Any practicing lawyers love their job?

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gnuwheels
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Any practicing lawyers love their job?

Postby gnuwheels » Fri Feb 06, 2015 1:42 pm

This thread isn't novel but the most recent ones I found were from 2010 or so. (And the "lawyers describe your day" thread is more about substance than overall satisfaction.)

Perhaps something like:

1. Job type (firm, gov't, public interest)
2. Practice area focus
3. Market
4. Other

It would be interesting to see if there is a correlation between any of those elements and overall satisfaction. (i.e. lawyers in gov't like their jobs more than lawyers in PI; associates in practice area X have an overall higher level of satisfaction than in practice area Y).

Anonymous User
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Re: Any practicing lawyers love their job?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Feb 06, 2015 1:57 pm

I do really enjoy my job. I feel good about what I do, like my coworkers, and believe I am making the world a better place. Oh, and the pay's solid too (especially for my market).

1. Private public interest (one of the top plaintiffs firms in the country)
2. Class actions -- all types.
3. Secondary market.
4. I think folks at top law schools are crazy not to more seriously consider the top plaintiffs firms (e.g., a firm that's made the NLJ's Plaintiffs Hot List more than once over the past couple years -- Lieff Cabraser, Motley Rice, Grant & Eisenhoffer, Robbins Geller, Labaton, Korein Tillery, etc). Associate pay tends to be a bit less than at biglaw, but is still fairly generous. From everyone I've spoken with at similar firms, and from my own experience, you get WAY more responsibility way earlier, and on just as big cases -- I am almost exclusively litigating against V50 firms or well-known lit boutiques (like Bartlit Beck, Munger, etc). As a first-year, I find myself doing comparable-level work to junior partners and fifth and sixth year associates at the firms that we are up against. My sense of the pay disparity is that it (more than?) disappears at the partner level -- and plaintiffs firms tend to be much less up-and-out than defense-side firms so your chances of making partner are actually not terrible. Oh, and the hours are reasonable and I genuinely believe that my work every day makes the world a better place.

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fats provolone
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Re: Any practicing lawyers love their job?

Postby fats provolone » Fri Feb 06, 2015 2:03 pm

that does sound cool but you should read some other threads about plaintiff firms on tls bc iirc there were a lot of ppl with very different views

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JohannDeMann
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Re: Any practicing lawyers love their job?

Postby JohannDeMann » Fri Feb 06, 2015 2:29 pm

Not me. Chicago biglaw.

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Re: Any practicing lawyers love their job?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Feb 06, 2015 2:31 pm

fats provolone wrote:that does sound cool but you should read some other threads about plaintiff firms on tls bc iirc there were a lot of ppl with very different views


Can you link to some of those threads? I suspect that there's a very, very big drop-off in quality of experience once you get beyond the top 10 or 20 plaintiffs firms, but I'd be curious to hear other folks' experiences to the contrary. There are only a small number of plaintiffs firms that are consistently bringing and leading big complex national class actions. The remaining firms either end up in supporting roles in those suits that they do take part in, and/or end up doing a fair amount of personal injury alongside of their big class action work.

Many students go plaintiffs side when they can't find other work, and those jobs tend to be high stress and involve work of very mixed quality. My sense is that associates in most of these sorts of plaintiffs firms are not for the most part treated well or paid well. So if you are someone who is looking for something rewarding to do after failing to land a biglaw job, ignore my post. My sense is that hiring standards at the top plaintiffs firms tend to be just as (if not more) rigorous as at biglaw. I am primarily addressing students who could go the biglaw route if they wanted but are looking for better or different options.

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fats provolone
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Re: Any practicing lawyers love their job?

Postby fats provolone » Fri Feb 06, 2015 2:32 pm

i don't remember. there was a dude who used to post who had a lot of experience at plaintiffs firms. his username was anon62 or anon26 or something like that

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utahraptor
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Re: Any practicing lawyers love their job?

Postby utahraptor » Fri Feb 06, 2015 2:37 pm

@ anon, I think this was covered in the other thread, but how hard is it to lateral into positions like yours/what kind of background do laterals normally have (in terms of firm/practice group/clerkship or not/etc)?

Legitimately interested.

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encore1101
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Re: Any practicing lawyers love their job?

Postby encore1101 » Fri Feb 06, 2015 2:38 pm

gnuwheels wrote:This thread isn't novel but the most recent ones I found were from 2010 or so. (And the "lawyers describe your day" thread is more about substance than overall satisfaction.)

Perhaps something like:

1. Job type (firm, gov't, public interest)
2. Practice area focus
3. Market
4. Other

It would be interesting to see if there is a correlation between any of those elements and overall satisfaction. (i.e. lawyers in gov't like their jobs more than lawyers in PI; associates in practice area X have an overall higher level of satisfaction than in practice area Y).


1. Government
2. Prosecution
3. NYC
4. Primarily appellate work.


I love my job. Pay is shitty, but it's enough to cover the bills and then some. It's not always the case with this office, but my job hours are pretty standard. 9ish (with emphasis on "ish") to 5. Very little micromanagement. Office is very friendly and cordial, and even dealing with opposing attorneys, it seems to be more professional than at the trial level. My building has a gym on the first floor, so I get to work out regularly.
Last edited by encore1101 on Fri Feb 06, 2015 2:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Anonymous User
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Re: Any practicing lawyers love their job?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Feb 06, 2015 2:39 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
fats provolone wrote:that does sound cool but you should read some other threads about plaintiff firms on tls bc iirc there were a lot of ppl with very different views


Can you link to some of those threads? I suspect that there's a very, very big drop-off in quality of experience once you get beyond the top 10 or 20 plaintiffs firms, but I'd be curious to hear other folks' experiences to the contrary. There are only a small number of plaintiffs firms that are consistently bringing and leading big complex national class actions. The remaining firms either end up in supporting roles in those suits that they do take part in, and/or end up doing a fair amount of personal injury alongside of their big class action work.

Many students go plaintiffs side when they can't find other work, and those jobs tend to be high stress and involve work of very mixed quality. My sense is that associates in most of these sorts of plaintiffs firms are not for the most part treated well or paid well. So if you are someone who is looking for something rewarding to do after failing to land a biglaw job, ignore my post. My sense is that hiring standards at the top plaintiffs firms tend to be just as (if not more) rigorous as at biglaw. I am primarily addressing students who could go the biglaw route if they wanted but are looking for better or different options.


I also want to add that firms like Susman and Quinn often get described as "plaintiffs firms." Both of these firms do bring a substantial amount of plaintiffs-side work, and are often vying for the same cases as the Lieff Cabrasers of the world, but I think from both a firm economics and culture standpoint, they are very different places. Susman and (to a lesser extent) Quinn are better lumped in with the top lit boutiques -- Keker, Kellog Huber, Bartlit Beck, etc. They are going to have cultures much more similar to biglaw, (mostly) cases similar to biglaw, and hours and compensation similar to biglaw -- all for better and for worse. There are great reasons to go to these firms--personally, I would have taken a top lit boutique over a top biglaw firm every day--but they should not really be lumped in with the firms that I'm talking about.

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sublime
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Re: Any practicing lawyers love their job?

Postby sublime » Fri Feb 06, 2015 2:40 pm

..

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fats provolone
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Re: Any practicing lawyers love their job?

Postby fats provolone » Fri Feb 06, 2015 2:42 pm

yea if i went plaintiff side it would be to a patent troll. that's probably public disinterest

to116
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Re: Any practicing lawyers love their job?

Postby to116 » Fri Feb 06, 2015 2:48 pm

Im also interested in plaintiff firms. What do they look for when it comes to hiring? Is the process more akin to biglaw or public interest?

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kalvano
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Re: Any practicing lawyers love their job?

Postby kalvano » Fri Feb 06, 2015 2:49 pm

1. Small private firm
2. Technology-focused
3. Major market
4. Transactional work and business deals

I like my job a lot. I like going to work in the morning, and I like that the partners are pretty hands-off, and just lurk in the background to provide support. Pay is excellent, hours are good, and I can wear jeans and a tee shirt to work and play the partners in fooseball on a regular basis. Plus, the actual job itself is interesting and fun, and I have a lot of responsibility from the start.

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Re: Any practicing lawyers love their job?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Feb 06, 2015 2:57 pm

gnuwheels wrote:This thread isn't novel but the most recent ones I found were from 2010 or so. (And the "lawyers describe your day" thread is more about substance than overall satisfaction.)

Perhaps something like:

1. Job type (firm, gov't, public interest)
2. Practice area focus
3. Market
4. Other

It would be interesting to see if there is a correlation between any of those elements and overall satisfaction. (i.e. lawyers in gov't like their jobs more than lawyers in PI; associates in practice area X have an overall higher level of satisfaction than in practice area Y).



1. V20
2. Mixed transactional
3. NYC
4. Really like the folks I work with, and we've been working together for a few years now. Makes a huge difference.

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Re: Any practicing lawyers love their job?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Feb 06, 2015 3:01 pm

utahraptor wrote:@ anon, I think this was covered in the other thread, but how hard is it to lateral into positions like yours/what kind of background do laterals normally have (in terms of firm/practice group/clerkship or not/etc)?

Legitimately interested.


Plaintiffs firms are small and generally hire for need -- so although most plaintiffs firms will hire a small handful of entry-level people every year, lateral hiring depends a lot on what the firm is working on and what the firm anticipates working on. I see two main types of laterals at my firm: (1) biglaw partners with relevant expertise, and (2) other plaintiffs lawyers who have proven their mettle.

Plaintiffs firms tend to be more flexible, though, so if you're not an antitrust partner heading to the antitrust practice at Cohen, it's probably still worth regularly checking the websites of the top firms in your desired geographic/practice area region for job postings (and I have seen some postings that a 2nd or 3rd year could fill), or even just emailing someone at the firm to ask if there's no posting. Developing a skill set in a relevant practice area, though, would be very helpful. If a plaintiffs firm is going to hire a biglaw fourth year, it's probably because that fourth year does securities and the plaintiffs firm wants to buttress its securities group.

FWIW I got my job at a time that my firm was not officially hiring. Does that help?

Do people really call plaintiff's firms "private public interest?"


Some do. Some limit that description to certain types of plaintiffs firms (like Shute Mihaly in SF). I think few people would say that every plaintiffs firm qualifies. Patent trolls, for example, are pretty bad for the world. My feeling is that most of the top firms are best described as being private public interest firms -- they're typically bringing cases that almost exclusively make the world a better place. It gets a little complicated when you run into firms that bring do-good cases but then take unconscionable settlements.

But I don't want to sidetrack things too much. The firm at which I work fits into the "top plaintiffs firm" box, and therefore, you'd probably get inconsistent answers if you polled folks about whether it was a private public interest firm.

Im also interested in plaintiff firms. What do they look for when it comes to hiring? Is the process more akin to biglaw or public interest?


It's all pretty firm-specific, but my sense is that it's somewhere between the two. Credentials matter a lot, although probably a bit less than at biglaw. Experiences (especially public interest-y experiences) matter somewhat, although probably less than at most public interest outfits. As is the case at any small firm, having some "in" helps and fit matters A TON -- you're not going to get hired for any small office if the people who you interview with don't like you. FWIW I had no "in" at my firm (but I also had very good credentials and a strong public interest background).

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Lexaholik
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Re: Any practicing lawyers love their job?

Postby Lexaholik » Fri Feb 06, 2015 4:01 pm

gnuwheels wrote:This thread isn't novel but the most recent ones I found were from 2010 or so. (And the "lawyers describe your day" thread is more about substance than overall satisfaction.)

Perhaps something like:

1. Job type (firm, gov't, public interest)
2. Practice area focus
3. Market
4. Other

It would be interesting to see if there is a correlation between any of those elements and overall satisfaction. (i.e. lawyers in gov't like their jobs more than lawyers in PI; associates in practice area X have an overall higher level of satisfaction than in practice area Y).


1. Plaintiff's firm
2. Class action litigation
3. Major city (non-NYC)
4. I would second the other class action lawyer in this thread. Plaintiff's firms operate under different economic models than biglaw, so you'll see greater attorney satisfaction and better substantive opportunities. As an associate you do give up some compensation generally speaking, but in good years it's possible to surpass your biglaw counterparts. Hard to generalize though, there is more variation among plaintiffs' firms than among biglaw firms.

Most plaintiff's lawyers I've encountered seem much more satisfied with their careers than biglaw lawyers. (I was a former biglaw associate.) Maybe it has to do with work-life balance. I was once on a conference call when counsel were discussing scheduling a follow-up call, and the biglaw lawyer suggested 5 pm, and the plaintiff's lawyer responded "I can't do that, it's too late--I have to pick up my kids." Could you imagine someone in biglaw saying that?

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Lexaholik
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Re: Any practicing lawyers love their job?

Postby Lexaholik » Fri Feb 06, 2015 4:15 pm

to116 wrote:Im also interested in plaintiff firms. What do they look for when it comes to hiring? Is the process more akin to biglaw or public interest?


There's a lot more variation when it comes to hiring. Factors include the size of the firm, personality of the head lawyer(s), and the market. A few anecdotal observations:

Size: The larger the firm, the more interested they are in resume/credentials. This could mean top school and grades, but it could also mean substantial experience in plaintiff's work. The smaller the firm, the more likely it is hiring is related to networking and relationships.

Personality of Head Lawyer: The culture of each individual firm is often driven by the personality of the founding partner(s) or managing partners. So you will see some firms heavily value credentials (e.g. Lieff, Susman Godfrey) because their top people had similar credentials. Others may value certain schools or activities like mock trial. So it can be hard to generalize, but you can be sure each firm has a specific hiring "flavor."

Market: You will generally see stronger resumes in major markets with lots of lawyers. For example if you look at the top NYC or SF plaintiffs' firms, you often see much stronger resumes than in, say, Phoenix.

Generally though, a lot of hiring comes down to opportunity and luck. Many lawyers are uncomfortable with this and would rather just go through a headhunter, go through a standard hiring process, and receive a large set base salary. Because so many talented lawyers go through this process, the labor market for biglaw laterals is fairly efficient. The labor market for plaintiffs' lawyers is thus somewhat inefficient, which leads to some great opportunities if you're willing to stomach some risk.

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glitched
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Re: Any practicing lawyers love their job?

Postby glitched » Fri Feb 06, 2015 4:19 pm

when did more responsibility become a good thing?

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Re: Any practicing lawyers love their job?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Feb 06, 2015 4:32 pm

1. small boutique
2. construction/real estate development (good mix of transactional and lit)
3. DFW
4. Love my job. The hours are great, pay is great, partners are easy to work with and give me substantive work as a first year. Also, they're some of the most highly regarded in the industry but really nice, family/community oriented people. I've been delightfully surprised by their willingness to mentor me.

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rpupkin
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Re: Any practicing lawyers love their job?

Postby rpupkin » Fri Feb 06, 2015 4:42 pm

glitched wrote:when did more responsibility become a good thing?

You know how posters on here like to talk about exit options and shit? Those options don't magically materialize because you put in X years at a V20. If you have responsibility, you'll likely acquire more lawyer skills and get more client contact--which can lead to more opportunities down the road.

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Re: Any practicing lawyers love their job?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Feb 06, 2015 4:45 pm

glitched wrote:when did more responsibility become a good thing?


How do you think you get a killer second job, or independent client contacts that increase your odds of making partner? The job/client fairy?

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ExBiglawAssociate
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Re: Any practicing lawyers love their job?

Postby ExBiglawAssociate » Fri Feb 06, 2015 4:47 pm

There are moments when I love my job, but they are fleeting and sporadic. Mostly, my job makes me want to kill myself. Thankfully, I am leaving biglaw soon.

desertlaw
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Re: Any practicing lawyers love their job?

Postby desertlaw » Fri Feb 06, 2015 5:35 pm

1. BigLaw, V10

2. Transactional (M&A, Cap Markets)

3. West coast

4. Love it; surprised at how much I like it. I think the office is unique for personality/culture, but I enjoy the work a lot more than I expected (it seems to get more interesting as you get more experience/responsibility).

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Re: Any practicing lawyers love their job?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Feb 06, 2015 7:02 pm

1. Public interest (civil legal services org. of around 25 people)
2. Housing law-- I counsel families at risk of homelessness and directly stop evictions from happening
3. Major city
4. These days I am paid fairly for a public interest attorney. I was a fellow for two years prior, on a very low stipend--- it was a struggle to make ends meet, but the organization offered me the first open position that became available. The job is officially 35 hours per week, but I work more than that and sometimes put in late nights.

I spend a lot of time interacting with clients, but I think what makes the job most enjoyable is direct control over cases, and the concrete progress that can be made in a case. I leave knowing that I've accomplished something, even if it's just settling a case for time to get a grant for a blind client on SSI.

No one will get rich doing this type of work, and it has its moments (when a family doesn't have the legal right to stay, and stands to lose a longtime, affordable home), but please put me firmly in the column of practicing lawyers who love their jobs.

Magic Hat
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Re: Any practicing lawyers love their job?

Postby Magic Hat » Sat Feb 07, 2015 1:48 am

Love it.


1. Fourth year in midlaw. 100 attorneys.

2. Land use. Probably 90 percent regulatory, 8 percent litigation (mainly against gov, but some quiet title work) and 2 percent real estate transactions.

3. Secondary high col city. Very close to a major city.

4. Best land use group in the city. I am the only associate in a group full of some of the leading names in the area. I have a tremendous amount of independence because I am competent and we are busy. Hours are good, salary is good. I get a lot of leeway because I bring in a good amount of business. I am essentially left alone to run my own clients and partners' clients' smaller and medium sized projects.




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