Is Biglaw Work Intellectually Difficult?

A forum for applicants and admitted students to ask law students and graduates about law school and the practice of law.
User avatar
scifiguy
Posts: 575
Joined: Sat Sep 15, 2012 2:41 pm

Is Biglaw Work Intellectually Difficult?

Postby scifiguy » Thu Oct 11, 2012 8:46 pm

I know difficulty is a relative term, so maybe answers will have to be more personalized to this question or given with generalities. I'm wondering how tough and intellectually demanding biglaw work is? How does it compare to your law school studies or any other work you guys have done?

Is the challenge high enough that you stand a chance of "messing up" in your work? Would it be like missing an LSAT question?

And if you do make mistakes, are they easily correctable (like does someone oversee your work and then give you recommendations to fix it when errors are spotted, etc.)? Would you soon get fired for errors?

I'm kind of curious about this, because biglaw is where the starting law pay is highest and I'm wondering if that correlates with a higher level of intellecftual work? And if it doies, I'm really curious how tough that work is?

Appreciate people's feedback here. Thanks very much.

EliHBCU
Posts: 56
Joined: Wed May 11, 2011 9:05 pm

Re: Is Biglaw Work Intellectually Difficult?

Postby EliHBCU » Fri Oct 26, 2012 3:33 pm

Difficulty being relative, not necessarily.

Some BigLaw associates do glorified grunt work (eg. document review, coverage attorney work, research on issues). Other BigLaw offices have associates handling cases.

As to the whether there is someone over your shoulder, this will also be totally firm specific. You could be put with a partner who is there to assist you if you have any questions. Or your firm could be more like a trial by fire type atmosphere.

Getting in trouble from messing up. BigLaw usually deals with BigClients. If you miss a due date, hearing, mediation, fail to find a case which is persuasive for your client, that could cost your client dearly. Costing your client dearly, will not win you any favors with your bosses. It is important as an associate that you have someone to go to for advice and to review your work. Great questions.


Day in the Life of a BigLaw Associate (LinkRemoved)

User avatar
scifiguy
Posts: 575
Joined: Sat Sep 15, 2012 2:41 pm

Re: Is Biglaw Work Intellectually Difficult?

Postby scifiguy » Sun Nov 04, 2012 7:03 am

EliHBCU wrote:Difficulty being relative, not necessarily.

Some BigLaw associates do glorified grunt work (eg. document review, coverage attorney work, research on issues). Other BigLaw offices have associates handling cases.

As to the whether there is someone over your shoulder, this will also be totally firm specific. You could be put with a partner who is there to assist you if you have any questions. Or your firm could be more like a trial by fire type atmosphere.

Getting in trouble from messing up. BigLaw usually deals with BigClients. If you miss a due date, hearing, mediation, fail to find a case which is persuasive for your client, that could cost your client dearly. Costing your client dearly, will not win you any favors with your bosses. It is important as an associate that you have someone to go to for advice and to review your work. Great questions.


Day in the Life of a BigLaw Associate (LinkRemoved)


Hi Eli and thanks a bunch for taking the time to respond!

Very helpful.

I just wanted to follow-up a little (if you had time to respond). You mentioned a trial-by-fire type of atmosphere at some firms. Maybe this question isn't even specific to that type of firm, but just any firm. Is it possible to just ask a co-worker or someone above you for help in those situations?

I'm wondering how cooperative biglaw work is? Do people see you as their competition? Can/do you work together for the common good?

Lastly, for the "more difficult" type of biglaw work (not the document review stuff), would it ever be so hard that some associates just can't cognitively handle it? I guess maybe a precise example of what biglaw associates actually do would be great here. :lol: In some ways, it often seems like a mysterious realm that everyone wants to maek it to, but not a lot of specifics about what actual specific work gets done once you get there.

Oh and thanks for the link. I'm going to take a look. Appreciate it all! And best wishes to you in your work and for your future!

User avatar
DCDuck
Posts: 242
Joined: Mon Apr 06, 2009 4:27 pm

Re: Is Biglaw Work Intellectually Difficult?

Postby DCDuck » Sun Nov 04, 2012 7:37 am

The difficulty of the work depends-on the day, firm, practice. Messing up is not like missing an LSAT question (What? Nothing in real life is like missing an LSAT question. Forget about the LSAT). I think the biggest challenge is the amount of work, and the fact that the quality of the work needs to stay high regardless if you are billing your first or 75th hour of the week.

As a young associate, if given intellectually challenging work that you simply can't work through, a more senior person will help you. Chances are, if you've made it into big law, you'll be able to understand, with a little help perhaps, or time and practice.

There's lots of info on here about what biglaw is like. Have a search around.




Return to “Ask a Law Student / Graduate”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: lawschool2017712 and 6 guests