Best Firm/Company to Work For

A forum for applicants and admitted students to ask law students and graduates about law school and the practice of law.
User avatar
Helmholtz
Posts: 4394
Joined: Wed Sep 17, 2008 1:48 pm

Re: Best Firm/Company to Work For

Postby Helmholtz » Wed Dec 28, 2011 7:27 pm

sebastian0622 wrote:
Helmholtz wrote:I don't really follow


In terms of speaking in generalities vs. absolutes. "You" vs. "attorneys."


So if the first guy said "attorneys DON'T GET TO CHOOSE WHO HIRES THEM UNLESS THEY WERE TOP STUDENTS AT A TOP SCHOOL," that would have been a generality, and not an absolute. And if you would have said, "If you go into biglaw, you will be unhealthy, overworked, unappreciated, and unhappy," that would have been an absolute. Am I doing this right?

User avatar
romothesavior
Posts: 14772
Joined: Fri Jun 26, 2009 4:29 pm

Re: Best Firm/Company to Work For

Postby romothesavior » Wed Dec 28, 2011 8:05 pm

I do agree that this thread is a little silly. Most firms, especially elite firms, are almost indistinguishable. Also, you better be an elite law student to even have this choice. But I'll bite a little and add some input.

I think the best firms in terms of balance between pay, clientele, hours, environment, and opportunities are going to be "big" firms in secondary markets. Think NLJ 250 firms that aren't in Chicago/NYC/DC/LA... might even include Boston, SF, ATL, and a few others. Talking about cities like Nashville, Tampa, St. Louis, Cincinnati, Texas, etc. No, these firms won't pay the best (probably low 6 figures). They won't be doing Cravath or Wachtell level work, although their clients usually are huge companies. They won't have the elite exit opportunities that a K&E, CSM, or other highly ranked Vault firm will have. But if you're looking for a healthy blend of those five factors I listed, as well as a greater chance at making partner, then I think secondary "biglaw" (or midlaw, depending on who you ask) is where it is at.

When it came to picking a firm in a particular market, the indicator I used for assessing the firm's work-life balance and firm culture was the rate at which associates defected to other firms. Obviously some people will leave for personal reasons or for career changes, but if associates are regularly picking up and leaving for similar jobs at other firms, you can probably infer that something ain't quite right with the first firm (pay, bonuses, layoffs, work environment, etc.) For example, I had two offers in a particular market, and I got the impression that a lot of people at the firm I ended up picking had come from the other firms in town (especially the firm where I had my other offer), but that almost no one had gone from my firm to the other big firms in town.

Disclaimer: I'm just a 2L, so my opinions are based on information I've gleaned from TLS, other attorneys, research, and the limited interactions I've had with firms. Take it FWIW.

sebastian0622
Posts: 276
Joined: Fri Feb 26, 2010 10:30 pm

Re: Best Firm/Company to Work For

Postby sebastian0622 » Wed Dec 28, 2011 9:24 pm

Helmholtz wrote:
sebastian0622 wrote:
Helmholtz wrote:I don't really follow


In terms of speaking in generalities vs. absolutes. "You" vs. "attorneys."


So if the first guy said "attorneys DON'T GET TO CHOOSE WHO HIRES THEM UNLESS THEY WERE TOP STUDENTS AT A TOP SCHOOL," that would have been a generality, and not an absolute. And if you would have said, "If you go into biglaw, you will be unhealthy, overworked, unappreciated, and unhappy," that would have been an absolute. Am I doing this right?


Well, there's context too. The first guy was saying that this thread, in particular was more or less worthless, so when he said YOU, it's a reasonable inference he meant OP himself. I was speaking more generally about life at a big firm vs. small firm and linked a piece that does the same.

Anyway, this is all pedantic at this point. Even if you initially misunderstood me, I think it should be clear now that I'm talking about life at big firms in general. I guess I assumed that readers would accept and assume the fact that there are, of course, some folks who tolerate big firm life. But if OP is trying to maximize his chances of taking a job at a firm that is great to work for (which I understand to be his goal), people with a lot more experience than me suggest he'd be better off looking to small firms than biglaw firms.

User avatar
Helmholtz
Posts: 4394
Joined: Wed Sep 17, 2008 1:48 pm

Re: Best Firm/Company to Work For

Postby Helmholtz » Wed Dec 28, 2011 9:58 pm

sebastian0622 wrote:I guess I assumed that readers would accept and assume the fact that there are, of course, some folks who tolerate big firm life. But if OP is trying to maximize his chances of taking a job at a firm that is great to work for (which I understand to be his goal), people with a lot more experience than me suggest he'd be better off looking to small firms than biglaw firms.


There are some people who really, really enjoy it. Not just "some folks who tolerate big firm life." So these nameless people with a lot more experience than you suggested that you would be better off saying no to the Cravaths of this world (who I'm sure came crawling given your school and class rank) in favor of a small firm? Look, I've seen the best and the worst of working in a small firm. I worked in one for years.

At a small firm, you're much more likely to have a lot of free time to spend doing things other than work. Different people get different levels of satisfaction out of their career. If you're somebody who absolutely needs a hobby that is going to suck up a lot of time, then maybe you should look some place else other than biglaw.

The work is typically not stellar, to say the least, at a small firm. You pretty much take whatever comes in your door, and it's often really difficult to specialize in something since a lot of people have to spread out over numerous practice areas. Does the thought of doing high-powered, high-intensity M&A work make you happy? You can forget about that if you work for a small firm. New lawyers at small firms often get the shittiest practice areas to work in. It's not like biglaw, where at least you can decide on firm X and then select to work in area Y. (The point is that you may still get shitty work, but it might be shitty work related to a practice area you find interesting.)

At a lot of big firms, you have the chance to work with and by mentored by lawyers who are the absolute cream of the crop. In a small law firm, you'll certainly meet some competent, helpful lawyers. But there's probably not going to be anybody there who is destined for a spot on SDNY or the Second Circuit. Or who is on a first-name basis with some bulge-bracket-bank CEOs. Those may be extremes, but you get my point. The training and mentoring in a big law firm can often not be beat. Some people get happiness out of that.

And the money. It's not horrible in a small town. Usually the COL is better, but not nearly enough to compensate for the lower salary. You simply make more (usually a lot more) in biglaw. I didn't have much help in paying for college or getting a terrific pre-college education. I would love to be able at some point to make sure that my children can attend the best school possible and not have to worry about the bills from it, or maybe get into a school like Harvard, Yale, Princeton, or MIT, and have to turn it down due to the cost. That brings me happiness.

Depression: It even happens to attorneys in small firms. In my opinion, definitely more than to the population at large. It might be less than biglaw, but that's just speculation. Looking forward to somebody arriving with numbers and hard data.

TL;DR—It depends a lot on how you define your own happiness, what motivates you, and how you see your career fitting into your life in general.

sebastian0622
Posts: 276
Joined: Fri Feb 26, 2010 10:30 pm

Re: Best Firm/Company to Work For

Postby sebastian0622 » Wed Dec 28, 2011 10:17 pm

Helmholtz wrote:So these nameless people with a lot more experience than you suggested that you would be better off saying no to the Cravaths of this world


The article I linked more or less said that, and that wasn't a nameless person. There is also some data in the article, so you might want to give it a more thorough read. And the small firms where I'm doing SA work certainly pay enough to allow me to pay off my student loan debt, put my kids through college, etc. Actually, partners at these small firms make a lot more than one might think, and more than associates in biglaw, (much more after adjusting for COL). And getting partner isn't winning the lottery; it's the rule, not the exception. It also happens in just a few years. On top of all of that, the firm is a ghost town by 4:45 every day, and it stays locked every weekend and holiday.

There is a general air of "biglaw > small firms" emanating from your posts, no doubt bolstered by your constant insults to me and your insinuations that my desire for a small firm is some exercise of cognitive dissonance occurring only after failure to attain big law. The latter is patently untrue: I've never wanted to practice in a big firm, and I've never contacted or bid on a big firm. Law school for me is just a part of life (I have wife/kid), and I'm pursuing jobs that allow me to keep that rhythm in practice. The big firm > small firm thing is simple prestige-whoring, and I don't agree with the merits of it. You obviously have to weigh firms on their individual merits, but good luck finding a big "prestigious" firm where you can bill 1700 hours or fewer and still make partner.

User avatar
romothesavior
Posts: 14772
Joined: Fri Jun 26, 2009 4:29 pm

Re: Best Firm/Company to Work For

Postby romothesavior » Wed Dec 28, 2011 11:01 pm

sebastian0622 wrote:
Helmholtz wrote:So these nameless people with a lot more experience than you suggested that you would be better off saying no to the Cravaths of this world


The article I linked more or less said that, and that wasn't a nameless person. There is also some data in the article, so you might want to give it a more thorough read. And the small firms where I'm doing SA work certainly pay enough to allow me to pay off my student loan debt, put my kids through college, etc. Actually, partners at these small firms make a lot more than one might think, and more than associates in biglaw, (much more after adjusting for COL). And getting partner isn't winning the lottery; it's the rule, not the exception. It also happens in just a few years. On top of all of that, the firm is a ghost town by 4:45 every day, and it stays locked every weekend and holiday.

But what size of firm are you talking about exactly? I agree with your general position, and I picked a firm with a mid-sized office in a mid-sized city for all of these reasons. Better hours, better partner prospects, solid work, and probably more money once you adjust for COL (even the bonuses will be on par or better than Cravath's bonuses ITE, once it is all said and done). Mid-sized big law in secondaries seems to be where its at, IMO. If you're talking about the smaller NLJ 250 firms that still pay high 5 figures or low 6, then right on man. I cosign wholeheartedly and I think people should target these firms.

But if you're talking about a truly small firm, then I think you are living in a fantasy world. Very, very few firms under 50 attorneys are going to pay well enough to make law school loans manageable (assuming they are substantial), and their hiring needs aren't going to be substantial enough to make them options for most law students.

I think I know the type of firm you're talking about. I almost went to a firm of ~35 attorneys that started out at high-five figures, did awesome work (one of their top clients is a professional sports team), and partner was almost guaranteed thanks to their fast-track partnership. How many jobs like that are really out there? The firm I'm talking about takes 1-2 SAs, and they are the only firm with that level of clientele, pay, and firm quality that I am even aware of that takes SAs regularly.

This isn't simply prestige whoring. It's not that quality small law doesn't exist. It just doesn't exist in big enough numbers to tout it as a viable option for most law students.

sebastian0622
Posts: 276
Joined: Fri Feb 26, 2010 10:30 pm

Re: Best Firm/Company to Work For

Postby sebastian0622 » Wed Dec 28, 2011 11:53 pm

romothesavior wrote:
sebastian0622 wrote:
Helmholtz wrote:So these nameless people with a lot more experience than you suggested that you would be better off saying no to the Cravaths of this world


The article I linked more or less said that, and that wasn't a nameless person. There is also some data in the article, so you might want to give it a more thorough read. And the small firms where I'm doing SA work certainly pay enough to allow me to pay off my student loan debt, put my kids through college, etc. Actually, partners at these small firms make a lot more than one might think, and more than associates in biglaw, (much more after adjusting for COL). And getting partner isn't winning the lottery; it's the rule, not the exception. It also happens in just a few years. On top of all of that, the firm is a ghost town by 4:45 every day, and it stays locked every weekend and holiday.

But what size of firm are you talking about exactly? I agree with your general position, and I picked a firm with a mid-sized office in a mid-sized city for all of these reasons. Better hours, better partner prospects, solid work, and probably more money once you adjust for COL (even the bonuses will be on par or better than Cravath's bonuses ITE, once it is all said and done). Mid-sized big law in secondaries seems to be where its at, IMO. If you're talking about the smaller NLJ 250 firms that still pay high 5 figures or low 6, then right on man. I cosign wholeheartedly and I think people should target these firms.

But if you're talking about a truly small firm, then I think you are living in a fantasy world. Very, very few firms under 50 attorneys are going to pay well enough to make law school loans manageable (assuming they are substantial), and their hiring needs aren't going to be substantial enough to make them options for most law students.

I think I know the type of firm you're talking about. I almost went to a firm of ~35 attorneys that started out at high-five figures, did awesome work (one of their top clients is a professional sports team), and partner was almost guaranteed thanks to their fast-track partnership. How many jobs like that are really out there? The firm I'm talking about takes 1-2 SAs, and they are the only firm with that level of clientele, pay, and firm quality that I am even aware of that takes SAs regularly.

This isn't simply prestige whoring. It's not that quality small law doesn't exist. It just doesn't exist in big enough numbers to tout it as a viable option for most law students.


Good post, Romo, and you make valid points. I am talking about the type of small firms you are describing as "truly small firms," not a midlaw, mid-city type of deal. The firms I've worked for are both < 25 attorneys and both located in smaller cities. One actually is rural: it has several offices in different small towns. Other than that, the places sound a lot like the firm you almost went to in terms of business model, pay, etc.

Now, you said this:
Very, very few firms under 50 attorneys are going to pay well enough to make law school loans manageable (assuming they are substantial), and their hiring needs aren't going to be substantial enough to make them options for most law students.


I understand and agree with the second point to some extent, which is the irony of all of this: good small law jobs are extremely selective, even though some people who do the biglaw thing obviously look down on them (this thread). My 1L firm offered only one of their prior six SA's. That's why they recruit 1L's: so they don't ruin careers by no-offering them after a 2L summer. I was not an OCI pre-select by them but got an interview through the lottery, and they just happened to like me and understand the reasons for my median grades (welcomed a new baby [!] plus had a parent in ICU for several weeks during 1L). I would be their least-accomplished attorney on paper, academically, if I joined. I actually know two of their other recent SA's, and both graduated w/honors. They recruit at Iowa but also have partners from Columbia, NYU, and other top schools. They are extremely picky and can afford to be; they have a great machine going where they dominate their markets, make good money, keep clients long-term, retain their staff, and hence don't need a lot of new attorneys to keep the wheels moving. I weigh this type of firm against biglaw, and it's a no-brainer to me. They certainly pay enough to make my loans manageable.

That being said, I assume that there are at least a fair number of other firms like this out there. That assumption may be incorrect, but I nonetheless encourage people like the OP to at least look--and look hard--for them. I share a lot of his/her same concerns about work-life balance, and I feel like getting in to one of these small firms is like hitting the lottery given those concerns. Granted, there are a lot of really small (1-5 attorney) firms that only do like DUI/personal injury/divorce stuff, and I certainly wouldn't seek those out. They pay like crap and aren't looking to make anyone a partner. But if you care about quality of life and can find a small firm that does estates, civil litigation, commercial real estate, local, county, or state government work, tax, bank/credit union law, corporate start-ups, maybe occasional divorce litigation for wealthy clients it serves in other areas, etc., then network and see if you can score an SA gig there.

User avatar
Helmholtz
Posts: 4394
Joined: Wed Sep 17, 2008 1:48 pm

Re: Best Firm/Company to Work For

Postby Helmholtz » Thu Dec 29, 2011 2:36 am

sebastian0622 wrote: You obviously have to weigh firms on their individual merits, but good luck finding a big "prestigious" firm where you can bill 1700 hours or fewer and still make partner.


Don't have a lot of free time, and will try to address some of the other stuff later. But I just wanted to say that a hell of a lot of people get into biglaw with absolutely no intention to stay there until they make partner. A lot of people working high up in the federal government (where you could argue there is a better QOL than in biglaw) started out in biglaw. Same for people who ended up going in-house. Look where some of the top companies' chief legal officers / general counsels came from. The CLO for Google did biglaw at Wilson Sonsini before leaving for Google. The global chief legal officer for Bank of America used to work at Davis Polk. The GC for General Electric was an associate at Goodwin Proctor. The GC for Apple started off as an associate at what is now Perkins Coie. The guy who ran Credit Suisse's i-banking division and is now running a large private-equity firm started out at Cravath. The GC for Goldman Sachs started out at SullCrom. The current Attorney General of the United States spent time at Convington. Hell, even the GC for the NAACP worked at what was the second-biggest firm in the country when she was starting out. And I could go on.

Maybe this is off the beaten path from OP's question, who is probably wanting to know about few hours / partners treating you nicely, instead of exit options. But for me, part of what makes an employer "good" are the exit options available afterwards.

User avatar
DoubleChecks
Posts: 2333
Joined: Fri Sep 25, 2009 4:35 pm

Re: Best Firm/Company to Work For

Postby DoubleChecks » Thu Dec 29, 2011 3:07 am

Wow what a fun thread.

First off, 2500 billables as a conservative estimate of most biglaw firms is much too high. And breaking down the hours into weekly avgs is nice, but let's not forget a real bitch with the biglaw hours is the unpredictability of your hours every week/day. I know some of these things have already been said by some posters, but I like to say unoriginal things :P

Second, TX biglaw guys! I know I am SUPER biased, but I can't be the only one who realizes (well nm, there aren't that many Texans posting on TLS i guess, and everyone who has not spent time in TX automatically (read: irrationally) hates it...even when im talking about just Houston and Dallas) the sweet balance there. No, it isn't the perfect balance, but it sure is more common than that magic firm some of you are talking about. And the people in the firms are all nice :O Genuinely so haha, and that definitely helps with stress. Often top of the line work (esp. if it relates to energy and you're in Houston...well, I guess everything relates to energy there) as so many Fortune 500 companies are in the state; same $160k market rate pay (lockstep increases and bonuses tend to be a bit smaller though); a ridiculously lower COL; fewer hours (though still the usual 2000 billable requirement...just overall not as intense as NYC firms).

The only slam people have against it is you'd have to be in TX...but honestly, Houston/Dallas aren't that different than most metropolitan areas. I guess NYC is special; much more urban and it is "NYC" after all...but Houston (4th largest city in the US) isn't some assbackward place lol. I've lived in Cali, Boston, Austin, and Houston...and the "TX-ness" of the latter two locations certainly were not obvious (except in football games) lol. It's just like most other large cities in the US...

Oh and the weather? Much easier to avoid 100 degree heat than 20 degree chills...everyone drives in TX and every location has AC, so it is AC location A to AC card to AC location B. And because of the COL + salary you'd be making, having a car + home right off the bat would be pretty normal.
Last edited by DoubleChecks on Thu Dec 29, 2011 3:10 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
paratactical
Posts: 5961
Joined: Wed Feb 04, 2009 1:06 pm

Re: Best Firm/Company to Work For

Postby paratactical » Thu Dec 29, 2011 3:09 am

I'm totally flabbergasted by some of the hours in this thread. As a paralegal at a NYC biglaw firm I needed to bill 2100 hours to get a bonus and meet the minimum requirements. When I moved to Boston, I was positively relieved at the scale back to 1900. I can't imagine that there are NYC biglaw firms that actually only require 2100 from attorneys.

sebastian0622
Posts: 276
Joined: Fri Feb 26, 2010 10:30 pm

Re: Best Firm/Company to Work For

Postby sebastian0622 » Thu Dec 29, 2011 4:26 am

Helmholtz wrote:
sebastian0622 wrote: You obviously have to weigh firms on their individual merits, but good luck finding a big "prestigious" firm where you can bill 1700 hours or fewer and still make partner.


Don't have a lot of free time, and will try to address some of the other stuff later. But I just wanted to say that a hell of a lot of people get into biglaw with absolutely no intention to stay there until they make partner. A lot of people working high up in the federal government (where you could argue there is a better QOL than in biglaw) started out in biglaw. Same for people who ended up going in-house. Look where some of the top companies' chief legal officers / general counsels came from. The CLO for Google did biglaw at Wilson Sonsini before leaving for Google. The global chief legal officer for Bank of America used to work at Davis Polk. The GC for General Electric was an associate at Goodwin Proctor. The GC for Apple started off as an associate at what is now Perkins Coie. The guy who ran Credit Suisse's i-banking division and is now running a large private-equity firm started out at Cravath. The GC for Goldman Sachs started out at SullCrom. The current Attorney General of the United States spent time at Convington. Hell, even the GC for the NAACP worked at what was the second-biggest firm in the country when she was starting out. And I could go on.

Maybe this is off the beaten path from OP's question, who is probably wanting to know about few hours / partners treating you nicely, instead of exit options. But for me, part of what makes an employer "good" are the exit options available afterwards.


There are a ton of really smart, successful, and driven people who are or were in biglaw, no doubt. If the OP asked what firms he should target to in order to maximize the quality of his exit options, surely we'd all be telling him about the biggest, most prestigious firms. However, he's asking particularly about law firms that are great to work for. But yeah, it's something OP should know: if you go into biglaw, you're not necessarily stuck there forever. That's a valid point.

For a guy like me and maybe a guy like OP, I don't care about ever becoming GC for a major corporation or working for an i-bank. Those career paths typically involve a ton of work and stress. I've had different careers where I chased that kind of thing, and after becoming a manager for a large federal agency, I realized the amount of work at the executive level outweighs the pay and prestige--for me. I want to work as little as possible in a field that interests me as much as work can, pay off my debts, and spend a lot of time with my family and friends. I have modest financial, quality of life, retirement, and career goals. I'll just cross back over to fed agency work if I don't like law firm work, probably take a position at the same level I left :lol: . Different strokes, etc., but I'm just trying to keep in perspective what OP is asking for.

User avatar
IAFG
Posts: 6665
Joined: Mon Jun 15, 2009 1:26 pm

Re: Best Firm/Company to Work For

Postby IAFG » Thu Dec 29, 2011 4:47 am

Yeah bros i am just gonna do fedgov, too :lol:

SchopenhauerFTW
Posts: 1793
Joined: Sun Oct 10, 2010 10:22 pm

Re: Best Firm/Company to Work For

Postby SchopenhauerFTW » Thu Dec 29, 2011 6:50 am

I guess I really wouldn't be that happy as a MoFo litigator after all.

sebastian0622
Posts: 276
Joined: Fri Feb 26, 2010 10:30 pm

Re: Best Firm/Company to Work For

Postby sebastian0622 » Thu Dec 29, 2011 9:02 pm

IAFG wrote:Yeah bros i am just gonna do fedgov, too :lol:


Agency work is a good option if you are VRA-eligible. :lol:

User avatar
IAFG
Posts: 6665
Joined: Mon Jun 15, 2009 1:26 pm

Re: Best Firm/Company to Work For

Postby IAFG » Fri Dec 30, 2011 1:05 am

sebastian0622 wrote:
IAFG wrote:Yeah bros i am just gonna do fedgov, too :lol:


Agency work is a good option if you are VRA-eligible. :lol:

VRA-eligability can un-freeze hiring freezes now?

sebastian0622
Posts: 276
Joined: Fri Feb 26, 2010 10:30 pm

Re: Best Firm/Company to Work For

Postby sebastian0622 » Fri Dec 30, 2011 2:18 am

IAFG wrote:
sebastian0622 wrote:
IAFG wrote:Yeah bros i am just gonna do fedgov, too :lol:


Agency work is a good option if you are VRA-eligible. :lol:

VRA-eligability can un-freeze hiring freezes now?


You can tell the future now? Why are we communicating in rhetorical questions? Do you understand exactly how the hiring freeze works and which positions are frozen?

sebastian0622
Posts: 276
Joined: Fri Feb 26, 2010 10:30 pm

Re: Best Firm/Company to Work For

Postby sebastian0622 » Fri Dec 30, 2011 2:25 am

Let me give you a hint: if you search for fed gov't jobs GS 9 through 13, there are 2705 currently available. You may have heard rumblings about hiring freezes, but there are a lot of federal gov't jobs out there, especially if you don't care if it's actually practicing law. There are J.D.-required regulatory positions, J.D.-preferred regulatory positions, and lots of management positions where a J.D. helps you score through the HR screening. Those are general public jobs. VRA appointees are eligible as status candidates, and there are 650+ more positions in that category right now as well.

Aqualibrium
Posts: 2011
Joined: Tue Feb 24, 2009 5:57 am

Re: Best Firm/Company to Work For

Postby Aqualibrium » Fri Dec 30, 2011 2:44 am

romothesavior wrote:I do agree that this thread is a little silly. Most firms, especially elite firms, are almost indistinguishable. Also, you better be an elite law student to even have this choice. But I'll bite a little and add some input.

I think the best firms in terms of balance between pay, clientele, hours, environment, and opportunities are going to be "big" firms in secondary markets. Think NLJ 250 firms that aren't in Chicago/NYC/DC/LA... might even include Boston, SF, ATL, and a few others. Talking about cities like Nashville, Tampa, St. Louis, Cincinnati, Texas, etc. No, these firms won't pay the best (probably low 6 figures). They won't be doing Cravath or Wachtell level work, although their clients usually are huge companies. They won't have the elite exit opportunities that a K&E, CSM, or other highly ranked Vault firm will have. But if you're looking for a healthy blend of those five factors I listed, as well as a greater chance at making partner, then I think secondary "biglaw" (or midlaw, depending on who you ask) is where it is at.

When it came to picking a firm in a particular market, the indicator I used for assessing the firm's work-life balance and firm culture was the rate at which associates defected to other firms. Obviously some people will leave for personal reasons or for career changes, but if associates are regularly picking up and leaving for similar jobs at other firms, you can probably infer that something ain't quite right with the first firm (pay, bonuses, layoffs, work environment, etc.) For example, I had two offers in a particular market, and I got the impression that a lot of people at the firm I ended up picking had come from the other firms in town (especially the firm where I had my other offer), but that almost no one had gone from my firm to the other big firms in town.

Disclaimer: I'm just a 2L, so my opinions are based on information I've gleaned from TLS, other attorneys, research, and the limited interactions I've had with firms. Take it FWIW.


As a 3L who, praise Jesus, had my pick of a few jobs, I'll second everything you just said.

TheProsecutor
Posts: 108
Joined: Mon May 14, 2012 12:50 pm

Re: Best Firm/Company to Work For

Postby TheProsecutor » Wed Jul 18, 2012 10:28 am

The reason why biglaw sucks is not because of the hours requirement (formal or informal). Even if firms gave you a target of 2500 hours, most people could reasonably plan for that and have a pretty nice life. The problem is that your billable hours are dependant on having work. There will be countless hours you sit at your desk with nothing to do. Nothing. Just sitting there, goofing off on the internet. Not because you want to, but because firms are horrible at distributing work especially to efficient associates. Then at 5pm when you're thinking about wrapping up, you'll get an email. 10 hours of work due by tomorrow.

So the challenge in biglaw is getting the hours that you need within the time that you have available. Law students tend to think that the hours requirements drive the aversion to biglaw. Not necessarily true. The pain in biglaw is not always having enough work and the stress of figuring out how you can meet whatever goal you set given the sporadic flow of work. The other pain is not being able to plan because you don't know if a partner is going to call at 5pm or 6pm or whatever. It is frustrating.

I would rather work at a sweatshop where I'm working furiously every moment of the day, but billing hours than to work at a place that has a 2000 hour requirement but you're struggling to find the work to meet even that. Honestly, the associates at both firms are going to leave the office every night around the same time, but one billed way more hours than the other.

And for the record most days at a biglaw firm in DC are 9-7:00 or 7:30. Most days in NYC are 10-8:30. There are plenty PLENTY of nights above that, but that's going to be around the average I think.

TheProsecutor
Posts: 108
Joined: Mon May 14, 2012 12:50 pm

Re: Best Firm/Company to Work For

Postby TheProsecutor » Wed Jul 18, 2012 4:06 pm

The benefits some firms offer: Matching 401K, No monthly payments for health insurance, dinners, snacks, emergency childcare, subsidized gym membership, subsidized technology, free parking, interest free loans, etc etc etc.




Return to “Ask a Law Student / Graduate”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Gray and 6 guests