Is Biglaw for ppl with no debt?

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Monochromatic Oeuvre

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Re: Is Biglaw for ppl with no debt?

Postby Monochromatic Oeuvre » Sat Jul 09, 2016 2:42 pm

jchiles wrote:
Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote: Or sleep on the sidewalk and just keep your work clothes in your Planet Fitness gym locker too.



You can't keep stuff in a planet fitness locker overnight dude


I have experience with it at other gyms, but TBF I wouldn't be at all surprised if it were just an upscale thing. Paying a premium for the privilege of not being asked questions.

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Re: Is Biglaw for ppl with no debt?

Postby Nebby » Sat Jul 09, 2016 2:42 pm

Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:
dixiecupdrinking wrote:
Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:Well shit, you could live with two roommates in Waterbury. Or dumpster dive for food. Or never use electricity. Or sleep on the sidewalk and just keep your work clothes in your Planet Fitness gym locker too.

You can do most anything. Isn't the meaningful realm what's reasonable to do? Isn't the right question how people can have at least the amenities we consider middle-class?

Is it your position that spending $450 a week on "food and entertainment" is the minimum amount necessary to have "reasonable middle-class" amenities? If so, we're at an impasse.


Nope. I don't spend that much and I still live pretty comfortably.

I just think the debate over what's "possible" misses the point, because most people aren't robots and will enjoy the occasional convenience of a deli meal, or the occasional night out with friends, or whatever it is normal people do.

I still think you have to actively try to spend $2k/month of food/entertainment. Even if you spent $30/day on food, on average (ie. $10/day some days and a couple days with $50/day), you're at only ~ $900/month

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Re: Is Biglaw for ppl with no debt?

Postby jchiles » Sat Jul 09, 2016 2:45 pm

Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:
jchiles wrote:
Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote: Or sleep on the sidewalk and just keep your work clothes in your Planet Fitness gym locker too.



You can't keep stuff in a planet fitness locker overnight dude


I have experience with it at other gyms, but TBF I wouldn't be at all surprised if it were just an upscale thing. Paying a premium for the privilege of not being asked questions.


Yeah its weird that they don't even let you pay for it like most YMCAs or community gyms will.

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Re: Is Biglaw for ppl with no debt?

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Sat Jul 09, 2016 2:47 pm

Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:
dixiecupdrinking wrote:
Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:Well shit, you could live with two roommates in Waterbury. Or dumpster dive for food. Or never use electricity. Or sleep on the sidewalk and just keep your work clothes in your Planet Fitness gym locker too.

You can do most anything. Isn't the meaningful realm what's reasonable to do? Isn't the right question how people can have at least the amenities we consider middle-class?

Is it your position that spending $450 a week on "food and entertainment" is the minimum amount necessary to have "reasonable middle-class" amenities? If so, we're at an impasse.


Nope. I don't spend that much and I still live pretty comfortably.

I just think the debate over what's "possible" misses the point, because most people aren't robots and will enjoy the occasional convenience of a deli meal, or the occasional night out with friends, or whatever it is normal people do.

Of course. I think that's a straw man. (Perhaps I am also making a straw man out of the opposite side of this discussion to some extent.) But the right way to think about these things imo is to start with, ok, what do I need to spend. Then you go to, what would I like to spend. People come up with insanely-overblown estimates of what it costs to live because they throw in every single thing they would LIKE without thinking about whether it's actually worth it. And that's fine. You can actually do that in biglaw and if that's how you want to spend the piles of money they give you then, go ahead. But don't then go, why can't I save any money! People save money by, like, cleaning their own apartment and going to dive bars instead of whatever cocktail place and having dinner parties or bbqs instead of dropping a hundred bucks at a restaurant, or any number of other trade offs that barely make any difference to your happiness but that -- IN MY EXPERIENCE -- a lot of biglaw associates don't even consider because they feel entitled not to have to think about such mundane costs.

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Re: Is Biglaw for ppl with no debt?

Postby Monochromatic Oeuvre » Sat Jul 09, 2016 2:57 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:
Nope. I don't spend that much and I still love pretty comfortably.

I just think the debate over what's "possible" misses the point, because most people aren't robots and will enjoy the occasional convenience of a deli meal, or the occasional night out with friends, or whatever it is normal people do.

But what "the occasional convenience of a deli meal" or "the occasional night out with friends" means (and costs) is INCREDIBLY subjective.


Sure. But if like 85%+ of a given population (i.e. NYC yuppies) does something at a given minimum, I'm comfortable saying it's what an average person in that population might reasonably expect to do. And it seems to me most of my cohort in NYC is eating out or ordering in at least a couple times a week, and going out with friends at least a couple times a month. They buy at least the occasional event ticket (concert, sports, whatever); they take a cab every once in a while. None of these are things people have to do. A few people don't do them at all, a decent chunk might do them quite frequently, but most people seem to do them at least on occasion. Then there's shit people could do to save money but don't: Live in the South Bronx, shop at Goodwill, pack a lunch every day, whatever. But most don't.

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Re: Is Biglaw for ppl with no debt?

Postby Monochromatic Oeuvre » Sat Jul 09, 2016 2:59 pm

Nebby wrote:
Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:
dixiecupdrinking wrote:
Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:Well shit, you could live with two roommates in Waterbury. Or dumpster dive for food. Or never use electricity. Or sleep on the sidewalk and just keep your work clothes in your Planet Fitness gym locker too.

You can do most anything. Isn't the meaningful realm what's reasonable to do? Isn't the right question how people can have at least the amenities we consider middle-class?

Is it your position that spending $450 a week on "food and entertainment" is the minimum amount necessary to have "reasonable middle-class" amenities? If so, we're at an impasse.


Nope. I don't spend that much and I still live pretty comfortably.

I just think the debate over what's "possible" misses the point, because most people aren't robots and will enjoy the occasional convenience of a deli meal, or the occasional night out with friends, or whatever it is normal people do.

I still think you have to actively try to spend $2k/month of food/entertainment. Even if you spent $30/day on food, on average (ie. $10/day some days and a couple days with $50/day), you're at only ~ $900/month


I was talking about all-in. I'd be shocked if anyone got to $2k just on food and entertainment while busy with Biglaw. But the only people I know under $2k total live far out in the boroughs with multiple roommates.

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Re: Is Biglaw for ppl with no debt?

Postby Nebby » Sat Jul 09, 2016 3:02 pm

Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:I was talking about all-in. I'd be shocked if anyone got to $2k just on food and entertainment while busy with Biglaw. But the only people I know under $2k total live far out in the boroughs with multiple roommates.

Ah. I think you misread what we were talking about. I agree that $2k total in NYC is kinda impossible in biglaw

I tell people who are moving to NYC for biglaw that they should at the minimum assume to spend no less than $2.5k on rent/utilities and no less than $1k/month on food/entertainment/transportation. With a 180k biglaw salary (not including bonus) you pull in like 9.5k/month

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Re: Is Biglaw for ppl with no debt?

Postby jbagelboy » Sat Jul 09, 2016 3:13 pm

First, this entire time I've been talking about household expenditures--two or more persons, not just me, since that was the scenario in the OP to which I was responding. I don't spend $450 a week on myself. Jesus christ. And Nebby, FWIW as I said in law school I often spent less than $200 a week on myself (I probably was never quite as low as $600/month, but maybe $800-$1000). When you're scaling to a household, things change.

Second, some people like Mono and riotgirl have acknowledged the pretty basic point I was making that attorneys in biglaw with a working spouse live differently from college students--call it golden handcuffs, but I'd assign more of the blame to time factors, lifestyle maturity, and cultural factors. Maybe I was unfair to say "no couple" in biglaw lives on under $2000/month excluding rent in a major COL area, since some people are probably hyper frugal, but the vast majority of folks will go out for a handful of meals a week and will go out a couple nights a week for some form of entertainment, may it be bars & clubs or the opera.

Third, I don't have significantly idiosyncratic lifestyle expectations due to some outside source of funding, which is the insinuation. I'm not independently wealthy and I hold all my debt, commercial and government, personally. Shit, I haven't even seen Hamilton. But lawyers at big firms aren't poor and in the overwhelming majority of cases don't act poor and the danger here is projecting "I'm going to make a million dollars in five years" or some such silly outlook without being at all realistic about costs. If you're thinking about going into biglaw, you'll probably be in NYC, or LA or SF or DC or Chicago. So if you're in a couple you will spend a certain amount on rent, on food/drinks/entertainment/travel, on student loans. so plan accordingly

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Re: Is Biglaw for ppl with no debt?

Postby shock259 » Sat Jul 09, 2016 3:20 pm

Doing it now. Second year. After maxing out my 401k contributions each month, I should be netting about $9,500 after the raise. I am in a secondary market, so my rent is $1.5k month and my credit cards/all other expenses are about $2k-2.5k/month. Which leaves a lot leftover each month. I just plow the remainder into my investment account (index funds), savings account (down payment on a house), and IRA. I should be able to build a pretty good nest egg in a few years.

Which is good, because who knows how long I will last. But when I don't think the havoc that big law has otherwise wreaked on my life, it's honestly pretty nice to not really have to worry about $$.

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Re: Is Biglaw for ppl with no debt?

Postby jbagelboy » Sat Jul 09, 2016 3:21 pm

Anyway, COL discussions inevitably descend into these giant circle jerks, so I apologize if my actions perpetuated or gave rise to one

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Re: Is Biglaw for ppl with no debt?

Postby Monochromatic Oeuvre » Sat Jul 09, 2016 3:24 pm

dixiecupdrinking wrote:Of course. I think that's a straw man. (Perhaps I am also making a straw man out of the opposite side of this discussion to some extent.) But the right way to think about these things imo is to start with, ok, what do I need to spend. Then you go to, what would I like to spend. People come up with insanely-overblown estimates of what it costs to live because they throw in every single thing they would LIKE without thinking about whether it's actually worth it. And that's fine. You can actually do that in biglaw and if that's how you want to spend the piles of money they give you then, go ahead. But don't then go, why can't I save any money! People save money by, like, cleaning their own apartment and going to dive bars instead of whatever cocktail place and having dinner parties or bbqs instead of dropping a hundred bucks at a restaurant, or any number of other trade offs that barely make any difference to your happiness but that -- IN MY EXPERIENCE -- a lot of biglaw associates don't even consider because they feel entitled not to have to think about such mundane costs.


If any says they sincerely cannot save/pay off their debt in a reasonable manner, then yeah, I'd think that's dumb. But I think most of them are saying "I can't pay off this debt and do some of the things I'd like to do, and that's kind of shitty." And I don't quibble with that because (a) Biglaw IS shitty and it can make the rest of your life kinda toxic, and (b) I frankly don't have the time/energy to give a shit how other people spend their money, as long as they don't tell me what to do with mine.

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Re: Is Biglaw for ppl with no debt?

Postby bk1 » Sat Jul 09, 2016 3:29 pm

dixiecupdrinking wrote:This whole discussion is like golden handcuffs 101

:lol:

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Re: Is Biglaw for ppl with no debt?

Postby Monochromatic Oeuvre » Sat Jul 09, 2016 3:32 pm

shock259 wrote:Doing it now. Second year. After maxing out my 401k contributions each month, I should be netting about $9,500 after the raise. I am in a secondary market, so my rent is $1.5k month and my credit cards/all other expenses are about $2k-2.5k/month. Which leaves a lot leftover each month. I just plow the remainder into my investment account (index funds), savings account (down payment on a house), and IRA. I should be able to build a pretty good nest egg in a few years.

Which is good, because who knows how long I will last. But when I don't think the havoc that big law has otherwise wreaked on my life, it's honestly pretty nice to not really have to worry about $$.


Huh? Explain the bolded.

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Re: Is Biglaw for ppl with no debt?

Postby bk1 » Sat Jul 09, 2016 3:37 pm

jbagelboy wrote:
bk1 wrote:
jbagelboy wrote:For two people? (It's more like $450 if we are talking $2000 per month). That's pretty conservative. Let's say you have lunch or dinner out three times a week. That's six meals, so say $150. Then how about going out one night a week. That's $100. Then groceries for the rest--that's $150+ per week (at a cheap grocer like trader joes). That leaves $50, or $25 per person, for anything else you want to ever do--live theater, a movie, a friend's concert, special occasions, whatever. (And who actually only eats 3 meals out a week and goes out only once? Come on these are not menonites).

This is a severely distorted view.


is it? remember we're talking about adults, not students. in law school sure, I could spend less than $200 a week. But as a real person with a social and cultural life that's impossible. Not including breakfast, I probably cook ~10 meals a week, and eat out 4-5 times. That's like twice for lunch and twice for dinner. I go out maybe two times a week, which is 1-2 lyft/ubers, two-ish bar tabs, maybe a cover. I grocery shop about once a week. My spouse has similar habits. We don't really go to movies but we sometimes go to other performances when a friend is involved or something we really want to see is in town, but this isn't weekly.

we are conservative spenders compared to our friends and go out/eat out less. we don't order delivery, we actually cook. we drink relatively cheap wine (less than $8 bottles) and my bourbon is middle of the road.

who are these people our age that spend so little money living normal lives?

fyi I don't live in new york although I used to. in new york going out is even pricier.

I'm not saying that that is unreasonable, just that it's distorted to think it's "conservative" (and yes, I do mean for adults in biglaw).

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Re: Is Biglaw for ppl with no debt?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sat Jul 09, 2016 3:51 pm

Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:
Nebby wrote:
Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:
dixiecupdrinking wrote:
Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:Well shit, you could live with two roommates in Waterbury. Or dumpster dive for food. Or never use electricity. Or sleep on the sidewalk and just keep your work clothes in your Planet Fitness gym locker too.

You can do most anything. Isn't the meaningful realm what's reasonable to do? Isn't the right question how people can have at least the amenities we consider middle-class?

Is it your position that spending $450 a week on "food and entertainment" is the minimum amount necessary to have "reasonable middle-class" amenities? If so, we're at an impasse.


Nope. I don't spend that much and I still live pretty comfortably.

I just think the debate over what's "possible" misses the point, because most people aren't robots and will enjoy the occasional convenience of a deli meal, or the occasional night out with friends, or whatever it is normal people do.

I still think you have to actively try to spend $2k/month of food/entertainment. Even if you spent $30/day on food, on average (ie. $10/day some days and a couple days with $50/day), you're at only ~ $900/month


I was talking about all-in. I'd be shocked if anyone got to $2k just on food and entertainment while busy with Biglaw. But the only people I know under $2k total live far out in the boroughs with multiple roommates.

Of course $2k all in in NYC would be really difficult. This whole time we were talking about food and entertainment, not total COL.

And jbagel, again, the OP of this never said the $2k was for 2 people. And really this is all about priorities. Someone who prioritizes savings (even if an unrealistic goal) and getting out of biglaw will make the sacrifices you don't want to, because that's not your priority. Which is absolutely fine and no one has said it should be your priority. But just because it's not your priority doesn't make it impossible for someone else. Buying cheap food, eating in, and packing lunches absolutely isn't impossible. I agree it's probably pretty uncommon on a biglaw salary with a biglaw lifestyle. But you were suggesting it's impossible just because it's not what most people do.

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Re: Is Biglaw for ppl with no debt?

Postby jbagelboy » Sat Jul 09, 2016 5:36 pm

okay, that's fair. a small point but the only thing I really said was impossible was $2k a month for ALL expenses for TWO PEOPLE (and yes, the original post did read as speaking to a household, not an individual), which is what the poster wrote that I originally responded to. Everyone has been strawmaning here, and I'm not blameless either. I suggested that a reasonable estimate of expenditures for two persons in a major COL location would be $2k for rent and another $2k for other expenses. Whatevs.

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Re: Is Biglaw for ppl with no debt?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jul 09, 2016 5:54 pm

Op here. I have no idea where this thread went but I think in general people love biglaw money but not the work itself, and most ppl will put up with 2-5 years in biglaw to save up money and get prestige for future jobs. so all in all, biglaw is better than most other option it seems.

biglaw it is.

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Re: Is Biglaw for ppl with no debt?

Postby anyriotgirl » Sat Jul 09, 2016 5:56 pm

jbagelboy wrote:okay, that's fair. a small point but the only thing I really said was impossible was $2k a month for ALL expenses for TWO PEOPLE (and yes, the original post did read as speaking to a household, not an individual), which is what the poster wrote that I originally responded to. Everyone has been strawmaning here, and I'm not blameless either. I suggested that a reasonable estimate of expenditures for two persons in a major COL location would be $2k for rent and another $2k for other expenses. Whatevs.


that seems kind of low to me, its probably closer to $3k for rent, assuming the couple isn't sharing a room in a 3br or something

and then you have health insurance, buying professional clothing, the whole food/entertainment thing we were just discussing, cable/utilities, two metrocards, maybe a gym membership

its expensive to be alive
Last edited by anyriotgirl on Sat Jan 27, 2018 12:58 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Is Biglaw for ppl with no debt?

Postby anyriotgirl » Sat Jul 09, 2016 5:57 pm

also idk about you guys but I am 100% paying for a housekeeper when the time comes
Last edited by anyriotgirl on Sat Jan 27, 2018 12:58 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Is Biglaw for ppl with no debt?

Postby Hikikomorist » Sat Jul 09, 2016 6:06 pm

anyriotgirl wrote:
jbagelboy wrote:okay, that's fair. a small point but the only thing I really said was impossible was $2k a month for ALL expenses for TWO PEOPLE (and yes, the original post did read as speaking to a household, not an individual), which is what the poster wrote that I originally responded to. Everyone has been strawmaning here, and I'm not blameless either. I suggested that a reasonable estimate of expenditures for two persons in a major COL location would be $2k for rent and another $2k for other expenses. Whatevs.


that seems kind of low to me, its probably closer to $3k for rent, assuming the couple isn't sharing a room in a 3br or something

and then you have health insurance, buying professional clothing, the whole food/entertainment thing we were just discussing, cable/utilities, two metrocards, maybe a gym membership

its expensive to be alive

Of all the ways life sucks, this is probably the worst.

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Re: Is Biglaw for ppl with no debt?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jul 09, 2016 6:26 pm

OP here.

From my pre-law and post-law employment, I have never encountered a co-worker, manager, or employer who yell at their employees. There have been disagreements, arguments, and even cattiness, but never over the top abuse.

Do we hear these terrible things about biglaw because they are so few and special, or is this really a regular occurrence? How can someone with such character even make partner? People don't become partner overnight. Those already in partnership would have had to know rising partners fairly well.

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Re: Is Biglaw for ppl with no debt?

Postby UnicornHunter » Sat Jul 09, 2016 6:55 pm

Anonymous User wrote:OP here.

From my pre-law and post-law employment, I have never encountered a co-worker, manager, or employer who yell at their employees. There have been disagreements, arguments, and even cattiness, but never over the top abuse.

Do we hear these terrible things about biglaw because they are so few and special, or is this really a regular occurrence? How can someone with such character even make partner? People don't become partner overnight. Those already in partnership would have had to know rising partners fairly well.


It would be extremely strange for someone to yell at my firm, and my understanding is that's true across the board with maybe a few exceptions.

But who gives a shit about yelling. It's the polite e-mails at 5:30 asking you to do something that probably could have waited that will kill you.



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