First Year in Biglaw

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Anonymous User
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First Year in Biglaw

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Nov 18, 2016 9:07 pm

Anyone want to share what their first year in Biglaw was like? 3L and nervous about starting. SA experience sorta showed a little of what Biglaw in general entails, but not what first year would be like.

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ArtistOfManliness
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Re: First Year in Biglaw

Postby ArtistOfManliness » Fri Nov 18, 2016 9:15 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Anyone want to share what their first year in Biglaw was like? 3L and nervous about starting. SA experience sorta showed a little of what Biglaw in general entails, but not what first year would be like.


I wonder why TLS has never addressed this before...

BigZuck
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Re: First Year in Biglaw

Postby BigZuck » Fri Nov 18, 2016 10:13 pm

I'm like a month in. Basically I know nothing and there is a perpetually gnawing feeling of inadequacy. Learning curve is steep. I learn a lot with every task I do and feel bad for taking way too long to do it. I'm tired all the time. Getting paid is sweet, would probably be sweeter without debt taking a big chunk away.

HTH

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Eldon Tyrell
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Re: First Year in Biglaw

Postby Eldon Tyrell » Fri Nov 18, 2016 10:56 pm

I can't tell if I don't like it because I know nothing and I'm stressed out all the time or if I just don't like the work. I suspect the latter, although the former makes my life outside of work pretty bad, too. Making it past a year would be a huge shock/bonus at this point.

umichman
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Re: First Year in Biglaw

Postby umichman » Fri Nov 18, 2016 10:59 pm

Eldon Tyrell wrote:I can't tell if I don't like it because I know nothing and I'm stressed out all the time or if I just don't like the work. I suspect the latter, although the former makes my life outside of work pretty bad, too. Making it past a year would be a huge shock/bonus at this point.


What kind of work are you doing

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Eldon Tyrell
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Re: First Year in Biglaw

Postby Eldon Tyrell » Fri Nov 18, 2016 11:01 pm

umichman wrote:
Eldon Tyrell wrote:I can't tell if I don't like it because I know nothing and I'm stressed out all the time or if I just don't like the work. I suspect the latter, although the former makes my life outside of work pretty bad, too. Making it past a year would be a huge shock/bonus at this point.


What kind of work are you doing


M&A. Luckily there are other things I can try.

umichman
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Re: First Year in Biglaw

Postby umichman » Fri Nov 18, 2016 11:03 pm

Eldon Tyrell wrote:
umichman wrote:
Eldon Tyrell wrote:I can't tell if I don't like it because I know nothing and I'm stressed out all the time or if I just don't like the work. I suspect the latter, although the former makes my life outside of work pretty bad, too. Making it past a year would be a huge shock/bonus at this point.


What kind of work are you doing


M&A. Luckily there are other things I can try.


I'm just a 3l but a lot of people have told me it gets "mildly" better after a few months and u understand what the hell is going on so there is at least hope. Good luck

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MarkinKansasCity
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Re: First Year in Biglaw

Postby MarkinKansasCity » Fri Nov 18, 2016 11:11 pm

BigZuck wrote:I'm like a month in. Basically I know nothing and there is a perpetually gnawing feeling of inadequacy. Learning curve is steep. I learn a lot with every task I do and feel bad for taking way too long to do it. I'm tired all the time. Getting paid is sweet, would probably be sweeter without debt taking a big chunk away.

HTH


:brofist:

This job is fucking ripe for imposter syndrome. I'm not sure how you're practice area is, but we litigate cases fucking everywhere. Just keeping which jurisdiction I'm researching in is a challenge at times. Oh, the contract was signed in Kansas with a German entity for work to be performed in Mississippi but pre-inspected in Louisiana and the choice of law clause says New York? What am I supposed to be researching again?

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Re: First Year in Biglaw

Postby Right2BearArms » Fri Nov 18, 2016 11:43 pm

umichman wrote:
Eldon Tyrell wrote:
umichman wrote:
Eldon Tyrell wrote:I can't tell if I don't like it because I know nothing and I'm stressed out all the time or if I just don't like the work. I suspect the latter, although the former makes my life outside of work pretty bad, too. Making it past a year would be a huge shock/bonus at this point.


What kind of work are you doing


M&A. Luckily there are other things I can try.


I'm just a 3l but a lot of people have told me it gets "mildly" better after a few months and u understand what the hell is going on so there is at least hope. Good luck


This was absolutely my experience. Getting some reps and a knowledge base helps a lot. Being in a group/area you like also helps. I started off very heavy Cap Markets, and got much more comfortable and found work far more enjoyable as I worked my way into the good graces of a different group focusing on M&A and asset purchases. The last Cap M deal I was staffed on, my wife could tell when I got home and was in a bad mood. We joke about it now but it was real. Finding something you enjoy, or can at lease can stomach on a day to day basis will likely put you in a better place mentally.

BigZuck
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Re: First Year in Biglaw

Postby BigZuck » Sat Nov 19, 2016 12:13 am

MarkinKansasCity wrote:
BigZuck wrote:I'm like a month in. Basically I know nothing and there is a perpetually gnawing feeling of inadequacy. Learning curve is steep. I learn a lot with every task I do and feel bad for taking way too long to do it. I'm tired all the time. Getting paid is sweet, would probably be sweeter without debt taking a big chunk away.

HTH


:brofist:

This job is fucking ripe for imposter syndrome. I'm not sure how you're practice area is, but we litigate cases fucking everywhere. Just keeping which jurisdiction I'm researching in is a challenge at times. Oh, the contract was signed in Kansas with a German entity for work to be performed in Mississippi but pre-inspected in Louisiana and the choice of law clause says New York? What am I supposed to be researching again?

I'm doing mostly transactional

I had a term in a doc that I didn't understand. It was in caps so it was a defined term. That defined term we'll call A.

The definition of A is defined term B+C.

B is the ratio of D over E. C is F minus G. Just a rabbit trail of defined terms being defined by more defined terms. I gave up at that point but I like to think that when you get to defined term Z you loop back around to A and everyone just has a good laugh.

So yeah, samesies basically.

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Capitol_Idea
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Re: First Year in Biglaw

Postby Capitol_Idea » Sat Nov 19, 2016 7:04 am

MarkinKansasCity wrote:
BigZuck wrote:I'm like a month in. Basically I know nothing and there is a perpetually gnawing feeling of inadequacy. Learning curve is steep. I learn a lot with every task I do and feel bad for taking way too long to do it. I'm tired all the time. Getting paid is sweet, would probably be sweeter without debt taking a big chunk away.

HTH


:brofist:

This job is fucking ripe for imposter syndrome. I'm not sure how you're practice area is, but we litigate cases fucking everywhere. Just keeping which jurisdiction I'm researching in is a challenge at times. Oh, the contract was signed in Kansas with a German entity for work to be performed in Mississippi but pre-inspected in Louisiana and the choice of law clause says New York? What am I supposed to be researching again?

All of this. Get a call from partner: "hey what do you know about Clayton Act section 8 interlocking directorates? Nothing? Go learn and then be the Antitrust guy on this client call in 15 minutes."

I'm disliking white collar litigation, M&A, and finance, but I think Antitrust is where I can find a home. It's all about finding a schedule/rhythm and people you like, I think.

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Re: First Year in Biglaw

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Nov 19, 2016 11:30 am

Disclaimer: I usually don't post anonymously, but I have posted enough on here that someone could figure out where I went to school and the big law market I am in (and ultimately what firm I am in).

I am about two months into working at Big Law (not NY and a litigation associate) and here are my observations:

1. We know absolutely nothing. It is difficult to be thrown into something new with harsh expectations. But it is the non-legal stuff that is hard to pick up. Such as where to save files (the server or doc storage systems are difficult to figure out), how to bill, what to bill, how to use legal sec/paralegals, how to work the printers/copiers, etc. Some firms are better at this than others that teaching you these things(from talking to my friends).

2. The constant anxiety. I have noticed others mention this on here. This depends largely on your demeanor and personality. Ultimately though, it boils down to your confidence. I have noticed that in law school and now here, lots of people lack confidence in their skills and abilities. And they are petrified to make mistakes and absorb criticism. If you are someone who fits into this category, it will be a tough transition. Some senior lawyers are better than others with giving out criticism but you need to develop a thick skin quickly if you are going to survive.

3. The quick turn-around on assignments. We forget in law school how long we had to write briefs (sometimes a full semester!). But now we have to perform legal research on a difficult topic (usually doesn't have a clear answer), draft a legal memo, edit it, and submit it within a week. Add on other administrative tasks and billable work, and you can see why we work a lot.

But I have enjoyed it so far

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Re: First Year in Biglaw

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Nov 19, 2016 12:20 pm

Anonymous User wrote:But I have enjoyed it so far


I look forward to your update...in a year.

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Eldon Tyrell
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Re: First Year in Biglaw

Postby Eldon Tyrell » Sat Nov 19, 2016 12:24 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:But I have enjoyed it so far


I look forward to your update...in a year.


Brave anon post.

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Re: First Year in Biglaw

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Nov 19, 2016 12:34 pm

I'm working part time now as a 3L in corp practice, and even now it is stressful af, despite me working on things that require almost no intellect. I can't imagine doing this for 60-70 hours a week.

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Re: First Year in Biglaw

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Nov 19, 2016 2:09 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I'm working part time now as a 3L in corp practice, and even now it is stressful af, despite me working on things that require almost no intellect. I can't imagine doing this for 60-70 hours a week.


What's so stressful about it? Turnaround time? Are you paid pro-rated with a full time first year salary?

My SA firm is also known to allow corp-leaning 3Ls do work over the year, and I'm considering doing it.

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Re: First Year in Biglaw

Postby notgreat » Sat Nov 19, 2016 4:47 pm

Eldon Tyrell wrote:I can't tell if I don't like it because I know nothing and I'm stressed out all the time or if I just don't like the work. I suspect the latter, although the former makes my life outside of work pretty bad, too. Making it past a year would be a huge shock/bonus at this point.


Hang in there man. Hopefully, it gets better. I'm a first year doing M&A in a major market and I can rely relate to not knowing anything and being stressed out all the time. I actually have what I think is a pretty good grasp of the basics of what is going on. But it is the details and points that partners are negotiating with opposing counsel that I have zero handle on. I also have no idea why certain things are done the way they are and what my final work product should look like many times. That is a huge source of stress. I would say one big difference for me is that I really like the work, although that could change, so for now I would like to stick around. But the constant stress from feeling like I am missing something is awful. Also, my group has great people at the junior associate and senior partner level. But the majority of the midlevels, senior associates, counsel and junior partners seem to have bad people and project management skills and micromanage and have mediocre people skills, so I dread the emails and calls I get from them. If anything would make me leave it would be the people. It would not be the work or the hours (which have been surprisingly high so far). Guess I will just have to wait it out to see if the people get better.
Last edited by notgreat on Sat Nov 19, 2016 4:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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skers
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Re: First Year in Biglaw

Postby skers » Sat Nov 19, 2016 4:49 pm

Probably should note as well that the people who actually like the job and want to do it long-term are per se defective, so enjoying things isn't really winning.

notgreat
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Re: First Year in Biglaw

Postby notgreat » Sat Nov 19, 2016 4:54 pm

Eldon Tyrell wrote:
umichman wrote:
Eldon Tyrell wrote:I can't tell if I don't like it because I know nothing and I'm stressed out all the time or if I just don't like the work. I suspect the latter, although the former makes my life outside of work pretty bad, too. Making it past a year would be a huge shock/bonus at this point.


What kind of work are you doing


M&A. Luckily there are other things I can try.


If you can try tax, I would go for it. My firm doesn't let corporate associates do that, but I wish they did. The tax people seem to be the least unhappy. Not to say all corporate people are unhappy, but the majority seem to be. I would not say the tax people seem happy, but they don't seem unhappy.

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Re: First Year in Biglaw

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Nov 19, 2016 9:56 pm

OP here. How are you all adjusting to the demand of billable hours?

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MCFC
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Re: First Year in Biglaw

Postby MCFC » Sat Nov 19, 2016 10:26 pm

Anonymous User wrote:OP here. How are you all adjusting to the demand of billable hours?

Mainly by not billing any hours.

BigZuck
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Re: First Year in Biglaw

Postby BigZuck » Sat Nov 19, 2016 10:28 pm

Anonymous User wrote:OP here. How are you all adjusting to the demand of billable hours?

I'd answer this but I'm too busy billing right now. At 8:27 PM. On a Saturday.

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Re: First Year in Biglaw

Postby zot1 » Sat Nov 19, 2016 11:13 pm

BigZuck wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:OP here. How are you all adjusting to the demand of billable hours?

I'd answer this but I'm too busy billing right now. At 8:27 PM. On a Saturday.


Zuck, you never disappoint.

BigZuck
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Re: First Year in Biglaw

Postby BigZuck » Sun Nov 20, 2016 12:09 am

zot1 wrote:
BigZuck wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:OP here. How are you all adjusting to the demand of billable hours?

I'd answer this but I'm too busy billing right now. At 8:27 PM. On a Saturday.


Zuck, you never disappoint.

I can't hear you, I'm too busy billing at 10:09 PM on a Saturday.

dixiecupdrinking
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Re: First Year in Biglaw

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Sun Nov 20, 2016 12:44 pm

It really does get better. My personal nadir was around six months to a year in. Once you make it through that period, the job gets easier to deal with (although the work gets substantively harder!). You start to understand when you can push back on timelines, like "hey I'm busy tonight can I do this tomorrow," you know who you should try to work with and who sucks, and you aren't reinventing the wheel every time you need to do some basic task like figuring out which three separate support people you need to talk to to get a binder made and Fedexed out. Also you begin to realize how nobody knows shit - even the partners encounter things they've never dealt with on a daily basis. That helps with the imposter syndrome thing.




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