Biglaw or bust? Champagne problems edition

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Biglaw or bust? Champagne problems edition

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 11, 2017 11:33 am

I've heard people say that biglaw is necessary to pay off loans, gilded cage, etc. But what should I be aiming for if I'm not going to have loans to pay off? No undergrad debt, T14, half(ish) tuition, parents paying the rest(eternally grateful). I think I would enjoy the challenge (and ngl, prestige) of biglaw but I have no reason to kill myself working 80 hours a week... I definitely want to clerk but confused about what I should be aiming for after that. Am I crazy to still want biglaw without a financial need to do it? Any suggestions would be much appreciated.

Damage Over Time

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Re: Biglaw or bust? Champagne problems edition

Postby Damage Over Time » Fri Aug 11, 2017 11:35 am

What are your goals in life? (financial or otherwise)

It's hard to say what you should be aiming for with no parameters regarding your values or motivations.

1styearlateral

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Re: Biglaw or bust? Champagne problems edition

Postby 1styearlateral » Fri Aug 11, 2017 11:47 am

Biglaw isn't just about money, it's about getting the experience (and clout) you need to move on.

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Re: Biglaw or bust? Champagne problems edition

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 11, 2017 11:52 am

Damage Over Time wrote:What are your goals in life? (financial or otherwise)

It's hard to say what you should be aiming for with no parameters regarding your values or motivations.


I aspire to finding a balance between a challenging work environment with high pay while maintaining work/life balance.

Obviously that's a pipe dream right out of school but maybe biglaw --> boutique if I really work my ass off? Would also love to go in-house somewhere and I understand biglaw is the best springboard for that.

Based on descriptions of "small law" i've found on tls and elsewhere, I don't think I would find it rewarding.

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Re: Biglaw or bust? Champagne problems edition

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 11, 2017 11:55 am

1styearlateral wrote:Biglaw isn't just about money, it's about getting the experience (and clout) you need to move on.


Right, so I would feel better about giving a few years of my life for the experience than for financial reasons. With this in mind, should I just keep grinding for the best/biggest firm I can get an offer from? Not opposed to the idea, just getting used to it.

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A. Nony Mouse

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Re: Biglaw or bust? Champagne problems edition

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Fri Aug 11, 2017 11:56 am

It really depends on what kind of law you ultimately want to practice. If you want to go inhouse or to certain government jobs, biglaw experience is really valuable or even necessary. If you want to do some kinds of public interest jobs or DA/PD, it's not necessary and might even make your path harder. If you want to go into practice for yourself, whether biglaw is helpful will depend on a lot of factors. If you think you want to be in private practice but don't know if you want it to be biglaw, again, it will totally depend on what kind of private practice where. If you want to, say, do wills and estates for ordinary folk in your home town it's going to be different than if you want to service rich clients in LA. Etc.

If you have no idea what you want to do, biglaw is the path of least resistance for most T14 students so you'll probably end up doing it and then you can push your career goals crises further down the road.

Also if you don't know what you want to do, it's not clear to me why you're already set on clerking - it's great experience but it doesn't necessarily fit all career goals.

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Re: Biglaw or bust? Champagne problems edition

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 11, 2017 12:02 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:It really depends on what kind of law you ultimately want to practice. If you want to go inhouse or to certain government jobs, biglaw experience is really valuable or even necessary. If you want to do some kinds of public interest jobs or DA/PD, it's not necessary and might even make your path harder. If you want to go into practice for yourself, whether biglaw is helpful will depend on a lot of factors. If you think you want to be in private practice but don't know if you want it to be biglaw, again, it will totally depend on what kind of private practice where. If you want to, say, do wills and estates for ordinary folk in your home town it's going to be different than if you want to service rich clients in LA. Etc.

If you have no idea what you want to do, biglaw is the path of least resistance for most T14 students so you'll probably end up doing it and then you can push your career goals crises further down the road.

Also if you don't know what you want to do, it's not clear to me why you're already set on clerking - it's great experience but it doesn't necessarily fit all career goals.


Definitely not interested in public interest/small law-- I think you're right about biglaw being the path of least resistance and that's honestly probably why I feel drawn to it.

Regarding clerking, since I don't have a specific goal career in mind it has more of an emotional connection. I externed for a federal judge and would love to go back (they basically said they would hire me although of course not guaranteed). Maybe I should rethink that...

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Re: Biglaw or bust? Champagne problems edition

Postby Pokemon » Fri Aug 11, 2017 12:28 pm

Biglaw is a fine gig, particularly if you have no debt. You will save a ton again because no debt to take away your paycheck, you will get marketable experience in case u want to do something later, and you will be less stressed than other associates cause you will not have a few 100k hanging on your shoulder.

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Re: Biglaw or bust? Champagne problems edition

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 11, 2017 12:35 pm

Pokemon wrote:Biglaw is a fine gig, particularly if you have no debt. You will save a ton again because no debt to take away your paycheck, you will get marketable experience in case u want to do something later, and you will be less stressed than other associates cause you will not have a few 100k hanging on your shoulder.


Thank you, that helps a lot!

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Re: Biglaw or bust? Champagne problems edition

Postby bruinfan10 » Fri Aug 11, 2017 12:47 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:It really depends on what kind of law you ultimately want to practice. If you want to go inhouse or to certain government jobs, biglaw experience is really valuable or even necessary. If you want to do some kinds of public interest jobs or DA/PD, it's not necessary and might even make your path harder. If you want to go into practice for yourself, whether biglaw is helpful will depend on a lot of factors. If you think you want to be in private practice but don't know if you want it to be biglaw, again, it will totally depend on what kind of private practice where. If you want to, say, do wills and estates for ordinary folk in your home town it's going to be different than if you want to service rich clients in LA. Etc.

If you have no idea what you want to do, biglaw is the path of least resistance for most T14 students so you'll probably end up doing it and then you can push your career goals crises further down the road.

Also if you don't know what you want to do, it's not clear to me why you're already set on clerking - it's great experience but it doesn't necessarily fit all career goals.


Definitely not interested in public interest/small law-- I think you're right about biglaw being the path of least resistance and that's honestly probably why I feel drawn to it.

Regarding clerking, since I don't have a specific goal career in mind it has more of an emotional connection. I externed for a federal judge and would love to go back (they basically said they would hire me although of course not guaranteed). Maybe I should rethink that...

assuming you want to work in "biglaw" purely to gain the experience required to move on to something better (and no, biglaw by and large is not a "fine" gig for any substantial length of time, but it can be useful to gain experience), then you really need to know that not all "biglaw" is created equal. kids during OCI at your law school might get the impression that Cravath or Sullcrom or Skadden are great biglaw firms because they heard a professor mention one of those firms once or they found the Vault list that career services mentioned, but please be aware, NYC biglaw firms (particularly those that Vault places highly), are typically the worst of the worst in terms of lifestyle, and also among the worst in terms of substantive experience. you'll be a document coder for ages.

there ARE legit "biglaw" firms that offer real experience. Hueston Hennigan, W&C, Munger Tolles, Bartlit Beck, Keker and Van Nest, Gibbs and Bruns, Susman Godfrey, Boies Schiller, to name a few just off the top of my head, *actually* give you real experience, along with the resume line you need for other gigs. Based on your comment about clerking, and assuming you know what that means/requires, you might have a chance at one of these places. If you don't perform well enough in law school to have a good shot at a federal appellate clerkship though, those great firms won't take you. In that case, just stay the hell out of NYC and pray you land in a good practice group at one of the dime a dozen megafirms.

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Re: Biglaw or bust? Champagne problems edition

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 11, 2017 12:56 pm

bruinfan10 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:It really depends on what kind of law you ultimately want to practice. If you want to go inhouse or to certain government jobs, biglaw experience is really valuable or even necessary. If you want to do some kinds of public interest jobs or DA/PD, it's not necessary and might even make your path harder. If you want to go into practice for yourself, whether biglaw is helpful will depend on a lot of factors. If you think you want to be in private practice but don't know if you want it to be biglaw, again, it will totally depend on what kind of private practice where. If you want to, say, do wills and estates for ordinary folk in your home town it's going to be different than if you want to service rich clients in LA. Etc.

If you have no idea what you want to do, biglaw is the path of least resistance for most T14 students so you'll probably end up doing it and then you can push your career goals crises further down the road.

Also if you don't know what you want to do, it's not clear to me why you're already set on clerking - it's great experience but it doesn't necessarily fit all career goals.


Definitely not interested in public interest/small law-- I think you're right about biglaw being the path of least resistance and that's honestly probably why I feel drawn to it.

Regarding clerking, since I don't have a specific goal career in mind it has more of an emotional connection. I externed for a federal judge and would love to go back (they basically said they would hire me although of course not guaranteed). Maybe I should rethink that...

assuming you want to work in "biglaw" purely to gain the experience required to move on to something better (and no, biglaw by and large is not a "fine" gig for any substantial length of time, but it can be useful to gain experience), then you really need to know that not all "biglaw" is created equal. kids during OCI at your law school might get the impression that Cravath or Sullcrom or Skadden are great biglaw firms because they heard a professor mention one of those firms once or they found the Vault list that career services mentioned, but please be aware, NYC biglaw firms (particularly those that Vault places highly), are typically the worst of the worst in terms of lifestyle, and also among the worst in terms of substantive experience. you'll be a document coder for ages.

there ARE legit "biglaw" firms that offer real experience. Hueston Hennigan, W&C, Munger Tolles, Bartlit Beck, Keker and Van Nest, Gibbs and Bruns, Susman Godfrey, Boies Schiller, to name a few just off the top of my head, *actually* give you real experience, along with the resume line you need for other gigs. Based on your comment about clerking, and assuming you know what that means/requires, you might have a chance at one of these places. If you don't perform well enough in law school to have a good shot at a federal appellate clerkship though, those great firms won't take you. In that case, just stay the hell out of NYC and pray you land in a good practice group at one of the dime a dozen megafirms.


Hmm ok, I should definitely refer back to this when it's time for OCIs. I've heard some NYC firms are more about grinding you down than helping you. I'm kind of hoping to stay the hell out of NYC anyway, but for now just going to focus on doing my best in terms of GPA/rank.

1styearlateral

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Re: Biglaw or bust? Champagne problems edition

Postby 1styearlateral » Fri Aug 11, 2017 1:08 pm

Pokemon wrote:Biglaw is a fine gig, particularly if you have no debt. You will save a ton again because no debt to take away your paycheck, you will get marketable experience in case u want to do something later, and you will be less stressed than other associates cause you will not have a few 100k hanging on your shoulder.

This plus you'll have the freedom of knowing you can quit when things get ugly without worrying about how to continue paying loans on a lower salary (although there's still PAYE).

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A. Nony Mouse

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Re: Biglaw or bust? Champagne problems edition

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Fri Aug 11, 2017 1:19 pm

Have you started law school yet?



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