Working Out and Big Law

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Re: Working Out and Big Law

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Nov 02, 2018 2:27 pm

I am a junior M&A associate in NYC biglaw. I used to lift weights very regularly before I started working.

In conclusion, you simply cannot get bigger than how you used to look before you started working. It is only possible to maintain your fitness level by making the most out of your quiet periods in between big deals. Maintenance is also very tough however.

When you are staffed on a big M&A deal, you have absolutely no time to go to the gym for some weeks. Even when you do have some time, because you are super sleep-deprived, you simply cannot lift and if you do lift, you are likely to injure yourself. Muscle growth is a function of how much you lift, eat and sleep. All three with roughly equal importance. No matter how much you lift in that one quiet day, if you cannot get enough sleep during that week, you will not grow and you will just feel terribly exhausted for the next few days. So no gym during those weeks.

When you are not staffed on a big M&A deal, you can train very hard and you can potentially get back to the fitness level you were at before your big deal. But you have no control over how long this quiet period will be. It can be as short as a week or as long as a month.

On the whole, this work is very unhealthy and you inevitably compromise your health and looks.

toast and bananas

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Re: Working Out and Big Law

Postby toast and bananas » Fri Nov 02, 2018 2:41 pm

Anonymous User wrote:On the whole, this work is very unhealthy and you inevitably compromise your health and looks.


What's the point of cultivating all this mass (of cash) if I can't just pay to delegate my working out to someone else?

nerd1

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Re: Working Out and Big Law

Postby nerd1 » Fri Nov 02, 2018 2:47 pm

toast and bananas wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:On the whole, this work is very unhealthy and you inevitably compromise your health and looks.


What's the point of cultivating all this mass (of cash) if I can't just pay to delegate my working out to someone else?


Haha, you don't even really accumulate much money at least for the first few years of your career, taking into account how much you paid for law school. The bright side is you never have to worry about rent, food and vacation travel costs. Also, importantly, f you survive some years successfully, you can go in-house and live happily.
Last edited by QContinuum on Fri Nov 02, 2018 4:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Outed for anon abuse.

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Re: Working Out and Big Law

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Nov 02, 2018 2:54 pm

I'd say it depends on how much working out is already part of your life. I've worked out 6-7 days a week since middle school, so it's always just been part of my daily routine. I've kept up with that routine for most of my two years in biglaw, including last month where I billed almost 300 hours. I just prioritized that over sleep, i.e., 3 hours for a night instead of 4. Perhaps I'm the crazy one here but it's been doable for me.

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Re: Working Out and Big Law

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Nov 02, 2018 4:18 pm

3rd year corporate associate here. In the four month stretch of May to August of this year I billed almost 1000 hours (that's including a 10-day vacation). I did not work out at all, got diagnosed with Vitamin D deficiency due to lack of sun exposure, developed severe allergies due to never being outside, and generally felt like my physical well-being took a nosedive. I will collect a $55,000 bonus on January 15 and immediately look to GTFO. I' would gladly take a 50% pay cut for something that will not kill me early.

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Re: Working Out and Big Law

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Nov 02, 2018 6:06 pm

I’ve gained 15 pounds since starting in my M&A PE group in a non NY market. I don’t have a gym in my building so actually getting to the gym is rare. I also eat like crap when working late.

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Re: Working Out and Big Law

Postby objctnyrhnr » Fri Nov 02, 2018 7:20 pm

For me, the difference is that lack of downtime. You don’t watch shows, you sacrifice social stuff on weeknights, you compromise some of your hobbies, but I am able to work out for like an hour a day.

I am not a morning person so one big move of mine is to eat a huge breakfast then eat lunch very late—day two or 230. Workout at like 930 or do then eat a light dinner late and after that then go to sleep. I don’t snack (just don’t like to), so it’s key for me to get that workout in before the final meal of the day.

It really comes down to how bad you want it.

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Re: Working Out and Big Law

Postby oblig.lawl.ref » Sat Nov 03, 2018 12:49 am

Totally agree with the three posts above me. I used to work out super regular, love to work out (still) and am very hard-working and motivated to workout. But it's hard. I had been pretty good about getting in the gym for my first 2+ years in biglaw. I missed a few weeks a few times a year or so when things got bad. The last year or two has gotten much worse, not for a lack of me trying to push back on work. I now more or less work out for a few weeks at a time a handful of times a year. Maybe a few extra times on the edges.

That being said I like 7 hours of sleep a night and a few hours off work a week. I mean that entirely literally.

So that eats into my gym time for sure.

Hutz_and_Goodman

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Re: Working Out and Big Law

Postby Hutz_and_Goodman » Sat Nov 03, 2018 10:47 am

Before kids, I was running every morning before work (Big law NYC). Now with two kids I run once or twice a week. I don’t think it’s a problem to maintain an exercise routine and in my experience it’s important for stress management/sense of well being.

PartiallyLearnedHand

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Re: Working Out and Big Law

Postby PartiallyLearnedHand » Sat Nov 03, 2018 12:51 pm

Well this is an incredibly depressing thread.

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Re: Working Out and Big Law

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Nov 03, 2018 10:40 pm

I’m a midlevel corporate associate, and my doctor told me she’s going to put me on high blood pressure meds if I don’t get a new job by x number of months. This would be helped if I had time to work out, but I prioritize having some sort of social life for mental health over working out and sleep sometimes. I try to go on short runs from the office during down times in the afternoons (I bring my phone and check it periodically). It’s also difficult with lack of sleep to keep up with other sports/hobbies because being sleep deprived and not doing them as much makes you more susceptible to injuries - which then also hurts which activities you can do and sidelines you for longer. But I do think if you prioritize it it’s doable.

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Re: Working Out and Big Law

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Nov 04, 2018 12:23 pm

this thread make me feel so much better about not getting biglaw.

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Re: Working Out and Big Law

Postby Betharl » Sun Nov 04, 2018 12:27 pm

I've seen a lot of talk about priorities ITT, usually sleep vs. working out, but I think you guys are missing the most obvious solution: prioritize non-work/outside activities over work. Simply turn work down, or be willing to do a worse job (e.g., instead of spinning your wheels trying to figure something out, just say screw it, do it half-assed, and kick it up to the mid-level/senior who was just going to have to tear it up anyway). Tell people you are going to have trouble hitting deadlines, push back on deadlines, etc.

Sure, you'll be an average or below average associate, but so what? Many of you are only trying to make if a few years anyway, and in the meantime, you'll enjoy your life a lot more. Obviously, your ability to do this will depend a certain amount on your firm and practice group, but I've done a few years in M&A at a large firm, and in my experience, the folks who work the most bring it on themselves in EVERY case. These are the people who have to consistently turn in the best work product (not just substantively, but making sure formatting, presentation etc.is perfect, even for internal deliverables), who, when they are given a false deadline on Friday afternoon of "by early next week", hear "no later than Monday at 9:00 AM", etc. Usually, they are also some of the best associates (and they don't appear to be frequent gym-goers). What baffles me though, is when these people complain about their hours, or worse, they leave for in-house jobs after 3 years--why would you go so hard if that was the plan?

So, long-story short, yeah, it's a matter of priorities. Be intelligent when you choose yours, understand when it's in your interest to work hard and when it's not, work smart, etc.

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Re: Working Out and Big Law

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Nov 04, 2018 3:30 pm

Betharl wrote:I've seen a lot of talk about priorities ITT, usually sleep vs. working out, but I think you guys are missing the most obvious solution: prioritize non-work/outside activities over work. Simply turn work down, or be willing to do a worse job (e.g., instead of spinning your wheels trying to figure something out, just say screw it, do it half-assed, and kick it up to the mid-level/senior who was just going to have to tear it up anyway). Tell people you are going to have trouble hitting deadlines, push back on deadlines, etc.

Sure, you'll be an average or below average associate, but so what? Many of you are only trying to make if a few years anyway, and in the meantime, you'll enjoy your life a lot more. Obviously, your ability to do this will depend a certain amount on your firm and practice group, but I've done a few years in M&A at a large firm, and in my experience, the folks who work the most bring it on themselves in EVERY case. These are the people who have to consistently turn in the best work product (not just substantively, but making sure formatting, presentation etc.is perfect, even for internal deliverables), who, when they are given a false deadline on Friday afternoon of "by early next week", hear "no later than Monday at 9:00 AM", etc. Usually, they are also some of the best associates (and they don't appear to be frequent gym-goers). What baffles me though, is when these people complain about their hours, or worse, they leave for in-house jobs after 3 years--why would you go so hard if that was the plan?

So, long-story short, yeah, it's a matter of priorities. Be intelligent when you choose yours, understand when it's in your interest to work hard and when it's not, work smart, etc.


It depends on your market, firm and practice area. In some markets, some firms and practice areas, it's literally a choice of health vs job. I think getting out of biglaw after some years of hard, admittedly very unhealthy, work is a lot better than getting pushed out prematurely with a mediocre or poor reputation in the market. If you are going to do it at all, why not try your best and give it all?

Mods, this is an anonymous thread and I have been posting appropriately. There is a good reason why some people choose to post anonymously. Please respect that choice. Thank you very much.

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Re: Working Out and Big Law

Postby worklifewhat » Sun Nov 04, 2018 3:46 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Betharl wrote:I've seen a lot of talk about priorities ITT, usually sleep vs. working out, but I think you guys are missing the most obvious solution: prioritize non-work/outside activities over work. Simply turn work down, or be willing to do a worse job (e.g., instead of spinning your wheels trying to figure something out, just say screw it, do it half-assed, and kick it up to the mid-level/senior who was just going to have to tear it up anyway). Tell people you are going to have trouble hitting deadlines, push back on deadlines, etc.

Sure, you'll be an average or below average associate, but so what? Many of you are only trying to make if a few years anyway, and in the meantime, you'll enjoy your life a lot more. Obviously, your ability to do this will depend a certain amount on your firm and practice group, but I've done a few years in M&A at a large firm, and in my experience, the folks who work the most bring it on themselves in EVERY case. These are the people who have to consistently turn in the best work product (not just substantively, but making sure formatting, presentation etc.is perfect, even for internal deliverables), who, when they are given a false deadline on Friday afternoon of "by early next week", hear "no later than Monday at 9:00 AM", etc. Usually, they are also some of the best associates (and they don't appear to be frequent gym-goers). What baffles me though, is when these people complain about their hours, or worse, they leave for in-house jobs after 3 years--why would you go so hard if that was the plan?

So, long-story short, yeah, it's a matter of priorities. Be intelligent when you choose yours, understand when it's in your interest to work hard and when it's not, work smart, etc.


It depends on your market, firm and practice area. In some markets, some firms and practice areas, it's literally a choice of health vs job. I think getting out of biglaw after some years of hard, admittedly very unhealthy, work is a lot better than getting pushed out prematurely with a mediocre or poor reputation in the market. If you are going to do it at all, why not try your best and give it all?

Mods, this is an anonymous thread and I have been posting appropriately. There is a good reason why some people choose to post anonymously. Please respect that choice. Thank you very much.


Why not give it your all? Because giving it your all costs you your health, sanity, and/or happiness...because a few years sounds like few but can feel like an eternity.

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Re: Working Out and Big Law

Postby icansortofmath » Sun Nov 04, 2018 6:23 pm

I think about a quarter of the morning regs at my gym are lawyers. A lot of law school gear and some of them bring their suits to the gym.

QContinuum

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Re: Working Out and Big Law

Postby QContinuum » Sun Nov 04, 2018 6:33 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I think getting out of biglaw after some years of hard, admittedly very unhealthy, work is a lot better than getting pushed out prematurely with a mediocre or poor reputation in the market. If you are going to do it at all, why not try your best and give it all?

+1. There have been multiple stories on these fora of juniors being let go before finishing their first/second year. It's idiotic, in my view, to risk that outcome after investing so much time and money getting a J.D.

Of course, no one should put their life on the line. Someone who's contemplated self-harm or whose doctor has warned them to find a new job should absolutely take that extremely seriously, and consider either resigning or (at least) taking a medical leave. But someone who merely finds BigLaw unpleasant and stressful? I don't think that's a good excuse to phone it in as suggested previously ITT. Consider BigLaw the legal equivalent of a medical residency: an intense, even brutal training period that's required for new grads to make it to the next step. Compared to residencies, the average BigLaw gig positively resembles a sinecure.

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Re: Working Out and Big Law

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Nov 04, 2018 6:35 pm

I think a lot of this depends on the market you are in. I fortunately work in a secondary market where people seem to have more non-work time (Miami). I have been able to bike every morning for an hour or so except for a few days when a deal was closing.

Even at roughly 250 billable hours, most of my work is pretty spread out throughout the day so I am still able to have 6 hours of sleep, 1-2 hours of exercise, and social/indulging time.

Obviously many of the people on here are NY Biglaw associates where 300+ hours or getting slammed with work at 6 pm are not rare, but there are cities/firm/practices where you are able to have a life outside of work.

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Re: Working Out and Big Law

Postby mmac » Sun Nov 04, 2018 6:37 pm

I used to beat traffic by commuting early and working out at a gym near the office. Now I do Peloton (at home cycling classes).

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Elston Gunn

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Re: Working Out and Big Law

Postby Elston Gunn » Sun Nov 04, 2018 6:51 pm

QContinuum wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I think getting out of biglaw after some years of hard, admittedly very unhealthy, work is a lot better than getting pushed out prematurely with a mediocre or poor reputation in the market. If you are going to do it at all, why not try your best and give it all?

+1. There have been multiple stories on these fora of juniors being let go before finishing their first/second year. It's idiotic, in my view, to risk that outcome after investing so much time and money getting a J.D.

Of course, no one should put their life on the line. Someone who's contemplated self-harm or whose doctor has warned them to find a new job should absolutely take that extremely seriously, and consider either resigning or (at least) taking a medical leave. But someone who merely finds BigLaw unpleasant and stressful? I don't think that's a good excuse to phone it in as suggested previously ITT. Consider BigLaw the legal equivalent of a medical residency: an intense, even brutal training period that's required for new grads to make it to the next step. Compared to residencies, the average BigLaw gig positively resembles a sinecure.

I think there’s a difference between phoning it in and protecting your personal life and mental and physical health to some extent. I don’t think you can do that in your first year, really, but depending on the people you work with and the type of work you do, it’s possible without tanking your reputation. If you do good work and never blow deadlines without adequate communication (where the partner/senior agrees to the moved deadline) you don’t need to be glued to your phone and accept every fake deadline in the first instance etc to have a good reputation. Or at least you don’t need to at some firms in some groups. It may be that this wouldn’t fly in a lot of corporate groups.

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Re: Working Out and Big Law

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Nov 04, 2018 6:52 pm

*7th year transactional associate at a secondary city office of a v50 firm.

I agree with posters who have made the point that keeping up a reasonable exercise routine is possible in biglaw if you make it a priority. Personally, I try to work-out every day around lunch/early afternoon. When I am mapping out my day in the morning I try to set a goal for when I want to exercise, considering any scheduled calls and lunch plans. Then, to the extent I am able to dictate when impromptu calls occur, I schedule around when I plan to be exercising. We have a gym + showers in the building and I generally aim for about 1:15 away from my desk, which translates into about 45-50 minutes of exercise time after accounting for time to shower and cool-down/stretch at the end. It helps that I am not a super intense exerciser, I just like to make sure I work up a sweat everyday. A lot of people in my office work-out around lunch and our wellness program is really encouraged, so it isn't an issue at all to step away like this during the day. I use my phone for music, so I have it on me and can monitor emails or make a call in case of an emergency.

I think it is insane that posters are saying they sacrifice health in major ways for work. I would tell any associate I work with who told me that to speak to a senior partner about that ASAP and I would cut back on/spread around their assignments open with me. We are not doing life or death type work (literally) and it shouldn't be treated like that. Obviously things can get busy and some weeks/days can be long in this business but really crazy hours should be the exception, not the norm.

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Re: Working Out and Big Law

Postby QContinuum » Sun Nov 04, 2018 7:05 pm

Elston Gunn wrote:I think there’s a difference between phoning it in and protecting your personal life and mental and physical health to some extent. I don’t think you can do that in your first year, really, but depending on the people you work with and the type of work you do, it’s possible without tanking your reputation. If you do good work and never blow deadlines without adequate communication (where the partner/senior agrees to the moved deadline) you don’t need to be glued to your phone and accept every fake deadline in the first instance etc to have a good reputation. Or at least you don’t need to at some firms in some groups. It may be that this wouldn’t fly in a lot of corporate groups.

+1. I think it's reasonable and entirely possible to manage workload to some (albeit limited) extent. My comment was mostly directed to this previous comment:
Betharl wrote:I've seen a lot of talk about priorities ITT, usually sleep vs. working out, but I think you guys are missing the most obvious solution: prioritize non-work/outside activities over work. Simply turn work down, or be willing to do a worse job (e.g., instead of spinning your wheels trying to figure something out, just say screw it, do it half-assed, and kick it up to the mid-level/senior who was just going to have to tear it up anyway).

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Re: Working Out and Big Law

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Nov 04, 2018 7:09 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I think a lot of this depends on the market you are in. I fortunately work in a secondary market where people seem to have more non-work time (Miami). I have been able to bike every morning for an hour or so except for a few days when a deal was closing.

Even at roughly 250 billable hours, most of my work is pretty spread out throughout the day so I am still able to have 6 hours of sleep, 1-2 hours of exercise, and social/indulging time.

Obviously many of the people on here are NY Biglaw associates where 300+ hours or getting slammed with work at 6 pm are not rare, but there are cities/firm/practices where you are able to have a life outside of work.


I have committed to Miami biglaw (therefore posting anonymously), but am unclear whether the balance you describe varies based on New York satellite (paying more) or Florida based firm.

Do you have any insight there?

mmac

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Re: Working Out and Big Law

Postby mmac » Sun Nov 04, 2018 8:48 pm

Anonymous User wrote:*7th year transactional associate at a secondary city office of a v50 firm.

I agree with posters who have made the point that keeping up a reasonable exercise routine is possible in biglaw if you make it a priority. Personally, I try to work-out every day around lunch/early afternoon. When I am mapping out my day in the morning I try to set a goal for when I want to exercise, considering any scheduled calls and lunch plans. Then, to the extent I am able to dictate when impromptu calls occur, I schedule around when I plan to be exercising. We have a gym + showers in the building and I generally aim for about 1:15 away from my desk, which translates into about 45-50 minutes of exercise time after accounting for time to shower and cool-down/stretch at the end. It helps that I am not a super intense exerciser, I just like to make sure I work up a sweat everyday. A lot of people in my office work-out around lunch and our wellness program is really encouraged, so it isn't an issue at all to step away like this during the day. I use my phone for music, so I have it on me and can monitor emails or make a call in case of an emergency.

I think it is insane that posters are saying they sacrifice health in major ways for work. I would tell any associate I work with who told me that to speak to a senior partner about that ASAP and I would cut back on/spread around their assignments open with me. We are not doing life or death type work (literally) and it shouldn't be treated like that. Obviously things can get busy and some weeks/days can be long in this business but really crazy hours should be the exception, not the norm.


It's important for your brain/thinking to workout; you're not doing yourself, your firm, or your clients any favors skipping workouts.

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Re: Working Out and Big Law

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Nov 04, 2018 9:29 pm

QContinuum wrote:
Elston Gunn wrote:I think there’s a difference between phoning it in and protecting your personal life and mental and physical health to some extent. I don’t think you can do that in your first year, really, but depending on the people you work with and the type of work you do, it’s possible without tanking your reputation. If you do good work and never blow deadlines without adequate communication (where the partner/senior agrees to the moved deadline) you don’t need to be glued to your phone and accept every fake deadline in the first instance etc to have a good reputation. Or at least you don’t need to at some firms in some groups. It may be that this wouldn’t fly in a lot of corporate groups.

+1. I think it's reasonable and entirely possible to manage workload to some (albeit limited) extent. My comment was mostly directed to this previous comment:
Betharl wrote:I've seen a lot of talk about priorities ITT, usually sleep vs. working out, but I think you guys are missing the most obvious solution: prioritize non-work/outside activities over work. Simply turn work down, or be willing to do a worse job (e.g., instead of spinning your wheels trying to figure something out, just say screw it, do it half-assed, and kick it up to the mid-level/senior who was just going to have to tear it up anyway).


I did not mean to imply people should "phone it in" per se (well, not in general, I do think you can/should pick your spots if you are being overworked, but yeah, probably not in your first year). I was responding to what I see as a real problem with a lot of the folks who make it to biglaw. There are a lot of super type A perfectionists (for lack of a better description), who will work themselves to death for no other reason than a pat on the back or to feel like they are doing a good job. My larger point is to understand that in all things, it's not just about working hard, but making good choices and working smart, and to tailor your efforts to your goals. Don't be the person who bills 2400+ hours a year for four years and then exits to the same in-house job as the person from the same firm/group who limps in at 2,000 hours a year. There are a lot of those types in biglaw. Some of them may be posting in this thread about how they never have time to workout.



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