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JohannDeMann
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Re: Why Do You Hate Biglaw?

Postby JohannDeMann » Mon Mar 23, 2015 4:28 pm

CaptainJapan wrote:The feedback sounds almost identical (other than billable hrs) to what any IB analyst will tell you. The guys I know who went that route say after 2 years you can start respectfully declining ridiculous work, or pawning work off on newcomers; I guess I'm curious to what degree the stress/workload starts to taper off in Big Law after a few years? Is there a point when it starts to get better?


Oh you mean things should start to get easier once you are being watched for whether you have what it takes to make partner?

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rpupkin
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Re: Why Do You Hate Biglaw?

Postby rpupkin » Mon Mar 23, 2015 4:51 pm

JohannDeMann wrote:
CaptainJapan wrote:The feedback sounds almost identical (other than billable hrs) to what any IB analyst will tell you. The guys I know who went that route say after 2 years you can start respectfully declining ridiculous work, or pawning work off on newcomers; I guess I'm curious to what degree the stress/workload starts to taper off in Big Law after a few years? Is there a point when it starts to get better?


Oh you mean things should start to get easier once you are being watched for whether you have what it takes to make partner?

Oh, and don't forget that being a junior partner really blows. You basically have to bill like a senior associate + deal with administrative matters + try to bring in business.

You will find older partners who coast, but they've put in at least 20 years.

It does not get better.

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CaptainJapan
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Re: Why Do You Hate Biglaw?

Postby CaptainJapan » Mon Mar 23, 2015 4:55 pm

rpupkin wrote:
JohannDeMann wrote:
CaptainJapan wrote:The feedback sounds almost identical (other than billable hrs) to what any IB analyst will tell you. The guys I know who went that route say after 2 years you can start respectfully declining ridiculous work, or pawning work off on newcomers; I guess I'm curious to what degree the stress/workload starts to taper off in Big Law after a few years? Is there a point when it starts to get better?


Oh you mean things should start to get easier once you are being watched for whether you have what it takes to make partner?

Oh, and don't forget that being a junior partner really blows. You basically have to bill like a senior associate + deal with administrative matters + try to bring in business.

You will find older partners who coast, but they've put in at least 20 years.

It does not get better.



Understood that the hours don't get better. I guess I meant the intangibles (always being on call/being able to delegate things you really can't do). Please, for the love of Christ, tell me you gain a little of your manhood back as you get a few years under your belt.

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DELG
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Re: Why Do You Hate Biglaw?

Postby DELG » Mon Mar 23, 2015 5:02 pm

CaptainJapan wrote:
rpupkin wrote:
JohannDeMann wrote:
CaptainJapan wrote:The feedback sounds almost identical (other than billable hrs) to what any IB analyst will tell you. The guys I know who went that route say after 2 years you can start respectfully declining ridiculous work, or pawning work off on newcomers; I guess I'm curious to what degree the stress/workload starts to taper off in Big Law after a few years? Is there a point when it starts to get better?


Oh you mean things should start to get easier once you are being watched for whether you have what it takes to make partner?

Oh, and don't forget that being a junior partner really blows. You basically have to bill like a senior associate + deal with administrative matters + try to bring in business.

You will find older partners who coast, but they've put in at least 20 years.

It does not get better.



Understood that the hours don't get better. I guess I meant the intangibles (always being on call/being able to delegate things you really can't do). Please, for the love of Christ, tell me you gain a little of your manhood back as you get a few years under your belt.

Image

$$$$$$
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Re: Why Do You Hate Biglaw?

Postby $$$$$$ » Mon Mar 23, 2015 5:14 pm

Few things I hate:

(1) People actually fear downtime. At my firm, if you are slow for a few weeks, people start to freak out. It really makes things worse, because I am totally down to have a few weeks of billing 15-25 hours, even if it means I won't bill 2100+ this year and not look that great. But everyone else is so batshit crazy, that the few weeks of the year they can relax a little outside of vacation are ruined with stress, which resonates to everyone. You know what its like to have another junior come in your office and be like "OMG I didn't get staffed again, did you???" Its brutal, and even if you are relatively relaxed and enjoy the downtime, it really ruins it and makes you stress out about whether or not people don't like working with you.

(2) The fact that literally no one can give two shits how hard you work. In consulting, if I pulled an all nighter, I had managing directors calling me to make sure things on the project were ok (because no one pulled all nighters barring client deliverable being finished usually) and they made sure that I left early for a couple of days to get rest and made sure the client knew how hard I worked. Also, when your project was over, if it was brutal, you got to sit on the bench a few weeks. In biglaw, literally no one cares if you haven't slept more than 3 hours in two weeks. Did you go above and beyond and do something special for the client? No one will care. Did you get into a good relationship with the client or another member of management? No one will care.

(3) The fact I can sit in my office all day doing nothing, be about to leave at 5:30 pm, then get a phone call or work that lasts until 2 am. Absolutely soul-crushing when this happens.

(4) The fact that leaving at 5:30 pm if you aren't busy is "frowned upon" - this is what gets me the most, when people say that as a junior you shouldn't leave before 6 no matter what. I still leave earlier now and then because I don't understand the point of sitting in my office watching tv if there is nothing to do.

(5) "No Facetime Requirement" - Oh you have literally nothing to do, and anything else can be done at home ....... there may be no facetime requirement, but dont come in one day, and I bet you people are talking.

wildhaggis
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Re: Why Do You Hate Biglaw?

Postby wildhaggis » Mon Mar 23, 2015 5:26 pm

I'll leave this here from an older thread I posted in...

wildhaggis wrote:I'll go ahead and throw my two cents in, not that it'll do any good... When I was a law student, biglaw horror stories triggered a strong denial reaction. The very thought that the most lucrative outcome of taking on so much debt could be that bad was a little much. Their denial is annoying, but understandable.

Now, on the other side of the fence, I realize that it is, indeed, that bad. Though not for the obvious reasons.

Most people think it's the hours. It's not. Biglaw hours can be bad, but I probably worked more hours on average in some blue collar jobs when I was younger that were far less desirable for a number of reasons.

Others think it's the people. That's not the reason, either. The people can be demeaning and cruel, but I've had meaner and dumber bosses still in the plethora of shit retail jobs I used to have. And none of these had the luxury of a fat paycheck to put up with the abuse.

And yet, despite all of the above and the nice office and paycheck, biglaw is still worse. Why? For the simple fact that, in biglaw, nothing is truly yours. You never have time that's just for you, or just for your family, or just for whatever you want it to be for. In biglaw, this doesn't exist. You are under constant threat of being yanked away from whatever it is you may be doing by a blinking red bulb.

As a result, you slowly see yourself start to cancel plans. A lot. Then you just stop making them. Goddamn, do you loathe that red bulb. After a while, you realize that you don't do much of anything. Ever. You spend a lot of your free time in close proximity to a phone and computer, so you're always available, always able to work. Not because you're so committed, but because you don't want to have to deal with the stress of canceling again. It just becomes easier to be available at all times, so that's what you do. But then biglaw becomes everything, and you certainly aren't happier for it.

What's worse is that this is true at all times - busy or slow. When you're busy, of course you have to be available, because you're busy. When you're slow, you're nervous that you're not making hours, and you have plenty of "bandwidth" to boot, so, guess what? You have to be available. Free time becomes a misnomer.

It's this intangible factor that makes the biglaw cautionary tales real for me, and it's what I would urge 0Ls to consider when they mistakenly believe biglaw is their ticket. It isn't. Because, trust me, even if the above doesn't burn you out in due time, the up-or-out ax eventually comes for all.

notgreat
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Re: Why Do You Hate Biglaw?

Postby notgreat » Mon Mar 23, 2015 6:05 pm

So given how bad big law sounds how long until you can get a good in house job (assuming you are in corporate or tax)? Is 3 or 4 years realistic?

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Emma.
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Re: Why Do You Hate Biglaw?

Postby Emma. » Mon Mar 23, 2015 6:12 pm

See viewtopic.php?f=23&t=244529

thisiswhatitslike wrote:As someone who is involuntarily on pace to bill 2800-3000 hours this year (and our billing year starts well before the calendar year), just thought I'd add another perspective.

I don't think people really understand the mental effect of billing this much. Getting through a busy month or two or even three isn't hard. We're intense people by nature and this is what we signed up for. What we did not sign up for, however, is the fourth month and beyond. That's when all of the things that were supposed to be temporary start to feel depressingly permanent. When you're busy, you tell people you'll hang out after your deal closes, you'll go to the gym after your deal closes, you'll fix this and that and pay some bills and run that errand after your deal closes. But months go by and suddenly, this isn't just a temporary state, this is your life. The things that normal people do are now, for you, a special treat that you get to do in the middle of the night when you can't sleep. Imagine a life where emptying the dishwasher is a special treat solely because it is a thing you are doing in your personal life instead of something billable. When you're in this frame of mind, taking a few days off or a week off isn't enough because it doesn't feel like a return to a normal life; it feels like a fleeting, nostalgic reminder of what used to be normal, followed immediately by a return to the grind.

I'm in an insanely busy practice group right now that is horribly understaffed, so it's not my choice. The amazing part, though, is how easy it is to manipulate associates into billing this much by using the above principle: it's manageable as long as it all feels temporary. The deal is always "probably closing in 2-3 weeks"... for months. "We're interviewing lateral candidates." "You'll have a break after this deal closes." People complain but they'll do it because there's still a light at the tunnel. It should be obvious that there's not actually a light at the end of the tunnel, but acknowledging that is simply too depressing.

The best analogy is that it's like running a race and seeing the finish line, so you start sprinting. But then the finish line magically jumps back 100 meters. You keep sprinting because you can still see it and it's really not that far, but once you're almost there, it jumps back again. And again. And again. And once you finally cross the finish line, the partners look at you and say, "hey, sorry, we're a little short on runners so we need you to run the marathon now. Oh, you're tired? Yeah, that makes sense, and we're not heartless: take a 5 minute break and grab some water!" ::5 min later:: "But you can't possibly be tired, you just had a break!"

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DELG
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Re: Why Do You Hate Biglaw?

Postby DELG » Mon Mar 23, 2015 6:16 pm

There are some things that would be super hard to give up. Basically unlimited westlaw access. Librarian. Support staff to do stuff like organize binders, get printing done, pick up shredding. When you have a problem, being able to throw resources at it. Excellent benefits and leave policy.

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Poptorts
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Re: Why Do You Hate Biglaw?

Postby Poptorts » Mon Mar 23, 2015 6:28 pm

CaptainJapan wrote:The feedback sounds almost identical (other than billable hrs) to what any IB analyst will tell you. The guys I know who went that route say after 2 years you can start respectfully declining ridiculous work, or pawning work off on newcomers; I guess I'm curious to what degree the stress/workload starts to taper off in Big Law after a few years? Is there a point when it starts to get better?


This is correct in terms of delegation. The more senior you are, the more the fresh faces want to impress you and they view you as being involved in all these extremely important projects, so it's relatively easy to give them something that will take them a few hours to do for the next couple of days.

You just pat them on the back as they cry and tell them that you had to miss Christmas with your family too when you were just starting.

The issue is if you are trying to climb the ladder at that firm or just put in a few years before going the hedge fund route or to business school. If the former, you probably shouldn't be pawning things off and your workload will not die down much. If the hedge fund route, you can start to delegate which gives you more time for job searching.

clintone88
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Re: Why Do You Hate Biglaw?

Postby clintone88 » Mon Mar 23, 2015 7:00 pm

I just put in my 2 weeks at my firm last Tuesday and it's easily been the best week I've had in the last year. I haven't though about my hours once.

The only thing that you will be able to think about is work. Either you're working, or you feel guilty because you aren't working. Even when you sleep, you can't get away from it. I've had a lot of dreams about billable hours, partners rejecting my work product, getting fired, forgetting a deadline, etc.

We had monthly associate meetings where a different partner would come in each month and tell us we need to bill more. That was the topic of at least 75% of the meetings I've been to over the last 3 years.

Of course, the pressure to bill means that you won't be home until 9:00 or later every night. I get home, eat dinner with my wife, watch like an hour of TV, and then go to bed. That is your life. Weekends are largely consumed by working, so you can't go anywhere over the weekend. You may have several hours of time to yourself over the weekend, but you'll be so tired (and drunk from drowning your shitty life in alcohol) that you won't actually do anything other than lay around.

Beyond the hours and stress that comes from billing, the work environment sucks. You go to a partner for help and they are absolutely fucking useless. "This should be easy! it should take 15 minutes." Ok, well the 3 hours I've spent and gotten nowhere tends to refute that. No direction, no help, just glance and it and send you on your way. But they are happy to bitch if you don't do it exactly how they want. And by the way, they want it in a way that is directly opposed to other partners. You just said "teach" in your response because another partner always does? No, that is bad and you should feel bad. Don't you know anything about patent law? Haven't you read that random district court decision that came out in 2002 saying that "teach" has a certain meaning? And just what the hell did you spend 5 hours on this for anyway? Certainly not looking up the proper terminology! That partner that has been doing this since 1975 can crank out a response in 1.5 hours, why can't you? Oh, you're spending hours googling "how to be a patent attorney"? That's nice, but please get your efficiency up by the end of March because you're wasting too much time googling how to do your job. Got to get that 90%+ efficiency rating!

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Re: Why Do You Hate Biglaw?

Postby Poopface » Mon Mar 23, 2015 7:13 pm

Biglaw_Associate_V20 wrote:From a litigation perspective:

1. You are not going to make partner. Only a few people make partner and you will feel inadequate, dumb and undesirable basically all the time as your fellow associates get better work and get groomed for partner while you do doc review.

2. Everyone you interact with is a huge asshole. The experts you work with are overpaid, eccentric and/or incredibly condescending to you (because you don't understand what is going on as well as they do when it comes to stuff you retain them for). Clients have irrationally insane demands, because there are too many lawyers and not enough work to go around at every level of law (including biglaw) and they can therefore treat you like absolute shit all the time. Partners can treat you like shit because there is a long line of new law grads every year who are capable of taking your place.

3. Turnover is so high that no one wants to put in the time to train you or give you any skills, so you are basically useless after you leave biglaw. Good luck finding your next job with no skills.

4. Your schedule is insane and you have almost no control over it. You get fat, depressed and divorced. Your kids hate you. Everything in your life basically sucks.

Other than that, biglaw pays well and is very rewarding.



lol. jesus.

resilience99
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Re: Why Do You Hate Biglaw?

Postby resilience99 » Mon Mar 23, 2015 7:17 pm

Is there anyone out there that likes their biglaw job or at least tolerates it? Is this firm specific or group specific?

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JohannDeMann
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Re: Why Do You Hate Biglaw?

Postby JohannDeMann » Mon Mar 23, 2015 7:23 pm

clintone88 wrote:I just put in my 2 weeks at my firm last Tuesday and it's easily been the best week I've had in the last year. I haven't though about my hours once.

The only thing that you will be able to think about is work. Either you're working, or you feel guilty because you aren't working. Even when you sleep, you can't get away from it. I've had a lot of dreams about billable hours, partners rejecting my work product, getting fired, forgetting a deadline, etc.

We had monthly associate meetings where a different partner would come in each month and tell us we need to bill more. That was the topic of at least 75% of the meetings I've been to over the last 3 years.

Of course, the pressure to bill means that you won't be home until 9:00 or later every night. I get home, eat dinner with my wife, watch like an hour of TV, and then go to bed. That is your life. Weekends are largely consumed by working, so you can't go anywhere over the weekend. You may have several hours of time to yourself over the weekend, but you'll be so tired (and drunk from drowning your shitty life in alcohol) that you won't actually do anything other than lay around.

Beyond the hours and stress that comes from billing, the work environment sucks. You go to a partner for help and they are absolutely fucking useless. "This should be easy! it should take 15 minutes." Ok, well the 3 hours I've spent and gotten nowhere tends to refute that. No direction, no help, just glance and it and send you on your way. But they are happy to bitch if you don't do it exactly how they want. And by the way, they want it in a way that is directly opposed to other partners. You just said "teach" in your response because another partner always does? No, that is bad and you should feel bad. Don't you know anything about patent law? Haven't you read that random district court decision that came out in 2002 saying that "teach" has a certain meaning? And just what the hell did you spend 5 hours on this for anyway? Certainly not looking up the proper terminology! That partner that has been doing this since 1975 can crank out a response in 1.5 hours, why can't you? Oh, you're spending hours googling "how to be a patent attorney"? That's nice, but please get your efficiency up by the end of March because you're wasting too much time googling how to do your job. Got to get that 90%+ efficiency rating!


There is no way it's possible that someone with only 128 posts hates biglaw this much! If you work all day and don't TLS law firm life is a breeze! Only the disgruntled Biglawyers post on here because the others are out enjoying their work and life!

Lawyerrr
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Re: Why Do You Hate Biglaw?

Postby Lawyerrr » Mon Mar 23, 2015 9:18 pm

resilience99 wrote:Is there anyone out there that likes their biglaw job or at least tolerates it? Is this firm specific or group specific?


I work in corporate. I don't mind my job. It's really interesting at times, a bit boring at others. There are times when I work on weekends, but I generally still go out twice a week for dinner or drinks with friends.

Pay is overall good. Yeah, you'll make more if you're a private equity associate, but in general, the pay is probably higher than 99% of people your age in the U.S.

I agree with the people who've said that the worst part is just constantly being on call. Nothing worse than coming home after a long day, cracking open a beer, getting ready to watch your favorite show/team, and then getting a call to work on something.

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NoBladesNoBows
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Re: Why Do You Hate Biglaw?

Postby NoBladesNoBows » Tue Mar 24, 2015 1:15 pm

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Last edited by NoBladesNoBows on Mon Mar 30, 2015 3:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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CaptainJapan
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Re: Why Do You Hate Biglaw?

Postby CaptainJapan » Tue Mar 24, 2015 1:25 pm

NoBladesNoBows wrote:Thanks for this; it's exactly the kind of thing I'm looking for. Sounds like pledging a fraternity except that it lasts for years rather than months. The sense of pure dread that overcame my body every time I heard a noise come from my phone was soul-crushing.


I can't take several years of hot sauce on my junk.

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NoBladesNoBows
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Re: Why Do You Hate Biglaw?

Postby NoBladesNoBows » Tue Mar 24, 2015 1:27 pm

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Last edited by NoBladesNoBows on Mon Mar 30, 2015 3:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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LawBron James
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Re: Why Do You Hate Biglaw?

Postby LawBron James » Tue Mar 24, 2015 4:31 pm

Question for any lawyers who have gone BigLaw -> in house or are planning on it, is Big Law worth it as a means to an end? Additionally, if you could hypothetically do it all again and choose to go in-house (presumably making a good amount less) straight out of law school, would you?

It sounds pretty awful, but it seems like it's a necessary evil for people who want certain career paths.

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banjo
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Re: Why Do You Hate Biglaw?

Postby banjo » Tue Mar 24, 2015 9:30 pm

LawBron James wrote:Question for any lawyers who have gone BigLaw -> in house or are planning on it, is Big Law worth it as a means to an end? Additionally, if you could hypothetically do it all again and choose to go in-house (presumably making a good amount less) straight out of law school, would you?


Seconding this question.




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