Working Out and Big Law

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Monochromatic Oeuvre

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Re: Working Out and Big Law

Postby Monochromatic Oeuvre » Mon Nov 05, 2018 8:29 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?


lulz

Because I want to pay my rent and also do fun shit on my nights and weekends.

If you think getting fired for performance in a hot market is an equivalent risk to burning out, or you for some reason think there’s some sort of honor in helping rent-seeking billionaires dodge taxes, swing by my office and pick up some of these markups.

I hope you work in my office. People who think their firm has something more to offer them than a resume line, a base salary and a bonus are my favorite coworkers.

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Re: Working Out and Big Law

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Nov 06, 2018 2:29 am

Monochromatic Oeuvre 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?


lulz

Because I want to pay my rent and also do fun shit on my nights and weekends.

If you think getting fired for performance in a hot market is an equivalent risk to burning out, or you for some reason think there’s some sort of honor in helping rent-seeking billionaires dodge taxes, swing by my office and pick up some of these markups.

I hope you work in my office. People who think their firm has something more to offer them than a resume line, a base salary and a bonus are my favorite coworkers.


A big lol at thinking that working hard and inevitably compromising some semblance of life due to demands of work is equivalent to "helping rent-seeking billionaires dodge taxes." You choose your own path, make your own decisions. You work for yourself, not your firm. Some people value long-term financial stability and sense of achievement over short-term pleasure.

While stating the fact that it's really tough and it's not worth it for most people to be in NYC biglaw for long, I really think it's important to stay positive . If you cannot find anything positive about your job, you should just quit now for yourself. I like some aspects of my job and those things keep me going.

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Re: Working Out and Big Law

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Nov 06, 2018 3:05 am

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?


I actually think these two posts illustrate the two choices/issues pretty well. Despite being one of those associates that struggles to work out often, I definitely see the first poster's point. It's valid for sure. That being said, I've also seen a number of associates take this tactic too far and straight up be fired and not be able to find anything else to save their resume in time.

I think there's absolutely some value to not trying to do your best work all the time but I also think there's two levels of risk. One, and worst, that you'll get fired at a bad time (e.g. any upcoming potential recession, too junior) and, two, that you'll get thrown to the worst partners, worst clients, or worst deals with no one to back you up when you're getting fucked on a 300 hour month and no one to care if you get fired. These risks may not be super high likelihood, depending on how well you play it. But if you play it well, I feel like you'll probably be missing a lot of gym seshes in the process.

I also see a lot of what I consider to be a bit of cognitive dissonance in this thread. It's very hard to not blow deadlines and generally do good work while strategically deciding to ignore what you deem to be made up deadlines or turning down work to make it to the gym. I am always surprised by how many associates blow deadlines or push back on helping make a client imposed deadline and I generally remember each time they do. If you blow off a few, even "imaginary" ones, I will probably think you're not a good associate and let people know that when they're asking for recs to staff a big deal. In the short-term and during a great market, like it is now, it probably doesn't matter too much. In the long run, and especially if the work slows down, it matters. That being said, I'm sure expectations and what constitutes imaginary deadlines varies from firm to firm, practice to practice and market to market so YMMV.

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Monochromatic Oeuvre

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Re: Working Out and Big Law

Postby Monochromatic Oeuvre » Tue Nov 06, 2018 11:27 am

Anonymous User wrote:
A big lol at thinking that working hard and inevitably compromising some semblance of life due to demands of work is equivalent to "helping rent-seeking billionaires dodge taxes." You choose your own path, make your own decisions. You work for yourself, not your firm. Some people value long-term financial stability and sense of achievement over short-term pleasure.


Yep, in this context, they are indeed equivalent. That's what your hard work goes to. And that's part of why any benefits that come out of doing anything more than what it takes to get bonus/remain on the payroll pale in comparison to the lives this job ruins. The kind of person who would have a "sense of achievement" from enriching large corporations is just the kind of person who needs to feel useful at something and picks their job because it's the only thing they have time to be good at.

But hey, after your next 20 pounds, two missed Thanksgivings, four cancelled vacations and seven estranged friends, at least you'll be able to take some solace in your "achievement."

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Re: Working Out and Big Law

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Nov 06, 2018 12:49 pm

This whole thread just demonstrates that there is a spectrum of personality types and work ethics that make it into biglaw and along that spectrum people value different things. There is no use trying to convince the type-A perfectionist that they can give a little less effort and make it to the gym with little to no consequences to their career. There is also no use trying to convince the guy who half-assed his way through college, law school and now biglaw that he should give any more effort than is necessary to keep his job and make bonus.

I fall into the latter camp. I'll never try to bill more than is necessary to get my bonus. I like working out. I like hanging with friends. I like drinking and doing any and all other activities that are not work. I think I'll be fine giving this amount of effort. If I'm not and I get fired? I'll go get a job that thinks this level of effort is impressive. We'll all be fine. What I don't get are the people who fall into camp A or B and constantly complain about the thing they are imposing on themselves. If you're in camp A and you hate your hours? Give less shits and stop complaining. If you're in camp B and hate that you're career may not be going where you want it to go? Give more shits and stop complaining.

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Re: Working Out and Big Law

Postby Lacepiece23 » Tue Nov 06, 2018 1:15 pm

Anonymous User wrote:This whole thread just demonstrates that there is a spectrum of personality types and work ethics that make it into biglaw and along that spectrum people value different things. There is no use trying to convince the type-A perfectionist that they can give a little less effort and make it to the gym with little to no consequences to their career. There is also no use trying to convince the guy who half-assed his way through college, law school and now biglaw that he should give any more effort than is necessary to keep his job and make bonus.

I fall into the latter camp. I'll never try to bill more than is necessary to get my bonus. I like working out. I like hanging with friends. I like drinking and doing any and all other activities that are not work. I think I'll be fine giving this amount of effort. If I'm not and I get fired? I'll go get a job that thinks this level of effort is impressive. We'll all be fine. What I don't get are the people who fall into camp A or B and constantly complain about the thing they are imposing on themselves. If you're in camp A and you hate your hours? Give less shits and stop complaining. If you're in camp B and hate that you're career may not be going where you want it to go? Give more shits and stop complaining.


I love this post. Great job, seriously.

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Re: Working Out and Big Law

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Nov 07, 2018 12:07 pm

Anonymous User wrote:This whole thread just demonstrates that there is a spectrum of personality types and work ethics that make it into biglaw and along that spectrum people value different things. There is no use trying to convince the type-A perfectionist that they can give a little less effort and make it to the gym with little to no consequences to their career. There is also no use trying to convince the guy who half-assed his way through college, law school and now biglaw that he should give any more effort than is necessary to keep his job and make bonus.

I fall into the latter camp. I'll never try to bill more than is necessary to get my bonus. I like working out. I like hanging with friends. I like drinking and doing any and all other activities that are not work. I think I'll be fine giving this amount of effort. If I'm not and I get fired? I'll go get a job that thinks this level of effort is impressive. We'll all be fine. What I don't get are the people who fall into camp A or B and constantly complain about the thing they are imposing on themselves. If you're in camp A and you hate your hours? Give less shits and stop complaining. If you're in camp B and hate that you're career may not be going where you want it to go? Give more shits and stop complaining.


Can you give some practical tips on how to get by and still keep the job? What was your experience like as a junior associate? I'll be a second year in January and don't see big law in the long-term future for me but am trying to hang on until I can find a good in-house opportunity for me.

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Re: Working Out and Big Law

Postby nerd1 » Wed Nov 07, 2018 2:49 pm

Anonymous User wrote:This whole thread just demonstrates that there is a spectrum of personality types and work ethics that make it into biglaw and along that spectrum people value different things. There is no use trying to convince the type-A perfectionist that they can give a little less effort and make it to the gym with little to no consequences to their career. There is also no use trying to convince the guy who half-assed his way through college, law school and now biglaw that he should give any more effort than is necessary to keep his job and make bonus.

I fall into the latter camp. I'll never try to bill more than is necessary to get my bonus. I like working out. I like hanging with friends. I like drinking and doing any and all other activities that are not work. I think I'll be fine giving this amount of effort. If I'm not and I get fired? I'll go get a job that thinks this level of effort is impressive. We'll all be fine. What I don't get are the people who fall into camp A or B and constantly complain about the thing they are imposing on themselves. If you're in camp A and you hate your hours? Give less shits and stop complaining. If you're in camp B and hate that you're career may not be going where you want it to go? Give more shits and stop complaining.


You must be not doing NYC biglaw M&A then. You just cannot be the camp B type in some months during a year and retain your job in this practice area. I do know from my own experience that people in other practice areas and other markets have much more reasonable hours and demands. People do get fired even as juniors, even as first or second years, or get shitty reviews. If it's a choice of a month or two of little sleep vs no job, I would happily take the former. Admittedly, if the grueling months last more than what I can take, I will just talk to some people at the firm about it or get out. When it gets serious (like the poster above with some real injury), you should talk to some people about it or just get out asap. But if it's not and it's really temporary, try to grind it out. Most people including myself plan to go in-house or move to a secondary market in some years anyway. Complaining and stating facts are different. "I hate my job. It sucks so much" is different from "I cannot go to the gym in some months because of my job and this job is unhealthy."

When you get asked to do some time-consuming work at random times and you must finish that asap, literally asap, when that happens constantly with no stop for a month or two, and when you can only get three or four hours of sleep a day and all your deal team colleagues are all in the same boat, please tell me you can still go to the gym regularly and achieve your fitness goals. This is especially true if you have other things going on in your life such as dating. This is not complaining. Just showing an accurate picture.

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Re: Working Out and Big Law

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Nov 07, 2018 4:51 pm

nerd1 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:This whole thread just demonstrates that there is a spectrum of personality types and work ethics that make it into biglaw and along that spectrum people value different things. There is no use trying to convince the type-A perfectionist that they can give a little less effort and make it to the gym with little to no consequences to their career. There is also no use trying to convince the guy who half-assed his way through college, law school and now biglaw that he should give any more effort than is necessary to keep his job and make bonus.

I fall into the latter camp. I'll never try to bill more than is necessary to get my bonus. I like working out. I like hanging with friends. I like drinking and doing any and all other activities that are not work. I think I'll be fine giving this amount of effort. If I'm not and I get fired? I'll go get a job that thinks this level of effort is impressive. We'll all be fine. What I don't get are the people who fall into camp A or B and constantly complain about the thing they are imposing on themselves. If you're in camp A and you hate your hours? Give less shits and stop complaining. If you're in camp B and hate that you're career may not be going where you want it to go? Give more shits and stop complaining.


You must be not doing NYC biglaw M&A then. You just cannot be the camp B type in some months during a year and retain your job in this practice area. I do know from my own experience that people in other practice areas and other markets have much more reasonable hours and demands. People do get fired even as juniors, even as first or second years, or get shitty reviews. If it's a choice of a month or two of little sleep vs no job, I would happily take the former. Admittedly, if the grueling months last more than what I can take, I will just talk to some people at the firm about it or get out. When it gets serious (like the poster above with some real injury), you should talk to some people about it or just get out asap. But if it's not and it's really temporary, try to grind it out. Most people including myself plan to go in-house or move to a secondary market in some years anyway. Complaining and stating facts are different. "I hate my job. It sucks so much" is different from "I cannot go to the gym in some months because of my job and this job is unhealthy."

When you get asked to do some time-consuming work at random times and you must finish that asap, literally asap, when that happens constantly with no stop for a month or two, and when you can only get three or four hours of sleep a day and all your deal team colleagues are all in the same boat, please tell me you can still go to the gym regularly and achieve your fitness goals. This is especially true if you have other things going on in your life such as dating. This is not complaining. Just showing an accurate picture.


Quoted anon. I do work in NYC biglaw in M&A. Not at a V10 but in the V75 or whatever arbitrary prestige bracket you want to think about.

There are absolutely months like what you describe. They suck. You can't go to the gym unless you're up at 5. You sure as hell can't meet up with friends for drinks. But I don't get how that changes anything about my post. I do whatever I can to limit those months, while still racking up enough of them to hit my bonus. Maybe you don't have that kind of control over your staffing at your firm. That sucks. It sounds like you'd like to exercise more, or date more. Maybe you should change firms. Or get out of biglaw now. If I was at a firm where those types of months stretched to full years, I would have been out already. It's not worth the pay or the nebulous idea of "exit options" to me.

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Re: Working Out and Big Law

Postby hlsperson1111 » Wed Nov 07, 2018 7:40 pm

I'm a litigator on the west coast and not a transactional lawyer in NYC, but my take is that it gets easier as you get more senior. The overall hours don't change much year to year, but people trust you more, you have more control over your schedule and what you get staffed on, and you have value to add in ways other than being immediately responsive all the time. That's not to say you can reliably go to the gym every day when you're busy (I am great about going to the gym when I am billing up to 190-200 a month, not so great above that), but it's easier to carve out time when you have a better sense of what is urgent and what is not, where you can take shortcuts and where you cannot, etc.

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Re: Working Out and Big Law

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Nov 07, 2018 8:36 pm

Not big law but midlaw - I've actually lost weight from my past year working. I picked up boxing and do it 3x a week at 6:30 am, with enough time for me to get into work by 9 am. I've actually been in the best shape I have ever been. If you get an intense class/group to join, it easier to remain motivated and have intense workouts during the limited time you have.

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Re: Working Out and Big Law

Postby timmyd » Wed Nov 07, 2018 11:03 pm

I’m not in biglaw by any stretch, but I still have an 1850-2000 billable requirement. I’ve probably sacrificed more work time for working out than I should, but if always seems to work out ok. I think lit is easier bc there are more definite deadlines and people at my office, at least associates, usually arnt working past 7. I know that’s not the work a lot of y’all live in, so I offer a workout theory or mentality that, when done four times a week for 30-45 minutes four times a week should foster both strength and cardiovascular improvement: supersets. The idea is to pair opposing muscle groups, like chest and back for example. For example, 4 sets of 10 on bench supersetted immediately with 4 sets of ten pull-ups. Then incline and deadlift and so forth, resting one minute in between each superset. You’ll be fried after 30 minutes and usually finished with your workout in that time as well. Add some cardio at the end (like a brisk mile) if you have the energy. This has worked for me in the tough times. And I sleep much better. I honestly feel for people that can’t even maintain their physical well being in this profession. But, I also think that most people actually can if they really want to, NYC M&A aside apparently. Be well.



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