Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 13, 2019 6:03 pm

Anonymous User wrote:In-House at a publicly traded company. Been here for about 2 years. Assistant GC (report to GC) came from biglaw M&A/Securities. I have one attorney below me that reports to me (just started) so we are very lean.

My days vary but a typical day goes something like this:

7:00 am - wake up, shower, get ready (25 min drive to work)
8:15-9:00 - get to work, get coffee, catch up on emails (very chill and quiet in the morning)
9:00 - 10:30 - knock out any short projects that came up. This is typically when I do those shitty contract review type projects, I generally refuse to do more than 90 minutes of this type of work a day, the rest can wait till tomorrow. Transitioning away from this all together with new attorney on board.
10:30-11:30 - calls with business team on upcoming projects, draft term sheets, discuss upcoming deals, etc.
11:30-12:00 - eat lunch at desk
12:00 - 2:00 - knock out any deal work, we typically have at least one M&A deal going internally, I will revise the PA, draft closing deliverables, etc.
2:00 - 3:30- workout at building gym, shower and get back to work in about 90 mins
3:30 - 6:00 - this is always a mix with items such as: deal with any fire drills that came up, business team asking for review ASAP on items, coordinating timing with opposing counsel on deals, review company governance practices and updates needed, etc.
6:15-6:30 - head home, almost always home by 6:45
Rest of the night is cooking dinner, watching TV, making lunches for week, etc.

I think I hit the jackpot with this job. I basically work 8:30 - 6:30 but I workout during that time. I reply to emails on my phone at night, but never urgent and have worked maybe 5 nights past 8 (never past 10) in the two years I have been here. Still always working on M&A which is good to keep skill set up and I don't get hit too hard with contract review/SEC filings, etc. Think I am progressing to be in a good spot for GC in the next 5+ years. Comp is just over $250k all in, but good amount of that is equity and target bonus which is not guaranteed.


Thanks for sharing. This seems like a perfect life.

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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 19, 2019 10:55 am

district court clerk in a secondary market, but very busy court:

5:45am - wake up, coffee
6:30-7:30 - work out
7:30-8:00 - shower, etc
8:00-9:00 - small chores/breakfast
9:00 - bus to work
9:30-11:00 - at desk, check 24hr docket report/emails, follow up with interns, etc
11:00-1:00 - researching something
1:00-1:30/2:00 - lunch break
2:00-7:00 - research and/or writing
7:15 - bus home
Home by around 7:30/7:45 usually, have dinner, hang with girlfriend, whatever, in bed by 10
Occasionally stay til 8pm, but not common.

Weekends are free, and usually once during the week my gf will meet me for dinner/drinks/music somewhere after work.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Thu Sep 19, 2019 1:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Anonymous User
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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 19, 2019 11:57 am

Mid-level bk associate at one of the large debtor firms.

As a mid-level, your role shifts from primary drafter/research to running particular workstreams and smaller-ish cases, overseeing juniors, and more deal-side work. Also calls, lots of calls.

I'm staffed on a number of deals right now, two of which are near filing and one-creditor side matter, plus a number of older matters that still have issues arise. As filing approaches, things become way busier as everyone is rushing to finalize deal docs, first-day prep, and anything else that needs to be done. This day is fairly typical for a near-filing period, but things aren't necessarily this bad otherwise.

6a wake up, work out, get kids ready
730a leave for work
8a dial in to call for deal 1 on train; this is mainly a principals call bickering about dumb deal points, so I don't really need to speak, but will need to know the details to build into the term sheet
830a get to office, still on call; log on, read emails, eat
9a call ends, turn to reviewing first-day pleadings on deal 2 for which the timeline is rapidly accelerating
10a call on deal 2 to give update to counsel for one of the parties, learn some new info, run down with the company
1030a advisors call on deal 2 to give update and negotiate (hopefully) beginning terms on DIP financing
1115a while call for deal 2 is ongoing, call into hearing on deal 3 (creditor-side matter); this overlapping of calls happens frequently
1145a-ish call from partner on deal 3 to discuss hearing, next steps; parties want to meet next week to discuss deal points
12p grab lunch, deal 2 call still ongoing
1230p call on deal 2 ends, continue reviewing first-day pleadings, answer random emails/calls as they come in
115p turn of term sheet on deal 1 that was promised 2 hours ago finally comes in; review comments, discuss with partner, schedule internal call with client to discuss
2p internal call with client on deal 1; mark up term sheet accordingly, send back to opposing counsel and schedule follow-up call for later that afternoon; we're trying to push this deal quickly for various reasons, but opposing counsel is slow walking; we'd like to have the company file in the next 2 weeks, but I'm skeptical
3p call from Company on deal 4 that closed earlier this year asking a question about resolving a pending prepetition litigation claim; tell them I'll get them an answer and have a junior look into it
4p follow-up call for deal 1; more bickering about deal points, but we're getting close; other side promises a turn by EOD; not hopeful; in the meantime, we dumped another suite of deal docs on them to increase pressure
5p continue reviewing first-day pleadings for deal 2
545p decide to leave for the day and finish at home
6p catch up on emails on the train; mostly minor stuff that I was able to ignore during the day
645p eat, hang with family, relax
830p log back on, finish reviewing a few things for deal 1 on the couch
930p shut it down, relax for the night

I frequently travel for hearings, meetings, diligence prep at the company, so any given week can involve (typically) 1-2 days of travel. During a slower period, I usually won't log on at home, but will answer emails on my phone as they come in. If there's no filing, meeting, hearing, etc..., things can usually wait until the following morning.

Weekend work isn't all that frequent during non-busy times other than responding to emails and maybe an occasional call, but during busy periods, it can be anywhere from between 4-10 hours, depending on the circumstances.

Thom

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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby Thom » Sat Sep 21, 2019 11:11 am

JusticeHarlan wrote:
Thom wrote:I see mostly mid to big law and govt lawyer posts, which is great since those are the goal for most students, but I think that it's safe to say that experiences vary for some who get stuck on long term docreview assignments, appearance counsel, etc. Not the goal for most but the destination many end up in still.

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I meant in this exact thread, but thanks for taking the time to do the leg work on it all the same. Interesting reads. Thanks.

Thom

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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby Thom » Sat Sep 21, 2019 11:14 am

Anonymous User wrote:Mid-level bk associate at one of the large debtor firms.

As a mid-level, your role shifts from primary drafter/research to running particular workstreams and smaller-ish cases, overseeing juniors, and more deal-side work. Also calls, lots of calls.

I'm staffed on a number of deals right now, two of which are near filing and one-creditor side matter, plus a number of older matters that still have issues arise. As filing approaches, things become way busier as everyone is rushing to finalize deal docs, first-day prep, and anything else that needs to be done. This day is fairly typical for a near-filing period, but things aren't necessarily this bad otherwise.

6a wake up, work out, get kids ready
730a leave for work
8a dial in to call for deal 1 on train; this is mainly a principals call bickering about dumb deal points, so I don't really need to speak, but will need to know the details to build into the term sheet
830a get to office, still on call; log on, read emails, eat
9a call ends, turn to reviewing first-day pleadings on deal 2 for which the timeline is rapidly accelerating
10a call on deal 2 to give update to counsel for one of the parties, learn some new info, run down with the company
1030a advisors call on deal 2 to give update and negotiate (hopefully) beginning terms on DIP financing
1115a while call for deal 2 is ongoing, call into hearing on deal 3 (creditor-side matter); this overlapping of calls happens frequently
1145a-ish call from partner on deal 3 to discuss hearing, next steps; parties want to meet next week to discuss deal points
12p grab lunch, deal 2 call still ongoing
1230p call on deal 2 ends, continue reviewing first-day pleadings, answer random emails/calls as they come in
115p turn of term sheet on deal 1 that was promised 2 hours ago finally comes in; review comments, discuss with partner, schedule internal call with client to discuss
2p internal call with client on deal 1; mark up term sheet accordingly, send back to opposing counsel and schedule follow-up call for later that afternoon; we're trying to push this deal quickly for various reasons, but opposing counsel is slow walking; we'd like to have the company file in the next 2 weeks, but I'm skeptical
3p call from Company on deal 4 that closed earlier this year asking a question about resolving a pending prepetition litigation claim; tell them I'll get them an answer and have a junior look into it
4p follow-up call for deal 1; more bickering about deal points, but we're getting close; other side promises a turn by EOD; not hopeful; in the meantime, we dumped another suite of deal docs on them to increase pressure
5p continue reviewing first-day pleadings for deal 2
545p decide to leave for the day and finish at home
6p catch up on emails on the train; mostly minor stuff that I was able to ignore during the day
645p eat, hang with family, relax
830p log back on, finish reviewing a few things for deal 1 on the couch
930p shut it down, relax for the night

I frequently travel for hearings, meetings, diligence prep at the company, so any given week can involve (typically) 1-2 days of travel. During a slower period, I usually won't log on at home, but will answer emails on my phone as they come in. If there's no filing, meeting, hearing, etc..., things can usually wait until the following morning.

Weekend work isn't all that frequent during non-busy times other than responding to emails and maybe an occasional call, but during busy periods, it can be anywhere from between 4-10 hours, depending on the circumstances.


I know that you posted ANON to avoid outing yourself, so not trying to risk that by asking follow-up, but if you don't mind asking how old are the kids/how many? I have heard some people say "we all have to work and a jobs a job" but others claim that its almost impossible to have even one kid and be a professional.

Anonymous User
Posts: 340222
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 21, 2019 3:13 pm

Thom wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Mid-level bk associate at one of the large debtor firms.

As a mid-level, your role shifts from primary drafter/research to running particular workstreams and smaller-ish cases, overseeing juniors, and more deal-side work. Also calls, lots of calls.

I'm staffed on a number of deals right now, two of which are near filing and one-creditor side matter, plus a number of older matters that still have issues arise. As filing approaches, things become way busier as everyone is rushing to finalize deal docs, first-day prep, and anything else that needs to be done. This day is fairly typical for a near-filing period, but things aren't necessarily this bad otherwise.

6a wake up, work out, get kids ready
730a leave for work
8a dial in to call for deal 1 on train; this is mainly a principals call bickering about dumb deal points, so I don't really need to speak, but will need to know the details to build into the term sheet
830a get to office, still on call; log on, read emails, eat
9a call ends, turn to reviewing first-day pleadings on deal 2 for which the timeline is rapidly accelerating
10a call on deal 2 to give update to counsel for one of the parties, learn some new info, run down with the company
1030a advisors call on deal 2 to give update and negotiate (hopefully) beginning terms on DIP financing
1115a while call for deal 2 is ongoing, call into hearing on deal 3 (creditor-side matter); this overlapping of calls happens frequently
1145a-ish call from partner on deal 3 to discuss hearing, next steps; parties want to meet next week to discuss deal points
12p grab lunch, deal 2 call still ongoing
1230p call on deal 2 ends, continue reviewing first-day pleadings, answer random emails/calls as they come in
115p turn of term sheet on deal 1 that was promised 2 hours ago finally comes in; review comments, discuss with partner, schedule internal call with client to discuss
2p internal call with client on deal 1; mark up term sheet accordingly, send back to opposing counsel and schedule follow-up call for later that afternoon; we're trying to push this deal quickly for various reasons, but opposing counsel is slow walking; we'd like to have the company file in the next 2 weeks, but I'm skeptical
3p call from Company on deal 4 that closed earlier this year asking a question about resolving a pending prepetition litigation claim; tell them I'll get them an answer and have a junior look into it
4p follow-up call for deal 1; more bickering about deal points, but we're getting close; other side promises a turn by EOD; not hopeful; in the meantime, we dumped another suite of deal docs on them to increase pressure
5p continue reviewing first-day pleadings for deal 2
545p decide to leave for the day and finish at home
6p catch up on emails on the train; mostly minor stuff that I was able to ignore during the day
645p eat, hang with family, relax
830p log back on, finish reviewing a few things for deal 1 on the couch
930p shut it down, relax for the night

I frequently travel for hearings, meetings, diligence prep at the company, so any given week can involve (typically) 1-2 days of travel. During a slower period, I usually won't log on at home, but will answer emails on my phone as they come in. If there's no filing, meeting, hearing, etc..., things can usually wait until the following morning.

Weekend work isn't all that frequent during non-busy times other than responding to emails and maybe an occasional call, but during busy periods, it can be anywhere from between 4-10 hours, depending on the circumstances.


I know that you posted ANON to avoid outing yourself, so not trying to risk that by asking follow-up, but if you don't mind asking how old are the kids/how many? I have heard some people say "we all have to work and a jobs a job" but others claim that its almost impossible to have even one kid and be a professional.


Mid-level BK anon

Without being too specific, more than one, and not quite school age yet, but close. It's not impossible, but it's very difficult at times--and the level of difficulty increases with each kid. Let's just say I'm reaching final boss level of difficulty. Things are pulling you in multiple directions: work, kids, family, friends, etc... My wife and I get a lot of help, and I don't know if we'd both be able to work otherwise.

My wife is very understanding about the commitment required for this job (particularly bk), but I'd be lying if I said I didn't think about leaving more than once a week.

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Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 22, 2019 5:14 pm

generalist doing product development at a publicly traded company. grew up in biglaw with an IP background

7 am: wake up, check my email to see if anything crazy happened with our clients in asia/africa/europe (almost never, but have to check) or if I need to join a call on my drive in, shower, get dressed
7:45: wife leaves for work and hands off our toddler, I get him dressed and take him to daycare
8:30: get to my desk and make good use of the quiet morning time to quickly dispatch overnight emails and requests from those global clients
9:30 - 10:30: meeting with a client somewhere in the middle east or africa to discuss a new solution or market expansion. No autopilot allowed, as clients rely on us to actively shape the development process and actually participate in business level brainstorming.
10:30: take care of follow-up tasks after the call and clear emails and small requests that came in while I was on the call
11am-12:45pm: work out at the office gym and get lunch with friends
12:45 - 2pm: check emails that came in while I was afk. work on any drafting requests that have come up
2-3:30: meeting with local clients to discuss new solutions or negotiate with external clients and their lawyers. again, no autopilot allowed, as I'm often the only lawyer on the phone for our side and need to either shape our products, take notes to prepare the appropriate documents later, or negotiate with (not "against", which I discovered is a big in-house emphasis) other sides' lawyers
3:30: take care of follow-ups after client calls, clear inbox requests that came in while I was on calls. I typically save most of my drafting work for this time at the end of the day, though that sometimes backfires when local clients decide they need EOD help
5:15: head out to pick up our son and do chores/take him for a bike ride/visit a playground, then cook dinner. wife typically gets home to join us for dinner by 7:15. then we tagteam for dinner, cleanup, toddler bath and bed
9 to midnight: finish cleaning up the house (#toddler), watch sports/tv/movie, then pass out reading my kindle in bed

My current schedule is easier than it was when I first started a few years back, as I'm now pretty fluent in our processes, drafting practices, and org charts (so I know exactly who to contact for niche reviews). There's a big emphasis on balance at our company, so everyone is really understanding when I block off my early mornings and evenings for time with our son, despite the global nature of our client base. I sometimes have to join a call after he goes to bed to talk with our teams in asia.
I'm really happy with the work, both quality and quantity, especially following my exodus from biglaw. The time crunch from my previous life has made it really easy to impress my current batch of clients and colleagues by responding quickly and efficiently to all sorts of requests. I don't have to, but monitor my emails and response occasionally outside of work. My boss is chill (frequently tells me to stop checking my emails at night) and gives me credit for things all the time, in addition to building me up with the important people. I get to travel to interesting cities a few times per year, which was never part of my working life before.

patent_guy

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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby patent_guy » Mon Sep 23, 2019 1:00 pm

Anonymous User wrote:generalist doing product development at a publicly traded company. grew up in biglaw with an IP background

7 am: wake up, check my email to see if anything crazy happened with our clients in asia/africa/europe (almost never, but have to check) or if I need to join a call on my drive in, shower, get dressed
7:45: wife leaves for work and hands off our toddler, I get him dressed and take him to daycare
8:30: get to my desk and make good use of the quiet morning time to quickly dispatch overnight emails and requests from those global clients
9:30 - 10:30: meeting with a client somewhere in the middle east or africa to discuss a new solution or market expansion. No autopilot allowed, as clients rely on us to actively shape the development process and actually participate in business level brainstorming.
10:30: take care of follow-up tasks after the call and clear emails and small requests that came in while I was on the call
11am-12:45pm: work out at the office gym and get lunch with friends
12:45 - 2pm: check emails that came in while I was afk. work on any drafting requests that have come up
2-3:30: meeting with local clients to discuss new solutions or negotiate with external clients and their lawyers. again, no autopilot allowed, as I'm often the only lawyer on the phone for our side and need to either shape our products, take notes to prepare the appropriate documents later, or negotiate with (not "against", which I discovered is a big in-house emphasis) other sides' lawyers
3:30: take care of follow-ups after client calls, clear inbox requests that came in while I was on calls. I typically save most of my drafting work for this time at the end of the day, though that sometimes backfires when local clients decide they need EOD help
5:15: head out to pick up our son and do chores/take him for a bike ride/visit a playground, then cook dinner. wife typically gets home to join us for dinner by 7:15. then we tagteam for dinner, cleanup, toddler bath and bed
9 to midnight: finish cleaning up the house (#toddler), watch sports/tv/movie, then pass out reading my kindle in bed

My current schedule is easier than it was when I first started a few years back, as I'm now pretty fluent in our processes, drafting practices, and org charts (so I know exactly who to contact for niche reviews). There's a big emphasis on balance at our company, so everyone is really understanding when I block off my early mornings and evenings for time with our son, despite the global nature of our client base. I sometimes have to join a call after he goes to bed to talk with our teams in asia.
I'm really happy with the work, both quality and quantity, especially following my exodus from biglaw. The time crunch from my previous life has made it really easy to impress my current batch of clients and colleagues by responding quickly and efficiently to all sorts of requests. I don't have to, but monitor my emails and response occasionally outside of work. My boss is chill (frequently tells me to stop checking my emails at night) and gives me credit for things all the time, in addition to building me up with the important people. I get to travel to interesting cities a few times per year, which was never part of my working life before.


Would you mind PMing me?

FND

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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby FND » Tue Oct 08, 2019 8:05 pm

Currently I have my own firm doing transactional work:

7am - wake up, check emails
8:30 - drop kids off at school
8:45 - back to bed
10:00 - Client meeting if I have one, otherwise draft documents
12:00 - lunch (preferably with a referral source)
1:00 - client meeeting if I have one, otherwise draft documents
3:00 - pick up my kids from school
The rest of the day: either continue working on documents, or pray that one of my referral sources sends me a client

Back when I worked in-house at a structured lending boutique:

7am - check emails, respond to them
8am - arrive at work, find out what sh*t is about to hit the fan
8:30 - firedrills, lots of busywork that's probably meaningless; chasing or due diligence on open transactions
* far too often, be given an ad-hoc project that needs far more time than given
9:00 - emails from various companies we do business with start coming in. Even a quick "busy now, will respond later" eats into my response time to the firedrills
11:00-12:00 try to find an opportunity to eat a bite between calls
12:00 - emails from west coast start coming in. see 9:00.
Chase any outstanding documents, due diligence on open transactions, pray there isn't a firedrill
* get yelled at that the ad-hoc assignment I was given that morning, and needs about 10-15 hours, isn't ready yet
2:00 panic to close deals with a deadline that day
4:00 last minute rush to get deals done before the wire deadline
4:30 lots of emails and calls from anyone we do business with on the east coast, as they're looking to finish matters before going home at the end of the day
6:00-7:00 Finish any urgent matters and get out before it's too late
7:00-9:00 dinner and try to have a semblance of a life
9:00-11PM respond to all the emails that came from the west coast after I left the office (or that I ignored so I could leave the office)
-- does not include ad-hoc assignments that I somehow had to squeeze in on top of everything else, and would typically need far longer than management had patience for. Like, a 10-hour project that had to be done before lunch

patent_guy

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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby patent_guy » Wed Oct 09, 2019 10:16 am

FND wrote:Currently I have my own firm doing transactional work:

7am - wake up, check emails
8:30 - drop kids off at school
8:45 - back to bed
10:00 - Client meeting if I have one, otherwise draft documents
12:00 - lunch (preferably with a referral source)
1:00 - client meeeting if I have one, otherwise draft documents
3:00 - pick up my kids from school
The rest of the day: either continue working on documents, or pray that one of my referral sources sends me a client

Back when I worked in-house at a structured lending boutique:

7am - check emails, respond to them
8am - arrive at work, find out what sh*t is about to hit the fan
8:30 - firedrills, lots of busywork that's probably meaningless; chasing or due diligence on open transactions
* far too often, be given an ad-hoc project that needs far more time than given
9:00 - emails from various companies we do business with start coming in. Even a quick "busy now, will respond later" eats into my response time to the firedrills
11:00-12:00 try to find an opportunity to eat a bite between calls
12:00 - emails from west coast start coming in. see 9:00.
Chase any outstanding documents, due diligence on open transactions, pray there isn't a firedrill
* get yelled at that the ad-hoc assignment I was given that morning, and needs about 10-15 hours, isn't ready yet
2:00 panic to close deals with a deadline that day
4:00 last minute rush to get deals done before the wire deadline
4:30 lots of emails and calls from anyone we do business with on the east coast, as they're looking to finish matters before going home at the end of the day
6:00-7:00 Finish any urgent matters and get out before it's too late
7:00-9:00 dinner and try to have a semblance of a life
9:00-11PM respond to all the emails that came from the west coast after I left the office (or that I ignored so I could leave the office)
-- does not include ad-hoc assignments that I somehow had to squeeze in on top of everything else, and would typically need far longer than management had patience for. Like, a 10-hour project that had to be done before lunch


Has it been worth going out on your own? Based on the contrast in schedules I can see why you wanted to do something else, but I imagine some of the financial stability is gone too.

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Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Oct 09, 2019 1:05 pm

Mid-level associate at V50 firm. Commercial Litigation. Dual-working household.

6:30am: Wake, shower
6:45-7:45am: Coffee, get toddler ready for daycare, get dressed
8:00am: Drop toddler off at day care
8:15am-8:45am: Take train to work, read news or maybe a novel
9:00am: More coffee, check and respond to urgent emails
9:30am-10:30am: Research for a brief
10:30am-11:00am: Internal strategy call re: brief
11:00am: Respond to emails that have accumulated in last 2 hours
11:30am: Lunch at desk
12:00pm-2:00pm: Work on brief
2:00pm-3:30pm: Review documents/manage first-level reviewers for different matter (an investigation)
3:30pm-4:00pm: Phone call with opposing counsel on new litigation
4:00pm-6:00pm: Execute follow-up tasks from call with opposing, maybe more doc review for investigation, EOB emails
6:00pm: Leave office to get toddler from daycare or meet wife & toddler at home
6:30pm-8:00pm: Dinner, play with and read to toddler, put toddler to bed
8:00pm-8:30pm: Clean up from dinner, toddler
8:30pm-9:15pm: Watch TV show/spend time with wife
9:15pm-11:30pm: Log back on to finish drafting/research/doc review tasks left over from day, deal with West Coast clients and partners
11:45pm: Head hits pillow

Fridays I'm usually done at 5:30 and don't work again until Sunday late morning/early afternoon (usually 4-5 hours). Usually find a way to squeeze in a workout once M-Th and on Saturday/Sunday.

Thinking I'll peace out from BigLaw in a year or so, not just because of lifestyle but because I'm not getting any courtroom experience or making a difference to anyone.

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

Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Nov 06, 2019 5:23 pm

Mid-level litigation associate at V10 in NYC. The days vary quite a bit, but the below is more or less representative.

6:30: Alarm goes off, decide not to work out or do anything else productive. Feel anxiety about how I didn’t get enough done yesterday but am also not getting out of bed to improve that situation. Read all of the emails that came in from overseas overnight and feel dread about what is to come.
8:45-9:30: finally manage to get up and get ready, feel demoralized by already being late.
9:30-10:15ish: subway to work. Sometimes deal with urgent emails but usually read the internet or talk to my SO on the train.
10:15-10:30: deal with any urgent emails I haven’t already addressed. This is usually stuff from the client/co-counsel/partners checking in on work or asking for new work.
10:30-10:45: existential angst/internet
10:45: decide to start on unpleasant project requiring a lot of focus. Usually something involving writing (like talking points for a govt presentation) or putting together a workplan for a complicated workflow issue (how to review a bunch of documents and redact them in different ways for different recipients).
10:52: someone calls with a question that could’ve been an email. They don’t like my answer but don’t have any basis for disagreeing. We talk in circles.
11:00: back to project.
11:20: partner checks in on something less urgent than my project but more urgent in their own personal task list. Usually stuff like drafting a response email to the government, putting together list of most important documents on particular topic along with short summaries, reviewing talking points to see if they conflict with anything we’ve said previously, etc. Set aside project to deal with what they want.
1:00: back to project, but have a meeting at 1:30 so don’t really get anywhere.
1:30-2:15: weekly team meeting where we talk through the same stuff we talked through last week. I’m not very involved in this team so most of this is meaningless to me. Explain that I’m still working on the project assigned to me (even though I haven’t made any progress since last week). Try to blend in and avoid getting more work. Feel anxiety about the mediocre reviews I’ll get from this team.
2:15-2:30: existential angst + coffee.
2:30-4:30: urgent project came in while I was in meeting, work on that. Probably something similar to partner requests described above - very likely partially but not entirely duplicative of something we already did in the past (but not duplicative enough that we can rely on past work). Get interrupted throughout working on this with one-off questions from junior associates. In the course of working on project, I realize something was screwed up in a submission we made a couple of years ago that I wasn’t involved in. If I’m having a particularly unlucky day, this error turns out to be something that wasn’t my responsibility to get right but which I could conceivably have helped us avoid if I had happened to put 5 seemingly unrelated emails I was copied on/facts/circumstances together at the time.
4:30-6:00: turn in urgent project, go down rabbit hole on figuring out and escalating submission issue, everyone shoots the messenger. Debate with self whether I should just let these things go without escalating them even though I would get in trouble for that too when they’re eventually caught later.
6:00-6:15: respond to partner/senior associate email or call on why unpleasant project is taking so long. Mention the other urgent projects they assigned me to that day (to no avail). Attempt to delicately explain for the 37th time that technically it could be delegated (which is always the default suggestion) to a junior associate but that it would then take longer because our juniors suck and we usually have to redo their work from scratch (after first wasting time trying to make their draft work) or double-check every detail for accuracy, effectively redoing the entire task we “delegated.” They don’t realize how bad the juniors are so this explanation is ineffective and they’re still annoyed at me. Resolve to spend all weekend on it.
6:15-6:45: explain random substantive issue in case to senior associate who doesn’t read emails or listen and basically functions as a “pinger” who gets paid 300K+ per year to take credit for other people’s work (often mine). Track down documents relevant to substantive issue and send to senior associate along with a summary.
6:45-7:30: commute home. Sometimes do some work (usually stuff related to supervising junior associates) until too many people are on the train and I can’t work without someone reading over my shoulder.
7:30-9:30: walk dog, eat dinner (nearly always takeout), procrastinate with SO and feel anxiety about my hours, that unpleasant project I haven’t made any progress on, how I’m getting too senior and need to start applying elsewhere before I get shut out of lateral positions, the personal tasks I don’t keep up with due to work, random error I made the other day, etc.
9:30-10:45: can’t face unpleasant project so work on other lower priority project that has been outstanding for a while (but not long enough to actually finish it). It’s harder on my laptop so I don’t make much progress. I have a dock but I find it really bleak to sit alone in our home office and do work I hate, so my SO and I usually work together on our laptops with the TV on in the background to facilitate pretending that this is a nice social activity.
10:45-11:15: get ready for bed, internet.
11:15: go to sleep, feel anxious about how much there is to do.

The above is a more productive day for me, hours-wise. If I don’t have a lot of external oversight, I’ll sometimes go a few days in a row billing 4-5 or so hours because I’m anxious and miserable and can’t force myself to do anything (I also have ADHD which compounds all of this). I make up for these days with periods of being miserably crushed and billing 11-16 hours per day every weekday and at least 8 every weekend day. I’ll probably end the year somewhere around 2350. I think I probably underbill relative to many of my peers who take a looser approach to time entry accuracy.

I definitely make biglaw worse for myself than it has to be by having no self-discipline, but the two alternatives I generally see are:

(1) machines who churn out work from 7 AM to 12 every night, stopping only to go to the gym midday and pick up their takeout to eat at their desk. They either don’t have families or they (apparently) have families who are okay with never seeing them. These people either burn out and leave or (rarely) make partner and prolong the misery.

(2) juniors (and occasionally midlevels) who are coasting/significantly underbilling (or padding their hours). You can get away with this for a while, at least at my firm, because the people you work with realize you’re incompetent and unreliable so won’t assign you meaningful work, but we have enough work that just requires someone who is breathing and has a law degree (like doc review) that people can avoid falling too low on hours. Sometimes you can manage to fall into a “management” position like the senior associate I mentioned above, which means you add little to no value and spend all of your day on calls asking other people for the status of projects you just asked them about two days ago. Usually these people also hoard all contact with the partners, which allows them to maintain a pseudo-value add by being the only people who have the full picture of the matter (and also makes it easier to take credit for the work/ideas junior associates do/have).

I’ll realistically end up in the same place as the coasters in terms of career prospects, but I’m too uptight for the unreliable version and not a good enough schmoozer/liar to get away with billing for pinging people all day. FWIW, I think my firm has a worse culture than most NYC biglaw firms, but my friends at other firms are almost all just as miserable. I’m actively looking to leave but haven’t been wowed by the litigation exit options.

Tyler_Durden

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Posts: 50
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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby Tyler_Durden » Wed Nov 20, 2019 4:26 pm

Mid-level bankruptcy and litigation associate. I work on debt restructuring, bankruptcy litigation, and commercial litigation matters. My day mostly consists of reading, writing, discussing cases, and worrying about the mood and temperament of the partners whom I work for. Consider that as an associate you are totally expendable at any time and there are thousands of new law school graduates just itching to take your job. Couple that with the uneven temperament of law firm partners, and you have a recipe for disaster. Don't go to law school unless you have a very strong list of contacts and can immediately start generating your own book of business early in your career.

Anonymous User
Posts: 340222
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Nov 20, 2019 4:53 pm

In-house at a public company, came from biglaw. Report to GC and have one attorney report to me. Pretty lean legal group, less than 10 attorneys total.

6:45: wake-up and get ready
7:30: head to office, just under 1 hr commute
8:30: arrive at office, make sure I am green on skype and get coffee
8:45: Respond to any emails that I have not yet, work on any important documents
9:30-10:30: Usually internal meeting
10:30-noon: Drafting/research/distracted by news
Noon: lunch, usually at office, sometimes go out
1:00: usually external call with a customer or provider to negotiate a contract
2:00: internal meetings
3:00: attempt to finish up any work I have outstanding
5:00: head home

I usually work out after getting home, cook dinner with my S/O and usually just check email like a couple times at night unless I know C-Suite or BoD are looking for info. Huge change from when I was in biglaw and checked my phone every 5 minutes whether I had work or not.

Anonymous User
Posts: 340222
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Nov 20, 2019 5:56 pm

Anonymous User wrote:In-house at a public company, came from biglaw. Report to GC and have one attorney report to me. Pretty lean legal group, less than 10 attorneys total.

6:45: wake-up and get ready
7:30: head to office, just under 1 hr commute
8:30: arrive at office, make sure I am green on skype and get coffee
8:45: Respond to any emails that I have not yet, work on any important documents
9:30-10:30: Usually internal meeting
10:30-noon: Drafting/research/distracted by news
Noon: lunch, usually at office, sometimes go out
1:00: usually external call with a customer or provider to negotiate a contract
2:00: internal meetings
3:00: attempt to finish up any work I have outstanding
5:00: head home

I usually work out after getting home, cook dinner with my S/O and usually just check email like a couple times at night unless I know C-Suite or BoD are looking for info. Huge change from when I was in biglaw and checked my phone every 5 minutes whether I had work or not.


I don't want to derail, but it sounds like we are in very similar positions (depending on how big your company is), and your schedule is even better than mine (I posted a ways up, work more 8:30 - 6 or 6:30). Mind posting here (typical in-house comp thread):
viewtopic.php?p=10406956#p10406956

Anonymous User
Posts: 340222
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Nov 20, 2019 6:11 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:In-house at a public company, came from biglaw. Report to GC and have one attorney report to me. Pretty lean legal group, less than 10 attorneys total.

6:45: wake-up and get ready
7:30: head to office, just under 1 hr commute
8:30: arrive at office, make sure I am green on skype and get coffee
8:45: Respond to any emails that I have not yet, work on any important documents
9:30-10:30: Usually internal meeting
10:30-noon: Drafting/research/distracted by news
Noon: lunch, usually at office, sometimes go out
1:00: usually external call with a customer or provider to negotiate a contract
2:00: internal meetings
3:00: attempt to finish up any work I have outstanding
5:00: head home

I usually work out after getting home, cook dinner with my S/O and usually just check email like a couple times at night unless I know C-Suite or BoD are looking for info. Huge change from when I was in biglaw and checked my phone every 5 minutes whether I had work or not.


I don't want to derail, but it sounds like we are in very similar positions (depending on how big your company is), and your schedule is even better than mine (I posted a ways up, work more 8:30 - 6 or 6:30). Mind posting here (typical in-house comp thread):
viewtopic.php?p=10406956#p10406956


I did post a little while ago in that thread. Total comp is $270k, but only my base and 401k match is guaranteed as stock vests over 3 years and bonus is company dependent. Company is just under $10b market cap, which seems like a sweet spot because you're not hyper specialized like at larger companies, but still have more support than a small company. Very lucky and happy with the move.

Edit: I assume you're the M&A in-house AGC from above. Yes, I'd say our jobs are very similar, although seems like you have more acquisition deals than me. We are closer to just one or two a year, which I wish was a little more because that is my background as well



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