down the line. But if you don't do your work today, ACTUAL BAD THINGS will happen to you because somebody NEEDS you to do that shit. So should that be more stressful? Yeah. But if you are the type of person who spends a lot of mental energy procrastinating, arguing with yourself over whether you can procrastinate, and beating yourself up for procrastinating, that's something that kind of gets taken off your shoulders at work. Which is not an overall answer as to which is more stressful, but it's a real factor for some personality types.

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ExBiglawAssociate
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Re: More stressful: 1L law school or 1st year associate?

Postby ExBiglawAssociate » Fri Mar 01, 2013 6:12 pm

holdencaulfield wrote:I voted for associate, but I've changed my mind. During your first year as an associate, the partners assume you know nothing and that you will make mistakes. During 1L, you have a much higher risk of ruining your career prospects.





FWIW: I think being a second year associate is much more stressful than being a first year associate or 1L


This. At good, stable firms, no one expects much from you as a first-year associate. Shitty firms use your first-year screw ups as an excuse to shitcan you if work dries up.

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Mick Haller
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Re: More stressful: 1L law school or 1st year associate?

Postby Mick Haller » Fri Mar 01, 2013 8:47 pm

Skye wrote:
Mick Haller wrote:
RodneyRuxin wrote:obviously a 0L


oh? I just started as an associate earlier this week.

I think work is going to be more stressful than school, was curious how others felt.

Were you not an SA at this firm (or at some firm.. that usually fills in the blanks). At least that’s the way it normally works.


I was not an SA here. This firm doesn't hire summers. I worked at small firms during my law school summers.

I love the firm I am at. The people are all super cool and the pay is good enough. I just wish I knew what the hell I am doing.

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Re: More stressful: 1L law school or 1st year associate?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Mar 02, 2013 11:21 am

Definitely first year associate. Unfortunately, if you are a striver and always want to do better (seems like most of the 1st year associates I know are uber-strivers who like to/NEED to succeed), this profession never gets less stressful.

1L: I need to get good grades so I can be employed to pay down all this debt.

2L: summer work hussle.

3L: This is the least stressful, I bet. I have a job lined up, and I just need to pass the bar. But if I don't pass the bar that's going to be one uncomfortable conversation to have with my firm.

First year: OMG I feel so incompetent and I have all these loans I want to pay off and I want approval BUT I DON'T KNOW WHAT I'M DOING GOD I HOPE I CAN KEEP THIS JOB.

2-8 years: Ugh, the billables! My spouse feels neglected/when will I ever find time to date? Where are all my models and bottles? Too much daydreaming, back to billing!

8-10: GUN FOR PARTNER GUN FOR PARTNER GUN FOR PARTNER.

I made partner!: bring in business bring in business bring in business my associates are under budget increase profits increase profits.

You can hop off the train at any of these stations and that can reduce stress, but staying on the train is stressful.

Renzo
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Re: More stressful: 1L law school or 1st year associate?

Postby Renzo » Sat Mar 02, 2013 11:52 am

Have you had real, meaningful employment before in your life? If so, 1L is more stressful. If not, probably your first year as an associate.

RodneyRuxin
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Re: More stressful: 1L law school or 1st year associate?

Postby RodneyRuxin » Mon Mar 04, 2013 8:30 pm

Renzo wrote:Have you had real, meaningful employment before in your life? If so, 1L is more stressful. If not, probably your first year as an associate.


This.

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thesealocust
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Re: More stressful: 1L law school or 1st year associate?

Postby thesealocust » Mon Mar 04, 2013 8:38 pm

It really depends on the practice area, the firm, and what happens while you're on the ground.

I know 1st year associates who bill as many hours as they feel like per day on a never ending mountain of doc review. Their lives aren't perfect, and there's tedium and turmoil, but from the horse's mouth there's very little stress. Some work very reasonable hours for kind people who really take them in to mentor them.

I also know 1st year associates who have wound up running 9 to 10 figure deals on their own temporarily (through fluke and happenstance, obviously it was nobody's plan A) within their first few months at the firm. Shooting from the hip, firing blind, and trying to avoid a billion dollar mistake can be... not-calming. Some 1st years are in work environments where little mistakes cause them to be yelled at. And not too long ago, some 1st years were trying to work the job as the global economy nearly collapsed, and firms started instituting mass-layoffs.

I think 1L is a much more consistent experience from school to school. You learn torts, get nervous about grades/the future, etc. It's legitimately quite stressful, but not at all comparable to the way a first year associate job can bring somebody to their knees.

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nealric
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Re: More stressful: 1L law school or 1st year associate?

Postby nealric » Tue Mar 05, 2013 1:39 pm

I found 1L year more stressful than my first year of big law. Some of that can be attributed to the fact that I worked during 1L year and was maintaining a long distance relationship. I am in tax, which I think actually becomes more stressful as you get more senior. First years don't have to make any of the judgment calls that keep tax lawyers up at night.

rad lulz
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Re: More stressful: 1L law school or 1st year associate?

Postby rad lulz » Tue Mar 05, 2013 1:44 pm

nealric wrote:I found 1L year more stressful than my first year of big law. Some of that can be attributed to the fact that I worked during 1L year and was maintaining a long distance relationship. I am in tax, which I think actually becomes more stressful as you get more senior. First years don't have to make any of the judgment calls that keep tax lawyers up at night.

Do you just write a whole bunch of debt or equity memoranda over and over again?




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