Commuting From Kenosha to Chicago

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derekne
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Commuting From Kenosha to Chicago

Postby derekne » Mon Oct 09, 2017 12:51 am

Hi Everyone,

Not sure if this is the right place to post this but I was wondering if anyone working in Chicago Biglaw could shed some light on the feasibility of living in southeastern Wisconsin,(I.e close to the Illinois border), and commuting to Chicago.

I’m originally from SE Wisconsin and have a lot of personal and financial reasons for remaining in state if possible. It’s about 58 miles from Pleasant Prarie,(closest town to the Illinois border), to downtown and there are multiple trains that run from Kenosha to Downtown every day. Takes about an hour and a half which I figure would give me time to do work and cut down on dead time.

Is this reasonable? I understand I’d have to get up earlier and would lose the convenience of being close to work but I’m perfectly fine with both if it means living in WI and being able to make market-rate at a Chicago firm,(I go to a t14 and have a lot of debt which is why I don’t want to take a significant pay cut working in Milwaukee).


Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Anonymous User
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Re: Commuting From Kenosha to Chicago

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Oct 09, 2017 1:31 am

People do it. Not sure about in Big Law but lots of people do a similar commute.

What train are you on? Metra or Amtrak? The Amtrak doesn't run as often but it's pretty reliable and has wifi, but it's expensive. Metra has been having issues with just being generally shitty but it's a commuter train so it works.

I've done a similar WI-IL commute and I hated it FWIW, you lose a lot making the 3 hour round trip daily and if you miss the train you get stuck for a while.

MIlwaukee isn't really that big of a hit salary wise and I would take that over the commute TBH. Especially if you like Wisconsin.

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Nebby
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Re: Commuting From Kenosha to Chicago

Postby Nebby » Mon Oct 09, 2017 1:37 am

Biglaw plus 3 hour round trip commute sound like a good way to hate your life

Anonymous User
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Re: Commuting From Kenosha to Chicago

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Oct 09, 2017 2:07 am

derekne wrote:Hi Everyone,

Not sure if this is the right place to post this but I was wondering if anyone working in Chicago Biglaw could shed some light on the feasibility of living in southeastern Wisconsin,(I.e close to the Illinois border), and commuting to Chicago.

I’m originally from SE Wisconsin and have a lot of personal and financial reasons for remaining in state if possible. It’s about 58 miles from Pleasant Prarie,(closest town to the Illinois border), to downtown and there are multiple trains that run from Kenosha to Downtown every day. Takes about an hour and a half which I figure would give me time to do work and cut down on dead time.

Is this reasonable? I understand I’d have to get up earlier and would lose the convenience of being close to work but I’m perfectly fine with both if it means living in WI and being able to make market-rate at a Chicago firm,(I go to a t14 and have a lot of debt which is why I don’t want to take a significant pay cut working in Milwaukee).


Any help would be greatly appreciated.


I know a friend who did a similar commute. They ended up sleeping in their office most of the week.

cavalier1138
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Re: Commuting From Kenosha to Chicago

Postby cavalier1138 » Mon Oct 09, 2017 5:44 am

Don't do it.

I can't speak to your personal reasons, but on the financial side, you can easily find a cheap apartment closer to the city. Living in Chicago doesn't mean living in the Loop.


dixiecupdrinking
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Re: Commuting From Kenosha to Chicago

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Mon Oct 09, 2017 8:31 am

Just move to Chicago and visit your family on the weekends.

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OfThriceandTen
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Re: Commuting From Kenosha to Chicago

Postby OfThriceandTen » Mon Oct 09, 2017 8:53 am

I had a 2 hour commute once and hated it. I'd rank the feelings of desperation and isolation my jobs gave me in this order: 1) when I worked night shift, 2) when I had a 2 hour commute, 3) biglaw. That being said, people do take on ridiculous commutes in this city, and not just partners. I've seen lots of junior associates do it and they seem fine? with it. But their attitudes are a lot like yours -- commute doesn't matter, would prefer to be outside of the city for family reasons (e.g. their spouse has a job far north that isn't transferable to Chicago, etc.) and it is a lot more affordable. The two firms I am most familiar with are both really lax on facetime requirements, which helps.

If possible to test it for 3-6 months (your stub year shouldn't count) before making any large financial purchases (e.g. a house), it will give you a lot more insight into your ability to handle the commute with everything else going on. Good luck!

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Mullens
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Re: Commuting From Kenosha to Chicago

Postby Mullens » Mon Oct 09, 2017 9:47 am

This sounds absolutely miserable. I once went from a 2-hour door to door commute to less than 30 minutes and my life improved immensely. I was able to be more than a zombie when I got home from work.

As far as if it's even doable and sustainable, that will likely depend on your firm and group in the firm. I work somewhere with a liberal FaceTime policy, but there's a couple groups where this commute does not seem like it would be very sustainable since those groups have a much more stringent de facto FaceTime policy. Whether you can work on the train will also depend on your group. You can't talk on the phone on the train or use the internet on your computer without a hotspot and some stuff is confidential to the degree that I wouldn't feel comfortable looking at it in a public setting like a metra train.

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unlicensedpotato
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Re: Commuting From Kenosha to Chicago

Postby unlicensedpotato » Mon Oct 09, 2017 11:34 am

I'm a junior associate so the least important person on the team and still probably once a week between 8 and 10am it's essential that I immediately hop on a call unexpectedly and take basically verbatim notes on a laptop, call a partner regarding a factual question, do a research assignment, etc. I don't see how someone in your scenario could handle everything without screwing something up.

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Nebby
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Re: Commuting From Kenosha to Chicago

Postby Nebby » Mon Oct 09, 2017 12:42 pm

Wait, don't you attend CLS and want to practice in TX?

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SmokeytheBear
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Re: Commuting From Kenosha to Chicago

Postby SmokeytheBear » Mon Oct 09, 2017 1:32 pm

Do not do this for all of the above reasons.

derekne
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Re: Commuting From Kenosha to Chicago

Postby derekne » Mon Oct 09, 2017 3:40 pm

Nebby wrote:Wait, don't you attend CLS and want to practice in TX?



Yes and TX is one of my target markets. But I’m still considering alternative markets,(outside of NYC of course), and know that if I didpursue Chicago I would want to, (if it at all possible), live in WI,(but it looks like that isn’t too practical).

Hutz_and_Goodman
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Re: Commuting From Kenosha to Chicago

Postby Hutz_and_Goodman » Mon Oct 09, 2017 4:07 pm

Nebby wrote:Wait, don't you attend CLS and want to practice in TX?


OP I am considering attending CLS and commuting to law school from Freehold, NJ. What do you think about this plan?

Florence Night
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Re: Commuting From Kenosha to Chicago

Postby Florence Night » Mon Oct 09, 2017 6:41 pm

This is not sustainable for any extended period of time. This would be difficult with a "normal" job. Biglaw is as demanding as everyone has told you.

Don't try this.

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xRON MEXiCOx
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Re: Commuting From Kenosha to Chicago

Postby xRON MEXiCOx » Mon Oct 09, 2017 6:45 pm

derekne wrote:
Nebby wrote:Wait, don't you attend CLS and want to practice in TX?



Yes and TX is one of my target markets. But I’m still considering alternative markets,(outside of NYC of course), and know that if I didpursue Chicago I would want to, (if it at all possible), live in WI,(but it looks like that isn’t too practical).


Wait so you don’t even have a job in Chicago yet? What’s the fucking point of making these threads for these imaginary options. Tls does this all the time smh

RaceJudicata
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Re: Commuting From Kenosha to Chicago

Postby RaceJudicata » Mon Oct 09, 2017 10:49 pm

OfThriceandTen wrote:I had a 2 hour commute once and hated it. I'd rank the feelings of desperation and isolation my jobs gave me in this order: 1) when I worked night shift, 2) when I had a 2 hour commute, 3) biglaw. That being said, people do take on ridiculous commutes in this city, and not just partners. I've seen lots of junior associates do it and they seem fine? with it. But their attitudes are a lot like yours -- commute doesn't matter, would prefer to be outside of the city for family reasons (e.g. their spouse has a job far north that isn't transferable to Chicago, etc.) and it is a lot more affordable. The two firms I am most familiar with are both really lax on facetime requirements, which helps.

If possible to test it for 3-6 months (your stub year shouldn't count) before making any large financial purchases (e.g. a house), it will give you a lot more insight into your ability to handle the commute with everything else going on. Good luck!


Just want to shout out to someone else who has shared the misery of working the night shift, particularly for any significant length of time. I did it for about a year in my pre-law
School job - most unhappy I’ve ever been.

Anyway, I digress.

OP: this commute would be bananas.

sparty99
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Re: Commuting From Kenosha to Chicago

Postby sparty99 » Tue Oct 10, 2017 12:35 am

You can easily get a roommate in Chicago and pay $800 or live in the suburbs or Indiana would even be more chill although I wouldn't even do that. Studio in Chicago is $1,000 to $1,900. You don't need to live in Wisconsin to be cheap. You think all the people who move from Michigan and work retail jobs are living in nice apartments. No.

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Nebby
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Re: Commuting From Kenosha to Chicago

Postby Nebby » Tue Oct 10, 2017 12:38 am

My studio in beautiful East Lakeview is only $950/month.

TEIAM
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Re: Commuting From Kenosha to Chicago

Postby TEIAM » Tue Oct 10, 2017 9:45 am

I just want to pitch in that there is no way this commute would only be 1.5 hours. Most of the firms in the city are AT LEAST a 10 minute walk from Union/Ogilvie. That's also not factoring in the time to drive to the station in the morning, early arrival to ensure you don't miss your train, and the constant delays on the Metra.

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BaiAilian2013
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Re: Commuting From Kenosha to Chicago

Postby BaiAilian2013 » Wed Oct 11, 2017 7:54 am

This is a personal decision. The people saying it would be miserable would probably be miserable doing it, but that doesn't mean everyone is. Plenty of people in biglaw have a 1.5-2 hour commute because it's worth it to them to live where they want to live. Some do work during the commute; others actually enjoy the downtime. Some hate it and end up moving. One factor is the mechanics of the commute - a 2-seat commute is going to be a lot easier to handle than a 5-seat commute. (And keep in mind every transfer is an opportunity for delay.)

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XxSpyKEx
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Re: Commuting From Kenosha to Chicago

Postby XxSpyKEx » Wed Oct 11, 2017 4:52 pm

You're thinking it's a 3-hour commute roundtrip because the train ride is 3 hours. But when you factor in the time it'll take you to drive to the train station, being there early so you don't miss your train (keep in mind, this isn't a local commuter train, so you'll probably sit around for at least an hour if you miss the train), and time it'll take you to walk from Union Station to your office, it'll easily be more like a 4+ hour commute daily. I commuted from far suburb of Chicago to Chicago for a month, and it was (1) miserable (2) took like 4 hours a day out of my life. The latter is the reason why I don't think there's any way you can make the commute in 3 hours roundtrip because my train ride was less than 1.25 hours in length each way and it still took me 4 hours a day to commute. I really don't think that a 4+ hour commute to and from work is sustainable while working biglaw hours (for anyone). As others have noted, it'd be a brutal commute for someone in a normal job, trying to do it while in biglaw is infeasible. Also, Chicago cost of living really isn't that bad, where the amount you'd be saving taking the train really isn't going to be work the lost time (keep in mind, you're probably going to spend around $300 /month for the train + parking at the train station... So, for another $550 /month, you could live in a not so great apartment that's a shitton closer than Kenosha during the work week and then go back to Kenosha on the weekends).

snowball2
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Re: Commuting From Kenosha to Chicago

Postby snowball2 » Wed Oct 11, 2017 6:18 pm

BaiAilian2013 wrote:This is a personal decision. The people saying it would be miserable would probably be miserable doing it, but that doesn't mean everyone is. Plenty of people in biglaw have a 1.5-2 hour commute because it's worth it to them to live where they want to live. Some do work during the commute; others actually enjoy the downtime. Some hate it and end up moving. One factor is the mechanics of the commute - a 2-seat commute is going to be a lot easier to handle than a 5-seat commute. (And keep in mind every transfer is an opportunity for delay.)


"Plenty of people"?? Are these first-years or seniors/partners? When you have next to no say in scheduling your time adding in 2 hours at the beginning and end of your day will be brutal. And the trains don't even run 24 hours, they stop just after midnight with a solid 5-hour gap.

This is one of those ideas that works on paper but goes to hell on week one. You are there for your firm's benefit, not the other way around. You're needed when you're needed and that means having the flexibility to stay as long as possible and arrive as early as possible.

BlueParrot
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Re: Commuting From Kenosha to Chicago

Postby BlueParrot » Wed Oct 11, 2017 8:37 pm

I would also consider how late the trains run. Sometimes you will have to work late and the firm isn't going to cover car service to a place two hours away.

In NY, the only people I know with really long commutes are secretaries (as they have consistent schedules) and partners who mostly drive in. For the partners that take a train, if they have to pay out of pocket for a two hour car ride home they can afford it.




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