At V5 but hate it, what should I do?

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At V5 but hate it, what should I do?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jun 30, 2013 1:48 am

I know I am already in a privileged position to even be asking this question so please keep the trolling to a minimum.

My facts are such: I have zero debt and equity so money is not really the problem. I am currently at a V5 in NY and I am just beginning to realize that a lot of people here are sociopathic and enjoy hazing the sh** out of each other because their real lives are non-existent. The people that are decent get crushed into the dirt. I know this is BigLaw in NY and yes, I know I "should have known." Besides this, I am at a point now where even as a summer associate, the future of the next 5 years in BigLaw, should I get an offer from this summer, brings tears to my eyes everyday. It wouldn't be so if I knew that BigLaw guaranteed me substantive experience, crafting me to be the best that I can be as a practitioner. Instead, its more about playing politics to "get the best work" and everybody who fails at the game can expect 16 hour diligence runs for the next few years. This is a game that I would prefer not to play.

What should I do? I can apply again to 2013 OCI but I know that most firms are the same. Should I try for mid-law? I actually really enjoy the law and can see myself doing either corporate or litigation. I just want a real job even if it does not pay me $160k where I can hone my craft, make a small name for myself, and be happy. Is this too much to ask?

Also, I am in the top 15% of a T14 school so I should be able to easily reapply for something else - its just that this market and the legal world's standardization of finding a job makes me unmarketable (no actual legal skills) and difficult to strike out on one's own (since everybody tends to find a job during 2L job hunt).
Last edited by Anonymous User on Sun Jun 30, 2013 11:03 am, edited 2 times in total.

AFS
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Re: At V5 but hate it, what should I do?

Postby AFS » Sun Jun 30, 2013 4:58 am

3L OCI would be a huge risk to your career. There aren't many opportunities available for 3Ls and there would be no guarantees of you getting anything. I think it would be better to just suck it up, work for this firm for a few years and then try lateraling to midlaw where you feel you'd be happy.

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Re: At V5 but hate it, what should I do?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jun 30, 2013 7:27 am

AFS wrote:3L OCI would be a huge risk to your career. There aren't many opportunities available for 3Ls and there would be no guarantees of you getting anything.


My understanding is that participating in 3L OCI doesn't require you to give up your current offer—people try to trade up/over all the time. In that sense, it wouldn't necessarily be a risk. The worst that could happen is that you would strike out at 3L OCI and be stuck with the firm you have now.

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PDaddy
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Re: At V5 but hate it, what should I do?

Postby PDaddy » Sun Jun 30, 2013 7:42 am

I never realized how blessed my friend was when she got to split her summers between Paul Weiss in NY and Atlanta's Alston & Bird - or was it King & Spalding? I forgot.

She was able to see which firm she liked. Paul Weiss won-out, and she is there now, making good money.

It sounds like you need to suck it up, but try a different location if its even possible. Is there another city in which you would like to work and have ties?

Also, remember that some of the people you now see there may not be there when you arrive to work as a A1. I know that it's probably ingrained in the culture, but you never know...things can change.

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Re: At V5 but hate it, what should I do?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jun 30, 2013 8:18 am

I've heard this about the NYC Sk Ar so I'm assuming that's what this is (abbreviating to make it unsearchable). I would definitely get the offer if you can and then: 1. Job hunt through 3L OCI 2. Approach the firm about starting at another office of the firm abd think of a really good reason (ex my fiancée just got a job in DC/Philly/whatever).

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kwais
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Re: At V5 but hate it, what should I do?

Postby kwais » Sun Jun 30, 2013 9:12 am

They are not all the same. Do some actual homework this time and find a place you want to be with people you will like. If you can get a v5, you should be able to swing another firm. This is your career, so ask everyone you know who summered in NY what their experience was like and start thinking of a plausible pitch to trade down. The "they are all the same" trope on this site is dumb and it gets people to use vault instead of their head when choosing a firm.

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guano
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Re: At V5 but hate it, what should I do?

Postby guano » Sun Jun 30, 2013 9:55 am

My guess is OP's bid list was remarkably similar to that year's vault rankings

jd20132013
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Re: At V5 but hate it, what should I do?

Postby jd20132013 » Sun Jun 30, 2013 10:09 am

OP is probably at Skadden, as I've heard this from almost everyone I know that's worked there. Their culture is apparently uniquely terrible.

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Re: At V5 but hate it, what should I do?

Postby Hutz_and_Goodman » Sun Jun 30, 2013 10:21 am

jd20132013 wrote:OP is probably at Skadden, as I've heard this from almost everyone I know that's worked there. Their culture is apparently uniquely terrible.


I have also. The NYC Skadden office is massive, with a huge number of associates, and reportedly very cutthroat and unpleasant environment.

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Re: At V5 but hate it, what should I do?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jun 30, 2013 10:48 am

Hutz_and_Goodman wrote:
jd20132013 wrote:OP is probably at Skadden, as I've heard this from almost everyone I know that's worked there. Their culture is apparently uniquely terrible.


I have also. The NYC Skadden office is massive, with a huge number of associates, and reportedly very cutthroat and unpleasant environment.


Not necessarily. I've heard that S&C has this exact same problem.

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Re: At V5 but hate it, what should I do?

Postby Morgan12Oak » Sun Jun 30, 2013 10:49 am

LOL. Love the people who come in here just to try to guess the firm OP is at. Everyone is an analyst these days. Q: does it matter?

OP - All big law at the top firms are going to be like that. If you're good at work, you're going to get too much of it. If you suck at work, you're going to get put on diligence for absurd amount of hours until year 3 when they can stealth you because clients no longer want to pay year 3 hours for diligence a 1st year can do, or you give up because you're burnt out. That's how big law works. They hire huge classes knowing some of them are naturally going to be on diligence duty.

You should look into Weil, they're commendable because they're at least up front about their layoffs. Every law firm has had them including the V5s the past years. That should be indication to you OP that generally, big law is going to be an incredible grind at the highest levels of prestige.

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Re: At V5 but hate it, what should I do?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jun 30, 2013 10:54 am

What doesn't make sense to me from watching all of this is why the most prestigious firms can truly then be known to have the best exit options. If you have half of an incoming class being placed on diligence duty, they are not going to get picked up when they get quietly axed in year 3 by a good inhouse job because they have no real legal skills. Is it that the other half will stick it out for 5-6 years and finally get an inhouse job worth having? Seems to me that it would be better to go work for a V50 and maybe try to get some real experience.

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Re: At V5 but hate it, what should I do?

Postby NYstate » Sun Jun 30, 2013 11:00 am

Anonymous User wrote:I know I am already in a privileged position to even be asking this question so please keep the trolling to a minimum.

My facts are such: I have zero debt and over $300k in equity so money is not really the problem. I am currently at a V5 in NY and I am just beginning to realize that a lot of people here are sociopathic and enjoy hazing the sh** out of each other because their real lives are non-existent. The people that are decent get crushed into the dirt. I know this is BigLaw in NY and yes, I know I "should have known." Besides this, I am at a point now where even as a summer associate, the future of the next 5 years in BigLaw, should I get an offer from this summer, brings tears to my eyes everyday. It wouldn't be so if I knew that BigLaw guaranteed me substantive experience, crafting me to be the best that I can be as a practitioner. Instead, its more about playing politics to "get the best work" and everybody who fails at the game can expect 16 hour diligence runs for the next few years. This is a game that I would prefer not to play.

What should I do? I can apply again to 2013 OCI but I know that most firms are the same. Should I try for mid-law? I actually really enjoy the law and can see myself doing either corporate or litigation. I just want a real job even if it does not pay me $160k where I can hone my craft, make a small name for myself, and be happy. Is this too much to ask?

Also, I am in the top 15% of a T14 school so I should be able to easily reapply for something else - its just that this market and the legal world's standardization of finding a job makes me unmarketable (no actual legal skills) and difficult to strike out on one's own (since everybody tends to find a job during 2L job hunt).


OP: get an offer. Make friends with people who will give you recommendations. Then apply everywhere else in town. Not all big law firms are like the one you describe. But, they are all a tough grind. Most people go to big law to repay debt. If you don't need that, then interview every place you can and see what else you can find.

Don't beat yourself up. Most people don't listen to advice about big law until they experience it themselves.

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Re: At V5 but hate it, what should I do?

Postby NYstate » Sun Jun 30, 2013 11:01 am

Anonymous User wrote:What doesn't make sense to me from watching all of this is why the most prestigious firms can truly then be known to have the best exit options. If you have half of an incoming class being placed on diligence duty, they are not going to get picked up when they get quietly axed in year 3 by a good inhouse job because they have no real legal skills. Is it that the other half will stick it out for 5-6 years and finally get an inhouse job worth having? Seems to me that it would be better to go work for a V50 and maybe try to get some real experience.


They have the most contacts with corporate clients? And I don't know any corporate 3 years who are only doing diligence. Maybe it's a litigation thing.

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Re: At V5 but hate it, what should I do?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jun 30, 2013 11:04 am

Suffer with it for a year and then start looking to lateral. Even though it's a grind, you can make it a year, especially if you have the mindset that it's temporary.

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Re: At V5 but hate it, what should I do?

Postby TooOld4This » Sun Jun 30, 2013 11:07 am

There is no reason for you to suck it up and take a job you hate for several years. Doing so is just the path of least resistance. Since you don't have loans and have savings, you have a lot of freedom to figure out what you want to do. Contrary to what a lot of people here seem to believe, grinding it out at a V5 can move you away from certain career paths an make it harder to get certain jobs.

Do you hate the type of work your firm does, just the firm itself? It might be hard to distinguish at this point, but look at the projects that are out there that aren't just diligence. If you like the types of clients and the type of work, then you should consider jumping firms. At least 3 of the 5 V5 firms have cultures that are substantially different from what you will find at other BigLaw firms. Yes, you will find pockets of asshattery everywhere, but at many firms such behavior is relatively contained.

If you think you might like the work, then you should try to switch firms. Start now. Ask your fellow classmates about their experiences to get a list of places to target. If you had offers elsewhere, humbly go back to these places and say you made a mistake and inquire if they are still looking. Do info interviews with alumni. Also consider looking outside NYC. I don't know if lawyers there have a chip on their shoulder because they always will be second fiddle to bankers, but NYC BigLaw offices tend to have a more intense culture than other offices.

If you really don't like the client base or types of work the firm does, think about what you would like to do. Is it the same type of work, but on a smaller scale? Is there a particular area of the law you find yourself drawn to? Mid law can be a crap shoot. Some firms are everything bad about BigLaw but for less money. Some have a business model that actually pulls in good work and eases back on the hours. If you have an interest in a particular type of law, start talking to people that practice in it. There may be smaller firms that practice in it, or Big firms that have practice groups that specialize.

It is also possible that you would rather do public interest or government work. That is a tough nut right now, but if money isn't an immediate concern, putting your resources in that direction now makes sense. Getting in after practicing at a firm can be hard. People who are doing the hiring tend to screen carefully for people who are just looking to escape where they are at.

If you want to work in house, it does make sense to work at a firm for a couple of years, but not necessarily a V5. In house hires for experience usually. If you haven't developed the skills they need, they aren't going to care what the firm name on your resume is. Look at Go Inhouse, Association of Corporate Counsel, and Indeed and see they types of jobs that are out there. Use this to target the types of skills you think you want to get and figure out what firms might get you there.

Now is a good time to course correct. If you think you want out of BigLaw all together, start working as many angles as you can. Accepting an offer where you are at and then quitting once you get something else is not a big deal. If you are planning on hopping to another firm, I would just put off responding to your offer until you either get a different one or until the offer closes (ie, don't immediately accept and then tell them 3 weeks later you withdraw, use up all of the offer open period before doing anything). I would try to avoid getting a new firm offer and then continuing to look for a new job (don't double hop). Also, consider trying to get a clerkship. You will get a lot of exposure to various practices (and firms) and it is not that uncommon to do something different at the end of a clerkship than you had planned at te end of 2L summer.

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Re: At V5 but hate it, what should I do?

Postby thsmthcrmnl » Sun Jun 30, 2013 11:26 am

OP, why are you even doing BigLaw? You have a ton of money. Why not find a 9-5?

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Re: At V5 but hate it, what should I do?

Postby NinerFan » Sun Jun 30, 2013 11:39 am

IMO, take the offer if you get it to use as a fallback and job hunt during 3L year with small/mid-law firms not in the same market. Try applying for fed/state clerkships.

It's at-will employment, so if you don't care about burning your bridge with that firm and possibly other biglaw firms, you're free to renege. Your CSO won't like it, but you've gotta CYA.

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Re: At V5 but hate it, what should I do?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jun 30, 2013 11:56 am

thsmthcrmnl wrote:OP, why are you even doing BigLaw? You have a ton of money. Why not find a 9-5?


I want to be a lawyer and I don't mind working hard. What I do mind is getting yelled at, degraded, and backstabbed. I know myself and I'm not a productive person when I have to keep one eye peeled on my document and the other eye peeled constantly looking around to see whose gunning for my seat at the table. I honestly thought (and yes, perhaps I was wrong) that BigLaw offered the best training and the most prestige while being trained.

I knew my chances of partner are slim - but I'm seriously the type that just wants to do the best that he can while getting along with everyone and trying to add value to the world, even if it just means making the client a more efficient, profitable machine.

Money has never been my prerogative and I know that I am lucky to be able to say that.

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Re: At V5 but hate it, what should I do?

Postby Borg » Sun Jun 30, 2013 12:03 pm

OP, if you don't need the money, I'd suggest looking for something cooler and giving it a shot. There are litigation boutiques that specialize in civil rights or class actions that have better hours, extremely high upside as a partner, and probably much better cultures than where you are now. The one thing is that some of them don't hire straight out of school, so you might have to do some more digging to figure out which ones will. Caveat: get your offer, hold off on accepting, and then do what I'm about to tell you to do in the interim period before they require a response. Hustle hard.

If I were you, my first step would be to check out this firm called Cohen Milstein. They do antitrust class actions in New York, and the people I met a few years ago who worked there were awesome. I don't think they hire straight out of law school, but you should comb the site to see if an alum from your law school or undergrad is at the firm and reach out to see if they would be willing to have coffee and give you tips on how to get on track to go to a firm like that. Make a good impression, stay in touch, and see if it's possible to jump from Skadden or wherever you are in a year or two. http://www.cohenmilstein.com/home.php.

Otherwise, go to career services and see if they can help you find other firms with a similar profile. Google a lot. Send resumes out even to the ones that claim not to take fresh law school grads. If you don't need to deal with these sociopathic losers in a firm you hate for the money, find a way out.

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Re: At V5 but hate it, what should I do?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jun 30, 2013 12:06 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
thsmthcrmnl wrote:OP, why are you even doing BigLaw? You have a ton of money. Why not find a 9-5?


I want to be a lawyer and I don't mind working hard. What I do mind is getting yelled at, degraded, and backstabbed. I know myself and I'm not a productive person when I have to keep one eye peeled on my document and the other eye peeled constantly looking around to see whose gunning for my seat at the table. I honestly thought (and yes, perhaps I was wrong) that BigLaw offered the best training and the most prestige while being trained.

I knew my chances of partner are slim - but I'm seriously the type that just wants to do the best that he can while getting along with everyone and trying to add value to the world, even if it just means making the client a more efficient, profitable machine.

Money has never been my prerogative and I know that I am lucky to be able to say that.


OP: there are firms like Arnold porter that are long hours and can be a difficult environment but humane compared to what you're describing.

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Re: At V5 but hate it, what should I do?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jun 30, 2013 8:03 pm

really feeling this post. i don't have other assets like OP (or a lot of money generally), but i do have lower debt relative to a lot of grads. i knew i would hate biglaw/it wouldn't fit with my personality/goals. thinking of applying to ejw even if my chances are slim and it means taking a risk if i don't accept my offer right away. already skipping a bunch of firm events just to have time to myself and probably pissing people off in the process, so maybe i won't even get one. would love to do stuff like the plaintiff's stuff people are mentioning, but really let my grades slip tremendously after OCI.

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Re: At V5 but hate it, what should I do?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jun 30, 2013 8:39 pm

Working at a pretty big firm in a secondary market as a 1L. Love it so far. It only pays 80k a year, but the people are great. Everyone is supportive and I really feel like people want to see you succeed. Its unusual to be at the office after 6. People saw me there that light and wondered what the hell I was doing. Also, since they only hire 5-6 attorneys every year this is an expectation that most the summer class will stay and make partner. You get real work early on. I know you might be more interested in transactional, but my firm only does litigation and from day one you could be doing deposisitons, complaints, interrogatories, etc.

So, my point is that maybe you should be looking for something in a secondary market. Midlaw does exist in those markets and the quality of life can be great. Also, the people just seem to be a lot better then what you are experience. Yes, there is still hard work involved and its not as prestigious. But who really cares.

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Re: At V5 but hate it, what should I do?

Postby JCougar » Sun Jun 30, 2013 8:44 pm

Borg wrote:OP, if you don't need the money, I'd suggest looking for something cooler and giving it a shot. There are litigation boutiques that specialize in civil rights or class actions that have better hours, extremely high upside as a partner, and probably much better cultures than where you are now. The one thing is that some of them don't hire straight out of school, so you might have to do some more digging to figure out which ones will. Caveat: get your offer, hold off on accepting, and then do what I'm about to tell you to do in the interim period before they require a response. Hustle hard.

If I were you, my first step would be to check out this firm called Cohen Milstein. They do antitrust class actions in New York, and the people I met a few years ago who worked there were awesome. I don't think they hire straight out of law school, but you should comb the site to see if an alum from your law school or undergrad is at the firm and reach out to see if they would be willing to have coffee and give you tips on how to get on track to go to a firm like that. Make a good impression, stay in touch, and see if it's possible to jump from Skadden or wherever you are in a year or two. http://www.cohenmilstein.com/home.php.

Otherwise, go to career services and see if they can help you find other firms with a similar profile. Google a lot. Send resumes out even to the ones that claim not to take fresh law school grads. If you don't need to deal with these sociopathic losers in a firm you hate for the money, find a way out.


Firms like Cohen Milstein are harder to get into than Biglaw. I know people from Harvard that couldn't get an interview there. Firms like that generally only hire from the T6 on up (the SF/Oakland area might drop down to Berkeley). For firms like Altshuler Berzon, top 15% at NYU is even a long-shot. Lieff Cabraser has hired people outside of the T6, but generally only those who have solid experience. These firms also tend to hire people who have public interest/government work in their background. Summering at Biglaw is actually a detriment to OP's resume in this case, as they look for people that were PI focused from the get-go.

But that doesn't mean OP shouldn't examine plaintiff-side work. The people I've met that are doing this are MUCH happier than the Biglaw people I've met. There's assholes on each side, but in general, Biglaw people are more antisocial, insecure, and tired. It's a product of their work environment. You might start out at $60K at a decent plaintiff-side firm, but you can wear shorts to the office and actually leave at 5pm. And you can make partner far easier and faster. Plaintiff-side work gets thrown in with "shitlaw" a lot on TLS, but it's actually one of the best experiences out there: better training and better work environment.

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Re: At V5 but hate it, what should I do?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jul 01, 2013 12:23 am

Previous poster you are insane if you think Lieff and Altshuler attys leave at 5. I like those firms but don't take this too far. This is a great thread with a lot of heart. We lawyers care for each other! Good luck ts




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