Are you happy practicing law?

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Re: Are you happy practicing law?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Apr 03, 2017 9:57 am

It varies. There have been sharper highs and lows practicing law than I've gotten in most other periods of my life. The constant theme, however, is that I spend way too much time at work and it's interfering with the other parts of my life. The master plan calls for 2 more years of big law before going inhouse though, so I keep plugging along and hoping that inhouse will be better.

anonanonny

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Re: Are you happy practicing law?

Postby anonanonny » Tue Apr 04, 2017 8:32 pm

Interesting responses everyone. Thanks for all of your input!

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Re: Are you happy practicing law?

Postby kykiske » Tue Apr 04, 2017 10:37 pm

I enjoy it, with some qualifiers.

First, the hours can definitely be rough. But my firm is pretty considerate of it. Partners will say "let me know if you need my help" and then follow through with it when I ask for help.

Second, for the most part, I've found the opposing lawyer easy to deal with, with some exceptions. For those exceptions, I find them to be super petty. One example, the associate on the other side refused to give my side an extension on discovery responses. The partner I worked under had a family trip planned and would be out of the country. The associate repeatedly told me that the rule gives me plenty of time to respond (30 days) and no additional time would be given. I then went around him and asked the opposing partner for a 2-week extension. The opposing partner said, "Not a problem. Two weeks is fine with us." At least at our firm, we liberally grant extensions because, frankly, life happens. Also, I don't want be before the judge and have the other side say "they refused to grant us a two-week extension." That just makes us look silly and really petty.

Third, I don't really like the constant "pats on the back" I see all over social media by fellow attorneys (again, all associates, or even recent law grads). I saw this today from an associate from another firm: "Submitted my first brief today. So excited to be doing this for real. #adulting #lawyering." It just feels like they're begging for positive reinforcement for doing their job. It's your job to write the brief and ensure its timely filed. That'd be like a waiter writing "Took my first order today. So excited to be doing this for real. #adulting #waitering." Get over yourself, seriously. Moreover, at some in-person networking events, other associates (from other firms) talk about how they met [x] person, and bragging about how it's some sort of prestigious honor it was to breathe the same air as that person. Barf.

I've definitely noticed a stark contrast between partners and associates over my practice thus far. Associates liken to some of the law school people I really hated (faux prestige, arrogant, and really self-conceded). The partners tend be more approachable and much more likely to talk about their kids, family vacations, or hobbies over things like "GUESS HOW MUCH I MADE LAST YEAR. GUESS."

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zot1

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Re: Are you happy practicing law?

Postby zot1 » Tue Apr 04, 2017 10:39 pm

Anybody can write down the name of an entree.

killingmesoftly

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Re: Are you happy practicing law?

Postby killingmesoftly » Tue Jul 18, 2017 11:52 pm

I think many of the people that find law satisfying are those that have never found happiness, as traditionally defined, a reasonable goal for their lives.

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Re: Are you happy practicing law?

Postby BernieTrump » Wed Jul 19, 2017 12:11 am

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Last edited by BernieTrump on Fri Nov 10, 2017 10:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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SmokeytheBear

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Re: Are you happy practicing law?

Postby SmokeytheBear » Wed Jul 19, 2017 12:38 am

Midlevel corporate associate big law in LA. I love practicing in LA. Good pay, my firm is great, hours aren't too bad. I read the horror stories from NYC AND Chicago and don't get why people do it.

lolwat

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Re: Are you happy practicing law?

Postby lolwat » Wed Jul 19, 2017 12:56 am

I might enjoy it again if i can lateral to another firm in the practice area i want to focus on.

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Re: Are you happy practicing law?

Postby juzam_djinn » Wed Jul 19, 2017 1:25 am

west coast biglaw lit here. don't love it but also realize that you can do FAR worse than biglaw. I worked in a "prestigious" role/company before law school, and biglaw is better-- far more autonomy, less hierarchical, and it's a fairly nice balance of boring/mindless work with interesting, substantive stuff.

that being said, mid-level and senior associates seem to have terrible lives. so, unless you're gunning for partner, the best path (in terms of balancing free-time with high compensation) seems to be doing biglaw for a few years then finding a good in-house gig.

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Re: Are you happy practicing law?

Postby dtlaatty » Wed Jul 19, 2017 12:27 pm

SmokeytheBear wrote:Midlevel corporate associate big law in LA. I love practicing in LA. Good pay, my firm is great, hours aren't too bad. I read the horror stories from NYC AND Chicago and don't get why people do it.


+1. I am happy several years into LA biglaw on the lit side. I feel well compensated for (usually) intellectually challenging work -- large, interesting client matters and my own pro bono matters. Hours are not 9-5 but don't even remotely approach the horror stories on this site. I think it's a combination of LA legal culture (no facetime requirement, work from home a couple days a week, and the office is a ghost town after 6:30) and working for reasonably nice/considerate partners who plan things out well and thereby minimize fire drills.

Also agree that if I worked in the kind of biglaw environment described by a lot of posters on this site, I would have quit by now.

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Re: Are you happy practicing law?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 19, 2017 1:00 pm

andythefir wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I love it.

I love being in court/trial everyday; I am constantly learning and improving my practice.

Everyday brings its own interesting story/development, successes, and setbacks. I enjoy working with detectives and having a meaningful impact on my community, victims of crime, and those I prosecute.

It's an honor to say I represent my state and awesome to have a mission of striving for justice.


⅓ of the way through I began suspecting this poster was a prosecutor, and then they confirmed it. Being a prosecutor is a blast, best job I've ever had. Basically nothing about my job has anything to do with anything in law school. It's 95% paper and people management, but you develop a ton of meaningful and impactful skills along the way. By contrast, when I was never less happy in my life than when I was in a big-ish firm.


I totally felt the same way reading their post 1/3 way through. Though I have the unfair advantage of also being a prosecutor. I have to ask for your advice though, because I have the opportunity to jump ship and make much more than I currently do, but I don't know if I should give up what I currently have for more pay. Would love your advice in how you made your decision to move to private practice and if its something you'd do again if you were able to reverse in time.

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Welcome to TLS

Postby CaptainLeela » Wed Jul 19, 2017 1:45 pm

Welcome to TLS

shock259

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Re: Are you happy practicing law?

Postby shock259 » Wed Jul 19, 2017 1:46 pm

Mostly. I'm in finance. I love the actual work - it's mostly interesting, engaging and challenging. Clients and some partners make it way less fun. But I've got a pretty good group of folks that I work with, which helps make it way more bearable. I've got another couple of years in me before I crap out.

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Re: Are you happy practicing law?

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Wed Jul 19, 2017 2:14 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I love it.

I love being in court/trial everyday; I am constantly learning and improving my practice.

Everyday brings its own interesting story/development, successes, and setbacks. I enjoy working with detectives and having a meaningful impact on my community, victims of crime, and those I prosecute.

It's an honor to say I represent my state and awesome to have a mission of striving for justice.

lmao at "I enjoy having a meaningful impact on those I prosecute."

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Re: Are you happy practicing law?

Postby lolwat » Wed Jul 19, 2017 4:07 pm

dtlaatty wrote:
SmokeytheBear wrote:Midlevel corporate associate big law in LA. I love practicing in LA. Good pay, my firm is great, hours aren't too bad. I read the horror stories from NYC AND Chicago and don't get why people do it.


+1. I am happy several years into LA biglaw on the lit side. I feel well compensated for (usually) intellectually challenging work -- large, interesting client matters and my own pro bono matters. Hours are not 9-5 but don't even remotely approach the horror stories on this site. I think it's a combination of LA legal culture (no facetime requirement, work from home a couple days a week, and the office is a ghost town after 6:30) and working for reasonably nice/considerate partners who plan things out well and thereby minimize fire drills.

Also agree that if I worked in the kind of biglaw environment described by a lot of posters on this site, I would have quit by now.


So jealous haha. Although I probably would have said similar things before... only took a couple 300 hour months and abuse by partners for me to change my mind about happiness though--especially seeing stuff like the above. Some people are good to work for normally on a day to day basis but horrible when they're under pressure/stress. Sucks

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Re: Are you happy practicing law?

Postby acr » Wed Jul 19, 2017 4:13 pm

dixiecupdrinking wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I love it.

I love being in court/trial everyday; I am constantly learning and improving my practice.

Everyday brings its own interesting story/development, successes, and setbacks. I enjoy working with detectives and having a meaningful impact on my community, victims of crime, and those I prosecute.

It's an honor to say I represent my state and awesome to have a mission of striving for justice.

lmao at "I enjoy having a meaningful impact on those I prosecute."


yeah noticed that and cracked up. get over yourself anon.

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SmokeytheBear

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Re: Are you happy practicing law?

Postby SmokeytheBear » Wed Jul 19, 2017 5:58 pm

lolwat wrote:
dtlaatty wrote:
SmokeytheBear wrote:Midlevel corporate associate big law in LA. I love practicing in LA. Good pay, my firm is great, hours aren't too bad. I read the horror stories from NYC AND Chicago and don't get why people do it.


+1. I am happy several years into LA biglaw on the lit side. I feel well compensated for (usually) intellectually challenging work -- large, interesting client matters and my own pro bono matters. Hours are not 9-5 but don't even remotely approach the horror stories on this site. I think it's a combination of LA legal culture (no facetime requirement, work from home a couple days a week, and the office is a ghost town after 6:30) and working for reasonably nice/considerate partners who plan things out well and thereby minimize fire drills.

Also agree that if I worked in the kind of biglaw environment described by a lot of posters on this site, I would have quit by now.


So jealous haha. Although I probably would have said similar things before... only took a couple 300 hour months and abuse by partners for me to change my mind about happiness though--especially seeing stuff like the above. Some people are good to work for normally on a day to day basis but horrible when they're under pressure/stress. Sucks


I think my worst month was 240. Have had a few 200 months.

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Re: Are you happy practicing law?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 19, 2017 7:07 pm

I think the 300 hr month I had due to a trial basically showed me I wasn't cut out for this long term

dtlaatty

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Re: Are you happy practicing law?

Postby dtlaatty » Wed Jul 19, 2017 7:11 pm

SmokeytheBear wrote:
lolwat wrote:
dtlaatty wrote:
SmokeytheBear wrote:Midlevel corporate associate big law in LA. I love practicing in LA. Good pay, my firm is great, hours aren't too bad. I read the horror stories from NYC AND Chicago and don't get why people do it.


+1. I am happy several years into LA biglaw on the lit side. I feel well compensated for (usually) intellectually challenging work -- large, interesting client matters and my own pro bono matters. Hours are not 9-5 but don't even remotely approach the horror stories on this site. I think it's a combination of LA legal culture (no facetime requirement, work from home a couple days a week, and the office is a ghost town after 6:30) and working for reasonably nice/considerate partners who plan things out well and thereby minimize fire drills.

Also agree that if I worked in the kind of biglaw environment described by a lot of posters on this site, I would have quit by now.


So jealous haha. Although I probably would have said similar things before... only took a couple 300 hour months and abuse by partners for me to change my mind about happiness though--especially seeing stuff like the above. Some people are good to work for normally on a day to day basis but horrible when they're under pressure/stress. Sucks


I think my worst month was 240. Have had a few 200 months.


Never come close to 300 here - 250 once and other than that have oscillated between 150 and 200.

lolwat

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Re: Are you happy practicing law?

Postby lolwat » Wed Jul 19, 2017 7:14 pm

SmokeytheBear wrote:
lolwat wrote:
dtlaatty wrote:
SmokeytheBear wrote:Midlevel corporate associate big law in LA. I love practicing in LA. Good pay, my firm is great, hours aren't too bad. I read the horror stories from NYC AND Chicago and don't get why people do it.


+1. I am happy several years into LA biglaw on the lit side. I feel well compensated for (usually) intellectually challenging work -- large, interesting client matters and my own pro bono matters. Hours are not 9-5 but don't even remotely approach the horror stories on this site. I think it's a combination of LA legal culture (no facetime requirement, work from home a couple days a week, and the office is a ghost town after 6:30) and working for reasonably nice/considerate partners who plan things out well and thereby minimize fire drills.

Also agree that if I worked in the kind of biglaw environment described by a lot of posters on this site, I would have quit by now.


So jealous haha. Although I probably would have said similar things before... only took a couple 300 hour months and abuse by partners for me to change my mind about happiness though--especially seeing stuff like the above. Some people are good to work for normally on a day to day basis but horrible when they're under pressure/stress. Sucks


I think my worst month was 240. Have had a few 200 months.


I've had a few 200+ months over the years and they were okay. Otherwise average 180. These 250-300 hour months combined with the abuse is what's getting me to look at lateraling. These people are not slow to fire anybody they think isn't pulling their weight too so it can be hard to tell if the abuse is just them being stressed out, my job is in danger, or both.

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Re: Are you happy practicing law?

Postby andythefir » Wed Jul 19, 2017 7:27 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I totally felt the same way reading their post 1/3 way through. Though I have the unfair advantage of also being a prosecutor. I have to ask for your advice though, because I have the opportunity to jump ship and make much more than I currently do, but I don't know if I should give up what I currently have for more pay. Would love your advice in how you made your decision to move to private practice and if its something you'd do again if you were able to reverse in time.


Speaking for myself, I need a feeling of upward mobility. I could suck up being at a big firm making big money if it felt like I was moving towards, say, a USAO that only hired out of firms. But the research backs up that getting paid well isn't correlated with happiness-dealing with and helping people are.

That said, not all firms are the same. Will you have to bill? What will the billable requirements look like? How much autonomy would you have? Speaking for myself, I couldn't possibly go back to billing and being an anonymous cog in a massive machine. I'd rather leave the profession. Same goes for, say, family law/divorce. But I do know a few folks that have solid lives at solid firms.

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Re: Are you happy practicing law?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 19, 2017 9:59 pm

dixiecupdrinking wrote:lmao at "I enjoy having a meaningful impact on those I prosecute."


acr wrote:
dixiecupdrinking wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
yeah noticed that and cracked up. get over yourself anon.


Anon here.

You may wish to broaden your understanding of what prosecutors do; I encourage you to go sit and observe juvenile court or therapeutic courts.

Even if we're restricting it to just mainstream cases, prosecutors have tremendous influence over all stages of the proceedings. Compassion and forgiveness are a part of the job, and prosecutors can use it to do things that defense attorneys and judges simply cannot.

dixiecupdrinking

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Re: Are you happy practicing law?

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Fri Jul 21, 2017 5:20 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
dixiecupdrinking wrote:lmao at "I enjoy having a meaningful impact on those I prosecute."


acr wrote:
dixiecupdrinking wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
yeah noticed that and cracked up. get over yourself anon.


Anon here.

You may wish to broaden your understanding of what prosecutors do; I encourage you to go sit and observe juvenile court or therapeutic courts.

Even if we're restricting it to just mainstream cases, prosecutors have tremendous influence over all stages of the proceedings. Compassion and forgiveness are a part of the job, and prosecutors can use it to do things that defense attorneys and judges simply cannot.

I'm not disputing that you have a "meaningful impact" on criminal defendants, I just think it's hilarious to suggest it's a positive one.

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Re: Are you happy practicing law?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jul 21, 2017 5:47 pm

.



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