First year at a big firm; brutal hours; like the job. AMA.

(On Campus Interviews, Summer Associate positions, Firm Reviews, Tips, ...)
Forum rules
Anonymous Posting

Anonymous posting is only appropriate when you are revealing sensitive employment related information about a firm, job, etc. You may anonymously respond on topic to these threads. Unacceptable uses include: harassing another user, joking around, testing the feature, or other things that are more appropriate in the lounge.

Failure to follow these rules will get you outed, warned, or banned.
User avatar
Old Gregg
Posts: 5413
Joined: Thu Sep 01, 2011 1:26 pm

Re: First year at a big firm; brutal hours; like the job. AMA.

Postby Old Gregg » Sat Mar 16, 2013 9:07 am

People here saying that you're getting paid 160k and that, a result of that, you will have no control over your life.

That's only true for one specific type of big law: biglaw in NYC and at specific firms known for it across the nation.

If you're willing to sacrifice "prestige" in the form of vault rankings, you can have a much more balanced life and make market.

That's what makes these V10s a losing proposition. That wasn't the case years ago, when there was genuine compensation disparity between NYC big firms and, say, non-NYC big firms. But the market's caught up. I have friends who are partner track in Texas and laugh at my hours; they bill, on average, 600 hours less than I do per year. They make market, but end up making a lot more in real dollar terms.

The V10 NYC experience is worth it. I learn a fuck ton end have a ton of mobility. But as you get more senior and you realize how minuscule partnership chances are (and what you have to sacrifice in order to get it), things change. You already know what you need to know, any further time spent will just diminish career opportunities and your partnership chances remain at 1%.

Conclusion: unless you're making partner (which you can't be sure of unless you have a massive book of business), absolutely no reason to stay beyond year 5. The sacrifice in personal life, time owed to your wife and kids, etc., is not worth it. Stay longer and you're willingly subjecting your loved ones and self to so much pain for very, very little gain.
Last edited by Old Gregg on Sat Mar 16, 2013 9:18 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Old Gregg
Posts: 5413
Joined: Thu Sep 01, 2011 1:26 pm

Re: First year at a big firm; brutal hours; like the job. AMA.

Postby Old Gregg » Sat Mar 16, 2013 9:12 am

I never understood people bitching about the $ vs. time in biglaw. You know there are people who work multiple nearly minimum wage jobs just to get by, right? And you know $160K pre-tax is smaller than the biggest fortunes, but puts you at like top 2% of wage earners in the country, right?

There are alternatives and I personally believe happiness is more important than anything else in this life, so follow your heart etc. - but the opportunity to earn big law bucks is a major one, even with brutal stress and hours.


Posts like this really fucking annoy me.

I love my firm, but sooner or later you're going to realize that the SACRIFICE you're making is to work at YOUR FIRM, not to make $160k+. It's not 160k at S&C or nothing.

Yes, I get that there's probably better work experience at a place like S&C and better training, as a result, but once you're able to run your own deals, you can really go somewhere else and have a better life for the same money. Of course, the exception is if you're making partner.

But I know who you are, and I know you're not making partner. In fact, within the first 5 minutes of meeting someone, you can tell. That's because the odds are so low and the personal/professional qualities/luck for it are so narrow.

You might think that sounds nonsensical, but it's similar to me saying: I know who you are and you will never compete in the Olympics. I can tell within the first 5 minutes of meeting you that you won't make the Olympics (I can even just tell from your FB pics, which I have already seen).

And I'm not trying to be mean or anything. It just is what it is. Stop drinking the kool-aid and realize that there's a middle ground between S&C and working in the streets.

09042014
Posts: 18282
Joined: Wed Oct 14, 2009 10:47 pm

Re: First year at a big firm; brutal hours; like the job. AMA.

Postby 09042014 » Sat Mar 16, 2013 9:34 am

Can someone from a non-v10 non-nyc explain how brutal your life is?

User avatar
Old Gregg
Posts: 5413
Joined: Thu Sep 01, 2011 1:26 pm

Re: First year at a big firm; brutal hours; like the job. AMA.

Postby Old Gregg » Sat Mar 16, 2013 9:51 am

I know you're just trolling.

But that aside, if someone worked at, say, Baker Botts in Houston and complained about how hard their life is, I'd feel significantly less sympathetic. Life billing 2000 hours and making 160k is pretty damn nice. I think that's where sealocusts self righteousness might have some bearing.


But to the associate at Cravath: you chose your firm, you chose your city. You can rationalize it by the $$$, but the reality is that that's not the nature of the sacrifice. Your sacrifice is for the prestige.

And BTW, while making 160k puts you in the top income bracket, anyone wig half a brain knows that's a really retarded statement. The reality is that after loans and taxes you're not making that much, but still have all the adverse consequences of bring in a top bracket.

Yeah, you're a genuine 1%ers.

Real 1%ers live off of investment income and carried interest that's taxed at 15%. They aren't losers who are clicking "pay amount owed" on Sallie Mae in between replacing periods with commas for a company in a signature page while you make $160 (but really take home a lot less).

User avatar
Old Gregg
Posts: 5413
Joined: Thu Sep 01, 2011 1:26 pm

Re: First year at a big firm; brutal hours; like the job. AMA.

Postby Old Gregg » Sat Mar 16, 2013 9:54 am

And by "you" I don't mean you, desert fox. Just hypothetical you.

User avatar
bk1
Posts: 18422
Joined: Sun Mar 14, 2010 7:06 pm

Re: First year at a big firm; brutal hours; like the job. AMA.

Postby bk1 » Sat Mar 16, 2013 10:51 am

Considering how much harder non-NYC biglaw is to get, I'm not sure it's necessarily fair to say people chose it. At least not for everyone.

User avatar
Old Gregg
Posts: 5413
Joined: Thu Sep 01, 2011 1:26 pm

Re: First year at a big firm; brutal hours; like the job. AMA.

Postby Old Gregg » Sat Mar 16, 2013 11:04 am

bk1 wrote:Considering how much harder non-NYC biglaw is to get, I'm not sure it's necessarily fair to say people chose it. At least not for everyone.


My post was primarily aimed at people who complain about working at a place like Craveth. I'm sure they chose it.

keg411
Posts: 5935
Joined: Tue Apr 21, 2009 9:10 pm

Re: First year at a big firm; brutal hours; like the job. AMA.

Postby keg411 » Sat Mar 16, 2013 11:40 am

I have a friend in Miami/Ft. Lauderdale-area midlaw on track to bill over 2400 hours this year and I know someone in DC BigLaw that works like 80 hours a week (non-W&C/Covington). And my sister's/her fiance's lives at their NYC V50-ish firms aren't sunshine and roses (anything but). So it's not just NYC V10's that kill you.

So I tend to think that the "further down the vault chain is better" is somewhat of a myth. Any work-life balance, you're going to have to figure out how to make for yourself. But with the caveat that I'm a 3L, so it's certainly possible that things really are significantly worse at the NYC V10 (which seems like an arbitrary dividing point, but okay).

User avatar
Old Gregg
Posts: 5413
Joined: Thu Sep 01, 2011 1:26 pm

Re: First year at a big firm; brutal hours; like the job. AMA.

Postby Old Gregg » Sat Mar 16, 2013 12:24 pm

Yes, there are many exceptions, and I allowed for that in my post. Greenberg Traurig in Miami, for example, is a sweatshop. Carlton Fields, on the other hand, is not even close.

K&E in any market will work you to the bone. Jenner & Block in Chicago will not. One of my friends at Jenner gets constant calls for positions at K&E. He wouldn't take it in a million years.

User avatar
thesealocust
Posts: 8448
Joined: Mon Oct 20, 2008 8:50 pm

Re: First year at a big firm; brutal hours; like the job. AMA.

Postby thesealocust » Sat Mar 16, 2013 12:42 pm

Fresh Prince wrote:
I never understood people bitching about the $ vs. time in biglaw. You know there are people who work multiple nearly minimum wage jobs just to get by, right? And you know $160K pre-tax is smaller than the biggest fortunes, but puts you at like top 2% of wage earners in the country, right?

There are alternatives and I personally believe happiness is more important than anything else in this life, so follow your heart etc. - but the opportunity to earn big law bucks is a major one, even with brutal stress and hours.


Posts like this really fucking annoy me.

I love my firm, but sooner or later you're going to realize that the SACRIFICE you're making is to work at YOUR FIRM, not to make $160k+. It's not 160k at S&C or nothing.

Yes, I get that there's probably better work experience at a place like S&C and better training, as a result, but once you're able to run your own deals, you can really go somewhere else and have a better life for the same money. Of course, the exception is if you're making partner.

But I know who you are, and I know you're not making partner. In fact, within the first 5 minutes of meeting someone, you can tell. That's because the odds are so low and the personal/professional qualities/luck for it are so narrow.

You might think that sounds nonsensical, but it's similar to me saying: I know who you are and you will never compete in the Olympics. I can tell within the first 5 minutes of meeting you that you won't make the Olympics (I can even just tell from your FB pics, which I have already seen).

And I'm not trying to be mean or anything. It just is what it is. Stop drinking the kool-aid and realize that there's a middle ground between S&C and working in the streets.


Maybe it's just that our generation is scarred post-Latham (et al) but I've yet to meet even a single person from my law school class year with ambitions to make partner.

As for the rest, I... don't think I disagree with you? The hours/stress suck, and getting the same pay check for less of those sounds like the best path to me? My only point is that, objectively, $160,000 (or 90-110K after taxes or w/e) per year is a huge, life-changing sum of money for many. Everyone has to find their own balance and to be happy align their choices with their personal desires... but plenty of people work really fucking hard, and with plenty of stress, for a fraction of the money - even if you're looking at Cravath (probably the worst example of the hours/stress vs. the compensation within traditional biglaw, neh?)
Last edited by thesealocust on Sat Mar 16, 2013 12:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273479
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: First year at a big firm; brutal hours; like the job. AMA.

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Mar 16, 2013 12:44 pm

Desert Fox wrote:Can someone from a non-v10 non-nyc explain how brutal your life is?


I second this request. Specifically, I'm curious if things are much different in Boston at the top firms, i.e. Ropes, Wilmer, and Goodwin.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273479
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: First year at a big firm; brutal hours; like the job. AMA.

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Mar 16, 2013 12:47 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:Can someone from a non-v10 non-nyc explain how brutal your life is?


I second this request. Specifically, I'm curious if things are much different in Boston at the top firms, i.e. Ropes, Wilmer, and Goodwin.


+1 curious how people have experience the Big 3 in Texas as well as Andrews Kurth, Bracewell and Haynes and Boone.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273479
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: First year at a big firm; brutal hours; like the job. AMA.

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Mar 16, 2013 12:52 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:Can someone from a non-v10 non-nyc explain how brutal your life is?


I second this request. Specifically, I'm curious if things are much different in Boston at the top firms, i.e. Ropes, Wilmer, and Goodwin.


+1

User avatar
Objection
Posts: 1272
Joined: Mon Jul 14, 2008 11:48 am

Re: First year at a big firm; brutal hours; like the job. AMA.

Postby Objection » Sat Mar 16, 2013 1:03 pm

I was at a v11-20.

User avatar
ExBiglawAssociate
Posts: 2094
Joined: Thu Sep 13, 2012 7:06 pm

Re: First year at a big firm; brutal hours; like the job. AMA.

Postby ExBiglawAssociate » Sat Mar 16, 2013 1:10 pm

Fresh Prince wrote:People here saying that you're getting paid 160k and that, a result of that, you will have no control over your life.

That's only true for one specific type of big law: biglaw in NYC and at specific firms known for it across the nation.

If you're willing to sacrifice "prestige" in the form of vault rankings, you can have a much more balanced life and make market.

That's what makes these V10s a losing proposition. That wasn't the case years ago, when there was genuine compensation disparity between NYC big firms and, say, non-NYC big firms. But the market's caught up. I have friends who are partner track in Texas and laugh at my hours; they bill, on average, 600 hours less than I do per year. They make market, but end up making a lot more in real dollar terms.


TBF, there are firms in Texas that work you like a slave too. I know people billing close to 3,000 at big three Texas firms.

User avatar
Old Gregg
Posts: 5413
Joined: Thu Sep 01, 2011 1:26 pm

Re: First year at a big firm; brutal hours; like the job. AMA.

Postby Old Gregg » Sat Mar 16, 2013 1:12 pm

My only point is that, objectively, $160,000 (or 90-110K after taxes or w/e) per year is a huge, life-changing sum of money for many.


What about after loan payments????

TBF, there are firms in Texas that work you like a slave too.


i wish people would stop giving these examples as if they disprove my point. I know people in every market billing close to 3,000 hours. My point is that it's more than possible to find a biglaw job paying market where you can bill 2,000 hours. I have many friends who do it.

User avatar
Objection
Posts: 1272
Joined: Mon Jul 14, 2008 11:48 am

Re: First year at a big firm; brutal hours; like the job. AMA.

Postby Objection » Sat Mar 16, 2013 1:17 pm

Yeah, but if you go big law in a less major market, you're going to have less exist opps than you would from nyc or similar (aka less pay off for the misery).

Also, don't act like it is a cake walk just getting big law in Texas. It's tough without ties, and the satellite offices of big Texas firms are often tough to get into as well.

That being said, my firm had an office in a similar secondary market and the people there seemed to have a little bit more humane of a work environment. They had families at least.

And for the last time, it's not just about the hours. Every time someone focuses on the hours part of these big law rants while ignoring the rest, they're ostriching.

User avatar
ExBiglawAssociate
Posts: 2094
Joined: Thu Sep 13, 2012 7:06 pm

Re: First year at a big firm; brutal hours; like the job. AMA.

Postby ExBiglawAssociate » Sat Mar 16, 2013 1:24 pm

The exit options are better or the same as NYC in smaller markets for some practice areas. For example, IP lit exit options are much better for EE/CS people in Silicon Valley. Oil and gas exit options are much better for people in Texas. Regulatory exit options (government) are generally better for people in DC (although DC is not really a "smaller" market, but it's non-NYC). Of course, if your some kind of corporate shithead, your exit options are better in NYC, but you really don't have as many options to begin with as a lit person.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273479
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: First year at a big firm; brutal hours; like the job. AMA.

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Mar 16, 2013 1:30 pm

Within the same firm, the hours depend on the practice group as well, which also makes it harder to generalize. At my SA, some groups were content with the standard 2000, while in others, I heard that you had to bill 2400 to pull your weight. I believe that, because while the 2400 hours group was the largest, I met far fewer associates from that group than all the others: they were too busy to bother with most firm events. This was the case the entire summer, and other associates openly confirmed my suspicions that the practice group in question was buried in work. This was in a non-NYC major market. Interestingly, many people there have told me that they were grateful not to be practicing in NYC.

keg411
Posts: 5935
Joined: Tue Apr 21, 2009 9:10 pm

Re: First year at a big firm; brutal hours; like the job. AMA.

Postby keg411 » Sat Mar 16, 2013 1:39 pm

Biglaw_Associate_V20 wrote:The exit options are better or the same as NYC in smaller markets for some practice areas. For example, IP lit exit options are much better for EE/CS people in Silicon Valley. Oil and gas exit options are much better for people in Texas. Regulatory exit options (government) are generally better for people in DC (although DC is not really a "smaller" market, but it's non-NYC). Of course, if your some kind of corporate shithead, your exit options are better in NYC, but you really don't have as many options to begin with as a lit person.


People keep saying this over and over again... but I want to know where the truth really lies. Why do people say exit option for litigators are so bad? Is it just because fewer go in-house, which are supposed to be the "cushy" positions? Is it because exiting to small firms and boutiques/gov't/etc. is somehow "lower tier" in terms of prestige? Are more litigators who are "pushed out" unable to find work?

I'm honestly really curious about whether or not the "corporate exit options are vastly superior" is a real thing or if there are just significantly more corporate attorneys on the board. (FYI, the "corporate is better than lit" sentiment isn't just confined to this board; I've heard it from corporate attorneys as well -- though oddly enough, I've never heard a litigator disparage a corporate person the way I've heard corporate people disparage litigators).

User avatar
Old Gregg
Posts: 5413
Joined: Thu Sep 01, 2011 1:26 pm

Re: First year at a big firm; brutal hours; like the job. AMA.

Postby Old Gregg » Sat Mar 16, 2013 2:00 pm

Yeah, but if you go big law in a less major market, you're going to have less exist opps than you would from nyc or similar (aka less pay off for the misery).


False. Exit options are different, but not necessarily better. If you want to go to a bank, yes S&C is better. If you want to go to Facebook, Simpson is no better than Fenwick.

User avatar
Old Gregg
Posts: 5413
Joined: Thu Sep 01, 2011 1:26 pm

Re: First year at a big firm; brutal hours; like the job. AMA.

Postby Old Gregg » Sat Mar 16, 2013 2:05 pm

Will say that I do see better exit options for law firms, but that's up to and until year 5. I don't really see it as difficult to lateral to S&C or Davis Polk or Skadden from any decently reputable NYC firm. You wouldn't get that at V&E.

But when you're more senior and on the verge of being told you're not making partner, law firm options are not nearly as plentiful.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273479
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: First year at a big firm; brutal hours; like the job. AMA.

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Mar 16, 2013 2:10 pm

Fresh Prince wrote:Will say that I do see better exit options for law firms, but that's up to and until year 5. I don't really see it as difficult to lateral to S&C or Davis Polk or Skadden from any decently reputable NYC firm. You wouldn't get that at V&E.

But when you're more senior and on the verge of being told you're not making partner, law firm options are not nearly as plentiful.


But wouldnt you be able to lateral from V&E (Texas) to another big Texas firm? Like Andrews Kurth, Haynes and Boone, Bracewell, etc... Same with BB and FJ for litigation?

Anonymous User
Posts: 273479
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: First year at a big firm; brutal hours; like the job. AMA.

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Mar 16, 2013 2:14 pm

My sense from having summered in litigation at one mid-sized firm in the SF area and now working at another soon is that exit options for litigators often involve taking a small pay cut and going to a smaller firm where you do pretty similar work but have a bit more of a personal life. This is part of why "midlaw" jobs are such unicorns for law students, the good mid sized firms can pretty easily fill their ranks with burned-out biglaw laterals.

User avatar
ExBiglawAssociate
Posts: 2094
Joined: Thu Sep 13, 2012 7:06 pm

Re: First year at a big firm; brutal hours; like the job. AMA.

Postby ExBiglawAssociate » Sat Mar 16, 2013 2:20 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Fresh Prince wrote:Will say that I do see better exit options for law firms, but that's up to and until year 5. I don't really see it as difficult to lateral to S&C or Davis Polk or Skadden from any decently reputable NYC firm. You wouldn't get that at V&E.

But when you're more senior and on the verge of being told you're not making partner, law firm options are not nearly as plentiful.


But wouldnt you be able to lateral from V&E (Texas) to another big Texas firm? Like Andrews Kurth, Haynes and Boone, Bracewell, etc... Same with BB and FJ for litigation?


In my market, litigation groups prefer people who have passed our state's bar over out of staters. I think this is generally true, but if your practice is securities litigation or something like that I'd imagine you could go wherever you want from a big NYC firm.




Return to “Legal Employment”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.