Options besides Big Law

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dsosah
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Joined: Wed Apr 27, 2011 7:30 pm

Options besides Big Law

Postby dsosah » Thu Mar 14, 2013 2:29 am

Hi, for those of you that have any kind of experience on this, what are the options for someone that doesn't wants big law.
Considering you end up at median at a lower T14 (just to use a reference). I am not at all interested in big law, and I am considering going to a lower t14 or even a bit lower if I get significant money. However most of the experiences I read about here are about the two extremes, big law or jobless. I would like to work in an environment with less hours/stress. What options, if any, are out there straight out of law school and what kind of salary range do they offer?

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eav1277
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Re: Options besides Big Law

Postby eav1277 » Thu Mar 14, 2013 2:32 am

interested

bdubs
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Re: Options besides Big Law

Postby bdubs » Thu Mar 14, 2013 2:51 am

dsosah wrote:Hi, for those of you that have any kind of experience on this, what are the options for someone that doesn't wants big law.
Considering you end up at median at a lower T14 (just to use a reference). I am not at all interested in big law, and I am considering going to a lower t14 or even a bit lower if I get significant money. However most of the experiences I read about here are about the two extremes, big law or jobless. I would like to work in an environment with less hours/stress. What options, if any, are out there straight out of law school and what kind of salary range do they offer?


Why do you want to go to law school? Being a lawyer generally involves lots of hours and high stress. This is true at BigLaw firms and even at a lot of "shitlaw" firms.

You could go work for some government agencies and get a better balance of work and stress, but there are not many of these positions to be had. You will have to work hard and probably do better than median to land one too.

The one area in private practice that I know of where people seem to have relatively better work loads and stress levels is patent prosecution. That is pretty much off the table if you don't have a hard science background though.

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ManOfTheMinute
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Re: Options besides Big Law

Postby ManOfTheMinute » Thu Mar 14, 2013 2:53 am

lol

dsosah
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Joined: Wed Apr 27, 2011 7:30 pm

Re: Options besides Big Law

Postby dsosah » Thu Mar 14, 2013 3:15 am

Well, off course I understand that law practice is high stress/long hours. My question wasn't if I can get an awesome shooting the breeze job (although I can see how it looks that way 8) ) What I want to know is if the only options are crazy biglaw hours or nothing (for what I am hearing big law is not just hard work/long hours, is more crazy ass hours/no life/+++stress)
Are all law practice areas available as crazy as big law?
Even if this is the case and all practice opportunities are as crazy as big law, I would still like to know what else is feasible besides big law for a new grad with decent median/above median grades. Or is everybody in law school suposed to want big law?
In any case pardon my 0L expectations if what I'm asking is so incredibly naive.

Myself
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Re: Options besides Big Law

Postby Myself » Thu Mar 14, 2013 3:46 am

Uhh, I would recommend not going to law school.

You seem to be under the misimpressionism that there are a plethora of other jobs with good hours and good pay. There are, but they're few and far between and usually require great credentials and a bit of luck. I don't know if you want to go to law school just for those jobs.

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Clearly
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Re: Options besides Big Law

Postby Clearly » Thu Mar 14, 2013 3:55 am

I think you guys might be coming down a bit too hard for once. The bi-modal distribution of salaries suggests that there are at least as many 50k jobs as biglaw jobs. You can't use that as evidence of misleading job prospects every other post, then suggest there are no jobs but biglaw. It's not likely OP will get a gov or a small/midlaw job, but no less likely then it is he will get biglaw...

Anonymous User
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Re: Options besides Big Law

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Mar 14, 2013 4:03 am

There are certainly other options. It's more a matter of being willing to put in more effort and make less money. A lot of people don't even consider doing anything other than biglaw if they can (so OCI is their first and often only move). Those who are willing to do a traditional job search with lower salary expectations find all kinds of other jobs. I graduated in the past few years from a school where most people go into biglaw, but I have a decent number of friends who went into other types of jobs. It's true that smaller firms, especially in major markets (or at least NYC), can require equally bad hours/stress as biglaw, though quality of work is often better. In secondary markets, I have noticed a real difference for friends in biglaw vs friends in smaller firms. It also depends on the firm's specialty. Other things I can think of people doing: government (as someone mentioned, some agencies are very competitive), in-house (there seems to be more of a trend for large companies to hire entry-level lawyers, though maybe not something to count on), fellowships/legal analyst work for research institutes or law schools, district attorneys' offices, and (probably most commonly) non-profits/public interest work.

Other options just require more diligence in figuring out what you want to do and making contacts, because you'll get these jobs like people normally get jobs (rather than the uber structured OCI process). It also requires more effort to find out what your experience will be like at a particular firm or organization. If you already have a hunch that biglaw isn't for you, this could very well be worth the effort. Honestly, the only law school friends I have who like their jobs/are actually happy are in non-biglaw areas, so... take that for what it's worth. There are people for whom biglaw is worth it because of their career goals, but it's good that you're considering other options (not getting sucked into the biglaw peer pressure during law school will be another challenge, though).

That said, pretty much everything else is going to pay less (often much less) so I absolutely think it's worth going to a slightly lower ranked school if you can avoid a massive debt load. The difference in employment prospects among the t14 or so schools is not so significant that it's worth taking on extra debt, at least where you aren't expecting a biglaw salary after graduation.

Anonymous User
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Re: Options besides Big Law

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Mar 14, 2013 4:15 am

I would also add that those classmates who went into other types of jobs did not necessarily have particularly good credentials, at least in the way we normally compare law students (i.e. mostly grades). Some were forced into looking for other options because they didn't get biglaw. I'd say most purposely targeted other things, which meant they were a lot more proactive in developing their interests during law school (taking relevant classes and doing clinics in 2L/3L, doing relevant pro bono work, etc). For those who struck out in OCI and ended up doing other things, getting used to the lower salary expectations seems like a challenge, but I also have friends who were in this position and now are doing something they actually like (while the rest of us try to figure out what we actually like and escape biglaw). I am skeptical that a lot of people actually want to practice some form of corporate law versus feel like it is more prestigious to do than other fields and that they therefore should want to do it. It's okay to want to do immigration law or family law or criminal law or whatever you decide interests you in law school - just set yourself up for it by minimizing your debt load as much as you can, knowing that you need to be proactive, and knowing that you're going to have to accept uncertainty possibly well into your 3L year where biglaw classmates will mostly have offers locked up in 2L.

dsosah
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Joined: Wed Apr 27, 2011 7:30 pm

Re: Options besides Big Law

Postby dsosah » Thu Mar 14, 2013 5:37 am

Thank you Anonymus, this is actually what I was looking for. I should have probably added that I know the salary for these jobs would be significantly less, and that is the reason I would like to try to get into a school that offers a good scholarship. Also I have no interest in living in NYC or care much about firm prestige, just want a decent job where I can make a living. If this site has showed me something during the time I've been lurking is that I have no interest in big law, and will avoid it if I have the option. I appreciate the time you took with your answer.

Void
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Re: Options besides Big Law

Postby Void » Thu Mar 14, 2013 6:59 am

I think there is a rule about 0Ls posting on this forum, right?

Agent
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Re: Options besides Big Law

Postby Agent » Thu Mar 14, 2013 9:00 am

+1

Void wrote:I think there is a rule about 0Ls posting on this forum, right?




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