Fish127 wrote:I'm not sure if this is the right section to post this or not, but I had a few questions about what actually being a lawyer consists of. Assume all of these are referring to a job in biglaw, unless stated otherwise. Thanks in advance.
So my first question is, what does it take to be good at your job? I understand that you have to stand out, and making partner depends mostly on who brings in the most money, which in turn depends on ability to get clients. But how is this accomplished? What does it take to actually get clients? I know that you don't go door to door or anything like that, but I always assumed that clients were assigned to newly minted lawyers at random.
what it takes to be good at your job depends on lots of factors, like what type of employer you work for and what stage you're at. for junior associates at biglaw, standing out is very different than standing out as a senior associate, junior partner, or senior partner. for junior associates, you gotta be great at (in no particular order) getting things done, being detail oriented, managing projects, figuring out problems so that your superiors don't have to deal with them, legal research, being conscientious, etc. basically you have to be a great assistant.
of course as you become more senior these skills dwindle in importance and i'd say by the time you climb to the partner level, they become almost completely unimportant. there, your client building skills, managerial skills, poltical skills matter more. if you're in litigation like i am, your understanding of how judges and juries are persuaded become far more important as well.
Fish127 wrote:Also what happens if you don't make partner? I've heard that associates that don't make partner by their 7th year are let go, is this true? I've also heard from some people that a lot of the bigger firms have a habit of letting associates go who don't outperform the others after the first year, is this true?
lots of different options. many firms have non-equity partner status, or of-counsel status where you're basically a super-associate. (these types tend to be workhorses who have great reputations for doing good work and the firm profits by keeping them around). again, this may vary by firm, but even those who are pushed out tend to have options, such as going to DOJ (although not in the current hiring environment) or to other firms.
What is day to day life basically like? Answers other than "Dante's fifth circle of Hell" please
varies so much it's hard to come up with a typical day. if you're a junior associate, it all depends on the people you work for.
Fish127 wrote:Ok last question, and this one may be a bit silly. What does the social scene consist of around the workplace? I don't mean literally in the workplace, but friends and people you meet at work, is there any particular stereotype of what these people are like? For example I'm a nerd who loves anime, and comic books, and video games and stuff like that. Do I have a prayer in Hell of ever actually running into a successful lawyer who likes things like that? And if not, what do most lawyers talk about socially?
there is no stereotype, but those who find the most professional success quickly have a personality that fits the job. they are organized, driven, detail-oriented, and anticipate problems. some of these typs like anime and comic books, others like video games.
fyi-current junior associate at biglaw