40ish hour a week legal fields?

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Tamerlane
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40ish hour a week legal fields?

Postby Tamerlane » Tue Mar 13, 2012 3:28 pm

I'm considering going to law school but I'm becoming concerned about how many hours lawyers seem to work. My personal life is highly important to me and I'm worried about not having any time for my family if I were to become a lawyer. Are there legal fields that typically have 40 hour work weeks? I understand the work schedule is going to vary depending on clients' needs but from what I'm reading it seems like at least 50 to 60 hours is the norm. I should mention that I don't really care about salary as long as I can make enough to support my family (about 35K, yay Oklahoma cost of living).

acrossthelake
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Re: 40ish hour a week legal fields?

Postby acrossthelake » Tue Mar 13, 2012 3:30 pm

Every lawyer I've talked to has reported 50-60. Of the ones I've talked to, they've worked either in government, a firm, or in-house. Their salary ranges ranged from relatively low to fairly high. I can't speak for public interest organizations.

Jhuen_the_bird
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Re: 40ish hour a week legal fields?

Postby Jhuen_the_bird » Tue Mar 13, 2012 5:14 pm

Tamerlane wrote:I'm considering going to law school but I'm becoming concerned about how many hours lawyers seem to work. My personal life is highly important to me and I'm worried about not having any time for my family if I were to become a lawyer. Are there legal fields that typically have 40 hour work weeks? I understand the work schedule is going to vary depending on clients' needs but from what I'm reading it seems like at least 50 to 60 hours is the norm. I should mention that I don't really care about salary as long as I can make enough to support my family (about 35K, yay Oklahoma cost of living).


Contract work or part time practice, perhaps? Just be sure not to take out a staggering amount of debt if that's the route you plan on going ...

Total Litigator
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Re: 40ish hour a week legal fields?

Postby Total Litigator » Tue Mar 13, 2012 5:17 pm

Try Government work... you don't even know....

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DCDuck
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Re: 40ish hour a week legal fields?

Postby DCDuck » Tue Mar 13, 2012 5:19 pm

Law might not be the direction you want to take.

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Tom Joad
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Re: 40ish hour a week legal fields?

Postby Tom Joad » Tue Mar 13, 2012 5:22 pm

50 wouldn't be bad at all.

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Gail
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Re: 40ish hour a week legal fields?

Postby Gail » Tue Mar 13, 2012 11:10 pm

DCDuck wrote:Law Work might not be the direction you want to take.


ftfy


seriously. what white collar job is 40 hours a week? 60 seems like a good ballpark number average. maybe a little high.

acrossthelake
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Re: 40ish hour a week legal fields?

Postby acrossthelake » Tue Mar 13, 2012 11:34 pm

Gail wrote:
DCDuck wrote:Law Work might not be the direction you want to take.


ftfy


seriously. what white collar job is 40 hours a week? 60 seems like a good ballpark number average. maybe a little high.


Yeah, this. If you want to be well-compensated, you generally don't get to work 40-hour weeks.

in2win
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Re: 40ish hour a week legal fields?

Postby in2win » Wed Mar 14, 2012 12:04 am

correct me if im wrong here, but don't some law firm jobs allow you to work from home at times like if it is not a busy time of the year

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thisiswater
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Re: 40ish hour a week legal fields?

Postby thisiswater » Wed Mar 14, 2012 12:12 am

acrossthelake wrote:
Gail wrote:
DCDuck wrote:Law Work might not be the direction you want to take.


ftfy


seriously. what white collar job is 40 hours a week? 60 seems like a good ballpark number average. maybe a little high.


Yeah, this. If you want to be well-compensated, you generally don't get to work 40-hour weeks.


I don't know how true that is. I work at a private energy company in the legal department as an Exec. Assistant and I make significantly more than the salary the OP listed. I probably work more like 43 hours per week cause I do eat at my desk some and I come in about half an hour early most days but it isn't a high stress place at all.
This is my first job out of college and I'm sure our two paralegals (who work basically the same hours) make significantly more than I do

BearsGrl
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Re: 40ish hour a week legal fields?

Postby BearsGrl » Wed Mar 14, 2012 12:14 am

in2win wrote:correct me if im wrong here, but don't some law firm jobs allow you to work from home at times like if it is not a busy time of the year


I'm not sure how the local firms work, but I know at the big one that I worked at, I was inputting billing information at times in the early A.M.. I'm going to assume this was international billing, but I worked in a general litigation department and never consistently worked for the same attorneys day to day. I believe it's extremely rare to work at home unless you employ yourself.
Last edited by BearsGrl on Wed Mar 14, 2012 11:41 am, edited 1 time in total.

BearsGrl
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Re: 40ish hour a week legal fields?

Postby BearsGrl » Wed Mar 14, 2012 12:16 am

thisiswater wrote:
acrossthelake wrote:
Gail wrote:
DCDuck wrote:Law Work might not be the direction you want to take.


ftfy


seriously. what white collar job is 40 hours a week? 60 seems like a good ballpark number average. maybe a little high.


Yeah, this. If you want to be well-compensated, you generally don't get to work 40-hour weeks.


I don't know how true that is. I work at a private energy company in the legal department as an Exec. Assistant and I make significantly more than the salary the OP listed. I probably work more like 43 hours per week cause I do eat at my desk some and I come in about half an hour early most days but it isn't a high stress place at all.
This is my first job out of college and I'm sure our two paralegals (who work basically the same hours) make significantly more than I do


I question the $35,000 range needed for the family. Since we don't have specifics about the age of those involved, $35,000 is not enough to cover for as Suze Orman calls "an emergency fund." Maybe the poster is an older individual who has a house and such but I still think that $35,000 is lowballing as an overall figure because how are you going to be able to retire on that?

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thisiswater
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Re: 40ish hour a week legal fields?

Postby thisiswater » Wed Mar 14, 2012 12:20 am

BearsGrl wrote:
I question the $35,000 range needed for the family. Since we don't have specifics about the age of those involved, $35,000 is not enough to cover for as Suze Orman calls "an emergency fund." Maybe the poster is an older individual who has a house and such but I still think that $35,000 is lowballing as an overall figure because how are you going to be able to retire on that?


I agree that I think that would be a hard salary to live on, but if the poster is talking about a family they might have a partner pulling in an equal salary. And I'm originally from a small rural community so I do know A LOT of people that make that amount or even less at white-collar office jobs and manage to live on it.

BearsGrl
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Re: 40ish hour a week legal fields?

Postby BearsGrl » Wed Mar 14, 2012 12:24 am

thisiswater wrote:
BearsGrl wrote:
I question the $35,000 range needed for the family. Since we don't have specifics about the age of those involved, $35,000 is not enough to cover for as Suze Orman calls "an emergency fund." Maybe the poster is an older individual who has a house and such but I still think that $35,000 is lowballing as an overall figure because how are you going to be able to retire on that?


I agree that I think that would be a hard salary to live on, but if the poster is talking about a family they might have a partner pulling in an equal salary. And I'm originally from a small rural community so I do know A LOT of people that make that amount or even less at white-collar office jobs and manage to live on it.


Oh I don't disagree. I live in the Midwest myself, but I don't think you should go into the legal field choosing by the amount of hours that you want to work but instead the areas that you excel in. Then you will be more efficient with your time. I'm sure there are gov't jobs that pay on the low-end that the person could get.

Tamerlane
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Re: 40ish hour a week legal fields?

Postby Tamerlane » Wed Mar 14, 2012 11:01 am

Just to clarify a few things: 35K is the absolute lowest income I'd considerable acceptable, I'd much prefer 40K to 60K but in this economy I realize you have to take what you can get. My finance works too and recently inherited a house we'll be living in (which is within commuting distance of OU Law). My desire to practice law comes mostly from the desire to have a job that doesn't cause my brain to atrophy rather than making a high income. I currently work as an administrative assistant/technician at a medical practice and I'm pretty sure a trained monkey could do my job. I actually taught my boss's 4 year old granddaughter how to do prelims one day when I got bored (prelims make up about 40% of my job).

The 40 hour a week question is mostly in concern to the large number of posts I've seen about Lawyers working 60+ hours a week (Biglaw seems a particularly bad offender though I have no Biglaw plans). 40 to 50 hours a week is acceptable though I'd want anything above that to be a relatively rare occurrence.

From what I've gathered so far estate planning might be a good idea though it seems to be something Lawyers do after retirement so I'm not sure about how viable it is for a career.

Jhuen_the_bird
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Re: 40ish hour a week legal fields?

Postby Jhuen_the_bird » Wed Mar 14, 2012 11:25 am

Tamerlane wrote:My desire to practice law comes mostly from the desire to have a job that doesn't cause my brain to atrophy rather than making a high income.


Law might not be for you, then. Many, MANY law jobs are mind-numbingly dull. Lawyers are clamoring over document review jobs ... which is basically a "trained monkey" job (I'm not knocking it - it pays well and I do a lot of it as a staff attorney). Even associate jobs involve a lot of "boring" work ... and many areas of law are just filling in forms correctly or "fill in the blank" template work. Yeah, you may get to show up to court a few times, but most of the work isn't going to be THAT different from what you're doing, TBH. Especially if you want a job with less hours.

As a staff attorney, I can generally work 40-45 hrs a week ... but there have been 70 hr weeks. I also have no choice in the matter (and often to advanced notice) as to when the 70 hour week occurs.

BearsGrl
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Re: 40ish hour a week legal fields?

Postby BearsGrl » Wed Mar 14, 2012 11:48 am

Tamerlane wrote:Just to clarify a few things: 35K is the absolute lowest income I'd considerable acceptable, I'd much prefer 40K to 60K but in this economy I realize you have to take what you can get. My finance works too and recently inherited a house we'll be living in (which is within commuting distance of OU Law). My desire to practice law comes mostly from the desire to have a job that doesn't cause my brain to atrophy rather than making a high income. I currently work as an administrative assistant/technician at a medical practice and I'm pretty sure a trained monkey could do my job. I actually taught my boss's 4 year old granddaughter how to do prelims one day when I got bored (prelims make up about 40% of my job).

The 40 hour a week question is mostly in concern to the large number of posts I've seen about Lawyers working 60+ hours a week (Biglaw seems a particularly bad offender though I have no Biglaw plans). 40 to 50 hours a week is acceptable though I'd want anything above that to be a relatively rare occurrence.

From what I've gathered so far estate planning might be a good idea though it seems to be something Lawyers do after retirement so I'm not sure about how viable it is for a career.


Then you may want to go into private practice and seek out family law. I think it will be a struggle to plan out your hours if you are trying to go about it the opposite way. Just look into the local firms and see what appeals to you.

I still say that even when a house is paid for, $35,000 isn't a lot to support kids on, let along retire with so that would be my general concern. But I also grew up in a household where my parents wanted to pay my undergraduate schooling. Maybe that's not a philosophy you practice. I was to pay everything above UG, but they had agreed when I was born that they wanted to do at least that. I am an only child so that helps.

And I agree with the other poster that law is full of lots of boring stuff. Anything you do within the legal field is going to numb your brain. That's really just how the legal world is. I'm not saying law isn't for you, but atrophy is going to happen in whichever specialty within law you choose.

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dingbat
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Re: 40ish hour a week legal fields?

Postby dingbat » Fri Mar 16, 2012 7:45 pm

There are plenty of law jobs that don't require a lot of hours, but they either don't pay well, require you to set up your own firm, require significant experience, or all of the above.

I know several lawyers who work approximately 40 hours per week.

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ph14
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Re: 40ish hour a week legal fields?

Postby ph14 » Fri Mar 16, 2012 7:49 pm

I know of some public interest and legal assistance lawyers that work 40 hour weeks. They don't get paid well though.

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sunynp
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Re: 40ish hour a week legal fields?

Postby sunynp » Fri Mar 16, 2012 8:20 pm

Why don't you look around in the area where you live and talk to some lawyers about their work hours? I can't imagine a lawyer working only 40 hours a week, but I live in New York where everyone works insanely hard. Maybe there are lawyers for the school system or something that work those hours, I've never met them.

I would start finding as many local attorneys as you can and see if they can give you information as you are considering law. You might be able to find some local bar association events to attend.

It is difficult to advise you as I don't have any idea what kinds of potential employers arenear you. In places like upstate New York, there are really only small firms, not too many companies. There might be a public defender or two who works short hours.

handsonthewheel
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Re: 40ish hour a week legal fields?

Postby handsonthewheel » Sat Mar 17, 2012 1:13 am

LOL at people saying to open your own practice for the hours.




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