How much time does the average lawyer spend in big law?

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09042014
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Re: How much time does the average lawyer spend in big law?

Postby 09042014 » Tue Apr 17, 2012 6:17 pm

bk1 wrote:In 2007, 80% had left large firm practice by year 5. No way taipeimort's numbers are right.


Probably changed a bit ITE. There aren't a lot of jobs to lateral to.

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: How much time does the average lawyer spend in big law?

Postby Tiago Splitter » Tue Apr 17, 2012 6:22 pm

Desert Fox wrote:
bk1 wrote:In 2007, 80% had left large firm practice by year 5. No way taipeimort's numbers are right.


Probably changed a bit ITE. There aren't a lot of jobs to lateral to.


I'd also have to think the rapidly rising cost of law school would keep people in BigLaw longer.

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Re: How much time does the average lawyer spend in big law?

Postby 09042014 » Tue Apr 17, 2012 6:24 pm

Tiago Splitter wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:
bk1 wrote:In 2007, 80% had left large firm practice by year 5. No way taipeimort's numbers are right.


Probably changed a bit ITE. There aren't a lot of jobs to lateral to.


I'd also have to think the rapidly rising cost of law school would keep people in BigLaw longer.


Not if the lateral options paid pretty well, which they do, if you can get them.

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nealric
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Re: How much time does the average lawyer spend in big law?

Postby nealric » Tue Apr 17, 2012 8:14 pm

My guess is that the median tenure in biglaw (notwithstanding those who started in the 2008-2010 era of doom) is about 4-5 years. That includes those who lateral to other biglaw firms. Most exit options before that timeframe are other biglaw jobs. Usually, the boutiques and in-house jobs start popping up around year 4.

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Re: How much time does the average lawyer spend in big law?

Postby bk1 » Tue Apr 17, 2012 9:21 pm

Desert Fox wrote:
Tiago Splitter wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:
bk1 wrote:In 2007, 80% had left large firm practice by year 5. No way taipeimort's numbers are right.


Probably changed a bit ITE. There aren't a lot of jobs to lateral to.


I'd also have to think the rapidly rising cost of law school would keep people in BigLaw longer.


Not if the lateral options paid pretty well, which they do, if you can get them.


I agree that it probably changed ITE. Though I agree more with Tiago. Lateral options pay well but looking at the current debt levels, even a job that's barely above 100k means around 70k after taxes which can be rough if you exit before year 5. Though admittedly I don't know too much about lateral options.

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Re: How much time does the average lawyer spend in big law?

Postby Geon » Sat Apr 21, 2012 11:25 pm

LogicalBaozi wrote:
Geon wrote:
ColtsFan88 wrote:
CanadianWolf wrote:As written above, average lawyers don't get biglaw. This is important to understand since you're thread title suggests that all law grads experience biglaw when, in fact, only a small minority do.

Yes, a better title would be "How much time does the average lawyer, who actually worked in biglaw at one point, work in biglaw?"

Yes, but a better answer would involve answering the op's question rather than just playing semantics and word games. I have no problem with people not knowing an answer, but when people make post like your question should say this word or have two commas instead of that word, it does not help at all.


Many people are law students, and semantics are a rather big deal in law (and the LSAT, too, for the 0Ls on these boards).

You asked about "average lawyers"; so, some people had a good time noting that average lawyers don't usually make biglaw (if we look at the average law student, he/she probably goes to a TT/TTT. Given the bar failure rate, the average lawyer is likely from a low T1/TT, and not at the top of their class, and so is not likely to be in BigLaw.

A better question would be, "What is the median/modal length of time a lawyer spends in their initial BigLaw firm?" Being in BigLaw is then an assumption, and we then argue about trends and such.

For that, what I have gleaned from TLS is that:

There is a high burnout rate. 80% drop out before year 5, and there are 20-30% attrition rates beginning from year 1 in firms before that. Most burnouts leave after 2-3 years, with those associates not on a partner track leaving after year 4-5. So, you would probably see two major waves of departures- the transfers/burnouts after 2-3 years, and the guys who realize they aren't making partner later on. Plus the high attrition of a high-stress job that requires you to devote tons of time.

I left out average because the few who do make partner can have 20-40 year careers, bringing averages up considerably.

tl;dr Don't expect to spend your entire career in BigLaw, even if you get it. Even those of us who are gunning for it know burnout is a real possibility.


My question was:
"How much time does the average lawyer spend in big law?"

Normal people would understand that this means of the lawyers who are in big law or make it into there, what is the average amount of time they spend in it. Given that these people are able to decipher incomprehensible LSAT hocus pocus bull caca where FAR more vague questions come up in the arguments, it surprises me that someone would want to come up with ha ha, the average lawyer doesn't make big law. Seriously, what reasonable law student would think I am trying to ask some kind of trick question or gotcha questions. What are these people going to do when their boss ask them a straightforward question, come up with these kind of bull shit answers when they do not know the answer. That's a sure good way to piss of the people you work with and line yourself to be laid off ITE.

Even your new question:
"What is the median/modal length of time a lawyer spends in their initial BigLaw firm?"
Is still open to the same criticism, as one could argue the median lawyer does not spend any time in big law. Playing these kind of word games are silly and waste forum space, waste my time, your time and people reading this time. People playing these kind of word games are really just trolls, and the mods ought to crackdown on them, because more often than not, they contribute nothing to conversation/forum, and they have a pattern of posting these useless responses in every thread as they know nothing. Yes I may know very little about big law, but at least I keep my mouth shut and don't go around into every big law thread and criticisize the wording of the question of the ops when I have nothing to contributr. In fact these trolls are driving away the few knowledgeable posters who actually make useful post in this forum.

Now I am not saying you are one of the trolls, but you just have to look above in this thread to see them. I actually found the 2nd part of your post informative.

So what do those who drop out of big law by 2-3 year and 5th year mark do afterwards? Do they go to other big law firms, or completely leave big law? Do they stay in law or just leave law altogether? And if they leave law then what do they do?
Whats TTT (tier 3)?

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Re: How much time does the average lawyer spend in big law?

Postby Geon » Sat Apr 21, 2012 11:28 pm

I'd also have to think the rapidly rising cost of law school would keep people in BigLaw longer.[/quote]

Not if the lateral options paid pretty well, which they do, if you can get them.[/quote]

I agree that it probably changed ITE. Though I agree more with Tiago. Lateral options pay well but looking at the current debt levels, even a job that's barely above 100k means around 70k after taxes which can be rough if you exit before year 5. Though admittedly I don't know too much about lateral options.[/quote]

Wait, what are these exit options that pay 100k and involve far less work? Why don't top law students just go straigt for them?

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Re: How much time does the average lawyer spend in big law?

Postby bk1 » Sun Apr 22, 2012 12:07 am

Geon wrote:Wait, what are these exit options that pay 100k and involve far less work? Why don't top law students just go straigt for them?


Things like in-house counsel (gov work might get close to 6 figures). They don't take it because those jobs rarely hire fresh law grads. And for some, 100k isn't going to pay off 250k+ debt as well as 160k+ does.

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Re: How much time does the average lawyer spend in big law?

Postby Detrox » Sun Apr 22, 2012 1:06 am

Even your new question:
"What is the median/modal length of time a lawyer spends in their initial BigLaw firm?"
Is still open to the same criticism, as one could argue the median lawyer does not spend any time in big law. Playing these kind of word games are silly and waste forum space, waste my time, your time and people reading this time. People playing these kind of word games are really just trolls, and the mods ought to crackdown on them, because more often than not, they contribute nothing to conversation/forum, and they have a pattern of posting these useless responses in every thread as they know nothing. Yes I may know very little about big law, but at least I keep my mouth shut and don't go around into every big law thread and criticisize the wording of the question of the ops when I have nothing to contributr. In fact these trolls are driving away the few knowledgeable posters who actually make useful post in this forum.

Now I am not saying you are one of the trolls, but you just have to look above in this thread to see them. I actually found the 2nd part of your post informative.

So what do those who drop out of big law by 2-3 year and 5th year mark do afterwards? Do they go to other big law firms, or completely leave big law? Do they stay in law or just leave law altogether? And if they leave law then what do they do?
Whats TTT (tier 3)?


Even though I agree that there shouldn't have been any comment that "median lawyers" don't get Biglaw and all that nitpicking hooey, this response is just counterproductive and weakens your side.

In his question, median modifies "length of time," not lawyer, so no, it doesn't fall prey to the same linguistic mistake as your phrasing. All that LSAT "hocus pocus" is about reading comprehension and the grasp of the English language, so it doesn't help greatly to lash out at people who utilize those skills. Furthermore, your response is riddled with typos (although I'm sure my posts have plenty, this post went beyond that of the average post I've seen on this forum) and additionally seems blindly driven by emotion. Learn to accept minor criticism instead of lashing out at "trolls" who simply point out your mistakes.

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Re: How much time does the average lawyer spend in big law?

Postby Kendi » Sun Apr 22, 2012 1:28 am

Let’s say you are in Big Law and in year 3-5 and you are ready to move out. What are your options if you need to make the same pay? Also, if you stay in Big Law what tends to happen down the road, work and pay wise?

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Re: How much time does the average lawyer spend in big law?

Postby bdubs » Sun Apr 22, 2012 1:36 am

Kendi wrote:Let’s say you are in Big Law and in year 3-5 and you are ready to move out. What are your options if you need to make the same pay?


Need? Don't arrange your life so that you need to make $275k a year to get by. It's a very precarious position to be in.

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Re: How much time does the average lawyer spend in big law?

Postby Geon » Sun Apr 22, 2012 3:00 pm

Detrox wrote:
Even your new question:
"What is the median/modal length of time a lawyer spends in their initial BigLaw firm?"
Is still open to the same criticism, as one could argue the median lawyer does not spend any time in big law. Playing these kind of word games are silly and waste forum space, waste my time, your time and people reading this time. People playing these kind of word games are really just trolls, and the mods ought to crackdown on them, because more often than not, they contribute nothing to conversation/forum, and they have a pattern of posting these useless responses in every thread as they know nothing. Yes I may know very little about big law, but at least I keep my mouth shut and don't go around into every big law thread and criticisize the wording of the question of the ops when I have nothing to contributr. In fact these trolls are driving away the few knowledgeable posters who actually make useful post in this forum.

Now I am not saying you are one of the trolls, but you just have to look above in this thread to see them. I actually found the 2nd part of your post informative.

So what do those who drop out of big law by 2-3 year and 5th year mark do afterwards? Do they go to other big law firms, or completely leave big law? Do they stay in law or just leave law altogether? And if they leave law then what do they do?
Whats TTT (tier 3)?


Even though I agree that there shouldn't have been any comment that "median lawyers" don't get Biglaw and all that nitpicking hooey, this response is just counterproductive and weakens your side.

In his question, median modifies "length of time," not lawyer, so no, it doesn't fall prey to the same linguistic mistake as your phrasing. All that LSAT "hocus pocus" is about reading comprehension and the grasp of the English language, so it doesn't help greatly to lash out at people who utilize those skills. Furthermore, your response is riddled with typos (although I'm sure my posts have plenty, this post went beyond that of the average post I've seen on this forum) and additionally seems blindly driven by emotion. Learn to accept minor criticism instead of lashing out at "trolls" who simply point out your mistakes.


No these people are trolls, this is not a grammar thread, you want to nit pick about grammar go to an english linguistics forum and nit pick spelling syntax all day. we are not english teachers marking each other. If someone's question is unclear, then say you don't understand the question but all this nit picking is just causing the forum to become a difficult place slowly being taken over by grammar trolls and the most useful contributors are slowly leaving because of it. If someone who reads my question doesn't understand it, they'd probably have a serious reading comprehension issue. It is obvious from the question that I am talking about lawyers in big law, I am not concerned with lawyers not in big law and the time they do not spend it, and if one did the lsat, they should have learned that naturally my question assumes that. Heck if one speaks english they should know that.

Seriously, what kind of loser goes around patrolling the internet forums for spelling and grammar. This is the last I will respond to grammar trolling post as you can see it is already derailing the thread, which grammar trolls LOVE to do.

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Re: How much time does the average lawyer spend in big law?

Postby Aberzombie1892 » Sun Apr 22, 2012 3:17 pm

bdubs wrote:
Kendi wrote:Let’s say you are in Big Law and in year 3-5 and you are ready to move out. What are your options if you need to make the same pay?


Need? Don't arrange your life so that you need to make $275k a year to get by. It's a very precarious position to be in.


This. Big law provides a trap in which young big law associates fall into when they make the mistake of adjusting their lifestyles to reflect their high pay. The fact of the matter is, the overwhelming majority of big law associates that start at $160K/year in big law won't be making that amount 4 years later. In order to compensate for this, young associates should not arrange their life to reflect the assumption that they will always make that much or more until they make partner somewhere.

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Re: How much time does the average lawyer spend in big law?

Postby swc65 » Sun Apr 22, 2012 5:26 pm

Aberzombie1892 wrote:
bdubs wrote:
Kendi wrote:Let’s say you are in Big Law and in year 3-5 and you are ready to move out. What are your options if you need to make the same pay?


Need? Don't arrange your life so that you need to make $275k a year to get by. It's a very precarious position to be in.


This. Big law provides a trap in which young big law associates fall into when they make the mistake of adjusting their lifestyles to reflect their high pay. The fact of the matter is, the overwhelming majority of big law associates that start at $160K/year in big law won't be making that amount 4 years later. In order to compensate for this, young associates should not arrange their life to reflect the assumption that they will always make that much or more until they make partner somewhere.



yes! It is worth noting that it is hard not to arrange your life to depend on that paycheck. I have talked to so many midlevels that would love to leave and do something else but can't/won't because of this. The common theme is that your lifestyle grows to fit your paycheck. It takes a lot of work to keep this from happening. When your biglaw buddies go out and spend a G or two on models and bottles (which really means steaks and terrible but expensive wine) it is tough to say no. Everyone will be telling you that you deserve it because you work so hard. In fact, this culture starts during the summer. So many associates told us summers to just spend our summer money. "Enjoy it, you will be working hard and long soon and you won't have the time then." or "You will make plenty of it later. Take advantage of having the money and the time now. Soon you will only have the money." Many of my classmates who had SAs last year have spent every dime (including me) they made last summer. There are tons of excuses to do so! be careful, it really is a trap.

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Re: How much time does the average lawyer spend in big law?

Postby Kendi » Sun Apr 22, 2012 7:33 pm

Aberzombie1892 wrote:This. Big law provides a trap in which young big law associates fall into when they make the mistake of adjusting their lifestyles to reflect their high pay. The fact of the matter is, the overwhelming majority of big law associates that start at $160K/year in big law won't be making that amount 4 years later.

Why is that? The $160k might drop to what? Is the drop temporary, like a year or two? My original question remains, what tends to happen after year 3-5. . .start over at a new firm, form a firm, or what?

For me Big Law would not likely include NYC, so having to earn the really big COL bucks to handle an extravagant lifestyle should not become an issue. Also, thanks for your input.

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Re: How much time does the average lawyer spend in big law?

Postby rayiner » Sun Apr 22, 2012 7:43 pm

bk1 wrote:
Geon wrote:Wait, what are these exit options that pay 100k and involve far less work? Why don't top law students just go straigt for them?


Things like in-house counsel (gov work might get close to 6 figures). They don't take it because those jobs rarely hire fresh law grads. And for some, 100k isn't going to pay off 250k+ debt as well as 160k+ does.


Attorneys at DOJ can hit GS-15 ($120k+ in DC) within just a few years.

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Re: How much time does the average lawyer spend in big law?

Postby rayiner » Sun Apr 22, 2012 7:44 pm

Kendi wrote:
Aberzombie1892 wrote:This. Big law provides a trap in which young big law associates fall into when they make the mistake of adjusting their lifestyles to reflect their high pay. The fact of the matter is, the overwhelming majority of big law associates that start at $160K/year in big law won't be making that amount 4 years later.

Why is that? The $160k might drop to what? Is the drop temporary, like a year or two? My original question remains, what tends to happen after year 3-5. . .start over at a new firm, form a firm, or what?

For me Big Law would not likely include NYC, so having to earn the really big COL bucks to handle an extravagant lifestyle should not become an issue. Also, thanks for your input.


http://s3.amazonaws.com/DBM/M3/2011/Dow ... e_2012.pdf

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Re: How much time does the average lawyer spend in big law?

Postby bk1 » Sun Apr 22, 2012 7:47 pm

Kendi wrote:Why is that? The $160k might drop to what? Is the drop temporary, like a year or two? My original question remains, what tends to happen after year 3-5. . .start over at a new firm, form a firm, or what?


You're ignoring that 160k is base salary for first year biglaw associates (in NYC and other major markets). There are bonuses on top of that and lockstep raises. It seems unlikely that you will ever be able to reach the amount of money you were making in biglaw once you step out of biglaw (with some exceptions).

It's hard to tell what they do since I haven't seen much data on it. I'd imagine most stay with firms though probably transition to smaller firms. There's in-house counsel as well as gov jobs like USAO/DoJ. Yale has 5 years out data (http://www.law.yale.edu/studentlife/cdo5yrsurvey.htm) but you have a bias due to lower response rate and the fact that it's Yale (and because of the latter a lot of them have clerkships which skews what they do as well).

ETA: Seems like rayiner posted some data above.

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Re: How much time does the average lawyer spend in big law?

Postby concurrent fork » Sun Apr 22, 2012 7:48 pm

swc65 wrote:There are tons of excuses to do so! be careful, it really is a trap.

(Ackbar speaking to incoming SAs)

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Re: How much time does the average lawyer spend in big law?

Postby bk1 » Sun Apr 22, 2012 7:50 pm

rayiner wrote:Attorneys at DOJ can hit GS-15 ($120k+ in DC) within just a few years.


Isn't getting GS-15 hard though? (I have no idea.)

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Re: How much time does the average lawyer spend in big law?

Postby Geon » Sun Apr 22, 2012 8:02 pm

Aberzombie1892 wrote:
bdubs wrote:
Kendi wrote:Let’s say you are in Big Law and in year 3-5 and you are ready to move out. What are your options if you need to make the same pay?


Need? Don't arrange your life so that you need to make $275k a year to get by. It's a very precarious position to be in.


This. Big law provides a trap in which young big law associates fall into when they make the mistake of adjusting their lifestyles to reflect their high pay. The fact of the matter is, the overwhelming majority of big law associates that start at $160K/year in big law won't be making that amount 4 years later. In order to compensate for this, young associates should not arrange their life to reflect the assumption that they will always make that much or more until they make partner somewhere.


Is this true?

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Re: How much time does the average lawyer spend in big law?

Postby Geon » Sun Apr 22, 2012 8:07 pm

rayiner wrote:
Kendi wrote:
Aberzombie1892 wrote:This. Big law provides a trap in which young big law associates fall into when they make the mistake of adjusting their lifestyles to reflect their high pay. The fact of the matter is, the overwhelming majority of big law associates that start at $160K/year in big law won't be making that amount 4 years later.

Why is that? The $160k might drop to what? Is the drop temporary, like a year or two? My original question remains, what tends to happen after year 3-5. . .start over at a new firm, form a firm, or what?

For me Big Law would not likely include NYC, so having to earn the really big COL bucks to handle an extravagant lifestyle should not become an issue. Also, thanks for your input.


http://s3.amazonaws.com/DBM/M3/2011/Dow ... e_2012.pdf


Link no trabajo (work)

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Re: How much time does the average lawyer spend in big law?

Postby Geon » Sun Apr 22, 2012 8:12 pm

bk1 wrote:
Kendi wrote:Why is that? The $160k might drop to what? Is the drop temporary, like a year or two? My original question remains, what tends to happen after year 3-5. . .start over at a new firm, form a firm, or what?


You're ignoring that 160k is base salary for first year biglaw associates (in NYC and other major markets). There are bonuses on top of that and lockstep raises. It seems unlikely that you will ever be able to reach the amount of money you were making in biglaw once you step out of biglaw (with some exceptions).

It's hard to tell what they do since I haven't seen much data on it. I'd imagine most stay with firms though probably transition to smaller firms. There's in-house counsel as well as gov jobs like USAO/DoJ. Yale has 5 years out data (http://www.law.yale.edu/studentlife/cdo5yrsurvey.htm) but you have a bias due to lower response rate and the fact that it's Yale (and because of the latter a lot of them have clerkships which skews what they do as well).

ETA: Seems like rayiner posted some data above.

Whats most interesting is that very few made over 300k 5 years out.

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bk1
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Re: How much time does the average lawyer spend in big law?

Postby bk1 » Sun Apr 22, 2012 8:20 pm

Geon wrote:Whats most interesting is that very few made over 300k 5 years out.

5th year biglaw associates I think make 260k. It's not surprising that very few make 300k+ 5 years out.

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Re: How much time does the average lawyer spend in big law?

Postby desertlaw » Sun Apr 22, 2012 9:00 pm

How does a SA spend all of their money in 10 weeks? That's mind-boggling.




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