Managing a Relationship in Big Law

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Anonymous User
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Managing a Relationship in Big Law

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Oct 10, 2013 11:22 pm

Wondering if anyone here has thoughts on how to manage a relationship when your significant other is working big law or big law-type hours/stress levels. For dating relationships (not marriage), how often do you see the big law SO, especially when they're just starting out? What type of tension has it put on the relationship and how have you handled it?

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Re: Managing a Relationship in Big Law

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Oct 11, 2013 12:52 am

I assume you're fishing for testimony that it's possible to maintain a healthy relationship with someone while also working at a large law firm.

It's not. Don't be fooled by what anyone here tells you otherwise. It's not.

I'm a veteran lawyer who's worked in BIGLAW and midlaw. My favorite boss at the big firm was a great guy, highly successful, always kind to me, and divorced 4 times. Many of the successful partners at the firm had at least one divorce.

Life is short. You make your trade-offs. If you want to get paid by expensive law firms, you are expected to sacrifice your weekends, your weeknight dinners at home, your opportunities to enjoy family vacations, etc. Something has to give. Spend time with your wife, your image among partners will suffer. Work 60 hours a week, your whole life suffers. If you have any doubts where I stand on this, you shouldn't.

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CG614
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Re: Managing a Relationship in Big Law

Postby CG614 » Fri Oct 11, 2013 7:45 am

Anonymous User wrote:I assume you're fishing for testimony that it's possible to maintain a healthy relationship with someone while also working at a large law firm.

It's not. Don't be fooled by what anyone here tells you otherwise. It's not.

I'm a veteran lawyer who's worked in BIGLAW and midlaw. My favorite boss at the big firm was a great guy, highly successful, always kind to me, and divorced 4 times. Many of the successful partners at the firm had at least one divorce.

Life is short. You make your trade-offs. If you want to get paid by expensive law firms, you are expected to sacrifice your weekends, your weeknight dinners at home, your opportunities to enjoy family vacations, etc. Something has to give. Spend time with your wife, your image among partners will suffer. Work 60 hours a week, your whole life suffers. If you have any doubts where I stand on this, you shouldn't.


You said "many", so you're saying there is a chance!

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Re: Managing a Relationship in Big Law

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Oct 11, 2013 8:11 am

During orientation at a big firm I worked at, they had a presentation planned on "work-life balance." The partner in charge of scheduling said "Well, that's easy, there is none." Then the associate showed up to give the presentation looking like death. She had been working round-the-clock all month.

Honestly, the best way to manage a relationship in biglaw (with a SO or with family/friends) is to get out quickly.

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Re: Managing a Relationship in Big Law

Postby thegrayman » Fri Oct 11, 2013 8:18 am

If your SO is not understanding that they will see you almost never, and you will constantly have to cancel plans because things come up, it won't work.

I live my with wife, and I still barely saw her during my SA, and that was only an SA. I would come home exhausted and just go straight to sleep because every additional minute of sleep was huge.

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Re: Managing a Relationship in Big Law

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Oct 11, 2013 9:08 am

To echo what has been said above, you just have to wait until you leave biglaw to manage relationships. I got dumped by my long term SO because eventually I missed too many life events and I do not blame my SO. Stopped dating because people tend to get mad when you keep flaking due to "urgent deadlines" at work.

The only kind of relationships that works which I have seen with biglaw is the provider relationships where your SO is enabled to sit home all day and just have fun. You can find a girl who is happy to shop with your credit card as replacement to seeing you, or a guy who would love to play xbox all day while you are at work (I have seen a shocking amount of deadbeat female provider boyfriends).

The fact that biglaw is looked at on this board as the golden end all be all worthy of dropping out if not attained in law school is nuts due to aspects like these.

Biglaw hours are not so much bad in the sense of quantity but in the sense of how mandatory they are. Unless you have a wedding (you better be actually involved in the ceremony, not just a guest), funeral (better be at least a grandparent) or honeymoon (not just a vacation, I have seen multiple vacations forced to be cancelled due to needs), you have to cancel whatever plans you have to work if needed.

Leaving soon as a very junior associate and will never regret it, a normal life is worth so much more than 160k.

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Re: Managing a Relationship in Big Law

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Oct 11, 2013 9:10 am

I get people's perspectives here, and I believe they are true to a certain extent. But I really don't think it's the case that there is no work-life balance anywhere. My firm is well known in the Vault surveys for having a good work-life balance, and it didn't seem like there was undue stress on couples at my firm, at least during my SA. I wasn't aware of any people being divorced, for example. Everyone I met was married, including partners. There were stressful times, of course, but it seemed like everyone was able to take time off and go on vacation with their families.

fxb
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Re: Managing a Relationship in Big Law

Postby fxb » Fri Oct 11, 2013 9:12 am

Anonymous User wrote:Wondering if anyone here has thoughts on how to manage a relationship when your significant other is working big law or big law-type hours/stress levels. For dating relationships (not marriage), how often do you see the big law SO, especially when they're just starting out? What type of tension has it put on the relationship and how have you handled it?


It's basically pick two of three: work, dating, hobbies. I've had a pretty good dating life in biglaw, but I hardly get to exercise anymore and I only read for fun on vacations.

I guess after five years, I've found that going out on dates in biglaw isn't that much of a problem. You can find the time for a date. Maybe it's just my practice or the people I'm working with, but I find that although I have a workload that requires a lot of night/weekend work, I'm usually not getting that many urgent emails in the evenings. (The exceptions being right before deadlines, trial, etc.) So I have always been able to carve out a Thursday/Friday/Saturday night here and there. (Helps that I work for a recently-divorced partner for whom "going on a date" is almost a better excuse to leave than childcare.)

It's continuing to date that is the tough part. If you are K-JD, then your formative relationships in college and law school were ones where once you started dating, you basically spent all your time together. It just doesn't work like that in Biglaw. I find that I have to really "schedule" my dates, even with my current girlfriend of two years. Too many nights are given to work or to going home and crashing after reading 1/3 of a magazine article to expect to meaningfully see each other every night. I guess what I'm saying is that you can make time, but unfortunately that probably means an Outlook calendar entry and not a spontaneous hangout. Be prepared for the fact that this is a different kind of dating.

To that end, I guess I would say invest a lot of time into finding a SO who understands the demands of your job and has the patience of a saint. This may mean dating other people in high-stress jobs (medical resident, other biglaw associates), because only they will really understand. So be patient yourself, too. Don't blame the other person for what their job requires, and avoid anyone who takes out on you personally what your job requires.

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Re: Managing a Relationship in Big Law

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Oct 11, 2013 9:20 am

Anonymous User wrote:I get people's perspectives here, and I believe they are true to a certain extent. But I really don't think it's the case that there is no work-life balance anywhere. My firm is well known in the Vault surveys for having a good work-life balance, and it didn't seem like there was undue stress on couples at my firm, at least during my SA. I wasn't aware of any people being divorced, for example. Everyone I met was married, including partners. There were stressful times, of course, but it seemed like everyone was able to take time off and go on vacation with their families.


12:52 Anon here.

You were an SA. That's not enough perspective. Did you drive home with these married couples, to hear their conversations and gauge their relationships?

I love the notion of firms winning "work-life balance" awards. I suppose if you held a "funnest prison complex in America" contest, there's a prison somewhere that would win that too. No matter what a firm's intent, human behavior is driven by economic incentives, and the billable hour incentivizes a wide variety of destructive human behaviors within all large law firms. There are no exceptions.

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guano
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Re: Managing a Relationship in Big Law

Postby guano » Fri Oct 11, 2013 9:31 am

This is fucking bullshit. As long as your SO understands the requirements, things will work out. There are plenty of people who have succesful relationships.

The problem is that most people are not understanding of the life. If you have an SO who expects you to always be home for dinner, you're fucked. If you gave an SO who understands when you cancel attending your son's little league game or your daughter's dance recital half an hour before it's time, because that's what keeps the kids in private school and mommy in Louis Vuitton, then you're less likely to have problems

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Re: Managing a Relationship in Big Law

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Oct 11, 2013 9:33 am

People really need to stop using their SA experience to tell people on the board what biglaw is like. Most firms instruct us to only give positive feedback on assignments no matter how bad your work is. We are in recruitment mode the entire summer when we tell you about our great lives. When you go out to lunch with us, we are not going to tell you the truth because we do not want to get fired for having an SA reject an offer because of us.

Wait until you get to the firm to tell people what is going on. That assignment you turned in as a summer really sucked. The wonderful boyfriend or girlfriend we said we had is threatening to leave us if we keep frequently returning home at 10:00 PM no matter what we make. After you start as a first year, go ask people how things are really going, it is a whole different story than what you were fed as a summer.

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Re: Managing a Relationship in Big Law

Postby cdelgado » Fri Oct 11, 2013 11:05 am

Anonymous User wrote: When you go out to lunch with us, we are not going to tell you the truth because we do not want to get fired for having an SA reject an offer because of us.


What are the chances that an associate even gets fired because of that?

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Re: Managing a Relationship in Big Law

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Oct 11, 2013 11:21 am

My SO and I both work in BL. We have just accepted that we don't get to watch netflix for fifteen hours a day like we did in law school. It's not a big deal and it is probably temporary.

If anything we appreciate the time we do have together. We have also made a pact to just not get mad or fight about how much we do/don't see each other.

Of course our favorite pillow talk is planning our exits.

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Re: Managing a Relationship in Big Law

Postby Danger Zone » Fri Oct 11, 2013 11:24 am

Anonymous User wrote:During orientation at a big firm I worked at, they had a presentation planned on "work-life balance." The partner in charge of scheduling said "Well, that's easy, there is none." Then the associate showed up to give the presentation looking like death. She had been working round-the-clock all month.

Wow :lol:

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Re: Managing a Relationship in Big Law

Postby NotMyRealName09 » Fri Oct 11, 2013 11:28 am

You can definately have a relationship with your SO's money that is nearly as satisfying as being with the SO him or herself. And you can always have an affair to satisfy your need for sex. Big Law seems so cool!

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Re: Managing a Relationship in Big Law

Postby NotMyRealName09 » Fri Oct 11, 2013 11:31 am

Anonymous User wrote:I get people's perspectives here, and I believe they are true to a certain extent. But I really don't think it's the case that there is no work-life balance anywhere. My firm is well known in the Vault surveys for having a good work-life balance, and it didn't seem like there was undue stress on couples at my firm, at least during my SA. I wasn't aware of any people being divorced, for example. Everyone I met was married, including partners. There were stressful times, of course, but it seemed like everyone was able to take time off and go on vacation with their families.


How many female attorneys got pregnant and had babies?

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Re: Managing a Relationship in Big Law

Postby NotMyRealName09 » Fri Oct 11, 2013 11:36 am

Anonymous User wrote:People really need to stop using their SA experience to tell people on the board what biglaw is like. Most firms instruct us to only give positive feedback on assignments no matter how bad your work is. We are in recruitment mode the entire summer when we tell you about our great lives. When you go out to lunch with us, we are not going to tell you the truth because we do not want to get fired for having an SA reject an offer because of us.

Wait until you get to the firm to tell people what is going on. That assignment you turned in as a summer really sucked. The wonderful boyfriend or girlfriend we said we had is threatening to leave us if we keep frequently returning home at 10:00 PM no matter what we make. After you start as a first year, go ask people how things are really going, it is a whole different story than what you were fed as a summer.


This recurring story, people tell this story as if we should feel bad, or that they system sucks. No one said you have to throw away your life to practice law. I'm sorry but if you work a job where keeping a wife is known to be difficult, what does it say about you that you CHOSE TO WORK THERE ANYWAYS. If you can land a job paying $160k, you can land one making $100k and have a family. It just doesn't make sense to me, or at least, I guess the type of people who want biglaw are the type of people for whom success in career outweighs contentment of soul.

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Re: Managing a Relationship in Big Law

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Oct 11, 2013 1:50 pm

So, I'm the one who posted about being an SA and not thinking big law is necessarily terrible. I'm not denying what you have said about big law. I'm just saying you can't paint a broad picture necessarily. It depends on the geographical market, it depends on how far up the ranks you go, it depends on the firm, it depends on whether you go part-time there as a mother or something, it depends on many factors. I could certainly turn out to be wrong, I'll admit that, but given that I often saw associates leaving at 5 PM, I can't think it's miserable 100% of the time. Given how many careers are demanding of your time (having a restaurant, doing I-banking, being a doctor), it's good to have some perspective... working in America and having a decedent income and balancing a family aren't easy no matter where you go.

I'll also add that I have friends who graduated a couple of years before me in law school and do big law in my geographical market. They also claim that it hasn't been stressful. They never leave later than 7 PM. They have only worked on the weekend a few times, and they have gone on vacations. They are first and second-year associates, sure, but I'm saying you can't paint overly broad pictures of your entire time in big law.

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Re: Managing a Relationship in Big Law

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Oct 11, 2013 2:05 pm

I thought this might be relevant. http://abovethelaw.com/2013/10/10-reaso ... ve-biglaw/

How much of this is true? I'm thinking of doing big law.

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Bronx Bum
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Re: Managing a Relationship in Big Law

Postby Bronx Bum » Fri Oct 11, 2013 2:19 pm

Anonymous User wrote:So, I'm the one who posted about being an SA and not thinking big law is necessarily terrible. I'm not denying what you have said about big law. I'm just saying you can't paint a broad picture necessarily. It depends on the geographical market, it depends on how far up the ranks you go, it depends on the firm, it depends on whether you go part-time there as a mother or something, it depends on many factors. I could certainly turn out to be wrong, I'll admit that, but given that I often saw associates leaving at 5 PM, I can't think it's miserable 100% of the time. Given how many careers are demanding of your time (having a restaurant, doing I-banking, being a doctor), it's good to have some perspective... working in America and having a decedent income and balancing a family aren't easy no matter where you go.

I'll also add that I have friends who graduated a couple of years before me in law school and do big law in my geographical market. They also claim that it hasn't been stressful. They never leave later than 7 PM. They have only worked on the weekend a few times, and they have gone on vacations. They are first and second-year associates, sure, but I'm saying you can't paint overly broad pictures of your entire time in big law.


Well no one asked, "Hey guys! What does your idiot friend in biglaw have to say about managing a relationship in biglaw??" The fact that the op took the time to write out the OP implies that he wanted to hear from people who know, not SAs.

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Re: Managing a Relationship in Big Law

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Oct 11, 2013 2:33 pm

NotMyRealName09 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:People really need to stop using their SA experience to tell people on the board what biglaw is like. Most firms instruct us to only give positive feedback on assignments no matter how bad your work is. We are in recruitment mode the entire summer when we tell you about our great lives. When you go out to lunch with us, we are not going to tell you the truth because we do not want to get fired for having an SA reject an offer because of us.

Wait until you get to the firm to tell people what is going on. That assignment you turned in as a summer really sucked. The wonderful boyfriend or girlfriend we said we had is threatening to leave us if we keep frequently returning home at 10:00 PM no matter what we make. After you start as a first year, go ask people how things are really going, it is a whole different story than what you were fed as a summer.


This recurring story, people tell this story as if we should feel bad, or that they system sucks. No one said you have to throw away your life to practice law. I'm sorry but if you work a job where keeping a wife is known to be difficult, what does it say about you that you CHOSE TO WORK THERE ANYWAYS. If you can land a job paying $160k, you can land one making $100k and have a family. It just doesn't make sense to me, or at least, I guess the type of people who want biglaw are the type of people for whom success in career outweighs contentment of soul.


I don't think the bolded is true. If there are $100K legal jobs with decent work/life balance I think everyone on here would like to hear about them. Please share.

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Bronx Bum
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Re: Managing a Relationship in Big Law

Postby Bronx Bum » Fri Oct 11, 2013 3:06 pm

NotMyRealName09 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:People really need to stop using their SA experience to tell people on the board what biglaw is like. Most firms instruct us to only give positive feedback on assignments no matter how bad your work is. We are in recruitment mode the entire summer when we tell you about our great lives. When you go out to lunch with us, we are not going to tell you the truth because we do not want to get fired for having an SA reject an offer because of us.

Wait until you get to the firm to tell people what is going on. That assignment you turned in as a summer really sucked. The wonderful boyfriend or girlfriend we said we had is threatening to leave us if we keep frequently returning home at 10:00 PM no matter what we make. After you start as a first year, go ask people how things are really going, it is a whole different story than what you were fed as a summer.


This recurring story, people tell this story as if we should feel bad, or that they system sucks. No one said you have to throw away your life to practice law. I'm sorry but if you work a job where keeping a wife is known to be difficult, what does it say about you that you CHOSE TO WORK THERE ANYWAYS. If you can land a job paying $160k, you can land one making $100k and have a family. It just doesn't make sense to me, or at least, I guess the type of people who want biglaw are the type of people for whom success in career outweighs contentment of soul.



Ur 100% right. They be handing out DEM $100k 9-5 SWEET GIGS.

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Re: Managing a Relationship in Big Law

Postby BarbellDreams » Fri Oct 11, 2013 3:08 pm

NotMyRealName09 wrote:
This recurring story, people tell this story as if we should feel bad, or that they system sucks. No one said you have to throw away your life to practice law. I'm sorry but if you work a job where keeping a wife is known to be difficult, what does it say about you that you CHOSE TO WORK THERE ANYWAYS. If you can land a job paying $160k, you can land one making $100k and have a family. It just doesn't make sense to me, or at least, I guess the type of people who want biglaw are the type of people for whom success in career outweighs contentment of soul.


Literally laughed out loud at this. You truly are clueless about the state of the legal market friend.

Anonymous User
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Re: Managing a Relationship in Big Law

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Oct 11, 2013 3:42 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I thought this might be relevant. http://abovethelaw.com/2013/10/10-reaso ... ve-biglaw/

How much of this is true? I'm thinking of doing big law.


I sent this article to a friend of mine. Did about 10 years in BIGLAW. Mad prestigious BIGLAW too. He responded with only this, about three minutes later:

BigLaw Veteren wrote:ALL TRUE


This person made the move out. He's in a small but reasonably profitable firm now.

Stinson
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Re: Managing a Relationship in Big Law

Postby Stinson » Fri Oct 11, 2013 3:47 pm

BarbellDreams wrote:
NotMyRealName09 wrote:
This recurring story, people tell this story as if we should feel bad, or that they system sucks. No one said you have to throw away your life to practice law. I'm sorry but if you work a job where keeping a wife is known to be difficult, what does it say about you that you CHOSE TO WORK THERE ANYWAYS. If you can land a job paying $160k, you can land one making $100k and have a family. It just doesn't make sense to me, or at least, I guess the type of people who want biglaw are the type of people for whom success in career outweighs contentment of soul.


Literally laughed out loud at this. You truly are clueless about the state of the legal market friend.


Hey bro, I hear BIGFED is going to be hiring MASSIVELY once the whole shutdown / debt ceiling debacle / limping from self-imposed crisis to self-imposed crisis / perpetual political lockdown caused by ruinously gerrymandered electoral districts / likely decades of economic malaise thing passes.




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