SMALL LAW hours?

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uncleleo
Posts: 13
Joined: Mon Mar 25, 2013 12:17 pm

SMALL LAW hours?

Postby uncleleo » Mon Mar 25, 2013 1:41 pm

there is so much info on BIGLAW on here, but not a whole lot on some of the other options out of law school. Working at a small firm, in NYC or elsewhere, are we talking somewhat regular business hours? or closer to biglaw?

Assuming debt can be avoided, a 60k job that is 9-6 and has room for advancement really doesnt sound that bad - or is it just me?

ironbmike
Posts: 379
Joined: Wed Jun 27, 2012 12:31 pm

Re: SMALL LAW hours?

Postby ironbmike » Mon Mar 25, 2013 2:52 pm

uncleleo wrote:there is so much info on BIGLAW on here, but not a whole lot on some of the other options out of law school. Working at a small firm, in NYC or elsewhere, are we talking somewhat regular business hours? or closer to biglaw?

Assuming debt can be avoided, a 60k job that is 9-6 and has room for advancement really doesnt sound that bad - or is it just me?


I think more people going to law school really need to work in a law office before they go. Real life experience trumps all. Then you can pursue whatever you are comfortable with.

uncleleo
Posts: 13
Joined: Mon Mar 25, 2013 12:17 pm

Re: SMALL LAW hours?

Postby uncleleo » Mon Mar 25, 2013 3:00 pm

ironbmike wrote:
uncleleo wrote:there is so much info on BIGLAW on here, but not a whole lot on some of the other options out of law school. Working at a small firm, in NYC or elsewhere, are we talking somewhat regular business hours? or closer to biglaw?

Assuming debt can be avoided, a 60k job that is 9-6 and has room for advancement really doesnt sound that bad - or is it just me?


I think more people going to law school really need to work in a law office before they go. Real life experience trumps all. Then you can pursue whatever you are comfortable with.


I agree. Let's say, hypothetically, one has a liberal arts degree from a non-top school, a couple years of work in another field, and thus seemingly no chance at getting a legal job without law school, and therefore has to rely exclusively on extensive research.

pianogirl
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Joined: Fri Jan 04, 2013 12:23 pm

Re: SMALL LAW hours?

Postby pianogirl » Mon Mar 25, 2013 3:03 pm

I would like to hear more about this as well! Can anyone comment on what the main differences are between biglaw and mid/small law?

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reasonable_man
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Joined: Thu Feb 12, 2009 5:41 pm

Re: SMALL LAW hours?

Postby reasonable_man » Mon Mar 25, 2013 3:34 pm

I've answered a lot of these questions in this thread:

viewtopic.php?f=23&t=202081&start=25


Whatever I don't address in that thread you can ask here or in there...

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: SMALL LAW hours?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Mon Mar 25, 2013 3:50 pm

uncleleo wrote:Assuming debt can be avoided, a 60k job that is 9-6 and has room for advancement really doesnt sound that bad - or is it just me?

Of course it doesn't. The problem is that 1) lots of people have debt, and 2) it's not always easy to walk into a $60K job. The bulk of law jobs cluster at ~$60K and below, with another spike at the $160K biglaw market rate. (See this chart: http://www.nalp.org/salarydistrib) So I don't think that people are knocking these jobs, it's just not always easy to say that you'll get $60K as opposed to, say, $40K. (Keep in mind, too, that the chart reflected reported salaries, which is probably higher than actual salaries.)

The other issue is, I think, that mid/smalllaw varies more by region/culture than biglaw. You can make more generalizations about biglaw than you can about small, I think. I will say that there are a number of small firms in my area (not NYC/either coast) where people still work fairly crazy hours (probably not the insane biglaw hours, but not 9-6) and make about $45K.

uncleleo
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Joined: Mon Mar 25, 2013 12:17 pm

Re: SMALL LAW hours?

Postby uncleleo » Wed Mar 27, 2013 9:10 pm

reasonable_man wrote:I've answered a lot of these questions in this thread:

viewtopic.php?f=23&t=202081&start=25


Whatever I don't address in that thread you can ask here or in there...


thanks for the link - lots of great stuff there!!

A Nony - i understand what you're saying. would it be reasonable to assume that small firm jobs in big cities (NY, LA) would be more likely to gravitate towards the higher end of the 40-60k window?

utlaw2007
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Joined: Wed Dec 22, 2010 9:49 pm

Re: SMALL LAW hours?

Postby utlaw2007 » Wed Mar 27, 2013 10:48 pm

The other issue is, I think, that mid/smalllaw varies more by region/culture than biglaw. You can make more generalizations about biglaw than you can about small, I think. I will say that there are a number of small firms in my area (not NYC/either coast) where people still work fairly crazy hours (probably not the insane biglaw hours, but not 9-6) and make about $45K.


This.

It is impossible to quantify small law firm hours. It totally depends. Biglaw are usually full service firms that do a mixture of transactional work and litigation. They all practice the same thing for the most part. And they all mostly have an hourly fee structure. So they are easy to group together. A small law firm is going to vary greatly from one another because of the area/s that firm practices and the fee structure of that firm.

I own a small law firm. I doubt very seriously that many other small law firms operate exactly like I operate. There is just too much variation to group them all together.

utlaw2007
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Re: SMALL LAW hours?

Postby utlaw2007 » Wed Mar 27, 2013 11:49 pm

And the work that I do is more difficult than the typical small law firm. I want the work that my law firm produces to be comprehensive, just as thorough as can be. Some firms are just mills. They just rely on small settlements for a ton of cases. I rely on large settlements or judgments for a few cases. The two require completely different approaches. Thus, they require different work hours. My work is more unpredictable. It's case specific because my cases vary. I usually accept cases that other lawyers and small law firms have turned down, usually because liability is not obvious. Or damages are not obvious. In either case, much work and ingenuity is required to build those cases. At a mill, this kind of work is not required because these firms usually have a standard way of working cases that doesn't involve much work. So the hours are just different or least, they could be.

And fee structure is also an important part of this equation. The hourly fee structure is not an efficient way of making money. The only way you can make more money is to work more hours. Hence, that is why biglaw works associates so much. That's why billable hours are so important. A flat fee structure is more efficient. And a contingency fee structure blows the rest out of the water in its efficiency. Of course, case type matters here, as well. But that is the gist.

uncleleo
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Joined: Mon Mar 25, 2013 12:17 pm

Re: SMALL LAW hours?

Postby uncleleo » Fri Mar 29, 2013 10:08 am

thanks for the responses utlaw - very informative! ive read a bunch of your posts elsewhere and they have been great. i guess i was wondering if any rough generalizations could be made, but what you are saying makes a lot of sense.

utlaw2007
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Re: SMALL LAW hours?

Postby utlaw2007 » Fri Mar 29, 2013 5:07 pm

And even among mills, the work hours may vary. Some mills may work you a ton of hours because they have so much work. It may not be hard work, but they just have a lot of it. Other mills may not have much work. So it won't take as much time to complete.




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