Screwed up my career - help!

(On Campus Interviews, Summer Associate positions, Firm Reviews, Tips, ...)
Forum rules
Anonymous Posting

Anonymous posting is only appropriate when you are revealing sensitive employment related information about a firm, job, etc. You may anonymously respond on topic to these threads. Unacceptable uses include: harassing another user, joking around, testing the feature, or other things that are more appropriate in the lounge.

Failure to follow these rules will get you outed, warned, or banned.
Anonymous User
Posts: 316126
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Screwed up my career - help!

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Nov 30, 2017 11:06 am

OP here - how bad is my situation? Should I start considering non-legal exits? I spoke to an alum yesterday who said that I'm probably locked out of biglaw because they so rarely hire 2nd years. He recommended trying for midlaw or smaller law firms, but those firms seem to have even tighter hiring requirements. This is beyond frustrating.

1styearlateral

Silver
Posts: 834
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2016 3:55 pm

Re: Screwed up my career - help!

Postby 1styearlateral » Thu Nov 30, 2017 11:09 am

It's really not that bad I've seen "Managing Attorneys" go to in house roles. Just hustle.

Anonymous User
Posts: 316126
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Screwed up my career - help!

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Nov 30, 2017 11:34 am

NoLongerALurker wrote:^ I for one would like to hear more stories like this. I've been on the hunt for stories from people who left biglaw and regretted it.


OP here - happy to PM you details of my situation. I would say it differs from the previous stories because pay is competitive with a first year biglaw salary and my hours are genuinely very good. I bring this up not to brag (hah) but to point out that even if the money and hours are good, it is not worth taking a mind-numbing job with no advancement or respect just to get out of biglaw.

When you're being crushed under biglaw stress, it's easy to cheerfully say that you'd be happy to take out somebody's trash/do X menial task for the rest of your life just to not be chained to your phone. It's also easy to say that you do menial tasks in biglaw (churning out 300 signature pages, fixing spacings, etc.) that you may as well do menial work on a 9-5 schedule. I thought all of these things. The reality is that even if you're doing grunt work, biglaw looks good on a resume (relative to most other legal jobs), and that grunt work can easily be spun to an interviewer. You weren't churning out 300 signature pages, you were working on some big important deal, etc. etc. My friend got a pretty good non-legal job by making due diligence sound impressive. I'm not kidding.

Firms generally also invest in you, so you won't always be doing menial work (again, I know there are debates on this forum about whether the entire practice of corporate law is a collection of ultimately menial tasks, but I'm going to avoid that debate here and in any case, I don't quite agree with that sentiment).

In my current role, I can't couch bullshit work behind some more important function. It's just back-office crap that nobody would be remotely impressed by. There is no intention for me to advance or learn anything more substantive. This role sounded way better on paper, but I also did a lot of self-convincing that anything would be better than biglaw if I got to clock out at 6 and go home. I was also hitting the stage where I fantasized about quitting and living off my savings for a year while I did some big life pivot/learned some new skills/learned to code/took some foreign service exam. When this job came up, I rationalized that at worst, it would keep me well-paid while I used the other 7 hours of my day to transition into something else. Guess what, transitioning into any other career is really really hard and there is no easy fix or solution. I thought of doing a coding boot camp, but (1) when you actually start programming, you realize that you are learning an entirely new body of knowledge that has zero transferability to your old skills (and this is coming from somebody who has so far relatively enjoyed learning to code/solving coding puzzles) and (2) bootcamps and any career-pivot entry puts you at the bottom of the field with questionable advancement. [Edit, I say this not to imply that I still want to do a random career pivot, but to address the common plans I've heard people throw around for quitting biglaw by doing a career 180].

So I say all this to encourage people to stay in their jobs, or at the very least, don't be a raging idiot and quit after one year for some job that looks good on paper but is actually terrible. Oh, and keep up your law school grades. I got median at a T6 and wish I had busted my ass to do better, because then I'd be able to clerk and get out of this mess.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Thu Nov 30, 2017 2:06 pm, edited 2 times in total.

WhiteCollarBlueShirt

Bronze
Posts: 205
Joined: Fri Jan 08, 2016 2:11 pm

Re: Screwed up my career - help!

Postby WhiteCollarBlueShirt » Thu Nov 30, 2017 11:49 am

Just adding to the unique echo chamber in this thread with my own perspective having been at a few very different places since law school:

1. Not all biglaw is the same; lateral moves can help or hurt.
2. Midlaw may come with similar expectations or an improved lifestyle that is only built upon the firm's inability to get more/enough work.
3. Not all in-house is the same.

I personally am extremely happy with my quasi-legal corporate/in-house position that pays approx. on par with that of a 1st-3rd year major market associate position and would not go back to biglaw under any circumstances other than as an option of absolute last resort, but, there's a value to making biglaw market salaries, working on major market headline items, and not having to worry about anything other than being a good enough associate to not get axed before making a lateral move.

Anonymous User
Posts: 316126
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Screwed up my career - help!

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Nov 30, 2017 11:51 am

OP yeah that's fair. Not all jobs are the same. My intention isn't exactly to say that it's biglaw or bust (because my pipe dream is to actually go to midlaw from this situation, so I'm sort of hoping that not all midlaw sucks), but just don't assume that biglaw is the worst job out there and you'd be happy with anything just to get out.

Danger Zone

Platinum
Posts: 8260
Joined: Sat Mar 16, 2013 10:36 am

Re: Screwed up my career - help!

Postby Danger Zone » Thu Nov 30, 2017 12:51 pm

Based on the pay and hours, I wouldn't just look to dive right into the next job at all. It seems like your only issues are with career advancement and attaining respect. You should take a lot of time to contemplate what you're even looking for in your next role, what interests you, what you'd like to do for the next 5, 10, 20 years. It seems like you genuinely have no idea right now and if you go down that path of just diving into whatever the next opportunity is, you'll likely be unhappy there too.
Last edited by Danger Zone on Sat Jan 27, 2018 2:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Anonymous User
Posts: 316126
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Screwed up my career - help!

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Nov 30, 2017 2:04 pm

Honestly, my hope is to go back to biglaw or midlaw. I'd do a clerkship to the extent that it's another route back into an associate role. Hopefully hustling will get me something eventually. It's not just status and advancement, it's also that I hate the discipline/support role I'm in, and wouldn't like it even if I advanced to a managerial position.

But point taken about pay/hours - it would not be great to jump into another bad situation out of desperation.

sparty99

Gold
Posts: 1551
Joined: Sat Dec 11, 2010 8:41 pm

Re: Screwed up my career - help!

Postby sparty99 » Thu Nov 30, 2017 2:17 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Honestly, my hope is to go back to biglaw or midlaw. I'd do a clerkship to the extent that it's another route back into an associate role. Hopefully hustling will get me something eventually. It's not just status and advancement, it's also that I hate the discipline/support role I'm in, and wouldn't like it even if I advanced to a managerial position.

But point taken about pay/hours - it would not be great to jump into another bad situation out of desperation.


If you left your current job and got a clerkship you would probably bitch about that position too. YOu left a high paying six figure job after one year and two months into your new job you are already complaining, despite the fact that this job is also high pay. YOu are a whiner and need to grow up. Additionally, you are definitely a job hopper and have no clue as to what you want to do. No one here can help you. You need to get yourself together.

User avatar
Lincoln

Silver
Posts: 1208
Joined: Tue Nov 03, 2009 11:27 pm

Re: Screwed up my career - help!

Postby Lincoln » Thu Nov 30, 2017 2:24 pm

NoLongerALurker wrote:^ I for one would like to hear more stories like this. I've been on the hunt for stories from people who left biglaw and regretted it.


I work with someone who left as a senior associate at my V5 NYC big law firm to go in-house and came back after 18 months.

didntretake

New
Posts: 78
Joined: Sat May 17, 2014 11:31 am

Re: Screwed up my career - help!

Postby didntretake » Thu Nov 30, 2017 3:23 pm

I would very much like to know about the role you are in, if you could PM me. Feel free to copy/paste from other PMs if you are having to respond to many of these.

Danger Zone

Platinum
Posts: 8260
Joined: Sat Mar 16, 2013 10:36 am

Re: Screwed up my career - help!

Postby Danger Zone » Thu Nov 30, 2017 3:26 pm

sparty99 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Honestly, my hope is to go back to biglaw or midlaw. I'd do a clerkship to the extent that it's another route back into an associate role. Hopefully hustling will get me something eventually. It's not just status and advancement, it's also that I hate the discipline/support role I'm in, and wouldn't like it even if I advanced to a managerial position.

But point taken about pay/hours - it would not be great to jump into another bad situation out of desperation.


If you left your current job and got a clerkship you would probably bitch about that position too. YOu left a high paying six figure job after one year and two months into your new job you are already complaining, despite the fact that this job is also high pay. YOu are a whiner and need to grow up. Additionally, you are definitely a job hopper and have no clue as to what you want to do. No one here can help you. You need to get yourself together.

This is harsher than it needs to be but basically what I was getting at. OP are you k-JD and just learning how miserable full time work is in general?
Last edited by Danger Zone on Sat Jan 27, 2018 2:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Anonymous User
Posts: 316126
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Screwed up my career - help!

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Nov 30, 2017 3:43 pm

how can one know if biglaw really is a bad fit versus one just being an naive k-Jd? Not a sarcastic question--I feel like it's a bad fit but I'm also k-Jd...

Damage Over Time

Silver
Posts: 529
Joined: Mon May 16, 2016 8:14 pm

Re: Screwed up my career - help!

Postby Damage Over Time » Thu Nov 30, 2017 3:47 pm

Pretty much every legal job is gonna feel like the worst when you're a K-JD, that's why TLS preaches taking time off to work before deciding to go to law school

Anonymous User
Posts: 316126
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Screwed up my career - help!

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Nov 30, 2017 3:54 pm

OP here, I'm not sure how wanting to go back to biglaw translates to not knowing what I want to do. I made a mistake leaving. I want to transition back as soon as possible. (To the extent that it's not possible, I guess I'll stay here for a while and figure out something else down the line).

User avatar
bruinfan10

Silver
Posts: 632
Joined: Fri Apr 29, 2011 12:25 am

Re: Screwed up my career - help!

Postby bruinfan10 » Thu Nov 30, 2017 4:12 pm

Damage Over Time wrote:Pretty much every legal job is gonna feel like the worst when you're a K-JD, that's why TLS preaches taking time off to work before deciding to go to law school

yeah i was worried about that too. i worked through college but am otherwise k-jd. part of why i clerked for a couple years was so i could actually get some 40-50 hr workweek experience in before starting at biglaw. def made the transition less jarring / provided some perspective.

jd20132013

Silver
Posts: 1380
Joined: Sat Oct 09, 2010 4:41 pm

Re: Screwed up my career - help!

Postby jd20132013 » Thu Nov 30, 2017 4:27 pm

Damage Over Time wrote:Pretty much every legal job is gonna feel like the worst when you're a K-JD, that's why TLS preaches taking time off to work before deciding to go to law school



Eh. I realize clerking is an exception but I loved clerking. Hard to believe that there isn't a non clerking job that's at least more tolerable than big law.

sparty99

Gold
Posts: 1551
Joined: Sat Dec 11, 2010 8:41 pm

Re: Screwed up my career - help!

Postby sparty99 » Thu Nov 30, 2017 5:24 pm

Anonymous User wrote:OP here, I'm not sure how wanting to go back to biglaw translates to not knowing what I want to do. I made a mistake leaving. I want to transition back as soon as possible. (To the extent that it's not possible, I guess I'll stay here for a while and figure out something else down the line).


You don't know what you want because just two months ago you left big law. You are very wishy-washy.

User avatar
mehiguess

Bronze
Posts: 121
Joined: Sat May 11, 2013 9:23 am

Re: Screwed up my career - help!

Postby mehiguess » Mon Dec 04, 2017 10:58 am

ruski wrote:I was wondering your reason for hating it. I was considering such a position. the money seems good and hours are great. what is your reason for hating?


Yea, I work in insurance defense and make good money, am not micro-managed, and not working crazy hours so long as billables are met. Doesn't seem that bad so far.



Return to “Legal Employment�

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.