What is big law really like?

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dailygrind
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Re: What is big law really like?

Postby dailygrind » Mon Jun 11, 2012 11:34 pm


skaterboyroland
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Re: What is big law really like?

Postby skaterboyroland » Mon Jun 11, 2012 11:53 pm

My poly sci professor from undergrad graduated from columbia law school. He said he quit working big law because his firm wanted him to lie to a judge. It does happen apparently, I doubt he was the only person that's been in that situation.

sparty99
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Re: What is big law really like?

Postby sparty99 » Tue Jun 12, 2012 12:00 am

Being a big law summer in a non nyc market has been a cake walk...

unitball
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Re: What is big law really like?

Postby unitball » Tue Jun 12, 2012 3:17 am

It's SO much bigger than the smaller laws out there.

flcath
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Re: What is big law really like?

Postby flcath » Tue Jun 12, 2012 4:48 am

2012JayDee wrote:
piney wrote:
2012JayDee wrote:You obviously have ZERO work experience, based on the fact that you wonder what you do when you sit down at your desk.

I have years of work experience. I work in a library. At my jobs, when I sit down at my desk, I catalog books and photographs or research them in the stacks. No job I have ever had is anything like what you describe, which is why I asked for details.

Also, my experience isn't enough to get me hired for any paralegal or clerical position. I can't get temp work, let alone a paralegal position in a major firm.


I apologize for the assumption.
Law firm work is nothing like working in a library. If you're shy, sensitive, easily offended, don't take criticism well, not a perfectionist or willing to work for a bunch of people who are--law firm life is not for you.
That doesn't mean law school or being a lawyer is not. You'll have to decide that for yourself. But if you like a job with a standard 9-5 M-F with little chance of long hours or weekend or holiday hours then you are not looking to work in a law firm.

From what I've seen I agree; the level of criticism--often angry, and sometimes just mean and/or wrong--is extremely high. It reminds me of being a waiter (and taking shit from the CC-educated manager who was taking out his anger over his slutty wife and mounting bills on me) more than being a teacher.

When you do get yelled at, just respond in a dignified fashion, think of the $$$ they're paying you to put up with it, and--PROTIP here--if you are a male getting admonished by a shorter male, stand up during it, so that he has to look upwards in a submissive fashion in order to address you, like a Chihuahua yapping at a Great Dane.

dixiecupdrinking
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Re: What is big law really like?

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Tue Jun 12, 2012 7:47 am

flcath wrote:
2012JayDee wrote:
piney wrote:
2012JayDee wrote:You obviously have ZERO work experience, based on the fact that you wonder what you do when you sit down at your desk.

I have years of work experience. I work in a library. At my jobs, when I sit down at my desk, I catalog books and photographs or research them in the stacks. No job I have ever had is anything like what you describe, which is why I asked for details.

Also, my experience isn't enough to get me hired for any paralegal or clerical position. I can't get temp work, let alone a paralegal position in a major firm.


I apologize for the assumption.
Law firm work is nothing like working in a library. If you're shy, sensitive, easily offended, don't take criticism well, not a perfectionist or willing to work for a bunch of people who are--law firm life is not for you.
That doesn't mean law school or being a lawyer is not. You'll have to decide that for yourself. But if you like a job with a standard 9-5 M-F with little chance of long hours or weekend or holiday hours then you are not looking to work in a law firm.

From what I've seen I agree; the level of criticism--often angry, and sometimes just mean and/or wrong--is extremely high. It reminds me of being a waiter (and taking shit from the CC-educated manager who was taking out his anger over his slutty wife and mounting bills on me) more than being a teacher.

When you do get yelled at, just respond in a dignified fashion, think of the $$$ they're paying you to put up with it, and--PROTIP here--if you are a male getting admonished by a shorter male, stand up during it, so that he has to look upwards in a submissive fashion in order to address you, like a Chihuahua yapping at a Great Dane.

I think this is VERY firm-dependent. I'm just a summer so obviously I have a charmed experience of my office so far, but I would be very surprised if yelling was anything other than a rare occurrence at my firm.

2012JayDee
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Re: What is big law really like?

Postby 2012JayDee » Tue Jun 12, 2012 11:42 am

dixiecupdrinking wrote:I think this is VERY firm-dependent. I'm just a summer so obviously I have a charmed experience of my office so far, but I would be very surprised if yelling was anything other than a rare occurrence at my firm.



Yelling and mean-spirited comments are not welcome at my firm either. Not from anyone and not to anyone.
But they don't like shy people because they need people that can be outgoing and present well to clients.
As a young associate you are going to make a lot of mistakes and those mistakes are going to be corrected immediately, and everyone will have a different way of correcting (put the comma here, no put it here, say this, no say that... it never ends), and you have to be willing to understand that you're going to put up with a lot of correction of your work, and you will often doubt your competence. After spending 3 years in law school you'll even wonder if you're qualified to be a lawyer.

When people criticize your work they shouldn't be criticizing you directly, but often times you may feel like it and you'll feel you're not doing anything right. That happens whether you're a Summer assoc or brand new associate. But it's not personal and people that take it personally are going to have a hard time moving on.

In some jobs small mistakes are negligible and easily looked over. Not to place little importance on OPs job but if she put two books on a shelf and they're in the wrong order it's a pretty simple error that can be overlooked. When you're turning in work for a firm there can be no mistakes. Documents that go out with mistakes are a reflection of the firm and the attorneys in it and therefore your work will be heavily scrutinized. If you can't or don't like to put up with that kind of pressure then legal work is probably not for you. Even if you're not at a large firm this is the case. If you're a public defender writing a brief for court the last thing you want are typos. The judge will call you out in court. Feelings can get hurt very easily and if you know you're susceptible to hurt feelings and sensitivity you should think twice about law as a profession and certainly about working in a firm. Of course, I can think of 100 other reasons why you would want to work in a firm as well.

jim-green
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Re: What is big law really like?

Postby jim-green » Tue Jun 12, 2012 1:51 pm

piney wrote:
2012JayDee wrote:You obviously have ZERO work experience, based on the fact that you wonder what you do when you sit down at your desk.
I have years of work experience. I work in a library. At my jobs, when I sit down at my desk, I catalog books and photographs or research them in the stacks.

I may be wrong, but if you have worked for years cataloging and researching books and photographs, that is IP work experience. You could become an IP litigator and be making $200,000 in two years out of law school.

2012JayDee
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Re: What is big law really like?

Postby 2012JayDee » Tue Jun 12, 2012 1:58 pm

jim-green wrote:
piney wrote:
2012JayDee wrote:You obviously have ZERO work experience, based on the fact that you wonder what you do when you sit down at your desk.
I have years of work experience. I work in a library. At my jobs, when I sit down at my desk, I catalog books and photographs or research them in the stacks.

I may be wrong, but if you have worked for years cataloging and researching books and photographs, that is IP work experience. You could become an IP litigator and be making $200,000 in two years out of law school.


You are incorrect.
This is not IP work experience. This does not qualify OP to be an IP litigator. She will not make $200,000 two years out of law school.

jim-green
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Re: What is big law really like?

Postby jim-green » Tue Jun 12, 2012 2:11 pm

2012JayDee wrote:
jim-green wrote:
piney wrote:
2012JayDee wrote:You obviously have ZERO ... t down at your desk.
I have years of work ... d photographs or research them in the stacks.

I may be wrong, but if you have worked for years cataloging and researching books and photographs, that is IP work experience. You could become an IP litigator and be making $200,000 in two years out of law school.
You are incorrect. This is not IP work experience. This does not qualify OP to be an IP litigator. She will not make $200,000 two years out of law school.
I mean for (C) work, not patents...

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Big Shrimpin
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Re: What is big law really like?

Postby Big Shrimpin » Tue Jun 12, 2012 2:30 pm

This tread is full of 'derp.

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rayiner
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Re: What is big law really like?

Postby rayiner » Tue Jun 12, 2012 4:20 pm

jim-green wrote:
2012JayDee wrote:
jim-green wrote:
piney wrote:I have years of work ... d photographs or research them in the stacks.

I may be wrong, but if you have worked for years cataloging and researching books and photographs, that is IP work experience. You could become an IP litigator and be making $200,000 in two years out of law school.
You are incorrect. This is not IP work experience. This does not qualify OP to be an IP litigator. She will not make $200,000 two years out of law school.
I mean for (C) work, not patents...


There is very little copyright work. And being a librarian doesn't qualify you for such work anyway.

piney
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Re: What is big law really like?

Postby piney » Tue Jun 12, 2012 5:29 pm

2012JayDee wrote:
jim-green wrote:
piney wrote:
2012JayDee wrote:You obviously have ZERO work experience, based on the fact that you wonder what you do when you sit down at your desk.
I have years of work experience. I work in a library. At my jobs, when I sit down at my desk, I catalog books and photographs or research them in the stacks.

I may be wrong, but if you have worked for years cataloging and researching books and photographs, that is IP work experience. You could become an IP litigator and be making $200,000 in two years out of law school.


You are incorrect.
This is not IP work experience. This does not qualify OP to be an IP litigator. She will not make $200,000 two years out of law school.

Also, I'm not a woman. I'm a 27 year old male, and I ended up in library work by accident.

riverofbbq
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Re: What is big law really like?

Postby riverofbbq » Tue Jun 12, 2012 5:47 pm

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Last edited by riverofbbq on Thu Dec 06, 2012 5:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

abc12345675
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Re: What is big law really like?

Postby abc12345675 » Tue Jun 12, 2012 5:49 pm

If you want to know what Biglaw is like, why not email someone who does it and ask to have a cup of coffee?

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Sheffield
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Re: What is big law really like?

Postby Sheffield » Sat Nov 24, 2012 1:54 am

Although a few months dated, I found this thread to be the most interesting read on TLS. The question I have regards Rainmaker, which is perhaps too strong a term for a first or second year associate (and especially not an SA). Is the inability to be a Rainmaker a primary reason why many associates do not last for more than three/four years. . . .or is this urban legend?

How does being a Rainmaker in a 50 attorney differ from BL with hundreds-of-attorneys?

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dingbat
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Re: What is big law really like?

Postby dingbat » Sat Nov 24, 2012 1:25 pm

Sheffield wrote:Although a few months dated, I found this thread to be the most interesting read on TLS. The question I have regards Rainmaker, which is perhaps too strong a term for a first or second year associate (and especially not an SA). Is the inability to be a Rainmaker a primary reason why many associates do not last for more than three/four years. . . .or is this urban legend?

How does being a Rainmaker in a 50 attorney differ from BL with hundreds-of-attorneys?

How do you think someone becomes a rainmaker?

While I have yet to work in biglaw, I think many people don't last more than 4 years for one of 2 reasons:
1) Competence - they just can't hack it.
2) Desire - making big bucks sounds well and good, but until you've lived the lifestyle and understand what working 100 hour weeks on a regular basis means, you don't know if it's worth it.

Being a rainmaker is what gets you a partnership, but practically speaking almost no one becomes one in 3-4 years. Hell, it takes that long before clients would even consider discussing certain topics with you.

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Sheffield
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Re: What is big law really like?

Postby Sheffield » Sun Nov 25, 2012 2:26 am

dingbat wrote:Being a rainmaker is what gets you a partnership, but practically speaking almost no one becomes one in 3-4 years. Hell, it takes that long before clients would even consider discussing certain topics with you.

I hope you are right because I hear that the inability to create [some] rain is what outs a number of 3rd and 4th years.

Green Jeans
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Re: What is big law really like?

Postby Green Jeans » Sun Nov 25, 2012 4:20 pm

I hope you are right because I hear that the inability to create [some] rain is what outs a number of 3rd and 4th years.


No one in any firm is going to expect you to be generating business within your third or fourth year. What makes people wash out after a certain number of years is that the structure of most firms requires it, as a typical firm has X number of First-Year Associates, (0.8)X Second-Years, etc. Some people just have to go.

Whatever metric that decision is based on varies. If you have the ability to "create rain" as a third year you will be safe, but practically no third years will.

With regards to the original question of this thread, it's a bit useless to ask "what is big law like" because the experience differs widely based on practice area, city, and most importantly, the demeanor of the particular people you will be working with.

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rayiner
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Re: What is big law really like?

Postby rayiner » Mon Nov 26, 2012 3:46 am

People on TLS are a bit ridiculous about what it takes to progress in big law firms. No associate is making it rain. At a lot of firms, even the junior partners aren't bringing in much business.

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scifiguy
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Re: What is big law really like?

Postby scifiguy » Mon Nov 26, 2012 4:31 am

So, how do you "make it rain" in biglaw?

What does that even mean?? Do you just talk to people and try to get them to pay you for some service? Do you have to come up with some original ideas? ..Is it some sort of skill set you develop?

Why can't a first or second...or third year person make it rain? Is it impossibel for them to do it even if they work really hard?

Apologies if my questions are maybe really simplistic guys. Still learning the lingo about law and what the legal world is really like. Appreciate it. I find the world of biglaw often the most mysterious sounding. Almost mythical. haha.

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scifiguy
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Re: What is big law really like?

Postby scifiguy » Mon Nov 26, 2012 4:47 am

About the supposed yelling that goes on in biglaw.

Is this just from superiors correcting your work and otherwise trying to get you to perform better?

Or do you also get yelled at by co-workers who are on teh same level as you? And is the yelling ever over stuff that you didn't do wrong? Like do they yell for simple things like passing them the stapler and to hurry up and give them some file?

Just wanting to see more specifically what the yelling is over. :P

Worked as a busboy before and the waiters would yell at us on busy nights. The owner would yell at us if we were slow or made mistakes, etc. I can understand yelling - even though I dislike it - when there's a need to step up your performance. Kind of like sports and how coaches yell at players.

That wouldn't bother me actually. I'm on the sensitive side too. But not really all that sensitive to that type of yelling, b/c I'm used to it and understadn it.

But it would suck if people yelled just because there was like an all-pervasive environment of disrespect going on. Like a bunch of nasty people just being personally selfish and rude. If it's a kind of non-performance related rudeness, then that wuold definitely suck.

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scifiguy
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Re: What is big law really like?

Postby scifiguy » Mon Nov 26, 2012 4:54 am

abc12345675 wrote:If you want to know what Biglaw is like, why not email someone who does it and ask to have a cup of coffee?



a.) How do you find them?
b.) Would this really work if we don't know them?

I mean, I would love to. But just asking. I wonder if they'd have time.

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scifiguy
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Re: What is big law really like?

Postby scifiguy » Mon Nov 26, 2012 5:02 am

2012JayDee wrote:
dixiecupdrinking wrote:I think this is VERY firm-dependent. I'm just a summer so obviously I have a charmed experience of my office so far, but I would be very surprised if yelling was anything other than a rare occurrence at my firm.



Yelling and mean-spirited comments are not welcome at my firm either. Not from anyone and not to anyone.
But they don't like shy people because they need people that can be outgoing and present well to clients.
As a young associate you are going to make a lot of mistakes and those mistakes are going to be corrected immediately, and everyone will have a different way of correcting (put the comma here, no put it here, say this, no say that... it never ends), and you have to be willing to understand that you're going to put up with a lot of correction of your work, and you will often doubt your competence. After spending 3 years in law school you'll even wonder if you're qualified to be a lawyer.

When people criticize your work they shouldn't be criticizing you directly, but often times you may feel like it and you'll feel you're not doing anything right. That happens whether you're a Summer assoc or brand new associate. But it's not personal and people that take it personally are going to have a hard time moving on.

In some jobs small mistakes are negligible and easily looked over. Not to place little importance on OPs job but if she put two books on a shelf and they're in the wrong order it's a pretty simple error that can be overlooked. When you're turning in work for a firm there can be no mistakes. Documents that go out with mistakes are a reflection of the firm and the attorneys in it and therefore your work will be heavily scrutinized. If you can't or don't like to put up with that kind of pressure then legal work is probably not for you. Even if you're not at a large firm this is the case. If you're a public defender writing a brief for court the last thing you want are typos. The judge will call you out in court. Feelings can get hurt very easily and if you know you're susceptible to hurt feelings and sensitivity you should think twice about law as a profession and certainly about working in a firm. Of course, I can think of 100 other reasons why you would want to work in a firm as well.



Is your last sentence a typo? Did you mean "wouldn't" instead of "would" in that sentence?

If so, you need to GET YOUR ACT TOGETHER YOUNG MAN!!! This is TLS here!!! Don't you know we represent the TOP Law Schools??? This is inexcusable! How do you expect to gain the respect of our readers with typos like that?!

**Sorry, I couldn't resist! :P :mrgreen: :lol:

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dingbat
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Re: What is big law really like?

Postby dingbat » Mon Nov 26, 2012 8:06 am

scifiguy wrote:So, how do you "make it rain" in biglaw?

What does that even mean?? Do you just talk to people and try to get them to pay you for some service? Do you have to come up with some original ideas? ..Is it some sort of skill set you develop?

Why can't a first or second...or third year person make it rain? Is it impossibel for them to do it even if they work really hard?

Apologies if my questions are maybe really simplistic guys. Still learning the lingo about law and what the legal world is really like. Appreciate it. I find the world of biglaw often the most mysterious sounding. Almost mythical. haha.

Make it rain means bringing in clients. A typical junior associate doesn't have the connections and power to bring in big clients and their friends are unlikely to be able to afford the firm's fees.

As you progress up the ladder, you need to impress the clients you work for as well as network with people who may in the future become decision makers, as well as colleagues. Hopefully, by the time you're in a senior position, clients will want to work with you and potential clients might refer to you (e.g. that ibanker you worked closely with who started his/her own hedgefund, or your fellow associate or law school classmate who is now a GC). That's how you "make it rain".

It's partly personality (some are just natural at it), partly background/upbringing (powerful friends), partly laying the groundwork early, and partly luck, because you never know who will be a success in later life and who may need your service. If you happen to have a friend who becomes the next mark zuckerberg, then you can make it rain. Or, you could do everything right, impress everyone you work with and stay in touch with everyone you meet, and unfortunately none of them ever become decision makers.




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