Who here likes their biglaw job?

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Who here likes their biglaw job?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Mar 20, 2016 12:40 pm

Based on recent threads (and by 'recent' I mean threads made in the last five years) concerning biglaw, it seems like everyone hates their job, and that anyone who goes into biglaw will hate their job.

Out of curiosity I'd like to hear from people who've had positive experiences in biglaw, because at this point I'm basically convinced they do not exist.

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Re: Who here likes their biglaw job?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Mar 20, 2016 1:32 pm

I like my job. I don't love it, but I certainly don't hate it.

I'm a third-year corporate associate at a V10 firm. I've billed somewhat over 2000 hours both complete years so far (just a hair over 2000 the first year, around 2400 the second), including both busy times and quieter times. I'm not in one of the "typical" corporate groups (not M&A or Capital Markets or Banking) but instead a corporate practice area that is somewhat a specialty of my firm. At other firms, it has a reputation of being a lifestyle practice, but not here. In any case, our timelines do tend to be much longer than the timelines in, say, M&A, which is a major plus.

I work hard, but I have a lot of flexibility in when or where I work. My SO also works a demanding job that has a lot less flexibility, so I don't feel like my job intrudes on that aspect of my personal life. Similarly, most of my friends in NYC also work demanding jobs (whether as lawyers or otherwise) so don't feel socially restricted and friends are generally understanding of time issues.

The work itself is mentally stimulating and challenging, and I enjoy the personal interactions I have on a daily basis. My coworkers are respectful and friendly people, albeit some somewhat overworked.

Will I stay around for years and years longer? Maybe. When I joined a firm I never thought I would consider going for partner, but I've felt differently recently. I think I still have a couple of years to decide whether I want to make that push.

Edit: I will add that I am a K-JD so do not have another job/career to which I regularly compare the biglaw experience.

whysoseriousbiglaw

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Re: Who here likes their biglaw job?

Postby whysoseriousbiglaw » Sun Mar 20, 2016 1:37 pm

I'd estimate that 5% like their biglaw job. Of course some (a small minority) likes biglaw, or else there wouldn't be any new partners anymore. These types:
- Do not need a lot of sleep and can function normally off like 4-5 hours a night.
- Don't have any hobbies/personal interests.
- Don't need to unwind at the end of a day.
- Generally (but not all) do not come from money and think that a biglaw associate salary is "high".

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Poldy

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Re: Who here likes their biglaw job?

Postby Poldy » Sun Mar 20, 2016 2:28 pm

whysoseriousbiglaw wrote:I'd estimate that 5% like their biglaw job. Of course some (a small minority) likes biglaw, or else there wouldn't be any new partners anymore. These types:
- Do not need a lot of sleep and can function normally off like 4-5 hours a night.
- Don't have any hobbies/personal interests.
- Don't need to unwind at the end of a day.
- Generally (but not all) do not come from money and think that a biglaw associate salary is "high".

You are insufferable.

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Re: Who here likes their biglaw job?

Postby WhiteCollarBlueShirt » Sun Mar 20, 2016 2:39 pm

Poldy wrote:
whysoseriousbiglaw wrote:I'd estimate that 5% like their biglaw job. Of course some (a small minority) likes biglaw, or else there wouldn't be any new partners anymore. These types:
- Do not need a lot of sleep and can function normally off like 4-5 hours a night.
- Don't have any hobbies/personal interests.
- Don't need to unwind at the end of a day.
- Generally (but not all) do not come from money and think that a biglaw associate salary is "high".

You are insufferable.


Maybe, but he's not inaccurate. Particularly with regard to hobbies/personal interests. If you're not interested in the work, then you won't like it, because work will become the majority of your life as divided in 6 minute increments.

In the spirit of this thread, I work in a practice area that I find moderately interesting (sounds very possible that I work in the same area as the guy above). When my hours are good (and they've been a 1,000 times better since leaving NYC), I tolerate or even like my job--but the moment the hours begin to stretch, I think there are many aspects of the business side of my practice area that I actually find a lot more interesting than the law itself.

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Re: Who here likes their biglaw job?

Postby Hutz_and_Goodman » Sun Mar 20, 2016 2:43 pm

I like my job (only 6 months in though). I am very interested in legal work, which is a big deal because most people definitely do not. I would echo the above that a lot of the people in my class dislike big law and also find legal work boring/pointless. If you have any job where you don't like the work you will not be satisfied, and if you are working 70-80 hours a week at that job you will be pretty miserable.

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Re: Who here likes their biglaw job?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Mar 20, 2016 4:28 pm

Thanks for the replies, interesting perspectives here. Keep em coming. Seems like the bottom line is you have to really like/appreciate the work itself.

I guess a follow up question would be: Is there anyway to determine whether or not you will like that work in the time you're still in law school? I get the impression that SAs aren't exactly representative of your first year on the job.

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Re: Who here likes their biglaw job?

Postby whysoseriousbiglaw » Sun Mar 20, 2016 4:30 pm

Poldy wrote:
whysoseriousbiglaw wrote:I'd estimate that 5% like their biglaw job. Of course some (a small minority) likes biglaw, or else there wouldn't be any new partners anymore. These types:
- Do not need a lot of sleep and can function normally off like 4-5 hours a night.
- Don't have any hobbies/personal interests.
- Don't need to unwind at the end of a day.
- Generally (but not all) do not come from money and think that a biglaw associate salary is "high".

You are insufferable.


Which part?

Tbf, older partners tend to come from money, but back then everyone made partner and law was previously dominated by the elite.

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Re: Who here likes their biglaw job?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Mar 20, 2016 4:39 pm

Fourth year biglaw tax associate in a secondary market - I like my job. I work with people who are generally enjoyable to be around (and who have lives outside of the office), and the nature of tax work is such that the work is more stable/predictable (there are very few last minute tax emergencies that require all-nighters). Billed 2000-ish hours the past two years, usually working 9-7, although a few times a month I work for an hour at home at night, and every once in a while I'll do some significant Saturday work. I have plenty of time to be social and to participate in my time-consuming hobby.

I think having a pretty stable schedule combined with working for nice people is what makes things good. I can't imagine doing the same work, only for an extra 3 hours a day, or all weekend every weekend. And if I worked for irrational jerks that would also be miserable. Further, tax is something that takes some time to learn - and after spending several years training me, my firm has less motivation to just show me the door, because we don't have a giant tax department that has a conveyor belt of replacement associates just pumping through.

Maybe things would change if I had kids, but right now I'd be content to stay here forever. Things could always change (partners decide they don't like you, someone leaves, work dries up, the tax code is rewritten with a flat tax and no regulations...), but for now it's all good.

It's hard to know when picking a firm if you'll be happy there, especially because your happiness is often dependent on factors outside of your control: the partners you are assigned to, your practice group, the firm's general culture, the economy. Other associates in my firm in other groups have not necessarily had similar experiences, so part of it is just getting lucky. So yes, some of us are actually happy and like our jobs, but that may just be the luck of the draw.

My advice to law students looking into firms: talk to EVERYONE at the firms you want to go to. Not just litigation or M&A associates, but niche regulatory or tax or whatever associates. If some random summer associate or even random law student reached out to me to ask questions about the firm and the practice group, I would be more than willing to chat. You can get all the information you need if you just go looking for it - it just is going to require more than reading NALP.

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Re: Who here likes their biglaw job?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Mar 20, 2016 4:53 pm

I enjoy my biglaw job quite a bit. But that wasn't always the case. I started in a firm that wasn't a great fit, in a practice group I had no interest in joining, and working with people that were so difficult and insufferable as to make it impossible to get by. After 1.5 years, I was ready to leave law entirely, unless I could break into the practice area I always wanted to be in. I made a switch to a new firm that brought me into the practice area I wanted all along, and its been great since then, but its about so much more than substance alone.

At my old firm, it was a combo of negative factors. Huge cases where you play next to no part, little substantive experience, essentially no client contact, tons of discovery garbage, poor group oversight where you get pulled in tons of directions, and people who didn't seem to be happy in general. On top of that, I had no interest in the substance of the work, making it all the more difficult and negative. Finally, the hours were insane as can be. Yet what I described above is not atypical for biglaw. So I can see why so many end up unhappy.

I worked with a recruiter to look into big firms hiring at the junior level in my practice area of choice. Found a great firm willing to take a shot on me, and I never looked back. Its like night and day to me. At my new firm, we work with slightly more regional cases and clients, making it so the matters are smaller. This allows juniors to get MUCH close to the action. Instead of working on 2 or 3 matters with endless discovery, I now work on 5 or 6 cases and get to make (or at least influence) key decisions in the matters. I get lots of substantive experience as well since I write motions, attend hearings, and just took my first depo as a 3rd year. Since my practice area involves a lot of counseling, I'm constantly on the phone with clients providing advice. With smaller cases, the discovery is much more condensed, so I spend much more of my time on the substantive matters. Finally, my group is now close-knit as has strong oversight by a good leader. He helps ensure that the work is spread around right and he can help you redistribute things if something big comes up. Its so important to have someone with that kind of birds-eye view of the group's work. Hours expectations at my new firm are a bit more manageable also.

The moral of the story here is that whether you "like" biglaw is hugely dependent on the circumstances and context. You need to find substance you like, get in with the right people that you gel with, find a place where you get substantive experience, etc. So easy to fall into a situation where you don't have these things and where you end up unhappy.

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Re: Who here likes their biglaw job?

Postby Poldy » Sun Mar 20, 2016 5:12 pm

whysoseriousbiglaw wrote:
Poldy wrote:
whysoseriousbiglaw wrote:I'd estimate that 5% like their biglaw job. Of course some (a small minority) likes biglaw, or else there wouldn't be any new partners anymore. These types:
- Do not need a lot of sleep and can function normally off like 4-5 hours a night.
- Don't have any hobbies/personal interests.
- Don't need to unwind at the end of a day.
- Generally (but not all) do not come from money and think that a biglaw associate salary is "high".

You are insufferable.


Which part?

Tbf, older partners tend to come from money, but back then everyone made partner and law was previously dominated by the elite.

Just you in general but especially your "I'm super rich" schtick. Nobody cares.

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Re: Who here likes their biglaw job?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Mar 20, 2016 8:19 pm

I have to disagree- knowing whether this guy has a substantial nest egg or any debt to pay is important. There is a big difference between someone with debt, a sick dad, pregnant wife thinking about leaving big law vs someone who maybe doesn't have those stresses- the advice is different.

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Re: Who here likes their biglaw job?

Postby whysoseriousbiglaw » Sun Mar 20, 2016 9:12 pm

Poldy wrote:
whysoseriousbiglaw wrote:
Poldy wrote:
whysoseriousbiglaw wrote:I'd estimate that 5% like their biglaw job. Of course some (a small minority) likes biglaw, or else there wouldn't be any new partners anymore. These types:
- Do not need a lot of sleep and can function normally off like 4-5 hours a night.
- Don't have any hobbies/personal interests.
- Don't need to unwind at the end of a day.
- Generally (but not all) do not come from money and think that a biglaw associate salary is "high".

You are insufferable.


Which part?

Tbf, older partners tend to come from money, but back then everyone made partner and law was previously dominated by the elite.

Just you in general but especially your "I'm super rich" schtick. Nobody cares.


lol so MAF jelly. if you don't care then STFU and stop responding to my posts. I'm not the one initiating convo with you.

and for the record, guys who wear suits on a daily basis look like d-bags....

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Re: Who here likes their biglaw job?

Postby Poldy » Sun Mar 20, 2016 9:40 pm

Fucking lol at someone who talks about his family wealth, not even personal wealth but family wealth, in every single post calling someone else a douche.

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Re: Who here likes their biglaw job?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Mar 20, 2016 10:39 pm

I just really really really really really like the money. The way a heroin addict likes heroin.

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Re: Who here likes their biglaw job?

Postby zot1 » Sun Mar 20, 2016 10:44 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I just really really really really really like the money. The way a heroin addict likes heroin.


Money is fun.

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Re: Who here likes their biglaw job?

Postby Danger Zone » Sun Mar 20, 2016 11:59 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I just really really really really really like the money. The way a heroin addict likes heroin.

Yeah, I feel pretty great about my job twice a month
Last edited by Danger Zone on Sat Jan 27, 2018 3:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Who here likes their biglaw job?

Postby jimmythecatdied6 » Mon Mar 21, 2016 9:26 am

whysoseriousbiglaw wrote:I'd estimate that 5% like their biglaw job. Of course some (a small minority) likes biglaw, or else there wouldn't be any new partners anymore. These types:
- Do not need a lot of sleep and can function normally off like 4-5 hours a night.
- Don't have any hobbies/personal interests.
- Don't need to unwind at the end of a day.
- Generally (but not all) do not come from money and think that a biglaw associate salary is "high".


did you really put "high" in quotations?

I would estimate that 0% of people in BL enjoy working with this guy.

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Re: Who here likes their biglaw job?

Postby jimmythecatdied6 » Mon Mar 21, 2016 9:28 am

^ accidental anon.

and I take that back. people in BL suck, so I can imagine whysoserious being quite popular.

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Re: Who here likes their biglaw job?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Mar 21, 2016 9:32 am

I like/love my job. I am in a niche practice with low hours and difficult work. I find the work enjoyable in general, but it probably wouldn't be for everyone. I also really enjoy almost all the people I work with.

I also think being in a secondary market helps. The corp/lit people at my firm don't seem as miserable as the people on TLS claim to be. They work a lot more than I do, and more (not all, but some) of their partners are dicks, but the associates I know are reasonably content overall - overworked, a little stressed, but not miserable. I think you work less outside NYC and outside the prestigious firms. (My advice to law students is avoid firms with really nice swag, because common sense says they will take it out of your hide.) Then again, maybe we are all just a bunch of plebs out here who are blinded by the dollar signs after clawing our way out of the middle class.

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Re: Who here likes their biglaw job?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Mar 21, 2016 10:30 am

I always seem to be the one of the few replying "yes" in these threads, but I freakin' love my job. A few things that make a real difference:

- I don't need much sleep. Almost everyone in my family going back multiple generations is sleeping 6-6.5 hours a night, and 5.5 is fine for me as long as I get 7-7.5 on a couple of nights during the weekend. That means I just have more hours in the day than the poor souls who need 8 hours a night.

- My practice group is "collegial", which basically means they let me indulge my hobbies. I keep lots of hobby-related gear at the office, so that if I have a light day, I can sneak out and take advantage of the time to have fun.

- My spouse works a similarly demanding job (high-level strategy consulting).

- No billable hours requirement, practice group is busy, everyone makes good money and associates who leave get terrific placement.

- No debt, and lots of money already in the bank. I work because I want to, not because I have to.

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Re: Who here likes their biglaw job?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Mar 21, 2016 10:45 am

I think liking the job is more common in lit. Corporate is second tier paper pushing or navigating worthless red tape created by other lawyers. Corporate lawyers are like the equipment managers of the business world. Someone has to do this shit so the players can plan and the coaches can coach, but come on, it's basically refilling the gatorade jugs.

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Re: Who here likes their biglaw job?

Postby patentlitigatrix » Mon Mar 21, 2016 4:23 pm

whysoseriousbiglaw wrote:I'd estimate that 5% like their biglaw job. Of course some (a small minority) likes biglaw, or else there wouldn't be any new partners anymore. These types:
- Do not need a lot of sleep and can function normally off like 4-5 hours a night.
- Don't have any hobbies/personal interests.
- Don't need to unwind at the end of a day.
- Generally (but not all) do not come from money and think that a biglaw associate salary is "high".


The first three are not true in the least for me, and I like my job. These are some rough patches here and there where I am working more than I like, but it is generally fine.



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