Anonymous User wrote:bruinfan10 wrote:Veil of Ignorance wrote:Thanks for posting this, after reading so much negative stuff about law practice I had no idea that a six figure salary and reasonable work-life balance was possible. This gives me hope. What is vacation like? Could you save it up all year then take like a month off?
wait...is billing 2000 hours for potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars less compensation than biglaw an exit to a "reasonable work-life balance" now? particularly when this small firm seems to expect a significant investment of time in business development? OP seems to have taken a massive pay cut and gotten more substantive work, but he's still working biglaw hours. I could bill 2000 at my particular biglaw firm for years and no one would raise an eyebrow, and would be making exponentially more money. how is this a good outcome? And if you're doing the substantive work you wanted, as you say you are, how is there any guarantee that you're not going to be prepping for a trial or a deposition around Halloween or any other holiday? I'm not trying to be negative, I just feel like I'm missing something huge, I don't see how this is better.
I think there are a couple of things you might be missing. First of all, billing 2,000 hours is not a typical biglaw workload, though I understand what you're saying - plenty of people coast by on 2,000 hours. They aren't going to make partner, but you can do it for a few years. I typically billed between 2,300 and 2,400 a year (including pro bono hours). And there is much to be said for having control over your hours. I no longer am answering to seven or eight different partners on a given day. I work with three other lawyers. They are all right here, in the office, within shouting distance. They leave at 5:30 or 6, and I can put my phone away for the rest of the night. I have not received a work email on a weekend. I'm not doing menial biglaw tasks (well, discovery always sucks. You aren't going to get away from that.). The other associate here told me that in 10 years or however long it is that he's worked here, he has worked one holiday - Memorial Day a few years ago with a trial looming.
A close friend and I at the big firm were talking a couple years ago, and we agreed that on the list of things that make biglaw a pain in the ass, the raw number of hours were pretty low on the list. People here obsess over that aspect a little too much. It's the surprises, the feeling that the next email or phone call is going to torpedo your day or week or month. And it's the bureaucracy. Oh, my God, the bureaucracy. The time spent on anal, neurotic details that are not going to be outcome-determinative in the case. Drove my nuts. But it's a necessary evil when you have eight or nine people staffed on a case and you have to make things easily decipherable for the person who gets the hand-off. But ... God, the bureaucracy.
My situation is a little different, too, because I lived in the suburbs with a family and commuted into the city. My commute time was cut from about 2 1/2 hours a day to 15-20 minutes a day.
I agree so much with all of this. Nothing to add, but this is absolutely TCR. And every hour billed is not the same. Days where I bill 11 hours in front of my computer with no meetings or anything to break up the day are miserable. Days where I have meetings, court, or a deposition with maybe 5-6 hours of sitting behind the computer drafting something are much, much better. And it's much easier to bill efficiently on the latter than the former.