Working Remotely as a Junior

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BottomOfTotem

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Working Remotely as a Junior

Postby BottomOfTotem » Mon Jun 05, 2017 11:51 pm

I was wondering what is the likelihood of a junior associate shifting his/her schedule to accommodate a family? Come in at 7, leave at 5, and then dial back in after the kiddos go to bed? Im thinking exclusively of the west coast big law scene, but would be interested in hearing from all people. Is it ok on a regular basis; only once and a while; never?

And I know this will vary on the partner, but interested in generalities and or anecdotal experiences. Also, as mentioned above, thinking about the first couple years of a career.

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Re: Working Remotely as a Junior

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Tue Jun 06, 2017 12:00 am

Caveat: I am a NYC associate with no kids.

That said, I know at least two relevant things about biglaw: (1) kids are the most universally acceptable excuse to be unavailable and (2) if you do good work and are responsive, most people most of the time don't care if you're in the office or at home.

If you can avoid practice areas that have tons of fire drills, all the better. In a lot of civil litigation areas, it rarely will matter if you do something at 5 pm or 10 pm. That may not be true in deal work, if ten other people are waiting for you to revise a document so they can close some transaction first thing in the morning.

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Re: Working Remotely as a Junior

Postby LaLiLuLeLo » Tue Jun 06, 2017 12:06 am

1st year WC biglaw.

IME the ease of "loose facetime" and "work remotely" is a total flame. Sure, it's probably more relaxed than NYC (what isn't), but it's still biglaw and you get nearly no leeway as a first year. Keep in mind, most partners have a family too and they're not going to be sympathetic when you're doing 9-5 and they're in the office.

That being said, its hugely dependent on firm, group, and attorney. I do know situations in which it could work, but be *absolutely* sure you're going into a situation that will allow it. By that, I mean don't fall for the summer bamboozle. Actually learn which groups are more flexible than others.

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Re: Working Remotely as a Junior

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jun 06, 2017 12:11 am

LaLiLuLeLo wrote:1st year WC biglaw.

IME the ease of "loose facetime" and "work remotely" is a total flame. Sure, it's probably more relaxed than NYC (what isn't), but it's still biglaw and you get nearly no leeway as a first year. Keep in mind, most partners have a family too and they're not going to be sympathetic when you're doing 9-5 and they're in the office.

That being said, its hugely dependent on firm, group, and attorney. I do know situations in which it could work, but be *absolutely* sure you're going into a situation that will allow it. By that, I mean don't fall for the summer bamboozle. Actually learn which groups are more flexible than others.


At a CA office in biglaw. Associates have extreme leeway in working from home. Some people opt to only come in 2-3 days a week with no issues. Our office would have no issues with the schedule you've proposed as long as you are still working.

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Re: Working Remotely as a Junior

Postby LaLiLuLeLo » Tue Jun 06, 2017 12:14 am

Anonymous User wrote:
LaLiLuLeLo wrote:1st year WC biglaw.

IME the ease of "loose facetime" and "work remotely" is a total flame. Sure, it's probably more relaxed than NYC (what isn't), but it's still biglaw and you get nearly no leeway as a first year. Keep in mind, most partners have a family too and they're not going to be sympathetic when you're doing 9-5 and they're in the office.

That being said, its hugely dependent on firm, group, and attorney. I do know situations in which it could work, but be *absolutely* sure you're going into a situation that will allow it. By that, I mean don't fall for the summer bamboozle. Actually learn which groups are more flexible than others.


At a CA office in biglaw. Associates have extreme leeway in working from home. Some people opt to only come in 2-3 days a week with no issues. Our office would have no issues with the schedule you've proposed as long as you are still working.


Yes, hence the second paragraph.

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Re: Working Remotely as a Junior

Postby BottomOfTotem » Tue Jun 06, 2017 12:18 am

Any suggestions on finding out about each firms policy? Is that an absolutely terrible question to ask during OCI? I've been told to not bring up my parentness (makes me feel sort of sleezy), but I'd rather not be totally miserable. To add, I know a lot of times I'll be there late.

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Re: Working Remotely as a Junior

Postby LaLiLuLeLo » Tue Jun 06, 2017 12:26 am

BottomOfTotem wrote:Any suggestions on finding out about each firms policy? Is that an absolutely terrible question to ask during OCI? I've been told to not bring up my parentness (makes me feel sort of sleezy), but I'd rather not be totally miserable. To add, I know a lot of times I'll be there late.


Firm policy won't matter. It's about group/who you work for. You're going to have to ask attorneys, if you know any, some frank questions. There's no real way to know otherwise. When you're a summer, you're going to have to really peek behind the curtain to see which group/attorneys have loose facetime requirements. And hope you get a little lucky once you start that you don't work for the one attorney who always wants you in the office when the rest of the group is leaving at 5.

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Re: Working Remotely as a Junior

Postby UVA2B » Tue Jun 06, 2017 12:28 am

BottomOfTotem wrote:Any suggestions on finding out about each firms policy? Is that an absolutely terrible question to ask during OCI? I've been told to not bring up my parentness (makes me feel sort of sleezy), but I'd rather not be totally miserable. To add, I know a lot of times I'll be there late.


Mostly uninitiated opinion here, but I'd imagine your best bet is to bring up your parenthood in another context like in speaking about how law school has been a bit different from most law students because you have kids, which you can then spin how it's an advantage and how it taught you time management, etc. From there, if you can interview well, it'll eventually get to the point where they will be offering up their policies or benefits for attorneys with families during the sales pitch portion. If nothing else, if given an offer, you can ask to speak with associates who have kids about how they balance life at the firm with kids.

I wouldn't lead with concerns about family balance, but you can suggest your family situation creatively in the interview process without digging for information on the face time requirements of the firm. And you can more than likely ask for further information once you have an offer in hand.

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Re: Working Remotely as a Junior

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jun 06, 2017 1:54 am

I've worked at two biglaw firms on the West Coast. Neither would have rules specifically prohibiting this, but some individual partners might, and as a first year it would be difficult to pull off. As a midlevel or senior it would be much more accepted (and, at both firms, pretty common) to check out around 5 or 6 and be available remotely for the rest of the day.

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Re: Working Remotely as a Junior

Postby Pokemon » Tue Jun 06, 2017 8:08 am

At my firm and in my practice, this would not be a simple no as much as a are you fucking kidding me!!! Here is the thing at least about corporate, when you are on a deal or on a few deals, and things are heating up, you simply cannot be that efficient from home. Your phone is ringing every five minutes, you are getting multiple requests, reviewing docs, calling other people, figuring things out and I cannot imagine how you would do this from home. It can literally be too overwhelming in the office, with two screens, faster internet and a paralegal helping you out.

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Re: Working Remotely as a Junior

Postby TLSModBot » Tue Jun 06, 2017 8:55 am

LaLiLuLeLo wrote:
BottomOfTotem wrote:Any suggestions on finding out about each firms policy? Is that an absolutely terrible question to ask during OCI? I've been told to not bring up my parentness (makes me feel sort of sleezy), but I'd rather not be totally miserable. To add, I know a lot of times I'll be there late.


Firm policy won't matter. It's about group/who you work for. You're going to have to ask attorneys, if you know any, some frank questions. There's no real way to know otherwise. When you're a summer, you're going to have to really peek behind the curtain to see which group/attorneys have loose facetime requirements. And hope you get a little lucky once you start that you don't work for the one attorney who always wants you in the office when the rest of the group is leaving at 5.

This. All of this.

DC Biglaw junior with family. 99% of it is finding the right people. I'm in a practice group with very few fire drills and I can usually see the bad days coming and plan for them. Combine that with relatively chill partners and associate team members and I actually get to see my family. I'm still like 8-6 most days with the occasional 5:30, but mostly it works out (thus far).

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Re: Working Remotely as a Junior

Postby TLSModBot » Tue Jun 06, 2017 8:56 am

One thing that helps is finding a firm that lets you find your home in practice groups through your summer and early first year. Firms that just place you in a practice group right off are a big gamble - my sister in law got burned bad that way.

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Re: Working Remotely as a Junior

Postby BottomOfTotem » Tue Jun 06, 2017 9:17 am

My thanks to all who have posted.

I plan to go into litigation, so corporate is out. Silly question: are there any areas in lit that I should avoid?

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Re: Working Remotely as a Junior

Postby FullRamboLSGrad » Tue Jun 06, 2017 9:37 am

Areas of lit to avoid?

I'd rather represent defendants than plaintiffs because their expectations are more sophisticated. Often Plaintiffs are individuals who may wonder why their lawyer (who they feel is overcharging them) won't answer their texts at all hours of the day.

I do lit and really it's all about making deadlines. When you do it is immaterail so long as the docket calendar that says "IDS Due" or "Dispostive Motions Due" are met. It's kind of like having an intense legal writing class.
Most firms have some legal management software and electronic file management software, so you can access files anywhere. Heck, the only reason I go to the office anymore is that one of my primary sources of work doesn't like to read and requires verbal briefing on things.

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Re: Working Remotely as a Junior

Postby IExistedOnceBefore » Tue Jun 06, 2017 11:11 am

I'm kind of suprised no one has mentioned it can also depend on your gender. A woman working what you've described is going to get more side eyes and it can negatively affect growth significantly more than if a man is doing it.

All other advice holds of course. It's practice group and location dependent. The west is more accepting but you want to be careful you dont get nailed into the "mommy track" if you're a woman.

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Re: Working Remotely as a Junior

Postby lolwat » Tue Jun 06, 2017 11:57 am

IExistedOnceBefore wrote:I'm kind of suprised no one has mentioned it can also depend on your gender.


No one wanted to start the sexism fire this is about to blow up into. :)

I'd rather represent defendants than plaintiffs because their expectations are more sophisticated. Often Plaintiffs are individuals who may wonder why their lawyer (who they feel is overcharging them) won't answer their texts at all hours of the day.

I do lit and really it's all about making deadlines. When you do it is immaterail so long as the docket calendar that says "IDS Due" or "Dispostive Motions Due" are met. It's kind of like having an intense legal writing class.


On the defense side we've had plenty of sophisticated clients (whether corporate or individuals) who e-mail at all hours of the day. They're a LITTLE more receptive to waiting until the next morning for an answer, but if you get an e-mail at like 6-7pm (as opposed to 1-2am) you're expected to respond pretty quickly. But I think especially smaller plaintiffs' firms are often understaffed and disorganized (the partners are often trial lawyers just trying to get in front of a jury, not your biglaw litigators that tie everything up in discovery for years), so that's a big push towards defense if you want better consistency.

I'm in lit (not biglaw) and agree that it's all about making deadlines. Honestly, if it weren't for facetime / office-hour requirements here I could practically work from home the entire year and get everything done just as fine with exception of coming in on certain days to supervise filings, attend depositions, stuff like that.

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Re: Working Remotely as a Junior

Postby SmokeytheBear » Tue Jun 06, 2017 1:39 pm

UVA2B wrote:
BottomOfTotem wrote:Any suggestions on finding out about each firms policy? Is that an absolutely terrible question to ask during OCI? I've been told to not bring up my parentness (makes me feel sort of sleezy), but I'd rather not be totally miserable. To add, I know a lot of times I'll be there late.


Mostly uninitiated opinion here, but I'd imagine your best bet is to bring up your parenthood in another context like in speaking about how law school has been a bit different from most law students because you have kids, which you can then spin how it's an advantage and how it taught you time management, etc. From there, if you can interview well, it'll eventually get to the point where they will be offering up their policies or benefits for attorneys with families during the sales pitch portion. If nothing else, if given an offer, you can ask to speak with associates who have kids about how they balance life at the firm with kids.

I wouldn't lead with concerns about family balance, but you can suggest your family situation creatively in the interview process without digging for information on the face time requirements of the firm. And you can more than likely ask for further information once you have an offer in hand.


I don't think this is the best advice. (Mods really need to do something about law students offering advice best known by those practicing.)

There are still plenty of single men well into their 40s at law firms who will see having a family as a detriment and if you unfortunately have your screener with one of those men, you're not going to get a call back. Obviously the view points of the mix of people at the firm will vary, but you just don't want to get the screener with the one person who is the single dude.

Once you get some offers, you can ask on here or ask alumni. But as noted earlier, facetime not only depends on firms, but also on office, practice group, partner, and senior associate above you.

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Re: Working Remotely as a Junior

Postby BigZuck » Tue Jun 06, 2017 1:57 pm

SmokeytheBear wrote:
UVA2B wrote:
BottomOfTotem wrote:Any suggestions on finding out about each firms policy? Is that an absolutely terrible question to ask during OCI? I've been told to not bring up my parentness (makes me feel sort of sleezy), but I'd rather not be totally miserable. To add, I know a lot of times I'll be there late.


Mostly uninitiated opinion here, but I'd imagine your best bet is to bring up your parenthood in another context like in speaking about how law school has been a bit different from most law students because you have kids, which you can then spin how it's an advantage and how it taught you time management, etc. From there, if you can interview well, it'll eventually get to the point where they will be offering up their policies or benefits for attorneys with families during the sales pitch portion. If nothing else, if given an offer, you can ask to speak with associates who have kids about how they balance life at the firm with kids.

I wouldn't lead with concerns about family balance, but you can suggest your family situation creatively in the interview process without digging for information on the face time requirements of the firm. And you can more than likely ask for further information once you have an offer in hand.


I don't think this is the best advice. (Mods really need to do something about law students offering advice best known by those practicing.)

There are still plenty of single men well into their 40s at law firms who will see having a family as a detriment and if you unfortunately have your screener with one of those men, you're not going to get a call back. Obviously the view points of the mix of people at the firm will vary, but you just don't want to get the screener with the one person who is the single dude.

Once you get some offers, you can ask on here or ask alumni. But as noted earlier, facetime not only depends on firms, but also on office, practice group, partner, and senior associate above you.

Yup

I mean, even chill AF first years lie to summer associates about stuff. Let alone partners in an interview setting. I wouldn't do something like this while interviewing.

As for the OP- I'm not sure how you figure this stuff out until you've been at the job for a while. YMMV but I'd expect to be in the office about 9-6:30 every M-F as a first year. Maybe it will be better, maybe it will be worse. You'll find out soon enough.

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Re: Working Remotely as a Junior

Postby UVA2B » Tue Jun 06, 2017 2:02 pm

BigZuck wrote:
SmokeytheBear wrote:
UVA2B wrote:
BottomOfTotem wrote:Any suggestions on finding out about each firms policy? Is that an absolutely terrible question to ask during OCI? I've been told to not bring up my parentness (makes me feel sort of sleezy), but I'd rather not be totally miserable. To add, I know a lot of times I'll be there late.


Mostly uninitiated opinion here, but I'd imagine your best bet is to bring up your parenthood in another context like in speaking about how law school has been a bit different from most law students because you have kids, which you can then spin how it's an advantage and how it taught you time management, etc. From there, if you can interview well, it'll eventually get to the point where they will be offering up their policies or benefits for attorneys with families during the sales pitch portion. If nothing else, if given an offer, you can ask to speak with associates who have kids about how they balance life at the firm with kids.

I wouldn't lead with concerns about family balance, but you can suggest your family situation creatively in the interview process without digging for information on the face time requirements of the firm. And you can more than likely ask for further information once you have an offer in hand.


I don't think this is the best advice. (Mods really need to do something about law students offering advice best known by those practicing.)

There are still plenty of single men well into their 40s at law firms who will see having a family as a detriment and if you unfortunately have your screener with one of those men, you're not going to get a call back. Obviously the view points of the mix of people at the firm will vary, but you just don't want to get the screener with the one person who is the single dude.

Once you get some offers, you can ask on here or ask alumni. But as noted earlier, facetime not only depends on firms, but also on office, practice group, partner, and senior associate above you.

Yup

I mean, even chill AF first years lie to summer associates about stuff. Let alone partners in an interview setting. I wouldn't do something like this while interviewing.

As for the OP- I'm not sure how you figure this stuff out until you've been at the job for a while. YMMV but I'd expect to be in the office about 9-6:30 every M-F as a first year. Maybe it will be better, maybe it will be worse. You'll find out soon enough.


Fair, I'll take the L that it's not a good approach to finding a way to see inside baseball. Sorry for muddying the waters with bad advice.

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Re: Working Remotely as a Junior

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jun 06, 2017 2:05 pm

Biglaw associate with experience in LA and OC markets here. It is extremely common to do exactly what you described: come in at a reasonable hour, leave at 5, and log back in from 9-10/11 when the kids have gone to bed. I know people who do this across litigation practice groups, and several of them are males. This is going to be especially common in the OC offices, so if this is a big deal to you, you might consider OC, where it is extremely common to walk down the hallways at 6:00pm and literally see nobody left in the office--they are all at home with their families.

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Re: Working Remotely as a Junior

Postby SmokeytheBear » Tue Jun 06, 2017 3:16 pm

UVA2B wrote:
BigZuck wrote:
SmokeytheBear wrote:
UVA2B wrote:
BottomOfTotem wrote:Any suggestions on finding out about each firms policy? Is that an absolutely terrible question to ask during OCI? I've been told to not bring up my parentness (makes me feel sort of sleezy), but I'd rather not be totally miserable. To add, I know a lot of times I'll be there late.


Mostly uninitiated opinion here, but I'd imagine your best bet is to bring up your parenthood in another context like in speaking about how law school has been a bit different from most law students because you have kids, which you can then spin how it's an advantage and how it taught you time management, etc. From there, if you can interview well, it'll eventually get to the point where they will be offering up their policies or benefits for attorneys with families during the sales pitch portion. If nothing else, if given an offer, you can ask to speak with associates who have kids about how they balance life at the firm with kids.

I wouldn't lead with concerns about family balance, but you can suggest your family situation creatively in the interview process without digging for information on the face time requirements of the firm. And you can more than likely ask for further information once you have an offer in hand.


I don't think this is the best advice. (Mods really need to do something about law students offering advice best known by those practicing.)

There are still plenty of single men well into their 40s at law firms who will see having a family as a detriment and if you unfortunately have your screener with one of those men, you're not going to get a call back. Obviously the view points of the mix of people at the firm will vary, but you just don't want to get the screener with the one person who is the single dude.

Once you get some offers, you can ask on here or ask alumni. But as noted earlier, facetime not only depends on firms, but also on office, practice group, partner, and senior associate above you.

Yup

I mean, even chill AF first years lie to summer associates about stuff. Let alone partners in an interview setting. I wouldn't do something like this while interviewing.

As for the OP- I'm not sure how you figure this stuff out until you've been at the job for a while. YMMV but I'd expect to be in the office about 9-6:30 every M-F as a first year. Maybe it will be better, maybe it will be worse. You'll find out soon enough.


Fair, I'll take the L that it's not a good approach to finding a way to see inside baseball. Sorry for muddying the waters with bad advice.


No sweat at all amigo. You do have good advice 99% of the time.

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Re: Working Remotely as a Junior

Postby LaLiLuLeLo » Tue Jun 06, 2017 3:42 pm

BigZuck wrote:
SmokeytheBear wrote:
UVA2B wrote:
BottomOfTotem wrote:Any suggestions on finding out about each firms policy? Is that an absolutely terrible question to ask during OCI? I've been told to not bring up my parentness (makes me feel sort of sleezy), but I'd rather not be totally miserable. To add, I know a lot of times I'll be there late.


Mostly uninitiated opinion here, but I'd imagine your best bet is to bring up your parenthood in another context like in speaking about how law school has been a bit different from most law students because you have kids, which you can then spin how it's an advantage and how it taught you time management, etc. From there, if you can interview well, it'll eventually get to the point where they will be offering up their policies or benefits for attorneys with families during the sales pitch portion. If nothing else, if given an offer, you can ask to speak with associates who have kids about how they balance life at the firm with kids.

I wouldn't lead with concerns about family balance, but you can suggest your family situation creatively in the interview process without digging for information on the face time requirements of the firm. And you can more than likely ask for further information once you have an offer in hand.


I don't think this is the best advice. (Mods really need to do something about law students offering advice best known by those practicing.)

There are still plenty of single men well into their 40s at law firms who will see having a family as a detriment and if you unfortunately have your screener with one of those men, you're not going to get a call back. Obviously the view points of the mix of people at the firm will vary, but you just don't want to get the screener with the one person who is the single dude.

Once you get some offers, you can ask on here or ask alumni. But as noted earlier, facetime not only depends on firms, but also on office, practice group, partner, and senior associate above you.

Yup

I mean, even chill AF first years lie to summer associates about stuff. Let alone partners in an interview setting. I wouldn't do something like this while interviewing.

As for the OP- I'm not sure how you figure this stuff out until you've been at the job for a while. YMMV but I'd expect to be in the office about 9-6:30 every M-F as a first year. Maybe it will be better, maybe it will be worse. You'll find out soon enough.


I'm actually shocked at how many people, especially people o thought were cool, lie to summers.

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Re: Working Remotely as a Junior

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jun 06, 2017 3:58 pm

BigZuck wrote:As for the OP- I'm not sure how you figure this stuff out until you've been at the job for a while. YMMV but I'd expect to be in the office about 9-6:30 every M-F as a first year. Maybe it will be better, maybe it will be worse. You'll find out soon enough.


LA/OC anon. One way might be to ask general demographic-type questions about the younger associates at the firm. Asking whether many younger associates have families might be a good question to ask (or figure out a better way to ask about this). If a lot of associates have families, it is more likely that firm has a more family-friendly culture. If you get the sense that most, if not all, of the younger associates are single, work-hard/play-hard types, it is less likely this firm has a family friendly culture. It shouldn't be hard to figure out where the firm you are interviewing at falls on this spectrum.

Of course I am generalizing, but this might be a good indirect indicator for you to consider.

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Re: Working Remotely as a Junior

Postby SmokeytheBear » Tue Jun 06, 2017 4:45 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Biglaw associate with experience in LA and OC markets here. It is extremely common to do exactly what you described: come in at a reasonable hour, leave at 5, and log back in from 9-10/11 when the kids have gone to bed. I know people who do this across litigation practice groups, and several of them are males. This is going to be especially common in the OC offices, so if this is a big deal to you, you might consider OC, where it is extremely common to walk down the hallways at 6:00pm and literally see nobody left in the office--they are all at home with their families.


I also summered in OC at the office of an LA based firm for no other reason than that the life style seemed like it would be ideal. And it certainly is ideal if you have a family and such--people really do check out quite early (though they do get online should anything fire up). Plus, market pay goes soooooooo far down there.

The one caveat, though, is that OC is really the AAA league (if not AA) compared to LA (and certainly compared to NYC) (at least in terms of non-real estate transnational). One reason I left the OC office is because I realized I would not get trained in very well in corporate matters because of the type of client, the type of work, and the quality of the attorney who supervised me.

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Re: Working Remotely as a Junior

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jun 07, 2017 2:13 am

Hey, I'm gonna add my anecdata as a SV corporate associate. Would like to remain anonymous due to the secrets I will divulge (jk, but really). I do not work at Goodwin Proctor SV but if you're looking for generally light facetime requirements in BL, I'd recommend. I've spoken to more than a few associates working heavily in cap markets there that describe their offices as ghost towns on Fridays and pretty empty on many Mondays. Associates work from home there often. I don't know why I don't see more hot tips like this around here.

As a first year associate, I stayed in the office to work nights generally. These days, as a second year, like many second and third years in my SV corp firm, I more often work from home after 7pm. I think it's only getting more common. And more relevant to OP, our lit dept is even more work-from-homey.

All that being said, there are some really good partners and groups that work in office many nights and weekends. I also know that, at least at the moment, they are hard-up enough for good 2nd/3rd years (not to mention midlevels) that they often put up and keep re-staffing juniors that tend to try to catch the 7:00-ish Caltrain every day and work from home.

That being said, I think your best bet is to put in a year or two of solid facetime, until you get traction and find your chill partner group, before trying to work from home. The thing is, I think you have to get a good reputation for that. Teams put up with good juniors working from home. I think they're more annoyed by more mediocre juniors doing it. So all that is just to say, it depends, but I would echo that this is more common in my view than many are characterizing here. It just takes some aplomb and confidence.



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