Pay vs. Billing tradeoff poll --160k/2000hrs vs. 90k/1600hrs

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Better gig?

160k/2000 billables
62
65%
90k/1600 billable req.
34
35%
 
Total votes: 96

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AVBucks4239
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Re: Pay vs. Billing tradeoff poll --160k/2000hrs vs. 90k/1600hrs

Postby AVBucks4239 » Mon Feb 02, 2015 6:42 pm

I make $50k with a 1500 billable requirement and wouldn't trade it for the world (FYI, my cost of living is low; Wall Street Journal estimates that $50k where I'm at is the equivalent of making $126k in NYC). My IBR payment is an absolute joke ($325 per month for $150,000 debt LOLOL thanks Obama). I'm in at 9:00 (sometimes 9:30 if I work out in the morning), out at 5:30 (leaving right after I post this), and haven't worked a single hour on a weekend in six months.

Also, I've been kind of insane about reducing my fixed costs: moved in with my girlfriend in a really small one bedroom loft, don't have a car payment anymore (paid it off ASAP after graduation), have the cheapest cable/internet/cell phone plans available, etc. Add it up and I have about $1,100 of money to spend, invest, etc. each month. Plenty for me.

Meanwhile, my 3 friends that got BigLaw absolutely hate it, never join me out for drinks on the weekend, and one is looking to leave after her first year. From what I know, their average days are 9:00 to whoever the fuck knows, they're always there on the weekend, and work is incredibly stressful and they don't actually do anything except proofread, research, or mine through discovery.

Easy, easy decision if you could care less about prestige/the BS you're working on and don't have kids/other financial obligations.

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Cobretti
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Re: Pay vs. Billing tradeoff poll --160k/2000hrs vs. 90k/1600hrs

Postby Cobretti » Mon Feb 02, 2015 7:00 pm

JohannDeMann wrote:noted - cobrettis opinion is only speaking to which salary he would prefer with the debt load.

As a law student, he doesn't know what the actual work behind 1600 and 2000 billables entails, so he left that part of his analysis.

I think those of us that have put in 60 hour work weeks before law school have at least an informed opinion about what it entails, even if we haven't experienced biglaw yet. But it probably would be interesting to see the poll results broken out by lawyers and students.

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lacrossebrother
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Re: Pay vs. Billing tradeoff poll --160k/2000hrs vs. 90k/1600hrs

Postby lacrossebrother » Mon Feb 02, 2015 7:06 pm

Cobretti wrote:
jbagelboy wrote:
Cobretti wrote:i like how the anonymous poll results tell one story, then the somewhat less anonymous grandstanding in the comments tells another. most people here already have picked 160 in the real world, or would given an actual decision to make.


Where would the average T14 student find a $90,000/year legal position (assuming private sector) with fewer hours than biglaw and increasing pay? It seems like this is a far more difficult outcome to secure than doing OCI. Look at the scrimmage for DOJ/OLC honors positions. It's not a real choice we've had.

That's fair, but I think the decision was already made before most of us went to law school when we could have pursued other fields where this was a likely outcome. I suppose for K-JDs that might have made less informed decisions about attending law school this isn't as accurate, but I think most people still made a very similar decision.

ETA: if this poll is supposed to only be from the perspective of already practicing associates just ignore me, but the debt at graduation sounded like it was intended for students.

Intended for associates.

To the people who voted the biglaw model, would your opinion change if biglaw option was 145k/2200hrs?

dixiecupdrinking
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Re: Pay vs. Billing tradeoff poll --160k/2000hrs vs. 90k/1600hrs

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Tue Feb 03, 2015 12:15 am

The annual billable requirement number masks so many different circumstances it's hard to choose based on the hypo. But, at that debt it probably doesn't matter, $160k. After two years? $90k for a true 9-6 type gig no doubt. But not if its 1600 hours as in, 8 200 hour months and 4 months of jack shit to do but still needing to show up every day.

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Re: Pay vs. Billing tradeoff poll --160k/2000hrs vs. 90k/1600hrs

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 03, 2015 4:21 am

T14 here. I struck out at OCI and managed to land the 90k/1600 job described here. For the longest time I've been so stressed out about it, hoping some big law opportunity will open up. Is this 90k/1600 firm really a rarity? i've been bummed since OCI because everyone else landed big law and i didn't. should i not be bummed then?

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dabigchina
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Re: Pay vs. Billing tradeoff poll --160k/2000hrs vs. 90k/1600hrs

Postby dabigchina » Tue Feb 03, 2015 4:40 am

if you people really want 1600-1800hr per year for 80k-90k come work at big4 accounting. This is exactly what JDs start at.

of course for all the bitching about how biglaw sucks and drains your soul nobody would actually give up that fat paycheck because of debt service, greed, etc.

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bearsfan23
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Re: Pay vs. Billing tradeoff poll --160k/2000hrs vs. 90k/1600hrs

Postby bearsfan23 » Tue Feb 03, 2015 4:43 am

AVBucks4239 wrote:I make $50k with a 1500 billable requirement and wouldn't trade it for the world (FYI, my cost of living is low; Wall Street Journal estimates that $50k where I'm at is the equivalent of making $126k in NYC). My IBR payment is an absolute joke ($325 per month for $150,000 debt LOLOL thanks Obama). I'm in at 9:00 (sometimes 9:30 if I work out in the morning), out at 5:30 (leaving right after I post this), and haven't worked a single hour on a weekend in six months.

Also, I've been kind of insane about reducing my fixed costs: moved in with my girlfriend in a really small one bedroom loft, don't have a car payment anymore (paid it off ASAP after graduation), have the cheapest cable/internet/cell phone plans available, etc. Add it up and I have about $1,100 of money to spend, invest, etc. each month. Plenty for me.

Meanwhile, my 3 friends that got BigLaw absolutely hate it, never join me out for drinks on the weekend, and one is looking to leave after her first year. From what I know, their average days are 9:00 to whoever the fuck knows, they're always there on the weekend, and work is incredibly stressful and they don't actually do anything except proofread, research, or mine through discovery.

Easy, easy decision if you could care less about prestige/the BS you're working on and don't have kids/other financial obligations.


If you're making $50k with $150,000 in debt, then I really wouldn't be talking about how great your life is compared to BigLaw. There are some really weird coping mechanism posts ITT

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fats provolone
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Re: Pay vs. Billing tradeoff poll --160k/2000hrs vs. 90k/1600hrs

Postby fats provolone » Tue Feb 03, 2015 4:48 am

i dunno sounds pretty chill to me

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dabigchina
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Re: Pay vs. Billing tradeoff poll --160k/2000hrs vs. 90k/1600hrs

Postby dabigchina » Tue Feb 03, 2015 4:51 am

fats provolone wrote:i dunno sounds pretty chill to me

wanna PM me your name and qualifications? we're offering 6k referral bonuses right now. i can split it with you.

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bearsfan23
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Re: Pay vs. Billing tradeoff poll --160k/2000hrs vs. 90k/1600hrs

Postby bearsfan23 » Tue Feb 03, 2015 5:01 am

fats provolone wrote:i dunno sounds pretty chill to me


Image

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AVBucks4239
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Re: Pay vs. Billing tradeoff poll --160k/2000hrs vs. 90k/1600hrs

Postby AVBucks4239 » Tue Feb 03, 2015 10:10 am

bearsfan23 wrote:If you're making $50k with $150,000 in debt, then I really wouldn't be talking about how great your life is compared to BigLaw. There are some really weird coping mechanism posts ITT

(Doesn't have a clue how IBR/PAYE works and how little I give a shit what my student loan balance is).

drs36
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Re: Pay vs. Billing tradeoff poll --160k/2000hrs vs. 90k/1600hrs

Postby drs36 » Tue Feb 03, 2015 10:28 am

AVBucks4239 wrote:
bearsfan23 wrote:If you're making $50k with $150,000 in debt, then I really wouldn't be talking about how great your life is compared to BigLaw. There are some really weird coping mechanism posts ITT

(Doesn't have a clue how IBR/PAYE works and how little I give a shit what my student loan balance is).


^^ This. I'm in almost the identical situation as AVBucks, except I have a car payment. Very happy. We get pretty fat bonuses here too.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Pay vs. Billing tradeoff poll --160k/2000hrs vs. 90k/1600hrs

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Tue Feb 03, 2015 10:30 am

dabigchina wrote:if you people really want 1600-1800hr per year for 80k-90k come work at big4 accounting. This is exactly what JDs start at.

of course for all the bitching about how biglaw sucks and drains your soul nobody would actually give up that fat paycheck because of debt service, greed, etc.

Except then you'd have to be an accountant.

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: Pay vs. Billing tradeoff poll --160k/2000hrs vs. 90k/1600hrs

Postby Tiago Splitter » Tue Feb 03, 2015 10:35 am

dabigchina wrote:if you people really want 1600-1800hr per year for 80k-90k come work at big4 accounting. This is exactly what JDs start at.

of course for all the bitching about how biglaw sucks and drains your soul nobody would actually give up that fat paycheck because of debt service, greed, etc.


dabigchina wrote:It could be worse.

You could be billing 2.2k hrs a year ticking and tying financial statements while making 80k like me.


For the guy asking whether he should be bummed about his 90k/1600 job, the answer is of course not because a lot of recent graduates would kill for that gig, but the above is the concern. A minimum billing target doesn't automatically mean you get to shut it down at that number. Hell, Skadden's minimum is also 1600.

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AVBucks4239
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Re: Pay vs. Billing tradeoff poll --160k/2000hrs vs. 90k/1600hrs

Postby AVBucks4239 » Tue Feb 03, 2015 11:58 am

drs36 wrote:
AVBucks4239 wrote:
bearsfan23 wrote:If you're making $50k with $150,000 in debt, then I really wouldn't be talking about how great your life is compared to BigLaw. There are some really weird coping mechanism posts ITT

(Doesn't have a clue how IBR/PAYE works and how little I give a shit what my student loan balance is).


^^ This. I'm in almost the identical situation as AVBucks, except I have a car payment. Very happy. We get pretty fat bonuses here too.

I have yet to receive a bonus, but from what I understand, they are pretty good here.

The one caveat I'll add about IBR/PAYE is figuring out how I'm going to save for the tax bomb (Traditional IRA? Roth IRA? Traditional brokerage account? Other savings vehicle? etc.); that's been confusing and a bit stressful over the past fewmonths. But once my plan is in place then I'll just coast until I have to pay it.

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jbagelboy
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Re: Pay vs. Billing tradeoff poll --160k/2000hrs vs. 90k/1600hrs

Postby jbagelboy » Tue Feb 03, 2015 12:08 pm

Anonymous User wrote:T14 here. I struck out at OCI and managed to land the 90k/1600 job described here. For the longest time I've been so stressed out about it, hoping some big law opportunity will open up. Is this 90k/1600 firm really a rarity? i've been bummed since OCI because everyone else landed big law and i didn't. should i not be bummed then?


unless your T14 is yale, "everyone else" did not land a big law job. but as far as your comparative employment is concerned, tell yourself what you'd like, you'll probably be happier than some of your peers -- although if you're still in law school, how do you know it will be 1600 hours? Lots of lower paying jobs are still very demanding.

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XxSpyKEx
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Re: Pay vs. Billing tradeoff poll --160k/2000hrs vs. 90k/1600hrs

Postby XxSpyKEx » Tue Feb 03, 2015 2:01 pm

With no student debt, I'd say the $90k is most likely better than the $160k (depending on whether you're actually going to be able to stop taking on as much work when you get close to your minimum requirement). Assuming you attend a t14 that will pay your PAYE/IBR payments for you if you take a public interest job, with a $175k in debt, you're honestly better off just taking a $60k /year public interest job, since that'll wash out your student loan debt (tax-free) in 10 years and you'll most likely be able to work closer to 40 hour weeks. That's somewhere around $25k /year you're saving on student loan payments for your first ten years. You'd have to make at least a $100k /year before taxes to break-even with the $60k /year public interest job, assuming you're planning to repay your loans in 10 years under the standard repayment plan. (You'll probably keep around 65% of a $100k salary after federal tax, state tax, medicare, medicaid, social security, health insurance, etc. is deducted.) Even if your law school isn't making your PAYE payments through an LRAP program, at $60k /year, that's only around $300 /month or around $3600 /year in PAYE payments, so you'd probably still come out ahead of the $90k /year private sector job. I think with these higher debt loads, it really is biglaw or bust, because you're much better off in public interest if you don't get biglaw (in most cases for t14 grads with decent LRAP programs). The real winners are those who get federal government jobs, since that qualifies for PSLF AND they're making 6-figures within a few years of graduation. Federal government jobs are a lot harder to get than biglaw, though.

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OklahomasOK
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Re: Pay vs. Billing tradeoff poll --160k/2000hrs vs. 90k/1600hrs

Postby OklahomasOK » Tue Feb 03, 2015 2:05 pm

Tiago Splitter wrote:
OklahomasOK wrote:Voted before I saw your debt comment. I voted 90K/1600 because it's close to what I'm doing now. I *only* have $67K in debt, however. My req is a soft 1800 (not strictly enforced). Hoping to get close to 1900. If you're single, go for the 160K/2000.

In at 8:30, out by 6:30-7pm everyday. Sometimes later if upcoming litigation. Some people are better workhorses than I am but I'd have an awful tough time balancing client development/ billing/ family/ etc with a minimum 2000 requirement.

What am I missing here? You're very happy with your comfortable life and still expect to bill 1900, but wouldn't take 70k in exchange for an extra 100-200 hours?


Eh guess I wasn't clear but others have pretty much echoed what I was trying to say.

I don't have to make 1800 to keep my job. 1900 is my own goal (my expectation) so I get a nice bonus. 100-200 more hours after 1900 is more than the first 100-200 you bill. It means I'm spending an extra hour of my evening/ TLS time/ Sundays/ Saturdays at work. I'd gladly take that trade off.

While not about my own little story, I'm paying about $1000/ month on loans and still can live very comfortably so there's no huge incentive for me chase that extra 60K right now. Prestige is nice but it's also not going to replace quality of life (for me at least).

Plus, if 2000 is the stated "requirement," you know damn well you're expected to exceed that.

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JohannDeMann
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Re: Pay vs. Billing tradeoff poll --160k/2000hrs vs. 90k/1600hrs

Postby JohannDeMann » Tue Feb 03, 2015 2:14 pm

Anonymous User wrote:T14 here. I struck out at OCI and managed to land the 90k/1600 job described here. For the longest time I've been so stressed out about it, hoping some big law opportunity will open up. Is this 90k/1600 firm really a rarity? i've been bummed since OCI because everyone else landed big law and i didn't. should i not be bummed then?


If this is non-NYC and not insurance defense, you have a much better situation then them. They will be looking for exit options after 1 year and their 2k requirement is really more like 2400 of doc review/make sure appropriate comma placement and spacing. You will gain actual lawyer skills and be in a place with sustainable growth. Wouldn't surprise me if people that start in these gigs end up having higher career earnings than the average lawyer starting in NYC biglaw because your partnership odds are 5-10x greater right off the bat.
But this depends on the firm. But in terms of generally and playing the norm, I think you are in the better situation.
If it's insurance defense, they will try to sweatshop you, so you have to set boundaries and basically refuse to let your pace get much over the 1600 amount because if you give an inch they'll take it.

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JohannDeMann
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Re: Pay vs. Billing tradeoff poll --160k/2000hrs vs. 90k/1600hrs

Postby JohannDeMann » Tue Feb 03, 2015 2:16 pm

AVBucks4239 wrote:
bearsfan23 wrote:If you're making $50k with $150,000 in debt, then I really wouldn't be talking about how great your life is compared to BigLaw. There are some really weird coping mechanism posts ITT

(Doesn't have a clue how IBR/PAYE works and how little I give a shit what my student loan balance is).


Yeah, given PAYE and tax implications, biglaw money (almost always in an expensive ass city) really isnt that much greater than non biglaw money.

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LeDique
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Re: Pay vs. Billing tradeoff poll --160k/2000hrs vs. 90k/1600hrs

Postby LeDique » Tue Feb 03, 2015 2:18 pm

Can someone tell me what salary best maximizes dat PAYE then? When does my extra salary ≠ more $$ for me?

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JohannDeMann
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Re: Pay vs. Billing tradeoff poll --160k/2000hrs vs. 90k/1600hrs

Postby JohannDeMann » Tue Feb 03, 2015 2:20 pm

lacrossebrother wrote:
Cobretti wrote:
jbagelboy wrote:
Cobretti wrote:i like how the anonymous poll results tell one story, then the somewhat less anonymous grandstanding in the comments tells another. most people here already have picked 160 in the real world, or would given an actual decision to make.


Where would the average T14 student find a $90,000/year legal position (assuming private sector) with fewer hours than biglaw and increasing pay? It seems like this is a far more difficult outcome to secure than doing OCI. Look at the scrimmage for DOJ/OLC honors positions. It's not a real choice we've had.

That's fair, but I think the decision was already made before most of us went to law school when we could have pursued other fields where this was a likely outcome. I suppose for K-JDs that might have made less informed decisions about attending law school this isn't as accurate, but I think most people still made a very similar decision.

ETA: if this poll is supposed to only be from the perspective of already practicing associates just ignore me, but the debt at graduation sounded like it was intended for students.

Intended for associates.

To the people who voted the biglaw model, would your opinion change if biglaw option was 145k/2200hrs?


This is an easy HELL NO. More than 33% increase in billables for roughly the same increase in pay, but less than 33% increase in take home pay. Plus that's not ignoring the fact that I would probably value the difference in that 2100-2200 hour range close to $200 an hour right now. If I got a 20k bonus for those hours, I wouldn't take it. Those are the hours that kill you imo.

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dabigchina
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Re: Pay vs. Billing tradeoff poll --160k/2000hrs vs. 90k/1600hrs

Postby dabigchina » Tue Feb 03, 2015 2:29 pm

Tiago Splitter wrote:
dabigchina wrote:if you people really want 1600-1800hr per year for 80k-90k come work at big4 accounting. This is exactly what JDs start at.

of course for all the bitching about how biglaw sucks and drains your soul nobody would actually give up that fat paycheck because of debt service, greed, etc.


dabigchina wrote:It could be worse.

You could be billing 2.2k hrs a year ticking and tying financial statements while making 80k like me.


For the guy asking whether he should be bummed about his 90k/1600 job, the answer is of course not because a lot of recent graduates would kill for that gig, but the above is the concern. A minimum billing target doesn't automatically mean you get to shut it down at that number. Hell, Skadden's minimum is also 1600.


nice investigative work. like you said, minimum doesn't really mean shit. if the partners want to work you to the ground they will work you to the ground.

also, i'm not a recent graduate and I don't have a JD.

New hires, esp JDs can fly under the radar for a while wrt work just because

1. they are not that useful because they don't know anything
2. they tend to pull the "i only work on consulting lol" bullshit to get themselves out of assignments they don't feel like doing.
Last edited by dabigchina on Tue Feb 03, 2015 2:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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lacrossebrother
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Re: Pay vs. Billing tradeoff poll --160k/2000hrs vs. 90k/1600hrs

Postby lacrossebrother » Tue Feb 03, 2015 2:30 pm

LeDique wrote:Can someone tell me what salary best maximizes dat PAYE then? When does my extra salary ≠ more $$ for me?

Depends on a lot. Starting debt, Expected raises and bonuses, discount rate/interest/inflation/changes in tax code, changes in fed poverty line.

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JohannDeMann
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Re: Pay vs. Billing tradeoff poll --160k/2000hrs vs. 90k/1600hrs

Postby JohannDeMann » Tue Feb 03, 2015 2:30 pm

LeDique wrote:Can someone tell me what salary best maximizes dat PAYE then? When does my extra salary ≠ more $$ for me?


I mean it always equals extra money. But the discount factor is kinda dependent on loan balance etc. Pretty safe to always do a 10% adjustment based on the PAYE mechanics. Biglaw people are also probably more likely to refinance and actually pay the whole debt balance off. Then it becomes a really tricky computation because you're looking at the person making the 90k salary maybe not paying off their loan in its entirety and getting in effect an increased salary through a windfall.

I clearly don't have the time to run the numbers, but just in my head with taxes and PAYE I think averaging out a lot of circumstances you should probably discount each biglaw dollar by about 55%. This also doesn't even include the increased time one has and will budget etc. I waste so much money on takeout food and having my groceries delivered, which I would prefer not to do, but just don't have time to do.




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