1 year in, want to leave biglaw - tips?

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Re: 1 year in, want to leave biglaw - tips?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 21, 2013 10:55 am

I agree with the OP and I've only done summers. I'm hustling like crazy to get a non-biglaw job that has a reasonable salary. I have a couple of interviews coming up so hopefully I can drop out of Big law before I start.

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Re: 1 year in, want to leave biglaw - tips?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 21, 2013 10:58 am

Anonymous User wrote:I agree with the OP and I've only done summers. I'm hustling like crazy to get a non-biglaw job that has a reasonable salary. I have a couple of interviews coming up so hopefully I can drop out of Big law before I start.


what avenues are you looking into?

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Re: 1 year in, want to leave biglaw - tips?

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Wed Aug 21, 2013 11:18 am

Anonymous User wrote:V20, T6, shitty grades. 1 year in, and I really dislike the job. looking back, I had no real idea what I was getting into despite being active on these forums and spending 3 years striving for prestige. you don't really know what life is like in biglaw until you live it, and let me tell you: it sucks.

anyone know anyone who left/have any experience with leaving biglaw after only 1 year? I could probably stick it out until year 2-3 but want to get out ASAP.

also taking questions on why biglaw sucks and is not worth it.

so why does it suck and is not worth it?

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Re: 1 year in, want to leave biglaw - tips?

Postby mr.hands » Wed Aug 21, 2013 11:20 am

dixiecupdrinking wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:V20, T6, shitty grades. 1 year in, and I really dislike the job. looking back, I had no real idea what I was getting into despite being active on these forums and spending 3 years striving for prestige. you don't really know what life is like in biglaw until you live it, and let me tell you: it sucks.

anyone know anyone who left/have any experience with leaving biglaw after only 1 year? I could probably stick it out until year 2-3 but want to get out ASAP.

also taking questions on why biglaw sucks and is not worth it.

so why does it suck and is not worth it?


+1

jd20132013
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Re: 1 year in, want to leave biglaw - tips?

Postby jd20132013 » Wed Aug 21, 2013 11:24 am

It seems like it's obvious why it'd suck: Unpredictable schedules, sleep deprivation, inability to keep up normal human connections because of that, sedentary lifestyle, etc

I'm more interested in hearing from people like Fresh Prince who don't hate it because they knew what they were getting into--what were your strategies going in to ensure that?

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Re: 1 year in, want to leave biglaw - tips?

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Wed Aug 21, 2013 11:29 am

jd20132013 wrote:It seems like it's obvious why it'd suck: Unpredictable schedules, sleep deprivation, inability to keep up normal human connections because of that, sedentary lifestyle, etc

I'm more interested in hearing from people like Fresh Prince who don't hate it because they knew what they were getting into--what were your strategies going in to ensure that?

Yes, all of the things you just said are obvious hypothetical reasons. They may or may not be this person's reasons, which may be less obvious and thus worth hearing about.

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Re: 1 year in, want to leave biglaw - tips?

Postby iplulzer » Wed Aug 21, 2013 11:34 am

jd20132013 wrote:It seems like it's obvious why it'd suck: Unpredictable schedules, sleep deprivation, inability to keep up normal human connections because of that, sedentary lifestyle, etc

I'm more interested in hearing from people like Fresh Prince who don't hate it because they knew what they were getting into--what were your strategies going in to ensure that?

Start your own damn thread then.

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Re: 1 year in, want to leave biglaw - tips?

Postby thesealocust » Wed Aug 21, 2013 11:40 am

Fresh Prince wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Out the firm, if there is a V20 that sucks then our OCI season 2Ls need to hear about it!


If you're worried about accepting an offer at a V20 that sucks, then don't do OCI and drop out of law school.


TITCR.

+1.

Edit to add: Everyone hates biglaw. Everyone. The only prizes are for "least broken" or "most pain tolerant" - possibly also "most deluded" or "hopped up on koolaide to the largest extent"?

There are real differences between firms, and I know many people who failed to heed conventional wisdom about which firms are relentless meatgrinders and which have nicer reputations. They are more miserable, but don't for a second assume that means those at "nice" places managed to hook a $160,000 per year job offers for which they had no relevant qualifications and were promptly treated gently and found their schedules and lives were respected.

The pressure, the hours, the uncertainty, the tedium, the frenzy, the nature of working for 'the man' as a hired gun... I've heard it all. Everyone's experience is unique, but I know exactly zero people working in big law who really, truly like it. It's just varying degrees of sacrifice, rationalization, and self-loathing.

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Re: 1 year in, want to leave biglaw - tips?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 21, 2013 11:50 am

jd20132013 wrote:It seems like it's obvious why it'd suck: Unpredictable schedules, sleep deprivation, inability to keep up normal human connections because of that, sedentary lifestyle, etc

I'm more interested in hearing from people like Fresh Prince who don't hate it because they knew what they were getting into--what were your strategies going in to ensure that?


I dated a biglaw lawyer and have a number of friends who are currently working in the local biglaw market (Boston). I honestly don't get the extreme hate for biglaw. Schedule can be sometimes unpredictable but it definitely isn't like you are constantly canceling plans or can't keep up normal connections. The constant 80+ hour weeks are a definite myth for the average biglaw associate. Most times the work week falls around the ~60/hour range with variations both up and down. Yeah you work at a desk and computer all day but really that is the nature of the corporate job in general.

I used to work in corporate HQ role for a F1000 company and I worked 50-65 hrs/wk with constant blackberry contact for about 1/3 of biglaw salary. The only thing I will lose going into biglaw is some degree of predictability.

Overall, I think people severely overstate how different biglaw is from pretty much every other corporate job. I've also noticed that the extreme hate is mostly concentrated among people who don't have much work experience. Very few of the people I know with work experience see the big deal. Only caveat is that this may vary if you are talking about NYC biglaw but even then if you compared it to corporate jobs in NYC it probably wouldn't look so bad.

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Re: 1 year in, want to leave biglaw - tips?

Postby IAFG » Wed Aug 21, 2013 11:56 am

Anonymous User wrote:
jd20132013 wrote:It seems like it's obvious why it'd suck: Unpredictable schedules, sleep deprivation, inability to keep up normal human connections because of that, sedentary lifestyle, etc

I'm more interested in hearing from people like Fresh Prince who don't hate it because they knew what they were getting into--what were your strategies going in to ensure that?


I dated a biglaw lawyer and have a number of friends who are currently working in the local biglaw market (Boston). I honestly don't get the extreme hate for biglaw. Schedule can be sometimes unpredictable but it definitely isn't like you are constantly canceling plans or can't keep up normal connections. The constant 80+ hour weeks are a definite myth for the average biglaw associate. Most times the work week falls around the ~60/hour range with variations both up and down. Yeah you work at a desk and computer all day but really that is the nature of the corporate job in general.

I used to work in corporate HQ role for a F1000 company and I worked 50-65 hrs/wk with constant blackberry contact for about 1/3 of biglaw salary. The only thing I will lose going into biglaw is some degree of predictability.

Overall, I think people severely overstate how different biglaw is from pretty much every other corporate job. I've also noticed that the extreme hate is mostly concentrated among people who don't have much work experience. Very few of the people I know with work experience see the big deal. Only caveat is that this may vary if you are talking about NYC biglaw but even then if you compared it to corporate jobs in NYC it probably wouldn't look so bad.

Have you actually noticed that or is it confirmation bias

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Re: 1 year in, want to leave biglaw - tips?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 21, 2013 12:05 pm

IAFG wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
jd20132013 wrote:It seems like it's obvious why it'd suck: Unpredictable schedules, sleep deprivation, inability to keep up normal human connections because of that, sedentary lifestyle, etc

I'm more interested in hearing from people like Fresh Prince who don't hate it because they knew what they were getting into--what were your strategies going in to ensure that?


I dated a biglaw lawyer and have a number of friends who are currently working in the local biglaw market (Boston). I honestly don't get the extreme hate for biglaw. Schedule can be sometimes unpredictable but it definitely isn't like you are constantly canceling plans or can't keep up normal connections. The constant 80+ hour weeks are a definite myth for the average biglaw associate. Most times the work week falls around the ~60/hour range with variations both up and down. Yeah you work at a desk and computer all day but really that is the nature of the corporate job in general.

I used to work in corporate HQ role for a F1000 company and I worked 50-65 hrs/wk with constant blackberry contact for about 1/3 of biglaw salary. The only thing I will lose going into biglaw is some degree of predictability.

Overall, I think people severely overstate how different biglaw is from pretty much every other corporate job. I've also noticed that the extreme hate is mostly concentrated among people who don't have much work experience. Very few of the people I know with work experience see the big deal. Only caveat is that this may vary if you are talking about NYC biglaw but even then if you compared it to corporate jobs in NYC it probably wouldn't look so bad.

Have you actually noticed that or is it confirmation bias


I would say that my circles are probably a little overrepresented with people with corporate leaning interests and work experience (rather than the big "I want my job to define me" crowd in law school) but it definitely rings true in my experience. I think the biglaw lifestyle is similar to the "ibanking analysts average 100 hr work weeks" myth in undergrad. Yes, it definitely happens sometimes but is by no means the norm.

I am lucky enough to have an insider at the firm I am considering going to after law school and have seen their practice group reports on hours. Unless they are the most inefficient lawyers of all time, no way are they averaging any more than ~60-65 hr work weeks.

One thing I will say that I can't account for is how well people handle stress. I tend to handle it very well and don't really get too stressed about much of anything but I know from law school that I am not the norm.

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Re: 1 year in, want to leave biglaw - tips?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 21, 2013 12:13 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I agree with the OP and I've only done summers. I'm hustling like crazy to get a non-biglaw job that has a reasonable salary. I have a couple of interviews coming up so hopefully I can drop out of Big law before I start.


what avenues are you looking into?


Mostly business related, some law related other not law related at all. I don't think i like being a corporate lawyer but I don't want to take the pay cut to do PI. I had a pretty good, well paying job (with limited growth potential) before law school so I have business experience that I'm trying to leverage along with my degree. I'm willing to take less to get out of Biglaw but not drastically less 90k is about the floor. I was able to graduate from a T6 school without debt so that's the reason I'd be ok with a pay cut.

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Re: 1 year in, want to leave biglaw - tips?

Postby thesealocust » Wed Aug 21, 2013 12:15 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I am lucky enough to have an insider at the firm I am considering going to after law school and have seen their practice group reports on hours. Unless they are the most inefficient lawyers of all time, no way are they averaging any more than ~60-65 hr work weeks.


Hours reports can be hilariously deceptive. My favorite all nighters begin at about 4:00 pm after having 0 billable hours prior to that point.

God Bless clients.

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Re: 1 year in, want to leave biglaw - tips?

Postby ExBiglawAssociate » Wed Aug 21, 2013 12:33 pm

legends159 wrote:
NYstate wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Out the firm, if there is a V20 that sucks then our OCI season 2Ls need to hear about it!

Do you honestly believe that biglaw is that much different from firm to firm?


Yes. Culture matters for job satisfaction even if the end result is you work the same type of unpredictable long hours. Humans are not robots. If you work with jackasses you will have less job satisfaction than if you work with people who try to teach you and treat you like a teammate.

OP - if you want to leave law, you should spend the next 3-6 months prepping case studies and interview for management consulting firms.


LOL. Biglaw culture is basically the same across all biglaw firms. You are always on call, you need to bill a shitton of hours to stick around, and you can't screw up your assignments without getting fired (eventually).

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Re: 1 year in, want to leave biglaw - tips?

Postby IAFG » Wed Aug 21, 2013 12:36 pm

When partners are playing musical chairs, how much can firms realistically maintain any certain culture?

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Re: 1 year in, want to leave biglaw - tips?

Postby ru2486 » Wed Aug 21, 2013 12:37 pm

IAFG wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Out the firm, if there is a V20 that sucks then our OCI season 2Ls need to hear about it!

OP is at Debevoise Gottlieb & Thatcher LLP. Avoid.


:lol: :lol: i spit my coffee out when i read this, thank you IAFG

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Re: 1 year in, want to leave biglaw - tips?

Postby thesealocust » Wed Aug 21, 2013 12:46 pm

My experience has actually been that firm culture is very real and very significant.

Friends at some firms get yelled at on the reg, friends at other firms have never heard a raised voice. Friends at some firms have a smattering of "retreat" type events with associates and a culture that involves hanging out after-hours, friends at other firms see a much more "finish your work then go home" attitude. Some friends feel not just 'on call' but pressured to be in the office for large amounts of time, others are still busy but have total freedom and a real expectation to be able to work from home. Some friends report apologies and sympathy when work comes on Sundays, others report it just lands. Some friends have hours targets drilled into their heads, others have never heard of hours targets.

Lots will be the same firm to firm, and practice area to practice area - but differences between them seem neither made up nor exaggerated.

We need a tears index - average number of times any given associate cries per week per firm. That might be a good proxy for culture.

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Re: 1 year in, want to leave biglaw - tips?

Postby iplulzer » Wed Aug 21, 2013 1:23 pm

I will never understand this bizarre notion that culture doesn't matter. I'm guessing its a k-Jd thing. I've worked in enough places to know that it came make a huge difference in your every day life. This applies to every workplace, not just law firms.

Personally, to the extent I can afford it, I refuse to work I any place that refuses to treat me like an adult. I've been there, and I'm never going back. That's worth tens of thousand of $ to me.

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Re: 1 year in, want to leave biglaw - tips?

Postby IAFG » Wed Aug 21, 2013 1:51 pm

iplulzer wrote:I will never understand this bizarre notion that culture doesn't matter. I'm guessing its a k-Jd thing. I've worked in enough places to know that it came make a huge difference in your every day life. This applies to every workplace, not just law firms.

Personally, to the extent I can afford it, I refuse to work I any place that refuses to treat me like an adult. I've been there, and I'm never going back. That's worth tens of thousand of $ to me.

I don't know if many people don't think culture matters. It's just that the job can be intolerable in any culture, and also it's hard for law students to really understand what a firm's cultural reputation will mean for them.

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Re: 1 year in, want to leave biglaw - tips?

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Wed Aug 21, 2013 2:00 pm

I don't know, you hear things like this...
Biglaw_Associate_V20 wrote:LOL. Biglaw culture is basically the same across all biglaw firms. You are always on call, you need to bill a shitton of hours to stick around, and you can't screw up your assignments without getting fired (eventually).
...pretty frequently. And it's always weird to see, and not really consistent with my experience of how organizations work. The job is more or less the same, but that doesn't mean the office environment is. And that shit matters. It's hard to imagine how anyone who has had more than one job in their life can think that it's irrelevant whether your boss is an asshole or if everyone is trying to steal work from each other or whatever. Really what the "no such thing as biglaw culture" argument seems to be actually saying is that you're just going to hate your life no matter what so don't even worry about it. But I've heard so many law students talk up so many things as the WORST/HARDEST/MOST STRESSFUL THING EVER for so long now (1L year! Law review write on! OCI! Fed courts! Bar prep!) and this ALL BIGLAW IS HELL falls right into that vein so it's tempting just to ignore it.

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Re: 1 year in, want to leave biglaw - tips?

Postby NYstate » Wed Aug 21, 2013 2:18 pm

dixiecupdrinking wrote:I don't know, you hear things like this...
Biglaw_Associate_V20 wrote:LOL. Biglaw culture is basically the same across all biglaw firms. You are always on call, you need to bill a shitton of hours to stick around, and you can't screw up your assignments without getting fired (eventually).
...pretty frequently. And it's always weird to see, and not really consistent with my experience of how organizations work. The job is more or less the same, but that doesn't mean the office environment is. And that shit matters. It's hard to imagine how anyone who has had more than one job in their life can think that it's irrelevant whether your boss is an asshole or if everyone is trying to steal work from each other or whatever. Really what the "no such thing as biglaw culture" argument seems to be actually saying is that you're just going to hate your life no matter what so don't even worry about it. But I've heard so many law students talk up so many things as the WORST/HARDEST/MOST STRESSFUL THING EVER for so long now (1L year! Law review write on! OCI! Fed courts! Bar prep!) and this ALL BIGLAW IS HELL falls right into that vein so it's tempting just to ignore it.


I don't know any biglaw offices where you only have one boss. There are always a number of people involved in a deal. But maybe that happens. I'm sure it matters if people are screaming at you all day, but that isn't what I am talking about when I talk about firm culture being the same everywhere.

You don't have to listen, most people discount what they hear about biglaw because they want or need the salary or, at minimum, they want the credential. People on this forum are very status and money focused and not so much focused on having a life.

I disagree with whoever says you don't have to cancel plans all the time. Stuff comes up and you have to work, that is just the way it is. Maybe it is different in Boston, I don't know. I only have anecdotes.

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Re: 1 year in, want to leave biglaw - tips?

Postby jd20132013 » Wed Aug 21, 2013 2:48 pm

iplulzer wrote:
jd20132013 wrote:It seems like it's obvious why it'd suck: Unpredictable schedules, sleep deprivation, inability to keep up normal human connections because of that, sedentary lifestyle, etc

I'm more interested in hearing from people like Fresh Prince who don't hate it because they knew what they were getting into--what were your strategies going in to ensure that?

Start your own damn thread then.



:lol: relax, it wasn't a personal attack

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Re: 1 year in, want to leave biglaw - tips?

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Wed Aug 21, 2013 3:04 pm

NYstate wrote:I don't know any biglaw offices where you only have one boss. There are always a number of people involved in a deal. But maybe that happens. I'm sure it matters if people are screaming at you all day, but that isn't what I am talking about when I talk about firm culture being the same everywhere.

You don't have to listen, most people discount what they hear about biglaw because they want or need the salary or, at minimum, they want the credential. People on this forum are very status and money focused and not so much focused on having a life.

Well, that's the kind of thing I, and others, are talking about w/r/t firm culture. It makes a difference whether people are pleasant or not. It's completely possible to go into biglaw with eyes wide open, understanding the lifestyle challenges, while also taking into consideration firm culture. I understand the hours are demanding and the work has to be a priority over other things in your life, but within that, I'd rather work with reasonable, empathetic people than egomaniacs who happen to have more front-page WSJ deals, for example. I'm sure there are naive people out there who think if they pick the right firm they can get out at 6 pm every day, but that's not what I'm talking about.

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Re: 1 year in, want to leave biglaw - tips?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 21, 2013 3:07 pm

similar position to OP.

i second what was said about hour reports being deceptive. 60 hours a week doesn't sound bad. but often it means working from 5pm to 11 pm and the weekend. you are at the whims of the everyone above you, with zero control over your schedule. if you're a loner who just comes home to watch tv, then its a really a great gig - as you can rearrange your day to watch netflix in teh office in the morning and work all night. for everyone else its much harder, especially those with multiple commitments. constantly arriving to events late, leaving early (or missing completely), apologizing to everyone, gets really annoying (for both parties). after a few months working like this, you start to think hey life is short, and start doubting whether the money is worth it. esp after nyc taxes, you're not even living like a boss.

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Re: 1 year in, want to leave biglaw - tips?

Postby ExBiglawAssociate » Wed Aug 21, 2013 4:11 pm

thesealocust wrote:My experience has actually been that firm culture is very real and very significant.

Friends at some firms get yelled at on the reg, friends at other firms have never heard a raised voice. Friends at some firms have a smattering of "retreat" type events with associates and a culture that involves hanging out after-hours, friends at other firms see a much more "finish your work then go home" attitude. Some friends feel not just 'on call' but pressured to be in the office for large amounts of time, others are still busy but have total freedom and a real expectation to be able to work from home. Some friends report apologies and sympathy when work comes on Sundays, others report it just lands. Some friends have hours targets drilled into their heads, others have never heard of hours targets.

Lots will be the same firm to firm, and practice area to practice area - but differences between them seem neither made up nor exaggerated.

We need a tears index - average number of times any given associate cries per week per firm. That might be a good proxy for culture.


If you're going to get that granular, you could say that culture varies significantly within firms and varies from partner to partner. My comment was more based on what you can generally expect to be the case at all firms:

1) You're going to bill a lot of hours.
2) You're always on call.
3) You can't screw up (significantly) without getting canned.

Law firms are partnerships. They usually have management committees, but it's not like anyone on the management committee has time to enforce any kind of uniform firm "culture." Partners, for the most part, can treat associates however the hell they want within certain reasonably limits of common decency.




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