Is "compared to" making the legal profession look better than it is?

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zot1

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Is "compared to" making the legal profession look better than it is?

Postby zot1 » Thu Oct 13, 2016 11:34 am

I feel like within the legal profession, people say good things about their jobs by comparing it to other jobs, not because their job is actually better on its own.

Any time anyone says something bad about biglaw, you get the fella who says "well, where else would you get paid 180k out of school."

When it comes to government, "well, at least it has better hours than big law."

If this is true, that's a pretty sad profession. It would mean we are constantly trying to find the least bad legal job, not objectively the best legal job.

Tell me I'm wrong and that there's hope...

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Re: Is "compared to" making the legal profession look better than it is?

Postby 1styearlateral » Thu Oct 13, 2016 11:50 am

The grass is always greener on the other side. I didn't have a career before law school so I can't compare really. Definitely better than manual labor.

I think everyone can find something to gripe about with their job/career/profession. The only person that I know who truly loves their job is my buddy, a property manager at a family-owned (his family) management company. I mean, who could complaint about making six figures out of college and work 10-4 five days a week (don't forget summer fridays).

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zot1

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Re: Is "compared to" making the legal profession look better than it is?

Postby zot1 » Thu Oct 13, 2016 11:57 am

Which I agree can have something to do with it (grass is greener...).

But for example, I have physicist friend who's gunning to work at X lab because they do such cutting edge work. He's not picking a job because that lab has better hours than this other place or because it pays more. He's solely interested in the fact that within his field, he thinks that's the best place to be at.

I don't think attorneys necessarily think about it that way. Especially when you consider the fact that attorneys who start out making more money also have less responsibility and some even do admin type of work.

Does that make sense?

I know professors who hate their pay but say they wake up every morning because they get to teach and research about X. They don't say I'm just happy I'm not doing manual labor like many attorneys tend to say.

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Re: Is "compared to" making the legal profession look better than it is?

Postby misterjames » Thu Oct 13, 2016 11:59 am

i think this is in part due to the fact that far too many people in our generation (millenials) entered this profession without ever actually wanting to be a lawyer

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Re: Is "compared to" making the legal profession look better than it is?

Postby bk1 » Thu Oct 13, 2016 12:04 pm

misterjames wrote:i think this is in part due to the fact that far too many people in our generation (millenials) entered this profession without ever actually wanting to be a lawyer

I don't see how this would be any different from any other generation.

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Re: Is "compared to" making the legal profession look better than it is?

Postby misterjames » Thu Oct 13, 2016 12:10 pm

bk1 wrote:
misterjames wrote:i think this is in part due to the fact that far too many people in our generation (millenials) entered this profession without ever actually wanting to be a lawyer

I don't see how this would be any different from any other generation.


it wouldn't be, but I don't think any other generation has seen as many people enter into this profession without any actual desire to practice. obviously this is just my impression, I don't have a supporting source.

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Re: Is "compared to" making the legal profession look better than it is?

Postby umichman » Thu Oct 13, 2016 1:00 pm

Welcome to online forums where we can anonymously complain and not listen to other people complain.

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Re: Is "compared to" making the legal profession look better than it is?

Postby MKC » Thu Oct 13, 2016 1:06 pm

1styearlateral wrote:The grass is always greener on the other side. I didn't have a career before law school so I can't compare really. Definitely better than manual labor.

I think everyone can find something to gripe about with their job/career/profession. The only person that I know who truly loves their job is my buddy, a property manager at a family-owned (his family) management company. I mean, who could complaint about making six figures out of college and work 10-4 five days a week (don't forget summer fridays).


Re: Manual labor - I remind myself when I look out the window and it's pouring down rain that I used to have to work in that shit. All the time. And if I got a day off for weather I didn't get paid, which made me even more poor.

There are worse things to be than a lawyer.

And yes, of course it's a relative comparison. Let me know when you run into someone that inherits fuck you money/wins the lottery and still keeps coming to work every day. Until then, we're all just looking for the least bad job.
Last edited by MKC on Sat Jan 27, 2018 4:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Is "compared to" making the legal profession look better than it is?

Postby 1styearlateral » Thu Oct 13, 2016 1:37 pm

zot1 wrote:Which I agree can have something to do with it (grass is greener...).

But for example, I have physicist friend who's gunning to work at X lab because they do such cutting edge work. He's not picking a job because that lab has better hours than this other place or because it pays more. He's solely interested in the fact that within his field, he thinks that's the best place to be at.

I don't think attorneys necessarily think about it that way. Especially when you consider the fact that attorneys who start out making more money also have less responsibility and some even do admin type of work.

Does that make sense?

I know professors who hate their pay but say they wake up every morning because they get to teach and research about X. They don't say I'm just happy I'm not doing manual labor like many attorneys tend to say.

I see what you're saying. Well, my father is an attorney (public sector) and genuinely loves his job. Pay isn't nearly what it'd be if he were in private practice but he serves an actual purpose and loves doing it.

I think it comes down to the fact that, in the legal profession, you can pretty much start out practicing any type of law, which means most people don't start out doing what they would love to practice (I'm in this category myself). This could, in and of itself, lead to some attorneys feeling like they're not super stoked to be where they're at. I think in the sciences that's probably less likely because the training is more specialized.

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Re: Is "compared to" making the legal profession look better than it is?

Postby LaLiLuLeLo » Thu Oct 13, 2016 2:29 pm

Shit, "compared to" working for $15/hr, my job is pretty freaking sweet.

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Re: Is "compared to" making the legal profession look better than it is?

Postby MKC » Thu Oct 13, 2016 2:32 pm

LaLiLuLeLo wrote:Shit, "compared to" working for $15/hr, my job is pretty freaking sweet.


The median individual income in the United States is just over $30k, so $15 an hour is still more than half the people with a job make in the U.S.
Last edited by MKC on Sat Jan 27, 2018 4:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Is "compared to" making the legal profession look better than it is?

Postby LaLiLuLeLo » Thu Oct 13, 2016 2:45 pm

MarkinKansasCity wrote:
LaLiLuLeLo wrote:Shit, "compared to" working for $15/hr, my job is pretty freaking sweet.


The median individual income in the United States is just over $30k, so $15 an hour is still more than half the people with a job make in the U.S.


I live in a high CoL area. Using the entire US doesn't make much sense.

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Re: Is "compared to" making the legal profession look better than it is?

Postby zot1 » Thu Oct 13, 2016 3:00 pm

LaLiLuLeLo wrote:Shit, "compared to" working for $15/hr, my job is pretty freaking sweet.


Well, sure, but the whole point of the discussion is whether your job is also freaking sweet in isolation, not just in comparison to.

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Re: Is "compared to" making the legal profession look better than it is?

Postby LaLiLuLeLo » Thu Oct 13, 2016 3:06 pm

zot1 wrote:
LaLiLuLeLo wrote:Shit, "compared to" working for $15/hr, my job is pretty freaking sweet.


Well, sure, but the whole point of the discussion is whether your job is also freaking sweet in isolation, not just in comparison to.


No, but I've long since accepted I'll never find a field or job I "love". Work is work, at least to me. It's the same for a lot of people. I don't think lawyers, in general, have it that bad. It's not the best profession in the world but it's far from the worst.

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Re: Is "compared to" making the legal profession look better than it is?

Postby unlicensedpotato » Thu Oct 13, 2016 3:28 pm

zot1 wrote:Which I agree can have something to do with it (grass is greener...).

But for example, I have physicist friend who's gunning to work at X lab because they do such cutting edge work. He's not picking a job because that lab has better hours than this other place or because it pays more. He's solely interested in the fact that within his field, he thinks that's the best place to be at.

I don't think attorneys necessarily think about it that way. Especially when you consider the fact that attorneys who start out making more money also have less responsibility and some even do admin type of work.

Does that make sense?

I know professors who hate their pay but say they wake up every morning because they get to teach and research about X. They don't say I'm just happy I'm not doing manual labor like many attorneys tend to say.


More attorneys than you seem to think select jobs (both firm and practice group) on exactly this basis. How else do you explain people choosing Cravath corporate for example?

It's just that there are way more attorneys than people who can work in physics labs, and the vast majority of those attorneys don't have much of a choice. Attorneys at top clerkships are going to choose the firm they think does the most advanced/cutting edge litigation work. The hours and salary will only be relevant on the margins.

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Re: Is "compared to" making the legal profession look better than it is?

Postby zot1 » Thu Oct 13, 2016 3:32 pm

Money and prestige, whether it's well founded or not?

For the record, I'm not saying this doesn't happen. I'm legitimately curious in understanding this phenomena, which is why I started the discussion.

Where I wrestle with it is that most grads going to cravath corporate won't even get to the meat of things before they lateral or leave law altogether.

Let me put it this way, I love what NASA does, but I wouldn't work as a security guard at NASA so I can say I'm part of it.

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Re: Is "compared to" making the legal profession look better than it is?

Postby PeanutsNJam » Thu Oct 13, 2016 3:36 pm

Pretty easy answer in that law school is a backup for people who have no strong desires to do anything else after UG. Physicists love their job because they've always wanted to be one, got a physics major, and then went on to do a 6+ year PhD working on physics for minimal pay. They chose that.

Most people in biglaw are dudes with a non-stem major or bad UG grades but still want to make 6 figs so why not biglaw.

I'm sure there are people who love their job and love being a lawyer as much as your physics bro loves being a physicist.

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Re: Is "compared to" making the legal profession look better than it is?

Postby dabigchina » Thu Oct 13, 2016 3:44 pm

I don't think any job is "freaking sweet" in isolation.

Unless you count winning the lottery or being born rich a job, in which case those are freaking sweet jobs.

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Re: Is "compared to" making the legal profession look better than it is?

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Thu Oct 13, 2016 4:13 pm

I don't think this is really that different from how most people in most fields think.

Those who love their jobs and are confident they have made all the right choices are rare.

I guess you could say I think "compare to" actually makes the legal profession look worse than it is, not better.

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Re: Is "compared to" making the legal profession look better than it is?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Thu Oct 13, 2016 4:44 pm

There are lots of people at my office who love their jobs, not just in comparison to worse things, but because they love what they do.

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Re: Is "compared to" making the legal profession look better than it is?

Postby trebekismyhero » Thu Oct 13, 2016 4:52 pm

dixiecupdrinking wrote:I don't think this is really that different from how most people in most fields think.

Those who love their jobs and are confident they have made all the right choices are rare.

I guess you could say I think "compare to" actually makes the legal profession look worse than it is, not better.


I agree, especially for a lot of corporate lawyers working on 9 or 10 figure deals, they do the "compare to" for their clients and it sometimes makes them feel worse about their job. Obviously others compare it to hard blue collar jobs and then it makes it look better.

This isn't specific to the law. Everything is relative

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Re: Is "compared to" making the legal profession look better than it is?

Postby PMan99 » Thu Oct 13, 2016 5:10 pm

Not all is relative. Attorney is almost always at or near the bottom of any survey attempting to measure job satisfaction, wellbeing, or employee happiness (directly or indirectly), with biglaw attys often at the bottom of any subset. So yeah not everyone is psyched to go to work every day, but your average desk jockey isn't being driven to depression, substance abuse, or suicide at levels much higher than the national average.

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Re: Is "compared to" making the legal profession look better than it is?

Postby Pokemon » Thu Oct 13, 2016 7:58 pm

zot1 wrote:Money and prestige, whether it's well founded or not?

For the record, I'm not saying this doesn't happen. I'm legitimately curious in understanding this phenomena, which is why I started the discussion.

Where I wrestle with it is that most grads going to cravath corporate won't even get to the meat of things before they lateral or leave law altogether.

Let me put it this way, I love what NASA does, but I wouldn't work as a security guard at NASA so I can say I'm part of it.



Hmm... First, I think you are overstating how much in the meat of things some random researcher is at a lab. Your junior coder at NASA is not writing on the board how to go to Mars. Second, I think you might be comparing academic positions with professional positions. I am sure a postdoc wants to be at the top lab in the same way that a law student would want the best clerkship.

Let me also add that when I worked at a research lab, people there absolutely hated it. Plenty of work for any one but the principal investigator was mundane, I have never seen as much infighting and competition and dislike of each other within a work place, and everyone was complaining about job insecurity and lack of money.

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Re: Is "compared to" making the legal profession look better than it is?

Postby PeanutsNJam » Fri Oct 14, 2016 10:28 am

PMan99 wrote:Not all is relative. Attorney is almost always at or near the bottom of any survey attempting to measure job satisfaction, wellbeing, or employee happiness (directly or indirectly), with biglaw attys often at the bottom of any subset. So yeah not everyone is psyched to go to work every day, but your average desk jockey isn't being driven to depression, substance abuse, or suicide at levels much higher than the national average.


Dude, debt. You don't have to go into debt to be a lawyer. Being 200k+ in non-dischargeable debt alone is enough to drive people to depression, substance abuse, or suicide.

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Re: Is "compared to" making the legal profession look better than it is?

Postby deadpanic » Fri Oct 14, 2016 12:07 pm

PMan99 wrote:Not all is relative. Attorney is almost always at or near the bottom of any survey attempting to measure job satisfaction, wellbeing, or employee happiness (directly or indirectly), with biglaw attys often at the bottom of any subset. So yeah not everyone is psyched to go to work every day, but your average desk jockey isn't being driven to depression, substance abuse, or suicide at levels much higher than the national average.


Yep.

Most of my friends have 9-5 office jobs. They make decent money, have good benefits, little to no debt, and most importantly, have virtually no job stress. Their hours are predictable. Once they leave the office, they do not worry about a damn thing.

It's a totally different profession IMO compared to most others. A lot may say well, you get a great paycheck out of big law, but imagine the solo divorce lawyer that is dealing with a serious custody issue over kids. Every day is a hustle to earn a buck, not knowing what the paycheck will be every month.



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