Fascinating thread on life in biglaw on a financial forum

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Re: Fascinating thread on life in biglaw on a financial forum

Postby toothbrush » Thu Mar 21, 2013 12:11 am

tag for tomorrow

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Re: Fascinating thread on life in biglaw on a financial forum

Postby 005618502 » Thu Mar 21, 2013 12:46 am

florida1949 wrote:
5ky wrote:This thread was interesting, and now is ruined. So was the other thread 'first year, brutal hours, love the job' for the exact same reasons.

I am glad I wasnt the only one thinking this. That thread was so great too

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Re: Fascinating thread on life in biglaw on a financial forum

Postby TooOld4This » Thu Mar 21, 2013 8:01 am

desertlaw wrote:Go to a market that self-selects having families instead of the experience that Objection got.

I guarantee that your Biglaw experience on average is going to be more (who knows how much) humane in a place like Phoenix, Dallas, Orange County, San Diego, or another similar place where family-life is just a culture thing in the area.

When interviewing with west coast firms, being married and having kids was basically the norm. In NYC? Married people were the odd ones.

Don't confuse having a family with getting to see your family. Yes, in other markets families are more common and the facetime expectations are often lower. However, the job really isn't that different and I think that NYC is just more accepting of those realities. Add a family to the slightly lower expectations, and unless you completely outsource everything and only make occasional appearances, then you are going to be in a much worse position than a NYC person without one.

In my experience, the pain curve of law firms has two humps. As you approach the top of the first one, every hour more you spend at work makes it exponentially harder to have any normal relationships outside work. Once you hit the top of that curve, you basically need to accept this fact and stop trying. With that acceptance, extra hours actually become easier for a while. You have pretty much given up on friends and family (and they have given up all expectations of you) so there is a bit of indifference as to how many hours you work . . . Until you start hitting physical exhaustion. This is the second hump, where hours aren't just taking a toll on your life, but your body.

BigLaw is most sustainable if you are at a point in your life where you can operate at the downslope of that first hump -- it is really the sweet spot. The worst place is the upslope of the first hump -- anyone with significant life commitments outside work will always be slogging through in this area. Not only will the work be draining, trying to manage the work will be a constant struggle (generally speaking, some practice groups can be better than others).

This is why non-NYC markets aren't really the fix that many people here seem to think they are. Moving expectations back a bit, as a practical matter, tends to put you just on the wrong side of that first hump most of the time. In theory, you can make room for other things in your life, but barely, and unpredictably, and often not at all. The fight to find some work-life balance when you are tottering on the edge of it being impossible can be more exhausting than simply accepting that life outside work is a pleasant surprise and billing an extra 200-300 hours per year.

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Re: Fascinating thread on life in biglaw on a financial forum

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Mar 21, 2013 8:47 am

Nice description of the two humps. Very on point.

I find, at least in corporate, that most good associates live on top of or very close to the second hump. I gave up on outside interests a while ago. I basically never schedule anything during the week except for a random event here and there which I will force to make it work because its important to me (and maybe 70% of the time my forcing works). There are usually enough hours in the day to do something outside of working but it means you will need to cut into your sleep to make it happen and there is only so much sleep you can forego before you collapse. If an event is really important to me and is from 8-10pm, I can go, but I may be up working until 4am or 5am to make up for it. Not easy to sustain unless you are one of those freaks of nature that does not need much sleep. I pretty regularly go on 4-5 hours of sleep during busy periods and I find that sustainable for me during the week with a weekend crash. Less than that becomes difficult to sustain....you need to figure out where you threshold lies and pace yourself.

The weekends are easier to schedule get togethers for a few hours, but weekends away are hard to commit to. I can almost always go away, but I may be working a full day for one of the days. It's pretty rare that I work both days on the weekend, but I work crazy hours during the week...so one of the days on the weekend is usually sleeping late and doing nothing to regain my constitution.

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Re: Fascinating thread on life in biglaw on a financial forum

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Mar 21, 2013 1:36 pm

Yeah its becoming increasingly clear that there will be no biglaw for this guy. I was already getting there on my own, but I thank you guys for making it all the more clear to me (tbf, I have always wanted some kind of "midlaw"). I am at a stage of my life where I need to rebuild my relationships and reconnect with people I have lost touch with in recent years for a variety of personal reasons. The importance to my happiness of maintaining these ties has become increasingly apparent lately, and I find that it's worth the loss of a few tens of thousands of dollars a year.

While there is a minimum I will settle for (yeah, debts), I feel lucky to have a found a low 6 figs summer job at a boutique, that promises a good QOL and realistic chances of partnership for associates. If this job lives up to its promise (I will know more this summer), then I wont be bothering trying to "upgrade" to biglaw (a realistic possibility in my field). Reaching for the stars may not be worth it.

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