Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote: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.
I have to disagree with this assessment. Up-and-out systems are very much like a forced curve - there just isn't enough senior work for every minimally competent junior to stick around for five years. So while sure, if you hit your hours you'll likely be able to stick around as long as you want, hitting your hours year over year is more difficult than many realize - and at some point, unless your group is really perpetually slammed, minimal competency will lead to you getting cut off in favor of people who are in better positions. Plus you can't just wave off the chances of your practice group getting slashed, whether due to a nationwide slowdown or a firm specific one. It happens and leaves people in the lurch more often than people like to admit.