Hating Biglaw - Please Help

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Re: Hating Biglaw - Please Help

Postby TLSModBot » Tue Jan 31, 2017 3:49 pm

Firms generally aren't monoliths. Bad firms sometimes get great people, and good firms sometimes have screaming assholes.

A firm with a good reputation for its treatment of associates at best means the firm tries to hire and promote people who will not make your life hell; it ups the chances of a good outcome but isn't dispositive in any way.

The practice area and office location also matter: NY is just always gonna NY. DC seems a lot chiller, and I hear SF/LA are pretty great but don't know personally. Lit and Corporate lifestyles are gonna differ, and specialties within that likewise.

The big thing, which is ultimately luck of the draw, is the people you work under. They make or break how you get work, what work you do, and what you learn along the way.

Tl;DR OP: do you hate the work or do you hate the people? If the latter I'd try to lateral as soon as you are able.

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Re: Hating Biglaw - Please Help

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jan 31, 2017 3:50 pm

Phil Brooks wrote:Did you research anything about the firm culture other than that it's a V10?



OP here. I tried to be extremely diligent. Again, I like my colleagues for the most part - I think it is just that "biglaw culture" is not a good fit for my personality.

Honestly, I should have been mature enough to know that ahead of time. If I could go back I would have still done the SA (being a summer was the greatest) and then tried to find something else that suits me better.

Now I am just trying to figure out if there's anything I can reasonably leave for now or if I am stuck being miserable for maybe the rest of 2017. At this point even getting fired would feel like a huge relief in a lot of ways.

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Re: Hating Biglaw - Please Help

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jan 31, 2017 4:11 pm

If you are ok with getting fired, just try to stick it out and accrue paychecks. If you can last until September (i.e. last a year), you may have some opportunities to leave by either lateraling to a different firm in a different group (groups like tax, employment, environmental are known for better hours) or try in-house or public service.

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Re: Hating Biglaw - Please Help

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Tue Jan 31, 2017 5:51 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Phil Brooks wrote:Did you research anything about the firm culture other than that it's a V10?



OP here. I tried to be extremely diligent. Again, I like my colleagues for the most part - I think it is just that "biglaw culture" is not a good fit for my personality.

Honestly, I should have been mature enough to know that ahead of time. If I could go back I would have still done the SA (being a summer was the greatest) and then tried to find something else that suits me better.

Now I am just trying to figure out if there's anything I can reasonably leave for now or if I am stuck being miserable for maybe the rest of 2017. At this point even getting fired would feel like a huge relief in a lot of ways.

What do you want to do? Figure that out and aim for it. Identifying what you don't want to do (your current job) is only half the solution, and the easier half.

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Re: Hating Biglaw - Please Help

Postby nunumaster » Tue Jan 31, 2017 10:16 pm

Anonymous User wrote:If you are ok with getting fired, just try to stick it out and accrue paychecks. If you can last until September (i.e. last a year), you may have some opportunities to leave by either lateraling to a different firm in a different group (groups like tax, employment, environmental are known for better hours) or try in-house or public service.


But its probably really hard to move to a completely different unrelated group when lateraling no?

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Re: Hating Biglaw - Please Help

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jan 31, 2017 11:43 pm

dixiecupdrinking wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Phil Brooks wrote:Did you research anything about the firm culture other than that it's a V10?



OP here. I tried to be extremely diligent. Again, I like my colleagues for the most part - I think it is just that "biglaw culture" is not a good fit for my personality.

Honestly, I should have been mature enough to know that ahead of time. If I could go back I would have still done the SA (being a summer was the greatest) and then tried to find something else that suits me better.

Now I am just trying to figure out if there's anything I can reasonably leave for now or if I am stuck being miserable for maybe the rest of 2017. At this point even getting fired would feel like a huge relief in a lot of ways.

What do you want to do? Figure that out and aim for it. Identifying what you don't want to do (your current job) is only half the solution, and the easier half.


That's a good question, and the harder one for sure. Worth asking though. Thanks.

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Re: Hating Biglaw - Please Help

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jan 31, 2017 11:45 pm

nunumaster wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:If you are ok with getting fired, just try to stick it out and accrue paychecks. If you can last until September (i.e. last a year), you may have some opportunities to leave by either lateraling to a different firm in a different group (groups like tax, employment, environmental are known for better hours) or try in-house or public service.


But its probably really hard to move to a completely different unrelated group when lateraling no?


OP here. Luckily I am already in one of these groups. Unluckily it hasn't seemed to improve my experience. Again, I don't blame the work or the people - I just don't think I am a good fit for a large law firm.

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Re: Hating Biglaw - Please Help

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Feb 02, 2017 11:12 am

Anonymous User wrote:
nunumaster wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:If you are ok with getting fired, just try to stick it out and accrue paychecks. If you can last until September (i.e. last a year), you may have some opportunities to leave by either lateraling to a different firm in a different group (groups like tax, employment, environmental are known for better hours) or try in-house or public service.


But its probably really hard to move to a completely different unrelated group when lateraling no?


OP here. Luckily I am already in one of these groups. Unluckily it hasn't seemed to improve my experience. Again, I don't blame the work or the people - I just don't think I am a good fit for a large law firm.


I feel your pain, it's a miserable business and unless you truly find an area you enjoy, the work will only wear on you more and more. I've worked with great people and it really doesn't matter how cool someone is if you are up till 2 am a week straight working on stuff you don't enjoy doing. Try to figure out what you want. I've hopped around a bit and its truly a regret of mine, try to stick it out and think critically about what kind of career would make you happy (or at least not miserable) and allow you to live a decent lifestyle.

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Re: Hating Biglaw - Please Help

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Feb 02, 2017 11:36 am

For me it's really the lack of any control over my life. As I hit my mid level years, I wonder where my ambitious, overachieving self went. When I think back on my peak overachieving years (high school) I was able to plan my day meticulously in order to juggle everything I had going on. Now I have no idea if I'm going to bed at 11pm or 5am, and as I get more senior I have less insulation from fire drills. While lack of control over your life is just a reality of working, big law is an extreme.

OTOH, my values have changed, and now I place much more value on my family and friends and the idea of doing something that I actually want to do, rather than the prestige chasing that inflicts so many of us on here.

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Re: Hating Biglaw - Please Help

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Feb 02, 2017 12:56 pm

Anonymous User wrote:For me it's really the lack of any control over my life. As I hit my mid level years, I wonder where my ambitious, overachieving self went. When I think back on my peak overachieving years (high school) I was able to plan my day meticulously in order to juggle everything I had going on. Now I have no idea if I'm going to bed at 11pm or 5am, and as I get more senior I have less insulation from fire drills. While lack of control over your life is just a reality of working, big law is an extreme.

OTOH, my values have changed, and now I place much more value on my family and friends and the idea of doing something that I actually want to do, rather than the prestige chasing that inflicts so many of us on here.


Dam, you sound exactly like me. I was literally talking to someone the other day how sad it is that decisions I made when I was 20 years old (and thought money and having a dope life in a big city were more important that finding something you like doing) have been making me miserable for the last ten years. I think people like us just weren't meant to do this (most people honestly couldn't do this). Nothing wrong with that. I'm trying to last as long as I can to move to a secondary market with a firm, since it is just so easy to move around in big law, but honestly, if I was set on staying put, I would have quit a few months ago. If you don't plan on making moves, I would just try to get out and find something with more stable hours while you figure out what you want to do

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Re: Hating Biglaw - Please Help

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Mar 31, 2017 7:57 pm

OP here with a sort of non-update.

Everyone here was right in that I have gotten more used to things but still totally hate it. I have started applying to other jobs but no luck so far.

But, I re-read the advice in this thread and it is mostly great, so thanks again.

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Re: Hating Biglaw - Please Help

Postby nunumaster » Sat Apr 01, 2017 12:07 am

Anonymous User wrote:OP here with a sort of non-update.

Everyone here was right in that I have gotten more used to things but still totally hate it. I have started applying to other jobs but no luck so far.

But, I re-read the advice in this thread and it is mostly great, so thanks again.


What kind of jobs have you been applying to OP?

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Re: Hating Biglaw - Please Help

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Apr 01, 2017 4:27 pm

OP, if you're not interested in the work being done, it will only get worse. If you're M&A, and wouldn't be interested in knowing about a merger between Anheuser-Bush and Coors, then you're probably never going to like it. Nobody likes the drudgery make work you're doing now, but the people who last a long time without becoming insufferable are the ones who find the area interesting. It's easier to switch practice areas if you're jr.

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Re: Hating Biglaw - Please Help

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Apr 02, 2017 10:03 pm

nunumaster wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:OP here with a sort of non-update.

Everyone here was right in that I have gotten more used to things but still totally hate it. I have started applying to other jobs but no luck so far.

But, I re-read the advice in this thread and it is mostly great, so thanks again.


What kind of jobs have you been applying to OP?


I'm applying to basically any in-house job that lists an experience requirement of 3 years or less. I obviously don't have enough legal experience, but I do have a few years of non-legal work experience before law school that will hopefully help in some way.

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Re: Hating Biglaw - Please Help

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Apr 03, 2017 11:39 pm

OP: I second that things get considerably better once you decide not to care anymore about whether you are fired or not. I've reached a point where I'm just trying to ride out the train and see how much money I can save before I get the talk, and it's actually not a terrible job.

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Re: Hating Biglaw - Please Help

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Apr 04, 2017 6:47 am

I only worked at Biglaw as an office clerk during undergrad so I can't give good advice but my 2 years there was enough for me to say no f***king way is it worth being a lawyer here. Biglaw just seems like such a terrible way to make money. When you do the math the hourly rate is pathetic. Biglaw partners make their fortune working their associates to the bone while giving off the illusion that "this life is the dream." All the "perks" are just ways to make sure you have no excuse to ever leave the building. There are just so many better ways to make money with all of the time you spend at Biglaw. I currently work at a small firm at $100k with a 1500 billable hour requirement. I never work on weekends and rarely work past 5pm. I spend my spare time on an export business I started with my sister and bought a multi-family apartment complex with my husband, both of which bring in great income. I guess my point is that Biglaw is not the only way to make good money. If you enjoy it then by all means make yo paper boo boo. But if you hate it (and I don't blame you) then to hell with it. Life is too damn short to spend any moment of it unhappy. I'm turning 30 this year which means I'm going to be dead in 60 years if I'm lucky. So I have maybe 40 good years left before things start to hurt. The people who have responded are much more qualified to give advice but I don't think the "it gets easier" is an approach I would ever take. You can't put a price on a piece of mind.

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Re: Hating Biglaw - Please Help

Postby mvp99 » Tue Apr 04, 2017 9:34 am

Anonymous User wrote:I only worked at Biglaw as an office clerk during undergrad so I can't give good advice but my 2 years there was enough for me to say no f***king way is it worth being a lawyer here. Biglaw just seems like such a terrible way to make money. When you do the math the hourly rate is pathetic. Biglaw partners make their fortune working their associates to the bone while giving off the illusion that "this life is the dream." All the "perks" are just ways to make sure you have no excuse to ever leave the building. There are just so many better ways to make money with all of the time you spend at Biglaw. I currently work at a small firm at $100k with a 1500 billable hour requirement. I never work on weekends and rarely work past 5pm. I spend my spare time on an export business I started with my sister and bought a multi-family apartment complex with my husband, both of which bring in great income. I guess my point is that Biglaw is not the only way to make good money. If you enjoy it then by all means make yo paper boo boo. But if you hate it (and I don't blame you) then to hell with it. Life is too damn short to spend any moment of it unhappy. I'm turning 30 this year which means I'm going to be dead in 60 years if I'm lucky. So I have maybe 40 good years left before things start to hurt. The people who have responded are much more qualified to give advice but I don't think the "it gets easier" is an approach I would ever take. You can't put a price on a piece of mind.

I should've bought an apartment complex. Why doesnt everyone do that?!

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Re: Hating Biglaw - Please Help

Postby Monochromatic Oeuvre » Tue Apr 04, 2017 9:42 am

Anonymous User wrote:I only worked at Biglaw as an office clerk during undergrad so I can't give good advice but my 2 years there was enough for me to say no f***king way is it worth being a lawyer here. Biglaw just seems like such a terrible way to make money. When you do the math the hourly rate is pathetic. Biglaw partners make their fortune working their associates to the bone while giving off the illusion that "this life is the dream." All the "perks" are just ways to make sure you have no excuse to ever leave the building. There are just so many better ways to make money with all of the time you spend at Biglaw. I currently work at a small firm at $100k with a 1500 billable hour requirement. I never work on weekends and rarely work past 5pm. I spend my spare time on an export business I started with my sister and bought a multi-family apartment complex with my husband, both of which bring in great income. I guess my point is that Biglaw is not the only way to make good money. If you enjoy it then by all means make yo paper boo boo. But if you hate it (and I don't blame you) then to hell with it. Life is too damn short to spend any moment of it unhappy. I'm turning 30 this year which means I'm going to be dead in 60 years if I'm lucky. So I have maybe 40 good years left before things start to hurt. The people who have responded are much more qualified to give advice but I don't think the "it gets easier" is an approach I would ever take. You can't put a price on a piece of mind.


Just do buy a multi-family apartment complex and start a business on your $100k salary at age 30.

Sincerely,
Person With A Lot of Money Telling You Not to Worry About Money

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Re: Hating Biglaw - Please Help

Postby Lacepiece23 » Tue Apr 04, 2017 10:36 am

Anonymous User wrote:I only worked at Biglaw as an office clerk during undergrad so I can't give good advice but my 2 years there was enough for me to say no f***king way is it worth being a lawyer here. Biglaw just seems like such a terrible way to make money. When you do the math the hourly rate is pathetic. Biglaw partners make their fortune working their associates to the bone while giving off the illusion that "this life is the dream." All the "perks" are just ways to make sure you have no excuse to ever leave the building. There are just so many better ways to make money with all of the time you spend at Biglaw. I currently work at a small firm at $100k with a 1500 billable hour requirement. I never work on weekends and rarely work past 5pm. I spend my spare time on an export business I started with my sister and bought a multi-family apartment complex with my husband, both of which bring in great income. I guess my point is that Biglaw is not the only way to make good money. If you enjoy it then by all means make yo paper boo boo. But if you hate it (and I don't blame you) then to hell with it. Life is too damn short to spend any moment of it unhappy. I'm turning 30 this year which means I'm going to be dead in 60 years if I'm lucky. So I have maybe 40 good years left before things start to hurt. The people who have responded are much more qualified to give advice but I don't think the "it gets easier" is an approach I would ever take. You can't put a price on a piece of mind.


Can you PM me?

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Re: Hating Biglaw - Please Help

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Apr 04, 2017 10:42 am

Anonymous User wrote:I only worked at Biglaw as an office clerk during undergrad so I can't give good advice but my 2 years there was enough for me to say no f***king way is it worth being a lawyer here. Biglaw just seems like such a terrible way to make money. When you do the math the hourly rate is pathetic. Biglaw partners make their fortune working their associates to the bone while giving off the illusion that "this life is the dream." All the "perks" are just ways to make sure you have no excuse to ever leave the building. There are just so many better ways to make money with all of the time you spend at Biglaw. I currently work at a small firm at $100k with a 1500 billable hour requirement. I never work on weekends and rarely work past 5pm. I spend my spare time on an export business I started with my sister and bought a multi-family apartment complex with my husband, both of which bring in great income. I guess my point is that Biglaw is not the only way to make good money. If you enjoy it then by all means make yo paper boo boo. But if you hate it (and I don't blame you) then to hell with it. Life is too damn short to spend any moment of it unhappy. I'm turning 30 this year which means I'm going to be dead in 60 years if I'm lucky. So I have maybe 40 good years left before things start to hurt. The people who have responded are much more qualified to give advice but I don't think the "it gets easier" is an approach I would ever take. You can't put a price on a piece of mind.


Where can you make $100K billing 1500 hours a year? I want that life

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Re: Hating Biglaw - Please Help

Postby grand inquisitor » Tue Apr 04, 2017 10:53 am

the dept. of justice

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Re: Hating Biglaw - Please Help

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Apr 04, 2017 11:33 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I only worked at Biglaw as an office clerk during undergrad so I can't give good advice but my 2 years there was enough for me to say no f***king way is it worth being a lawyer here. Biglaw just seems like such a terrible way to make money. When you do the math the hourly rate is pathetic. Biglaw partners make their fortune working their associates to the bone while giving off the illusion that "this life is the dream." All the "perks" are just ways to make sure you have no excuse to ever leave the building. There are just so many better ways to make money with all of the time you spend at Biglaw. I currently work at a small firm at $100k with a 1500 billable hour requirement. I never work on weekends and rarely work past 5pm. I spend my spare time on an export business I started with my sister and bought a multi-family apartment complex with my husband, both of which bring in great income. I guess my point is that Biglaw is not the only way to make good money. If you enjoy it then by all means make yo paper boo boo. But if you hate it (and I don't blame you) then to hell with it. Life is too damn short to spend any moment of it unhappy. I'm turning 30 this year which means I'm going to be dead in 60 years if I'm lucky. So I have maybe 40 good years left before things start to hurt. The people who have responded are much more qualified to give advice but I don't think the "it gets easier" is an approach I would ever take. You can't put a price on a piece of mind.


Where can you make $100K billing 1500 hours a year? I want that life


I once worked for a small firm like this. It took several years (2-3) to get to 100k pay. However, I dealt with the following cons:

- Firm specialized in a field that was so niche I had almost no exit options (which explained the higher pay - firm had less competition due to the niche nature of the work).
- Billables might only be 1500 a year, but huge facetime requirement that I got sick of, and almost no PTO.
- Spent a lot of time doing non-billable work, like helping out with admin and billing/accounting.
- Dealt with some seriously bad personalities.

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Re: Hating Biglaw - Please Help

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Apr 04, 2017 12:22 pm

Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I only worked at Biglaw as an office clerk during undergrad so I can't give good advice but my 2 years there was enough for me to say no f***king way is it worth being a lawyer here. Biglaw just seems like such a terrible way to make money. When you do the math the hourly rate is pathetic. Biglaw partners make their fortune working their associates to the bone while giving off the illusion that "this life is the dream." All the "perks" are just ways to make sure you have no excuse to ever leave the building. There are just so many better ways to make money with all of the time you spend at Biglaw. I currently work at a small firm at $100k with a 1500 billable hour requirement. I never work on weekends and rarely work past 5pm. I spend my spare time on an export business I started with my sister and bought a multi-family apartment complex with my husband, both of which bring in great income. I guess my point is that Biglaw is not the only way to make good money. If you enjoy it then by all means make yo paper boo boo. But if you hate it (and I don't blame you) then to hell with it. Life is too damn short to spend any moment of it unhappy. I'm turning 30 this year which means I'm going to be dead in 60 years if I'm lucky. So I have maybe 40 good years left before things start to hurt. The people who have responded are much more qualified to give advice but I don't think the "it gets easier" is an approach I would ever take. You can't put a price on a piece of mind.


Just do buy a multi-family apartment complex and start a business on your $100k salary at age 30.

Sincerely,
Person With A Lot of Money Telling You Not to Worry About Money



This is the problem. People think the only way to make money is to work like a horse for someone else. Very few people consider putting their money to work for them. I did not come from a background of money. Parents never gave me a dime. I've worked since I was 15 and have always been very frugal. Now my husband makes $150k a year so that definitely helps but even his job is super chill. He overseas a portfolio of commercial properties for some extraordinarily wealthy family. His hours are 9-5pm. Never works weekends or nights. You should take the time to look at how much duplexes, triplexes, and larger complexes actually cost. Instead of buying a nice house we put a sizable down payment on 6 units (in a not so great neighborhood) and negotiated with the seller to carry the note. Our tenants pay for the mortgage and we get a cash flow. We saved THAT money (and a chunk of our income) for another down payment to buy our first real home, albeit a small home (should have bought more units but we started having babies). We live very modestly. No credit card debt, no car loans, and our mortgage payment is less than 20% of our income. Even our phones are prepaid (f**K AT&T they just rob you). Virtually all of our money is put to work. My husband avidly invests in stocks and I dump money into my export business, which I started for only $4,000. Why work so hard making someone else rich while you just live in misery. A Biglaw first year makes $180k a year billing anywhere from 200-300 hours a month. At 200 hours a month, that's $75 per hour. Meanwhile the partners are billing you out $500 per hour. That's a sweet return on their investment. Why not reallocate your time and money for yourself instead of others. You don't need to be rich to do it. You just need to do a lot of homework and be OK with living way below your means.

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Re: Hating Biglaw - Please Help

Postby merde_happens » Tue Apr 04, 2017 1:34 pm

This is the problem. People think the only way to make money is to work like a horse for someone else. Very few people consider putting their money to work for them. I did not come from a background of money. Parents never gave me a dime. I've worked since I was 15 and have always been very frugal. Now my husband makes $150k a year so that definitely helps but even his job is super chill. He overseas a portfolio of commercial properties for some extraordinarily wealthy family. His hours are 9-5pm. Never works weekends or nights. You should take the time to look at how much duplexes, triplexes, and larger complexes actually cost. Instead of buying a nice house we put a sizable down payment on 6 units (in a not so great neighborhood) and negotiated with the seller to carry the note. Our tenants pay for the mortgage and we get a cash flow. We saved THAT money (and a chunk of our income) for another down payment to buy our first real home, albeit a small home (should have bought more units but we started having babies). We live very modestly. No credit card debt, no car loans, and our mortgage payment is less than 20% of our income. Even our phones are prepaid (f**K AT&T they just rob you). Virtually all of our money is put to work. My husband avidly invests in stocks and I dump money into my export business, which I started for only $4,000. Why work so hard making someone else rich while you just live in misery. A Biglaw first year makes $180k a year billing anywhere from 200-300 hours a month. At 200 hours a month, that's $75 per hour. Meanwhile the partners are billing you out $500 per hour. That's a sweet return on their investment. Why not reallocate your time and money for yourself instead of others. You don't need to be rich to do it. You just need to do a lot of homework and be OK with living way below your means.


Your situation isn't at all comparable to OP's. You're living on a dual income of $250k, you work pretty much a unicorn job ($100k at 1500 hours isn't the kind of position that's easy to find--especially for a junior associate), in what I would assume is a lower COL area, with what appears to be little to no student debt (because good luck taking on a huge mortgage note for an income property with six figures of student debt). This isn't the situation that most lawyers slaving away in big law face. So, coming in here with some unrealistic faux-pep talk ("Just start a business! Just buy an income property! It's easy as long as you live below your means!") isn't helpful.

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Re: Hating Biglaw - Please Help

Postby deepseapartners » Tue Apr 04, 2017 2:13 pm

Anonymous User wrote:You just need to do a lot of homework and be OK with living way below your means.

The only people I've ever heard say this are people who have the financial freedom to choose to do this, and most of those people don't understand not having that choice. If you have 2000/month in student loan payments on top of all your other life expenses and no spouse, or your spouse is a student or in a low-income career track, it's real rough to try and build up enough money to put a down payment on a small starter home, let alone investment property which can then pay for your starter home.



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