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Lifestyle Firms?

Posted: Fri Sep 29, 2017 11:34 am
by Intro-gamer
Hi all,

So after lurking for quite a bit in the legal employment section of this nifty site, I came across the term “lifestyle firm” repeatedly. I think I remember seeing that these big firms support a healthier work-life balance, whilst also paying market, or near market. But my big question is what does that “healthier work-life balance” look like in reality? I understand that it’s healthier relative to more traditionally soul-crushing big firms, but is the difference so significant that you could actually enjoy working at these firms for several years? Or is it just that the misery is slightly more bearable and your soul is more pounded rather than crushed? :lol:

I was under the impression that only workaholics could enjoy working in big law, but I’m getting the impression that these firms create working conditions that are more pleasant for a broader band of lawyer types. I’m not thinking these firms are on a 40 hour work-week level of comfortability, but something that the typical hard-working Law student/lawyer would be able to handle without being burned out and exiting ASAP.

Also do these sorts of firms exist in NYC? Or are they just on the west coast/secondary markets?

Re: Lifestyle Firms?

Posted: Fri Sep 29, 2017 11:38 am
by jthel08
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Re: Lifestyle Firms?

Posted: Fri Sep 29, 2017 11:51 am
by rpupkin
Intro-gamer wrote:Hi all,

So after lurking for quite a bit in the legal employment section of this nifty site, I came across the term “lifestyle firm” repeatedly.

You have? I rarely see that term on TLS. When I have, it's usually in the context of a sentence along the lines of "Firm {X] is not a lifestyle firm."

To the extent there's a TLS hivemind position on this topic, it's that "lifestyle firms" don't really exist in the realm of market-paying big law.

Re: Lifestyle Firms?

Posted: Fri Sep 29, 2017 11:53 am
by cavalier1138
rpupkin wrote:
Intro-gamer wrote:Hi all,

So after lurking for quite a bit in the legal employment section of this nifty site, I came across the term “lifestyle firm” repeatedly.

You have? I rarely see that term on TLS. When I have, it's usually in the context of a sentence along the lines of "Firm {X] is not a lifestyle firm."

To the extent there's a TLS hivemind position on this topic, it's that "lifestyle firms" don't really exist in the realm of market-paying big law.


This.

I'd also say that it might be used to refer to any firm where I don't work, because those guys totally have it easy.

Re: Lifestyle Firms?

Posted: Fri Sep 29, 2017 12:19 pm
by Intro-gamer
rpupkin wrote:
Intro-gamer wrote:Hi all,

So after lurking for quite a bit in the legal employment section of this nifty site, I came across the term “lifestyle firm” repeatedly.

You have? I rarely see that term on TLS. When I have, it's usually in the context of a sentence along the lines of "Firm {X] is not a lifestyle firm."

To the extent there's a TLS hivemind position on this topic, it's that "lifestyle firms" don't really exist in the realm of market-paying big law.


Well that dream was short-lived :cry: :lol:

But seriously I’ve seen a few posts that specifically state that firms that don’t have billable hour requirements, produced a more “humane” big law experience. Is that not true? Or am I maybe overestimating how “humane” these work environments are?

I also have seen quite a few posters emphasize targeting lower ranked firms over higher ranked ones for “fit”. I thought that might factor into these “lifestyle firms” but that might just be something else entirely.

Re: Lifestyle Firms?

Posted: Fri Sep 29, 2017 12:25 pm
by hlsperson1111
There are likely no big law firms that offer consistent 40-hour weeks (or at least not 9-5 type weeks). It is a client service industry, and that translates into times when you will need to work late, work on weekends, work on holidays, etc. But there are some firms where the actual expectation of hours billed is 1800-2000, as opposed to other firms where there is an expectation (explicit or otherwise) that everyone will bill 2400+ hours.

Re: Lifestyle Firms?

Posted: Fri Sep 29, 2017 12:32 pm
by Intro-gamer
hlsperson1111 wrote:There are likely no big law firms that offer consistent 40-hour weeks (or at least not 9-5 type weeks). It is a client service industry, and that translates into times when you will need to work late, work on weekends, work on holidays, etc. But there are some firms where the actual expectation of hours billed is 1800-2000, as opposed to other firms where there is an expectation (explicit or otherwise) that everyone will bill 2400+ hours.


Ahh see that’s interesting! The firms that expect 1800-2000 hours were my focus for this thread. I guess it was hard for me to specify because I didn’t have a range to refer to. I’m under no illusions of working in a cushy job in big law (they don’t exist), and I fully expect pulling all- nighters/working weekends if I do get a chance to work in big law, but to the extent that there is a lesser evil/ more humane alternative selection of firms within market paying big law, I definitely want to learn more about them!! If you have any more info/ wisdom to impart I would greatly appreciate it!!

Re: Lifestyle Firms?

Posted: Fri Sep 29, 2017 6:19 pm
by hlsperson1111
Experiences vary widely, even within the same firm. But, in general:

--Markets outside NYC are better for work-life balance than markets in NYC.

--Certain practices (employee benefits/executive comp, tax, some other niche transactional and regulatory practices) are often very good for work-life balance. Others are especially bad: M&A and investigations are two that come to mind.

--Firms toward the top of the V100 are generally worse than firms in the bottom half of the V100.

--West Coast and Midwest-based firms (with some exceptions, e.g. Kirkland) are generally more humane/better culturally than East Coast based firms.