Advice for Biglaw Associates Who Like Seeing Their Kids?

(On Campus Interviews, Summer Associate positions, Firm Reviews, Tips, ...)
Forum rules
Anonymous Posting

Anonymous posting is only appropriate when you are revealing sensitive employment related information about a firm, job, etc. You may anonymously respond on topic to these threads. Unacceptable uses include: harassing another user, joking around, testing the feature, or other things that are more appropriate in the lounge.

Failure to follow these rules will get you outed, warned, or banned.
Anonymous User
Posts: 316654
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Advice for Biglaw Associates Who Like Seeing Their Kids?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 12, 2016 1:32 pm

Question -- What are good strategies for building and maintaining reputation early in one's career while preserving a reasonable amount of time to spend with one's family?

Hypo -- Say Associate is entering a biglaw firm (or equivalent thereof) as a first-year, and s/he has a spouse and one or more children who s/he likes to spend a decent amount of time with. Associate's career is important to both Associate and his/her family, so Associate wants to establish and maintain an excellent reputation at the firm. On the other hand, Associate is not willing to ignore his/her family for years on end.

To narrow the contingencies, let's also assume Associate will be working in litigation, is capable of doing high-quality work reasonably efficiently, and that there will be no shortage of work at the firm.

jimmythecatdied6

Bronze
Posts: 153
Joined: Thu Jan 12, 2012 11:42 am

Re: Advice for Biglaw Associates Who Like Seeing Their Kids?

Postby jimmythecatdied6 » Tue Jul 12, 2016 1:33 pm

Associate should not be looking to work at a firm in NYC. That's a starting point

Anonymous User
Posts: 316654
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Advice for Biglaw Associates Who Like Seeing Their Kids?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 12, 2016 1:35 pm

Associate will follow above advice by working in DC / Chi / SF / LA.

WhiteCollarBlueShirt

Bronze
Posts: 205
Joined: Fri Jan 08, 2016 2:11 pm

Re: Advice for Biglaw Associates Who Like Seeing Their Kids?

Postby WhiteCollarBlueShirt » Tue Jul 12, 2016 1:45 pm

It's mostly out of your control unfortunately.

(1) VPN + laptop > VDI with or without a laptop (tech is your primary savior (and enemy));
(2) Get used to working at home, late at night;
(3) Try to work with like minded people;
(4) Try not to get too busy; and
(5) Consider how greatly you value your career.*

I had a similar mindset, but quickly realized that $$$/prestige were much less important to me than I expected (still important, but not V-whatever important). And, I wouldn't necessarily call those markets "lifestyle" markets.

gregfootball2001

Bronze
Posts: 423
Joined: Tue Oct 25, 2011 8:35 am

Re: Advice for Biglaw Associates Who Like Seeing Their Kids?

Postby gregfootball2001 » Tue Jul 12, 2016 1:47 pm

All these anon responses. Oy.

I'm a first-year with an infant. I've worked it out with my firm so that I can get in late-ish - I get in after 9:30 am (YMMV as to whether that's actually late). Then I go home late. My thought is, even if I worked it out so that I left at 6:30pm, he'd only be up for an hour or less by the time I get home. This way I get my 3-ish hours with the kid in the mornings, and I work as late as I need to get everything done. It's worked well so far.

Anonymous User
Posts: 316654
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Advice for Biglaw Associates Who Like Seeing Their Kids?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 12, 2016 1:51 pm

Can you expand on #4?
WhiteCollarBlueShirt wrote:(4) Try not to get too busy

I'm imagining this requires gently declining work from time to time. Any advice for how to do so without sacrificing your reputation?

Anonymous User
Posts: 316654
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Advice for Biglaw Associates Who Like Seeing Their Kids?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 12, 2016 1:59 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Can you expand on #4?
WhiteCollarBlueShirt wrote:(4) Try not to get too busy

I'm imagining this requires gently declining work from time to time. Any advice for how to do so without sacrificing your reputation?


From what I've been told, it can help to become close with a partner in your group that has a lot of sway at the firm/office. Be his/her go-to associate, so that then when someone else tries to give you an assignment, you can go to that partner and say "hey, attorney X gave me this assignment, but I just wanted to confirm that you wouldn't have a need for the majority of my time during project X's timeline."

I've heard that in many cases, big partner that you work for will say no you can't take that work on, and will call attorney X to tell them to find another associate. At least my office functions like this, but only the most important partners/ones with the biggest books can make these calls, but people also say it's the best way to balance career and life, because you have a big player in your corner if you're doing a good job with their work, and they'll do their best to keep you off other people's assignments even if it means you're slow, so that you're available whenever they become busy again.

Caveat, these partners are usually the most demanding, but hopefully if you're almost strictly working for them, you can develop a working relationship where they respect your free time when they aren't busy with matters that need your attention.

Anonymous User
Posts: 316654
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Advice for Biglaw Associates Who Like Seeing Their Kids?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 12, 2016 2:07 pm

I am in a similar boat. I had multiple offers out of 3L OCI and used the period between offers and acceptance to gauge which firm fit best for me and my family. Yes, this means I ultimately turned down more "prestige" for a firm and group that had a younger partnership and less face time requirement. The old fit for prestige trade. I'm pretty confident it will turn out to be the right choice though, but time will tell.

I am also paying more in rent than I'd like in order to be a quick commute from the office. Everything is a trade-off.

User avatar
Pomeranian

Bronze
Posts: 262
Joined: Thu May 05, 2016 10:23 pm

Re: Advice for Biglaw Associates Who Like Seeing Their Kids?

Postby Pomeranian » Tue Jul 12, 2016 2:18 pm

jimmythecatdied6 wrote:Associate should not be looking to work at a firm in NYC. That's a starting point



Is NYC big law really noticeably worse from a quality of life perspective than say, Chicago or San Fran? I assume new associates are expected will work hard regardless of which office they are at?
Last edited by Pomeranian on Tue Jul 12, 2016 2:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
2014

Platinum
Posts: 6027
Joined: Sat Jun 05, 2010 3:53 pm

Re: Advice for Biglaw Associates Who Like Seeing Their Kids?

Postby 2014 » Tue Jul 12, 2016 2:20 pm

Assuming your firm is what it is or your geographic preferences are locked in, my best advice would be to find a group where a lot of the associates have kids. I'm in one now and it generally clears out in the early evening as a result. You won't be able to get out of evening work, but if everyone else is working remotely they will be more tolerant of you doing the same.

User avatar
reasonable_man

Gold
Posts: 2198
Joined: Thu Feb 12, 2009 5:41 pm

Re: Advice for Biglaw Associates Who Like Seeing Their Kids?

Postby reasonable_man » Tue Jul 12, 2016 2:23 pm

Be there when it matters. Don't be there when it doesn't.

After you start, look at the trends of the other attorneys you work with. At my firm (national mid-law in major market), the attorneys generally don't arrive until 9:30/10. The big-dog partners in my office tend to leave around 7/8pm. So if you're trying to accrue some face time, coming in early is a waste and staying late is valuable.

The other big thing you can do is minimize your commute. You're going to be earning a very good salary. Consider getting a place that is very close to your office. This can help, a lot.

Find groups of attorneys that have kids - try to work with them (if you have any say in it at all).

Anonymous User
Posts: 316654
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Advice for Biglaw Associates Who Like Seeing Their Kids?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 12, 2016 2:38 pm

I summered in both SF and NYC and it is markedly better in SF for fulltime associates.

ruski

Bronze
Posts: 410
Joined: Sat Sep 12, 2009 10:45 am

Re: Advice for Biglaw Associates Who Like Seeing Their Kids?

Postby ruski » Tue Jul 12, 2016 3:02 pm

while its more dependent on the partner than anything else as others have mentioned, you can definitely increase your chances of having a more lifestyle practice if you choose the right group. in any given firm these can include tax, t&e, derivatives, IP transactions, distressed debt trading and most regulatory practices. basically just try to stay away from any hardcore deal work. there are definitely hidden groups in all large law firms that bill way less than everyone else, keep your ears open and try to find out what they are. they are different in each firm but often are one of the above listed ones (although any of the above could easily be a group that regularly bills 200+ hours a month as well, I am just speaking in generally from what I've come across).

edit: just saw you are doing litigation. oh well. they above may not be so useful

WhiteCollarBlueShirt

Bronze
Posts: 205
Joined: Fri Jan 08, 2016 2:11 pm

Re: Advice for Biglaw Associates Who Like Seeing Their Kids?

Postby WhiteCollarBlueShirt » Tue Jul 12, 2016 3:08 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Can you expand on #4?
WhiteCollarBlueShirt wrote:(4) Try not to get too busy

I'm imagining this requires gently declining work from time to time. Any advice for how to do so without sacrificing your reputation?


Not really. Item 4 is close to pure luck. Just be honest, do your work, don't go out looking for more work when there's no need, try not to turn an hour assignment into a six hour project, and try to be excruciatingly efficient (no internetz).

favabeansoup

Bronze
Posts: 416
Joined: Tue Nov 17, 2015 1:26 pm

Re: Advice for Biglaw Associates Who Like Seeing Their Kids?

Postby favabeansoup » Tue Jul 12, 2016 3:15 pm

Agree with a lot of what has been said, especially to tech + having partner to back you. I know an associate in my office who has a influential partner literally force them to leave almost everyday around 5:00-15 to go see kids because he knows the associate just gets sad when they have to stay late. Associate just does more work at night from home through vpn + laptop. Associate is always busy and gets work in on time always, so no one cares. This isn't working "less", it's just doing more work at home (and later in the night most likely).

For the most part I think not a lot of people care about where/when you do your work as long as you get it done and do it well, at least that's how I've seen it in TX market. There have been plenty of days where I've been working with another office the whole day and just stayed home, and other days where I could have stayed home but liked being around other people/having firm resources handy. NYC may require more face time, which sucks and seems antiquated to me really.

BigZuck

Diamond
Posts: 11731
Joined: Tue Sep 04, 2012 9:53 am

Re: Advice for Biglaw Associates Who Like Seeing Their Kids?

Postby BigZuck » Tue Jul 12, 2016 3:21 pm

Pomeranian wrote:
jimmythecatdied6 wrote:Associate should not be looking to work at a firm in NYC. That's a starting point



Is NYC big law really noticeably worse from a quality of life perspective than say, Chicago or San Fran? I assume new associates are expected will work hard regardless of which office they are at?

Don't do this. This is one of the reasons why 0Ls aren't supposed to post in this forum.

Woof!

Anonymous User
Posts: 316654
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Advice for Biglaw Associates Who Like Seeing Their Kids?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 12, 2016 4:04 pm

I am a mid-level big law assoc with four kids. I have maintained a full-time schedule, but work from home a substantial amount of the time. FWIW, I work for a firm in CA where face-time requirements are basically non-existent.

I also have a few helpful family situations. My husband works east-coast hours, and is home every day around 3:30-4pm, so he can handle after school pickups, etc. I take the morning shift with the kids stuff since he has to be at work between 5am-6am. And since I am usually at home, I can wrap up by 7pm or so, so I get a few hours then as well.

If it helps, as kids get older, it gets better. I have a teenager who recently started driving (!), a pre-teen, and two littler ones. The two older kids are great at helping with the younger ones/running errands.

Abbie Doobie

Silver
Posts: 591
Joined: Wed Apr 09, 2014 12:02 pm

Re: Advice for Biglaw Associates Who Like Seeing Their Kids?

Postby Abbie Doobie » Tue Jul 12, 2016 4:13 pm

advice for biglaw associates who like seeing their kids? get out. that's what i did. what a difference.

Anonymous User
Posts: 316654
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Advice for Biglaw Associates Who Like Seeing Their Kids?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 12, 2016 4:18 pm

Abbie Doobie wrote:advice for biglaw associates who like seeing their kids? get out. that's what i did. what a difference.


But what if you want kids and a bigass mansion with expensive cars?

Anonymous User
Posts: 316654
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Advice for Biglaw Associates Who Like Seeing Their Kids?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 12, 2016 4:18 pm

Abbie Doobie wrote:advice for biglaw associates who like seeing their kids? get out. that's what i did. what a difference.

Abbie Doobie

Silver
Posts: 591
Joined: Wed Apr 09, 2014 12:02 pm

Re: Advice for Biglaw Associates Who Like Seeing Their Kids?

Postby Abbie Doobie » Tue Jul 12, 2016 4:19 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Abbie Doobie wrote:advice for biglaw associates who like seeing their kids? get out. that's what i did. what a difference.


But what if you want kids and a bigass mansion with expensive cars?


if you wanted those things you shouldn't have gone to law school

User avatar
Desert Fox

Diamond
Posts: 18302
Joined: Thu Sep 04, 2014 4:34 pm

Re: Advice for Biglaw Associates Who Like Seeing Their Kids?

Postby Desert Fox » Tue Jul 12, 2016 4:23 pm

Abbie Doobie wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Abbie Doobie wrote:advice for biglaw associates who like seeing their kids? get out. that's what i did. what a difference.


But what if you want kids and a bigass mansion with expensive cars?


if you wanted those things you shouldn't have gone to law school


lol exactly.

Biglaw - where dops making 300k live in a 1 bed apartment and ride the subway. lol school teaches in chicago style all over us
Last edited by Desert Fox on Sat Jan 27, 2018 2:35 am, edited 1 time in total.

Abbie Doobie

Silver
Posts: 591
Joined: Wed Apr 09, 2014 12:02 pm

Re: Advice for Biglaw Associates Who Like Seeing Their Kids?

Postby Abbie Doobie » Tue Jul 12, 2016 5:20 pm

Desert Fox wrote:
Abbie Doobie wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Abbie Doobie wrote:advice for biglaw associates who like seeing their kids? get out. that's what i did. what a difference.


But what if you want kids and a bigass mansion with expensive cars?


if you wanted those things you shouldn't have gone to law school


lol exactly.

Biglaw - where dops making 300k live in a 1 bed apartment and ride the subway. lol school teaches in chicago style all over us



seriously. pipefitters and electricians for cook county are making $47/hr + 1.5x OT and 2.0x holiday/weekends + pension + vaca + awesome health insurance. jfc why did i do this to myself

Anonymous User
Posts: 316654
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Advice for Biglaw Associates Who Like Seeing Their Kids?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 12, 2016 5:25 pm

Abbie Doobie wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:
Abbie Doobie wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Abbie Doobie wrote:advice for biglaw associates who like seeing their kids? get out. that's what i did. what a difference.


But what if you want kids and a bigass mansion with expensive cars?


if you wanted those things you shouldn't have gone to law school


lol exactly.

Biglaw - where dops making 300k live in a 1 bed apartment and ride the subway. lol school teaches in chicago style all over us



seriously. pipefitters and electricians for cook county are making $47/hr + 1.5x OT and 2.0x holiday/weekends + pension + vaca + awesome health insurance. jfc why did i do this to myself


It's never too late to change!

User avatar
reasonable_man

Gold
Posts: 2198
Joined: Thu Feb 12, 2009 5:41 pm

Re: Advice for Biglaw Associates Who Like Seeing Their Kids?

Postby reasonable_man » Tue Jul 12, 2016 7:24 pm

Abbie Doobie wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:
Abbie Doobie wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Abbie Doobie wrote:advice for biglaw associates who like seeing their kids? get out. that's what i did. what a difference.


But what if you want kids and a bigass mansion with expensive cars?


if you wanted those things you shouldn't have gone to law school


lol exactly.

Biglaw - where dops making 300k live in a 1 bed apartment and ride the subway. lol school teaches in chicago style all over us



seriously. pipefitters and electricians for cook county are making $47/hr + 1.5x OT and 2.0x holiday/weekends + pension + vaca + awesome health insurance. jfc why did i do this to myself


Because you aren't qualified to be a pipefitter :D



Return to “Legal Employment�

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.