Considering Quitting Big Law Corporate After < 6 Months

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Anonymous User
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Considering Quitting Big Law Corporate After < 6 Months

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jan 26, 2014 3:18 pm

**Looking for comments from graduates only.

First year in NY corporate big law V50 considering quitting for a non-legal business job at a reputable company. Would take 25% pay cut off my 160k.

Am I crazy? I ask myself what the point of going to law school was if I just work in business. Doing this will be the end of my legal career - I know it. Not that I'd ever want to go back. My job really sucks. I'm super anxious/stressed about night/weekend killing work and the inability to plan anything. It's just not for me or the life I want to live. I hate billable hours. I hate feeling like a loser/slacker on days when I leave at 6pm. I hate stressing about making up lost hours for dentist appointments, lunches, etc. I hate sitting in the office with nothing to do knowing that I'll never be able to take a vacation because of all the hours I burned up. I hate having to work the day before and day after Christmas - I want my week off, dammit! My original plan was to grind it out for 3 years and then go in-house. But now I don't think I can handle this any longer.

I've been told it gets better after the first year. What is it that makes it better? Anyone else have these thoughts? What prevents you from leaving? If you had a decent non-legal job offer like mine would you take it? What is it about corporate law work that anyone likes? I only chose corporate because I thought I could go in house with it.

JusticeJackson
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Joined: Thu Feb 10, 2011 12:26 am

Re: Considering Quitting Big Law Corporate After < 6 Months

Postby JusticeJackson » Sun Jan 26, 2014 4:51 pm

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Last edited by JusticeJackson on Thu Apr 10, 2014 9:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Anonymous User
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Re: Considering Quitting Big Law Corporate After < 6 Months

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jan 26, 2014 6:12 pm

It sounds like you're really unhappy and a 25% pay cut is not bad at all. I don't think you should feel like you have to stay just to use your law degree - that is falling prey to the sunk cost fallacy. Make sure you aren't jumping out of the pan into the fire, though. You didn't say how you know this job will be better (I assume 'business' /= 'in house' which is better in terms of hours). It is easy to believe the grass is greener.

I can relate to some of what you are saying but my experience is that that feeling comes and goes, and I wonder if you feel this way every moment or if you have had a rough week that is influencing your feelings. I guess if you sought another job you have been feeling this way for awhile. I am mostly satisfied but sometimes dissatisfied. I actually like the work, but I have had to practice not paying attention to what everyone else is doing. All of the first years are still neurotic competitive people who are in a new environment, prompting them to be uber-competitive over what they can compete over - mainly hours and sometimes assignments. The more senior associates are way chiller. I believe it will get better end I know we will gain more control over our time.

Has anyone actually pressured you to not take vacations? At my firm, which is a V5 (so not slow), we are encouraged to take vacation but before I started I thought I would have no time for vacations, Drs, etc but it hasn't been like that. It has been tons of hours overall though. Also this month has been slower than any other, which has paradoxically made me less happy because I have to pay more attention to time as you describe and it brings out the competition between associates more. So is some of that at play?

Anyway, just some thoughts. Good luck with whatever you decide.

Pokemon
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Re: Considering Quitting Big Law Corporate After < 6 Months

Postby Pokemon » Mon Jan 27, 2014 4:07 pm

If you hate it so much, then getting a business offer with only a 25% cut is probably the best thing that could happen to you. Make sure however you know too well what you are getting into before you jump ship. Jobs that pay over 100k are to some extent expected to be brutal. IF this business offer is consulting (they seem to pay 25% less), then you are not necessarily going into a less stressful industry.

choculamaviva
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Joined: Thu May 21, 2009 12:22 pm

Re: Considering Quitting Big Law Corporate After < 6 Months

Postby choculamaviva » Wed Jan 29, 2014 5:04 pm

Pokemon wrote: IF this business offer is consulting (they seem to pay 25% less), then you are not necessarily going into a less stressful industry.


Just correcting misinformation, but MBB consulting does not pay less, but rather the same or slightly more than Biglaw. I can't speak for elsewhere, but I'm a JD working at MBB.

Pokemon
Posts: 1861
Joined: Thu Jan 12, 2012 11:58 pm

Re: Considering Quitting Big Law Corporate After < 6 Months

Postby Pokemon » Wed Jan 29, 2014 5:06 pm

True... I assumed the offer was for big 4 consulting.

itbdvorm
Posts: 1573
Joined: Tue Aug 17, 2010 9:09 am

Re: Considering Quitting Big Law Corporate After < 6 Months

Postby itbdvorm » Wed Jan 29, 2014 5:25 pm

Anonymous User wrote:**Looking for comments from graduates only.

First year in NY corporate big law V50 considering quitting for a non-legal business job at a reputable company. Would take 25% pay cut off my 160k.

Am I crazy? I ask myself what the point of going to law school was if I just work in business. Doing this will be the end of my legal career - I know it. Not that I'd ever want to go back. My job really sucks. I'm super anxious/stressed about night/weekend killing work and the inability to plan anything. It's just not for me or the life I want to live. I hate billable hours. I hate feeling like a loser/slacker on days when I leave at 6pm. I hate stressing about making up lost hours for dentist appointments, lunches, etc. I hate sitting in the office with nothing to do knowing that I'll never be able to take a vacation because of all the hours I burned up. I hate having to work the day before and day after Christmas - I want my week off, dammit! My original plan was to grind it out for 3 years and then go in-house. But now I don't think I can handle this any longer.

I've been told it gets better after the first year. What is it that makes it better? Anyone else have these thoughts? What prevents you from leaving? If you had a decent non-legal job offer like mine would you take it? What is it about corporate law work that anyone likes? I only chose corporate because I thought I could go in house with it.


Just do it. It's what you want to do. Law school helped you get it, that's what it's for. Enjoy.

NYstate
Posts: 1566
Joined: Thu Jan 31, 2013 1:44 am

Re: Considering Quitting Big Law Corporate After < 6 Months

Postby NYstate » Wed Jan 29, 2014 8:21 pm

If the inability to control your hours makes you crazy, then biglaw corporate is not for you. It never gets better.

Anonymous User
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Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Considering Quitting Big Law Corporate After < 6 Months

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jan 29, 2014 9:48 pm

I'd recommend sticking it out...partially because that's what I did and it worked out for me. I'm now a well positioned midlevel associate. My schedule still sucks sometimes, but the 3am nights are far and few between. My hours are steadier. I learned to put in a 200 billable hour month with 12-14 hour days (and mostly taking off weekends). The lack of control will never go away but it becomes a little less unpredictable. The game also slows down a bit. The adrenaline filled days and feeling behind 100% of the time (except for those moments when you are totally dead and worried you are about to get fired) drop off a bit.

Do you see others around you getting substantive experience? Do you think you are well positioned to get substantive experience? If you are stuck creating signature packets, doing diligence and haven't drafted anything after a year, then I'd consider it. I had similar concerns/issues as you when I was a 1st year - it was miserable. I had an associate a year above me throw me under the bus multiple times in front of a really important partner...but I recovered. I worked for partners that were kind of jerks and made my life pretty miserable...but with time, I was able to avoid them and work for the partners that I enjoyed working with.

I know it's not easy, but I think it's worth it eventually. Now I get to run deals and partners are taking more time to invest in me and train me. Will I stick around? Who knows...but I am learning a ton and I'm marketable if things sour. Not to mention it's nice to have the extra cash to pay down student loans. Debt free = freedom.

What do I like about my job? It is intellectually challenging, fast-paced, and fun most days. I learn a little about a lot of different types of law (M&A often involves relying upon specialists to understand various issues that come up during a deal). The partners that I work with are true business advisors/strategists. I didn't have real insight into this as a junior associate, but I do now. I am constantly presented with new challenges, and I like that. Although I don't love long hours that come with the job, that downside pales in comparison to jobs in which I'm watching the clock...waiting for it to hit 5. The passage of time is rarely slow in a corporate department.

With all of that said, if you are pretty financially secure (or at least not in a lot of debt), and you actually have an offer in hand in which you know that you will prefer the lifestyle and have a meaningful opportunity to advance, then go for it. Career advancement is extremely important, though. Keep this in mind and think beyond the right now. If you are running to a great opportunity, go for it....if you are simply running from a painful situation in the now, then you should think very hard about it. If you want to make good money, you will sacrifice life/work balance at times and you will be stressed at times.

Last, if you have not had a career job before, think even more carefully about a switch. Limited work experience can make the first year of biglaw even more painful, because you don't have anything to compare it to. All jobs have downsides.




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