timbs4339 wrote:utlaw2007 wrote:priorities2 wrote:I'm considering going to law school and becoming a private immigration lawyer. I really like the idea of working 40-50 hours a week - I'm not really willing to go over that, and if I have kids I'd like to reduce the amount for a while. Would this be realistic for an immigration lawyer?
Thanks for your input!
You should not consider going to law school if you aren't ready to work more weekly hours than what you stated.
Going solo is the only way you can work less than 40 hrs a week as a lawyer and still make a lot of money. But that is far from a guarantee. That is not common in the least bit. The most likely reason for a solo working less than 40 hours a week is that you have no cases to work. And if you have no cases to work, you're probably living on the street or close to it. I would say that most small firms would still work you over 50 hours a week. If there is no need to, then why would the firm owners hire you? What good would you be to them?
This. And although you might be able to average 40 a week and still make decent money, you'll be working 70-80 hours certain weeks, such as before trial.
OP: I have a decent paying, interesting government job and average about 50 hours- but that includes nine months of the year when 60 is more like the average. The most I've done is 100.
OP, I advise you to ignore these two posters, as they're obviously clueless regarding private immigration practice.
First, you almost never go to "trial" as an immigration lawyer. Even if your job were exclusively confined to suing administrative agencies for injunctive relief (which is a rare niche), you will rarely if ever actually need to go to court for a case. More commonly, you might be expected to represent a client before an ALJ on occasion. But the vast majority of what you will do involves filing petitions, applications, motions, etc. with administrative agencies like USCIS. Many immigration lawyers never so much as step foot into an administrative hearing even after years of practice. Of course, this all depends on the nature of the particular firm at which you're working and the scope of work it chooses to take. But the point remains that litigation (and its concomitant upward spikes in workload) generally comprises only a very small portion of what an immigration lawyer does. And many never litigate at all.
Second, these blanket statements you're getting about workload expectations are unrealistic, inaccurate, and unhelpful. Anecdotal reports about "decent paying, interesting" government jobs are likewise totally irrelevant. To answer your question: yes, there are opportunities in private immigration practice which both pay decently well and are conducive to a good work-life balance. Again, if you land such an opportunity, you will not be making anything close to a biglaw salary, but OTOH you will not be working more than 45 hrs per week either.
I realize this thread is a year old and was ninja necro'd, but if you're still around these parts and want more information, feel free to PM me.