Is being a lawyer as bad as they say?

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laidoffjournalist
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Is being a lawyer as bad as they say?

Postby laidoffjournalist » Tue Aug 25, 2009 10:48 pm

It seems I'm always hearing negative things about life as an attorney -- people who can't wait to switch careers because it's sucking their soul away or people who never see their children or loved ones because of minimum billable hours, etc. Is it really that bad? Sure, I want to make a decent income, but I'd certainly be willing to give some of that up for a little more freedom. Is that not allowed in law? I definitely want to see my girlfriend/friends and take vacations. People seem to treat being a lawyer like it's the worst thing ever. If it's so bad, why do so many people want to do it? I feel really firm in that this is what I want to do, yet shit like that scares me. :o

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Corsair
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Re: Is being a lawyer as bad as they say?

Postby Corsair » Tue Aug 25, 2009 11:34 pm

..

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laidoffjournalist
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Re: Is being a lawyer as bad as they say?

Postby laidoffjournalist » Tue Aug 25, 2009 11:46 pm

Is that a response or some sort of new manifestation of Tourette's? :?

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geoffree
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Re: Is being a lawyer as bad as they say?

Postby geoffree » Wed Aug 26, 2009 12:03 am

laidoffjournalist wrote:Is that a response or some sort of new manifestation of Tourette's? :?


It's a response.

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MTal
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Re: Is being a lawyer as bad as they say?

Postby MTal » Wed Aug 26, 2009 12:04 am

Go ahead and pick a fight with Corsair and see where it leads you.

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laidoffjournalist
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Re: Is being a lawyer as bad as they say?

Postby laidoffjournalist » Wed Aug 26, 2009 12:05 am

LOL. I'd be interested in hearing some responses with a subject and predicate so I can understand them. :)

kritiosboy
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Re: Is being a lawyer as bad as they say?

Postby kritiosboy » Wed Aug 26, 2009 12:09 am

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Last edited by kritiosboy on Tue Nov 27, 2012 12:36 am, edited 1 time in total.

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laidoffjournalist
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Re: Is being a lawyer as bad as they say?

Postby laidoffjournalist » Wed Aug 26, 2009 12:14 am

Well, so unless you work for the government, the negative stereotypes are true then? It will crush your soul and cause you to die alone? And beside, don't government jobs tend to be difficult to get, especially when you consider the deficits they are facing (not sure about other states, but New York is fucked). There aren't enough government jobs for everyone. Back to my original post, I was curious about other people's thoughts of this because I really do hear it constantly.

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reasonable_man
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Re: Is being a lawyer as bad as they say?

Postby reasonable_man » Wed Aug 26, 2009 12:16 am

New lawyers work a lot... The work also doesn't always end (usually doesn't end really) when you leave the office. You're always thinking about it.. IT consumes much of your life.. Eventually, it seems that most manage to break away a bit and have a balance, but many do not... Its a weird beast to describe... Most of my friends think I'm nuts for the amount of time i dedicate to my work..

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twert
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Re: Is being a lawyer as bad as they say?

Postby twert » Wed Aug 26, 2009 12:17 am

the stereotypes are for jobs in big firms. midsized firms might require a lot of work but not soul crushing hours.

deadbeat
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Re: Is being a lawyer as bad as they say?

Postby deadbeat » Wed Aug 26, 2009 12:30 am

laidoffjournalist wrote:Well, so unless you work for the government, the negative stereotypes are true then? It will crush your soul and cause you to die alone? And beside, don't government jobs tend to be difficult to get, especially when you consider the deficits they are facing (not sure about other states, but New York is fucked). There aren't enough legal jobs for everyone. Back to my original post, I was curious about other people's thoughts of this because I really do hear it constantly.


Fixed. ITE there are a ton of law students looking for work. You can't just get a JD and get a job. It might be hard to get a government job, but it is also hard to get a firm job as well. People are suggesting the type of job that would avoid the stereotypical problems. I'm not sure that competition is going to be fiercer for a state government job than for a firm job, and in fact, it might even be easier (just a guess from the other posts I've read, though I could be wrong).

Anyway, main point is, you're kinda looking at this from the wrong perspective. Dismissing one option because it will be difficult to get is absurd because right now the legal market is above and beyond saturated. Any legal job will be difficult to get. You will have to do really well in law school (and preferably in a good law school). You will have to scrounge to find your job. ITE, you might not find one. But, given that you want to work in a relatively more relaxed environment, the advice is to look to work in government.

kritiosboy
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Re: Is being a lawyer as bad as they say?

Postby kritiosboy » Wed Aug 26, 2009 1:08 am

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Last edited by kritiosboy on Tue Nov 27, 2012 12:36 am, edited 1 time in total.

kritiosboy
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Re: Is being a lawyer as bad as they say?

Postby kritiosboy » Wed Aug 26, 2009 1:11 am

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Last edited by kritiosboy on Mon Nov 26, 2012 8:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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monkey85
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Re: Is being a lawyer as bad as they say?

Postby monkey85 » Wed Aug 26, 2009 1:29 am

I can't know for sure since I am not a lawyer.

But, I am pretty sure if you have ever worked before and, more specifically, in any sort of private sector/white-collar environment (strategy consulting, i-banking, even medicine-residents have crazy hours) BigLaw hours, responsibilities, and ridiculous demands should be pretty comparable.

With that being said, long hours and working weekends are not for everyone. Go into the field knowing what to expect, be ready to either go 1)sleepless on weekdays and get your weekends OR 2)work medium hours during the week and go in weekends. Then nothing will be a surprise and it won't be "bad".

Work is work. Pay your dues. Become partner. Pay it back to the noobs.

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underdawg
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Re: Is being a lawyer as bad as they say?

Postby underdawg » Wed Aug 26, 2009 7:38 am

you guys know that partners work harder than associates usually right? they make disproportionately more $, but still...

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reasonable_man
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Re: Is being a lawyer as bad as they say?

Postby reasonable_man » Wed Aug 26, 2009 8:37 am

This is not the profession to come to if you are looking for "good" hours or "easy" work. Its just not. People out there assume a lot of things about being a lawyer and many of these things have no basis in reality.. Some Common myths:

- Gov't jobs are "easier" and not as hard to obtain:
Tehe. No. They tend to be pretty damn competitive, especially in bigger markets. I could have worked my way into one of the DAs offices in NYC (not Manhattan), but that's because I have a serious In. If you're simply trying to get in their on your sharp skills, good grades and SUPER-DUPER interviewing skills... Line up in back of the other 3000 to 5000 candidates that get denied EACH YEAR. These jobs are not easy to come by.

- Midlaw means "mid-pay" and "Mid-hours":
This is another one thats pretty funny. I work in midlaw. The pay is ok.. About 70k to start. The office is nice. Mentoring is good. There are LESS (not no) insane partners. However, just because the pay is half biglaw "market" doesn't mean the hours drop off.. Last week I left the office once before 7pm.. two nights after 9pm, one night probably around 8:30pm and one night I strolled out the door around mid-night. When you are a young lawyer in a firm, you work late when need be. Thats just the way it is. You need to bill hours and the way you bill hours is by making yourself available to the partners that have work to dole out...
6pm rolls around:
Partner: New Assoicate.. I need a motion for a protective order on this 200-demand notice for discovery and inspection.
New Associate: Yes partner, when do you need that by?
Partner: Well it was served 19 days ago, are you busy tonight?
New Associate: (realizing that you only have 20-days to object to discovery), of course not, i'll take care of it...
And there goes your night... And don't even bother trying to figure out why he gave it to you 19 days after it was served, instead of 17 days ago when it showed up on his desk from the mail room. There is no answer to that. Its not even worth thinking about. Its just the way it works.

- All Lawyers hate their lives:
Also not true. My friends think I'm crazy for working the hours that I do and frankly, I might be. But a) I like the financial benefits down the line; b) I like competition and litigation provides that for me at work; c) I think wandering around a marketing firm trying to figure out best how to sell fucking chewing-gum and condoms is a waste of intelect; and d) What else was I really doing on a random Wed ad 7pm that I couldn't be here anyway.

- All JDs eventually find legal employment:
TONS do not. They give up. Each year, a large number of grads try to find legal employment, fail, and walk away from it all. Its the reality of the situation. Finding legal employment can be difficult and in some cases impossible. Even small shoddy plaintiff's shops can be picky when their are 40K + newly minted JDs each year. Walking out of a law school with median grades does not = job.

- Only associates work really hard, once you're a partner, its all gravy:
Partner work VERY hard. Its just a different kind of work. Believe me, they work, a lot. And the stress is tremendous. Moreover, they became partner by being good associates, which meant they were working pretty hard when they started too.

The bottom line.. Law school is not a magical cure-all. Getting ahead in law requires the same, (and in some cases more) skills than many other professions. Simply having a JD does not cut it. You have to work hard to get ahead.. Working hard takes its tole on people, which is why many people assume that lawyers are beyond unhappy. I'm not unhappy, I just refuse to paint a rosy picture that is untrue. When someone asks me what being a lawyer is like, I tell them in a fair and honest way.




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