Does anyone have any advice about hating biglaw?

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Does anyone have any advice about hating biglaw?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 07, 2016 10:11 am

Just finished my first year of a corporate rotation and absolutely miserable. Don't have serious debt but feel like I should stick it out for the resume line and for savings. Does anyone who has been in this boat have any tips? Considering lateraling to another market to be closer to family. Have no expectations about improving QOL through a lateral move, but would at least like to be closer to family.

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Re: Does anyone have any advice about hating biglaw?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 07, 2016 11:34 am

I was in a similar position a year ago. Every day I would wake up and dread my existence, work for 14-20 hours, catch too little sleep (often at the office), and repeat. I was ready to call it quits and do something non-legal for a massive pay cut and to hit the reset button. I was convinced to give another firm a try and like my second firm much better. It's generally a better fit, and I'm much happier. There are still days where I want quit (usually following an all nighter) and go in house at the soonest possible moment, but it isn't every single day anymore. I actually like my job on a day to day basis and don't dread going in - all because the scenery has changed.

I would recommend looking at the lateral move and pulling the trigger. Consider tapering down your workload at your first firm (if possible) to ease your stress a bit and clear your head. It's not a given that you'll like living closer to family or a different firm any better, but it's a possibility, and given all the time and money you've invested in a legal career so far, it isn't a bad idea to give it one last shot before calling it quits.

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Re: Does anyone have any advice about hating biglaw?

Postby NoBladesNoBows » Wed Sep 07, 2016 11:46 am

What market are you in OP?

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Re: Does anyone have any advice about hating biglaw?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 07, 2016 11:47 am

NoBladesNoBows wrote:What market are you in OP?


New York

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Re: Does anyone have any advice about hating biglaw?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 07, 2016 11:52 am

As a counterpoint to the first reply, I lateraled and it's much worse. My QOL was high for biglaw at my first firm, but I absolutely loathed the work and was miserable. I lateraled to a different corporate practice at a higher ranked firm. Well, the work is still terrible, but the new place is a major sweatshop and the people hit just about every negative stereotype of a biglawyer there is. This should also be a warning to those that go to a higher ranked firm just for ranking when the lower ranked firm seems like a better fit.

I'm 100% confident corporate law isn't for me at this point. Luckily, I'm almost back at 0 net worth (lol at that being a good thing). Unlike most miserable biglawyers, though, I have no interest in an inhouse job. Even with better hours, the work itself is so mind-numbing and miserable that I'd rather take a risk and do something else entirely.

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Re: Does anyone have any advice about hating biglaw?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 07, 2016 11:53 am

Anonymous User wrote:I was in a similar position a year ago. Every day I would wake up and dread my existence, work for 14-20 hours, catch too little sleep (often at the office), and repeat. I was ready to call it quits and do something non-legal for a massive pay cut and to hit the reset button. I was convinced to give another firm a try and like my second firm much better. It's generally a better fit, and I'm much happier. There are still days where I want quit (usually following an all nighter) and go in house at the soonest possible moment, but it isn't every single day anymore. I actually like my job on a day to day basis and don't dread going in - all because the scenery has changed.

I would recommend looking at the lateral move and pulling the trigger. Consider tapering down your workload at your first firm (if possible) to ease your stress a bit and clear your head. It's not a given that you'll like living closer to family or a different firm any better, but it's a possibility, and given all the time and money you've invested in a legal career so far, it isn't a bad idea to give it one last shot before calling it quits.


Any tips on lateraling?

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Re: Does anyone have any advice about hating biglaw?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 07, 2016 12:45 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I was in a similar position a year ago. Every day I would wake up and dread my existence, work for 14-20 hours, catch too little sleep (often at the office), and repeat. I was ready to call it quits and do something non-legal for a massive pay cut and to hit the reset button. I was convinced to give another firm a try and like my second firm much better. It's generally a better fit, and I'm much happier. There are still days where I want quit (usually following an all nighter) and go in house at the soonest possible moment, but it isn't every single day anymore. I actually like my job on a day to day basis and don't dread going in - all because the scenery has changed.

I would recommend looking at the lateral move and pulling the trigger. Consider tapering down your workload at your first firm (if possible) to ease your stress a bit and clear your head. It's not a given that you'll like living closer to family or a different firm any better, but it's a possibility, and given all the time and money you've invested in a legal career so far, it isn't a bad idea to give it one last shot before calling it quits.


Any tips on lateraling?


If you bump this later or ask follow ups I will try to write a more detailed post, but my basic outline is:

1) Reach out to a bunch of recruiters to get a feel for the market. Pick one who you think is good (ideal is if your friend used them and can recommend them) and have them start submitting resumes. Good recruiters also have a handle on what firms are really like. Bad recruiters will try to sell you on firms even if they know they're miserable sweatshops. Moving to a different market, recruiters will probably be key. If they tell you the market is dead, prepare for a longer ride.

2) Make it clear that you'll handle firms X Y Z where you have personal connections. Friends at different firms who can vouch for your are one of your biggest assets for lateraling. They can also give you the inside scoop on what a firm is like.

3) Be realistic about your time frame and attractiveness. Someone who lucked into a biglaw job and just got the talk is going to need to be a LOT more aggressive than the Yale valedictorian who still has a full slate of billable hours.

Lateraling before your first year is over is difficult, but not impossible. The problem for you is that before January you're still a first year, and after January everyone hits the market because they just got their bonus and are looking to switch. It's doable but not easy.

As a junior your pedigree is very important for lateraling, but your experience is as well. If you're looking to lateral 3-9 months down the road, you should aggressively seek out things that look good on your resume, so you're a 1st year who's done 3rd or 4th year level work. In litigation the easiest way to do this is to pick up pro bono projects that let you get depos, etc. Not sure what the corp equivalent is.

Edit: I'll also add that you should have a perfect answer for the following two questions: why are you leaving X and why do you want to join Y? If I wasn't asked these two questions in every single interview, it was pretty close.

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Re: Does anyone have any advice about hating biglaw?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 07, 2016 2:04 pm

Anonymous User wrote:As a counterpoint to the first reply, I lateraled and it's much worse. My QOL was high for biglaw at my first firm, but I absolutely loathed the work and was miserable. I lateraled to a different corporate practice at a higher ranked firm. Well, the work is still terrible, but the new place is a major sweatshop and the people hit just about every negative stereotype of a biglawyer there is. This should also be a warning to those that go to a higher ranked firm just for ranking when the lower ranked firm seems like a better fit.

I'm 100% confident corporate law isn't for me at this point. Luckily, I'm almost back at 0 net worth (lol at that being a good thing). Unlike most miserable biglawyers, though, I have no interest in an inhouse job. Even with better hours, the work itself is so mind-numbing and miserable that I'd rather take a risk and do something else entirely.


What market were you in? How thorough was the interview process? Is there a way to make a more informed decision on a firm before lateraling? I have heard similar stories where they didn't know just how bad the people would be based on a couple short interviews and not having spent a summer there.

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Re: Does anyone have any advice about hating biglaw?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 07, 2016 2:10 pm

Re the previous poster, question about working with recruiters. I may be getting the talk soon and might be looking to switch markets (and potentially practice areas as well). I have ties to and a plausible reason to move to the markets I am targeting.

Now I am debating whether I should be going through a recruiter or applying directly. I know that the best way to apply is through someone you know at the firm, but assuming that is not an option, I am wondering how to proceed. Some people say to avoid recruiters if possible b/c firms don't want to pay their fee, but I think there is some value in having someone to submit my resume and reach out directly to the firm hiring director or hiring partner to advocate on my behalf. I think my resume is pretty strong so I might have a shot on my own, but I don't want my resume to go to the bottom of the pile without some kind of in to the firm.

What is the best way to proceed in this type of situation?

Please don't quote.

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Re: Does anyone have any advice about hating biglaw?

Postby thegrayman » Wed Sep 07, 2016 2:26 pm

Lateraling is a good idea if for no other reason than to check out for 2 weeks after you give notice and give yourself a nice mental break without fear of getting fired for slacking off. Goes without saying that there's more to the decision than that, but I could almost tell when someone at my firm was about to lateral, their mood improved significantly.

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Re: Does anyone have any advice about hating biglaw?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 08, 2016 10:44 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:As a counterpoint to the first reply, I lateraled and it's much worse. My QOL was high for biglaw at my first firm, but I absolutely loathed the work and was miserable. I lateraled to a different corporate practice at a higher ranked firm. Well, the work is still terrible, but the new place is a major sweatshop and the people hit just about every negative stereotype of a biglawyer there is. This should also be a warning to those that go to a higher ranked firm just for ranking when the lower ranked firm seems like a better fit.

I'm 100% confident corporate law isn't for me at this point. Luckily, I'm almost back at 0 net worth (lol at that being a good thing). Unlike most miserable biglawyers, though, I have no interest in an inhouse job. Even with better hours, the work itself is so mind-numbing and miserable that I'd rather take a risk and do something else entirely.


What market were you in? How thorough was the interview process? Is there a way to make a more informed decision on a firm before lateraling? I have heard similar stories where they didn't know just how bad the people would be based on a couple short interviews and not having spent a summer there.


Knowing someone in that group well enough to get an honest assessment is the only way. Even a summer isn't enough because you don't really work like an actual associate. I also think vault ranking is a good proxy, as in the higher the rank the worse the QOL, although some on this forum seem to disagree.

Really though it's the nature of the job. Corporate law is viewed as the worst white collar job for a reason. It wins all those most miserable, worst job, high depression rate, etc. surveys for a reason. The job is basically just pushing mind-numbing paperwork, but it's populated with generally intelligent, ambitious people. The problem is biglawyers are the most risk averse group I've ever come across, and most are afraid of their own shadow. This leads to people staying in jobs they hate and that make them miserable because they're too afraid to do anything about it.

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Re: Does anyone have any advice about hating biglaw?

Postby WhiteCollarBlueShirt » Thu Sep 08, 2016 11:16 am

Anonymous User wrote:Any tips on lateraling?


Once you have an offer, take the time to reach out and ask every question that you were too scared to ask as a summer/2L; take note of particular things you hate about your current firm (e.g., hate Firm 1's software/hardware more than life itself, make sure that is not a thing at Firm 2; or hate being in the office for dinner, make sure people leave the office even when busy and working late into the night). As a 2L, you don't know any better, as a summer it's too late, but as a lateral talk to people, lots of people (you still may get screwed, but this time you have the time and confidence to do your homework).

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Re: Does anyone have any advice about hating biglaw?

Postby 1styearlateral » Thu Sep 08, 2016 11:20 am

thegrayman wrote:I could almost tell when someone at my firm was about to lateral, their mood improved significantly.

LOL.



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