Attorney taking questions on whether you should be a lawyer

(Please Ask Questions and Answer Questions)
anattorney
Posts: 54
Joined: Sun Jan 20, 2013 7:12 pm

Re: Attorney taking questions on whether you should be a lawyer

Postby anattorney » Tue Oct 15, 2013 9:38 am

ghostofdreams wrote:It's been suggested that entering the legal market before considering or entering law school is an education in itself. Do you agree? If so, in what ways can a person enter into a job with some sort of legal capacity without a law degree or as a paralegal?


I think this is true; although it doesn't really give you a perfect idea of what it's like to be a lawyer, it at least gives you some idea. When I was applying to law school, big firms would hire paralegals just with an undergrad degree from a good school but they usually wanted a 2 year commitment. I don't know if the firms are doing this anymore. Small law firms usually want to hire paralegals who have some kind of paralegal training because you are doing a lot of the nuts and bolts of the work. Community colleges often have inexpensive classes/programs for this. You could also be a file clerk type, which typically does not require too much experience or training, but doesn't pay much and is boring. (but still possibly useful in terms of exposure to the firm and making connections).

anattorney
Posts: 54
Joined: Sun Jan 20, 2013 7:12 pm

Re: Attorney taking questions on whether you should be a lawyer

Postby anattorney » Tue Oct 15, 2013 9:51 am

bizzybone1313 wrote:We really appreciate you taking the time to do this.

Can you state if you yourself are happy being an attorney? What tier of law school did you graduate from? How many hours do you work? What kind of money do you make in terms of a ballpark range?


I am pretty happy being a lawyer. I don't think I will do it for the rest of my working life, but if I had to for financial reasons, I would not be miserable about it. I have a very good QOL as far as hours are concerned. I usually work 9-5/9-6, with occasional busy months where I am preparing for a big hearing, settlement conference etc. and will work later nights and some weekends. I make low six figures currently. My starting salary in family law however was much lower. In my market, in the higher end family law firms (e.g. you are doing work for wealthy clients) I would estimate starting salaries are usually $60-75 and people at my level about 5 years in may be making $95-120, but this is just a guess based on people whose salaries I actually know.

User avatar
JazzOne
Posts: 2938
Joined: Tue Sep 09, 2008 11:04 am

Re: Attorney taking questions on whether you should be a lawyer

Postby JazzOne » Tue Oct 15, 2013 9:58 am

Great thread. I wish this was around when I started law school. I have several of the "negative" character traits for an attorney. For instance, I was a teacher prior to law school, and I have severe apathy toward corporate interests. I spent one year in biglaw and hated it, and I have now transitioned back into academia. I find your generalizations to be useful and accurate. Thanks for sharing.
Last edited by JazzOne on Tue Oct 15, 2013 10:10 am, edited 2 times in total.

anattorney
Posts: 54
Joined: Sun Jan 20, 2013 7:12 pm

Re: Attorney taking questions on whether you should be a lawyer

Postby anattorney » Tue Oct 15, 2013 10:04 am

KeepitKind wrote:Can you talk a little about your transition from transactional biglaw to family law? Did you join a small family law firm? Were you treated basically as a 1st yr associate when you switched over? Or did you have any skills that carried over into litigation and made you valuable right away?

No need to reveal anything too specific, just curious about the general switch from corporate biglaw to a smaller, litigation-based practice.


I was still pretty junior when I transitioned so I came in at entry level, although I had some family law experience from during law school. It was a small firm, as most family law firms are with a few exceptions. My experience was very "sink or swim"; not that it was a cutthroat environment but I had to pick up a lot of substantive stuff right away without the kind of intensive oversight you get at bigger firms. This was stressful for about the first six months but ultimately I really enjoyed the greater sense of responsibility/ownership over my work.

As a sort of related anecdote, I was talking to a friend who is still a biglaw attorney and he said that he had been allowed to send his work to the client for the first time with his supervising partner "only" looking it over for 15 minutes and making a few changes. This is the sort of thing I would hate because I like working independently. I had a substantial degree of independence in terms of interacting with clients, opposing counsel, submitting court filings etc. within about a year.




Return to “Law School FAQ”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest