What about being a lawyer is there to look forward to?

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minnbills
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Re: What about being a lawyer is there to look forward to?

Postby minnbills » Wed Jun 17, 2015 10:33 am

krads153 wrote:
minnbills wrote:Sure, there are more lucrative fields. At the end of the day, though, if you're making six figures right out of school you are doing really well.

My greater point though is that most of us are screwed because not only do we have the grind but we also make very little money.


not really "right out of school" though - out of grad school, after paying 200k (now 300k) on tuition

i had a 60k job offer straight out of undergrad - not bad considering i had no debt. now my friends who stuck with it (think big 4/analyst jobs) are making six figures anyway but without going to grad school.other friends landed mckinsey/consulting companies straight out of undergrad - crappy lifestyle but good money for straight out of college. pretty much all of my computer engineering friends landed six figure salaries straight out.

yeah, that's the risk. and that's one reason why the vast majority of people who go to law school shouldn't have gone in the first place. not to mention a lot of people burn out (insane rates). much higher than a lot of 0Ls think on this forum.


I know- we're in agreement. I'm just saying at least people make good money in biglaw.

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Re: What about being a lawyer is there to look forward to?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jun 17, 2015 10:54 am

OP, the reality is that being an attorney is a soul-sucking profession that few people actually have the personality for. It is primarily a repetitive, paper-pushing job.

Litigation is full of procedural nonsense and working through discovery is awful. Trials/oral argument are a small bright spot, but most cases these days never even make it to trial. The transactional folks are really just doing the paperwork for deals that the business folks make. I have a friend several years into one of the top energy transactional practices in the country. He recently showed me what he's been working on for the past year - a several hundred page deal book that he literally goes through word after word, again and again.

The worst part is the stress. Constant stress about minutia that you realize barely matters in the grand scheme of things. And having clients and client interaction sounds rosy, but remember that this is a service profession. When your client says jump, you jump.

It's not all bad. You can make good money, your parents can brag their child is a lawyer and some really enjoy the job/the work they do. It's just that for most, the bad outweighs the good.

You're already on the boat, so try it for a few years. Switch practice areas if you don't like the one you're in. But if you can't see the light at the end of the tunnel, go do something else that you enjoy the day-to-day of. Life is too short to be unhappy, there are many ways to make a living in this world and there are too many depressed, self-medicating attorneys out there. That, in and of itself, should be your warning sign.

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First Offense
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Re: What about being a lawyer is there to look forward to?

Postby First Offense » Wed Jun 17, 2015 11:09 am

You are some misanthropic mother fuckers.

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homestyle28
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Re: What about being a lawyer is there to look forward to?

Postby homestyle28 » Wed Jun 17, 2015 11:42 am

Eh there's days when it's fun-ish, you get to go to court on Pro Bono stuff if you want to, in Biglaw you're still dealing with a lot of shitty plaintiff's attys so you get to write responses to absolutely insane shit.

There's more mundane/annoying days than fun days, but that's why they pay you to do it.

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Re: What about being a lawyer is there to look forward to?

Postby rahulg91 » Wed Jun 17, 2015 11:43 am

krads153 wrote:
minnbills wrote:Sure, there are more lucrative fields. At the end of the day, though, if you're making six figures right out of school you are doing really well.

My greater point though is that most of us are screwed because not only do we have the grind but we also make very little money.


Now my friends who stuck with it (think big 4/analyst jobs) are making six figures anyway but without going to grad school.other friends landed mckinsey/consulting companies straight out of undergrad - crappy lifestyle but good money for straight out of college. pretty much all of my computer engineering friends landed six figure salaries straight out.


Eh, this isn't exactly credited. BCG, Bain (and I think PwC) have fourth year compensation around $90-110k (all-in). Not sure what firm you were at, but it's possible you could get more with a more aggressive bonus structure. If you compare law to banking, no contest. But if we're talking accounting/consulting the compensation is comparable. Yeah tuition is high, but most students who are smart nowadays are going in with scholarships to mitigate loans. Any way you cut it $160k/yr is a sweet deal four years out of college.

But I agree, those doing it at sticker will have a bad time.

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Re: What about being a lawyer is there to look forward to?

Postby krads153 » Wed Jun 17, 2015 11:47 am

rahulg91 wrote:
krads153 wrote:
minnbills wrote:Sure, there are more lucrative fields. At the end of the day, though, if you're making six figures right out of school you are doing really well.

My greater point though is that most of us are screwed because not only do we have the grind but we also make very little money.


Now my friends who stuck with it (think big 4/analyst jobs) are making six figures anyway but without going to grad school.other friends landed mckinsey/consulting companies straight out of undergrad - crappy lifestyle but good money for straight out of college. pretty much all of my computer engineering friends landed six figure salaries straight out.


Eh, this isn't exactly credited. BCG, Bain (and I think PwC) have fourth year compensation around $90-110k (all-in). Not sure what firm you were at, but it's possible you could get more with a more aggressive bonus structure. If you compare law to banking, no contest. But if we're talking accounting/consulting the compensation is comparable. Yeah tuition is high, but most students who are smart nowadays are going in with scholarships to mitigate loans. Any way you cut it $160k/yr is a sweet deal four years out of college.

But I agree, those doing it at sticker will have a bad time.


Yeah, but without loans though. Also, I understand you're comparing 4 years out, etc. but I'm a few years in biglaw, so more than 4 years out of college. My friends at like Ernst & Young, etc make early to mid 100ks now? Keep in mind none of us had any loans coming out of undergrad. A lot of my biglaw coworkers, on the other hand, are still paying off loans.

Even with a half ride these days, you're looking at 150k loans. LOL.

BUt computers engineers, of course, did the best.

So yeah if you went to a good undergrad and majored in finance/business/econ/engineering DONT GO TO LAW SCHOOL.

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Re: What about being a lawyer is there to look forward to?

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Wed Jun 17, 2015 11:54 am

Not everybody who's a lawyer is as depressed as you sad fucks.

However I can count on one hand the people I've meet who seem genuinely, sustainably happy in biglaw.

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Re: What about being a lawyer is there to look forward to?

Postby smallfirmassociate » Wed Jun 17, 2015 12:01 pm

I set my own schedule, handle work that involves some of the most important things in my clients' lives, get to allocate my time and choose what to work on any given day based on my mood and inclinations, get to work with and against intelligent people, get to compete and win at something, take vacations when I want and for how long I want, and get to occasionally do interesting work.

A lot of why I don't mind being a lawyer can be described in terms of what you DON'T have to look forward to. If you're at the right place (e.g. the following probably doesn't apply to most biglaw jobs), you won't look forward to being micromanaged, having your internet use scrutinized, having set break times and times to come and go, being evaluated by an incompetent boss using stupid strict rubrics, and being poorly compensated. You won't be dealing with stupid people / customers / end-users. You won't be selling things or attending boring, awkward networking events (unless you want to). You won't be traveling to conventions, setting up product demos, or training people on-site for days or a week at a time away from your family. You won't be deployed overseas. You won't be on-call, you won't work weekends (depending on where you are), and you won't be expected to do a residency where you already have a professional degree but are expected to work long hours for shit pay.

You won't be scrubbing toilets, organizing files, entering data, or be treated like you're a nobody by other people in your company and their clients. You won't question whether your work is entirely pointless. You won't work on commission where your salary varies a ton. You won't be working in a dangerous job like law enforcement and some construction jobs. You won't have to retire by 40 because it's a physically demanding job or have to face being unpaid for a month because you hurt your back on the weekend and now can't do your job during the week. You won't have to constantly find new clients or renew contracts for old ones to keep your business afloat. You won't have to stare at a spreadsheet all day doing the exact same thing as the day before. You won't have to sit through endless middle management meetings. You won't have to do budgets, review budgets, approve or disapprove of budget items. You won't have to work swing shift, or 24-hour shifts, or work a revolving schedule (like 5 days on, 3 off) that makes your personal life almost impossible to plan. Your daily duties do not involve collections calls or angry customers. You are not in danger of being shitcanned at any time, including within your first year or two, due to "restructuring" or any other whim of a new executive or senior manager.

I could really go on for several more paragraphs. Yeah, practicing law is work, but a lot of people doing it have very little perspective on how much other jobs suck. My job is tolerable. I don't dread going into the office. I don't get a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach at 2 p.m. on Sundays. I do my shit, get treated like a professional, win some cases, make some clients happy, occasionally screw something up, but in any event I go about my business and nobody messes with me.

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Re: What about being a lawyer is there to look forward to?

Postby minnbills » Wed Jun 17, 2015 12:15 pm

Good for you.

I have spent my entire day (other than shooting an email off to the government) dragging files from one folder to another. I still have a long ways to go too.

If it wasn't for my clerkship, my financial situation would be dire. I'd be living on 15k/yr after taxes and loan payments.

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Re: What about being a lawyer is there to look forward to?

Postby 071816 » Wed Jun 17, 2015 12:17 pm

What about being a human is there to look forward to?

krads153
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Re: What about being a lawyer is there to look forward to?

Postby krads153 » Wed Jun 17, 2015 12:18 pm

chimp wrote:What about being a human is there to look forward to?


Making lots of money and not having to work ever again

I just thank god that my spouse has no loans and is financially secure, or else we'd be fucked

0Ls are really crazy insane IMO to even consider paying what they pay now to go to law school....I just dont get it

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Re: What about being a lawyer is there to look forward to?

Postby mirage1287 » Wed Jun 17, 2015 12:53 pm

smallfirmassociate wrote:I set my own schedule, handle work that involves some of the most important things in my clients' lives, get to allocate my time and choose what to work on any given day based on my mood and inclinations, get to work with and against intelligent people, get to compete and win at something, take vacations when I want and for how long I want, and get to occasionally do interesting work.

A lot of why I don't mind being a lawyer can be described in terms of what you DON'T have to look forward to. If you're at the right place (e.g. the following probably doesn't apply to most biglaw jobs), you won't look forward to being micromanaged, having your internet use scrutinized, having set break times and times to come and go, being evaluated by an incompetent boss using stupid strict rubrics, and being poorly compensated. You won't be dealing with stupid people / customers / end-users. You won't be selling things or attending boring, awkward networking events (unless you want to). You won't be traveling to conventions, setting up product demos, or training people on-site for days or a week at a time away from your family. You won't be deployed overseas. You won't be on-call, you won't work weekends (depending on where you are), and you won't be expected to do a residency where you already have a professional degree but are expected to work long hours for shit pay.

You won't be scrubbing toilets, organizing files, entering data, or be treated like you're a nobody by other people in your company and their clients. You won't question whether your work is entirely pointless. You won't work on commission where your salary varies a ton. You won't be working in a dangerous job like law enforcement and some construction jobs. You won't have to retire by 40 because it's a physically demanding job or have to face being unpaid for a month because you hurt your back on the weekend and now can't do your job during the week. You won't have to constantly find new clients or renew contracts for old ones to keep your business afloat. You won't have to stare at a spreadsheet all day doing the exact same thing as the day before. You won't have to sit through endless middle management meetings. You won't have to do budgets, review budgets, approve or disapprove of budget items. You won't have to work swing shift, or 24-hour shifts, or work a revolving schedule (like 5 days on, 3 off) that makes your personal life almost impossible to plan. Your daily duties do not involve collections calls or angry customers. You are not in danger of being shitcanned at any time, including within your first year or two, due to "restructuring" or any other whim of a new executive or senior manager.


You make a lot of good points, but aren't you generalizing a bit with the bolded points? Sinking or swimming in small firm life is very much about selling yourself/your practice and being able to generate new business/clients and retain existing business/clients. If you're a small firm partner, you certainly have to review budgets/budget items. You also have to review billable hours/hours statements if you're doing that type of work. A lot of small firm lawyers are very much in danger of losing their jobs at any time, small firms can be very unstable. I have a lot of friends who were laid off in their first few years of working at sh*tlaw firms due to the firm not doing well.

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Re: What about being a lawyer is there to look forward to?

Postby smallfirmassociate » Wed Jun 17, 2015 1:09 pm

mirage1287 wrote:You make a lot of good points, but aren't you generalizing a bit with the bolded points? Sinking or swimming in small firm life is very much about selling yourself/your practice and being able to generate new business/clients and retain existing business/clients. If you're a small firm partner, you certainly have to review budgets/budget items. You also have to review billable hours/hours statements if you're doing that type of work. A lot of small firm lawyers are very much in danger of losing their jobs at any time, small firms can be very unstable. I have a lot of friends who were laid off in their first few years of working at sh*tlaw firms due to the firm not doing well.


If I do good work and maintain my reputation, work comes in. I'm not doing the type of annoying and time-consuming business generation that other people have to do. I'm also not doing any fundraising, which a lot of jobs for non-profits entail. So no, I'm not actively doing much of anything to attract and retain clients other than just doing my job. I sit on a couple of boards, but that's just being a good citizen as well.

We have a managing partner who handles the budget and all of that stuff, and he gets a few extra bucks a year. I occasionally glance at the books, and we have quarterly meetings, but management is truly a minimal issue for me. I could basically ignore it and it wouldn't affect me. I have an experienced secretary who prepares bills. I look them over at the end of the month--takes maybe 15-30 minutes. And there's a difference between going to a small firm and a shit firm. I do understand your point that anything can happen, but I also think my job has been far more stable and secure than friends in business.

So no, I'm not trying to generalize or minimize--those things you bolded just really are de minimus when it comes to time, effort, and stress. They're basically non-factors in my practice.

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Re: What about being a lawyer is there to look forward to?

Postby minnbills » Wed Jun 17, 2015 1:11 pm

Do you mind if I ask what kind of money you make?

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Re: What about being a lawyer is there to look forward to?

Postby LA Spring » Wed Jun 17, 2015 1:18 pm

When I am working on cases I like (especially those involving going to court) I look forward to coming in to work. But, 1st year law is also a bit like boot camp, as best I can tell, no one likes boot camp. For the most part the partners have an enjoyable upscale life, so there is that to look forward to.

The ones I envy today are those with six figures income working in a LOW COL market, where you do not have to pay $24 to park your car for the privilege of paying $18 for a burger and rings, and do not have to constantly deal with traffic jams (even at midnight).

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Re: What about being a lawyer is there to look forward to?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jun 17, 2015 1:20 pm

I do criminal law, which isn't for everyone, and there's still a lot of paper pushing, but it is very very different from civil (especially biglaw) and I think it avoids some of the things people hate about biglaw (the biggest differences being that you go to court a lot and you run your own cases). I just throw that out there because I think when people say "law sucks" they're primarily talking about working for a firm (which, to be fair, most lawyers do).

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Re: What about being a lawyer is there to look forward to?

Postby smallfirmassociate » Wed Jun 17, 2015 1:43 pm

minnbills wrote:Do you mind if I ask what kind of money you make?


It's pretty good. More than junior NYC associates but definitely less than partners in metro areas. Very low cost of living here, though. For perspective, I make enough in one month to pay my mortgage payments for a year, and my house isn't particularly modest. Sure, I'll never own a yacht and will probably have to work full-time well into my fifties at least, but that's OK with me.

Edit: wait, was this even directed at me? THIS DAMN NEWFANGLED INTERNETS

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Re: What about being a lawyer is there to look forward to?

Postby minnbills » Wed Jun 17, 2015 3:38 pm

Just completed my 7th hour today of moving docs from folders into the cloud. And tomorrow I get to pay the government another thousand bucks. Yay law school!

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Re: What about being a lawyer is there to look forward to?

Postby krads153 » Wed Jun 17, 2015 3:43 pm

minnbills wrote:Just completed my 7th hour today of moving docs from folders into the cloud. And tomorrow I get to pay the government another thousand bucks. Yay law school!


lol, at least that's relatively stress free right?

it's like there's no middle ground. either you get "substantive work" and it's super stressful/asap deadlines, etc. or you get chill work and it's super duper boring

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Re: What about being a lawyer is there to look forward to?

Postby minnbills » Wed Jun 17, 2015 3:46 pm

Yeah that is one perk of my job - no stress at all.

It wouldn't be bad at all if I was making decent money and wasn't hourly. I leave the office every day at 3:30pm and can do whatever I want after that. It would be nice to take a lunch break, but if I did that I would have to stay til 4:30 which I'd rather not.

One of my professors told me once (when we were talkign about investing) that it's okay to be poor, and it's okay to be old, but it's not okay to be old and poor at the same time.

With regard to law, it's okay to work a boring job, and it's okay to not get paid much, but it's not okay to be stuck with both.

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Re: What about being a lawyer is there to look forward to?

Postby UVAIce » Wed Jun 17, 2015 3:54 pm

minnbills wrote:Yeah that is one perk of my job - no stress at all.

It wouldn't be bad at all if I was making decent money and wasn't hourly. I leave the office every day at 3:30pm and can do whatever I want after that. It would be nice to take a lunch break, but if I did that I would have to stay til 4:30 which I'd rather not.

One of my professors told me once (when we were talkign about investing) that it's okay to be poor, and it's okay to be old, but it's not okay to be old and poor at the same time.

With regard to law, it's okay to work a boring job, and it's okay to not get paid much, but it's not okay to be stuck with both.


I think that's a pretty good point. You don't want to be a poor drone.

Some of the comments in this thread remind of an issue I see with a lot of young lawyers/law students: everyone wants to be alpha. People who go to law school, especially good law schools, have this expectation that they will be ruling the world. Then they realize that they are starting from the bottom of the totem pole, and that sucks.

I also think that if I had to work in NYC I would hate my life. My take home pay in a secondary market is actually larger after taxes than what I would be getting after taxes in NYC. Of course my bonuses will be small to non-existent, but I also don't have to pay $2,000 a month for a studio apartment. There is also no traffic. I still have to bill 2,000 hours: you win some, you lose some.

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Re: What about being a lawyer is there to look forward to?

Postby minnbills » Wed Jun 17, 2015 4:01 pm

UVAIce wrote:
I think that's a pretty good point. You don't want to be a poor drone.



Right but my point is most lawyers are poor drones.

The average solo practitioner makes $46,000.00 per year. If they have at least one dependent that puts them under the median income in most states.

Your point that you win some and lose some is well taken, but at the end of the day you'll have options coming out of your firm - good options. Moreover, you have the benefit of making a choice. If you wanted, you could easily switch the equation and take an easier job but make less money.

if you're on the other side of the equation, it's different. You're stuck.

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Re: What about being a lawyer is there to look forward to?

Postby lacrossebrother » Wed Jun 17, 2015 4:22 pm

minnbills wrote:
UVAIce wrote:
I think that's a pretty good point. You don't want to be a poor drone.



Right but my point is most lawyers are poor drones.

The average solo practitioner makes $46,000.00 per year. If they have at least one dependent that puts them under the median income in most states.

Your point that you win some and lose some is well taken, but at the end of the day you'll have options coming out of your firm - good options. Moreover, you have the benefit of making a choice. If you wanted, you could easily switch the equation and take an easier job but make less money.

if you're on the other side of the equation, it's different. You're stuck.

Source?

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Re: What about being a lawyer is there to look forward to?

Postby lacrossebrother » Wed Jun 17, 2015 4:26 pm

Magic Hat wrote:
lacrossebrother wrote:I honestly can't think of anything I don't like about the job. I have a ton of different tasks and I can pretty much elect how long to spend on any of them. People respect my opinion and I get to learn about new and different shit all the time. And I get to talk to smart people all day. And write. And get paid to read. I think I'll have to start traveling to bullshit places like Sacramento soonish but I'm enjoying my first month or so. I'll take the bar at the end of July but I don't think anything will change except maybe a little more responsibility which would be cool.

Actually sometimes I don't like when people come to tell me stories. People tend to be verbose in law I think and their stories aren't all that great. So I have to sit quietly sometimes and listen. But I can usually turn an eye to the comp screen.

Idk it's a pretty damn good job. Good pay, own office, make my own hours, have an assistant. Not sure what there is to complain about.


Let's talk in 5 years.

I used to feel this way. I used to love practicing law. I still might. Back in my first year of practice I remember telling some twat attorney with 10 years under her belt that I love practicing and she said "Let's talk in 5 years".

Since that time I left government for a mid law firm, built a pretty good reputation as a young up and comer in a niche dominated by old men, developed a book of business and put myself solidly on partnership track. I still love my job but I occasionally lay awake at night wondering what else I could do. Law can be very shitty and I am aware I have it easier than most.

Two days ago my boss loudly announced "there's gotta be a better way to make money than this shit" and left the office for the rest of the day. Just to establish some context - he makes well over a million a year.

OK, Ill mark it down to talk to you in five years.
If you have your own book of business, why not just start your own shop if you start to get bored of the day to day? Still get to practice law but also get to act as a manager.

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Re: What about being a lawyer is there to look forward to?

Postby UVAIce » Wed Jun 17, 2015 4:50 pm

minnbills wrote:
UVAIce wrote:
I think that's a pretty good point. You don't want to be a poor drone.



Right but my point is most lawyers are poor drones.

The average solo practitioner makes $46,000.00 per year. If they have at least one dependent that puts them under the median income in most states.

Your point that you win some and lose some is well taken, but at the end of the day you'll have options coming out of your firm - good options. Moreover, you have the benefit of making a choice. If you wanted, you could easily switch the equation and take an easier job but make less money.

if you're on the other side of the equation, it's different. You're stuck.


But we all had the choice to attend or not attend law school. There is a weak argument that 4-5 years ago people did not have enough information to make a good choice, but that argument does not hold up today. Just google "I want to be a lawyer" and see what comes up. I'm not saying that I don't have some compassion for those folks - it could have been me, right - but it's hard to get really teary eyed to feel bad for college graduates in a country full of people in far more desperate circumstances.

And you're only stuck if you want to be stuck. Sometimes you have to be creative with what you're going to do. You might laugh, but my backup plan was to just grind for a year and be a software engineer- I already know how to code C, C#, Java, HTML, Python, and a bunch of other languages. You can't let the debt stop you. Although, I'll be the first person to say that I think it's stupid how much schools charge for tuition and how difficult it is to get rid of student loan debt.




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