Seeking a BigLaw Associate who enjoys their life

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Aldo_Raine
Posts: 10
Joined: Tue Aug 09, 2016 11:32 am

Seeking a BigLaw Associate who enjoys their life

Postby Aldo_Raine » Sat Aug 26, 2017 3:46 pm

viewtopic.php?f=4&t=261392

Please see the depressing thread above. I am a junior with a good gpa and spent the summer interning with a F500 in accounting. I suspect I will have decent job opportunities upon graduation. But, I still have always believed I want to be a lawyer. My aspirations in law would be biglaw in NY or possibly my home secondary market. After researching the profession through various sites (mostly TLS) I seem to only find stories from unhappy and disgruntled attorneys. So, I wanted to start this thread to find a biglaw associate who genuinely enjoys their work and does not regret their decision to go to law school. I would prefer someone who works in NY or any other primary market known for long hours, but anyone who has had an experience different from the usual "I hate my life" stories all over the internet would be great to hear. If possible, I'd like to hear why you like your work (practice area, firm culture, etc.) and why you think other attorneys or coworkers do not based on your observations.

Thanks for any insight.

nick417
Posts: 203
Joined: Wed Dec 26, 2012 11:09 am

Re: Seeking a BigLaw Associate who enjoys their life

Postby nick417 » Sun Aug 27, 2017 10:41 am

You do realize that the legal profession extends beyond "big law associate," right? You also understand that most big law associates work 3-5 years and then move on to other possessions that are less stressful. I am not suggesting in any way that you should go to law school, but if you want to go to law school solely to work in big law, I would suggest against that. What you think lawyers do and what big law associates do will not be the same. And you will be very disappointed with the type of work you actually do as an associate, thus disliking your life choice.

As an associate myself, I do not find it miserable/horrible. It probably isn't ideal beyond 5 years because of the stress and demand, but I don't dislike my life.

Bach-City
Posts: 146
Joined: Mon Dec 28, 2015 6:00 pm

Re: Seeking a BigLaw Associate who enjoys their life

Postby Bach-City » Sun Aug 27, 2017 11:23 am

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Last edited by Bach-City on Mon Aug 28, 2017 12:34 am, edited 1 time in total.

RSolano
Posts: 69
Joined: Fri Jul 14, 2017 1:06 am

Re: Seeking a BigLaw Associate who enjoys their life

Postby RSolano » Sun Aug 27, 2017 11:58 am

Bach-City wrote:
Aldo_Raine wrote:http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=261392

Please see the depressing thread above. I am a junior with a good gpa and spent the summer interning with a F500 in accounting. I suspect I will have decent job opportunities upon graduation. But, I still have always believed I want to be a lawyer. My aspirations in law would be biglaw in NY or possibly my home secondary market. After researching the profession through various sites (mostly TLS) I seem to only find stories from unhappy and disgruntled attorneys. So, I wanted to start this thread to find a biglaw associate who genuinely enjoys their work and does not regret their decision to go to law school. I would prefer someone who works in NY or any other primary market known for long hours, but anyone who has had an experience different from the usual "I hate my life" stories all over the internet would be great to hear. If possible, I'd like to hear why you like your work (practice area, firm culture, etc.) and why you think other attorneys or coworkers do not based on your observations.

Thanks for any insight.


I know a bunch of content BigLaw attorneys but they're not on TLS. Before I decided to go to law school I read all the horror stories of BigLaw on TLS. Some people are fine with BigLaw and others seem to hate it. It's worth assuming a significant chance that you'll hate your job too. That being said, my understanding is that people are a lot less happy in New York compared to other markets, just from talking to people.



That's helpful! Which markets would you say people are happiest in? I've heard good things about CA?

Aldo_Raine
Posts: 10
Joined: Tue Aug 09, 2016 11:32 am

Re: Seeking a BigLaw Associate who enjoys their life

Postby Aldo_Raine » Sun Aug 27, 2017 12:11 pm

nick417 wrote:You do realize that the legal profession extends beyond "big law associate," right? You also understand that most big law associates work 3-5 years and then move on to other possessions that are less stressful. I am not suggesting in any way that you should go to law school, but if you want to go to law school solely to work in big law, I would suggest against that. What you think lawyers do and what big law associates do will not be the same. And you will be very disappointed with the type of work you actually do as an associate, thus disliking your life choice.

As an associate myself, I do not find it miserable/horrible. It probably isn't ideal beyond 5 years because of the stress and demand, but I don't dislike my life.


Thanks for the input.

I am well aware the profession extends beyond biglaw. However, this thread focuses on biglaw in particular. Also, I did not make any comments or suggestions about the work associates do, but you are already assuming I won't like it?

Aldo_Raine
Posts: 10
Joined: Tue Aug 09, 2016 11:32 am

Re: Seeking a BigLaw Associate who enjoys their life

Postby Aldo_Raine » Sun Aug 27, 2017 12:15 pm

Bach-City wrote:
Aldo_Raine wrote:http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=261392

Please see the depressing thread above. I am a junior with a good gpa and spent the summer interning with a F500 in accounting. I suspect I will have decent job opportunities upon graduation. But, I still have always believed I want to be a lawyer. My aspirations in law would be biglaw in NY or possibly my home secondary market. After researching the profession through various sites (mostly TLS) I seem to only find stories from unhappy and disgruntled attorneys. So, I wanted to start this thread to find a biglaw associate who genuinely enjoys their work and does not regret their decision to go to law school. I would prefer someone who works in NY or any other primary market known for long hours, but anyone who has had an experience different from the usual "I hate my life" stories all over the internet would be great to hear. If possible, I'd like to hear why you like your work (practice area, firm culture, etc.) and why you think other attorneys or coworkers do not based on your observations.

Thanks for any insight.


I know a bunch of content BigLaw attorneys but they're not on TLS. Before I decided to go to law school I read all the horror stories of BigLaw on TLS. Some people are fine with BigLaw and others seem to hate it. It's worth assuming a significant chance that you'll hate your job too. That being said, my understanding is that people are a lot less happy in New York compared to other markets, just from talking to people.


By chance do you know anyone who started in NY and then moved to another market? Were they more happy/same/less happy?

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Rahviveh
Posts: 2351
Joined: Mon Aug 06, 2012 12:02 pm

Re: Seeking a BigLaw Associate who enjoys their life

Postby Rahviveh » Sun Aug 27, 2017 1:18 pm

RSolano wrote:
Bach-City wrote:
Aldo_Raine wrote:http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=261392

Please see the depressing thread above. I am a junior with a good gpa and spent the summer interning with a F500 in accounting. I suspect I will have decent job opportunities upon graduation. But, I still have always believed I want to be a lawyer. My aspirations in law would be biglaw in NY or possibly my home secondary market. After researching the profession through various sites (mostly TLS) I seem to only find stories from unhappy and disgruntled attorneys. So, I wanted to start this thread to find a biglaw associate who genuinely enjoys their work and does not regret their decision to go to law school. I would prefer someone who works in NY or any other primary market known for long hours, but anyone who has had an experience different from the usual "I hate my life" stories all over the internet would be great to hear. If possible, I'd like to hear why you like your work (practice area, firm culture, etc.) and why you think other attorneys or coworkers do not based on your observations.

Thanks for any insight.


I know a bunch of content BigLaw attorneys but they're not on TLS. Before I decided to go to law school I read all the horror stories of BigLaw on TLS. Some people are fine with BigLaw and others seem to hate it. It's worth assuming a significant chance that you'll hate your job too. That being said, my understanding is that people are a lot less happy in New York compared to other markets, just from talking to people.



That's helpful! Which markets would you say people are happiest in? I've heard good things about CA?


People in CA biglaw are happier because they are usually actual people from CA. If you're some insufferable east coast striver you will still be unhappy even at a CA firm

nick417
Posts: 203
Joined: Wed Dec 26, 2012 11:09 am

Re: Seeking a BigLaw Associate who enjoys their life

Postby nick417 » Sun Aug 27, 2017 1:59 pm

Aldo_Raine wrote:
nick417 wrote:You do realize that the legal profession extends beyond "big law associate," right? You also understand that most big law associates work 3-5 years and then move on to other possessions that are less stressful. I am not suggesting in any way that you should go to law school, but if you want to go to law school solely to work in big law, I would suggest against that. What you think lawyers do and what big law associates do will not be the same. And you will be very disappointed with the type of work you actually do as an associate, thus disliking your life choice.

As an associate myself, I do not find it miserable/horrible. It probably isn't ideal beyond 5 years because of the stress and demand, but I don't dislike my life.


Thanks for the input.

I am well aware the profession extends beyond biglaw. However, this thread focuses on biglaw in particular. Also, I did not make any comments or suggestions about the work associates do, but you are already assuming I won't like it?


Indeed. The work junior associates do is rarely stimulating and is usually mundane (obviously this varies by practice group but I think is a good generalization). As you grow more senior you begin to do more interesting work, however, there is more stress as the demand and expectations grow. AI don't hate it or find it miserable, but I am also not senior enough. The work I do is boring and time-consuming, but not stressful.

kcdc1
Posts: 946
Joined: Fri Jan 03, 2014 6:48 am

Re: Seeking a BigLaw Associate who enjoys their life

Postby kcdc1 » Sun Aug 27, 2017 3:38 pm

I enjoy my life. Not sure if I count as "big law" tho - I'm doing IP lit at a market-paying boutique in major market. I work long hours, so I think I qualify under the terms set forth in the OP.

My sense is the vast majority of successful associates do not post on TLS. People have busy schedules + families. The vast majority of people in my position are not interested in shooting the shit w law students on an anonymous forum. Consider selection bias.

As to your question:

If possible, I'd like to hear why you like your work (practice area, firm culture, etc.) and why you think other attorneys or coworkers do not based on your observations.


I do patent lit and a bit of prosecution / licensing work, along with some pro bono odds and ends. Firm culture is friendly, but certainly not low-pressure. Most of my colleagues seem to like their jobs, but I can't imagine any of them posting on TLS often, so you're unlikely to hear their accounts. My work is interesting for the most part. I learn about new technologies every week. Case strategy is complex and interesting.
Last edited by kcdc1 on Sun Aug 27, 2017 3:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

RSolano
Posts: 69
Joined: Fri Jul 14, 2017 1:06 am

Re: Seeking a BigLaw Associate who enjoys their life

Postby RSolano » Sun Aug 27, 2017 3:41 pm

Rahviveh wrote:
RSolano wrote:
Bach-City wrote:
Aldo_Raine wrote:http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=261392

Please see the depressing thread above. I am a junior with a good gpa and spent the summer interning with a F500 in accounting. I suspect I will have decent job opportunities upon graduation. But, I still have always believed I want to be a lawyer. My aspirations in law would be biglaw in NY or possibly my home secondary market. After researching the profession through various sites (mostly TLS) I seem to only find stories from unhappy and disgruntled attorneys. So, I wanted to start this thread to find a biglaw associate who genuinely enjoys their work and does not regret their decision to go to law school. I would prefer someone who works in NY or any other primary market known for long hours, but anyone who has had an experience different from the usual "I hate my life" stories all over the internet would be great to hear. If possible, I'd like to hear why you like your work (practice area, firm culture, etc.) and why you think other attorneys or coworkers do not based on your observations.

Thanks for any insight.


I know a bunch of content BigLaw attorneys but they're not on TLS. Before I decided to go to law school I read all the horror stories of BigLaw on TLS. Some people are fine with BigLaw and others seem to hate it. It's worth assuming a significant chance that you'll hate your job too. That being said, my understanding is that people are a lot less happy in New York compared to other markets, just from talking to people.



That's helpful! Which markets would you say people are happiest in? I've heard good things about CA?


People in CA biglaw are happier because they are usually actual people from CA. If you're some insufferable east coast striver you will still be unhappy even at a CA firm



So it's more so about the people than concrete differences in the expectations (billable hour goals, acceptable time to leave the office etc.)? I'm pretty laid back, not from the US. Prefer NYC as a city but am probably looking to be around the CA type of people

litigator17
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Aug 27, 2017 4:13 pm

Re: Seeking a BigLaw Associate who enjoys their life

Postby litigator17 » Sun Aug 27, 2017 4:28 pm

Aldo_Raine wrote:http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=261392

Please see the depressing thread above. I am a junior with a good gpa and spent the summer interning with a F500 in accounting. I suspect I will have decent job opportunities upon graduation. But, I still have always believed I want to be a lawyer. My aspirations in law would be biglaw in NY or possibly my home secondary market. After researching the profession through various sites (mostly TLS) I seem to only find stories from unhappy and disgruntled attorneys. So, I wanted to start this thread to find a biglaw associate who genuinely enjoys their work and does not regret their decision to go to law school. I would prefer someone who works in NY or any other primary market known for long hours, but anyone who has had an experience different from the usual "I hate my life" stories all over the internet would be great to hear. If possible, I'd like to hear why you like your work (practice area, firm culture, etc.) and why you think other attorneys or coworkers do not based on your observations.

Thanks for any insight.


I've been a litigation associate in California biglaw for several years, I bill 2500-2700+ per year (which is north of what my firm requires even for partner-track associates), I enjoy my job, and I don't regret my decision to go law school.

Why I like my job:
- Clients doing cutting edge technology work; like learning about their products and services and believe in what they're doing.
- Very interesting legal issues; found the right subject matter for me.
- Collegial working environment; no screamers.
- Casual work environment - jeans are fine 7 days/week if not in court or client meetings.
- Virtually no face time expectations. Work from home is culturally accepted even on random weekdays and standard on evenings and weekends. 2500-2700 hours is a lot easier to hit if you're wearing sweatpants and drinking coffee at home for a decent chunk of that than if you're in formal attire in an office 15 hours a day.
- I respect the partners I work with and learn a tremendous amount from them.
- For me, the goal is to become the best litigator I can be working on the most interesting and challenging types of cases out there. Biglaw, with its perfectionism, expectations, and high-stakes work, is a good place for that. In this environment, I'm viewed as a very hard worker, but if I switch to a job with lower hours expectations and less structure, I actually become something of a slacker. It's easier for me to perform to others' (partners'/clients') high expectations than to push myself really hard without external pressure. So I need a biglaw-like environment to get the most out of my career.
- I don't want kids and thus don't need to worry about balancing my career with child-raising.
- As I've gotten more senior, I get to assign the grunt work to others and get to focus almost exclusively on interesting and challenging tasks.
- I like that I'm a high biller for my firm in the hours range I describe - i.e., the fact that I work as much as I do is respected and appreciated (and recognized in bonus calculations and promotion decisions). It'd be tougher if I worked for one of the very few firms where my hours range is viewed as standard/expected.
- California. 'Nough said. We live in an awesome state, and I love my city.
(- ETA The money. Honestly, this doesn't really come to mind immediately when I think of why I appreciate my job, but it should. Biglaw may not make you rich, but it allows you to enjoy a high degree of material comfort combined with no day-to-day financial stresses (a form of privilege that most of our fellow Americans don't enjoy). I know there's a lot of talk how first year salaries don't go far in some cities with high student loan debt...but when you get several years in, the loans are paid off, and your salary is 250 percent+ of a first year's...the living ain't half bad. If you can make this amount of money while really enjoying what you're doing...in that sense I feel like I'm living the dream. But see note at end about my least favorite part of the job.)

Why some others don't like it as much:
- If junior: the work they do is less fun, and they can't yet see the forest for the trees in terms of the grunt work being very temporary.
- They may have more competing commitments on their time outside of work and thus find the hours expectations harder to swallow.
- Very few people seem to view the high expectation/pressure/perfectionism I describe above as a positive.
- They may not have the same view of the subject matter and clients as I do.

One area where I agree with the OP in the thread you linked: the unpredictability of the work and cancelled commitments is challenging. It doesn't completely go away when you get more senior. Partners also have to cancel plans, adjust vacations, etc. That's the hardest part of the job, and it has compromised many friendships.

Happy to answer any questions here or via PM (but won't have much insight on NY corporate if that's what you are thinking.)




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