Leaving NYC biglaw after 1 year to secondary

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Anonymous User
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Leaving NYC biglaw after 1 year to secondary

Postby Anonymous User » Sun May 31, 2015 8:06 pm

Hello, longtime poster here (c/o 2014) though not so much in the last few years.

I desperately dislike living in NYC and working in biglaw. I'm not even sure I like being a lawyer, which became more and more apparent as law school wore on. My firm is V70-100. MVP, probably below median grades with 2L and 3L factored in. I think part of the problem with my current state is that I'm single and don't have many friends or any family here outside of work people I know, so it's been hard not really having a support system. I'll be the first to admit I cannot handle the stress of this fucking job without a support system. Also, time to date or make new non-lawyer friends? Lol.

Anyway, my midwestern home state has a good secondary market, for legal work and general economic health. My family and friends are all there, and I would really, really like to jump ship here after I've worked one year (in September) and go home with maybe 20k in savings, without a job lined up. I have about 28k total in debt, so it's not much. I've been looking at job postings online for state clerkships, small firms, JD preferred gigs, really anything as long as it approximates a 40-hour work week, though it's very difficult to actively seek employment in a market so far away and while I'm so busy with work all the time. I really don't give a shit about the prestige or money anymore, though I'd rather not work at a shitlaw doc review mill (I've bypassed those job postings quite a few times.)

My basic question is, am I crazy? Has anyone ever done this before? Anyone have any tips? I'm pretty much set on this decision, just want to see if anyone has pointers to help me out a bit. Thanks.

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Re: Leaving NYC biglaw after 1 year to secondary

Postby Anonymous User » Sun May 31, 2015 8:39 pm

You're not crazy at all. While I haven't done this personally, many of my classmates left their biglaw jobs after a year and took non-legal jobs or jobs at much smaller firms just to get away from what had clearly been the wrong decision for them. There's nothing wrong with wanting to go back to your family and friends either. I would recommend sticking it out for more than a year though--maybe two years. Having two years of experience just opens up a lot more options. A great place to look would be compliance jobs in your hometown at banks, investment advisors/brokers, and such. It'll be much easier to sell them on wanting to work there if you are still employed at the biglaw firm when you interview.

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los blancos
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Re: Leaving NYC biglaw after 1 year to secondary

Postby los blancos » Sun May 31, 2015 9:29 pm

Yeah i'd be hesitant to ever quit a job without having another one lined up. Dat resume gap just sends bad signals I think.

Otherwise no, you're not crazy at all, there's a reason everyone hates these jobs. Try to figure out what you don't like about legal practice as opposed to what you do. If you figure out you don't want to be a lawyer at all, that's fine too, just try to put a finger on what will and won't make you happy going forward.

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Re: Leaving NYC biglaw after 1 year to secondary

Postby Anonymous User » Sun May 31, 2015 10:00 pm

You aren't crazy for absolutely hating NYC biglaw and wanting to go do something else. Tons of people feel the exact same way, and the only thing keeping them there is the debt. Lucky for you, the debt burden is low enough that you have tons of flexibility. I would just advise that you have something lined up before leaving your NYC biglaw position. However bad it is, don't take the risk of searching for a job while unemployed.

Tons of us law grads end up in big firms since we didn't really know what we wanted to know. So its no surprise that many of us hate it and just use it as a ticket to go do something else. Its sort of the consequence of so many people, many of them having never worked a real job in their lives, blindly chasing after some pre-defined goal, without actually considering what is best for us as individuals.

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Re: Leaving NYC biglaw after 1 year to secondary

Postby Anonymous User » Sun May 31, 2015 10:07 pm

I can relate entirely. Like you, I ended up in NYC biglaw because it seemed to be what everyone else was doing, and I figured it would be a good way to pay off debt. And in that respect, it served its purpose, but I hate it with a passion. At the present, I'm leaving my NYC biglaw job after 1.5 years and trying out a new big firm that will at least allow me to try my #1 area of interest (which my current firm never let me break into). Like you, OP, I'm not 100% set on being a lawyer if I don't find something that sticks and that I can be a bit more passionate about. And like you, my debt is pretty low. So I'm just going to try out a new firm with the substantive area I always wanted to try. A common adage is that everyone gets one "free pass" early in their legal career to make a switch like that, whether its to break into a new substantive area, a new geographic market, maybe old firm wasn't a good fit, etc.

Hutz_and_Goodman
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Re: Leaving NYC biglaw after 1 year to secondary

Postby Hutz_and_Goodman » Sun May 31, 2015 10:18 pm

OP what practice area are you doing and what do you not like about the job? You are in a great position given your low debt. If you don't want to be a lawyer then you definitely shouldn't.

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Re: Leaving NYC biglaw after 1 year to secondary

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jun 01, 2015 12:00 am

OP here. Thanks for the replies all. In response to a few things...I'm in general litigation right now. Mostly I hate the hours. I'm on a couple different cases and there are better and worse teams, as I'm sure all of you know. W/r/t the bad teams, I hate: unpleasant, standoffish partners and senior associates I take orders from/poor communication and complete lack of dialogue re: case issues between senior people who run the case and juniors who do work for it/being asked to do BS assignments with little to no explanation about how to complete said assignments in really challenging legal areas/knowing with certainty that no one I work for gives one shit about me as a person/fake deadlines that seem to frequently fall on weekends, etc. Also, the firm leadership is privileged and white and mostly male. No diversity anywhere. I know all this is par for the course and OF COURSE I read all about biglaw on these boards for years and of course I did not heed the advice.

But it's mostly the relentless hours. That, paired with the fact that I have no desire to do the things I'm doing, makes it unbearable. I'm not sure you could pay me a million dollars to stay another year so that's not happening. I also really really don't like New York. I'm thoroughly midwestern, born and raised, and I am pretty much appalled daily by New Yorkers who I would consider actually insane and a ridiculous culture of money, prestige, etc. Culturally, New York has been a big shock. I'm not sure why I was so convinced I'd like it. I'm sorry if this is offensive to New Yorkers, but Jesus. Not for me.

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los blancos
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Re: Leaving NYC biglaw after 1 year to secondary

Postby los blancos » Mon Jun 01, 2015 12:34 am

Anonymous User wrote:I'm not sure you could pay me a million dollars to stay another year so that's not happening.


Time is priceless. Don't let this SPS profession box you in and destroy your life. If it's the hours that you hate but you otherwise enjoy legal work, then there are worse positions to be in.

kaiser
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Re: Leaving NYC biglaw after 1 year to secondary

Postby kaiser » Mon Jun 01, 2015 1:11 pm

Sounds like NYC biglaw just isn't for you. And theres no shame in that. Seems like you would be very well served by going back to your home market and trying to start fresh. Maybe legal practice in a better locale, with more sane hours and culture, in a substantive area you enjoy, will really benefit you. Don't put yourself in a position where you are clinically depressed and beyond unhappy for no reason. You just have to find that balance between chasing what is right for you and doing so in a practical manner. I'd suggest doing informational interviews with people from your home market, lots of networking, and applying. I would not recommend quitting before you have a job lined up.

CanadianWolf
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Re: Leaving NYC biglaw after 1 year to secondary

Postby CanadianWolf » Mon Jun 01, 2015 3:43 pm

Stick it out until you have a new position in your preferred location. Just knowing that you've started the exit process should give you some relief. But, if you leave without another position lined-up, some may think that you were asked to leave.

I understand your view of New York City, but there are opportunities to make friends with common gripes/feelings. Even with a demanding job & unpleasant work environment, you should be able to squeeze out some time in order to socialize with another unhappy soul in NYC.

As I see it, you've come to realize that you've made a mistake. Why not be a bit more careful in your next career move.

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Re: Leaving NYC biglaw after 1 year to secondary

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jun 01, 2015 3:59 pm

You really should reconsider. There's a reason why jumping ship from a job - any job, not just in law - after only 1 year is looked down upon so strongly by future employers; it screams lack of maturity / professionalism. NB: everyone who moves to a place with a vastly different culture hates it for the first year, be it an international move or a move from a smaller Midwestern city to NYC. Pretty much everyone from out of town I know who moved here - and I'm including my spouse in that group - totally fucking hated NYC during their first year. Add to that hating your job - being a first year is just one step above being hazed! It's like a med student complaining they hated their job during the first year of their residency. Of course you hate your job, that's sort of the point.

If you stay 2 - 3 years, you're had a chance to adjust to the new culture and to rise professionally to a point where you're no longer low man on the totem pole. At that point, if you decide "not for me!", future employers will respect your decision. So many more doors will be open to you, even back home.

Summary: you're totally right to hate your place in life right now, but part of being a professional is the ability to ride through that.

CanadianWolf
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Re: Leaving NYC biglaw after 1 year to secondary

Postby CanadianWolf » Mon Jun 01, 2015 4:27 pm

One great aspect of the Northeastern US is that there are a lot of great vacation destinations within a few hours drive. Vermont, Martha's Vineyard, fly to Bermuda, drive out on Long Island to the remote beaches. Have you given yourself a break since starting law school ? Regardless, you need one now. Maine is a bit further, but worth the fresh lobster. Quite a bit farther away, but doable if you have a week's vacation are the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

Stop by a travel agency & tell them that you need a break from the city & would like to travel with other young professionals.




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