cmelman95cmelman95 Alum Member
in General 725 karma
Thoughts? Specifically wondering what experienced people like JY, Jon, etc think about this.


  • Nicole HopkinsNicole Hopkins Alum Inactive Sage Inactive ⭐
    4344 karma
    It depends on the firm, on the market, transactional vs. litigation, and the specialty.
  • Cant Get RightCant Get Right Yearly Member Sage 🍌
    25607 karma
    Turn that frown upside down! :(

    Uh oh.

    So yeah, from what I understand, this account is unfortunately typical.
  • Nicole HopkinsNicole Hopkins Alum Inactive Sage Inactive ⭐
    4344 karma
    This sounds very typical for certain NY transactional work. Gather accounts from associates in multiple markets with multiple specialties.

    Oh, and it's true that we biglaw types won't have much of "a life." But I personally don't have much of one anyway so might as well continue the trend ;)
  • DumbHollywoodActorDumbHollywoodActor Alum Inactive ⭐
    edited June 2016 7468 karma
    This thread is specifically about M&A work. There are plenty of other avenues to explore that can be financially viable and not make you want to kill yourself. “Litigation” gets thrown around in that thread a bunch of times as a good alternative. Just do your homework and know what you’re getting into.

    {Edit: Essentially, what @"Nicole Hopkins” said. ]
  • NYC12345NYC12345 Alum Inactive Sage
    edited June 2016 1654 karma
    The amount of hours work is going to depend on the firm and market in which you practice. Biglaw in general is going to have long hours because firms make money off of billing their associates out to clients. As you can see from this TLS thread, the poster is a senior associate at one of the top 3 corporate firms in NYC, so his experience might be different than people working for less prominent firms. The best firms have a reputation for requiring really long hours, but they give their associates the opportunity to work on the biggest deals that appear on the front page of the WSJ. Most people do not make partner at top Biglaw firms or any Biglaw firms for that matter, and many lateral to firms that enable associates to have a better work-life balance. However, while some firms require less hours and don't have Facetime requirements, it is safe to say that Biglaw firms typically do not provide as good of a work-life balance as in-house or certain government positions.
    NYC firms are also known to be more demanding than other legal markets. For example, some secondary markets have lower billable requirements than NYC (e.g. 1850 instead of 2000) and provide associates with a better work-life balance.
    Long hours are typical for many high-paying jobs. The reason firms pay you so much is because firms bill associates out for hundreds of dollars an hour. The reason Biglaw attorneys have high salaries is because they are in "front office" positions, meaning they generate revenue and add value to the firm. Have you ever wondered why in-house attorneys tend to take a huge pay cut when they go in-house? It's because they do not bring in revenue to companies. Once attorneys transition from Biglaw to an in-house career, they are no longer in a "front office" position. The people who bring in revenue to firms are the ones who make the most (aside from top management). That's why investment banks pay investment bankers, sales and trading, and other lucrative divisions the highest salaries (aside from top management).
    There are trade-offs in life. Would you prefer earning a lower salary to have a better work-life balance, or do you think the higher salaries in Biglaw are worth it for the resources that they afford you and your family? That is the question you have to ask yourself. For some, the trade-offs are worth it, and for others they are not. What other job pays 25 year olds without any work experience 180k with a bonus? I personally don't know of many.
    Another thing to keep in mind: many people only work in Biglaw for a few years to get experience and transition to DOJ/USAO/in-house careers. In fact, many legal jobs in the public and private sectors require Biglaw experience. Before you write off Biglaw because of the stories you've heard about it, keep in mind that you can leave after a few years and transition to a career that you find more fulfilling.
  • Nicole HopkinsNicole Hopkins Alum Inactive Sage Inactive ⭐
    4344 karma
  • AidoeAidoe Member
    edited June 2016 236 karma
    As industrious as an ant and none the more significant.
  • BruiserWoodsBruiserWoods Legacy Member Inactive ⭐
    1706 karma
    @alexandergreene93 said:
    What other job pays 25 year olds without any work experience 180k with a bonus? I personally don't know of many.
    welp. there's that. I mean - you can't REALLY expect that you're going to be working 8 hours a day + a lunch break and clocking right on out to go play softball for 5:30 with the boys, right? I mean, I know I'm making assumptions. But like - even though they SHOULD pay us for showing up and looking pretty, 150k+ a year AND a bonus is probably gonna require a little more work than a job that starts out paying 60k. But i mean - like I said, that's an assumption.
  • tustaclojotustaclojo Member
    edited June 2016 2 karma
    I'm not an associate, and I don't work for a V3 firm, but I do work in biglaw at a white-shoe V20 firm in NYC. Frankly, I'm surprised that people aren't already aware that this is what biglaw is like...

    That said, my impression is that associate life isn't as bad as that guy makes it out to be, but still infinitely worse than 0Ls think it is, and certainly not what 1Ls and 2Ls see as summer associates. From speaking with associates, it seems that what wears people down isn't so much the long hours (which you need to invest in pretty much all competitive careers), but rather the monotony and mind-numbing work you do as a junior associate, and the "lack of dignity" (for want of better word) that comes with being at the mercy of both the partners and the clients, whom you shape your life to appease.

    I've seen a lot of departure memos (a staple in the revolving door business model of biglaw), and most people either go in-house (if they're lucky) or move to another, usually less "prestigious," firm with better options (hours, pay, partner-track, etc.). I don't think this is entirely because biglaw is driving them away, but rather because after a few years, the associates are at the age where they're looking to settle down and start a family.

    I always tell people that if they're pursuing law to make money, they should turn around and work in the tech industry instead. You can learn more than enough coding in the 3 years you'd otherwise spend in law school to land a comfortable 6-figure, 9-5 job as a software developer. If you're good, you start at $200k+ in Silicon Valley (I know someone who did this out of a coding bootcamp) working a quarter of the hours you'd work in biglaw.
  • stepharizonastepharizona Alum Member
    3197 karma
    @"Nicole Hopkins" said:
    Oh, and it's true that we biglaw types won't have much of "a life." But I personally don't have much of one anyway so might as well continue the trend ;)
    I feel the same way... I was working 70-80 hours a week as an HRD. Cant be more that 20 min from a laptop... yep... Once at 1am in Paris I sat on the curb on a call during a termination... The only 3 days I ever had off was when I went on a cruise ha. There was no wifi.

    I guess if you've been living it, its just par for the course.
  • Chipster StudyChipster Study Yearly Member
    edited June 2016 888 karma
    I know 4 attorneys who have crafted interesting, meaningful careers outside of big law that give them lots of money and a good quality of life. So, in short, I agree with Nicole.
  • twssmithtwssmith Alum
    5120 karma
    The issue of sacrificing balance of life pursuing a career with even a promise of decent let alone big salary potential - with demanding long hours and never being able to take a "true" vacation while always being accountable for your responsibilities no matter what - can lead to a quicker and more substantial ROI within Big Law than most other corporate environments.
    If the desire to achieve the highest level of personal accomplishments (pay, prestige, responsibilities), the sacrifices necessary to achieve these goals are not industry dependent and are up to each person to evaluate short-term and long-term goals with realistic expectations given their professional aspirations. Pursuing a law career is no different than pursuing any other discipline, i.e. medicine, and other career choices that require extreme dedication, drive and determination to achieve high levels of personal success. From years of experience, it is the passion and love for what you do that will keep you energized and make the difference to realize what is important in your ever evolving life.

    Appreciate the post @cmelman95 and all the best to everyone trying to figure it out:)
  • PacificoPacifico Alum Inactive ⭐
    8021 karma
    I'm guessing you only read the OP on that thread. With a handful of immature exceptions that thread is actually a really great and frank discussion between a lot of people across many different big law environments. I know 700+ posts sounds like a lot but I would highly recommend reading the whole thing to get a more balanced perspective.
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