BernieTrump wrote:The above is correct. People don't leave for something better for all sorts of reasons, but the important thing is they don't leave for something better.
Some people get golden handcuffed. They have a kid. They're in a city they can't leave. They have a mortgage.
Many swap firms searching for a better life. I've never moved, but I've seen many make this mistake. When you're miserable, any movement seems like progress, and the easiest move is to another firm. To many's surprise, the next firm is worse. By the time they stop looking they're in their early or mid 30s, on the 2-4th firm, and have been a lawyer for ten years. At that point, it takes a "hard reset" to get out, and not many people want that (even if it is possible and usually it is not). They frown and then accept their lot in life.
It's tough to find time to look. Any given Sunday, after your 14 hours in the office, it's easier to open a bottle of wine, have two glasses and read the news for a few minutes before bed. It's difficult to spend your very few waking hours not in the office on precise cover letters and networking. It's even more difficult given that 99/100 perfectly tailored cover letters won't even be read because they'll see the JD and pass on you.
Most importantly, good exits are rare. Even if you want to stay in law, the $300K, 9-5 in-house job is a myth. I've seen maybe 5 people in jobs that fit this in my career. Hours may be better in-house generally, but there's a special type of ennui to doing the same form contract 20 times a day (with no ability to respond to comments except by reading a script) for 20 years, with no hope for advancement.
If you want out of law (is anyone's true calling really moving commas, losing self respect for yourself and annoying the juniors by pointing out they didn't follow firm protocol for defined terms and fighting with opposing counsel about the precise wording of an escrow that will not ever matter?) good luck. Nobody will hire a JD in 2017. People don't go after their true calling because those doors are, for almost every true calling, closed after starting as a firm lawyer.
Thanks for the perspective. While I understand and appreciate that some of this is true, what a terrible way to view your career/life. Here's one thing I'll guarantee: People with this defeatist attitude will never find success and fulfillment long-term in their careers. Maybe the people with a more positive outlook won't either, but I believe at least they have a shot.
As an aside, I work in biglaw, plan on doing the small firm thing at some point in hopes of doing more trial work, and then plan on pursuing more entrepreneurial non-law options after that. Not
sure exactly how that will turn out (how could I be?). I'm assume, based on this post, you'll assert it will go very poorly. I don't agree.