Any practicing lawyers love their job?

(On Campus Interviews, Summer Associate positions, Firm Reviews, Tips, ...)
Forum rules
Anonymous Posting

Anonymous posting is only appropriate when you are revealing sensitive employment related information about a firm, job, etc. You may anonymously respond on topic to these threads. Unacceptable uses include: harassing another user, joking around, testing the feature, or other things that are more appropriate in the lounge.

Failure to follow these rules will get you outed, warned, or banned.
User avatar
twenty 8
Posts: 330
Joined: Sat Feb 22, 2014 12:45 pm

Re: Any practicing lawyers love their job?

Postby twenty 8 » Sat Feb 07, 2015 4:06 am

2nd year at a fairly new large mkt satellite office. Partners are all great. Statewide we have +75 attorneys. Numerous practice areas with a focus on commercial lit. 9A/6P including a good 5 hours a week of work from home (sometimes more).

Pay is six figure market. In comparison to NYC, COL is roughly $50k less. I am fortunate given my free LS ride. I work alongside a number of T14 associates (noting their diplomas). The answer to the topic question is ..... yes!

Anonymous User
Posts: 273179
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Any practicing lawyers love their job?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Feb 07, 2015 12:38 pm

Anonymous User wrote:1. Private public interest (one of the top plaintiffs firms in the country)
...I genuinely believe that my work every day makes the world a better place.


I'll admit my biases up front that I am someone who really enjoys my job at a lit boutique and regularly litigates cases on the other side of firms like the one that this lawyer works for. However, i think they have drunk way too much of the class action kool aid and are totally out of touch with reality in making statements like this. Class action plaintiffs attorneys bring and fight cases with an extreme focus on the bottom line and this "public interest" angle is a distant consideration in almost any case. The class action device also allows them to essentially operate without any supervision from a real "client." They wind up taking huge fees from settlements that are not reflective of the real economic damages of the class nor of the work of the attorneys who "represent" them.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273179
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Any practicing lawyers love their job?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Feb 07, 2015 4:33 pm

1. Plaintiff's firm
2. Civil litigation; mostly MVAs, med. mal., and consumer protection
3. Northeast
4. The partners tend to respect the fact that I have a life outside of work, and its not the norm to be in the office past 7:00 pm.

I started my job this past September, and it was fine for the first two months. However, I'm currently studying for the bar exam in a neighboring jurisdiction and I'm starting to despise everything law related. Hopefully this feeling will pass once the bar exam is over.

User avatar
BlueLotus
Posts: 2428
Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2012 8:07 pm

Re: Any practicing lawyers love their job?

Postby BlueLotus » Sat Feb 07, 2015 4:54 pm

Anonymous User wrote: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.


Thanks for this. I definitely came to this thread looking for the perspective of someone doing civil legal aid as that's what I'm gunning to do.

What factors led to your being hired as a fellow in the first place? Grades/rank, school, prior internships, foreign language ability, etc.?

Anonymous User
Posts: 273179
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Any practicing lawyers love their job?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Feb 07, 2015 5:09 pm

1. Biglaw
2. Transactional
3. Texas
4. Second career for me after 5-10 years in a prior job, I guess I'm still a junior.

Love is a strong word. I wouldn't do my job for free, so I can't claim to love my job. I do enjoy my job and plan to stay until my firm asks me to leave or my spouse wants me to find a more family-friendly job.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273179
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Any practicing lawyers love their job?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Feb 07, 2015 11:07 pm

1. Job type (firm, gov't, public interest)
BigLaw

2. Practice area focus
Tech-focused consumer class action defense

3. Market
SF Bay Area

4. Other
Senior associate; love the work. Lots of interesting legal questions, often questions of first impression. It's much more fun to be a senior associate in BigLaw than to be a junior associate, for obvious reasons - more speaking opportunities (court time, depos, etc.), client counseling, substantive writing, etc., with greater ability to assign down the less interesting/substantive work. I'm planning to stick around, despite the main (obvious) downside: hours are high/unpredictable and regularly interfere with personal life.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273179
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Any practicing lawyers love their job?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Feb 08, 2015 4:17 pm

1. Government
2. Prosecution
3. TX
4. I knew I wanted to do prosecution but I ended up in a different office than I expected. I've only been there for a few months, but I've gotten tons of trial experience and responsibility so far. I love the work - I get to do lots of different cases and interact with lots of attorneys and defendants (a lot of pro se defendants in class C misdemeanors). The people are awesome and the hours aren't bad at all. Some people work night dockets but I haven't gotten assigned a night docket yet. Wish I got paid more, but I knew that'd be the deal from the get go. Only real downside is a lack of advancement opportunities in my particular office.

Jaymore
Posts: 60
Joined: Tue Jan 27, 2015 11:06 pm

Re: Any practicing lawyers love their job?

Postby Jaymore » Sun Feb 08, 2015 10:34 pm

1. Government
2. Criminal Prosecutor
3. PNW medium sized city. 50,000<size<100,000
4. Pay is OK, 8:00-5:00 hours, lots of litigation and court time, lots of immediate responsibility. Got my first (vehicular) homicide within the two months of starting. (Guilty, BTW). I would say it provides meaning to my life. I get up excited to get to work.
Downsides - feel like shit when you lose a SAM/rape case, the relationship here sucks - there is a culture of mutual antagonism and dislike between defense attorneys and us, not a lot of room for advancement

Anonymous User
Posts: 273179
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Any practicing lawyers love their job?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Feb 08, 2015 11:05 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. Public Interest
2. Public Defender
3. Rural New England
4. Nothing I would try and fix about the job per se, but a lot that I would love to fix about the criminal justice system. For a 1L or someone considering law school I would really recommend getting some exposure to criminal law whether its defense or prosecution, its definitely an exciting field.

User avatar
AVBucks4239
Posts: 870
Joined: Wed Feb 10, 2010 11:37 pm

Re: Any practicing lawyers love their job?

Postby AVBucks4239 » Mon Feb 09, 2015 11:14 am

1. Small firm (about 25 attorneys)
2. Junior associate, so I get almost anything thrown my way; that said, I'm trying to establish a labor and employment niche for myself and that's about 50% of my workload now.
3. Small town Ohio.
4. Pay is okay ($50,000), hours are good (45-50 hours a week), billables are minimal (1500 a year).

"Love" is a bit strong of a word.

Pros:
-I enjoy the people I work with and get along with several of them outside of work.
-I get to manage files from start to finish (rather than researching for just part of a motion or something).
-I interact with clients, judges, magistrates, etc.
-Hours are more than reasonable.
-Don't face big firm pressures.

Cons
-Pay isn't amazing
-Sometimes feel like I could be making a name for myself in a bigger market and working on more interesting matters.
-As the junior associate, holy shit do I get some random assignments/research projects.

To OP, all I'll say is that choosing which type of firm to go into (if you have a choice) is a lifestyle choice. I envy my friends in BigLaw that make $160k, work in amazing offices, travel across the country for files, etc. But they envy me when I'm out of the office at 5:30, never go in on the weekends, and have enough time to travel when I feel like it.

Do what feels right for you and you only. Make a selfish choice. And if you do that, you very well may end up enjoying being a lawyer.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273179
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Any practicing lawyers love their job?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Feb 09, 2015 12:22 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:1. Private public interest (one of the top plaintiffs firms in the country)
...I genuinely believe that my work every day makes the world a better place.


I'll admit my biases up front that I am someone who really enjoys my job at a lit boutique and regularly litigates cases on the other side of firms like the one that this lawyer works for. However, i think they have drunk way too much of the class action kool aid and are totally out of touch with reality in making statements like this. Class action plaintiffs attorneys bring and fight cases with an extreme focus on the bottom line and this "public interest" angle is a distant consideration in almost any case. The class action device also allows them to essentially operate without any supervision from a real "client." They wind up taking huge fees from settlements that are not reflective of the real economic damages of the class nor of the work of the attorneys who "represent" them.


I can really only speak to my direct experiences at my firm. I imagine the cultures and commitments of class action attorneys vary widely from firm-to-firm -- these are all small firms shaped significantly by the personality of one or a small handful of lawyers at the top. And even within a firm, there will be a variety of perspectives of the firm's role in the world. My firm includes several former defense-side lawyers, and my sense is that they tend to be far more margin-driven than the attorneys that either started with our firm or came from other plaintiffs firms (or from the government). In any event, I've been a part of enough high-level discussions about whether to bring cases to really believe that my firm is driven by far more than profit motives. Now, of course, economics plays a big role in whether we decide to bring a case or not. Because we work for free if we don't win, we rarely bring cases that don't have a good probability of a substantial contingency award. (Which means that your clients are constantly being let off the hook for wrongs to society that don't fit the traditional class action model.) There are, without doubts, problems with and abuses of this model -- but in my opinion, its benefits far outweigh its costs to society.

I suspect that part of the reason why you have such a cynical view of plaintiffs lawyers is some combination of the fact that defense firms are all pretty similar and you impute that similarity onto plaintiffs firms (and therefore when you run across a couple of the bad plaintiffs firms apples, you just assume we're all like that), and also because often our decision to bring a case goes something like as follows: (1) we are tipped off that [x] prospective defendant is doing some really bad things (things that probably everyone on this board would agree are really bad for society); (2) we investigate and discover that [x] prospective defendant is, in fact, doing said really bad things; (3) said really bad things don't fit neatly into any particular legal cause of action because laws generally fail to be sufficiently broadly protective to cover all potential types of wrongdoing; (4) in the process of investigating the defendant's bad conduct, we discover some much less bad related conduct (that most on this board would probably say falls into more of a moral grey area) that fits perfectly within a well-established legal framework; (5) because everyone is fired up about how horrible this defendant is and how hurt this class of plaintiffs is, we often bring a suit for the defendant's morally grey actions. You look at these cases and find confirmation of your bias that "wow, these plaintiffs lawyers really will do anything to make a buck." We look to these cases as a creative way to hold an unambiguously wrongdoing defendant accountable to a class of unambiguously wronged plaintiffs.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273179
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Any practicing lawyers love their job?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Feb 09, 2015 1:05 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:1. Private public interest (one of the top plaintiffs firms in the country)
...I genuinely believe that my work every day makes the world a better place.


I'll admit my biases up front that I am someone who really enjoys my job at a lit boutique and regularly litigates cases on the other side of firms like the one that this lawyer works for. However, i think they have drunk way too much of the class action kool aid and are totally out of touch with reality in making statements like this. Class action plaintiffs attorneys bring and fight cases with an extreme focus on the bottom line and this "public interest" angle is a distant consideration in almost any case. The class action device also allows them to essentially operate without any supervision from a real "client." They wind up taking huge fees from settlements that are not reflective of the real economic damages of the class nor of the work of the attorneys who "represent" them.


I can really only speak to my direct experiences at my firm. I imagine the cultures and commitments of class action attorneys vary widely from firm-to-firm -- these are all small firms shaped significantly by the personality of one or a small handful of lawyers at the top. And even within a firm, there will be a variety of perspectives of the firm's role in the world. My firm includes several former defense-side lawyers, and my sense is that they tend to be far more margin-driven than the attorneys that either started with our firm or came from other plaintiffs firms (or from the government). In any event, I've been a part of enough high-level discussions about whether to bring cases to really believe that my firm is driven by far more than profit motives. Now, of course, economics plays a big role in whether we decide to bring a case or not. Because we work for free if we don't win, we rarely bring cases that don't have a good probability of a substantial contingency award. (Which means that your clients are constantly being let off the hook for wrongs to society that don't fit the traditional class action model.) There are, without doubts, problems with and abuses of this model -- but in my opinion, its benefits far outweigh its costs to society.

I suspect that part of the reason why you have such a cynical view of plaintiffs lawyers is some combination of the fact that defense firms are all pretty similar and you impute that similarity onto plaintiffs firms (and therefore when you run across a couple of the bad plaintiffs firms apples, you just assume we're all like that), and also because often our decision to bring a case goes something like as follows: (1) we are tipped off that [x] prospective defendant is doing some really bad things (things that probably everyone on this board would agree are really bad for society); (2) we investigate and discover that [x] prospective defendant is, in fact, doing said really bad things; (3) said really bad things don't fit neatly into any particular legal cause of action because laws generally fail to be sufficiently broadly protective to cover all potential types of wrongdoing; (4) in the process of investigating the defendant's bad conduct, we discover some much less bad related conduct (that most on this board would probably say falls into more of a moral grey area) that fits perfectly within a well-established legal framework; (5) because everyone is fired up about how horrible this defendant is and how hurt this class of plaintiffs is, we often bring a suit for the defendant's morally grey actions. You look at these cases and find confirmation of your bias that "wow, these plaintiffs lawyers really will do anything to make a buck." We look to these cases as a creative way to hold an unambiguously wrongdoing defendant accountable to a class of unambiguously wronged plaintiffs.


Eh, sorry to sidetrack things. I'd be happy to continue this discussion with you more in a different thread.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273179
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Any practicing lawyers love their job?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Feb 09, 2015 5:02 pm

I love my life as a practicing attorney, for the most part.
I work at a 4 attorney firm in the biggest legal market in a small state. My pain is closer to fed government pay, but I find that I have more than enough to contribute to my pension plan, max out my Roth IRA, pay my loans (IBR and less than $100,000 in principal) and save for a house. I do a mix of civil cases representing both plaintiffs and defendants. Usually we represent the good guys (who can be defendants when it comes to a nasty business dispute). I also do smaller transactional work and the occasional weird land use case or contingency personal injury or disability case. I love the variety and love interaction with my clients. I also really admire the other attorneys, although balancing the transactional/litigation timelines and different styles of the two partners can be challenging and drive me crazy sometimes. Billables are on par with the big firms in my market and I often work on weekends just to get some more hours in. I don't get much vacation time and, when I do, I usually work some because it is a small place and we are insanely busy so I can't hand work off to others. I wish that was different, but that's always been my experience of private sector life so I can tolerate.
I think it helps that I am in a friendlier market, have minimal debt and expenses, and work at a smaller firm. Peers in similar situations feel the same. But a small firm can really suck too if you have shitty bosses. So doing the small firm, small market thing is a huge risk, albeit one where the rewards can be worth it. I just started in the last year so we'll see how it all pans out.
I will say though, to people who are not in the top of their class or hate the absurd arbitrariness and obnoxious personalities that you find in law school, that being a practicing attorney is a whole different (and much better) thing. I am 100% happier and better to be around now that I have a job and enjoy it than when I felt like I had to compete against classmates for the distinction of an additional .1 on my GPA.




Return to “Legal Employment”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.