Which is worse - 1L or Biglaw?

(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: 326386
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Which is worse - 1L or Biglaw?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Nov 20, 2016 8:02 pm

Currently a 1L at a t-14 with a reputation for high stress, and I felt fine up until this past week. Now that exams are coming up quickly, I've been outlining 10+ hours a day, taking 3+ practice tests a week, and studying generally on top of that. I'm insanely stressed and burnt out, but feel somewhat ok knowing that this will end once exams do. But it's making me question my desire to do biglaw if this is what biglaw always feels like.

Tl;dr: How does biglaw compare to 1L exam time in terms of work/stress?

Anonymous User
Posts: 326386
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Which is worse - 1L or Biglaw?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Nov 20, 2016 8:55 pm

Work way way more at the firm than during 1L overall, but the distribution is different; I worked harder during 1L for like one month each semester than the average month at a firm.

User avatar
LaLiLuLeLo

Silver
Posts: 644
Joined: Wed Jun 08, 2016 11:54 am

Re: Which is worse - 1L or Biglaw?

Postby LaLiLuLeLo » Sun Nov 20, 2016 9:32 pm

lol

Biglaw. It's not even close. A big chunk of why biglaw sucks is the stress of knowing that work can get dumped on you at any time, your plans/life be damned. You know exactly when work comes in 1L. And, frankly, law students are an amazing group of whiners. Law school, even 1L, isn't *that* hard or stressful.

SLS_AMG

Bronze
Posts: 487
Joined: Thu Jan 06, 2011 9:18 pm

Re: Which is worse - 1L or Biglaw?

Postby SLS_AMG » Sun Nov 20, 2016 11:56 pm

Lololololol

1L is a joke compared to big law. Most people fuck around for the first two-three months before hunkering down. Lol at having 2-3 months of basically nothing to do in big law. And if you did, it wouldn't be a good sign. And yeah, & know this is comparing finals time to big law, but you can't really do that, because big law stress doesn't just go away for months at a time and come in one-month bursts like law school.
Last edited by SLS_AMG on Mon Nov 21, 2016 12:01 am, edited 2 times in total.

SLS_AMG

Bronze
Posts: 487
Joined: Thu Jan 06, 2011 9:18 pm

Re: Which is worse - 1L or Biglaw?

Postby SLS_AMG » Sun Nov 20, 2016 11:57 pm

LaLiLuLeLo wrote:lol

Biglaw. It's not even close. A big chunk of why biglaw sucks is the stress of knowing that work can get dumped on you at any time, your plans/life be damned. You know exactly when work comes in 1L. And, frankly, law students are an amazing group of whiners. Law school, even 1L, isn't *that* hard or stressful.


This. People complain about law school, but it really isn't that stressful at all. Way overrated.

User avatar
Pomeranian

Bronze
Posts: 264
Joined: Thu May 05, 2016 10:23 pm

Re: Which is worse - 1L or Biglaw?

Postby Pomeranian » Sun Nov 20, 2016 11:58 pm

Is this a joke?

umichman

Bronze
Posts: 332
Joined: Sun Nov 03, 2013 11:56 am

Re: Which is worse - 1L or Biglaw?

Postby umichman » Mon Nov 21, 2016 12:35 am

I think that big law is a punishment to pay back law students since we basically take a 3 year break on the government dime.

jarofsoup

Gold
Posts: 1999
Joined: Tue Jul 01, 2008 2:41 am

Re: Which is worse - 1L or Biglaw?

Postby jarofsoup » Mon Nov 21, 2016 8:33 am

When you are 1L you fantasize about what law practice can be and that keeps you motivated.

Come big law and you are working all day everyday and someone birches at you because there is a typo in a 100 page document you loose that fantasy pretty quickly.

Danger Zone

Platinum
Posts: 8260
Joined: Sat Mar 16, 2013 10:36 am

Re: Which is worse - 1L or Biglaw?

Postby Danger Zone » Mon Nov 21, 2016 8:34 am

Holy shit :lol: So much delusion and privilege
Last edited by Danger Zone on Sat Jan 27, 2018 3:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
TLSModBot

Diamond
Posts: 14838
Joined: Mon Oct 24, 2011 11:54 am

Re: Which is worse - 1L or Biglaw?

Postby TLSModBot » Mon Nov 21, 2016 9:15 am

The stress of not knowing whether your massive time and money commitment will pay off in a job that will let you make it all worth it is pretty awful. I'm glad that's behind me.

But the stress of the job is constant and significant enough that I'd put Biglaw well ahead of 1L.

habeas2210

Bronze
Posts: 107
Joined: Mon Apr 19, 2010 2:25 am

Re: Which is worse - 1L or Biglaw?

Postby habeas2210 » Mon Nov 21, 2016 11:11 am

Danger Zone wrote:Holy shit :lol: So much delusion and privilege

thegrayman

Silver
Posts: 527
Joined: Thu May 06, 2010 5:56 pm

Re: Which is worse - 1L or Biglaw?

Postby thegrayman » Mon Nov 21, 2016 1:46 pm

The stress from biglaw of knowing that a firedrill of very complex and stressful work can be dropped on your plate at any given time (weekends, holiday, vacation) is one of the worst constant pits in your stomach.

It takes a free and clear weekend and turns it into a constant worry that something will land on your plate, or that something has already landed on your plate but your phone isn't syncing. I had a miserable midlevel take the time to sweat my balls about a pro bono assignment over a holiday weekend when I had ultra spotty cell coverage and was on vacation with my wife. Culture of fucking miserable people...

Danger Zone

Platinum
Posts: 8260
Joined: Sat Mar 16, 2013 10:36 am

Re: Which is worse - 1L or Biglaw?

Postby Danger Zone » Mon Nov 21, 2016 1:51 pm

1L isn't even worse than 2L. Enjoy OCI, callbacks, and juggling extracurriculars with real coursework.
Last edited by Danger Zone on Sat Jan 27, 2018 3:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

RaceJudicata

Gold
Posts: 1717
Joined: Mon Jun 22, 2015 2:51 pm

Re: Which is worse - 1L or Biglaw?

Postby RaceJudicata » Mon Nov 21, 2016 1:56 pm

Danger Zone wrote:1L isn't even worse than 2L. Enjoy OCI, callbacks, and juggling extracurriculars with real coursework.


This. 2L is probably easier to get good grades (less courses are curved -- at least at my school), but 2L year was WAY more stressful than 1L.

User avatar
glitched

Silver
Posts: 1103
Joined: Wed May 19, 2010 9:50 am

Re: Which is worse - 1L or Biglaw?

Postby glitched » Mon Nov 21, 2016 5:07 pm

I'll go against the grain a bit here. I found law school to be very stressful, but not for the reasons you describe (well they're related in ways). Being stressed about whether I could find a job made 1L and half of 2L really horrible for me. Even today, I get more stressed about not having hours than having a lot of it because I'm afraid of being stealthed. As for comparing stress from the amount of work, as others have already stated, biglaw is way worse.

gregfootball2001

Bronze
Posts: 451
Joined: Tue Oct 25, 2011 8:35 am

Re: Which is worse - 1L or Biglaw?

Postby gregfootball2001 » Mon Nov 21, 2016 5:44 pm

glitched wrote:I'll go against the grain a bit here. I found law school to be very stressful, but not for the reasons you describe (well they're related in ways). Being stressed about whether I could find a job made 1L and half of 2L really horrible for me.

Completely agree. YMMV, but while practicing can be stressful, that 1L fear is absent.

dabigchina

Silver
Posts: 1426
Joined: Mon Jan 13, 2014 2:22 am

Re: Which is worse - 1L or Biglaw?

Postby dabigchina » Mon Nov 21, 2016 5:50 pm

Danger Zone wrote:1L isn't even worse than 2L. Enjoy OCI, callbacks, and juggling extracurriculars with real coursework.

With how early recruiting season is now, a lot of people will be done with recruiting before classes even start.

Also, don't do extracurriculars. Just don't.

Danger Zone

Platinum
Posts: 8260
Joined: Sat Mar 16, 2013 10:36 am

Re: Which is worse - 1L or Biglaw?

Postby Danger Zone » Mon Nov 21, 2016 5:54 pm

dabigchina wrote:
Danger Zone wrote:1L isn't even worse than 2L. Enjoy OCI, callbacks, and juggling extracurriculars with real coursework.

With how early recruiting season is now, a lot of people will be done with recruiting before classes even start.

Also, don't do extracurriculars. Just don't.

Law review and moot court are still credited. Those are what I was referencing.
Last edited by Danger Zone on Sat Jan 27, 2018 3:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Pomeranian

Bronze
Posts: 264
Joined: Thu May 05, 2016 10:23 pm

Re: Which is worse - 1L or Biglaw?

Postby Pomeranian » Mon Nov 21, 2016 6:08 pm

Danger Zone wrote:Holy shit :lol: So much delusion and privilege


Special snowflake millennial will be in for a RUDE awakening as a new big law associate. <3

Anonymous User
Posts: 326386
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Which is worse - 1L or Biglaw?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Nov 22, 2016 6:38 am

LS is the only one where it's possible to do well doing minimal work. BL is the one where hard work correlates with success. The content in LS is much more interesting. In lit, the interesting bits are the AC of IRAC, which is the partner's job. Your job is only the IR. In any other practice area, there's a good chance you're practicing about as much law as Taylor Swift.

The nature of BL makes happiness very difficult. It's not because of the work or hours, but the fact you're forced to stress about fake deadlines for pointless work that will often times never even be read, and if you're not stressed with work then you have to to worry about not getting enough work.

Perpetual stress leads to neurological changes that lead to an increase in cortisol in, because it thinks your stress is related to the kind of crazy shit our great ape ancestors would be stressed about - getting chased by a bear, losing your leg during a scuffle with a crocodile or simply not having adequate access to food. The reason such challenges didn't make our species extinct is related to a hormone called cortisol that you'll soon have the pleasure of meeting but may not know what it is.

It goes like this. Your metabolism goes into hibernation mode and resembles that of your bedridden grandma, because it assumes you won't get food for some time. You gain fat, lose muscle, become more impatient and have much less energy because your brain wants to limits your energy as much as it can.

It really hits home when you discover that the balding 90-year-old partner who resembles an odd mixture of Grandma Gertie from Hey Arnold! and the personification of Death in The Seventh Seal is actually a 27-year old third year who just won the Miss Illinois beauty pageant in 2012.

User avatar
Monochromatic Oeuvre

Gold
Posts: 2025
Joined: Fri May 10, 2013 9:40 pm

Re: Which is worse - 1L or Biglaw?

Postby Monochromatic Oeuvre » Tue Nov 22, 2016 7:47 am

1L is definitely worse.

Not because anything anyone ITT has said is wrong. As everyone mentioned, there's much more volume of work in Biglaw, it's more difficult to do (not that it's all that tough, but you can't just find "what works for you" like you can in LS), and it can come like an avalanche at any time. OP has highlighted his finals week--in Biglaw you'll have a week like that every month. For some associates, every single week looks like that. And if you have those chill early-semester weeks where you only really worked for 20-25 hours too often, you're bound to be shitcanned. It's not a mystery why a lot of people bolt at the first opportunity. And of course, 1L is only one year, whereas Biglaw could be many.

But by the time you're in Biglaw, your "life trajectory" is much safer. Unless you are really uniquely terrible at your job (or economy/downsizing pwned), you'll last long enough to be able to transition into a job with more manageable hours that pays, although a lot less than you currently make, six figures. I'm not gonna say it doesn't matter if you're bad at Biglaw, because it does, but you can be nothing more than minimally competent and last 4-5 years (if you want to stay that long), assuming you're getting somewhere in the neighborhood of your hours target. There's no forced curve.

In 1L, by contrast, it very much matters if you're mediocre, and it very much matters if you're awkward/a shitty interviewer, and it matters more the further down the rankings you go. OCI may be some of the most consequential days of your life in terms of how they change your broader trajectory, because it's so feast-or-famine. Once that Biglaw train leaves the station, if you're not on it, it's near impossible to ever get there. Most people who whiff at OCI are going to be in mid-five figure jobs for a long time (if they're lucky enough to have a job). That closes doors to particular retirement options, neighborhoods/schools, etc. Depending on your debt load, you might really be fucked. The tax bomb is gonna prevent a lot of people from ever buying a house. And that's just way, way more stressful to worry about than whether the commas in the stock purchase agreement are right. All of practice exams came with the thought that if I didn't get them right, I would strike out (and this was at CLS with no debt, so you can imagine what it would've been like in a less secure situation). When I got back crappy fall grades, I felt legitimately suicidal. I wouldn't trade all the Friday night fire drills in the world to be back in that mindset.

dixiecupdrinking

Gold
Posts: 3440
Joined: Sun Oct 26, 2008 2:39 pm

Re: Which is worse - 1L or Biglaw?

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Tue Nov 22, 2016 9:42 am

I prefer biglaw because the shit that stresses me out about it are actual assignments that I can go do. 1L was like a year of impotent fear and anxiety culminating in a couple hours of productive work.

RaceJudicata

Gold
Posts: 1717
Joined: Mon Jun 22, 2015 2:51 pm

Re: Which is worse - 1L or Biglaw?

Postby RaceJudicata » Tue Nov 22, 2016 10:37 am

Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:.

In 1L, by contrast, it very much matters if you're mediocre, and it very much matters if you're awkward/a shitty interviewer, and it matters more the further down the rankings you go. OCI may be some of the most consequential days of your life in terms of how they change your broader trajectory, because it's so feast-or-famine. Once that Biglaw train leaves the station, if you're not on it, it's near impossible to ever get there. Most people who whiff at OCI are going to be in mid-five figure jobs for a long time (if they're lucky enough to have a job). That closes doors to particular retirement options, neighborhoods/schools, etc. Depending on your debt load, you might really be fucked. The tax bomb is gonna prevent a lot of people from ever buying a house. And that's just way, way more stressful to worry about than whether the commas in the stock purchase agreement are right. All of practice exams came with the thought that if I didn't get them right, I would strike out (and this was at CLS with no debt, so you can imagine what it would've been like in a less secure situation). When I got back crappy fall grades, I felt legitimately suicidal. I wouldn't trade all the Friday night fire drills in the world to be back in that mindset.


This hits home for me. 3L so only SA experience, but this brought back some dark memories. At a much lower ranked school and had one shitty exam...felt the weight of the world on my chest 24 hours a day. Thank god I was able to put it aside for Spring and do well on my exams.

User avatar
JenDarby

Diamond
Posts: 17365
Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2010 3:02 am

Re: Which is worse - 1L or Biglaw?

Postby JenDarby » Tue Nov 22, 2016 11:34 am

MO, that was a really long winded way of saying you went to CLS with no debt.

But seriously, you just differentiated yourself from the majority of people that would pose this question since without debt you're free to get shitcanned or leave whenever you want.

Anonymous User
Posts: 326386
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Which is worse - 1L or Biglaw?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Nov 22, 2016 12:06 pm

Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:1L is definitely worse.

Not because anything anyone ITT has said is wrong. As everyone mentioned, there's much more volume of work in Biglaw, it's more difficult to do (not that it's all that tough, but you can't just find "what works for you" like you can in LS), and it can come like an avalanche at any time. OP has highlighted his finals week--in Biglaw you'll have a week like that every month. For some associates, every single week looks like that. And if you have those chill early-semester weeks where you only really worked for 20-25 hours too often, you're bound to be shitcanned. It's not a mystery why a lot of people bolt at the first opportunity. And of course, 1L is only one year, whereas Biglaw could be many.

But by the time you're in Biglaw, your "life trajectory" is much safer. Unless you are really uniquely terrible at your job (or economy/downsizing pwned), you'll last long enough to be able to transition into a job with more manageable hours that pays, although a lot less than you currently make, six figures. I'm not gonna say it doesn't matter if you're bad at Biglaw, because it does, but you can be nothing more than minimally competent and last 4-5 years (if you want to stay that long), assuming you're getting somewhere in the neighborhood of your hours target. There's no forced curve.

In 1L, by contrast, it very much matters if you're mediocre, and it very much matters if you're awkward/a shitty interviewer, and it matters more the further down the rankings you go. OCI may be some of the most consequential days of your life in terms of how they change your broader trajectory, because it's so feast-or-famine. Once that Biglaw train leaves the station, if you're not on it, it's near impossible to ever get there. Most people who whiff at OCI are going to be in mid-five figure jobs for a long time (if they're lucky enough to have a job). That closes doors to particular retirement options, neighborhoods/schools, etc. Depending on your debt load, you might really be fucked. The tax bomb is gonna prevent a lot of people from ever buying a house. And that's just way, way more stressful to worry about than whether the commas in the stock purchase agreement are right. All of practice exams came with the thought that if I didn't get them right, I would strike out (and this was at CLS with no debt, so you can imagine what it would've been like in a less secure situation). When I got back crappy fall grades, I felt legitimately suicidal. I wouldn't trade all the Friday night fire drills in the world to be back in that mindset.


Yea, this is wrong. Having no debt makes an extreme difference (literally, the difference between developing anxiety disorders and not). When all is said and done, after 5 years, I'll likely have some sort of anxiety/panic disorder (already starting to get anxious in random situations and having trouble sleeping and I'm someone that was always the "chill" guy), almost no debt, but basically like 60-100K to my name. All of this, plus 10-12 years of my life working in a field that is pretty miserable makes me wonder wtf i did with my life. I could have been a mechanic out of HS and been better off financially than I'll be and not have panic attacks every time my phone buzzes on a Saturday. Do not listen to this person, since most of us wouldn't be in big law if we had no debt and the mental illness aspect is very, very real. And this is coming from someone who was bottom 5% of his class after 1L year with full-debt.



Return to “Legal Employment�

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.