110 hour week

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rpupkin
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Re: 110 hour week

Postby rpupkin » Thu Mar 26, 2015 2:14 pm

Desert Fox wrote:Lit varies between easy as fuck stuff like doc review and much harder stuff. But when you rush easy stuff you make little stupid mistake and then someone is angry and thinks you are retarded.

This is why it's generally not worth rushing stuff unless you're under deadline pressure. People will think you're retarded for making stupid mistakes, but they generally won't think you're retarded for billing two hours for creating a document where all the paragraphs are cut-and-paste from something else and you just had to change a few dates.

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Desert Fox
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Re: 110 hour week

Postby Desert Fox » Thu Mar 26, 2015 2:26 pm

rpupkin wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:Lit varies between easy as fuck stuff like doc review and much harder stuff. But when you rush easy stuff you make little stupid mistake and then someone is angry and thinks you are retarded.

This is why it's generally not worth rushing stuff unless you're under deadline pressure. People will think you're retarded for making stupid mistakes, but they generally won't think you're retarded for billing two hours for creating a document where all the paragraphs are cut-and-paste from something else and you just had to change a few dates.


If you are a go getter, sure. But anyone who tends to procrastinate will get fucked by stuff like this.

Also anyone who doesn't have good attention to detail.

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sinfiery
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Re: 110 hour week

Postby sinfiery » Thu Mar 26, 2015 4:01 pm

wildhaggis wrote:The work is not at all difficult (speaking from a corp perspective). But if that's the case, then why does everyone act like it's so stressful and miserable? Pretty simple: while easy, virtually everything you do is a perverse combination of esoteric, tedious, and urgent.

Esoteric in that you will, at all times, need to keep an eye out for things that seem utterly unintuitive or completely unimportant at first glance, but are actually, somehow, really fucking important. For instance, assume for a moment that you are a first-year corporate associate and someone asks you to do a defined-terms check of a purchase agreement. An important document - nice! They're finally giving you some responsibility, letting you earn all that money you're being paid. You do it, very thoroughly, and feel great about what you just accomplished, albeit a little overwhelmed from all the new jargon. You send along a redline showing your changes. Man, it took a while, but you were really careful and that means you probably did a pretty decent job, right? Wrong. Expect the following reaction for every tiny mistake you either had no clue how to catch or were brushed aside for asking questions about...

Why the fuck did you capitalize the word "law" in Section 6(h)? I don't care if it's a defined term, the "law" we're referencing in 6(h) DOESN'T fit the definition of "Law" in the defined terms section. We spent a lot of time carefully drafting those defined terms and they NEED to be used properly throughout the document. And, wow, why didn't you add ERISA as a defined term in the appendix? I don't care if it isn't actually used as a defined term in the body of the agreement, it's clearly used in the definition of the Employee Benefit Plan defined term. What's your reason for not adding it? This is the stuff you're supposed to catch in a defined-terms check. This is really sloppy work, you need to treat every project like it's going in front of a client. You were brought in to be detail-oriented, how could you miss this stuff? If we can't trust you with something this simple, how can we trust you with something more important? You need to be way more careful in the future.

Your head spins. You go back to recheck the whole document. Your phone rings; it's your girlfriend. She's off work and wants to know what you want to do for dinner. GrubHub, alone, again. It's OK, she says, again. This time, though, she sounds a little more exasperated than the last. This will continue and continue, until it doesn't.

Of course you'd be a little baffled at why that stuff is so important, and angry you can't leave work to go live your life. Well, guess what? This is what you've signed up for. All of that shit is important, despite seeming unnecessarily demanding and nit-picky. And you have to stay until it's right, because they need it now. Combined with the fact that the work often takes hours and is exceedingly boring - since, again, it is time-consuming to catch all of the little things that go into producing polished work product - it can be maddening to stay focused on all of the bizarre shit you need to stay focused on for the amount of time necessary to do it.

So, no, the work is not difficult by nature, or in a vacuum. When put in biglaw context, things are a little more complicated.



this thread keeps making me feel worse

thanks tho, great post

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sundance95
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Re: 110 hour week

Postby sundance95 » Thu Mar 26, 2015 4:05 pm

As a litigator, I have to say--corp work, especially NYC corp work, sounds terribad, and no amount of 'exit options' could ever make it worth it in my mind.

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BarbellDreams
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Re: 110 hour week

Postby BarbellDreams » Thu Mar 26, 2015 4:09 pm

This is quickly becoming my favorite topic ever on TLS.

The post from a couple above reminds me when a partner I worked for freaked out cause I draft "given that" instead of "because of" in a real estate deal. I swear I read the sentence and the paragraph over 9 times and didn't see an ounce of difference. To be fair, I have an infinite amount of stories about that partner so that time wasn't the only one.

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Monochromatic Oeuvre
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Re: 110 hour week

Postby Monochromatic Oeuvre » Thu Mar 26, 2015 5:59 pm

wildhaggis wrote:The work is not at all difficult (speaking from a corp perspective). But if that's the case, then why does everyone act like it's so stressful and miserable? Pretty simple: while easy, virtually everything you do is a perverse combination of esoteric, tedious, and urgent.

Esoteric in that you will, at all times, need to keep an eye out for things that seem utterly unintuitive or completely unimportant at first glance, but are actually, somehow, really fucking important. For instance, assume for a moment that you are a first-year corporate associate and someone asks you to do a defined-terms check of a purchase agreement. An important document - nice! They're finally giving you some responsibility, letting you earn all that money you're being paid. You do it, very thoroughly, and feel great about what you just accomplished, albeit a little overwhelmed from all the new jargon. You send along a redline showing your changes. Man, it took a while, but you were really careful and that means you probably did a pretty decent job, right? Wrong. Expect the following reaction for every tiny mistake you either had no clue how to catch or were brushed aside for asking questions about...

Why the fuck did you capitalize the word "law" in Section 6(h)? I don't care if it's a defined term, the "law" we're referencing in 6(h) DOESN'T fit the definition of "Law" in the defined terms section. We spent a lot of time carefully drafting those defined terms and they NEED to be used properly throughout the document. And, wow, why didn't you add ERISA as a defined term in the appendix? I don't care if it isn't actually used as a defined term in the body of the agreement, it's clearly used in the definition of the Employee Benefit Plan defined term. What's your reason for not adding it? This is the stuff you're supposed to catch in a defined-terms check. This is really sloppy work, you need to treat every project like it's going in front of a client. You were brought in to be detail-oriented, how could you miss this stuff? If we can't trust you with something this simple, how can we trust you with something more important? You need to be way more careful in the future.

Your head spins. You go back to recheck the whole document. Your phone rings; it's your girlfriend. She's off work and wants to know what you want to do for dinner. GrubHub, alone, again. It's OK, she says, again. This time, though, she sounds a little more exasperated than the last. This will continue and continue, until it doesn't.

Of course you'd be a little baffled at why that stuff is so important, and angry you can't leave work to go live your life. Well, guess what? This is what you've signed up for. All of that shit is important, despite seeming unnecessarily demanding and nit-picky. And you have to stay until it's right, because they need it now. Combined with the fact that the work often takes hours and is exceedingly boring - since, again, it is time-consuming to catch all of the little things that go into producing polished work product - it can be maddening to stay focused on all of the bizarre shit you need to stay focused on for the amount of time necessary to do it.

So, no, the work is not difficult by nature, or in a vacuum. When put in biglaw context, things are a little more complicated.


I'm sensing, and endorse, that this thread's destiny is to eventually become the bastard child of Camus and Chuck Palahniuk, where the soul of juniors and overeager students gets scooped out. This is like the sixth or seventh time reading this thread I've wanted to tell my SO that I love her.

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Re: 110 hour week

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Thu Mar 26, 2015 9:16 pm

sundance95 wrote:As a litigator, I have to say--corp work, especially NYC corp work, sounds terribad, and no amount of 'exit options' could ever make it worth it in my mind.

Agree, 95% of the time.

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Re: 110 hour week

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Mar 26, 2015 10:31 pm

Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:I'm sensing, and endorse, that this thread's destiny is to eventually become the bastard child of Camus and Chuck Palahniuk, where the soul of juniors and overeager students gets scooped out. This is like the sixth or seventh time reading this thread I've wanted to tell my SO that I love her.


Its amazing what we take for granted. Its gotten to the point where I would give anything just to have an hour or two per night to watch TV on the couch and go to sleep next to my fiance. Yet she has long since given up asking me if I'm going to be home for dinner, is forced to spend the night totally alone, and goes to sleep in an empty bed with just a phone call as the only reminder that I even exist.

And this is the case day after day. Not to mention the weekend plans I've had to cancel, the dinner plans that have gotten scrapped, the times in which she is excited to see me and then disappointed when I don't show up. Yet she is a trooper, never holds it against me, and somehow loves me through it all. Which makes me feel all the more guilty and disappointed. It would almost be easier (and certainly more fair) for me to get chewed out.

I"m literally missing out on and casting aside the best and most rewarding thing in my entire life for this job. I made a promise to her (and more importantly, to myself), that I will make a change in a few years, especially once we are married and have a kid. I'm going to make whatever change is necessary to allow me the luxury of seeing the ones I love, being present, and having some semblance of a life. Life is too short to foresake that.

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Re: 110 hour week

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Mar 26, 2015 11:46 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Its amazing what we take for granted. Its gotten to the point where I would give anything just to have an hour or two per night to watch TV on the couch and go to sleep next to my fiance. Yet she has long since given up asking me if I'm going to be home for dinner, is forced to spend the night totally alone, and goes to sleep in an empty bed with just a phone call as the only reminder that I even exist.

And this is the case day after day. Not to mention the weekend plans I've had to cancel, the dinner plans that have gotten scrapped, the times in which she is excited to see me and then disappointed when I don't show up. Yet she is a trooper, never holds it against me, and somehow loves me through it all. Which makes me feel all the more guilty and disappointed. It would almost be easier (and certainly more fair) for me to get chewed out.

I"m literally missing out on and casting aside the best and most rewarding thing in my entire life for this job. I made a promise to her (and more importantly, to myself), that I will make a change in a few years, especially once we are married and have a kid. I'm going to make whatever change is necessary to allow me the luxury of seeing the ones I love, being present, and having some semblance of a life. Life is too short to foresake that.


This might be the saddest post in this thread. What aspect of this job is worth potentially losing the most important things for?

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Re: 110 hour week

Postby JohannDeMann » Thu Mar 26, 2015 11:48 pm

it's not which is why i try to tell people on this site T14 -> biglaw is a fool's errand if you have a good GPA these days.

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Re: 110 hour week

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Mar 26, 2015 11:49 pm

Anonymous User wrote: Its amazing what we take for granted. Its gotten to the point where I would give anything just to have an hour or two per night to watch TV on the couch and go to sleep next to my fiance.


Because corporate is up and down, I'm not always super slammed. But during long intense stretches when I am, sometimes I can sneak out of the office at 10:30pm, and I feel like I have escaped and I just feel a rush of joy to be getting out "early enough to enjoy my night."

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Re: 110 hour week

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Mar 26, 2015 11:57 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Its amazing what we take for granted. Its gotten to the point where I would give anything just to have an hour or two per night to watch TV on the couch and go to sleep next to my fiance. Yet she has long since given up asking me if I'm going to be home for dinner, is forced to spend the night totally alone, and goes to sleep in an empty bed with just a phone call as the only reminder that I even exist.

And this is the case day after day. Not to mention the weekend plans I've had to cancel, the dinner plans that have gotten scrapped, the times in which she is excited to see me and then disappointed when I don't show up. Yet she is a trooper, never holds it against me, and somehow loves me through it all. Which makes me feel all the more guilty and disappointed. It would almost be easier (and certainly more fair) for me to get chewed out.

I"m literally missing out on and casting aside the best and most rewarding thing in my entire life for this job. I made a promise to her (and more importantly, to myself), that I will make a change in a few years, especially once we are married and have a kid. I'm going to make whatever change is necessary to allow me the luxury of seeing the ones I love, being present, and having some semblance of a life. Life is too short to foresake that.


This might be the saddest post in this thread. What aspect of this job is worth potentially losing the most important things for?


None. Like I said, I'm making a change relatively soon, and I'm holding to that. My fiance is cool with this in the short term, but we are both willing to make sacrifices for what is more important.

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Re: 110 hour week

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Mar 27, 2015 5:07 pm

JohannDeMann wrote:it's not which is why i try to tell people on this site T14 -> biglaw is a fool's errand if you have a good GPA these days.


Honest question - in your opinion, what are the better options coming out of a T14 if you have a good GPA besides BigLaw? Especially if you want comparable (within reason) compensation? How competitive would these positions be?

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Re: 110 hour week

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Mar 27, 2015 5:11 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
JohannDeMann wrote:it's not which is why i try to tell people on this site T14 -> biglaw is a fool's errand if you have a good GPA these days.


Honest question - in your opinion, what are the better options coming out of a T14 if you have a good GPA besides BigLaw? Especially if you want comparable (within reason) compensation? How competitive would these positions be?

jerbs like this: http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2015/03/from-3l-to-in-house.html

or other decently paying in-house gigs with career advancement opportunities.

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Re: 110 hour week

Postby BarbellDreams » Fri Mar 27, 2015 5:55 pm

Every friend that I have who took a "lifestlye" midsize firm for 90-100K starting is infinitely happier than every friend I have who is in biglaw. I actually know 2 people in biglaw who have a calendar on their wall where the x out each work day while counting down to 2 years of experience so they can leave. Its difficult to find out what the hours are like at a midsize firm without talking to some attorneys there, but I would aim for a firm like that over biglaw all day everyday.

smallfirmassociate
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Re: 110 hour week

Postby smallfirmassociate » Fri Mar 27, 2015 6:01 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
JohannDeMann wrote:it's not which is why i try to tell people on this site T14 -> biglaw is a fool's errand if you have a good GPA these days.


Honest question - in your opinion, what are the better options coming out of a T14 if you have a good GPA besides BigLaw? Especially if you want comparable (within reason) compensation? How competitive would these positions be?


I really, really like my job at a small firm. But law students have true colors, and those true colors involve a lot of ego and prestige-whoring. As a 3L, I was talking about a certain area of substantive law with a person who was going to Chicago biglaw (where she still is). When I described a case I worked on as an SA, she dismissively waved her hand at the notion of this experience being at all applicable to her future practice and stated, "But where I'm going, we work on much bigger cases." Of course, she wilted under my follow-up question about whether that affected the substantive law at all (hint: it didn't). She just wanted to get the dig in, justify her decision, remind herself and me of the supposed prestige of her job.

I was talking about client contact with yet another Chicago biglawyer, and he just busts out of left field with, "Well, it's different with our clients because they actually have real money."

I'm sure those folks would have found themselves far above my job when I started out as an associate in flyover country making around a third NYC biglaw pay. (Yes, cost of living is low, but those student loan payments don't scale with CoL!) As a partner, I now make more than either of the two aforementioned people and any other associate in Chicago for that matter (I think?) and on par with senior associates after bonuses in NYC. I work 45 hours a week or so unless I have trial. I do varied work that, overall, ranges from tolerable to interesting. Life is good. If I were vindictive, I'd say I got the last laugh, but I don't care if they go on to be wildly successful all the same. Some people are just like that; and it turns out that law school attracts those people.

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Re: 110 hour week

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Mar 27, 2015 6:14 pm

BarbellDreams wrote:Every friend that I have who took a "lifestlye" midsize firm for 90-100K starting is infinitely happier than every friend I have who is in biglaw. I actually know 2 people in biglaw who have a calendar on their wall where the x out each work day while counting down to 2 years of experience so they can leave. Its difficult to find out what the hours are like at a midsize firm without talking to some attorneys there, but I would aim for a firm like that over biglaw all day everyday.


I'm actually amazed that, of the 22 1st year associates in my incoming class, only one has left after the 1.5 year mark. I'd imagine the exodus will start in earnest in about 6 months. I compare biglaw years to dog years. Every year is a grating, grinding, soul-draining, endless period of time. The concept of 6 months or 1 year used to sound like something that flies by. But now I measure those months in grey hairs gained, workouts missed, and time not spent with loved ones.

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Re: 110 hour week

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Mar 27, 2015 6:25 pm

Genuine questions. To what extent can one sort of cut back and draw some boundaries to make biglaw life more tolerable? I'm 1.5 years in, and I now realize that I have no intention of staying more than another year or so. So I feel no need or desire to gun it like the superstars who aspire to be partners. Yet I've been billing at a pace that isn't too far off from theirs. Its taking a serious toll on my mental and physical health, and my therapist suggested I draw some more concrete boundaries and simply carve out more time for myself (I'm embarrassed to even admit that a super happy and jovial person like me was forced into needing professional help solely because of this job).

Of course, by drawing those boundaries, the all or nothing fools will think I'm "checking out". But whats wrong with just getting in my 2,000 or 2,100 hours if I have no intention of staying, and may not even continue practicing law once the next year is said and done? I always do my work well, and I'm generally well-regarded, so I'm just trying to assess the pros and cons. I don't want to make a switch as a desperation move. I want to make my current situation more tolerable so that I can approach my transition in a better and healthier state of mind.

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Re: 110 hour week

Postby Monochromatic Oeuvre » Fri Mar 27, 2015 9:37 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
JohannDeMann wrote:it's not which is why i try to tell people on this site T14 -> biglaw is a fool's errand if you have a good GPA these days.


Honest question - in your opinion, what are the better options coming out of a T14 if you have a good GPA besides BigLaw? Especially if you want comparable (within reason) compensation? How competitive would these positions be?

jerbs like this: http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2015/03/from-3l-to-in-house.html

or other decently paying in-house gigs with career advancement opportunities.


I think most people with their head screwed on straight would take HP at $150k+bonus over the large majority of firms. But they only hire six people a year and almost no other non-firms are paying anywhere near that to lawyers straight out of school. And it would be egregiously shortsighted for someone in NYC/SF/LA/DC with six-figure debt to take $100k right out of school if they were planning on owning a home, having children, and retiring comfortably.

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Re: 110 hour week

Postby bearsfan23 » Fri Mar 27, 2015 11:43 pm

Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
JohannDeMann wrote:it's not which is why i try to tell people on this site T14 -> biglaw is a fool's errand if you have a good GPA these days.


Honest question - in your opinion, what are the better options coming out of a T14 if you have a good GPA besides BigLaw? Especially if you want comparable (within reason) compensation? How competitive would these positions be?

jerbs like this: http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2015/03/from-3l-to-in-house.html

or other decently paying in-house gigs with career advancement opportunities.


I think most people with their head screwed on straight would take HP at $150k+bonus over the large majority of firms. But they only hire six people a year and almost no other non-firms are paying anywhere near that to lawyers straight out of school. And it would be egregiously shortsighted for someone in NYC/SF/LA/DC with six-figure debt to take $100k right out of school if they were planning on owning a home, having children, and retiring comfortably.


I love when our resident K-JD, CLS 2L tries telling people what they should prefer to do with their lives.

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Re: 110 hour week

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Mar 28, 2015 1:49 am

Anonymous User wrote:Genuine questions. To what extent can one sort of cut back and draw some boundaries to make biglaw life more tolerable? I'm 1.5 years in, and I now realize that I have no intention of staying more than another year or so. So I feel no need or desire to gun it like the superstars who aspire to be partners. Yet I've been billing at a pace that isn't too far off from theirs. Its taking a serious toll on my mental and physical health, and my therapist suggested I draw some more concrete boundaries and simply carve out more time for myself (I'm embarrassed to even admit that a super happy and jovial person like me was forced into needing professional help solely because of this job).

Of course, by drawing those boundaries, the all or nothing fools will think I'm "checking out". But whats wrong with just getting in my 2,000 or 2,100 hours if I have no intention of staying, and may not even continue practicing law once the next year is said and done? I always do my work well, and I'm generally well-regarded, so I'm just trying to assess the pros and cons. I don't want to make a switch as a desperation move. I want to make my current situation more tolerable so that I can approach my transition in a better and healthier state of mind.


I've only been in for about 6 months, but I have similar thoughts about the pros and cons of checking out. There are people in my group that have clearly checked out (avoid work, always say they're busy, leave at 5pm regardless of what is going on, etc.). They clearly aren't going to stay at the firm for very long, but people seem surprisingly tolerant of them checking out. It seems there is a lot of bureaucratic crap that has to happen to actually get fired. Meanwhile, I'm still striving. And sometimes I don't know why. I'm sure as hell not going to make partner. All of the senior associates in my group are miserable. I know I won't stay at this firm for more than 2 years max. And when I jump to the greener pastures of a different firm or (hopefully) in house somewhere, will it really adversely impact me if I coast for a while? I'll still show up for work. I would just not seek out new projects, and not stay past 8pm unless it's truly an emergency. And not answer my Blackberry all the god damn time.

It's just so exhausting to keep working this hard. My life is quickly going to shit, and I'm going to be miserable soon. Doesn't seem like such a bad idea to just start drawing some lines in the sand.

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Big Shrimpin
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Re: 110 hour week

Postby Big Shrimpin » Sat Mar 28, 2015 3:07 am

can we agree that this entire profession is an age-old battle between the workaholics and the non-workaholics?

sure that's same in most industries, but i feel that this all boils down to the aforementioned

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Re: 110 hour week

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Mar 28, 2015 9:55 am

bearsfan23 wrote:
Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:
I think most people with their head screwed on straight would take HP at $150k+bonus over the large majority of firms. But they only hire six people a year and almost no other non-firms are paying anywhere near that to lawyers straight out of school. And it would be egregiously shortsighted for someone in NYC/SF/LA/DC with six-figure debt to take $100k right out of school if they were planning on owning a home, having children, and retiring comfortably.


I love when our resident K-JD, CLS 2L tries telling people what they should prefer to do with their lives.


Is he incorrect in that it is shortsighted not to suck it up for a couple of years in those markets?

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Re: 110 hour week

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Sat Mar 28, 2015 10:04 am

Yes, if you hate big law and it is unrelated to your ultimate career goals, it's not shortsighted to choose not to work yourself to the bone for some extra cash. Jesus.

All the people I know who are in public interest or government jobs are leaps and bounds happier than all the people I know in biglaw. They do PSLF and won't buy a house anytime soon. That doesn't make it "shortsighted" of them to prioritize their satisfaction over money.

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Re: 110 hour week

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Mar 28, 2015 10:26 am

dixiecupdrinking wrote:Yes, if you hate big law and it is unrelated to your ultimate career goals, it's not shortsighted to choose not to work yourself to the bone for some extra cash. Jesus.

All the people I know who are in public interest or government jobs are leaps and bounds happier than all the people I know in biglaw. They do PSLF and won't buy a house anytime soon. That doesn't make it "shortsighted" of them to prioritize their satisfaction over money.


Thats how I'm treating it. And its why I'm likely making a transition from biglaw into public interest (I have some connections in one area that can hopefully help me secure a job). Even after 1.5 years, I just don't care about the money anymore. I don't care about getting a flashy car, big house, or anything like that anymore. I want to see my wife, experience life a bit outside the office, be free of this all-encompassing stress that has driven me to anxiety and depression that requires weekly therapy, etc.

But in the interim, I plan to draw some more concrete boundaries, leave the office earlier, shut my phone off a little more at night and on the weekends, etc. I realized I'm an "enabler." They email me so much because I'm so responsive, nights weekends or otherwise. They give me so much night and weekend work because I always pretend to be enthusiastic and a "team-player" willing to take the hit. I need to stop enabling that behavior by drawing a line in the sand.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Sat Mar 28, 2015 10:29 am, edited 1 time in total.




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