Biglaw Burnout - Quit or Get Fired?

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Biglaw Burnout - Quit or Get Fired?

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Jun 22, 2020 9:23 am

I'm a senior M&A associate that was trying to go in-house before the whole economy blew up and now I'm just burnt out and bitter. I feel great physically in that I've been able to cook from home and eat better and I've lost a ton of weight the last few months, but honestly I'm so sick of the work and the clients and the hours and expectations, I'm frankly over it. Not many professions you can work till 2 am for a week straight and still get snide, passive aggressive emails about timeliness and I'm just too old for this shit. Big issue is that I'm very close with the partners in my office but I was asked to help on a deal back in May with a different office and I was pretty much blind-sided as to what my role would be. I thought I'd come in and help with the purchase agreement and reviewing junior work, but the partner had me do all the diligence as well (meanwhile half our juniors are billing 20 hours a week and I'm billing 60 on fucking diligence). My other deals that died are coming back now and my partners are having to pick up my slack.

I paid off my loans in December, have over $150,000 in savings plus more in retirement, and am on the verge of quitting. But I'm wondering if it makes more sense to essentially just give up and make them fire me rather than quit and not be eligible for unemployment. I've never liked being a lawyer and in-house was basically my last chance to find some sort of normality in my legal career, but I'm just so exhausted and bored, I just want out. Wondering what people think or if they know others that have just slowly stopped giving a shit until they get fired.

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Re: Biglaw Burnout - Quit or Get Fired?

Post by Yugihoe » Mon Jun 22, 2020 9:29 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Jun 22, 2020 9:23 am
I'm a senior M&A associate that was trying to go in-house before the whole economy blew up and now I'm just burnt out and bitter. I feel great physically in that I've been able to cook from home and eat better and I've lost a ton of weight the last few months, but honestly I'm so sick of the work and the clients and the hours and expectations, I'm frankly over it. Not many professions you can work till 2 am for a week straight and still get snide, passive aggressive emails about timeliness and I'm just too old for this shit. Big issue is that I'm very close with the partners in my office but I was asked to help on a deal back in May with a different office and I was pretty much blind-sided as to what my role would be. I thought I'd come in and help with the purchase agreement and reviewing junior work, but the partner had me do all the diligence as well (meanwhile half our juniors are billing 20 hours a week and I'm billing 60 on fucking diligence). My other deals that died are coming back now and my partners are having to pick up my slack.

I paid off my loans in December, have over $150,000 in savings plus more in retirement, and am on the verge of quitting. But I'm wondering if it makes more sense to essentially just give up and make them fire me rather than quit and not be eligible for unemployment. I've never liked being a lawyer and in-house was basically my last chance to find some sort of normality in my legal career, but I'm just so exhausted and bored, I just want out. Wondering what people think or if they know others that have just slowly stopped giving a shit until they get fired.
I wouldn't quit if I had no job lined up. Tons of people coast until they get the talk. You could likely make it 6 more months before you get let go (they might even give you 3 months severance to look around). This is a substantial amount of money as a senior associate. You have to find the right balance as you dial back so you're not completely fucking over your teams - just take longer to respond and work more slowly. Aggressively turn down new deals. Just search 'coasting' on tls to find more threads about it.

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Re: Biglaw Burnout - Quit or Get Fired?

Post by nealric » Mon Jun 22, 2020 9:36 am

I get the impulse, but if you can hold out a few more months, I think you will be in a much better place on the other side. In-house hiring is dead right now due to COVID, but it's not dead for ever. You'll have a much better time as an employed person.

$150k can last a while, but there needs to be a "then what." If you had $2MM, you could just drop out of the rat race entirely, but you aren't there yet. Don't let all that biglaw grinding go to waste.

In the meantime, can you delegate more? You are complaining that juniors are billing 20 hours a week and you are billing 60 on diligence. Why not just have a junior do it for you? They might be a bit annoyed if they wanted to charge the client at your rate, but it's unlikely you'd be fired for it. I wouldn't even ask permission.

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Re: Biglaw Burnout - Quit or Get Fired?

Post by Anon-non-anon » Mon Jun 22, 2020 9:59 am

nealric wrote:
Mon Jun 22, 2020 9:36 am
I get the impulse, but if you can hold out a few more months, I think you will be in a much better place on the other side. In-house hiring is dead right now due to COVID, but it's not dead for ever. You'll have a much better time as an employed person.

$150k can last a while, but there needs to be a "then what." If you had $2MM, you could just drop out of the rat race entirely, but you aren't there yet. Don't let all that biglaw grinding go to waste.

In the meantime, can you delegate more? You are complaining that juniors are billing 20 hours a week and you are billing 60 on diligence. Why not just have a junior do it for you? They might be a bit annoyed if they wanted to charge the client at your rate, but it's unlikely you'd be fired for it. I wouldn't even ask permission.
Second this, especially if you're seriously considering quitting. What are they gonna say to you? Worst case they say you need to ask me first, and if it's a partner from a different office and you're close with the ones at your office, the other one won't be able to do much (with some obvious exceptions), especially if you have no intention of sticking around. Also, if you're close with the partners in your office and are that burnt out, you may want to have an honest discussion with them. Perhaps they wouldn't mind putting you on part time during this period anyway while you figure out your next steps. Or they may give you a six month sabbatical (prob unpaid at this point), etc. All better than quitting and burning bridges.

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Re: Biglaw Burnout - Quit or Get Fired?

Post by hdr » Mon Jun 22, 2020 10:44 am

Don't quit and don't "give up" if that means doing shitty work. But you should feel free to insist on more time whenever you're asked to work nights or weekends. Either they'll give you more flexibility or they'll find another associate; in either case, you win. You can probably last for at least several months with lowish (~100/month) hours, especially if you started the pandemic strong and you're still ahead of others in your group. (And if you're really lucky the firm will either terminate you with severance or give you the talk with an indefinite amount of time to find something new).

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Re: Biglaw Burnout - Quit or Get Fired?

Post by s1m4 » Mon Jun 22, 2020 12:11 pm

Just curious - when are you up for partner? Is there any possibility of working a bit more if/until you are up for consideration, and then coasting as a newly made partner?

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Re: Biglaw Burnout - Quit or Get Fired?

Post by wwwcol » Mon Jun 22, 2020 1:06 pm

s1m4 wrote:
Mon Jun 22, 2020 12:11 pm
Just curious - when are you up for partner? Is there any possibility of working a bit more if/until you are up for consideration, and then coasting as a newly made partner?
Junior partners generally work as hard or harder than associates. A lot of it is nonbillable biz dev too

OP, I’d delegate aggressively the shit you don’t want to do and turn down new work except from partners who would go to bat for you / who you like. You could probably coast for at least half a year like this

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Re: Biglaw Burnout - Quit or Get Fired?

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Jun 22, 2020 1:16 pm

s1m4 wrote:
Mon Jun 22, 2020 12:11 pm
Just curious - when are you up for partner? Is there any possibility of working a bit more if/until you are up for consideration, and then coasting as a newly made partner?
OP here - no idea, but I know I'm definitely someone on the radar for partnership in the next few years. My firm is off market, but I've gotten consistently top tier reviews and top bucket bonuses. I'd rather be garbageman than be a partner at a law firm - I hate this job and being partner won't change that.

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Re: Biglaw Burnout - Quit or Get Fired?

Post by Excellent117 » Mon Jun 22, 2020 1:17 pm

From OP's initial post, it sort of seems like OP isn't able to delegate this diligence work, but that OP was asked specifically by the partner to personally handle the diligence.

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Re: Biglaw Burnout - Quit or Get Fired?

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Jun 22, 2020 1:19 pm

wwwcol wrote:
Mon Jun 22, 2020 1:06 pm
s1m4 wrote:
Mon Jun 22, 2020 12:11 pm
Just curious - when are you up for partner? Is there any possibility of working a bit more if/until you are up for consideration, and then coasting as a newly made partner?
Junior partners generally work as hard or harder than associates. A lot of it is nonbillable biz dev too

OP, I’d delegate aggressively the shit you don’t want to do and turn down new work except from partners who would go to bat for you / who you like. You could probably coast for at least half a year like this
This is what I'm already doing. I've pretty much got coverage on all deals except that one shitty one where i'm supposed to do all the work. Issue is that clients still call me, partners still bother me, and even when other people are doing the work, its still your responsibility to make sure its not terrible. Truth is I'm already coasting and billing 50+ hours a week. Its dam hard to coast as a senior associate because you get shit on from the top, the bottom and the side with clients.

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Re: Biglaw Burnout - Quit or Get Fired?

Post by hdr » Mon Jun 22, 2020 1:21 pm

wwwcol wrote:
Mon Jun 22, 2020 1:06 pm
s1m4 wrote:
Mon Jun 22, 2020 12:11 pm
Just curious - when are you up for partner? Is there any possibility of working a bit more if/until you are up for consideration, and then coasting as a newly made partner?
Junior partners generally work as hard or harder than associates. A lot of it is nonbillable biz dev to
Agree with this; being a junior non-equity partner seems way worse than being a senior associate. Plus at many firms the increase in compensation is negligible.

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Re: Biglaw Burnout - Quit or Get Fired?

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Jun 22, 2020 1:24 pm

Excellent117 wrote:
Mon Jun 22, 2020 1:17 pm
From OP's initial post, it sort of seems like OP isn't able to delegate this diligence work, but that OP was asked specifically by the partner to personally handle the diligence.
Correct - the diligence piece is almost done, but its left a ridiculously sour taste in my mouth. I hate to say i'm above any kind of work, but I just find it sort of disrespectful of my time, even more so than usual.

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Re: Biglaw Burnout - Quit or Get Fired?

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Jun 22, 2020 1:30 pm

Yugihoe wrote:
Mon Jun 22, 2020 9:29 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Jun 22, 2020 9:23 am
I'm a senior M&A associate that was trying to go in-house before the whole economy blew up and now I'm just burnt out and bitter. I feel great physically in that I've been able to cook from home and eat better and I've lost a ton of weight the last few months, but honestly I'm so sick of the work and the clients and the hours and expectations, I'm frankly over it. Not many professions you can work till 2 am for a week straight and still get snide, passive aggressive emails about timeliness and I'm just too old for this shit. Big issue is that I'm very close with the partners in my office but I was asked to help on a deal back in May with a different office and I was pretty much blind-sided as to what my role would be. I thought I'd come in and help with the purchase agreement and reviewing junior work, but the partner had me do all the diligence as well (meanwhile half our juniors are billing 20 hours a week and I'm billing 60 on fucking diligence). My other deals that died are coming back now and my partners are having to pick up my slack.

I paid off my loans in December, have over $150,000 in savings plus more in retirement, and am on the verge of quitting. But I'm wondering if it makes more sense to essentially just give up and make them fire me rather than quit and not be eligible for unemployment. I've never liked being a lawyer and in-house was basically my last chance to find some sort of normality in my legal career, but I'm just so exhausted and bored, I just want out. Wondering what people think or if they know others that have just slowly stopped giving a shit until they get fired.
I wouldn't quit if I had no job lined up. Tons of people coast until they get the talk. You could likely make it 6 more months before you get let go (they might even give you 3 months severance to look around). This is a substantial amount of money as a senior associate. You have to find the right balance as you dial back so you're not completely fucking over your teams - just take longer to respond and work more slowly. Aggressively turn down new deals. Just search 'coasting' on tls to find more threads about it.
Yea I mean I've only seen a few people be able to actually coast in this job and its usually because they are so terrible no one wants to work with them. From what I saw in those threads, its pretty hard to actually "coast" as a senior associate. I definitely know I should stick it out, just getting to the point I'd rather do anything else than this shit.

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Re: Biglaw Burnout - Quit or Get Fired?

Post by Neff » Mon Jun 22, 2020 3:03 pm

I'm a 5th year in corporate, but I totally get the feeling. For those of you juniors/midlevels in corporate, I warn you that the job gets dramatically shittier once you start running deals and become the primary contact for clients and partners.

At that point, you are faced with the stark lose-lose proposition of either (1) failing in your role and getting culled, or (2) doing a great job and getting killed with overwork (why? because whereas nearly every junior can monkey up some diligence, few have the ability to run point). To "succeed", you need to be good at both doing the work and eating shit; stated otherwise, you need to be paradoxically really smart and really dumb.

When you start getting getting praised left and right as a sr associate, it feels really good as your reputation/stature in your group palpably begins to rise. But if you have any sense about you, that will wear off soon once you fully grasp the lose-lose proposition. Then you remember the old adage from law school about the pie-eating contest where the reward is more pie. Unless you are truly a shit-eater with broken perception, it finally dawns that the whole system is fundamentally broken.

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Re: Biglaw Burnout - Quit or Get Fired?

Post by nealric » Mon Jun 22, 2020 3:42 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Jun 22, 2020 1:30 pm
Yugihoe wrote:
Mon Jun 22, 2020 9:29 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Jun 22, 2020 9:23 am
I'm a senior M&A associate that was trying to go in-house before the whole economy blew up and now I'm just burnt out and bitter. I feel great physically in that I've been able to cook from home and eat better and I've lost a ton of weight the last few months, but honestly I'm so sick of the work and the clients and the hours and expectations, I'm frankly over it. Not many professions you can work till 2 am for a week straight and still get snide, passive aggressive emails about timeliness and I'm just too old for this shit. Big issue is that I'm very close with the partners in my office but I was asked to help on a deal back in May with a different office and I was pretty much blind-sided as to what my role would be. I thought I'd come in and help with the purchase agreement and reviewing junior work, but the partner had me do all the diligence as well (meanwhile half our juniors are billing 20 hours a week and I'm billing 60 on fucking diligence). My other deals that died are coming back now and my partners are having to pick up my slack.

I paid off my loans in December, have over $150,000 in savings plus more in retirement, and am on the verge of quitting. But I'm wondering if it makes more sense to essentially just give up and make them fire me rather than quit and not be eligible for unemployment. I've never liked being a lawyer and in-house was basically my last chance to find some sort of normality in my legal career, but I'm just so exhausted and bored, I just want out. Wondering what people think or if they know others that have just slowly stopped giving a shit until they get fired.
I wouldn't quit if I had no job lined up. Tons of people coast until they get the talk. You could likely make it 6 more months before you get let go (they might even give you 3 months severance to look around). This is a substantial amount of money as a senior associate. You have to find the right balance as you dial back so you're not completely fucking over your teams - just take longer to respond and work more slowly. Aggressively turn down new deals. Just search 'coasting' on tls to find more threads about it.
Yea I mean I've only seen a few people be able to actually coast in this job and its usually because they are so terrible no one wants to work with them. From what I saw in those threads, its pretty hard to actually "coast" as a senior associate. I definitely know I should stick it out, just getting to the point I'd rather do anything else than this shit.
Most associates get to this point eventually. It's definitely time to start planning your exit. But don't exit without a plan.

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Re: Biglaw Burnout - Quit or Get Fired?

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Jun 22, 2020 3:56 pm

Neff wrote:
Mon Jun 22, 2020 3:03 pm
I'm a 5th year in corporate, but I totally get the feeling. For those of you juniors/midlevels in corporate, I warn you that the job gets dramatically shittier once you start running deals and become the primary contact for clients and partners.

At that point, you are faced with the stark lose-lose proposition of either (1) failing in your role and getting culled, or (2) doing a great job and getting killed with overwork (why? because whereas nearly every junior can monkey up some diligence, few have the ability to run point). To "succeed", you need to be good at both doing the work and eating shit; stated otherwise, you need to be paradoxically really smart and really dumb.

When you start getting getting praised left and right as a sr associate, it feels really good as your reputation/stature in your group palpably begins to rise. But if you have any sense about you, that will wear off soon once you fully grasp the lose-lose proposition. Then you remember the old adage from law school about the pie-eating contest where the reward is more pie. Unless you are truly a shit-eater with broken perception, it finally dawns that the whole system is fundamentally broken.
OP here - straight up TRUTH. It's crazy that I've done this job for 6 years, have had nothing but praise and amazing reviews, and yet I feel like I'm losing my mind and that I'm a huge failure for not just jumping ship to a more chill job the first chance I got. It's one thing when I'm running deals for partners that have been there for me in the past, taken me to drinks, given me great reviews and made sure I get paid, but once COVID hit and my deals dried up, after two months of sitting around waiting for them to fire back up I got staffed with someone I never worked for on a type of transaction I've never done, and it brings it all home just how shitty this job is. I could barely handle the stress when I was working with people I'm comfortable with but now its just awful and I'm back to doing 1st year diligence on top of it while my other deals come back and I'm getting immersed in those.

I held out on availability because (i) I needed some time to relax with a global pandemic raging and (ii) I wanted to make sure if my deals came back I wouldn't be destroyed. The minute I said I had any availability I had people asking me left and right to help them. I guess if you really like the job and/or really want to make partner its great, but I kind of just want them to leave me alone or hook me up with an in-house job. It's not that I don't like my bosses, the work is just too stressful, tedious, and frankly soulless.

Then I know people that were massive failures at their firm, some got fired, some had awful reviews, but those people now have cush in-house jobs they were able to get, they work 9-5/6, make $150,000+, have a life. Just seems this entire profession is perverse and seeing friends of mine that barely scrapped by in biglaw obtain great gigs and time to be themselves makes it even harder to keep caring.

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Re: Biglaw Burnout - Quit or Get Fired?

Post by Neff » Mon Jun 22, 2020 4:22 pm

Heh, the comment about the associates who were "massive failures" reminds me of this old nugget of wisdom: https://ando.life/journal/the-useless-tree

Biglaw is a great illustration of this "useless tree" scenario, in which the better/smarter/more useful you are, the more you get used up by the system. Meanwhile, it's the drooling idiots who paradoxically thrive because they get left alone.

But law students are not the type who are likely to understand this.

My practical advice is to not lose hope but just keep looking and applying to in-house gigs. It's a difficult time to be looking, yes, but the gigs are and always will be there. I'm in a smaller market but still having some success getting interviews right now. You just need to work on your business spiel and focus on standing out from all the other biglaw corporate refugees. Your finances seem good, so just remember that, aside from your own illusions about success or failure as a lawyer, or those feelings of guilt or innocence about how much or little you are billing, there is really nothing, absolutely nothing forcing you to stay. The feeling of being stuck is all in your head.

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Re: Biglaw Burnout - Quit or Get Fired?

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Jun 22, 2020 5:10 pm

Neff wrote:
Mon Jun 22, 2020 4:22 pm
Heh, the comment about the associates who were "massive failures" reminds me of this old nugget of wisdom: https://ando.life/journal/the-useless-tree

Biglaw is a great illustration of this "useless tree" scenario, in which the better/smarter/more useful you are, the more you get used up by the system. Meanwhile, it's the drooling idiots who paradoxically thrive because they get left alone.

But law students are not the type who are likely to understand this.

My practical advice is to not lose hope but just keep looking and applying to in-house gigs. It's a difficult time to be looking, yes, but the gigs are and always will be there. I'm in a smaller market but still having some success getting interviews right now. You just need to work on your business spiel and focus on standing out from all the other biglaw corporate refugees. Your finances seem good, so just remember that, aside from your own illusions about success or failure as a lawyer, or those feelings of guilt or innocence about how much or little you are billing, there is really nothing, absolutely nothing forcing you to stay. The feeling of being stuck is all in your head.
It's funny cause I was talking to one of my friends a few years ago about how all this striving and goal reaching and next steps made me realize I just wanted to go live out in the woods or the mountains and have a simple life, free of external created stresses, and he sent me that. It's a philosophy I completely, 100% agree with.

My feelings stem less than my failures as a lawyer and more from the fact that I rushed into a career I had no idea I would like and it turns out it really wasn't for me at all. Warning to all those that have issues getting jobs out of college in this economy. Law school should never be a backup plan, unless its a free one.

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Re: Biglaw Burnout - Quit or Get Fired?

Post by Neff » Mon Jun 22, 2020 5:25 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Jun 22, 2020 5:10 pm
Neff wrote:
Mon Jun 22, 2020 4:22 pm
Heh, the comment about the associates who were "massive failures" reminds me of this old nugget of wisdom: https://ando.life/journal/the-useless-tree

Biglaw is a great illustration of this "useless tree" scenario, in which the better/smarter/more useful you are, the more you get used up by the system. Meanwhile, it's the drooling idiots who paradoxically thrive because they get left alone.

But law students are not the type who are likely to understand this.

My practical advice is to not lose hope but just keep looking and applying to in-house gigs. It's a difficult time to be looking, yes, but the gigs are and always will be there. I'm in a smaller market but still having some success getting interviews right now. You just need to work on your business spiel and focus on standing out from all the other biglaw corporate refugees. Your finances seem good, so just remember that, aside from your own illusions about success or failure as a lawyer, or those feelings of guilt or innocence about how much or little you are billing, there is really nothing, absolutely nothing forcing you to stay. The feeling of being stuck is all in your head.
It's funny cause I was talking to one of my friends a few years ago about how all this striving and goal reaching and next steps made me realize I just wanted to go live out in the woods or the mountains and have a simple life, free of external created stresses, and he sent me that. It's a philosophy I completely, 100% agree with.

My feelings stem less than my failures as a lawyer and more from the fact that I rushed into a career I had no idea I would like and it turns out it really wasn't for me at all. Warning to all those that have issues getting jobs out of college in this economy. Law school should never be a backup plan, unless its a free one.
It sounds like you might benefit from just taking a break, period -- that just going after the first in-house job you see might not resolve the existential issue with the profession. A lot of people who left biglaw to work in business or pursue their own venture have emphasized the importance of a clean break, i.e. to literally just quit with no plan. Without this quiet, it is very difficult to figure out what you want to do, because your days are so cluttered with noise.

Are you married/do you have children? If you are single with no obligation to feed anyone else, you are quite literally free (and have been free for a long time) to hand in your notice today. Otherwise it may be a bit trickier (as in my situation). But there is always a way forward.

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Re: Biglaw Burnout - Quit or Get Fired?

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Jun 24, 2020 10:43 am

Neff wrote:
Mon Jun 22, 2020 5:25 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Jun 22, 2020 5:10 pm
Neff wrote:
Mon Jun 22, 2020 4:22 pm
Heh, the comment about the associates who were "massive failures" reminds me of this old nugget of wisdom: https://ando.life/journal/the-useless-tree

Biglaw is a great illustration of this "useless tree" scenario, in which the better/smarter/more useful you are, the more you get used up by the system. Meanwhile, it's the drooling idiots who paradoxically thrive because they get left alone.

But law students are not the type who are likely to understand this.

My practical advice is to not lose hope but just keep looking and applying to in-house gigs. It's a difficult time to be looking, yes, but the gigs are and always will be there. I'm in a smaller market but still having some success getting interviews right now. You just need to work on your business spiel and focus on standing out from all the other biglaw corporate refugees. Your finances seem good, so just remember that, aside from your own illusions about success or failure as a lawyer, or those feelings of guilt or innocence about how much or little you are billing, there is really nothing, absolutely nothing forcing you to stay. The feeling of being stuck is all in your head.
It's funny cause I was talking to one of my friends a few years ago about how all this striving and goal reaching and next steps made me realize I just wanted to go live out in the woods or the mountains and have a simple life, free of external created stresses, and he sent me that. It's a philosophy I completely, 100% agree with.

My feelings stem less than my failures as a lawyer and more from the fact that I rushed into a career I had no idea I would like and it turns out it really wasn't for me at all. Warning to all those that have issues getting jobs out of college in this economy. Law school should never be a backup plan, unless its a free one.
It sounds like you might benefit from just taking a break, period -- that just going after the first in-house job you see might not resolve the existential issue with the profession. A lot of people who left biglaw to work in business or pursue their own venture have emphasized the importance of a clean break, i.e. to literally just quit with no plan. Without this quiet, it is very difficult to figure out what you want to do, because your days are so cluttered with noise.

Are you married/do you have children? If you are single with no obligation to feed anyone else, you are quite literally free (and have been free for a long time) to hand in your notice today. Otherwise it may be a bit trickier (as in my situation). But there is always a way forward.
I completely agree. Ideally, I'd just quit and take 6 months to relax and get in optimal shape while exploring other opportunities (maybe talk to teachers, try data science classes, go camping, etc.), but I think I need to try in-house first. My mindset can get pretty sour, but honestly, law firm life is so shitty and so outside the norm in terms of work/life balance, that I want to just chalk it up to me being a fish out of water here and not a larger-scale issue. Granted, if I get an in-house job and after 6 months feel the same way I feel now, I'd probably throw in the towel.

I'm married but we only have fur-babies and my wife has a good job where she makes $80K/year with some good upside and the ability to work remote, so I'm definitely not moored to a job and have the ability to be flexible.

Anonymous User
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Re: Biglaw Burnout - Quit or Get Fired?

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Jun 27, 2020 1:45 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Jun 22, 2020 3:56 pm
OP here - straight up TRUTH. It's crazy that I've done this job for 6 years, have had nothing but praise and amazing reviews, and yet I feel like I'm losing my mind and that I'm a huge failure for not just jumping ship to a more chill job the first chance I got.

Not much helpful advice to offer except I feel this thread 110%. OP your description of everything is exactly what I’m going through, except I’m two years behind as a fourth year, so kudos to you for surviving even longer. A lot of my deals also died/paused during quarantine, but even with work being slower and the ability to WFH, I still hate the job. I particularly hate being in this purgatory where even when work is a lot slower, I can’t completely check out and still feel pressure to look like I’m actively engaged with the firm, be super responsive to emails and calls, volunteer for annoying nonbillable BS, participate in every “voluntary” virtual happy hour with partners, etc.

I was told some of my deals will picking back up soon, and instead of looking forward to finally having some work to do, I feel intense anxiety at the thought of having to go through yet another awful transaction with micromanaging partners, jerk clients and ridiculous fire drills. I had several conversations with my spouse this week about how unhappy I’ve been with my choice of going to law school and working in big law. I told my spouse that the more deals I go through doesn’t make the next deal any better because I’m more “used” to it, it just wears me down more and more. like you, I’ve had good reviews and have a good reputation with my group, but the better I am at this job, the more miserable it is.

My lack of motivation has gotten to the point where I’m even entertaining leaving with no backup plan so I can finally just have some space away from anything law-related and focus on what makes me happy. Yet I also feel guilty for thinking that way during this pandemic while others are unemployed, plus don’t want to let down my spouse financially. like you said in-house hiring seems to have slowed down considerably, so I feel discouraged from looking elsewhere. I do know that I definitely don’t want to leave just to go to another firm bc the crappiness of M&A seems to be universal. I know ultimately a lot of this is all in my head, and I always have the choice of leaving, but it’s easier said than done... hope us big law burnouts find something fulfilling (or at least something more chill/less soul crushing) eventually.

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Re: Biglaw Burnout - Quit or Get Fired?

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Jun 27, 2020 6:16 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Jun 27, 2020 1:45 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Jun 22, 2020 3:56 pm
OP here - straight up TRUTH. It's crazy that I've done this job for 6 years, have had nothing but praise and amazing reviews, and yet I feel like I'm losing my mind and that I'm a huge failure for not just jumping ship to a more chill job the first chance I got.

Not much helpful advice to offer except I feel this thread 110%. OP your description of everything is exactly what I’m going through, except I’m two years behind as a fourth year, so kudos to you for surviving even longer. A lot of my deals also died/paused during quarantine, but even with work being slower and the ability to WFH, I still hate the job. I particularly hate being in this purgatory where even when work is a lot slower, I can’t completely check out and still feel pressure to look like I’m actively engaged with the firm, be super responsive to emails and calls, volunteer for annoying nonbillable BS, participate in every “voluntary” virtual happy hour with partners, etc.

I was told some of my deals will picking back up soon, and instead of looking forward to finally having some work to do, I feel intense anxiety at the thought of having to go through yet another awful transaction with micromanaging partners, jerk clients and ridiculous fire drills. I had several conversations with my spouse this week about how unhappy I’ve been with my choice of going to law school and working in big law. I told my spouse that the more deals I go through doesn’t make the next deal any better because I’m more “used” to it, it just wears me down more and more. like you, I’ve had good reviews and have a good reputation with my group, but the better I am at this job, the more miserable it is.

My lack of motivation has gotten to the point where I’m even entertaining leaving with no backup plan so I can finally just have some space away from anything law-related and focus on what makes me happy. Yet I also feel guilty for thinking that way during this pandemic while others are unemployed, plus don’t want to let down my spouse financially. like you said in-house hiring seems to have slowed down considerably, so I feel discouraged from looking elsewhere. I do know that I definitely don’t want to leave just to go to another firm bc the crappiness of M&A seems to be universal. I know ultimately a lot of this is all in my head, and I always have the choice of leaving, but it’s easier said than done... hope us big law burnouts find something fulfilling (or at least something more chill/less soul crushing) eventually.
Also joining in - sixth year (litigation) here - burnt out and demotivated. Had a few promising in-house leads fizzle out due to coronavirus with nothing new on the horizon. Working from home was initially a boost but now has actually made things worse as the boundaries between work and home have completely vanished at my firm. Saturday and Sunday are just another work day now and things don't slow down after 5 or 6, they keep going full bore until late at night (though the daytime hours are slower, they aren't slow enough to balance everything out). Not sure what to do, but also contemplating making a complete and clean break from biglaw at some point in the not too distant future.

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Re: Biglaw Burnout - Quit or Get Fired?

Post by Anonymous User » Sun Jun 28, 2020 8:45 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Jun 22, 2020 9:23 am
I'm a senior M&A associate that was trying to go in-house before the whole economy blew up and now I'm just burnt out and bitter. I feel great physically in that I've been able to cook from home and eat better and I've lost a ton of weight the last few months, but honestly I'm so sick of the work and the clients and the hours and expectations, I'm frankly over it. Not many professions you can work till 2 am for a week straight and still get snide, passive aggressive emails about timeliness and I'm just too old for this shit. Big issue is that I'm very close with the partners in my office but I was asked to help on a deal back in May with a different office and I was pretty much blind-sided as to what my role would be. I thought I'd come in and help with the purchase agreement and reviewing junior work, but the partner had me do all the diligence as well (meanwhile half our juniors are billing 20 hours a week and I'm billing 60 on fucking diligence). My other deals that died are coming back now and my partners are having to pick up my slack.

I paid off my loans in December, have over $150,000 in savings plus more in retirement, and am on the verge of quitting. But I'm wondering if it makes more sense to essentially just give up and make them fire me rather than quit and not be eligible for unemployment. I've never liked being a lawyer and in-house was basically my last chance to find some sort of normality in my legal career, but I'm just so exhausted and bored, I just want out. Wondering what people think or if they know others that have just slowly stopped giving a shit until they get fired.
Hey,

I was there as a 5th year at a v5 before I made a move. I was looking in house, but honestly the jobs I was finding seemed super boring. I also started looking at mid sized firms. I eventually moved to one and I have been super happy. I typically work 9-6:00 and might work a bit more if deals are closing (i.e. to like 8:00 or 9:00 or a couple hours on the weekend). I get paid about 250K (associate base tops out at about 285) plus a pretty small bonus at the end of the year. I'm generally super happy. What I'm saying is there are other options out there. I'd highly caution you on just quitting amd think about expanding your search a little bit.

One suggestion I have is to go reduced pace. At my old V5, it was common for burned out associates to take a sabbatical or go on very reduced pace. Many associates sat at reduced pace for a year or more until they found another job. Firms make so much money off associates, if you are well liked they would normally rather keep you at reduced pace and milk you for a few more months than see you leave. I dont know that I'd ask for a sabticcal in the current environment.

Anonymous User
Posts: 347701
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Biglaw Burnout - Quit or Get Fired?

Post by Anonymous User » Sun Jun 28, 2020 8:46 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Jun 22, 2020 9:23 am
I'm a senior M&A associate that was trying to go in-house before the whole economy blew up and now I'm just burnt out and bitter. I feel great physically in that I've been able to cook from home and eat better and I've lost a ton of weight the last few months, but honestly I'm so sick of the work and the clients and the hours and expectations, I'm frankly over it. Not many professions you can work till 2 am for a week straight and still get snide, passive aggressive emails about timeliness and I'm just too old for this shit. Big issue is that I'm very close with the partners in my office but I was asked to help on a deal back in May with a different office and I was pretty much blind-sided as to what my role would be. I thought I'd come in and help with the purchase agreement and reviewing junior work, but the partner had me do all the diligence as well (meanwhile half our juniors are billing 20 hours a week and I'm billing 60 on fucking diligence). My other deals that died are coming back now and my partners are having to pick up my slack.

I paid off my loans in December, have over $150,000 in savings plus more in retirement, and am on the verge of quitting. But I'm wondering if it makes more sense to essentially just give up and make them fire me rather than quit and not be eligible for unemployment. I've never liked being a lawyer and in-house was basically my last chance to find some sort of normality in my legal career, but I'm just so exhausted and bored, I just want out. Wondering what people think or if they know others that have just slowly stopped giving a shit until they get fired.
Hey,

I was there as a 5th year at a v5 before I made a move. I was looking in house, but honestly the jobs I was finding seemed super boring. I also started looking at mid sized firms. I eventually moved to one and I have been super happy. I typically work 9-6:00 and might work a bit more if deals are closing (i.e. to like 8:00 or 9:00 or a couple hours on the weekend). I get paid about 250K (associate base tops out at about 285) plus a pretty small bonus at the end of the year. I'm generally super happy. What I'm saying is there are other options out there. I'd highly caution you on just quitting amd think about expanding your search a little bit.

One suggestion I have is to go reduced pace. At my old V5, it was common for burned out associates to take a sabbatical or go on very reduced pace. Many associates sat at reduced pace for a year or more until they found another job. Firms make so much money off associates, if you are well liked they would normally rather keep you at reduced pace and milk you for a few more months than see you leave. I dont know that I'd ask for a sabticcal in the current environment.

Anonymous User
Posts: 347701
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Biglaw Burnout - Quit or Get Fired?

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Jun 29, 2020 9:02 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Sun Jun 28, 2020 8:46 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Jun 22, 2020 9:23 am
I'm a senior M&A associate that was trying to go in-house before the whole economy blew up and now I'm just burnt out and bitter. I feel great physically in that I've been able to cook from home and eat better and I've lost a ton of weight the last few months, but honestly I'm so sick of the work and the clients and the hours and expectations, I'm frankly over it. Not many professions you can work till 2 am for a week straight and still get snide, passive aggressive emails about timeliness and I'm just too old for this shit. Big issue is that I'm very close with the partners in my office but I was asked to help on a deal back in May with a different office and I was pretty much blind-sided as to what my role would be. I thought I'd come in and help with the purchase agreement and reviewing junior work, but the partner had me do all the diligence as well (meanwhile half our juniors are billing 20 hours a week and I'm billing 60 on fucking diligence). My other deals that died are coming back now and my partners are having to pick up my slack.

I paid off my loans in December, have over $150,000 in savings plus more in retirement, and am on the verge of quitting. But I'm wondering if it makes more sense to essentially just give up and make them fire me rather than quit and not be eligible for unemployment. I've never liked being a lawyer and in-house was basically my last chance to find some sort of normality in my legal career, but I'm just so exhausted and bored, I just want out. Wondering what people think or if they know others that have just slowly stopped giving a shit until they get fired.
Hey,

I was there as a 5th year at a v5 before I made a move. I was looking in house, but honestly the jobs I was finding seemed super boring. I also started looking at mid sized firms. I eventually moved to one and I have been super happy. I typically work 9-6:00 and might work a bit more if deals are closing (i.e. to like 8:00 or 9:00 or a couple hours on the weekend). I get paid about 250K (associate base tops out at about 285) plus a pretty small bonus at the end of the year. I'm generally super happy. What I'm saying is there are other options out there. I'd highly caution you on just quitting amd think about expanding your search a little bit.

One suggestion I have is to go reduced pace. At my old V5, it was common for burned out associates to take a sabbatical or go on very reduced pace. Many associates sat at reduced pace for a year or more until they found another job. Firms make so much money off associates, if you are well liked they would normally rather keep you at reduced pace and milk you for a few more months than see you leave. I dont know that I'd ask for a sabticcal in the current environment.
Thanks for the advice. I think my problem is that there really is no reduced pace that I find alright anymore. Being a senior on 4 active deals there is only so much I can ignore without straight up failing to do my job. Clients email me directly, partners leave me hanging on things because they have in the past and they think I'll get it done, but the difference is that now I just want to ignore it too.

I've looked into smaller firms, but how do you do M&A/transactional work on a typical 9-6 schedule? It just seems like you need to be extremely lucky to find a place like that, especially if they bring you in as a senior associate. I have dialed it back and a lot of it I'm finding is just not caring anymore. Don't spend 10 hours reviewing an agreement, spend 4, say you had some random comments and just fire shit away. But don't get me wrong, this isn't exactly enjoyable either. Knowing how much work goes in to being a good attorney, it doesn't really feel good to know you're half-assing it everyday.

I'm trying to figure out next steps, got lots of different moving parts (in-house, canadian firms, researching going back to school), but that leads to issues also since its hard to be focused when my one thing is just wanting out. Anyways, thanks for the advice, I guess if I make it through summer with these active deals I just say no to every other thing that comes along and keep hustling for other stuff.

Seriously? What are you waiting for?

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