Biglaw lawyer taking questions

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3rdYrLitigator
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Biglaw lawyer taking questions

Postby 3rdYrLitigator » Sat Aug 15, 2009 10:32 am

Since this looks like the new place for something like this, I'll re-post here. 3rd year litigator, working on a Saturday morning, taking questions. Any firm life specific questions can be posted in this thread and I'll check in every now and then.

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AlanShore
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Re: Biglaw lawyer taking questions

Postby AlanShore » Sat Aug 15, 2009 10:34 am

on average, how many hours do you work a week? do you work most weekends? are the hours as bad as everyone says?

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tarheelz
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Re: Biglaw lawyer taking questions

Postby tarheelz » Sat Aug 15, 2009 10:39 am

What about Biglaw in the future? Do you expect job opportunities to rebound as the economy does as well? Or will there be major, permanent cutbacks?

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pleasetryagain
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Re: Biglaw lawyer taking questions

Postby pleasetryagain » Sat Aug 15, 2009 10:40 am

do you find being a lawyer helps or hurts you in getting laid? (pre any relationships of course).

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Re: Biglaw lawyer taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Aug 15, 2009 11:01 am

which market? how big a firm?

3rdYrLitigator
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Re: Biglaw lawyer taking questions

Postby 3rdYrLitigator » Sat Aug 15, 2009 11:06 am

AlanShore wrote:on average, how many hours do you work a week? do you work most weekends? are the hours as bad as everyone says?


On average, I'm probably in the office 50-55 hours a week, I'll often do work from home at night. I've worked at least part of the weekend for the past 2 months. The hours can be brutal, but on average are not that bad.

What about Biglaw in the future? Do you expect job opportunities to rebound as the economy does as well? Or will there be major, permanent cutbacks?


I expect some of a rebound, but a small one. I think the whole industry will be smaller for a long time.

do you find being a lawyer helps or hurts you in getting laid? (pre any relationships of course).


I don't really have any basis for comparison, I was dating someone through law school, who I am now married to.

which market? how big a firm?


I won't answer this beyond what I said in the other thread. Major market, big firm with a national presence.

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pleasetryagain
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Re: Biglaw lawyer taking questions

Postby pleasetryagain » Sat Aug 15, 2009 12:16 pm

what are you working on that requires you to work on Saturday? What usually causes you to have to come in/work on weekends?

do you HAVE to be in the office for a certain amount of hours or do you have the flexibility of working from home when you want?

have you managed to accumulate any savings after taxes, COL, and debt payments?

3rdYrLitigator
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Re: Biglaw lawyer taking questions

Postby 3rdYrLitigator » Sat Aug 15, 2009 1:26 pm

DCD wrote:what are you working on that requires you to work on Saturday? What usually causes you to have to come in/work on weekends?

do you HAVE to be in the office for a certain amount of hours or do you have the flexibility of working from home when you want?

have you managed to accumulate any savings after taxes, COL, and debt payments?


I got a research assignment Friday at 6:30 due on Monday. In this case, it's just a matter of timing, in other cases it's just that there isn't enough time during the week. If you have a one week deadline and the work takes 90 hours to complete, there's just no way to not work on the weekend.

There is some flexibility to work from home, but not on a regular basis. My partners call my office all the time, and expect me to be there to answer questions. I haven't pushed working from home very much, but it seems like not many people do. I do know a couple of people who work from home more than average, and I think it's clear that the partners don't like it.

Sure, I've accumulated a good deal of savings, but I didn't have much debt coming out of school. I had scholarships and work money to help defray the costs of all of my education thus far, so I still have all my federal loans but nothing private left, and good bit saved otherwise.

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natalie123
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Re: Biglaw lawyer taking questions

Postby natalie123 » Sat Aug 15, 2009 1:30 pm

tag... i'm just listening in. thanks for being here. :D

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puppleberry finn
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Re: Biglaw lawyer taking questions

Postby puppleberry finn » Sat Aug 15, 2009 1:33 pm

How do you like the work you are doing? Do you plan to stay in Biglaw forever?

RhubarbPie
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Re: Biglaw lawyer taking questions

Postby RhubarbPie » Sat Aug 15, 2009 1:43 pm

What was your starting salary? What is it now?

heyguys
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Re: Biglaw lawyer taking questions

Postby heyguys » Sat Aug 15, 2009 1:55 pm

Thanks for taking questions again. I hope this isn't an overbroad question, but I was hoping that you might discuss where biglaw fits into a larger career path. Specifically, when you look at your past classmates and coworkers, how do they seem to see biglaw fitting into their career's progression? What sort of outlets do they find when they decide/come to find that partnership isn't in their future at a firm? Surely they can't all just go in house or stay on as senior associates, so what do they actually end up doing, and how does biglaw fit into that? What about for yourself--how do you see biglaw fitting into your future? How should someone on the outside looking in view biglaw when deciding where it will fit in their proposed career path?

Thanks a lot!

amped
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Re: Biglaw lawyer taking questions

Postby amped » Sat Aug 15, 2009 2:05 pm

How much pull/influence do you have on hiring? I.e., if you forward a good friend's resume to the recruiting committee, how much does it help?

3rdYrLitigator
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Re: Biglaw lawyer taking questions

Postby 3rdYrLitigator » Sat Aug 15, 2009 2:07 pm

puppins wrote:How do you like the work you are doing? Do you plan to stay in Biglaw forever?


Aside from the hours, I like the work very much. For the most part, it's interesting and challenging. There are certainly very tedious parts of the job, especially in the first year or so, when you're doing the work that no one else wants to do. Things change as you get more experience and I really think the work I'm doing now is pretty engaging. I don't know about forever, I don't think I see myself shooting for partner, but it least middle-term I think I'll stick around as long as I have a job.

What was your starting salary? What is it now?


I started at 160K and I make more than that now, I'd rather not say exactly but most Biglaw firms are pretty standard in the first few years, I believe there are charts that you can view to determine what the average Biglaw associate makes, and I'd say my firm is pretty average. I'll say that the bonuses have been fairly average compared to peer firms, but this year may be significantly lower.

Thanks for taking questions again. I hope this isn't an overbroad question, but I was hoping that you might discuss where biglaw fits into a larger career path. Specifically, when you look at your past classmates and coworkers, how do they seem to see biglaw fitting into their career's progression? What sort of outlets do they find when they decide/come to find that partnership isn't in their future at a firm? Surely they can't all just go in house or stay on as senior associates, so what do they actually end up doing, and how does biglaw fit into that? What about for yourself--how do you see biglaw fitting into your future? How should someone on the outside looking in view biglaw when deciding where it will fit in their proposed career path?

Thanks a lot!


For some it's just a temporary stop to pay off loans. I'd say for the classmates/co-workers that had been in biglaw, most are currently in middle to small law firms. I don't think many have gone in-house yet, since we're still fairly junior for that (I can only think of 2 classmates that are in-house right now). At the later years, I see people heading into government, smaller firms, in-house, or dropping out of the workplace completely.

For me, it's been a great way to gain experience. I'm not sure where it will take me after this, but I'm not really feeling any pressure to leave. I keep in the back of my mind the thought of going in-house or government after this, but it's not like I have those as the definitive goal and biglaw as my stepping stone. However, some people do come in with those goals and biglaw can certainly help you in those regards. Many of the partners have extensive contacts in industry and government and have helped associates transition to those places. I think biglaw can be a great place to start your career even if you don't envision it being a long term plan. It can also be soul-crushing and it's very very difficult to figure out which firm will end up being a great experience, and which one will leave you a complete husk after two years.

3rdYrLitigator
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Re: Biglaw lawyer taking questions

Postby 3rdYrLitigator » Sat Aug 15, 2009 2:09 pm

amped wrote:How much pull/influence do you have on hiring? I.e., if you forward a good friend's resume to the recruiting committee, how much does it help?


Well I'll say this, it will certainly be looked at much more closely than a resume coming in randomly. I'd say it's a definite boost, but these days it's still very tough to get hired.

lsb
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Re: Biglaw lawyer taking questions

Postby lsb » Sat Aug 15, 2009 2:16 pm

Did your friends/coworkers leave larger firms to pursue smaller firms because of the hours? I always thought that at small to midsize firms you work the same hours but get paid less.

heyguys
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Re: Biglaw lawyer taking questions

Postby heyguys » Sat Aug 15, 2009 2:48 pm

Also, can you talk a little about how you balance married life and biglaw? And how you balance life in general and biglaw--surely you have hobbies--how do these fit into your weeks, or is there no real room for them at all?

3rdYrLitigator
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Re: Biglaw lawyer taking questions

Postby 3rdYrLitigator » Sat Aug 15, 2009 2:53 pm

lsb wrote:Did your friends/coworkers leave larger firms to pursue smaller firms because of the hours? I always thought that at small to midsize firms you work the same hours but get paid less.


I tend to agree that midsize firms don't really offer much of an improvement, but I think that's mostly why people leave. I think when you're in the middle of it, you think anything else must be better.

Also, can you talk a little about how you balance married life and biglaw? And how you balance life in general and biglaw--surely you have hobbies--how do these fit into your weeks, or is there no real room for them at all?


It can certainly be tough. My wife is very understanding, and also very busy herself. We're both pretty easy going so we don't get upset when the other is too busy, and we just enjoy the time we do get. When I know things are busy, I just don't make plans. It's not like we can schedule things a week in advance. Sometimes hobbies fall by the wayside for a while. There's certainly time for hobbies, but for stretches of a month or two you may have to put it aside.

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pleasetryagain
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Re: Biglaw lawyer taking questions

Postby pleasetryagain » Sat Aug 15, 2009 3:03 pm

if someone offered you 70% of your pay for 70% of the hours in a non-legal job would you take it?

3rdYrLitigator
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Re: Biglaw lawyer taking questions

Postby 3rdYrLitigator » Sat Aug 15, 2009 3:10 pm

DCD wrote:if someone offered you 70% of your pay for 70% of the hours in a non-legal job would you take it?


Depends on the job, what do you mean non-legal? If you're asking if I would be happy taking 70% of the pay for 70% of the hours in general, sure. But it would definitely depend on the job.

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pleasetryagain
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Re: Biglaw lawyer taking questions

Postby pleasetryagain » Sat Aug 15, 2009 3:15 pm

i just mean a "regular job" ..management, engineering, etc.

would you be happy working your current job/schedule for less pay (as many of us probably will)? what would your threshold be where it wasn't worth it anymore? 100k starting? 120?

06072010
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Re: Biglaw lawyer taking questions

Postby 06072010 » Sat Aug 15, 2009 3:26 pm

Thank you for taking questions -- this is useful stuff. Do you think your firm has a plan for developing associates into partners and if so what type of things do they do. Does one have to have a book to be promoted? Does your firm have service partners?

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Re: Biglaw lawyer taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Aug 15, 2009 3:28 pm

What percentage of 1st year associates were laid-off this year (will there be more rounds coming up?)

Also, of the summer class, what percentage were no-offer-pwnd?

06072010
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Re: Biglaw lawyer taking questions

Postby 06072010 » Sat Aug 15, 2009 3:29 pm

Thankfully this doesn't apply to me (knock on wood that my firm doesn't implode) but what suggestions would you give for 3L's who have been no-offered or don't have a biglaw gig lined up.

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DavidYurman85
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Re: Biglaw lawyer taking questions

Postby DavidYurman85 » Sat Aug 15, 2009 3:35 pm

What is your take on being "out" in the workplace? Depends on the firm/culture, etc..? Thanks for taking questions!




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