110 hour week

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JohannDeMann
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Re: 110 hour week

Postby JohannDeMann » Sat Mar 28, 2015 10:29 am

Anonymous User wrote:
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. Its not asking much, and I decided I'm more than willing to drop my salary to 60K to get it. Between my wife and I, out combined salary would still be over 100K. A different standard of living as opposed to now, sure, but its not like its destitute poverty. Again, life is too short for this shit.


Good job mang. Happy for you.

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Monochromatic Oeuvre
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Re: 110 hour week

Postby Monochromatic Oeuvre » Sat Mar 28, 2015 12:40 pm

Okay, the word "shortsighted" has a more negative connotation than I meant to convey, so I apologize for that. I didn't mean to imply that choosing to leave Biglaw within a couple years, or to never start it in the first place, is the wrong decision for everyone. Biglaw experience runs the gamut from "hard but manageable" to "white-hot knives in my eyes every day", so the calculus is different for different people. What I meant was that comparatively to less lucrative options, Biglaw returns a financial benefit that is multiple times the post-tax annual difference over the long term. Twentysomethings, who have a demonstrable tendency to create serious difficulty for themselves down the road in order for things to be easier/more fun now, should be particularly conscious of that. This is why I don't take as good evidence claims that people on PSLF or anything else are happier right now than junior associates; of course they would be. IBR/PAYE are short-term benefits with some long-term difficulties, while Biglaw is mainly short-term difficulties for long-term benefits.

The long-term return of someone choosing to do even a couple years of Biglaw instead of PAYE can be hundreds of thousands of dollars. If you intend on having a couple of kids and buying a house in a place like Scarsdale or McLean in your thirties, you'll need Biglaw. PAYE folks can be restrained well into their forties and it's still not clear whether the tax bomb will get fixed. It usually takes at least a couple years of Biglaw service to open up most desirable in-house positions, and it's much easier to transition from Biglaw to lower-pay, lower-hours positions than the other way around. I suppose my general thesis would be that people deciding on what to do should keep the big picture in mind and not get too caught up in the day-to-day bullshit (though I know that's way easier said than done). Biglaw is a choice that's as much about your life at 47 as your life at 27, and that you could have a good reason to be there without being a workaholic or prestige whore (especially with DPW midlevel bonuses).

That doesn't mean that anything said ITT isn't valid. When it gets to be completely mentally and physically impossible, as happens to a lot of (maybe most?) people, there's nothing you can do. And if you get to the point where your goals change, or the traditional UMC basket of stuff doesn't matter anymore (if it ever did), then the calculus gets easier for you. I just hope people with a lot of debt who are leaving early are making a carefully considered choice, and aren't letting temporary frustration be too big a factor in their calculus. That's all.

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Re: 110 hour week

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Sat Mar 28, 2015 1:00 pm

Right, I mean all you are really saying is that it's worth it if you care enough about the money, which, yeah, it's more money than you can make elsewhere.

And this:
Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:This is why I don't take as good evidence claims that people on PSLF or anything else are happier right now than junior associates; of course they would be. IBR/PAYE are short-term benefits with some long-term difficulties, while Biglaw is mainly short-term difficulties for long-term benefits.

...is a pretty hand-wavy response. How is it a "short term benefit" to choose less money for a better life? What are the "long term difficulties" of working in public interest law and getting your loans forgiven? You're framing this as if there's something virtuous about choosing to work crazy hours, in a job that teaches you little substantive skills, for money. But it's a morally neutral decision at best.

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Re: 110 hour week

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Mar 28, 2015 1:15 pm

dixiecupdrinking wrote:Right, I mean all you are really saying is that it's worth it if you care enough about the money, which, yeah, it's more money than you can make elsewhere.

And this:
Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:This is why I don't take as good evidence claims that people on PSLF or anything else are happier right now than junior associates; of course they would be. IBR/PAYE are short-term benefits with some long-term difficulties, while Biglaw is mainly short-term difficulties for long-term benefits.

...is a pretty hand-wavy response. How is it a "short term benefit" to choose less money for a better life? What are the "long term difficulties" of working in public interest law and getting your loans forgiven? You're framing this as if there's something virtuous about choosing to work crazy hours, in a job that teaches you little substantive skills, for money. But it's a morally neutral decision at best.


Thats what I was thinking. He said "Biglaw is a choice that's as much about your life at 47 as your life at 27." And he seemingly meant this from a financial perspective. But thats ignoring another side of the coin. Do you really want to wake up at 47, financially secure, only to realize that you are an absent father and husband, that you sacrificed your passions and dreams, that you have been ground up by stress-related depression and anxiety for years more than you would like to admit?

You have to understand that, for many people, its a conscious and calculated trade off. Yes, they are accepting that their standard of living will be lower, that they may only be able to have one kid vs. having more, may have to wait longer to own a home (which will be smaller than if they stayed in biglaw), etc. But to someone who made that calculated choice, the tradeoff is almost always viewed as infinitely worthwhile.

nickelanddime
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Re: 110 hour week

Postby nickelanddime » Sat Mar 28, 2015 1:28 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
dixiecupdrinking wrote:Right, I mean all you are really saying is that it's worth it if you care enough about the money, which, yeah, it's more money than you can make elsewhere.

And this:
Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:This is why I don't take as good evidence claims that people on PSLF or anything else are happier right now than junior associates; of course they would be. IBR/PAYE are short-term benefits with some long-term difficulties, while Biglaw is mainly short-term difficulties for long-term benefits.

...is a pretty hand-wavy response. How is it a "short term benefit" to choose less money for a better life? What are the "long term difficulties" of working in public interest law and getting your loans forgiven? You're framing this as if there's something virtuous about choosing to work crazy hours, in a job that teaches you little substantive skills, for money. But it's a morally neutral decision at best.


Thats what I was thinking. He said "Biglaw is a choice that's as much about your life at 47 as your life at 27." And he seemingly meant this from a financial perspective. But thats ignoring another side of the coin. Do you really want to wake up at 47, financially secure, only to realize that you are an absent father and husband, that you sacrificed your passions and dreams, that you have been ground up by stress-related depression and anxiety for years more than you would like to admit?

You have to understand that, for many people, its a conscious and calculated trade off. Yes, they are accepting that their standard of living will be lower, that they may only be able to have one kid vs. having more, may have to wait longer to own a home (which will be smaller than if they stayed in biglaw), etc. But to someone who made that calculated choice, the tradeoff is almost always viewed as infinitely worthwhile.


Who said doing it until you're 47 (or 37 for that matter)? Look, 3-4 years of biglaw (avg age - 32?) is not a life-changing amount of money. BUt there are certainly long term benefits of getting clear of your debt or saving enough for a downpayment - things that are very difficult at most public sector salaries.

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Re: 110 hour week

Postby itbdvorm » Sat Mar 28, 2015 1:51 pm

FWIW...

Lots of things worth thinking about in this thread. Very few people thinking about the world the right way.

I found most interesting the person who talked about realizing "that you sacrificed your passions and dreams" at 47 as a rationale for getting out of BigLaw ASAP / not going in at all.

What I think people are ignoring is that there are, believe it or not, non-financial benefits to spending 3-5 years at a top law firm and taking ownership over matters - regardless of whether you think it's going to be your long-term career.

If you work hard, and take ownership of matters, and do your best to do your best, you learn. You learn how deals/cases/business works. You learn how to work with people in demanding situations. You learn to negotiate, you learn to write, you learn to speak. These are good skills. These are life skills. These are skills that are transferrable to whatever you could possibly want to do over the course of your career.

If you do a great job, and become known as a great associate, that stays with you forever. That means that everyone you worked with (clients, senior associates, partners, etc.) will want to help you and feel confident recommending you. For in-house jobs, for government jobs, for public interest jobs, for clerkships, for fellowships. This is a good thing. I have a long list of people whom I have helped get second, and third, post-Biglaw jobs. I also have a long list of people for whom my recommendation would need to be much more circumspect.

In short - you want to coast, fine, coast. Collect your check and run as fast as you can. Leave at 5 PM, while your colleagues and senior associates and partners are working until midnight. Enjoy your weekend while everyone else is huddled in a conference room. And then 15 years from now, when those same colleagues and senior associates are significantly more successful than you are - IN EVERY RESPECT, not just financially, because these are the people who will get the great in-house / public interest / government jobs - wonder why.

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Re: 110 hour week

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Mar 28, 2015 1:52 pm

dixiecupdrinking wrote:Right, I mean all you are really saying is that it's worth it if you care enough about the money, which, yeah, it's more money than you can make elsewhere.

And this:
Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:This is why I don't take as good evidence claims that people on PSLF or anything else are happier right now than junior associates; of course they would be. IBR/PAYE are short-term benefits with some long-term difficulties, while Biglaw is mainly short-term difficulties for long-term benefits.

...is a pretty hand-wavy response. How is it a "short term benefit" to choose less money for a better life? What are the "long term difficulties" of working in public interest law and getting your loans forgiven? You're framing this as if there's something virtuous about choosing to work crazy hours, in a job that teaches you little substantive skills, for money. But it's a morally neutral decision at best.


I don't have any insight into the BigLaw or PI lifestyle at this point in time, so this is just my take based on what I've read... so please correct me if I'm wrong.

I don't know if it's as simple as "choosing less money for a better life." Sure, the guy who does PI is going to be able to see his family and "have a life." But isn't this also true of the BigLaw guy as well once he puts in his 2-4 years and moves In-House? At that point, his earning potential is likely to be significantly better than PI guy, and the lifestyle differences are minimized (of course, depending on what kind of in-house, and what kind of PI gig you get). If we were talking about BigLaw lifers vs. PI guys, then the analysis is different and it becomes much more of a pure "lifestyle vs. pay" question...

So doesn't it really come down to how much you're willing to forego 2-4 years of your life (albeit for good compensation) to secure a higher strata of earning down the road? Instead of "choosing less money for a better life," isn't the calculus more like "choosing a better life from 27-32 for less income 33+"?

Cogburn87
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Re: 110 hour week

Postby Cogburn87 » Sat Mar 28, 2015 2:05 pm

itbdvorm wrote:In short - you want to coast, fine, coast. Collect your check and run as fast as you can. Leave at 5 PM, while your colleagues and senior associates and partners are working until midnight. Enjoy your weekend while everyone else is huddled in a conference room. And then 15 years from now, when those same colleagues and senior associates are significantly more successful than you are - IN EVERY RESPECT, not just financially, because these are the people who will get the great in-house / public interest / government jobs - wonder why.


(striver trash)

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JohannDeMann
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Re: 110 hour week

Postby JohannDeMann » Sat Mar 28, 2015 2:18 pm

itbdvorm wrote:
In short - you want to coast, fine, coast. Collect your check and run as fast as you can. Leave at 5 PM, while your colleagues and senior associates and partners are working until midnight. Enjoy your weekend while everyone else is huddled in a conference room. And then 15 years from now, when those same colleagues and senior associates are significantly more successful than you are - IN EVERY RESPECT, not just financially, because these are the people who will get the great in-house / public interest / government jobs - wonder why.


Yeah so this is a fundamental difference in lifestyle views. Your passion is to push paper and be highly regarded in a business circle. Other people's passion is to be there for their family and friends. It's fine if you want to stay at the office every night until midnight while normal people share a meal and laughs together. Enjoy your weekend in a conference room while normal people are relaxing with friends or playing wiffle ball with their kid. And then 15 years from now, when those same normal people are significantly more successful than you are - IN EVERY RESPECT, not just having an intact family, or children that actually love them, or friends or life experiences outside an office, or genuine happy photos of great memories, because these are the people who will actually live a life worth something.

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Re: 110 hour week

Postby TTTooKewl » Sat Mar 28, 2015 2:23 pm

JohannDeMann wrote:
itbdvorm wrote:
In short - you want to coast, fine, coast. Collect your check and run as fast as you can. Leave at 5 PM, while your colleagues and senior associates and partners are working until midnight. Enjoy your weekend while everyone else is huddled in a conference room. And then 15 years from now, when those same colleagues and senior associates are significantly more successful than you are - IN EVERY RESPECT, not just financially, because these are the people who will get the great in-house / public interest / government jobs - wonder why.


Yeah so this is a fundamental difference in lifestyle views. Your passion is to push paper and be highly regarded in a business circle. Other people's passion is to be there for their family and friends. It's fine if you want to stay at the office every night until midnight while normal people share a meal and laughs together. Enjoy your weekend in a conference room while normal people are relaxing with friends or playing wiffle ball with their kid. And then 15 years from now, when those same normal people are significantly more successful than you are - IN EVERY RESPECT, not just having an intact family, or children that actually love them, or friends or life experiences outside an office, or genuine happy photos of great memories, because these are the people who will actually live a life worth something.


It's unfortunate the punch line of this response isn't a sentence

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Monochromatic Oeuvre
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Re: 110 hour week

Postby Monochromatic Oeuvre » Sat Mar 28, 2015 2:26 pm

dixiecupdrinking wrote:How is it a "short term benefit" to choose less money for a better life? What are the "long term difficulties" of working in public interest law and getting your loans forgiven? You're framing this as if there's something virtuous about choosing to work crazy hours, in a job that teaches you little substantive skills, for money. But it's a morally neutral decision at best.


In the short term, if both a PSLF and a Biglaw dude have six-figure debt in a major market, they'll probably spend relatively comparable amounts on expenditures for at least a couple years, and the PSLF dude will have the advantage of that schedule instead of a Biglaw schedule. But ten years down the line, the Biglaw dude will probably be in-house somewhere where the hours differential between the two isn't quite so large, and the Biglaw dude will have the salary differential and according compounded investment opportunities that the PSLF dude doens't have. That means that compared to the Biglaw dude, the PSLF dude will be delayed and/or constrained in buying a house, having children, saving for retirement etc. And then there's the risk of the tax bomb not being fixed.

Anonymous User wrote:Thats what I was thinking. He said "Biglaw is a choice that's as much about your life at 47 as your life at 27." And he seemingly meant this from a financial perspective. But thats ignoring another side of the coin. Do you really want to wake up at 47, financially secure, only to realize that you are an absent father and husband, that you sacrificed your passions and dreams, that you have been ground up by stress-related depression and anxiety for years more than you would like to admit?

You have to understand that, for many people, its a conscious and calculated trade off. Yes, they are accepting that their standard of living will be lower, that they may only be able to have one kid vs. having more, may have to wait longer to own a home (which will be smaller than if they stayed in biglaw), etc. But to someone who made that calculated choice, the tradeoff is almost always viewed as infinitely worthwhile.


I would hope people aren't still working Biglaw hours at 47, or even 37, without getting paid $500k or maybe even $1M to do it. I know that by the time I'm ready to have kids, there would have to be a massive benefit for me to remain in a job that didn't let me regularly be home for dinner. That's why I think single people don't have quite as much to sacrifice working long hours as those in LTRs (with whom I'm more empathetic to get a better schedule, but that's just me). Yes, you give up the chance to do things in your twenties you might have wanted, and yes, the stress/depression/anxiety is likely to build up. And many who make the conscious, calculated trade-off are right to do so. I'd be more concerned for the dude who wakes up one day and quits out of anger when he really might've needed the money for his life goals.

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Re: 110 hour week

Postby itbdvorm » Sat Mar 28, 2015 3:25 pm

JohannDeMann wrote:
itbdvorm wrote:
In short - you want to coast, fine, coast. Collect your check and run as fast as you can. Leave at 5 PM, while your colleagues and senior associates and partners are working until midnight. Enjoy your weekend while everyone else is huddled in a conference room. And then 15 years from now, when those same colleagues and senior associates are significantly more successful than you are - IN EVERY RESPECT, not just financially, because these are the people who will get the great in-house / public interest / government jobs - wonder why.


Yeah so this is a fundamental difference in lifestyle views. Your passion is to push paper and be highly regarded in a business circle. Other people's passion is to be there for their family and friends. It's fine if you want to stay at the office every night until midnight while normal people share a meal and laughs together. Enjoy your weekend in a conference room while normal people are relaxing with friends or playing wiffle ball with their kid. And then 15 years from now, when those same normal people are significantly more successful than you are - IN EVERY RESPECT, not just having an intact family, or children that actually love them, or friends or life experiences outside an office, or genuine happy photos of great memories, because these are the people who will actually live a life worth something.


No, my passion is certainly not "to push paper and be highly regarded in a business circle." Why do you think I won't be able to have these things (or, frankly, that I don't already have these things now)? I am telling these things from the perspective of someone who's actually lived through this. The fact that I worked my ass off as a junior has paid immeasurable benefits to me today, and I believe it would have done so had I moved in any of a number of different directions.

Taking the time, in your early 20s, to build up your work capital, pays dividends down the line just as taking the time, in your 20s, to build up your financial capital does. I doubt anyone here would argue the benefits of saving instead of spending money. Works the same way with time.

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Re: 110 hour week

Postby Cogburn87 » Sat Mar 28, 2015 3:49 pm

What are your passions?

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Re: 110 hour week

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Mar 28, 2015 3:49 pm

itbdvorm wrote:In short - you want to coast, fine, coast. Collect your check and run as fast as you can. Leave at 5 PM, while your colleagues and senior associates and partners are working until midnight. Enjoy your weekend while everyone else is huddled in a conference room. And then 15 years from now, when those same colleagues and senior associates are significantly more successful than you are - IN EVERY RESPECT, not just financially, because these are the people who will get the great in-house / public interest / government jobs - wonder why.


See, this is a total strawman here. No one said coasting, no one said leaving at 5, no one said checking out. And this is precisely the issue I'm talking about. The mere suggestion of not working until midnight every night somehow becomes dichotomous with the guy who bails at 5 PM. The thought of someone taking some personal time for themselves and their families is somehow misconstrued into checking out and coasting.

Whereas the initial suggestion was simply not grinding it to the bone. What I initially suggested is not staying until midnight unless absolutely necessary (i.e. not just looking for a reason to be there late). Doing your work well, but drawing some boundaries for the sake of sanity. Still going above and beyond hours requirements, without grinding it out the way that the shameless strivers do. If you want to equate that to running out at 5, coasting, and not being there while others are, then think what you want. Its that skewed and incorrect mindset that directly feeds into the inability to create balance in the biglaw environment. In other words, the skewed perspective of a select few makes the workplace unmanageable for the whole.

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Re: 110 hour week

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Sat Mar 28, 2015 3:55 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
itbdvorm wrote:In short - you want to coast, fine, coast. Collect your check and run as fast as you can. Leave at 5 PM, while your colleagues and senior associates and partners are working until midnight. Enjoy your weekend while everyone else is huddled in a conference room. And then 15 years from now, when those same colleagues and senior associates are significantly more successful than you are - IN EVERY RESPECT, not just financially, because these are the people who will get the great in-house / public interest / government jobs - wonder why.


See, this is a total strawman here. No one said coasting, no one said leaving at 5, no one said checking out. And this is precisely the issue I'm talking about. The mere suggestion of not working until midnight every night somehow becomes dichotomous with the guy who bails at 5 PM. The thought of someone taking some personal time for themselves and their families is somehow misconstrued into checking out and coasting.

Whereas the initial suggestion was simply not grinding it to the bone. What I initially suggested is not staying until midnight unless absolutely necessary (i.e. not just looking for a reason to be there late). Doing your work well, but drawing some boundaries for the sake of sanity. Still going above and beyond hours requirements, without grinding it out the way that the shameless strivers do. If you want to equate that to running out at 5, coasting, and not being there while others are, then think what you want. Its that skewed and incorrect mindset that directly feeds into the inability to create balance in the biglaw environment. In other words, the skewed perspective of a select few makes the workplace unmanageable for the whole.

Right, I agree with this (though to be fair, I think someone in this thread did mention leaving at 5, but that is clearly not what the vast majority of people are talking about).

For what it's worth, I agree that as long as you're in biglaw, you should work hard and do good work. I just think that you should probably not stay in that position for any longer than you have to (and if that means you can avoid doing it in the first place, then more power to you). Having your colleagues respect and value you, all things equal, is always going to be to your advantage.

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Re: 110 hour week

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Mar 28, 2015 3:59 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.

k

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Re: 110 hour week

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Mar 28, 2015 4:07 pm

As much as I used to think I knew more than my parents, im slowly realizing how right they were. My dad used to tell me that, if theres one lesson to remember, its that life begins when you walk through the door of your home at the end of the day, and that work is and will always be a means to an end. Its tough to always stay true to that, but I think its an endlessly important lesson.

itbdvorm
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Re: 110 hour week

Postby itbdvorm » Sat Mar 28, 2015 8:25 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
itbdvorm wrote:In short - you want to coast, fine, coast. Collect your check and run as fast as you can. Leave at 5 PM, while your colleagues and senior associates and partners are working until midnight. Enjoy your weekend while everyone else is huddled in a conference room. And then 15 years from now, when those same colleagues and senior associates are significantly more successful than you are - IN EVERY RESPECT, not just financially, because these are the people who will get the great in-house / public interest / government jobs - wonder why.


See, this is a total strawman here. No one said coasting, no one said leaving at 5, no one said checking out. And this is precisely the issue I'm talking about. The mere suggestion of not working until midnight every night somehow becomes dichotomous with the guy who bails at 5 PM. The thought of someone taking some personal time for themselves and their families is somehow misconstrued into checking out and coasting.

Whereas the initial suggestion was simply not grinding it to the bone. What I initially suggested is not staying until midnight unless absolutely necessary (i.e. not just looking for a reason to be there late). Doing your work well, but drawing some boundaries for the sake of sanity. Still going above and beyond hours requirements, without grinding it out the way that the shameless strivers do. If you want to equate that to running out at 5, coasting, and not being there while others are, then think what you want. Its that skewed and incorrect mindset that directly feeds into the inability to create balance in the biglaw environment. In other words, the skewed perspective of a select few makes the workplace unmanageable for the whole.


Sadly, it's not that much of a strawman.

The issue we see - very often - is people showing up with an attitude of "I am going to work the hours requirement and no more." But that's not what this job is. Everyone considering big law knows, or should know, that the job is HORRIBLE at times. I frankly have zero problem with people who finish a deal, or a case, and want some me time to recover (that's totally understandable). But the issue comes with one of the following two scenarios:

Scenario 1: Huge deal comes in. Junior is staffed on huge deal. Insane deadlines are demanded for huge deal. Junior says "I have dinner plans, I am taking off and being unavailable for 3 hours."

Scenario 2: Everyone is busy. Junior is working towards a reasonable pace for the year. New deal comes in. Junior says "no, I'm too busy."

The problem is - Junior is employed by an enterprise that is paying Junior to sacrifice his/her free time. That's the point. Pain comes in and needs to be distributed relatively fairly. By saying "no, I'm not doing that" the rest of the team suffers more, and Junior both becomes resented and falls behind in skill level.

You need to carve out time for yourself sometimes. But know when to say when.

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rpupkin
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Re: 110 hour week

Postby rpupkin » Sat Mar 28, 2015 9:02 pm

Anonymous User wrote:As much as I used to think I knew more than my parents, im slowly realizing how right they were. My dad used to tell me that, if theres one lesson to remember, its that life begins when you walk through the door of your home at the end of the day, and that work is and will always be a means to an end. Its tough to always stay true to that, but I think its an endlessly important lesson.

Sounds like a path to misery. Even if you have a 40-hour a week job, you're still spending the majority of your waking hours getting ready to work, commuting to and from work, and working. If you think of work as nothing more than a means to an end that you suffer through so that you can enjoy "life," you're giving up the majority of your life.

I think the happiest people find joy in their work—whether that work is teaching, engineering, practicing law, practicing medicine, whatever. If you hate your job, you're basically fucking up your life. Those four or five hours you get after you walk through the door of your home won't save you.

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Re: 110 hour week

Postby JohannDeMann » Sat Mar 28, 2015 9:08 pm

itbdvorm wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
itbdvorm wrote:In short - you want to coast, fine, coast. Collect your check and run as fast as you can. Leave at 5 PM, while your colleagues and senior associates and partners are working until midnight. Enjoy your weekend while everyone else is huddled in a conference room. And then 15 years from now, when those same colleagues and senior associates are significantly more successful than you are - IN EVERY RESPECT, not just financially, because these are the people who will get the great in-house / public interest / government jobs - wonder why.


See, this is a total strawman here. No one said coasting, no one said leaving at 5, no one said checking out. And this is precisely the issue I'm talking about. The mere suggestion of not working until midnight every night somehow becomes dichotomous with the guy who bails at 5 PM. The thought of someone taking some personal time for themselves and their families is somehow misconstrued into checking out and coasting.

Whereas the initial suggestion was simply not grinding it to the bone. What I initially suggested is not staying until midnight unless absolutely necessary (i.e. not just looking for a reason to be there late). Doing your work well, but drawing some boundaries for the sake of sanity. Still going above and beyond hours requirements, without grinding it out the way that the shameless strivers do. If you want to equate that to running out at 5, coasting, and not being there while others are, then think what you want. Its that skewed and incorrect mindset that directly feeds into the inability to create balance in the biglaw environment. In other words, the skewed perspective of a select few makes the workplace unmanageable for the whole.


Sadly, it's not that much of a strawman.

The issue we see - very often - is people showing up with an attitude of "I am going to work the hours requirement and no more." But that's not what this job is. Everyone considering big law knows, or should know, that the job is HORRIBLE at times. I frankly have zero problem with people who finish a deal, or a case, and want some me time to recover (that's totally understandable). But the issue comes with one of the following two scenarios:

Scenario 1: Huge deal comes in. Junior is staffed on huge deal. Insane deadlines are demanded for huge deal. Junior says "I have dinner plans, I am taking off and being unavailable for 3 hours."

Scenario 2: Everyone is busy. Junior is working towards a reasonable pace for the year. New deal comes in. Junior says "no, I'm too busy."

The problem is - Junior is employed by an enterprise that is paying Junior to sacrifice his/her free time. That's the point. Pain comes in and needs to be distributed relatively fairly. By saying "no, I'm not doing that" the rest of the team suffers more, and Junior both becomes resented and falls behind in skill level.

You need to carve out time for yourself sometimes. But know when to say when.


You should prolly just get use to this and start hiring more people if you have more than 50 hours of work for them. Also if you want people to work insane hours for you, might help to be appreciative of it instead of an entitled dick to think you get every hour of someones life.

Anonymous User
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Re: 110 hour week

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Mar 28, 2015 9:11 pm

itbdvorm wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
itbdvorm wrote:In short - you want to coast, fine, coast. Collect your check and run as fast as you can. Leave at 5 PM, while your colleagues and senior associates and partners are working until midnight. Enjoy your weekend while everyone else is huddled in a conference room. And then 15 years from now, when those same colleagues and senior associates are significantly more successful than you are - IN EVERY RESPECT, not just financially, because these are the people who will get the great in-house / public interest / government jobs - wonder why.


See, this is a total strawman here. No one said coasting, no one said leaving at 5, no one said checking out. And this is precisely the issue I'm talking about. The mere suggestion of not working until midnight every night somehow becomes dichotomous with the guy who bails at 5 PM. The thought of someone taking some personal time for themselves and their families is somehow misconstrued into checking out and coasting.

Whereas the initial suggestion was simply not grinding it to the bone. What I initially suggested is not staying until midnight unless absolutely necessary (i.e. not just looking for a reason to be there late). Doing your work well, but drawing some boundaries for the sake of sanity. Still going above and beyond hours requirements, without grinding it out the way that the shameless strivers do. If you want to equate that to running out at 5, coasting, and not being there while others are, then think what you want. Its that skewed and incorrect mindset that directly feeds into the inability to create balance in the biglaw environment. In other words, the skewed perspective of a select few makes the workplace unmanageable for the whole.


Sadly, it's not that much of a strawman.

The issue we see - very often - is people showing up with an attitude of "I am going to work the hours requirement and no more." But that's not what this job is. Everyone considering big law knows, or should know, that the job is HORRIBLE at times. I frankly have zero problem with people who finish a deal, or a case, and want some me time to recover (that's totally understandable). But the issue comes with one of the following two scenarios:

Scenario 1: Huge deal comes in. Junior is staffed on huge deal. Insane deadlines are demanded for huge deal. Junior says "I have dinner plans, I am taking off and being unavailable for 3 hours."

Scenario 2: Everyone is busy. Junior is working towards a reasonable pace for the year. New deal comes in. Junior says "no, I'm too busy."

The problem is - Junior is employed by an enterprise that is paying Junior to sacrifice his/her free time. That's the point. Pain comes in and needs to be distributed relatively fairly. By saying "no, I'm not doing that" the rest of the team suffers more, and Junior both becomes resented and falls behind in skill level.

You need to carve out time for yourself sometimes. But know when to say when.


No to scenario 1, if on deal must commit. Scenario 2 at discretion of associate; is not their job to make things easier for seniors, only to cover their own ass as they deem necessary.

edit: If I am on pace for 2000/2100 and want to leave it there, be dam sure I will not follow you on your unobtainable partner quest into another 250 hour month for the sake of fair pain distribution.

Edit 2: I'm realizing from your previous posts and what I interpret as your general persona that you intentionally included scenario 2, which most people do not agree is egregious junior conduct, with scenario 1 which does cross the line, to justify making them both seem problematic. In this you are wrong. Despite you personally finding it beyond the pale for juniors to reject work unless they are staying "past midnight" what I assume means more often than not, you're unjustified and will not find sympathy here. Basically: you do you, you stay past midnight 3 full weeks a month to be about that life, but it doesn't reflect well to think we're not living up to our end if we chose not to, beyond a real (meaning real) need.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Sat Mar 28, 2015 11:29 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Anonymous User
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Re: 110 hour week

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Mar 28, 2015 9:14 pm

wildhaggis wrote:OK, just read through the entire thread and, while this issue may have been put to rest, I have to comment on it.

I read through several posts debating whether 100+ hours is "expected" in biglaw or not, and some dude pushing all the blame for such hours on OP because his V10 told him that average billables were less than 2100 during a record year. "That's only 45- to 55- hour weeks!" "2800 hours is barely 48 60-hour weeks!"

This is complete fucking bullshit.

Even if 100+ hours is not expected, and even if 2000 is a typical billing average, this has nothing to do with how those hours were spent and paints nothing resembling an accurate picture of what a 2000-hour, 2500-hour, or even 1900-hour year may look like. That KidStuddi suggests a 2800-hour year is "barely" 48 60-hour weeks ("Look, you even have a bunch of time for vacation!"), or that a 2100-hour year is consistently working 45-55 hours a week, makes me genuinely question whether he is flame or not.

Let's take a look at why this is the case. I'll use an example that is illustrative of how biglaw corp works: I just finish up a pretty busy 200-hour month. I'm lagging a bit on my hours because last month was slow, but I'm confident I can catch up. I come in to work and the other matters I'm staffed on are pencils down or in some kind of a lull. I do some small post-closing things and ask around for work. No one has anything at the moment, so I work on this or that until 6pm, not having much to do. I've billed about 2.5 hours. I tool around a bit and decide to leave early at 7pm. Partner A sends me an e-mail at 8:30pm saying he needs some such fucking thing ASAP. I work for 4 hours, send it to him. He sends back comments. Why the fuck is he still awake. I take another hour to work in his comments, send it back to him. It's now after 2am, and I've billed approximately 7.5 hours that day.

I come in the next day, tired, still not much to do. I ask around for work again... Nothing. Partner A gets back to me on the document from the night before at 5:30pm. He spoke to the client and needs me to turn a bunch of changes. I work until 10:30pm, send it to him, go home because I'm pissed. I've billed 5 hours that day. It is now Wednesday and I'm on pace for a 30-hour week, maybe. If it keeps up, I'm on pace for a 120-hour month, or so. The truth is I don't feel like I just worked a 7.5- or 5-hour day. I feel like I just worked two 16-hour days, and I'm exhausted. My time not working those days was spent trying to get work, or twiddling my thumbs wondering why I wasn't getting work, or whether I'm too slow. Anxiety at my ability to catch up on my hours begins to creep in as my satisfaction of a completed 200-hour month fades away. I realize it's going to be one of "those" months, where I bill 130-140 hours, which makes me look slow, but really I billed hours all over the board, barely got sleep, and checked my phone every 2 minutes.

Fast-forward to next month. I did, in fact, only bill about 130 hours. But, hey, several new M&A deals are on their way down the pipeline, and they all have massive data rooms and maybe one is a contribution so that means double the fucking drafting, so no worries about hours anymore, right? It's about to be a 250-hour month. But didn't you just have a 140-hour month? You surely used the slowdown to catch up on sleep and chill, right?

I mean, shit, isn't 140 hours, like, only 6 hours per day anyway?


If you leave at 10:30 and that makes a 16 hour day you are going in to the office too early which is contributing to your exhaustion, no reason if don't have work to get in before 9:30.

Mal Reynolds
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Re: 110 hour week

Postby Mal Reynolds » Sat Mar 28, 2015 9:47 pm

It's always enjoyable hearing MO talk about biglaw when he hasn't worked a day in the field.

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mmelittlechicken
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Re: 110 hour week

Postby mmelittlechicken » Sat Mar 28, 2015 9:51 pm

Mal Reynolds wrote:It's always enjoyable hearing MO talk about biglaw when he hasn't worked a day in the field.

Is he doing biglaw eventually or is he some PI douche? I don't read his posts because they are long and annoying.

Mal Reynolds
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Re: 110 hour week

Postby Mal Reynolds » Sat Mar 28, 2015 9:54 pm

mmelittlechicken wrote:
Mal Reynolds wrote:It's always enjoyable hearing MO talk about biglaw when he hasn't worked a day in the field.

Is he doing biglaw eventually or is he some PI douche? I don't read his posts because they are long and annoying.


2L at CLS so I can only assume biglaw.




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