Objection wrote:Nonetheless, as a litigator, the odds of a client coming to a lawyer with a problem completely out of left field on Saturday that is so urgent that it requires a full day of work Sunday seem low enough that I doubt I will encounter it.
That's the beauty of knowing most deadlines reasonably in advance and a court system full of employees who value their holidays as much as I do.
You make some decent points throughout your posts, but your lack of experience as a lawyer is really, really evident... especially exemplified by this quotation. You clearly never got the level where you were in the loop... clients have these types of emergencies all the time. Once you hit your second year (and hopefully at the latest by your third or you are in trouble), you would have gotten more insight into why these late night or weekend emergencies that partners asked you to attend to were important. Partners bust their asses too and are subject to the whims and emergencies of their clients.
Yes, sometimes senior associates or partners sit on assignments/tasks and then ruin your weekend needlessly. I'm willing to bet that more often than not there was no avoiding it if they wanted to keep their client happy. I do not know a single partner in a big law firm that does not work his or her ass off, save senior partners who have one foot in the door to retirement.
Big law is a rough lifestyle, no doubt. But plenty of people genuinely enjoy the work, there is meaning to be had/found in the work, and not all of the personalities are awful. I may disagree with the life priorities of the partners with whom I work, but most of them are pretty decent human beings.
I have serious doubts that I will go all the way to partnership (even if available), but I am getting excellent experience and training along the way. I take it one day at a time. A lot of the people who get shit experience/work, get that type of work because they aren't willing to take one for the team and work a Super Bowl if need be. If, as your supervisor, I cannot count on you when shit hits the fan, why the hell would I invest time in training you? This goes for any job. My ass is on the line with the client or maybe partner to perform... if I cannot count on you to pitch in then I do not want to work with you because it means I will risk looking bad and/or having to kill myself to pickup your slack.
This is not to say that there isn't arbitrary politics that can sway favor, but the "good" associates (at least at my firm) are given excellent training and get to do cool stuff if you show initiative, are reasonably intelligent and are willing to work hard... of course, if your firm is low on billable work then you simply do not have the opportunity to do much.
Would I recommend big law as a lifestyle? No. I am unconvinced that you can be a good parent and be a partner at a big law firm nowadays in a primary market. Do I think it is an excellent start to many attorney's careers? Resoundingly, yes.