Does everyone here want biglaw?

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Blueberrypie
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Does everyone here want biglaw?

Postby Blueberrypie » Wed May 20, 2015 2:54 pm

What are the advantages of going for big law? They are notorious for working you 80+hrs a week for only 160k. This 160k roughly breaks down to 90k after taxes and student loans, which is boo hoo money in NYC. I'd never leave home on that salary. I know lawyers who make way more than this without the hectic work week and are more laid back. I know an attorney in tax law for a company that makes well over 200k.

I mean what is the allure?

How long does one usually last?

Is this the best the legal market has to offer? All TLS forum talks about is biglaw. There are other things besides biglaw.


Tell me what I am missing? Do you get promoted fast. Does more money come in to compensate the time spent.

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Desert Fox
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Blueberrypie
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Re: Does everyone here want biglaw?

Postby Blueberrypie » Wed May 20, 2015 3:01 pm

Desert Fox wrote:
Blueberrypie wrote:What are the advantages of going for big law? They are notorious for working you 80+hrs a week for only 160k. This 160k roughly breaks down to 90k after taxes and student loans, which is boo hoo money in NYC. I'd never leave home on that salary. I know lawyers who make way more than this without the hectic work week and are more laid back. I know an attorney in tax law for a company that makes well over 200k.

I mean what is the allure?

How long does one usually last?

Is this the best the legal market has to offer? All TLS forum talks about is biglaw. There are other things besides biglaw.


Tell me what I am missing? Do you get promoted fast. Does more money come in to compensate the time spent.


Well mostly the other options suck or don't exist.

Also, you can't compare post tax money to everyone elses pretax money.

The real argument is that its not worth it factoring in school loans.



I'm not comparing post tax money to pre tax money. What I am saying is that the salaries of both suck for the effort and time you put in.

So your point I bolded is the argument. The salary you get after school loans is not worth the time and effort you put in. From the way I see it, this means, hopefully that there is something I'm missing. You get a hefty bonus after a year any your salary jumps 40k and your work load decreases and they aren't trying to kill you anymore, maybe they grow to like you.

WheatThins
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Re: Does everyone here want biglaw?

Postby WheatThins » Wed May 20, 2015 3:27 pm

You realize that you get automatic raises every year you last in biglaw, and get bonuses on top of that. And you can leave after a few years to other non biglaw positions if/when you realize you need to get out.

That salary and work and potential for career advancement might not be worth it to you. But it is obviously worth it to enough others.

FloridaCoastalorbust
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Re: Does everyone here want biglaw?

Postby FloridaCoastalorbust » Wed May 20, 2015 3:28 pm

It's worth it to me because 1) I will graduate with no debt and can put biglaw money straight into savings/indexes, and be upper-middle class rich by 32 with a philosophy degree from a shitty flyover state college and 2) prestige and 3) exit options and 4) related to 3, the actual job I want views with positivity biglaw

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bk1
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Re: Does everyone here want biglaw?

Postby bk1 » Wed May 20, 2015 3:44 pm

Blueberrypie wrote:I mean what is the allure?

How long does one usually last?

Is this the best the legal market has to offer? All TLS forum talks about is biglaw. There are other things besides biglaw.


Tell me what I am missing? Do you get promoted fast. Does more money come in to compensate the time spent.

Some people want money, some people want exit opportunities, some people want to do work that is almost exclusively down by large law firms (e.g. large M&A deals). Most associates last ~3-5 years based on the data I last recall looking at. "Best" is subjective. Biglaw is talked about because it is easy to quantify (making it a metric that 0Ls can compare schools on) and generally appears to have decent upsides (e.g. high pay, possible exit opportunities) though of course there are significant downsides. No other immediate post-graduate opportunities exist in nearly the same numbers. Many (most?) biglaw firms have lockstep salary raises where you get an increase each year you work (on the level of ~10-15k/year). During this time you are always an "associate." The vast majority of people leave while they are still associates and thus technically never get promoted.

You're right that on a per hour basis the pay isn't all that great, but lawyers making far less often work long hours as well. It's also not that easy to find a legal job with good work/life balance that pays well. While some lawyers make more money (e.g. the in-house tax attorney you mentioned), most lawyers do not. If you can't survive on 90k/year post-tax, even in NYC, then I don't know what to tell you.

Lawyerrr
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Re: Does everyone here want biglaw?

Postby Lawyerrr » Wed May 20, 2015 6:42 pm

Two things:

1) If you pay for law school at sticker with loans, you'll have less than $90,000 after loans and taxes.

2) Compensation does increase each year you are in big law (at least while the economy is good). The current breakdown for associates years 1 - 3 is

Year 1: 160k + 15k
Year 2: 170k + 25k
Year 3: 185k + 50k

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Eladriel
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Re: Does everyone here want biglaw?

Postby Eladriel » Wed May 20, 2015 6:46 pm

Lawyerrr wrote:Two things:

1) If you pay for law school at sticker with loans, you'll have less than $90,000 after loans and taxes.

2) Compensation does increase each year you are in big law (at least while the economy is good). The current breakdown for associates years 1 - 3 is

Year 1: 160k + 15k
Year 2: 170k + 25k
Year 3: 185k + 50k


Stupid question I know, but what happens when the economy isn't good? No offers to SA's and no biglaw hiring?

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Desert Fox
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Lawyerrr
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Re: Does everyone here want biglaw?

Postby Lawyerrr » Wed May 20, 2015 7:28 pm

Eladriel wrote:
Lawyerrr wrote:Two things:

1) If you pay for law school at sticker with loans, you'll have less than $90,000 after loans and taxes.

2) Compensation does increase each year you are in big law (at least while the economy is good). The current breakdown for associates years 1 - 3 is

Year 1: 160k + 15k
Year 2: 170k + 25k
Year 3: 185k + 50k


Stupid question I know, but what happens when the economy isn't good? No offers to SA's and no biglaw hiring?


No stupid questions! I didn't know a lot before law school/working either.

I'd say "fewer" offers to SA's and "less" biglaw hiring--not "no." Even during the recession, there was still some entry level hiring, just much less. There were definitely layoffs, though. In addition, there were sharp decreases in bonuses, and some firms reduced salaries by 10%. But that stuff happens with most professions during a recession.

Blueberrypie
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Re: Does everyone here want biglaw?

Postby Blueberrypie » Wed May 20, 2015 8:06 pm

Lawyerrr wrote:Two things:

1) If you pay for law school at sticker with loans, you'll have less than $90,000 after loans and taxes.

2) Compensation does increase each year you are in big law (at least while the economy is good). The current breakdown for associates years 1 - 3 is

Year 1: 160k + 15k
Year 2: 170k + 25k
Year 3: 185k + 50k



This makes sense. I can see this. This isn't too bad.

kaiser
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Re: Does everyone here want biglaw?

Postby kaiser » Wed May 20, 2015 8:29 pm

Most people do want biglaw right out of the gate. There are a few legit reasons for that:

1. Fastest way to pay off your debt
2. Prestigious name to use as a resume line a few years down the road
3. Ability to play at least some part in large, complex cases and major deals
4. Helps you build good connections and relationships that you can parlay into positions down the road

But another reason is that law students get in this mentality of mice chasing after cheese. And we don't even know what the "cheese" is. We just let others say "biglaw is what you chase after" and we just blindly follow that. Too often, students cast aside their own circumstances or what would be best for them, and focus too much on what everyone else seems to want. Biglaw is a tool, ideally like any other. You use it when necessary, and only to the extent necessary (unless you are the very rare oddity that "likes" biglaw and wants to stick with it).

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LA Spring
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Re: Does everyone here want biglaw?

Postby LA Spring » Thu May 21, 2015 1:28 pm

I see the term BL tossed around a lot on TLS. Obviously, if you’re at a V10 firm you’re in BL. But where is the BL cutoff? Is it limited to the vault 100 or the NLJ 350? Is it +100 attorneys? Perhaps global presence? $120k on up?

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JohannDeMann
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Re: Does everyone here want biglaw?

Postby JohannDeMann » Thu May 21, 2015 1:35 pm

I don't know how many law students want BL - but only 1/3 of lawyers in BL want it.

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bk1
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Re: Does everyone here want biglaw?

Postby bk1 » Thu May 21, 2015 1:41 pm

LA Spring wrote:I see the term BL tossed around a lot on TLS. Obviously, if you’re at a V10 firm you’re in BL. But where is the BL cutoff? Is it limited to the vault 100 or the NLJ 350? Is it +100 attorneys? Perhaps global presence? $120k on up?

There is no hard and fast cut off because biglaw is a more general term than V100, NLJ250, NLJ350, etc. Generally people mean firms that pay the "market" rate in a given city (or at least close to it). Usually these are firms of ~50+ attorneys, but sometimes there are smaller, more boutique-ish firms that get lumped in with biglaw. People will have differing definitions, but that is what I think of when people talk about biglaw.

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LA Spring
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Re: Does everyone here want biglaw?

Postby LA Spring » Thu May 21, 2015 2:20 pm

Thanks. Not that it ever comes up IRL, but I feel I work in the BL arena UNTIL we run up against a firm who assigns 60 lawyers to a case (while we might assign five). Plus, there seems to be differences on the way we are given assignments, which is usually by one of the partners. From what I hear BL utilizes an overseer who controls every aspect of your assigned workflow.

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pancakes3
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Re: Does everyone here want biglaw?

Postby pancakes3 » Thu May 21, 2015 2:25 pm

LA Spring wrote:I see the term BL tossed around a lot on TLS. Obviously, if you’re at a V10 firm you’re in BL. But where is the BL cutoff? Is it limited to the vault 100 or the NLJ 350? Is it +100 attorneys? Perhaps global presence? $120k on up?


Word on the street is NYC to 190.

dabigchina
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Re: Does everyone here want biglaw?

Postby dabigchina » Thu May 21, 2015 2:47 pm

"I know an attorney in tax law for a company that makes well over 200k."

This guy either started in biglaw or big4 (which has similar hours for way less pay)

dabigchina
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Re: Does everyone here want biglaw?

Postby dabigchina » Thu May 21, 2015 2:47 pm

"I know an attorney in tax law for a company that makes well over 200k."

This guy either started in biglaw or big4 (which has similar hours for way less pay)

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Worker and Parasite
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Re: Does everyone here want biglaw?

Postby Worker and Parasite » Thu May 21, 2015 3:49 pm

Also note that Biglaw is often the fastest opportunity to take on, as they hire for Summer Associates right after 1L. For BigGov or prestigious Public Interest Fellowships, those applications usually start in 3L (and they are often few and far between). With BL, you're at least "stable" during law school and stable for 3-5 years outside of law school. I knew many people who wanted to do public interest or government work but were presented with a BL opportunity right after 1L that would give them a clear state of mind for 2L/3L and post-bar.




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