Big Law Working Conditions

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AntipodeanPhil
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Joined: Fri Apr 08, 2011 7:02 pm

Big Law Working Conditions

Postby AntipodeanPhil » Tue Apr 10, 2012 2:13 am

The most important things about big law are common knowledge on TLS. To generalize: $160k + bonus, inhumane hours, inane tasks until you prove yourself, little chance at making partner, et cetera.

But I was wondering about some of the less significant details of the working conditions for an associate and how they compare to other jobs. I believe some firms will pay for taxis when associates work late, for example – is that common? Do associates share secretaries and/or paralegals? At what point would an associate have his or her own secretary? Are associates provided with a laptop and a cellphone? Does each associate get his or her own office? Will the office have a window? Is food provided by firms? Are there any other perks or quirks to working in big law?

I know none of this stuff is of great importance, but it is relevant, and it helps paint a picture of what life in big law is like at a day-to-day level. Comments by current associates or 3Ls who have summered at a big law firm would be especially appreciated.

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Detrox
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Joined: Fri Aug 19, 2011 3:58 pm

Re: Big Law Working Conditions

Postby Detrox » Tue Apr 10, 2012 6:47 am

Disclaimer: 2L.

A lot of your questions will vary firm to firm, but to give you my general impressions:

1. Cars are generally provided by most firms for when you work past a certain time, I think after 8 or 9 the option to use a car service is common.

2. No idea on the secretaries but I think it's pretty early on.

3. Laptop and blackberry are common for most top firms, this information is generally available on their websites.

4. 1st year associates almost never get their own offices, the trend seems to be to provide solo offices around the third year, but again this varies firm to firm. Same with the situation as to whether or not you get an office with a window. Some firms will have shared offices have windows and unshared offices without for the more junior associates.

5. Food is definitely provided by firms. Breakfast is common I believe. Most firms have cafeterias for lunch which vary in quality, and each firm has a policy about how many/how much associates can spend on lunches outside the firm or delivered to you so you can eat while you work. Additionally dinners tend to be covered if you stay late I believe, and there are numerous "firm dinners" and events that provide more food than you will likely be able to handle.

6. There are various other perks but this is too general for me to be able to answer effectively. Advances of salary, bar exam and preparation fees being covered, gym memberships, and "firm events" (although these last ones are often not seen as "perks") are all common examples of things that may fall into this category.

Most of this information is available at various firms' websites, and if not it's something you can ask at your OCI (within common sense discretion).

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AntipodeanPhil
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Joined: Fri Apr 08, 2011 7:02 pm

Re: Big Law Working Conditions

Postby AntipodeanPhil » Tue Apr 10, 2012 10:57 am

Thanks! That's very helpful.

I guess what you can't find out at OCI interviews will become obvious if you're observant during a call back - the office space, in particular, is something I imagine really mattering to me.

Anyone else with comments?




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