Types of law that aren't soul sucking?

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Mack.Hambleton
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Re: Types of law that aren't soul sucking?

Postby Mack.Hambleton » Mon Apr 20, 2015 9:26 pm

what level do people who come from firms start at

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twenty
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Re: Types of law that aren't soul sucking?

Postby twenty » Tue Apr 21, 2015 12:13 am

You get credit for the years of experience you have. So if you have 5/6 years of experience, you'll start as a 15. AUSA is a notable exception, but they're not on the GS scale based on what I understand.

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mi-chan17
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Re: Types of law that aren't soul sucking?

Postby mi-chan17 » Tue Apr 21, 2015 4:54 pm

twenty wrote:You get credit for the years of experience you have. So if you have 5/6 years of experience, you'll start as a 15. AUSA is a notable exception, but they're not on the GS scale based on what I understand.


This depends on which agency/division, though. Some offices restrict non-supervisors to GS-14, so the highest you could go would be GS-14, step 10.

Indifference
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Re: Types of law that aren't soul sucking?

Postby Indifference » Sat May 30, 2015 1:56 am

Is it all that common for people to go up a grade level per year?

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twenty
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Re: Types of law that aren't soul sucking?

Postby twenty » Fri Jun 05, 2015 6:06 pm

mujiali wrote:Is it all that common for people to go up a grade level per year?


It's immensely uncommon for someone not to go up a grade level per year.

Indifference
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Re: Types of law that aren't soul sucking?

Postby Indifference » Sat Jun 06, 2015 11:42 am

twenty wrote:
mujiali wrote:Is it all that common for people to go up a grade level per year?


It's immensely uncommon for someone not to go up a grade level per year.


Thanks twenty :)

CanadianWolf
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Re: Types of law that aren't soul sucking?

Postby CanadianWolf » Sat Jun 06, 2015 3:51 pm

OP: The first step in being able to avoid "soul-sucking jobs" is to minimize student loan debt. If you want reasonable hours, then go to law school on a full tuition & fees scholarship, so that you'll have the freedom to work reasonable hours in a small or solo practice. Two practice areas that come to mind are tax law & real estate law. I also know trusts & estate specialists with large law firms who seem to have less pressure than litigators & corporate attorneys.
Some attorneys capitalize on their pre-law school work experience to start a small firm or solo/office sharing practice. But the key is to start out with no debt.

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ndirish2010
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Re: Types of law that aren't soul sucking?

Postby ndirish2010 » Sun Jun 07, 2015 4:35 pm

Career clerk would be pretty sweet. I think you can get up to JS15? Even at JS14 it is pretty legit depending on what market you're in.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Types of law that aren't soul sucking?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sun Jun 07, 2015 5:25 pm

ndirish2010 wrote:Career clerk would be pretty sweet. I think you can get up to JS15? Even at JS14 it is pretty legit depending on what market you're in.

Yeah, unless you end up with one of the notorious slave drivers, the hours-salary ratio for career clerk has got to be one of the best around.

Cogburn87
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Re: Types of law that aren't soul sucking?

Postby Cogburn87 » Sun Jun 07, 2015 5:27 pm

Oppenheim and Taft wrote: I don't want to live to work.


Picking a diferent profession is your best bet here.

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ndirish2010
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Re: Types of law that aren't soul sucking?

Postby ndirish2010 » Sun Jun 07, 2015 5:30 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
ndirish2010 wrote:Career clerk would be pretty sweet. I think you can get up to JS15? Even at JS14 it is pretty legit depending on what market you're in.

Yeah, unless you end up with one of the notorious slave drivers, the hours-salary ratio for career clerk has got to be one of the best around.


I doubt any of those judges even hire career clerks. But 80-90k for 40-45 hour weeks of pretty interesting work is not bad at all.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Types of law that aren't soul sucking?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sun Jun 07, 2015 5:34 pm

ndirish2010 wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:
ndirish2010 wrote:Career clerk would be pretty sweet. I think you can get up to JS15? Even at JS14 it is pretty legit depending on what market you're in.

Yeah, unless you end up with one of the notorious slave drivers, the hours-salary ratio for career clerk has got to be one of the best around.


I doubt any of those judges even hire career clerks. But 80-90k for 40-45 hour weeks of pretty interesting work is not bad at all.

Yeah, I agree - after I posted I was thinking that would really only apply to term clerks. And I know a friend of mine who clerked for a magistrate judge for 5 years was making 6 figures when she left (in a very low COL area).

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BearState
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Re: Types of law that aren't soul sucking?

Postby BearState » Thu Jun 18, 2015 12:20 pm

I think Santa Clara County prosecutors make north of 100k in their first year. "Unsure of hours.

blsingindisguise
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Re: Types of law that aren't soul sucking?

Postby blsingindisguise » Thu Jun 18, 2015 3:43 pm

There actually are law firms where you can lead a decent life and make good money, it's just that in order to get to them, you usually need to be either

(1) from a top law school
(2) at the top of your class from a less-than-top law school
(3) have biglaw experience (which usually requires 1 or 2) or
(4) have several years of other experience in which you really distinguished yourself somehow (you have built a client base, you did exceptional work on some matter, etc)

These jobs are also easier to come by in secondary cities than markets like NYC, just because hours on the whole tend to be better in secondary cities.

Aside from that, there's government, but salaries are of course lower (though benefits can be good).

bloodorangedeer
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Re: Types of law that isn't soul sucking?

Postby bloodorangedeer » Thu Jun 18, 2015 3:52 pm

Oppenheim and Taft wrote:
KM2016 wrote:2) Is it that naive to think that there's at least one slice of the law that doesn't involve leaving the office at midnight every night? Somewhere where I do not lead a miserable life?


No, provided you don't expect compensation commensurate to what 100 hr/week attorneys make. When you are young, you get paid for the effort, time, and diligence you can provide to a firm. As you get older, firms start paying you for your experience, client rosters, industry knowledge, etc. Hence, while you can live a really comfortable life and work 40 hour weeks (e.g. in-house), those opportunities only exist once you actually have a value-add to the firm that isn't sheer manual labor.

FWIW, I also don't believe that the law is unique in this regard. Most highly profitable industries require a lot of upfront sacrifice for success (e.g. banking, consulting, law, science, medicine). If you don't want to work really hard at your job, it's probably unrealistic to expect to be compensated, near or around, as much as people who are working really hard at their job. Unfortunately, in this regard, it doesn't seem like a lacuna exists.

bloodorangedeer
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Re: Types of law that aren't soul sucking?

Postby bloodorangedeer » Thu Jun 18, 2015 4:00 pm

BearState wrote:I think Santa Clara County prosecutors make north of 100k in their first year. "Unsure of hours.


Hours = almost as bad as big law. While BigLaw associates are motivated by billables and career advancement, prosecutors are equally motivated by promotions, reputation, personal pride, etc. If you're working a case, you're clocking 100 hours easy. Not necessarily because you need to, but because you'll always think one more review of interview statements/docs/depos will be worth it.

abl
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Re: Types of law that aren't soul sucking?

Postby abl » Thu Jun 18, 2015 4:47 pm

OP, There are two paths to non-soul sucking law:

1. Go to an elite law school and gun for one of the small handful of super-substantive decent-paying jobs that exist (a sample of which are listed below);

2. Go to a non-elite (or, hell, elite) law school with no debt and aim for small law in an area that interests you (some of the options for this are discussed elsewhere in the thread).

Non-Exhaustive List of Substantively Rewarding Legal Jobs with Decent Hours and Decent Pay*

+ Big gov positions (DOJ/EPA/etc) -- best found through DOJ honors.
Hours: ~40-60/week (depending on agency)
Pay: $75k-125k/year starting (depending on agency)

+ AUSA positions (and high profile state prosecutor work--like state AG office and whatnot) -- mostly only available to folks with a couple of years of other high profile experience
Hours: ~40-60/week (depending on office)
Pay: $60k-100k/year starting (depending on office)

+ Elite public interest (ACLU / NRDC / etc) -- generally don't hire straight out of law school, but will hire 1-2 year fellows straight out (and then will sometimes hire fellows on full time afterwords)
Hours: ~40-60/week (depending on NGO)
Pay: $40k-$80/year starting (depending on NGO)

+ Elite plaintiffs-side class action firms (Lieff Cabraser, Cohen Milstein, etc) -- there are maybe only about 15 of these firms nationwide, and they tend to be small (15-100 attorneys). Look at several years of the NLJ Plaintiffs Hot List to figure out who they are -- if you look at the NLJ list for the past five years, it'll be clear that there are 10-15 firms that repeatedly show up.
Hours: 40-60/week (depending on firm)
Pay: $100k-150k/year (depending on firm/locality) -- often much more when you factor in bonuses

+ Legal academia -- generally requires several years of work experience in some fancy place + a teaching fellowship
Hours: 40-70/week (depending on tier of school) + summer break
Fellowships pay: $40-60k/year, fellowships are usually for two years (depending on tier of school)
Pay: $75k-125k/year starting (depending on tier of school and locality)

+ Elite defense-side boutiques (like Keker, Bartlit Beck, Bancroft, etc). Most of these require biglaw-esque hours, but there are some great ones that are closer to 50 hour/week jobs -- and part of what makes biglaw so awful is that the work tends not to be particularly rewarding or substantive and good experiences are hard to come by, which is not as much of a problem at the elite boutiques.
Hours: 50-100/week (depending on the firm)
Pay: >$150k-$200k starting -- often much more when you factor in bonuses

+ Silicon Valley positions (the best ones tend to be at the smaller startups you haven't yet heard about, although Google and the bigger places tend to be solid as well) -- generally requires several years of biglaw-esque experience and/or Stanford.
Hours: incredibly variable (ranging from 30 hours a week to >100)
Pay: incredibly variable (ranging from $30k/year + stock options to $140k or so)

---

*Pretty much all of the above options either require or strongly prefer an elite law school. And to clarify re elite, HYS are probably the only schools that you can really say give you a good bet at any one of these options (although you'll have a shot from any T14).

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smile0751
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Re: Types of law that aren't soul sucking?

Postby smile0751 » Fri Jun 19, 2015 7:19 pm

^Very interesting/helpful read

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FullRamboLSGrad
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Re: Types of law that aren't soul sucking?

Postby FullRamboLSGrad » Mon Jun 29, 2015 5:42 pm

I work at a small law Tax Boutique, while I won't sugar coat the fact that I work ~55-70hrs/week, the perk of not being in Biglaw anymore is autonomy. I work how I want when I want and often from my own laptop (hence why I get to be on here). Is it soul sucking? Sometimes I hate the fact that I help those who need help the absolute least, but the lifestyle is great. I'm rarely in court and this sector of the legal market is much more collegial than say Divorce or Personal Injury. A lot on this forum, I assume, are fresh out of law school or early into their career 40-60k starting is actually pretty good in my book and throughout the years you will find that your income does increase incrementally. If you want to have a work/life balance I would actively seek out small law or firms that are relaxed about face time, I love working at home.

I worked two jobs as an undergrad, clerked at a law firm before law school and worked 2L & 3L, by the time I graduated I had a pretty firm grasp on my markets legal market (which fortunately isn't quite as saturated as other large market, nor as competitive). I came out of Law School (paying Instate Tuition at a strong regional school that is much better now than it was when I went) about 100K including undergrad, and that feels oppressive at times but many of my colleagues who attended schools like Duke and the like are much more in debt and probably earn around the same that I do.




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