Why do people even do this?

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jd20132013

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Re: Why do people even do this?

Postby jd20132013 » Sun Dec 10, 2017 1:24 am

unicorntamer666 wrote:
run26.2 wrote:
Loquitur Res wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I'm an associate at a big law firm and besides the office ball and chain/student debt reasons, why on earth do people do this for a living? The money starts out high but never progresses substantially, the people suck for the most part, and the work is honestly quite dull until you make it further up the food chain, but by that point you've wasted half your life doing a bunch of nonsense.


Really? At Cravath scale firms don't you go from 195k to 215k (base + bonus) from first to second year (after the stub), then to like 260K in the third year? What other job are you going to get 20k raise after your first year and a 45k raise after your second year out of school? I'm not heading to biglaw and not trying to defend it, but this particular criticism seems off base.

This. After you're in biglaw for 6 years, you have been around 1.5 million. If you've been wise with your money, you're pretty well on your way to financial independence. Of course, if you have massive debt, things are a bit different.


This. Also, because law is fun. You get paid upwards of $1.5 million to sit at a desk playing logic games for a few years.

I'd vastly prefer this to a guaranteed lifetime of wage slavery, which is what virtually all other jobs amount to - especially those that pay like $50K a year.

ETA: It is admittedly definitely not for everyone, and most people who go into it are probably making a mistake. No one should do it without being confident they love the nature of the work, as the sheer hours requirement will be utterly soul crushing if you don't (and can be even if you do). I encourage people considering law school to work as paralegals first to figure out whether the profession is for them.


are you currently practicing

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unicorntamer666

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Re: Why do people even do this?

Postby unicorntamer666 » Sun Dec 10, 2017 1:35 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Wtf? What logic games are you playing? Maybe its just corporate that sucks.


Pretty sure that guy is a 3L, so no logic games. He's not sitting at a biglaw desk.


Yep, talking about lit. True, 3L here, so my opinions are provisional - but come from family of lawyers, have worked at biglaw firms, have general sense of what the work is like. That said, I understand the hours as a full-time associate will be devastating and readily admit I haven't yet endured anything like that for more than a month or two at a time. I'll check back in in a few years...

jd20132013

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Re: Why do people even do this?

Postby jd20132013 » Sun Dec 10, 2017 1:44 am

please do

malibustacy

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Re: Why do people even do this?

Postby malibustacy » Sun Dec 10, 2017 3:43 am

OP, most jobs on this planet are pretty bad. If the worst you can do for yourself is make top 1% of global income for sitting in an air conditioned office, with dull work, boring colleagues, but exit opportunities down the line, then I'd say you're pretty lucky.

Try being a teacher in this country. You'll make 1/5th of the pay, while you're on your feet for hours with a bunch of thankless kids and parents, while the amount of pay that doesn't "progress substantially" to you in Big Law every year are raises many people hope to see every ten years or so.

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Re: Why do people even do this?

Postby jacketyellow » Sun Dec 10, 2017 3:50 am

malibustacy wrote:OP, most jobs on this planet are pretty bad. If the worst you can do for yourself is make top 1% of global income for sitting in an air conditioned office, with dull work, boring colleagues, but exit opportunities down the line, then I'd say you're pretty lucky.

Try being a teacher in this country. You'll make 1/5th of the pay, while you're on your feet for hours with a bunch of thankless kids and parents, while the amount of pay that doesn't "progress substantially" to you in Big Law every year are raises many people hope to see every ten years or so.


This. This is exactly the reason why I don't really complain. I used to be a teacher, and dealing with kids who don't give a damn (because their parents don't give a damn) and trying to raise state test scores (that would never be raised) and making $35,000 a year is the worst life anyone could have. And, if you sit down and take a rest, the principal screams at you. I'd definitely rather be working here making $180,000+ and bonuses.

The fact is: if you don't like your life, don't complain and do nothing. Complain, and then change it up. I certainly did. I went from a thankless job to another thankless job, making a ton of money.

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Monochromatic Oeuvre

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Re: Why do people even do this?

Postby Monochromatic Oeuvre » Sun Dec 10, 2017 12:31 pm

"Why do people even exchange their labor for money?"

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Re: Why do people even do this?

Postby Telecaster » Sun Dec 10, 2017 12:36 pm

The false dichotomy fallacy that keeps recurring in this thread is revealing of the psychological exercises likely taking place to justify this line of work. "Well, it's either this or be a wage slave flipping burgers or teaching making <50k a yr." Translation: "At least I"m not living in virtual poverty."

There are jobs (legal jobs!) that fall between 50k-180k; and even many near the upper range of that spread.

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Re: Why do people even do this?

Postby cavalier1138 » Sun Dec 10, 2017 12:49 pm

Telecaster wrote:The false dichotomy fallacy that keeps recurring in this thread is revealing of the psychological exercises likely taking place to justify this line of work. "Well, it's either this or be a wage slave flipping burgers or teaching making <50k a yr." Translation: "At least I"m not living in virtual poverty."

There are jobs (legal jobs!) that fall between 50k-180k; and even many near the upper range of that spread.


And how many of the ones in the upper range are available to new graduates?

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Re: Why do people even do this?

Postby RehnquistWasTheMan » Sun Dec 10, 2017 1:30 pm

In exchange for making almost $200K as a person presumably in their mid to late 20's, a well over top 1% salary, in a relatively stable job where you are just cranking out billable hours, it's quite reasonable to demand that you in exchange give your time, efforts, and attention 24/7.

It is pretty brutal though, partly why the pay has to be so high.

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Re: Why do people even do this?

Postby LaLiLuLeLo » Sun Dec 10, 2017 1:38 pm

Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:"Why do people even exchange their labor for money?"


Hunter-gatherer 4 lyfe

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Re: Why do people even do this?

Postby Telecaster » Sun Dec 10, 2017 1:49 pm

cavalier1138 wrote:
Telecaster wrote:The false dichotomy fallacy that keeps recurring in this thread is revealing of the psychological exercises likely taking place to justify this line of work. "Well, it's either this or be a wage slave flipping burgers or teaching making <50k a yr." Translation: "At least I"m not living in virtual poverty."

There are jobs (legal jobs!) that fall between 50k-180k; and even many near the upper range of that spread.


And how many of the ones in the upper range are available to new graduates?


I mean... like... quite a few I think. Certainly not a negligible number. It depends on what you're asking.

If you're asking if there are many jobs outside of biglaw where you make towards the upper range of that spread starting then I would say there are fewer of those jobs. If you're asking how many of those jobs are available to new graduates which have the potential to reach that upper range then I would say there are many. Especially if you're open to living outside of a primary market. They start in the upper 5 figure range and clear 6 in a couple years.

Also, salary is really only half of the equation to calculate wealth potential. CoL is the other. It's all relative to where you live. You could have the salary of one of the aforementioned jobs in a secondary market and the wealth gap between you and a cohort making 180k in a primary market is not that great.

http://money.cnn.com/calculator/pf/cost ... index.html

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Re: Why do people even do this?

Postby pancakes3 » Sun Dec 10, 2017 1:56 pm

Telecaster wrote:
cavalier1138 wrote:
Telecaster wrote:The false dichotomy fallacy that keeps recurring in this thread is revealing of the psychological exercises likely taking place to justify this line of work. "Well, it's either this or be a wage slave flipping burgers or teaching making <50k a yr." Translation: "At least I"m not living in virtual poverty."

There are jobs (legal jobs!) that fall between 50k-180k; and even many near the upper range of that spread.


And how many of the ones in the upper range are available to new graduates?


I mean... like... quite a few I think. Certainly not a negligible number. It depends on what you're asking.

If you're asking if there are many jobs outside of biglaw where you make towards the upper range of that spread starting then I would say there are fewer of those jobs. If you're asking how many of those jobs are available to new graduates which have the potential to reach that upper range then I would say there are many. Especially if you're open to living outside of a primary market. They start in the upper 5 figure range and clear 6 in a couple years.

Also, salary is really only half of the equation to calculate wealth potential. CoL is the other. It's all relative to where you live. You could have the salary of one of the aforementioned jobs in a secondary market and the wealth gap between you and a cohort making 180k in a primary market is not that great.

http://money.cnn.com/calculator/pf/cost ... index.html


you're wrong and you're dumb.

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Re: Why do people even do this?

Postby Telecaster » Sun Dec 10, 2017 3:18 pm

pancakes3 wrote:
Telecaster wrote:
cavalier1138 wrote:
Telecaster wrote:The false dichotomy fallacy that keeps recurring in this thread is revealing of the psychological exercises likely taking place to justify this line of work. "Well, it's either this or be a wage slave flipping burgers or teaching making <50k a yr." Translation: "At least I"m not living in virtual poverty."

There are jobs (legal jobs!) that fall between 50k-180k; and even many near the upper range of that spread.


And how many of the ones in the upper range are available to new graduates?


I mean... like... quite a few I think. Certainly not a negligible number. It depends on what you're asking.

If you're asking if there are many jobs outside of biglaw where you make towards the upper range of that spread starting then I would say there are fewer of those jobs. If you're asking how many of those jobs are available to new graduates which have the potential to reach that upper range then I would say there are many. Especially if you're open to living outside of a primary market. They start in the upper 5 figure range and clear 6 in a couple years.

Also, salary is really only half of the equation to calculate wealth potential. CoL is the other. It's all relative to where you live. You could have the salary of one of the aforementioned jobs in a secondary market and the wealth gap between you and a cohort making 180k in a primary market is not that great.

http://money.cnn.com/calculator/pf/cost ... index.html


you're wrong and you're dumb.


That hurts my feelings.

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thisiswater

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Re: Why do people even do this?

Postby thisiswater » Sun Dec 10, 2017 3:25 pm

Telecaster wrote:
cavalier1138 wrote:
Telecaster wrote:The false dichotomy fallacy that keeps recurring in this thread is revealing of the psychological exercises likely taking place to justify this line of work. "Well, it's either this or be a wage slave flipping burgers or teaching making <50k a yr." Translation: "At least I"m not living in virtual poverty."

There are jobs (legal jobs!) that fall between 50k-180k; and even many near the upper range of that spread.


And how many of the ones in the upper range are available to new graduates?


I mean... like... quite a few I think. Certainly not a negligible number. It depends on what you're asking.

If you're asking if there are many jobs outside of biglaw where you make towards the upper range of that spread starting then I would say there are fewer of those jobs. If you're asking how many of those jobs are available to new graduates which have the potential to reach that upper range then I would say there are many. Especially if you're open to living outside of a primary market. They start in the upper 5 figure range and clear 6 in a couple years.

Also, salary is really only half of the equation to calculate wealth potential. CoL is the other. It's all relative to where you live. You could have the salary of one of the aforementioned jobs in a secondary market and the wealth gap between you and a cohort making 180k in a primary market is not that great.

http://money.cnn.com/calculator/pf/cost ... index.html


So really all you're saying is you should do biglaw in Houston?

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Re: Why do people even do this?

Postby Telecaster » Sun Dec 10, 2017 4:02 pm

thisiswater wrote:
Telecaster wrote:
cavalier1138 wrote:
Telecaster wrote:The false dichotomy fallacy that keeps recurring in this thread is revealing of the psychological exercises likely taking place to justify this line of work. "Well, it's either this or be a wage slave flipping burgers or teaching making <50k a yr." Translation: "At least I"m not living in virtual poverty."

There are jobs (legal jobs!) that fall between 50k-180k; and even many near the upper range of that spread.


And how many of the ones in the upper range are available to new graduates?


I mean... like... quite a few I think. Certainly not a negligible number. It depends on what you're asking.

If you're asking if there are many jobs outside of biglaw where you make towards the upper range of that spread starting then I would say there are fewer of those jobs. If you're asking how many of those jobs are available to new graduates which have the potential to reach that upper range then I would say there are many. Especially if you're open to living outside of a primary market. They start in the upper 5 figure range and clear 6 in a couple years.

Also, salary is really only half of the equation to calculate wealth potential. CoL is the other. It's all relative to where you live. You could have the salary of one of the aforementioned jobs in a secondary market and the wealth gap between you and a cohort making 180k in a primary market is not that great.

http://money.cnn.com/calculator/pf/cost ... index.html


So really all you're saying is you should do biglaw in Houston?


Not particularly.

I was thinking more along the lines of mid-size firms and federal government. Some insurance companies will hire into OGC out of law school. FINRA hires entry level. Then veering into stuff that may or may not require a license, compliance gigs and financial services.

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Re: Why do people even do this?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Dec 10, 2017 4:19 pm

What's pay like in Compliance? I've worked at a bank and though it looks like people are able to get fancy titles quickly in compliance, and there does seem to be a lot of demand for reporting/risk/AML/Sanctions/policy, not sure how much $ they are making. Also, when I talked to the legal people at the bank, they all warned me not to lateral from big law too soon because I would end up in a dead end job like compliance :/ But they could just be biased.

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Re: Why do people even do this?

Postby shock259 » Sun Dec 10, 2017 4:28 pm

The job certainly sucks sometimes, but the money is great. I cleared $260k this year (3rd year, non-NYC market), and will make $300k next year. My plan is to stay in as long as possible and continue saving as much as possible until I burn out. Likely by the end of 5th year, if not sooner. And then transition somewhere in house. Even if I only make like $100k/year in house, that would be plenty given that, by then, I will have hundreds of thousands of dollars saved and invested from my stint in biglaw.

Are there other professions where you can make $300k/year with 3 years of experience? Maybe. But there's not a lot, and I'm sure they're more difficult to break into than biglaw. I got into biglaw by just doing well on a bunch of tests (LSAT, law school exams). No family connections, unique skills, creativity or even demonstrable talent is required. Oh, and I am definitely not particularly intelligent either.

For what it's worth, almost every mid-level I am close with says they also do it for the money.

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Monochromatic Oeuvre

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Re: Why do people even do this?

Postby Monochromatic Oeuvre » Sun Dec 10, 2017 5:50 pm

Telecaster wrote:The false dichotomy fallacy that keeps recurring in this thread is revealing of the psychological exercises likely taking place to justify this line of work. "Well, it's either this or be a wage slave flipping burgers or teaching making <50k a yr." Translation: "At least I"m not living in virtual poverty."

There are jobs (legal jobs!) that fall between 50k-180k; and even many near the upper range of that spread.


There really aren’t, between about $90k and $180k. People didn’t invent this bimodal distribution idea. It’s maybe a couple thousand jobs in that range serving 35k graduates, and most of them are either (a) Smaller Biglaw/midlaw jobs that work you the same hours for less pay or (b) in areas that won’t hire you unless you’re from there.

If you can get to a lower COL area, cool. But (1) your loan payments don’t adjust and (2) most legal work is concentrated in high COL areas regardless.

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landshoes

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Re: Why do people even do this?

Postby landshoes » Sun Dec 10, 2017 7:01 pm

Hourly billing provides a strong incentive to constantly push hours up, regardless of the prestige or size of the firm in question.

Firms make money by billing more than they pay. The more they bill and the less they pay, the more they make. This is a serious pressure on all firms---midlaw, biglaw, small, whatever---to work associates half to death. Probably the only real thing that they balance against this is the cost of onboarding/training/malpractice.

Then you have contingency billing, which, again, is all about keeping your costs low compared to the $$$ you make. It can be better to the extent that you get a functional ownership share in the contingency awards (eg case-based bonuses), but that doesn't mean you'll be working less. Just that you might get something more out of it. By no means are contingency firms willing to let you coast (compared to other attorneys) and pay you a substantial portion of earnings.

Your best chance of having a decent life as a wage-earner who exchanges $$$ for labor is 1 of 3 things:

1. find some kind of relatively money-irrational boss (can happen, LOL, but keep in mind that financially irrational owners don't necessarily provide the most stability or financial rationality re: billing clients, either)
2. make the cost of training your replacement prohibitively high AND do enough that you don't make your replacement a better deal (find a niche and become one of the few experts in that niche AND work pretty hard) --- also need to hope that your niche stays valuable because you're also heavily invested in your own training!
3. do work that can't have mistakes in it. Probably more relevant at a midlaw firm that doesn't have a ton of backup. The only problem is that normal people make mistakes and this is a shitty, stressful way to live.

TL;DR: become an owner and exploit others (eg run your own firm) OR acknowledge that exchanging money for labor means, almost by definition, being exploited by owners

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landshoes

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Re: Why do people even do this?

Postby landshoes » Sun Dec 10, 2017 7:02 pm

^^^^ IDK if this is all that relevant to this convo specifically but I'm pretty bored of studying right now and I get sick of the endless BUT GO TO A DIFFERENT FIRM! NO DON'T! THERE ARE GOOD FIRM JOBS OUT THERE! NO THERE AREN'T! bickering.

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Aergia

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Re: Why do people even do this?

Postby Aergia » Sun Dec 10, 2017 8:16 pm

Still in law school, so just wondering.. is it common to get additional bonuses in biglaw based on the performance of the firm or department as a whole beyond that whole hours/lockstep bonus scheme? I think having to be on-call 24/7 is fair when you can also enjoy the benefits of a particularly good year. Then in theory there's at least some correlation between how much your social and family life got fucked and your bank account. If not (and yeah maybe I'm out of touch) but I think the pay isn't high enough to justify the impression of biglaw i get from TLS except under limited circumstances (no debt, low COL, etc).
Last edited by Aergia on Sun Dec 10, 2017 11:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Mullens

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Re: Why do people even do this?

Postby Mullens » Sun Dec 10, 2017 8:46 pm

Aergia wrote:Still in law school, so just wondering.. it is common to get additional bonuses in biglaw based on the performance of the firm or department as a whole beyond that whole hours/lockstep bonus scheme? I think having to be on-call 24/7 is fair when you can also enjoy the benefits of a particularly good year. Then in theory there's at least some correlation between how much your social and family life got fucked and your bank account. If not (and yeah maybe I'm out of touch) but I think the pay isn't high enough to justify the impression of biglaw i get from TLS except under limited circumstances (no debt, low COL, etc).


Lol no. Firms that pay lockstep only pay lockstep. Some firms pay more than market bonuses for high billers but it’s never based on firm performance.

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sublime

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Re: Why do people even do this?

Postby sublime » Sun Dec 10, 2017 9:47 pm

Mullens wrote:
Aergia wrote:Still in law school, so just wondering.. it is common to get additional bonuses in biglaw based on the performance of the firm or department as a whole beyond that whole hours/lockstep bonus scheme? I think having to be on-call 24/7 is fair when you can also enjoy the benefits of a particularly good year. Then in theory there's at least some correlation between how much your social and family life got fucked and your bank account. If not (and yeah maybe I'm out of touch) but I think the pay isn't high enough to justify the impression of biglaw i get from TLS except under limited circumstances (no debt, low COL, etc).


Lol no. Firms that pay lockstep only pay lockstep. Some firms pay more than market bonuses for high billers but it’s never based on firm performance.

I believe some work in performance evals but no big defense firms give extra for firm performance, as far as I know.

I believe some plaintiff forms may though.

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pancakes3

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Re: Why do people even do this?

Postby pancakes3 » Sun Dec 10, 2017 9:50 pm

it's kind of crazy how differently ppl value things itt.

$80 is fine for a family of 4 for some, but 180k+bonus lowballs compensation for a biglaw associate...

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Re: Why do people even do this?

Postby run26.2 » Sun Dec 10, 2017 10:43 pm

landshoes wrote:Hourly billing provides a strong incentive to constantly push hours up, regardless of the prestige or size of the firm in question.

Firms make money by billing more than they pay. The more they bill and the less they pay, the more they make. This is a serious pressure on all firms---midlaw, biglaw, small, whatever---to work associates half to death. Probably the only real thing that they balance against this is the cost of onboarding/training/malpractice.

No doubt doing this is in partners' interests, but the benefit of doing so is offset by the fact that if you run associates into the ground, the quality of work for many of them will go down. So you identify some associates to do grunt work and burn them out, while identifying others whose work product is of sufficiently high quality that you give them choice assignments and try not to burn them out.



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