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

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

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Mar 16, 2013 2:39 pm

Biglaw_Associate_V20 wrote:
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.


I was more talking about corporate work. The firms I referenced all have much better corporate practices than lit.

Say you had a 4-6 year associate from V&E or Latham (both Houston) v. a 4-6 year associate from a V10 NYC firm. Who is more likely to be able to lateral to another firm in Houston/Dallas as a corporate attorney (M&A or Securities) (wouldnt be questionable in a different state as the NYC associate would win). Would the NYC guy win out over an associate who was at what could be considered the "best" corporate shop in the state?

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

Postby thesealocust » Sat Mar 16, 2013 2:43 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Say you had a 4-6 year associate from V&E or Latham (both Houston) v. a 4-6 year associate from a V10 NYC firm. Who is more likely to be able to lateral to another firm in Houston/Dallas as a corporate attorney (M&A or Securities) (wouldnt be questionable in a different state as the NYC associate would win). Would the NYC guy win out over an associate who was at what could be considered the "best" corporate shop in the state?


I honestly don't think this question has an answer? You're talking about a tiny, tiny group of people/job openings. Generally speaking both will be attractive candidates and could probably land the job if it existed at the time they wanted to move and they interviewed well?

Midlevel associates, especially right now, are in very high demand - people flame out, but there's work to be done and firms are often looking to patch gaps in their practice areas.

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

Postby Old Gregg » Sat Mar 16, 2013 5:22 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?


Yep, but can't do V&E to David Polk in NYC (hypothetically, but who on earth would want to do that).

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

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Mar 16, 2013 9:11 pm

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

I'm at a V20-100 in DC (lit). Although I don't think I work as hard as my friends at New York firms, my job does have its brutal moments. Today, for instance, I billed 10 hours, and I will probably bill 10 more tomorrow. 36 hours ago I didn't anticipate doing any weekend work, but a deadline was moved forward for reasons unknown to me, so here I am.

Overall I have no regrets. I'd obviously prefer to have more free time, but the salary provides a nice lifestyle. I pay my rent, make payments on my loans (well above the minimum), spend whatever I feel like on clothes, food, alcohol, and entertainment (without keeping a budget), and my savings still rise by a large amount every two weeks. Soon I'll be debt free, have a nice pile of money saved up, and will have good experience should I want to lateral somewhere else (which will be useful, since right now I have no clue what I want to do long term). Below are just a few things to consider:

- Firms: Although there's no such thing as a "lifestyle firm" within the V100, some firms are less brutal than others. Some partners are pleasant people who will do their best to avoid giving you weekend work (but sometimes it's unavoidable); others have absolutely no concern for your well-being and will routinely give you urgent assignments on evenings and weekends, even though they could have easily assigned the work the previous week when it was far less urgent. I'd recommend finding a firm (and practice group) where most partners fall into the former category. When you're considering a firm, read all you can about it on Chambers, Vault (including every survey response), and Above the Law, search its name on TLS and AutoAdmit (one of the few times I'd advise going to that site), reach out to attorneys there (especially after you have an offer), and speak to former summers at your school.

- Families/Relationships: If your significant other isn't comfortable with you being away many nights and weekends, and frequently having to cancel plans, I can't imagine things will end well. And I still have no idea how associates with kids manage. One of the associates who started with me wasn't even able to continue taking care of her dog. If you have a family, look for firms where most partners and many associates have families. In my practice group, for instance, most of the partners have kids, which means they leave the office at 5:30 or 6 unless something is truly urgent. This enables the associates to leave then as well. Even if they still have work, they can at least do it from home.

- Debt: If you lack a scholarship, savings, wealthy parents, or some combination thereof, think carefully before going to law school, or at the very least, consider taking a scholarship from a lower-ranked school. If you graduate with $200k in debt, you'll be paying about $15k in interest per year. Big law can be an absolutely terrible experience for some people, and if you have never worked in a similarly demanding job before, you probably can't predict whether you'll be able to stand it for six months or six years. Law school can be a great investment--even assuming you borrow to the max to pay for it--but not if it is followed by several years of misery. Of the associates I know who graduated with at least $150k in debt, the ones who are older and worked for several years before attending law school are generally happier; the ones who attended straight out of undergrad are often depressed (although many are doing fine).

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

Postby Objection » Sat Mar 16, 2013 9:31 pm

Re: you not knowing what you want to do otherwise.

I am starting to think that just as people go to law school when they don't know what else to do, law grads go to big law when they don't know what else to do.

Not criticizing, just observing.

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

Postby sfhaze » Sat Mar 16, 2013 9:33 pm

Fresh Prince wrote:RE: not making partner: "I can even just tell from your FB pics, which I have already seen."

Seriously, how?

More generally, how can you tell from superficial indicia?

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

Postby Old Gregg » Sun Mar 17, 2013 12:06 am

sfhaze wrote:
Fresh Prince wrote:RE: not making partner: "I can even just tell from your FB pics, which I have already seen."

Seriously, how?

More generally, how can you tell from superficial indicia?


You can tell because about 30% of making partner is the quality of your work. The other chunk of it is the amount of business you bring in, the state of the market, and whether the right people like you.

Unfortunately, the latter-most quality is the most discriminatory of them all.

I know a ton of extremely hard working and very talented people who bill 2,700+ at my firm and have no shot at partnership. That doesn't make them "bad" lawyers at all. It's just very arbitrary.

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

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Mar 17, 2013 9:06 am

Anonymous User wrote:
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


also interested in this.

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

Postby Old Gregg » Sun Mar 17, 2013 11:10 am

hume85, you PM'd me this:

I am aware that making partner at a V10 is extraordinarily difficult, but it is still a goal of mine. I am curious what you think are the personal/professional qualities needed to make partner. Thank you in advance.


No.

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

Postby juzam_djinn » Sun Mar 17, 2013 11:35 am

Fresh Prince wrote:hume85, you PM'd me this:

I am aware that making partner at a V10 is extraordinarily difficult, but it is still a goal of mine. I am curious what you think are the personal/professional qualities needed to make partner. Thank you in advance.


No.


Damn that diss made me snarf yo

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

Postby TatNurner » Sun Mar 17, 2013 11:43 am

Fresh Prince wrote:hume85, you PM'd me this:

I am aware that making partner at a V10 is extraordinarily difficult, but it is still a goal of mine. I am curious what you think are the personal/professional qualities needed to make partner. Thank you in advance.


No.


You come across as one of those psychos discussed ITT that people would do well to avoid.

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

Postby 005618502 » Sun Mar 17, 2013 1:37 pm

Fresh Prince wrote:hume85, you PM'd me this:

I am aware that making partner at a V10 is extraordinarily difficult, but it is still a goal of mine. I am curious what you think are the personal/professional qualities needed to make partner. Thank you in advance.


No.


Not cool bro.

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

Postby ExBiglawAssociate » Sun Mar 17, 2013 1:53 pm

Fresh Prince wrote:hume85, you PM'd me this:

I am aware that making partner at a V10 is extraordinarily difficult, but it is still a goal of mine. I am curious what you think are the personal/professional qualities needed to make partner. Thank you in advance.


No.


Harsh, but fair.

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

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Mar 17, 2013 3:15 pm

To answer the person who asked about Boston firms, I think it really depends. The pure billables are obviously not as bad as New York; however, my experience is that I work on a lot of smaller deals (I'm transactional) than associates in NY. My day is broken up by juggling 3-5 deals at once rather than 1 or 2 really big deals. I would almost always prefer to be on one or two big deals because then you can bill most of your time at the office.

Last year I billed about 75% of my work hours because of the transition time between matters and I did a lot of marketing/firm meetings/mentoring/etc. Some may say that I chose to participate in these activities...but the firm strongly encourages it to the point where I really do not have a choice if I want to keep myself in the good graces of the powers that be. So, while I ended up billing around 2100 for the year, it was a very painful year hours-wise.

From stories I have heard from classmates and acquaintances associates at v10 firms or NYC firms tend to not have the same requirements for extra curricular activities. I'm sure some of you will say I'm just inefficient, but I'm senior enough to know ths is not uncommon for my firm and many of my peer firms. I'm burnt out as hell, so maybe my efficiency could be a little higher, but not by much. I am perpetually tired.

My advice is to do transactional work for a few years, save money, work hard so you get good experience and get the hell out. Gunning for partnership is not worth the money unless you have very expensive tastes, are prestige hungry or are in a smaller market. Never being able to make plans with any certainty really, really sucks...and taking a vacation but then having to work all vacation really, really sucks.

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

Postby chadbrochill » Sun Mar 17, 2013 5:14 pm

Thanks all, tagging this for later

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

Postby sfhaze » Sun Mar 17, 2013 9:32 pm

Is billing enough to advance at a firm ever really an issue for a junior level associate? Sounds like definitely no from these posts, but are you all 'typical' for your firms/levels?

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

Postby Objection » Sun Mar 17, 2013 9:42 pm

sfhaze wrote:Is billing enough to advance at a firm ever really an issue for a junior level associate? Sounds like definitely no from these posts, but are you all 'typical' for your firms/levels?


Billing enough can be a problem if you draw a line in the sand and not let work compromise your ability to have a stable life outside of work.

Otherwise, if you are at a firm in good shape, likely not.

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

Postby danitt » Sun Mar 17, 2013 10:49 pm

Objection wrote:
sfhaze wrote:Is billing enough to advance at a firm ever really an issue for a junior level associate? Sounds like definitely no from these posts, but are you all 'typical' for your firms/levels?


Billing enough can be a problem if you draw a line in the sand and not let work compromise your ability to have a stable life outside of work.

Otherwise, if you are at a firm in good shape, likely not.

Does every firm give associates a certain figure that they must bill every month?

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

Postby Objection » Sun Mar 17, 2013 11:10 pm

danitt wrote:
Objection wrote:
sfhaze wrote:Is billing enough to advance at a firm ever really an issue for a junior level associate? Sounds like definitely no from these posts, but are you all 'typical' for your firms/levels?


Billing enough can be a problem if you draw a line in the sand and not let work compromise your ability to have a stable life outside of work.

Otherwise, if you are at a firm in good shape, likely not.

Does every firm give associates a certain figure that they must bill every month?


Most have official minimums. If not, there's definitely an unofficial expected.

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

Postby Danger Zone » Sun Mar 17, 2013 11:12 pm

May be an obvious question, but is it true that even firms with official minimums have "unofficial" expectations above and beyond the minimum?

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

Postby bk1 » Sun Mar 17, 2013 11:13 pm

KenLogginsDangerZone wrote:May be an obvious question, but is it true that even firms with official minimums have "unofficial" expectations above and beyond the minimum?

Yes.

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

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Mar 18, 2013 1:29 am

bk1 wrote:
KenLogginsDangerZone wrote:May be an obvious question, but is it true that even firms with official minimums have "unofficial" expectations above and beyond the minimum?

Yes.

My understanding is that the real minimum is wherever you become eligible for the associate bonus. For instance, at my firm the stated minimum is 1800, but you can get dat bonus at 1950, so pretty much everyone bills 1950+ as I understand it. Part of this is because bonuses are big checks and big checks are fun to get, so people who have already billed, say, 1875 hrs might just want to push themselves over the hump. But part of it is that the bonus is kinda the firm's way of saying "You're doing a good job here" and so to not get a bonus, by extension, is a suggestion that you're not doing a good job here.

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

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Mar 18, 2013 1:31 am

For what it's worth, working at a big firm is hard no matter what, but it varies a LOT by city. In the market where I'm working (a mid-sized, pretty out-of-the-way city - think like Omaha or Cleveland) it's nothing like the culture in SF/NYC/DC. Unless people are really under the gun, the office is deserted by 6:30/7.

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

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Mar 18, 2013 1:44 am

Anonymous User wrote:For what it's worth, working at a big firm is hard no matter what, but it varies a LOT by city. In the market where I'm working (a mid-sized, pretty out-of-the-way city - think like Omaha or Cleveland) it's nothing like the culture in SF/NYC/DC. Unless people are really under the gun, the office is deserted by 6:30/7.


I would imagine the pay is lower and they care A LOT about ties. I have a friend who works in Birmingham at Bradley Arant and this is how he describes his experience. Though I think starting pay is only like 110,000 or something like that. (but in 'Bama, thats not a bad salary at all)

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

Postby bk1 » Mon Mar 18, 2013 1:53 am

Anonymous User wrote:
bk1 wrote:
KenLogginsDangerZone wrote:May be an obvious question, but is it true that even firms with official minimums have "unofficial" expectations above and beyond the minimum?

Yes.

My understanding is that the real minimum is wherever you become eligible for the associate bonus. For instance, at my firm the stated minimum is 1800, but you can get dat bonus at 1950, so pretty much everyone bills 1950+ as I understand it. Part of this is because bonuses are big checks and big checks are fun to get, so people who have already billed, say, 1875 hrs might just want to push themselves over the hump. But part of it is that the bonus is kinda the firm's way of saying "You're doing a good job here" and so to not get a bonus, by extension, is a suggestion that you're not doing a good job here.

My knowledge is all second hand from talking to attorneys at big firms so I defer to people who know firsthand. I would assume that it does vary from firm to firm though,




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