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

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

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Fri Mar 29, 2013 5:43 pm

Anonymous User wrote:TYFT. So theoretically the months Cavalier listed could get pushed up (but probably won't because of ITE)?

-5:24

In theory, anything's possible... I guess I don't really get the question (pushed up = start earlier?). But most big firms follow fairly standard schedules, the same thing every year, and don't have new associates start before September. If the economy affects start dates at all, it's usually the other way around - when the shit hit the fan, economically speaking, firms pushed back start dates to January or even the following year (when they didn't lay people off).

(Not actually a biglaw person, I just play one on TV know some biglaw people.)

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20160810
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Re: First year at a big firm; brutal hours; like the job. AMA.

Postby 20160810 » Fri Mar 29, 2013 7:08 pm

The majority of biglaw associates I know began sometime around September. Reed Smith and one other firm I can't remember right now gives their associates a January start date, which is glorious. If you're a 3L right now, my recommendation is to always take the latest start date possible.

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

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Mar 29, 2013 8:21 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:TYFT. So theoretically the months Cavalier listed could get pushed up (but probably won't because of ITE)?

-5:24

In theory, anything's possible... I guess I don't really get the question (pushed up = start earlier?). But most big firms follow fairly standard schedules, the same thing every year, and don't have new associates start before September. If the economy affects start dates at all, it's usually the other way around - when the shit hit the fan, economically speaking, firms pushed back start dates to January or even the following year (when they didn't lay people off).

(Not actually a biglaw person, I just play one on TV know some biglaw people.)


My firm (V15) has moved up start dates for a select group of associates in each of the past two yearss

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

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Mar 29, 2013 8:33 pm

SBL wrote:The majority of biglaw associates I know began sometime around September. Reed Smith and one other firm I can't remember right now gives their associates a January start date, which is glorious. If you're a 3L right now, my recommendation is to always take the latest start date possible.


And do what? Travel?

I'm a bit hesitant to miss out on te extra $$$ of starting earlier

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

Postby tfer2222 » Fri Mar 29, 2013 8:33 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
SBL wrote:The majority of biglaw associates I know began sometime around September. Reed Smith and one other firm I can't remember right now gives their associates a January start date, which is glorious. If you're a 3L right now, my recommendation is to always take the latest start date possible.


And do what? Travel?

I'm a bit hesitant to miss out on te extra $$$ of starting earlier


Didn't mean to use anon

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

Postby 20160810 » Fri Mar 29, 2013 8:38 pm

tfer2222 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
SBL wrote:The majority of biglaw associates I know began sometime around September. Reed Smith and one other firm I can't remember right now gives their associates a January start date, which is glorious. If you're a 3L right now, my recommendation is to always take the latest start date possible.


And do what? Travel?

I'm a bit hesitant to miss out on te extra $$$ of starting earlier


Didn't mean to use anon

There will be plenty of time to make up the 10-20 grand you're not making with the earlier start date, but there will never again be time to just sit around and do jack shit all day.

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

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Mar 29, 2013 11:35 pm

Objection wrote:Some people take the sabbath. Some people take Hanukkah. Some people take Ramadan.

Bringing something up that Objection mentioned a few pages back, I'm wondering if some folks here can talk about sabbath observance, specifically in top tier-NYC firms, or in other areas. This is an important issue to me, but I'm wondering what to expect and how I should go about my observance. Hoping not to annoy too many people or abandon too many projects. If I'm responsive and willing to work 24/6, does that make up for it?

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

Postby Old Gregg » Sat Mar 30, 2013 8:53 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Objection wrote:Some people take the sabbath. Some people take Hanukkah. Some people take Ramadan.

Bringing something up that Objection mentioned a few pages back, I'm wondering if some folks here can talk about sabbath observance, specifically in top tier-NYC firms, or in other areas. This is an important issue to me, but I'm wondering what to expect and how I should go about my observance. Hoping not to annoy too many people or abandon too many projects. If I'm responsive and willing to work 24/6, does that make up for it?


Don't worry. Biglaw shuts down during that time. You couldn't get work done even if you wanted to.

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

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Mar 30, 2013 12:59 pm

Fresh Prince wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Objection wrote:Some people take the sabbath. Some people take Hanukkah. Some people take Ramadan.

Bringing something up that Objection mentioned a few pages back, I'm wondering if some folks here can talk about sabbath observance, specifically in top tier-NYC firms, or in other areas. This is an important issue to me, but I'm wondering what to expect and how I should go about my observance. Hoping not to annoy too many people or abandon too many projects. If I'm responsive and willing to work 24/6, does that make up for it?


Don't worry. Biglaw shuts down during that time. You couldn't get work done even if you wanted to.

What about weekly observance?

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

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Mar 30, 2013 1:20 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Objection wrote:Some people take the sabbath. Some people take Hanukkah. Some people take Ramadan.

Bringing something up that Objection mentioned a few pages back, I'm wondering if some folks here can talk about sabbath observance, specifically in top tier-NYC firms, or in other areas. This is an important issue to me, but I'm wondering what to expect and how I should go about my observance. Hoping not to annoy too many people or abandon too many projects. If I'm responsive and willing to work 24/6, does that make up for it?


I work at a top-flight NYC firm. Several associates and partners observe the sabbath weekly and religiously. It's certainly not ideal, and it needs to be worked around, but it's not like you'll be fired. And as I mentioned, you certainly won't be unique or the first time it's had to be dealt with.

As somebody who has been on a team with one such person, I can tell you it makes things more complicated, but it's hard to call it annoying - I respect the practice and you just do what you have to do. Biglaw is strange in that everyone needs to be on call all the time, but it still finds a way to be flexible when it becomes impossible.

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

Postby bombaysippin » Sat Mar 30, 2013 3:41 pm

Just saying thanks for all of the insights from everyone that has contributed.

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

Postby NYstate » Sat Mar 30, 2013 8:20 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Fresh Prince wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Objection wrote:Some people take the sabbath. Some people take Hanukkah. Some people take Ramadan.

Bringing something up that Objection mentioned a few pages back, I'm wondering if some folks here can talk about sabbath observance, specifically in top tier-NYC firms, or in other areas. This is an important issue to me, but I'm wondering what to expect and how I should go about my observance. Hoping not to annoy too many people or abandon too many projects. If I'm responsive and willing to work 24/6, does that make up for it?


Don't worry. Biglaw shuts down during that time. You couldn't get work done even if you wanted to.

What about weekly observance?


A friend of mine who observes the sabbath manages by being really organized and working quickly. She makes sure everything is together and manages her time well. She also has said that the break and the rest she gets had helped her stay energized and not exhausted.

If you work for a firm that has a number of sabbath observers find a few to have lunch with over the summer and get specifics of how they manage projects and their time.

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

Postby Cavalier » Sun Mar 31, 2013 1:08 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Cavalier wrote:
ph5354a wrote:Noob question: when do you normally start at a big law job after your 3L?

September - November are typical start dates. A small handful of firms have January start dates. Some firms give you a choice of start dates, others don't.


Is September the earliest possible given when most people get bar results?

How would you compare bar prep to 1L in terms of intensity/time spent studying? (interested in NY in particular) Are you able to find time to relax or do other activities between graduation and starting at your firm?

I've heard of some firms asking associates to start in August, but it's uncommon. Bar results are irrelevant to start dates; many associates start before they get bar results, and I don't know of any firm that fire associates who fail the first time.

Bar prep can be a miserable experience if you're doing a prep course, because those prep courses scare you into thinking you'll fail unless you do the assigned 12 hours of work per day. But the bar really isn't a difficult exam; it just requires a lot of memorization. I'd recommend trying to enjoy your May and June and then get serious in July. Before July I mainly just watched the lecture videos and made an outline during the video (4-5 hours per day on weekdays, none on weekends). After July I did maybe 8 hours of studying per day. The worst part for me was the week before results were posted--I thought it was much worse than waiting for grades.

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

Postby Old Gregg » Sun Mar 31, 2013 1:48 pm

If I was studying for the bar all over again, and this is from someone who barely passed after cramming for two straight weeks, I'd just ask for someone's outlines of the completed lectures and memorize bits and pieces of it over the course of a few months. Should take you only 2-3 hours per day maximum. Do the practice questions and exams during that period as well.

There's no need to go to the lectures themselves; no need to watch the videos; no need to memorize the Conviser outline; and absolutely no need to all of the questions that BarBri throws at you.

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

Postby ExBiglawAssociate » Sun Mar 31, 2013 2:34 pm

Fresh Prince wrote:If I was studying for the bar all over again, and this is from someone who barely passed after cramming for two straight weeks, I'd just ask for someone's outlines of the completed lectures and memorize bits and pieces of it over the course of a few months. Should take you only 2-3 hours per day maximum. Do the practice questions and exams during that period as well.

There's no need to go to the lectures themselves; no need to watch the videos; no need to memorize the Conviser outline; and absolutely no need to all of the questions that BarBri throws at you.


How do you know you "barely" passed? In my state, they don't give you your scores if you pass, only if you fail.

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

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sun Mar 31, 2013 2:37 pm

Other states give you your scores and tell you what a passing score is. I know what mine was.

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

Postby thesealocust » Sun Mar 31, 2013 2:44 pm

And I'm pretty sure it's at least theoretically possible to always get your MBE score, since if you want to wave into places like DC there is a minimum required MBE.

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

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Mar 31, 2013 2:44 pm

I am interested to know how much push-back associates (particularly first-years) give when it comes to hours, and particularly working weekends. I'm in big law, and actually quite like it so far although that probably has a decent amount to do with my hours being extremely reasonable. I haven't had much need to push back on hours, therefore, but there have been a few times when I told a partner or senior associate I simply did not have time to do something. However, my gf works in big law as well, and works for one partner in particular that she describes as being unreasonable when it comes to the workload assigned. This partner regularly dumps work on my gf at all hours of the night, all weekend long (sometimes telling her to be into the office at 8 am on Sundays) and--worst of all--on holidays, religious days of obligation, or vacation days. My gf, despite having to regularly break plans and disrupt her schedule, thinks she is in no position to give any push-back whatsoever. My opinion is that my gf absolutely has to set some boundaries with this partner, because if she doesn't do it now when it's still early on then this partner, as well as others, will never have any respect whatsoever for her time. My gf thinks that always saying yes, besides protecting her job, will mean better reviews and more esteem among the partners; I tell her I doubt it--it will just mean that all the extra work will get dumped on her because she never offers any resistance. This is already happening, as there are apparently two other first-years on the same litigation team but my gf is the only one that never gets an early night or a free weekend. I'm wondering about people here who may have been in the same position? Do you think it is appropriate to give some push-back to partners like this (while of course remaining positive and constructive about how the work can still get done in a timely fashion). Or do you think it is totally out of place for a first-year to exert any resistance at all? Thanks.

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

Postby ExBiglawAssociate » Sun Mar 31, 2013 3:04 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I am interested to know how much push-back associates (particularly first-years) give when it comes to hours, and particularly working weekends. I'm in big law, and actually quite like it so far although that probably has a decent amount to do with my hours being extremely reasonable. I haven't had much need to push back on hours, therefore, but there have been a few times when I told a partner or senior associate I simply did not have time to do something. However, my gf works in big law as well, and works for one partner in particular that she describes as being unreasonable when it comes to the workload assigned. This partner regularly dumps work on my gf at all hours of the night, all weekend long (sometimes telling her to be into the office at 8 am on Sundays) and--worst of all--on holidays, religious days of obligation, or vacation days. My gf, despite having to regularly break plans and disrupt her schedule, thinks she is in no position to give any push-back whatsoever. My opinion is that my gf absolutely has to set some boundaries with this partner, because if she doesn't do it now when it's still early on then this partner, as well as others, will never have any respect whatsoever for her time. My gf thinks that always saying yes, besides protecting her job, will mean better reviews and more esteem among the partners; I tell her I doubt it--it will just mean that all the extra work will get dumped on her because she never offers any resistance. This is already happening, as there are apparently two other first-years on the same litigation team but my gf is the only one that never gets an early night or a free weekend. I'm wondering about people here who may have been in the same position? Do you think it is appropriate to give some push-back to partners like this (while of course remaining positive and constructive about how the work can still get done in a timely fashion). Or do you think it is totally out of place for a first-year to exert any resistance at all? Thanks.


My strategy has always been to say something like "I've committed to doing X for partner Y, so the earliest I could start on your assignment will be Z, but I would love to work with you on your assignment." It's a lot worse to take on too much work and do a poor job than occasionally turn down assignments when you're slammed.
Last edited by ExBiglawAssociate on Sun Mar 31, 2013 3:08 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Mar 31, 2013 3:05 pm

Above anon -- I am not at a firm yet so am not pretending to know anything, but I made this thread asking a similar question, and some responses might be helpful: viewtopic.php?f=23&t=204199

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

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Mar 31, 2013 3:16 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Above anon -- I am not at a firm yet so am not pretending to know anything, but I made this thread asking a similar question, and some responses might be helpful: http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/v ... 3&t=204199

Thank you. And man that thread had some scary responses, which I think you would be wise not to generalize to the entire profession. I work in NYC big law, and do not find those responses to be at all reflective of life at my firm. Yes, there will occasionally be some weekend work to do, but there is nothing even close to approaching a weekend "face time" requirement--in fact, you'd be looked at like you were insane if you even suggested such a thing at my firm. Hell, you usually get chided for being a gunner if you're there past 5 or 6 on a Friday. Obviously it varies from firm to firm, department to department, and even project to project, but don't believe that the out of control hours-churning culture is the same at all NYC firms. It's not.

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

Postby NYstate » Sun Mar 31, 2013 3:39 pm

Biglaw_Associate_V20 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I am interested to know how much push-back associates (particularly first-years) give when it comes to hours, and particularly working weekends. I'm in big law, and actually quite like it so far although that probably has a decent amount to do with my hours being extremely reasonable. I haven't had much need to push back on hours, therefore, but there have been a few times when I told a partner or senior associate I simply did not have time to do something. However, my gf works in big law as well, and works for one partner in particular that she describes as being unreasonable when it comes to the workload assigned. This partner regularly dumps work on my gf at all hours of the night, all weekend long (sometimes telling her to be into the office at 8 am on Sundays) and--worst of all--on holidays, religious days of obligation, or vacation days. My gf, despite having to regularly break plans and disrupt her schedule, thinks she is in no position to give any push-back whatsoever. My opinion is that my gf absolutely has to set some boundaries with this partner, because if she doesn't do it now when it's still early on then this partner, as well as others, will never have any respect whatsoever for her time. My gf thinks that always saying yes, besides protecting her job, will mean better reviews and more esteem among the partners; I tell her I doubt it--it will just mean that all the extra work will get dumped on her because she never offers any resistance. This is already happening, as there are apparently two other first-years on the same litigation team but my gf is the only one that never gets an early night or a free weekend. I'm wondering about people here who may have been in the same position? Do you think it is appropriate to give some push-back to partners like this (while of course remaining positive and constructive about how the work can still get done in a timely fashion). Or do you think it is totally out of place for a first-year to exert any resistance at all? Thanks.


My strategy has always been to say something like "I've committed to doing X for partner Y, so the earliest I could start on your assignment will be Z, but I would love to work with you on your assignment." It's a lot worse to take on too much work and do a poor job than occasionally turn down assignments when you're slammed.


What does she mean better reviews and more esteem with the partners? What does she expect? She is going to get the same bonus as everyone else.

She needs to set some boundaries. But maybe she is a workaholic type person who gets her satisfaction from her job addiction?

I also don't understand how not setting limits on the work you will do is going to give you job security.

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

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Mar 31, 2013 3:49 pm

^^^^^^^^^^

Thank you, and I completely agree. I just want to be sure, as I persist in my advice, that setting boundaries--even if stands to slightly piss off a particular partner--is not completely inconsistent with the professional norms of being a first-year associate. If it were me, I wouldn't even care about the norms (I want to do good work, and being miserable all the time is not conducive to that), but I think my gf, given her debt load and what not, is very reluctant to rock the boat even the slightest bit.

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

Postby NYstate » Sun Mar 31, 2013 3:57 pm

Anonymous User wrote:^^^^^^^^^^

Thank you, and I completely agree. I just want to be sure, as I persist in my advice, that setting boundaries--even if stands to slightly piss off a particular partner--is not completely inconsistent with the professional norms of being a first-year associate. If it were me, I wouldn't even care about the norms (I want to do good work, and being miserable all the time is not conducive to that), but I think my gf, given her debt load and what not, is very reluctant to rock the boat even the slightest bit.


Is there anyone at her firm she could go to for advice? She may need specific advice on how to deal with this one partner. There are occasional crazy people at firms.

My favorite story was a crazy partner, not in corporate, who called up an associate at home on Saturday morning and said "you're fired; you're fired"; repeatedly and hung up. After sitting around for a while, the associate decided to come into the office anyway. It turns out the crazy partner thought the associate had done some minor thing, which the associate hadn't done. And the partner was like oh well NBD then.

I wouldn't attempt to advise someone how to deal with a specific person I didn't know.

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

Postby Old Gregg » Sun Mar 31, 2013 4:46 pm

.
Last edited by Old Gregg on Sun Mar 31, 2013 9:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.




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