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 » Fri Mar 22, 2013 8:01 am

Good point from last poster. The physical limitation and pain threshold is a big issue. This week I slept 4 hours each night Sunday night through Wednesday then slept 6.5 hours wed night then 3 hours last night. Busy week but def not atypical for a busy week and def not the worst week by any stretch. In my department only 2 other associates have this type of stamina (the rest physically cannot do it)... guess which associates are best regarded?

Can't speak for the other 2 associates but I have been taking my adderall since Wednesday to keep me going. I imagine lots of the people who have crazy stamina have a prescription too but certainly not all. This is always the elephant in the room that no one ever talks about.

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

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Mar 22, 2013 9:12 am

Anonymous User wrote: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.


Thanks for this. Listening to the information passed around at the end of this thread, 3-5 hrs of sleep, 100 billable hours in a week, just doesnt make sense based on NALP numbers (maybe they just arent accurate).

WilmerHale
Average annual associate hours worked in 2010 2222
Average annual associate hours worked in 2011 2279
Average annual associate billable hours worked in 2010 1938
Average annual associate billable hours worked in 2011 1982
Goodwin Procter
Average annual associate hours worked in 2010 2376
Average annual associate hours worked in 2011 2331
Average annual associate billable hours worked in 2010 1968
Average annual associate billable hours worked in 2011 1986
Ropes and Gray
(no data provided)

Can anyone speak to this. Obviously, it is not a walk in the park, but it sounds very manageable.

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

Postby ph5354a » Fri Mar 22, 2013 9:28 am

One thing I've always wondered about is the discrepancy between billable hours and hours worked. Are there certain types of work where its easier to minimize your non-billable hours worked, besides what the anon said about working on many small projects vs. few large projects? Other big law associates, what have your experiences been in this regard?

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

Postby ph5354a » Fri Mar 22, 2013 9:36 am

More questions: for women in big law, what is the dress code like? All black everything, or is it permissible to add in some color/accessories?

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

Postby NYstate » Fri Mar 22, 2013 9:38 am

I don't work at any of those firms but I would not believe those numbers as gospel truth.

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

Postby crazycanuck » Fri Mar 22, 2013 11:08 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote: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.


Thanks for this. Listening to the information passed around at the end of this thread, 3-5 hrs of sleep, 100 billable hours in a week, just doesnt make sense based on NALP numbers (maybe they just arent accurate).

WilmerHale
Average annual associate hours worked in 2010 2222
Average annual associate hours worked in 2011 2279
Average annual associate billable hours worked in 2010 1938
Average annual associate billable hours worked in 2011 1982
Goodwin Procter
Average annual associate hours worked in 2010 2376
Average annual associate hours worked in 2011 2331
Average annual associate billable hours worked in 2010 1968
Average annual associate billable hours worked in 2011 1986
Ropes and Gray
(no data provided)

Can anyone speak to this. Obviously, it is not a walk in the park, but it sounds very manageable.


http://www.envoyglobal.net/jdbliss/test/calculator2.htm

Play around with that and see how manageable it becomes.

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

Postby thesealocust » Fri Mar 22, 2013 11:41 am

You have to split your perspective here. You, as the worker, think in terms of hours billed, hours at the office, and time away from the office.

But your job is to do whatever your clients need, whenever they need it, perfectly, and as fast as possible. You aren't assigned work other than to get it done and to not kill you in the process (but no harm in coming close!).

When things stack up people sling all-nighters, but inevitably the pendulum will swing the other way and you'll spend a day in the office (8-10 hours) while only having a small number of hours to bill, if any. You will also have days spent on pro bono, training, or administrative tasks that can't be billed but do take your time.

Inevitably people tell their horror stories. When people talk about billing 12-24 hours per day for X days straight, they might not get a break right after (all depends on the clients!) but over the course of the year, there will be lulls - and often long lulls.

3,000 hours billed is at or near the high-water mark for pain over a year. Stereotypically the most sweatshoppy of sweatshop firms (Cravath, Wachtell, probably some of the powerhouse litigation firms) have average billables in the high 2,000s - but your not immune from it anywhere, if you happen to be staved on matters that go crazy.

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

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Mar 22, 2013 1:53 pm

wert3813 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Magic Circle first-year associate here. I haven't read anything after the first three pages, but someone was asking about what it's like having a family. I have a wife and kid and I'll give you a picture of what it's like.

I usually leave for work at 9:00 and get home around midnight. After reading some of the comments here, it appears that my hours are especially brutal. I have had a few lucky weeks (like 2-3) during the last 6 months where I have only billed 9-10 hours a day. Otherwise I bill 12-14 hours a day regularly. I have had a few weeks where I've billed nearly 100 hours in a week. And I've had a handful of 24+ hour days (true all nighters where there is no sleep). It all depends on what stage of the deal I'm on and how many deals I'm on at the same time.

As for the family, I see them on the weekends mostly. I see them normally for 20-30 minutes before I head out in the mornings. But this is while I'm shaving and eating breakfast. I have eaten dinner with the family at home less than five times during the last six months. I've tried to schedule lunches near the office but those have been cancelled due to last-minute assignments from seniors.

Luckily, I've only worked a few weekends. That means that most of my time with my family is on the weekend.

Hope this helps.


NYC? M&A?



London Capital Markets, which is on par with NY capital markets. Currently a LOT of high yield going on here. In my own opinion, Capital Markets, especially high yield, is one of the more brutal practices.

I've had a handful of "hell weeks" during my first six months. For me, a hell week means billing 90+ hours during the week (working non stop until 3-4am, and coming back to the office at 8-930am) and finishing with a session at the "printers." A typical go at the printers in high yield involves getting there on a Friday, for example, and ending/launching the deal on Monday. This means working non-stop, and I mean maybe a 15 minute break for dinner or maybe even eating at the conference table with the other bankers/accountants/lawyers while you edit the prospectus, for 18-24 hours. For example, during my first experience at the printers I got there at 10am on a friday, worked until 8am, slept on a cott for two hours, worked from 10am again until Sunday early evening. It's something that I never thought the body could do.

Like I said, the only way that I stay sane is because of my free weekends (unless it's a printer session!). But I do absolutely love the work. Drafting a prospectus, i.e., writing about a business as you get to know it, is amazing. I get a lot of responsibility and talk to the clients often on the phone and in person as a first-year. And most of my deals end up on the front page news, even though I'm the junior on the 3-4 person team that did it.

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

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Mar 22, 2013 2:17 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote: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.


Thanks for this. Listening to the information passed around at the end of this thread, 3-5 hrs of sleep, 100 billable hours in a week, just doesnt make sense based on NALP numbers (maybe they just arent accurate).

WilmerHale
Average annual associate hours worked in 2010 2222
Average annual associate hours worked in 2011 2279
Average annual associate billable hours worked in 2010 1938
Average annual associate billable hours worked in 2011 1982
Goodwin Procter
Average annual associate hours worked in 2010 2376
Average annual associate hours worked in 2011 2331
Average annual associate billable hours worked in 2010 1968
Average annual associate billable hours worked in 2011 1986
Ropes and Gray
(no data provided)

Can anyone speak to this. Obviously, it is not a walk in the park, but it sounds very manageable.

The averages are skewed by small markets, really slow associates and the fact that no one enters all nonbillable time. There is no reward usually for nonbillables. Example - last year I billed 2100 with 2700 hours worked and that absolutely did not cover all of my nonbillable work time. Not to mention the lulls. Having one really bad week followed by an ok week still sucks. After you've been doing it a while your body doesn't recover that fast....

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

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Mar 22, 2013 3:18 pm

to me the hard part is not the hours. its the pressure/stress. everything has to be perfect. and immediate. one or the other is fine but to be perfect and fast is hard - but thats the expectuation. you dont have time to double check or review, but yet everything has to be flawless. partners can be passive aggressive a lot of times if you mess up. some people can take it. it gets tough though day in and day out. its not like youre laying bricks all day at your own pace, slowly sludging along 12 hours for the day. you are always in a state of panic, a state of emergency. you have three different deals you're trying to juggle, partners calling you on each wondering where stuff is, and at the same time everything has to be perfect. depending on the person it can take a toll. some are good at just having an f' it attitute and dont let it get to them. other take it personally and cant deal. not saying this is harder than laying bricks for 12 hours a day, just saying its a different type of hard. its emotionally hard/draining. you just cant compare the two, they are too different. its like asking what hurts more, having your leg broken or having your heart broken.

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

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Mar 22, 2013 3:50 pm

I've been giving Objection a lot of shit in this thread mainly because, like most people, I think his experience in biglaw (summed up as "I lasted 6 months but the final straw was when I didn't get credit on a brief after they asked me to work on Super Bowl Sunday!") is a little silly.

But some of the "Suck it up, pussy, they don't pay you to slack off" responses are bordering on being equally silly. I get that pretty much everyone who routinely posts on the legal employment board on TLS works hard. We're not afraid of putting in hours north of 40 a week (sometimes considerably so). But at the end of the day, you do have to keep in mind that (1.) with a degree from a top law school, you're looking at a reasonable worst case scenario of being very comfortably middle class and (2.) this is the only life you're getting. Once a day is gone, it's gone forever. So you can't really blame people for thinking that spending years - maybe their entire adult lives - in an office is a pretty fucked deal.

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

Postby Old Gregg » Fri Mar 22, 2013 5:26 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I've been giving Objection a lot of shit in this thread mainly because, like most people, I think his experience in biglaw (summed up as "I lasted 6 months but the final straw was when I didn't get credit on a brief after they asked me to work on Super Bowl Sunday!") is a little silly.

But some of the "Suck it up, pussy, they don't pay you to slack off" responses are bordering on being equally silly. I get that pretty much everyone who routinely posts on the legal employment board on TLS works hard. We're not afraid of putting in hours north of 40 a week (sometimes considerably so). But at the end of the day, you do have to keep in mind that (1.) with a degree from a top law school, you're looking at a reasonable worst case scenario of being very comfortably middle class and (2.) this is the only life you're getting. Once a day is gone, it's gone forever. So you can't really blame people for thinking that spending years - maybe their entire adult lives - in an office is a pretty fucked deal.


Obviously objection's whole narrative in this thread has been laughable, but so have a lot of the countervailing perspectives. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle, as is often the case.

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

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Mar 22, 2013 5:31 pm

At least two biglaw firms so far have sent out firmwide emails warning associates to stop streaming the NCAA tournament. THIS IS THE LAST STRAW I'M OUT OF HERE!

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

Postby SHIA » Fri Mar 22, 2013 5:57 pm

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Last edited by SHIA on Wed Jul 24, 2013 4:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Mar 22, 2013 6:04 pm

Anonymous User wrote:At least two biglaw firms so far have sent out firmwide emails warning associates to stop streaming the NCAA tournament. THIS IS THE LAST STRAW I'M OUT OF HERE!

I had a second monitor put in so I could stream the tournament without minimizing. I've already been warned about my bandwidth use, but my hours are good, so if the office manager who monitors internet use actually approaches a partner about it, I doubt he or she will care.

Anyway, I consider myself firmly in the "suck it up" camp. Nothing forces you to stay in big law. You can work a normal 9-5 job for 5 figures like everyone else, or you can work crazy, unpredictable hours for $160k, but you can't have it both ways. The job can be miserable sometimes, but you don't have to stay (and if you're chained by debt, that was your own doing). And some parts of the job can actually be nice--most workers don't have the luxury of being able to stream NCAA games while at work, for instance. I guess I think people should be grateful for having a job that 95% of the population would kill for.

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

Postby kryptix » Fri Mar 22, 2013 7:16 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:At least two biglaw firms so far have sent out firmwide emails warning associates to stop streaming the NCAA tournament. THIS IS THE LAST STRAW I'M OUT OF HERE!

I had a second monitor put in so I could stream the tournament without minimizing. I've already been warned about my bandwidth use, but my hours are good, so if the office manager who monitors internet use actually approaches a partner about it, I doubt he or she will care.

Anyway, I consider myself firmly in the "suck it up" camp. Nothing forces you to stay in big law. You can work a normal 9-5 job for 5 figures like everyone else, or you can work crazy, unpredictable hours for $160k, but you can't have it both ways. The job can be miserable sometimes, but you don't have to stay (and if you're chained by debt, that was your own doing). And some parts of the job can actually be nice--most workers don't have the luxury of being able to stream NCAA games while at work, for instance. I guess I think people should be grateful for having a job that 95% of the population would kill for.


You can turn down the quality of the stream a bit and probably never even be picked up but bandwith is cheap :)

Actually at the bank I work for a lot of big daytime sports events they just play it in the auditorium theatre style and have a company stream to save bandwith :)

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

Postby mattcatbat » Sun Mar 24, 2013 5:44 pm

Thank you all for contributing to this thread. I've been lurking for a good while now and I really appreciate all the info.

Forgive me if this is a dumb question, but what do you do as an associate? I'm assuming your day to day activities come in the form of writing and research. Are the projects you work on monotonous or is the work stimulating? Thank you again for the thread!

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

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Mar 24, 2013 6:09 pm

mattcatbat wrote:Thank you all for contributing to this thread. I've been lurking for a good while now and I really appreciate all the info.

Forgive me if this is a dumb question, but what do you do as an associate? I'm assuming your day to day activities come in the form of writing and research. Are the projects you work on monotonous or is the work stimulating? Thank you again for the thread!


OP here:

Since I'm in a transactional practice I do very little legal research, and I do literally no legal writing.

Things that keep me busy:

Transaction management: This can be huge - just touching base with all of the parties in a working group, coordinating the execution of signature pages, the delivery of documents, putting together meetings and conference calls, integrating comments or feedback from support groups (tax, employee benefits, real estate, intellectual property, etc.), coordinating with financial printers, drafting or reviewing press releases, filing documents with the SEC, etc.

Drafting: This can range from simple (updating a recent and directly on-point precedent, swapping only dates/numbers/names) to very complex and involved (working on a new transaction/structure for which there are few precedents). Often documents undergo lots of rounds of revisions, and as a junior you can be responsible for a lot of clean up changes / circulating.

Reviewing: Major transactions often mean 2+ law firms involved, and you'll need to review documents produced by other parties for accuracy.

Diligence: For M&A or securities/capital markets transactions, lawyers bridge the trust gap between the parties. That can involve reviewing enormous amounts of documents relevant to a company. I haven't done much, but it can be a major component of junior lawyer hours. If you have to travel for this, it can be the biggest sink on your time sheet.

Negotiation and planning: Obviously nobody tosses the keys to the first year the keys to a deal, but you'll spend a lot of time on calls as people hash out the terms of a deal. Often you'll be on the phone taking notes silently, but ready to accomplish tasks that come up on the call.

Research: Like I said, not much of this, but it does come up. It can be formal (client needs a memo) or informal (side point related to the deal that needs to be pinned down).

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

Postby Objection » Sun Mar 24, 2013 8:58 pm

I've said most of what I need to say in this thread, thus my absence, but a few more things. 1st, a specific response:

You can work a normal 9-5 job for 5 figures like everyone else, or you can work crazy, unpredictable hours for $160k, but you can't have it both ways.


These are not the only two options. Stop presenting the choice as such. I now work roughly 9-6 most days, rarely weekends, and make six figures (bonuses should bring me close to first year big law).

More generally:

To all those deciding whose perspective is more accurate on the matter (and who might be exaggerating, etc), take note that those "pro big law" individuals continue to spin and misrepresent what I've said in their efforts to defend the institution, e.g. by saying that "my final straw" was not getting credit on a brief and being asked to work Super Bowl Sunday.

Stockholm syndrome, or capture–bonding, is a psychological phenomenon in which hostages express empathy and sympathy and have positive feelings toward their captors, sometimes to the point of defending them.


Couple with that with the urge toward post-hoc rationalization of a bad decision...

On the other hand, I've landed on my feet and I'm much happier with my personal and professional life now. What incentive do I have to mislead anyone here?

Anyway, for fun, I'll throw another "big law may not screw you in this specific way but it will screw you" story into the mix: My big law firm neglected to tell anyone when the billable year restarted (thus resetting your hours to 0). It gave August, September, October, and November start date options. Those who chose the August, September, or October start dates lost credit for every single hour they worked during that time, because the year reset in November. No increase in bonuses, no credit toward next year, nothing. That co-worker I mentioned who was in the office for like 3 days straight with only 4 or 5 hours cumulative of sleep? Lost credit. People who billed hundreds of hours? Lost credit. And the firm knows that this system and keeping it quiet maximizes the amount of hours they can get from you. Bill you like a dog for 300 hours for October, roll over in November, get another 2400 out of you. How many of your firms told you when you were starting that this would happen? Do your firms treat it differently? I'd guess the answers are "none, no," but maybe I'm wrong. It's par for the course, but that doesn't make it right or good for employee morale. The obvious counter, of course, is "well, you got paid those extra weeks." I'd have gladly given up those extra pay checks if I had known that none of the hours I did from the time I started through November would count toward me reaching the firm's target.

Now the narrative going forward can be "Objection's opinion is irrelevant because he lost credit for a ton of hours because the firm keeps the billable reset hush hush when asking you to pick start dates, was asked to work on super bowl Sunday, doesn't like the fact that no one below 5th year gets credit on briefs." There are more, of course, but at some point it'll add up to enough to out me.

Maybe once I'm stably in my new career I'll go full on expose of the many, many more specific incidents. Until then:

Your big law firm may not screw you or mistreat you or beat you down in the same way mine did. But it will try to screw you, mistreat you, and beat you down. For most of you, this will make you miserable and really take a toll on you physically and mentally. A select few of you will thrive. But whether you personally love big law or personally loathe it, you know you're being disingenuous if you say most people you encounter enjoy it. Most people you will encounter are miserable in big law. Most honest accounts of it will be that it's miserable. Most accounts of it after someone leaves will be about how miserable it was. Are they just not hard workers? Not cut out for long hours? Exaggerating? Entitled whiners?

Some of you are going to discount my opinion because I escaped after 6 months. I am proud of escaping as quickly as I did. I came, I saw, I hated it, I got out. Whether that makes me a good person to listen to on the big law experience doesn't much concern me. I walked the walk, though, and I think that's usually worth something.

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

Postby spaceman82 » Sun Mar 24, 2013 9:11 pm

Objection: Sorry if you've mentioned this before and I missed it, but what does your current job involve? Do you feel like the higher-ups at your current workplace have more respect for you, your time, etc., and that's what makes it preferable? Or is it more of a matter of having a more relaxed schedule (although I recognize the two go hand-in-hand to a certain extent)?

OP: Your job actually sounds pretty interesting to me, but does it feel like drudgery when you're actually doing it? Do you feel that you're learning a lot (compared to what you would be learning elsewhere) and how long do you plan to stay with your current firm?

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

Postby Objection » Sun Mar 24, 2013 9:15 pm

spaceman82 wrote:Objection: Sorry if you've mentioned this before and I missed it, but what does your current job involve? Do you feel like the higher-ups at your current workplace have more respect for you, your time, etc., and that's what makes it preferable? Or is it more of a matter of having a more relaxed schedule (although I recognize the two go hand-in-hand to a certain extent)?

OP: Your job actually sounds pretty interesting to me, but does it feel like drudgery when you're actually doing it? Do you feel that you're learning a lot (compared to what you would be learning elsewhere) and how long do you plan to stay with your current firm?


Answering as vague as possible: a combo of all the above. It's very small (under 20 attorneys) allowing for direct partner contact and significant responsibility, no billable hour (meaning you get your work done with a concern for quality and nothing else), the type of work makes me feel better about myself, and opportunities for advancement are plentiful.

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

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Mar 24, 2013 9:15 pm

Op here:

Objection - I've never heard anybody gripe about the fact that counted/tallied billable years for first years starts after they've been around at the firm for a while. I really don't see the detriment - it's more time to get integrated with the firm before expectations mount? I just don't see how it leaves you screwed at all...

spaceman82 wrote:OP: Your job actually sounds pretty interesting to me, but does it feel like drudgery when you're actually doing it? Do you feel that you're learning a lot (compared to what you would be learning elsewhere) and how long do you plan to stay with your current firm?


I happen to like it, and it rarely feels like drudgery. Diligence does, but I haven't had much of it. Same for doc review for litigators, but I'm not one so I've only heard stories.

I'm learning enormous amounts - the business has been a tremendous learning experience from all fronts. I'm learning about the laws/regulations in my field, the general workflow on a deal, how to be effective in the office, etc. And the intensity + pace + volume of work leaves little doubt I'm learning more here than I would at a lot of other jobs. You have to... a lot of times you're given impossible tasks / saddled with impossible expectations, and there's not really anybody else around to get it done.

I don't really have a plan for my tenure here - I'll stay as long as I'm happy, probably force myself to stay 12 months at least even if things take a turn for the worse.

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

Postby Objection » Sun Mar 24, 2013 9:19 pm

Objection - I've never heard anybody gripe about the fact that counted/tallied billable years for first years starts after they've been around at the firm for a while. I really don't see the detriment - it's more time to get integrated with the firm before expectations mount? I just don't see how it leaves you screwed at all...


To clarify what I meant:

Because you're being worked as if your hours are being counted/tallied. I lost over 300 hours BILLED for my one month at the firm prior to the reset. Do you think I would have billed 300 hours if I knew I wasn't going to be able to bank them? Would anyone who doesn't care about making partner?

And who cares about getting integrated with the firm? In big law, you either care about making partner, in which case integration might matter, or you care about billing enough hours to keep your job for 5 years to pay off loans but not so many hours you hate your life. I didn't care about making partner.

Also, an observation: I have said repeatedly that I understand big law for corporate more than I do for lit. Almost everyone in this thread defending big law has been corporate. Have any lit people spoken up in defense yet?

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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 24, 2013 9:25 pm

My big law firm neglected to tell anyone when the billable year restarted (thus resetting your hours to 0). It gave August, September, October, and November start date options. Those who chose the August, September, or October start dates lost credit for every single hour they worked during that time, because the year reset in November. No increase in bonuses, no credit toward next year, nothing. That co-worker I mentioned who was in the office for like 3 days straight with only 4 or 5 hours cumulative of sleep? Lost credit. People who billed hundreds of hours? Lost credit. And the firm knows that this system and keeping it quiet maximizes the amount of hours they can get from you. Bill you like a dog for 300 hours for October, roll over in November, get another 2400 out of you. How many of your firms told you when you were starting that this would happen? Do your firms treat it differently? I'd guess the answers are "none, no," but maybe I'm wrong. It's par for the course, but that doesn't make it right or good for employee morale. The obvious counter, of course, is "well, you got paid those extra weeks." I'd have gladly given up those extra pay checks if I had known that none of the hours I did from the time I started through November would count toward me reaching the firm's target.


Yep... it's called a stub year.

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

Postby Objection » Sun Mar 24, 2013 9:27 pm

And there are no better, employee friendly ways to treat a stub year than by 1) not telling anyone about it (how it worked, when it reset, how it was treated, etc) and 2) not counting it at all for the next cycle?




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