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

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

Postby Holly Golightly » Wed Jun 17, 2015 5:07 pm

So far the only thing I don't like is that I have to spend a decent amount of time doing administrative work because I don't have support staff. I love researching issues and potential cases. I love suing people. I love advising the government on questionable things. Discovery can be kind of mind-numbing, but so far I haven't had cases where it's taken much time.

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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 8:20 pm

Lax: http://www.cnn.com/2015/05/22/opinions/ ... f-lawyers/

It's 49, not 46. Sorry.

UVA: I know - and I am unduly critical of the profession sometimes. I do think if you stick it out long enough, you'll probably end up about where you want to be. I let these things get the better of me sometimes. And yeah, as far as debt is concerned, there is no excuse any more for taking out unmanageable student loans. The word is definitely out on that. The same goes for people shipping off to terrible schools.

But I can't think of another profession where just graduating in the middle of your class (even from a good school) puts you in such a tough spot. I mean maybe things are just that bad at my school, but I can name at least two people in the top 5% of my class who can't find anything, one of whom is a patent lawyer; and don't get me started on people in the middle of the class or worse.

If it wasn't for the fact that I went all in on a specialty I actually like, I don't think I'd have a job, let alone a fed clerkship.

And it's not as easy as just pivoting into something else, considering employers will actually hold your JD against you these days. They figure you'll bolt for a legal job at the first opportunity. I guess one real benefit of having a JD (if you went to a good school) is it makes getting an MBA from a top school much easier, but I digress.

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

Postby krads153 » Thu Jun 18, 2015 10:24 am

minnbills wrote: I do think if you stick it out long enough, you'll probably end up about where you want to be. I let these things get the better of me sometimes. And yeah, as far as debt is concerned, there is no excuse any more for taking out unmanageable student loans. The word is definitely out on that. The same goes for people shipping off to terrible schools.


Tbf, most JD holders end up leaving the profession completely - something like 90% of them or more. So yeah, most people don't stick it out in law (whether it's because of burn out or because you can make more straight out of undergrad with a liberal arts degree....) And some leave for business after going in house, so they use law as a stepping stone for business. But with business your personality matters a lot more.

I just think 99% of people going in have no idea what the practice of law is like. And frankly, not everyone is cut out for the hours at firms or the attention to detail (which is key). If you're the type who likes planning far in advance and have a meticulous schedule and don't pull all nighters, etc., then it wont be easy for you. A lot of law practice is super ASAP deadlines and you never really have any idea what you're doing the next day. And also attention to detail - I've known a few associates who got bad reviews (they did well at good law schools) because they just don't have attention to detail. It can be taught, but a lot of it is down to nature/your personality, and it really has very little correlation to where you went to school.

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AVBucks4239
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Re: What about being a lawyer is there to look forward to?

Postby AVBucks4239 » Thu Jun 18, 2015 10:53 am

krads153 wrote:
minnbills wrote: I do think if you stick it out long enough, you'll probably end up about where you want to be. I let these things get the better of me sometimes. And yeah, as far as debt is concerned, there is no excuse any more for taking out unmanageable student loans. The word is definitely out on that. The same goes for people shipping off to terrible schools.


Tbf, most JD holders end up leaving the profession completely - something like 90% of them or more. So yeah, most people don't stick it out in law (whether it's because of burn out or because you can make more straight out of undergrad with a liberal arts degree....) And some leave for business after going in house, so they use law as a stepping stone for business. But with business your personality matters a lot more.

I just think 99% of people going in have no idea what the practice of law is like. And frankly, not everyone is cut out for the hours at firms or the attention to detail (which is key). If you're the type who likes planning far in advance and have a meticulous schedule and don't pull all nighters, etc., then it wont be easy for you. A lot of law practice is super ASAP deadlines and you never really have any idea what you're doing the next day. And also attention to detail - I've known a few associates who got bad reviews (they did well at good law schools) because they just don't have attention to detail. It can be taught, but a lot of it is down to nature/your personality, and it really has very little correlation to where you went to school.

90% or more JD holders leave the profession entirely? I know a lot of lawyers are depressed but that cannot possibly be correct.

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

Postby xiao_long » Thu Jun 18, 2015 11:57 am

minnbills wrote:Lax: http://www.cnn.com/2015/05/22/opinions/ ... f-lawyers/

It's 49, not 46. Sorry.

UVA: I know - and I am unduly critical of the profession sometimes. I do think if you stick it out long enough, you'll probably end up about where you want to be. I let these things get the better of me sometimes. And yeah, as far as debt is concerned, there is no excuse any more for taking out unmanageable student loans. The word is definitely out on that. The same goes for people shipping off to terrible schools.

But I can't think of another profession where just graduating in the middle of your class (even from a good school) puts you in such a tough spot. I mean maybe things are just that bad at my school, but I can name at least two people in the top 5% of my class who can't find anything, one of whom is a patent lawyer; and don't get me started on people in the middle of the class or worse.

If it wasn't for the fact that I went all in on a specialty I actually like, I don't think I'd have a job, let alone a fed clerkship.

And it's not as easy as just pivoting into something else, considering employers will actually hold your JD against you these days. They figure you'll bolt for a legal job at the first opportunity. I guess one real benefit of having a JD (if you went to a good school) is it makes getting an MBA from a top school much easier, but I digress.


By virtue of having a JD from a good school doesn't make you a better candidate for a top b-school. If you have a fancy schmancy law diploma but don't have names like Sullivan & Cromwell or U.S. Department of the Treasury sprinkled on your resume, HSW adcoms won't be like "he has only worked at Forever 21 but has a JD from Harvard, so let's admit him!"

Also, you seem to imply that getting an MBA is necessarily a good move. I don't think getting an MBA on top of a JD makes sense for the vast majority of people. An MBA doesn't bolster a legal career, but comes with the price tag of a new Maserati.

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

Postby minnbills » Thu Jun 18, 2015 12:20 pm

xiao_long wrote:By virtue of having a JD from a good school doesn't make you a better candidate for a top b-school. If you have a fancy schmancy law diploma but don't have names like Sullivan & Cromwell or U.S. Department of the Treasury sprinkled on your resume, HSW adcoms won't be like "he has only worked at Forever 21 but has a JD from Harvard, so let's admit him!"

Also, you seem to imply that getting an MBA is necessarily a good move. I don't think getting an MBA on top of a JD makes sense for the vast majority of people. An MBA doesn't bolster a legal career, but comes with the price tag of a new Maserati.


You've taken what I said and ran with it to an extreme.

Obviously you have to have work experience to get into B school, but you are overstating your case. Having a JD from a strong school makes getting into a top program (in most fields) easier.

And yeah, if you're set on a legal career getting an MBA after your JD is probably a poor move. I don't think anyone on this board would think getting an MBA is "necessarily" a good move in every situation.

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

Postby chuckbass » Thu Jun 18, 2015 12:33 pm

Is it fair to think that biglaw in a secondary market will actually be any less soul-crushing than NYC biglaw?
Last edited by chuckbass on Thu Jun 18, 2015 8:55 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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

Postby Magic Hat » Thu Jun 18, 2015 3:18 pm

Because my salary + origination fees + bonus + benefits is more than my book minus overhead minus health insurance minus retirement contributions minus taxes.

Also I like to cross sell clients to other practice areas in the firm. I like to leverage my files to other associates (and, on occasion, partners). I don't like to do my own administrative work.

Plus I get big roles in projects I wouldn't land on my own. I feel like i would get bored as a solo doing the same work over and over. Now I get to do new and bigger things all the time.

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

Postby minnbills » Thu Jun 18, 2015 3:21 pm

Your practice sounds awesome, Magic.

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

Postby lacrossebrother » Thu Jun 18, 2015 3:26 pm

minnbills wrote:Your practice sounds awesome, Magic.

Ya exactly. You even admit still liking it. It's weird you're taking this position that being a lawyer is a bad career.

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AreJay711
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Re: What about being a lawyer is there to look forward to?

Postby AreJay711 » Thu Jun 18, 2015 3:53 pm

I enjoy most being able to tell people why they are wrong and force them to accept it. There aren't too many jobs where that is a very large part of your job. A close second is being (within the office, anyway) the dude that people can ask about some particular shit or can be trusted to figure it out. The research and writing are cool too, but not as much as what it accomplishes.

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

Postby beepboopbeep » Thu Jun 18, 2015 5:48 pm

lacrossebrother wrote:
minnbills wrote:Your practice sounds awesome, Magic.

Ya exactly. You even admit still liking it. It's weird you're taking this position that being a lawyer is a bad career.


It sounds awesome from the outside and Magic admits to "maybe" still liking it, but I also get a distinct "I'm making the very best out of this shitty thing, but sometimes I can't get over the underlying shittiness" vibe.

I don't think it's that weird that someone in what many of us would describe as a great position, career-wise, still dislikes it. There's a lot of recent grads that would kill for biglaw, for example--seems pretty similar.

That said, in response to this thread's topic: just an SA so I know basically nothing, but some of the work that is in my particular area is really legitimately fun. Maybe it wouldn't be fun doing it 80-100 hours a week--I'd guess not much is. But I legit enjoy this sub-part of the field and don't really feel like I'm working when I'm working on it. Unfortunately it's not a huge thing nor something my firm does on a regular basis, so the joy is likely fleeting. But it's nice to at least know there's something out there like that.

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

Postby lacrossebrother » Thu Jun 18, 2015 7:23 pm

What are you doing

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

Postby ExBiglawAssociate » Thu Jun 18, 2015 8:49 pm

beepboopbeep wrote:
lacrossebrother wrote:
minnbills wrote:Your practice sounds awesome, Magic.

Ya exactly. You even admit still liking it. It's weird you're taking this position that being a lawyer is a bad career.


It sounds awesome from the outside and Magic admits to "maybe" still liking it, but I also get a distinct "I'm making the very best out of this shitty thing, but sometimes I can't get over the underlying shittiness" vibe.

I don't think it's that weird that someone in what many of us would describe as a great position, career-wise, still dislikes it. There's a lot of recent grads that would kill for biglaw, for example--seems pretty similar.

That said, in response to this thread's topic: just an SA so I know basically nothing, but some of the work that is in my particular area is really legitimately fun. Maybe it wouldn't be fun doing it 80-100 hours a week--I'd guess not much is. But I legit enjoy this sub-part of the field and don't really feel like I'm working when I'm working on it. Unfortunately it's not a huge thing nor something my firm does on a regular basis, so the joy is likely fleeting. But it's nice to at least know there's something out there like that.


lol

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

Postby chuckbass » Thu Jun 18, 2015 8:56 pm

scottidsntknow wrote:Is it fair to think that biglaw in a secondary market will actually be any less soul-crushing than NYC biglaw?

Bump.

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

Postby Aeon » Thu Jun 18, 2015 10:22 pm

scottidsntknow wrote:
scottidsntknow wrote:Is it fair to think that biglaw in a secondary market will actually be any less soul-crushing than NYC biglaw?

Bump.


The hours will probably be better, and depending on the firm, people's attitudes too. If you have family or friends in that secondary market (especially if you grew up there), that'll help enormously.

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

Postby JohannDeMann » Thu Jun 18, 2015 11:06 pm

scottidsntknow wrote:
scottidsntknow wrote:Is it fair to think that biglaw in a secondary market will actually be any less soul-crushing than NYC biglaw?

Bump.


Of course. There's a noticeable difference from NYC biglaw to even Chicago biglaw hours wise (I'd guess around a couple hundred a year on average). Will be another step down in secondary markets. Secondary markets also have way lower associate to partner pyramids which probably require partners to treat associates somewhat humanely since a greater portion of them have to be partners someday. If 3 people in a group at NYC leave, the partners don't blink an eye. 3 people in a StL practice group leaving in the same year would actually force the partners to talk about what the fuck s going on.

lawman84
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Re: What about being a lawyer is there to look forward to?

Postby lawman84 » Thu Jun 18, 2015 11:09 pm

What is "shitlaw?"

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

Postby chuckbass » Thu Jun 18, 2015 11:24 pm

JohannDeMann wrote:
scottidsntknow wrote:
scottidsntknow wrote:Is it fair to think that biglaw in a secondary market will actually be any less soul-crushing than NYC biglaw?

Bump.


Of course. There's a noticeable difference from NYC biglaw to even Chicago biglaw hours wise (I'd guess around a couple hundred a year on average). Will be another step down in secondary markets. Secondary markets also have way lower associate to partner pyramids which probably require partners to treat associates somewhat humanely since a greater portion of them have to be partners someday. If 3 people in a group at NYC leave, the partners don't blink an eye. 3 people in a StL practice group leaving in the same year would actually force the partners to talk about what the fuck s going on.

Ok good to hear. I'll be in Philly and I figured even if the hours are just a little lower, that'll translate into better quality of life (plus actually being able to afford to live comfortably).

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

Postby beepboopbeep » Thu Jun 18, 2015 11:27 pm

Biglaw_Associate_V20 wrote:
beepboopbeep wrote:snip


lol


Yea I realize that was basically the most summer-associate post possible

I don't look forward to having the same reaction

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

Postby Danger Zone » Thu Jun 18, 2015 11:39 pm

Philly can be brutal depending on where you end up

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

Postby chuckbass » Thu Jun 18, 2015 11:57 pm

Danger Zone wrote:Philly can be brutal depending on where you end up

I'm not at one of the known sweatshops at least (MLB/Dechert)? :|

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

Postby smallfirmassociate » Fri Jun 19, 2015 10:55 am

lawman84 wrote:What is "shitlaw?"


It's amorphous. The key elements of shitlaw, in my opinion, are:

1. Doing legal work that pays less than the good firms in the market. E.g. taking the crumbs left over after more prominent firms pick over the profitable personal injury and other plaintiff lit cases or doing insurance defense

2. Having to drum up business as a regular part of the job. Not in a "rainmaking with area business leaders" kind of way, but in a "hang out at the courthouse and see if people are represented" kind of way.

3. Volume business. Not all volume business is shitlaw, but I'd say almost all shitlaw is volume business.

4. Undesirable clients. Scraping the bottom of the barrel for work. Usually this means working with individuals, but it can also mean something like representing companies in collections or foreclosing mortgages. Those clients are undesirable in their own ways.

I would say shitlaw usually involves at least three of these. Some perfectly respectable criminal defense lawyers (for one example) have undesirable clients and engage in a volume business, but they get paid well and don't have to drum up business.

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

Postby FluffMonster » Fri Jun 19, 2015 11:23 am

scottidsntknow wrote:
Danger Zone wrote:Philly can be brutal depending on where you end up

I'm not at one of the known sweatshops at least (MLB/Dechert)? :|


Is Dechert known for being a sweatshop in NYC or is that a Philly thing?

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

Postby chuckbass » Fri Jun 19, 2015 11:23 am

FluffMonster wrote:
scottidsntknow wrote:
Danger Zone wrote:Philly can be brutal depending on where you end up

I'm not at one of the known sweatshops at least (MLB/Dechert)? :|


Is Dechert known for being a sweatshop in NYC or is that a Philly thing?

Philly thing, not sure of its NYC rep.




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