m458 wrote:Thanks for the input too, DualIncome. If you don't mind me asking, what kind of firm/job are you in right now? Area of practice? Still at a big law firm or did you transition out to smaller firm or in-house? I've definitely talked to friends who are current 1st/2nd year associates at law firms and others who are in law school right now and have done summer stints in big law.
Did biglaw while in law school. A nicely paid summer internship was all I needed to see to know I would never, ever be a biglaw lawyer. Mind you, this was around fifteen years ago, when biglaw jobs were more plentiful, [inappropriate language removed by admin LadyGeek]
. I worked shoulder-to-shoulder with associates who flat-out told me they were there for at most a few years to pay off their school loans and get the heck out. It was mind-numbing work then -- spending time on stuff
you don't care about. Reviewing [stuff]
that is so boring you could hang yourself. Think you'll have some exciting job once you hit the street with your J.D. and bar card? Guess again -- you're getting paid to deal with the most boring, mind-numbing, excruciating garbage that no one else wants to deal with. That's how the big bucks get made. When I was at biglaw it was reviewing bond and note offerings and securitizations, sometimes thousands
of pages long, the same rote garbage over, and over, and over. P-1 notes and P-2 notes and P-3 notes and P-4 notes and waterfalls and shortfalls and defaults and recourse and non-recourse and securitizations and debt ratios and covenants on and on and on and on
, page after page after page
. That's corporate law in a nutshell. Thousands of pages a day of [inappropriate language removed by admin LadyGeek]
.. Your incomprehensible credit card statement x1000. Horrendous, and that's when it was still good.
Now, it's much
worse. You'll be fighting tooth-and-nail for those few jobs. Hours requirements are higher, partnership track is a laugh. Highly likely you'll be on a "non-equity" track. Translation: you do all the work, partners reap all the money. And for all this excitement, your law school costs will likely be triple, if not quadruple, what the partner above you paid.
Currently, I run my own firm, have several partners, who I like. It's a great way to practice; the only way I could stand it, frankly. We go after Wall Street banks and companies for defrauding investors, and also do some personal-injury type cases. Nothing else, all plaintiff work. It can be rewarding, and the only reason I've been able to keep at it this long is we nearly always are on the side of justice, representing David against some pretty scummy Goliaths. And we are successful. But it takes lots of experience to be successful, eight years minimum to get to the point where you could come in and be effective in one of these cases.
But even with our own firm, picking the cases and hours we want, having more control over our destiny than you will have, and even with the rewarding payoff, it still majorly [stinks]
most of the time. Really [stinks]
. I could spend every waking minute fighting and arguing with lawyers representing the other side. Think you'll enjoy arguing and fighting over documents and procedures and money for the next decade? Sitting on the phone in meetings and conference calls while idiots drone on about why they are right, then you chime in about why you are right, and on and on it goes? Believe me, after you've spent around five years fighting every single working day of your professional life, you'll be wondering, "why the hell did I do this"?
It gets better. Your schedule is not your own. It will be run by the "calendar." Everything in your professional life will be run by the "calendar," and you get to set none of it. Instead court rules, court orders, due dates, litigation rules, response dates, court appearances, client availability, mediator availability, opposing counsel schedules, this is what will dictate your professional life. If you're in litigation, judges will set out dates that suit them most -- you'll have to do all the work, around everyone else's schedule, all of the time, and 99% of the time you cannot miss a deadline. These deadlines are hard and fast, miss one and you could jeopardize your position. Blow a calendar date, you could lose an entire case before you even file it if you miss a statute of limitations or repose.
There's so much more that [is bad]
. Keeping time sheets, soul-draining waste, but necessary. You can't just "do" something. No, you have to describe it, record it, memorialize it in writing. Think about having to write down what you do in precise billing increments for the next ten or twenty years. You'll be hating life, believe me. How about doing something as simple as sending friendly or opposing counsel some documents or exhibits? Nope, you cannot just "send them along." Are the documents confidential? Does a confidentiality order apply? How about privileged? Do the materials contain anything that is privileged? Do you have to redact something? Enjoy answering that question repeatedly for the next two decades. Have an agreement with the opposition? Nope, not until you send a "confirming letter" writing down every thing you agreed on, in case the other side doesn't hold up their end -- and that will happen frequently. So then you get to prepare endless motions for discovery and to compel, to force the other side to do what should be routine, then spend even more time perfecting the papers, filing the papers where ridiculous rules (right down to the font size and line spacing) change from court to court, then getting ready for the hearings, trudging to court, getting your orders ready, all of this over and over and over on the most mundane and routine things that you will come to hate, and hate passionately.
I could go on for hours. No exaggeration to say I'm doing as good, if not better, than most biglaw lawyers, and I can sleep well knowing we are doing well by doing good. This [bad situation]
gets much worse if you are representing corporates, are doing frivolous shakedown patent work and patent trolling, are in insurance defense, or join some other outfit where your job is to [cheat]
honest people out of money, and [cheating]
people is where the big bucks get made. Family law? Good luck with that, as you will see the worst in people day-in and day-out. These types of lawyers, they hate their lives. Hate. I know
this because they have told me so, on many occasions. I've been up against the most storied firms across the country. Turnover is extremely high, especially at the associate level. I couldn't begin to count the number of younger associates I've seen disappear from firms and cases that have been on the other side -- you won't hear about it because firms keep this under wraps. Not good for their image. Only the equity partners and chairs seem to hang on. So think about that -- I've seen many
young associates depart (or get the boot) before even a single multiyear litigation had concluded.[Rude and inappropriate language removed by admin LadyGeek]