Biglawyers. Are any of you happy? Was this job better than others you've had?

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Biglawyers. Are any of you happy? Was this job better than others you've had?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Dec 06, 2015 7:44 am

I'm interested to see if there are people who actually are happy in biglaw, and why?

How does biglaw compare to other jobs for example big 4 audit/business analyst positions/whatever people did before law school?

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Re: Biglawyers. Are any of you happy? Was this job better than others you've had?

Postby Abbie Doobie » Sun Dec 06, 2015 9:31 am

not a fun as being an engineer for the first few years (engineering gets boring after a while though) but way more fun than milking cows and bagging groceries. pay is the best out of all of them. so on balance my happiness in biglaw is in balance.

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Re: Biglawyers. Are any of you happy? Was this job better than others you've had?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Dec 06, 2015 10:10 am

There have been other threads on this, if you search "biglaw" and "happy" or "biglaw" and "positive" in the thread title. But the short answer is yes: some people are happy, some people are pretty happy, some people are "I'm not singing and dancing but I'm doing this for a reason", and some people are genuinely unhappy. This is way better than any other job I've had because it's more intellectually stimulating and the people are a great fit for me. That's not universal, but neither is the stereotypical misery.

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Re: Biglawyers. Are any of you happy? Was this job better than others you've had?

Postby UVAIce » Sun Dec 06, 2015 2:28 pm

Desert Fox wrote:
Abbie Doobie wrote:not a fun as being an engineer for the first few years (engineering gets boring after a while though) but way more fun than milking cows and bagging groceries. pay is the best out of all of them. so on balance my happiness in biglaw is in balance.


I was way happier bagging groceries.


Happier than when you were cleaning the grocery store bathroom?

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Re: Biglawyers. Are any of you happy? Was this job better than others you've had?

Postby ExBiglawAssociate » Sun Dec 06, 2015 3:40 pm

Your experience will depend on who you work with. Some firms are tolerable. Some are unbearable.

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Re: Biglawyers. Are any of you happy? Was this job better than others you've had?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Dec 06, 2015 3:55 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I'm interested to see if there are people who actually are happy in biglaw, and why?

How does biglaw compare to other jobs for example big 4 audit/business analyst positions/whatever people did before law school?


I'm a bigfirm lawyer and very happy, but I wasn't at first. I had to make a lateral move in order for things to fall into place. I was initially with a firm that was a perfect storm of negatives. I wasn't in the practice group I wanted, I was working with people that weren't great to work with, the work was of no interest to me, the work wasn't substantive and was almost all neverending discovery nonsense, and my group was so large that I was left free-floating with no oversight and constant tug-of-war for my time.

At my new firm, I can now practice in the substantive area I always wanted, the group is much tighter and close knit, there is far better cohesive oversight, which allows me to better plan out my time (meaning less tug-of-war situations since the group head sets the priority of various projects). My new firm, while still very much biglaw, is much smaller and more regional than my old firm. Thus, the cases are smaller, so the younger associates get far more substantive experience and there is much less discovery in most cases. This has led to huge difference in job satisfaction and quality of life.

Funny thing is, I would have never picked my current firm right out of law school because it wouldn't have seemed "prestigious" enough, since I was picking largely based on Vault rankings out of school. I don't necessarily regret going to the bigger, more prestigious firm first, since it gave me a nice resume line and springboard to other positions. But it took a few years of dissatisfaction and unhappiness before I finally found the right setup for me.

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Re: Biglawyers. Are any of you happy? Was this job better than others you've had?

Postby Big Shrimpin » Sun Dec 06, 2015 8:05 pm

Desert Fox wrote:
Abbie Doobie wrote:not a fun as being an engineer for the first few years (engineering gets boring after a while though) but way more fun than milking cows and bagging groceries. pay is the best out of all of them. so on balance my happiness in biglaw is in balance.


I was way happier bagging groceries.


not as bad as working construction

but washing dishes was better

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Re: Biglawyers. Are any of you happy? Was this job better than others you've had?

Postby Phil Brooks » Sun Dec 06, 2015 8:31 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I'm interested to see if there are people who actually are happy in biglaw, and why?

How does biglaw compare to other jobs for example big 4 audit/business analyst positions/whatever people did before law school?


I'm a bigfirm lawyer and very happy, but I wasn't at first. I had to make a lateral move in order for things to fall into place. I was initially with a firm that was a perfect storm of negatives. I wasn't in the practice group I wanted, I was working with people that weren't great to work with, the work was of no interest to me, the work wasn't substantive and was almost all neverending discovery nonsense, and my group was so large that I was left free-floating with no oversight and constant tug-of-war for my time.

At my new firm, I can now practice in the substantive area I always wanted, the group is much tighter and close knit, there is far better cohesive oversight, which allows me to better plan out my time (meaning less tug-of-war situations since the group head sets the priority of various projects). My new firm, while still very much biglaw, is much smaller and more regional than my old firm. Thus, the cases are smaller, so the younger associates get far more substantive experience and there is much less discovery in most cases. This has led to huge difference in job satisfaction and quality of life.

Funny thing is, I would have never picked my current firm right out of law school because it wouldn't have seemed "prestigious" enough, since I was picking largely based on Vault rankings out of school. I don't necessarily regret going to the bigger, more prestigious firm first, since it gave me a nice resume line and springboard to other positions. But it took a few years of dissatisfaction and unhappiness before I finally found the right setup for me.


I'm confused. Could you have joined your current firm straight out of law school? If so, what did the unpleasant prestigious firm "springboard" you to?

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Re: Biglawyers. Are any of you happy? Was this job better than others you've had?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Dec 06, 2015 8:54 pm

Phil Brooks wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I'm interested to see if there are people who actually are happy in biglaw, and why?

How does biglaw compare to other jobs for example big 4 audit/business analyst positions/whatever people did before law school?


I'm a bigfirm lawyer and very happy, but I wasn't at first. I had to make a lateral move in order for things to fall into place. I was initially with a firm that was a perfect storm of negatives. I wasn't in the practice group I wanted, I was working with people that weren't great to work with, the work was of no interest to me, the work wasn't substantive and was almost all neverending discovery nonsense, and my group was so large that I was left free-floating with no oversight and constant tug-of-war for my time.

At my new firm, I can now practice in the substantive area I always wanted, the group is much tighter and close knit, there is far better cohesive oversight, which allows me to better plan out my time (meaning less tug-of-war situations since the group head sets the priority of various projects). My new firm, while still very much biglaw, is much smaller and more regional than my old firm. Thus, the cases are smaller, so the younger associates get far more substantive experience and there is much less discovery in most cases. This has led to huge difference in job satisfaction and quality of life.

Funny thing is, I would have never picked my current firm right out of law school because it wouldn't have seemed "prestigious" enough, since I was picking largely based on Vault rankings out of school. I don't necessarily regret going to the bigger, more prestigious firm first, since it gave me a nice resume line and springboard to other positions. But it took a few years of dissatisfaction and unhappiness before I finally found the right setup for me.


I'm confused. Could you have joined your current firm straight out of law school? If so, what did the unpleasant prestigious firm "springboard" you to?


I could definitely have joined my current firm out of law school, but I would have said that it wasn't "prestigious" enough at the time, because all I knew were the Vault firm rankings. You are misunderstanding what I mean by the term "springboard". I mean that the first firm, unpleasant as it was, provided me with a strong resume line that gave me immediately credibility and flexibility during the lateral search. I was granted interviews with essentially any firm I wanted to meet with (some at an even higher level of prestige than before, and some much lower in the Vault rankings). And now, I'm in way better place, career-wise, than I was before. So for me, I used my prior firm to springboard me to something better.

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Re: Biglawyers. Are any of you happy? Was this job better than others you've had?

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Sun Dec 06, 2015 9:02 pm

80% of the time it's fine and often interesting. 20% of the time I just want to quit. The money makes that 20% worth tolerating for now. It won't forever.

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Re: Biglawyers. Are any of you happy? Was this job better than others you've had?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Dec 06, 2015 9:07 pm

Love my job. Work with people I like, doing shit that interests me, and work the same amount of hours as my peers pulling down similar salaries in other fields? I didn't start in law until late but sometimes I think the rest of you complainers about big law are just kids who never had a real job before - and I don't mean bagging groceries, I mean the kind of job where if you quit your kid is screwed. Trying working in some shitty corporate under a shitty boss knowing that if you bail, your family is screwed. Tyrannical senior associate will seem like a breath of fresh air after that.

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Re: Biglawyers. Are any of you happy? Was this job better than others you've had?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sun Dec 06, 2015 9:09 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Love my job. Work with people I like, doing shit that interests me, and work the same amount of hours as my peers pulling down similar salaries in other fields? I didn't start in law until late but sometimes I think the rest of you complainers about big law are just kids who never had a real job before - and I don't mean bagging groceries, I mean the kind of job where if you quit your kid is screwed. Trying working in some shitty corporate under a shitty boss knowing that if you bail, your family is screwed. Tyrannical senior associate will seem like a breath of fresh air after that.

I hate this line of argument, because it's regularly been debunked (in that plenty of the people here who dislike biglaw have had other jobs). Besides, if you don't get the "work with people I like" part, you're not going to like any job, and some people get screwed in that department. I'm sure there are some people who hate it because they're K-JD and don't know what a real professional job is like, but I don't think that's the only reason someone can dislike biglaw.

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Re: Biglawyers. Are any of you happy? Was this job better than others you've had?

Postby NoBladesNoBows » Sun Dec 06, 2015 10:31 pm

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Re: Biglawyers. Are any of you happy? Was this job better than others you've had?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Dec 06, 2015 10:51 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Love my job. Work with people I like, doing shit that interests me, and work the same amount of hours as my peers pulling down similar salaries in other fields? I didn't start in law until late but sometimes I think the rest of you complainers about big law are just kids who never had a real job before - and I don't mean bagging groceries, I mean the kind of job where if you quit your kid is screwed. Trying working in some shitty corporate under a shitty boss knowing that if you bail, your family is screwed. Tyrannical senior associate will seem like a breath of fresh air after that.

I hate this line of argument, because it's regularly been debunked (in that plenty of the people here who dislike biglaw have had other jobs). Besides, if you don't get the "work with people I like" part, you're not going to like any job, and some people get screwed in that department. I'm sure there are some people who hate it because they're K-JD and don't know what a real professional job is like, but I don't think that's the only reason someone can dislike biglaw.


I've seen those posts, and most of those people have had other jobs that were lower stakes. Comparing a big law job to some $70K timestamp gig is apples and oranges - they don't expect you to do anything, you don't stress about anything, they don't pay you anything. I made $300K+ after bonus last year. Find me a job that pays in the ballpark that is meaningfully better than law, I'm all ears. But most of my friends who have gone inhouse to jobs that werent total step-off-the-track gigs have found it no less stressful or intrusive than biglaw, and many of my college friends who are now mid career finance folks or doctors with real practices have the same gripes as we do.

Stipulated: if you're smart and competent enough to handle a job that pays $300K, and you take a job that pays $125K, that job will seem comparatively easy and simpatico. That's not because biglaw jobs suck, it's because doing easy work is easy. Which is not to say that stepping off the train for the low paying job is a bad idea, if you don't need or want the money.

But truly, I stand by previous post: nothing is worse than a bad boss in a corporate where you have a single boss who works with you exclusively and has sole hiring/firing authority over you. Just by dint of working with multiple people, a bad job at a firm will never be as bad as the worst job at a corporate.

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Re: Biglawyers. Are any of you happy? Was this job better than others you've had?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sun Dec 06, 2015 10:58 pm

Except those aren't the only two work possibilities out there. And it's always kind of moving the goalposts to say "find me a job that pays as well as biglaw that's better," because you're already setting artificial parameters on job satisfaction. The original question wasn't "is biglaw better than other jobs that pay the same."

You also seem to assume people don't like it because they can't hack it. Some people just genuinely don't find the work interesting or rewarding enough to deal with the gripes that you clearly acknowledge are there. And high-paying jobs aren't the only difficult jobs in the world, especially since different people bring different skills to the table and will find very different things genuinely difficult (see: nursing, elementary school teacher, miner, etc.).

So obviously it's better for you and you're happy, and that's great. But that doesn't provide the grounds to comment on others who aren't happy.

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Re: Biglawyers. Are any of you happy? Was this job better than others you've had?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Dec 06, 2015 11:10 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:Except those aren't the only two work possibilities out there. And it's always kind of moving the goalposts to say "find me a job that pays as well as biglaw that's better," because you're already setting artificial parameters on job satisfaction. The original question wasn't "is biglaw better than other jobs that pay the same."

You also seem to assume people don't like it because they can't hack it. Some people just genuinely don't find the work interesting or rewarding enough to deal with the gripes that you clearly acknowledge are there. And high-paying jobs aren't the only difficult jobs in the world, especially since different people bring different skills to the table and will find very different things genuinely difficult (see: nursing, elementary school teacher, miner, etc.).

So obviously it's better for you and you're happy, and that's great. But that doesn't provide the grounds to comment on others who aren't happy.


TBF law jobs, and most upper end white collar work generally, is sort of bimodal, or at least there's a long tail. There's a division between jobs that are front office, "high level" partner/management/etc track, and then there are jobs that aren't, and there's a huge gap in demands between the high track and the other track. The pay is more of a smooth spectrum but that's driven more by geographical variance than substantive sliding scale - wherever you are there are the folks gunning to climb the ladder and the folks who aren't and they are almost two entirely different careers.

My personal experience is that most folks who hate biglaw can't hack it, either emotionally or because they find the work harder than most others, so it takes them longer, they get worse feedback and the whole experience is worse for them. If the work is easy for you and you get it done faster than your peers, you're also more likely to find the job less stressful. but as you point out, the world needs nurses, teachers and miners too, and lord knows I would crash out of a teaching job in 3 months and I can't stand the sight of blood. I've done mining work for a summer though and while I can't imagine doing it now when I get sore from walking more than normal, it wasn't the worst gig for the money, though I wasn't a coal miner or anything like that.

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Re: Biglawyers. Are any of you happy? Was this job better than others you've had?

Postby Stardust84 » Sun Dec 06, 2015 11:22 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Love my job. Work with people I like, doing shit that interests me, and work the same amount of hours as my peers pulling down similar salaries in other fields? I didn't start in law until late but sometimes I think the rest of you complainers about big law are just kids who never had a real job before - and I don't mean bagging groceries, I mean the kind of job where if you quit your kid is screwed. Trying working in some shitty corporate under a shitty boss knowing that if you bail, your family is screwed. Tyrannical senior associate will seem like a breath of fresh air after that.


How late did you start? I've heard about bias towards younger applicants in big law. Thoughts on that?

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Re: Biglawyers. Are any of you happy? Was this job better than others you've had?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Dec 06, 2015 11:30 pm

Stardust84 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Love my job. Work with people I like, doing shit that interests me, and work the same amount of hours as my peers pulling down similar salaries in other fields? I didn't start in law until late but sometimes I think the rest of you complainers about big law are just kids who never had a real job before - and I don't mean bagging groceries, I mean the kind of job where if you quit your kid is screwed. Trying working in some shitty corporate under a shitty boss knowing that if you bail, your family is screwed. Tyrannical senior associate will seem like a breath of fresh air after that.


How late did you start? I've heard about bias towards younger applicants in big law. Thoughts on that?


not THAT late, but i'm 36 now. i would bet that puts me on the older side of this forum.

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Re: Biglawyers. Are any of you happy? Was this job better than others you've had?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Dec 07, 2015 12:16 am

I've read lots of TLS over the years, so I came into biglaw expecting the worst. Granted, I'm only three months in but I have found the job so far to be laughably easy. The cleaning lady who comes in every evening pulls 14-hour shifts six days a week. Compared to that, I don't think sitting and typing at my desk barely even counts as work. I think a lot of people who complain about biglaw are K-JDs who just haven't experienced "normal" working life and don't understand that many jobs that pay a fraction of theirs demand just as much if not more.

That said, I'll admit that my V50 in a secondary may not be typical in that it's not bill 2000 or you're out (it pays 160k starting but not DPW bonuses). Our billing software lets you snoop on how much others are billing and I see that most midlevels billed 1700/1800 hours this year (the least I saw was 1000 and the highest was 2700). I think everything boils down to your billable requirement -- I know that sounds extremely obvious, but the difference between 1800 and 2000 is huge and the difference between 2000 and 2200 is even bigger. Anything less than 2000 is comfy, and 1800 is ALMOST a 9 to 5:30 if you don't goof around too much.

Biglaw is also easy in the sense that I just show up to work and don't worry about anything except doing what someone tells me to do. When I sit in front of a screen, time goes by fast. I do corporate/M&A and the work at the junior level is basically so easy and non-intellectual a monkey could do it. The best way to describe how I feel is just "comfortable." I billed 50 hours this week and had to work on the weekend but it honestly didn't feel that bad. I'm sitting in a comfortable desk in a downtown high rise, the partners and associates are super nice and chill, and I get paid roughly four times the average US salary.

I just think of how hard the cleaning lady works and I'm just grateful for what I have.

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Re: Biglawyers. Are any of you happy? Was this job better than others you've had?

Postby NYbarguy » Mon Dec 07, 2015 12:34 am

Anonymous User wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:Except those aren't the only two work possibilities out there. And it's always kind of moving the goalposts to say "find me a job that pays as well as biglaw that's better," because you're already setting artificial parameters on job satisfaction. The original question wasn't "is biglaw better than other jobs that pay the same."

You also seem to assume people don't like it because they can't hack it. Some people just genuinely don't find the work interesting or rewarding enough to deal with the gripes that you clearly acknowledge are there. And high-paying jobs aren't the only difficult jobs in the world, especially since different people bring different skills to the table and will find very different things genuinely difficult (see: nursing, elementary school teacher, miner, etc.).

So obviously it's better for you and you're happy, and that's great. But that doesn't provide the grounds to comment on others who aren't happy.


My personal experience is that most folks who hate biglaw can't hack it, either emotionally or because they find the work harder than most others, so it takes them longer, they get worse feedback and the whole experience is worse for them. If the work is easy for you and you get it done faster than your peers, you're also more likely to find the job less stressful. but as you point out, the world needs nurses, teachers and miners too, and lord knows I would crash out of a teaching job in 3 months and I can't stand the sight of blood. I've done mining work for a summer though and while I can't imagine doing it now when I get sore from walking more than normal, it wasn't the worst gig for the money, though I wasn't a coal miner or anything like that.


I don't think this is quite right. I'm one of the people who doesn't enjoy biglaw, and I don't find the work particularly challenging, nor am I undergoing some kind of emotional crisis. I just don't find this kind of work interesting, and I certainly do not find the biglaw ethos appealing. Are there people who leave because they find the work too challenging? Probably. Are there people who leave because the pressures of biglaw exact an emotional toll that is too great? Yes. But there are many others who leave for other reasons.

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Re: Biglawyers. Are any of you happy? Was this job better than others you've had?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Dec 07, 2015 12:46 am

Is there no real difference from say law and management consulting/investment banking? I'm curious from what I've seen on these fora, these other careers seem to be held in such higher esteem. I can't figure out though if its a grass is always greener mentality or is the work long-term that much worse for lawyers.

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Re: Biglawyers. Are any of you happy? Was this job better than others you've had?

Postby whysoseriousbiglaw » Mon Dec 07, 2015 12:57 am

Anonymous User wrote:I've read lots of TLS over the years, so I came into biglaw expecting the worst. Granted, I'm only three months in but I have found the job so far to be laughably easy. The cleaning lady who comes in every evening pulls 14-hour shifts six days a week. Compared to that, I don't think sitting and typing at my desk barely even counts as work. I think a lot of people who complain about biglaw are K-JDs who just haven't experienced "normal" working life and don't understand that many jobs that pay a fraction of theirs demand just as much if not more.

That said, I'll admit that my V50 in a secondary may not be typical in that it's not bill 2000 or you're out (it pays 160k starting but not DPW bonuses). Our billing software lets you snoop on how much others are billing and I see that most midlevels billed 1700/1800 hours this year (the least I saw was 1000 and the highest was 2700). I think everything boils down to your billable requirement -- I know that sounds extremely obvious, but the difference between 1800 and 2000 is huge and the difference between 2000 and 2200 is even bigger. Anything less than 2000 is comfy, and 1800 is ALMOST a 9 to 5:30 if you don't goof around too much.

Biglaw is also easy in the sense that I just show up to work and don't worry about anything except doing what someone tells me to do. When I sit in front of a screen, time goes by fast. I do corporate/M&A and the work at the junior level is basically so easy and non-intellectual a monkey could do it. The best way to describe how I feel is just "comfortable." I billed 50 hours this week and had to work on the weekend but it honestly didn't feel that bad. I'm sitting in a comfortable desk in a downtown high rise, the partners and associates are super nice and chill, and I get paid roughly four times the average US salary.

I just think of how hard the cleaning lady works and I'm just grateful for what I have.


Uh, that's because 50 hours a week isn't bad unless you are doing it every week. As a first year, I billed minimum 50 hours a week, every week and if you weren't billing 50 hours a week, you were staffed on more projects. A lot of my hours were irregular too, so it definitely wasn't a 9 to 8 job or whatever. I worked pretty much every single day for 6 months straight, including weekends, as well.

It sounds like you haven't had much of a biglaw experience yet, so I wouldn't be commenting on how "easy" it is.

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Re: Biglawyers. Are any of you happy? Was this job better than others you've had?

Postby El Pollito » Mon Dec 07, 2015 1:02 am

Biglaw_Associate_V20 wrote:Your experience will depend on who you work with. Some firms are tolerable. Some are unbearable.

yeah my coworkers are pretty great and i like money so i "like" it

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Re: Biglawyers. Are any of you happy? Was this job better than others you've had?

Postby Neff » Mon Dec 07, 2015 1:04 am

whysoseriousbiglaw wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I've read lots of TLS over the years, so I came into biglaw expecting the worst. Granted, I'm only three months in but I have found the job so far to be laughably easy. The cleaning lady who comes in every evening pulls 14-hour shifts six days a week. Compared to that, I don't think sitting and typing at my desk barely even counts as work. I think a lot of people who complain about biglaw are K-JDs who just haven't experienced "normal" working life and don't understand that many jobs that pay a fraction of theirs demand just as much if not more.

That said, I'll admit that my V50 in a secondary may not be typical in that it's not bill 2000 or you're out (it pays 160k starting but not DPW bonuses). Our billing software lets you snoop on how much others are billing and I see that most midlevels billed 1700/1800 hours this year (the least I saw was 1000 and the highest was 2700). I think everything boils down to your billable requirement -- I know that sounds extremely obvious, but the difference between 1800 and 2000 is huge and the difference between 2000 and 2200 is even bigger. Anything less than 2000 is comfy, and 1800 is ALMOST a 9 to 5:30 if you don't goof around too much.

Biglaw is also easy in the sense that I just show up to work and don't worry about anything except doing what someone tells me to do. When I sit in front of a screen, time goes by fast. I do corporate/M&A and the work at the junior level is basically so easy and non-intellectual a monkey could do it. The best way to describe how I feel is just "comfortable." I billed 50 hours this week and had to work on the weekend but it honestly didn't feel that bad. I'm sitting in a comfortable desk in a downtown high rise, the partners and associates are super nice and chill, and I get paid roughly four times the average US salary.

I just think of how hard the cleaning lady works and I'm just grateful for what I have.


Uh, that's because 50 hours a week isn't bad unless you are doing it every week. As a first year, I billed minimum 50 hours a week, every week and if you weren't billing 50 hours a week, you were staffed on more projects. A lot of my hours were irregular too, so it definitely wasn't a 9 to 8 job or whatever. I worked pretty much every single day for 6 months straight, including weekends, as well.

It sounds like you haven't had much of a biglaw experience yet, so I wouldn't be commenting on how "easy" it is.


The cleaning lady bills 70 hours a week. We have it easy.




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