Is There Something to Look Forward to in BigLaw?

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Is There Something to Look Forward to in BigLaw?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Feb 05, 2018 2:54 pm

Second year associate here. I am looking for advice from other biglaw associates on how to mentally get through this everyday. I read other threads where people say schedule a vacation or take time off but I work in a group where associates pretty much cannot take any time off and if you do, you are still sent fake urgent work. I took 4 days off my first year and got endless shit about it and have no vacation scheduled any time soon. Are all places this bad?

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sundance95

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Re: Is There Something to Look Forward to in BigLaw?

Postby sundance95 » Mon Feb 05, 2018 3:05 pm

This sounds terrible. You need to draw boundaries and if they won't let you then it does sound particularly bad, even for biglaw. Source: I'm a v5 lit associate (not NY tho)

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Re: Is There Something to Look Forward to in BigLaw?

Postby 1styearlateral » Mon Feb 05, 2018 3:21 pm

Sometimes I feel like vacation days are nothing more than a myth for law firm associates.

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Re: Is There Something to Look Forward to in BigLaw?

Postby umichman » Mon Feb 05, 2018 3:29 pm

That is simply untrue. I know 4th year associates and older that have taken 2 week international vacations and did not get nay shit about it. Maybe if you are gunning for partner. But i'm in an insanely busy group, and partners still insist on us taking vacations occasionally and when we say we need days off or what not, they have been very respectful. Sounds like your group is bs.

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Re: Is There Something to Look Forward to in BigLaw?

Postby shock259 » Mon Feb 05, 2018 6:00 pm

Definitely not the case at many big firms. I've consistently taken 3 weeks of vacation each year, and people often encourage me to take more. Many are those are in remote places with no access to email/laptop. If you are hitting hours, there's absolutely no reason you shouldn't be able to take time off. Junior work, in particular, is really easy to re-assign.

Sorry to hear of the situation. Might be worth making sure that the pressure to not take a vacation is real. I think you should pick a week or two, do something relaxing, and stick to it (make sure to give people lots of warning). And definitely don't let yourself get pulled into taking calls or otherwise doing work when you're out.

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Re: Is There Something to Look Forward to in BigLaw?

Postby InGoodFaith » Mon Feb 05, 2018 6:19 pm

The inevitable march toward death

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Re: Is There Something to Look Forward to in BigLaw?

Postby jd20132013 » Tue Feb 06, 2018 12:15 am

Anonymous User wrote:Second year associate here. I am looking for advice from other biglaw associates on how to mentally get through this everyday. I read other threads where people say schedule a vacation or take time off but I work in a group where associates pretty much cannot take any time off and if you do, you are still sent fake urgent work. I took 4 days off my first year and got endless shit about it and have no vacation scheduled any time soon. Are all places this bad?


this actually strikes me as unusual. I think the norm is folks really do respect vacations. Giving you shit about it is big red flag. Get out of the group

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Re: Is There Something to Look Forward to in BigLaw?

Postby TFALAWL » Tue Feb 06, 2018 1:09 am

You know, I'm a second year as well, and I don't find big law to be nearly as bad as it could be. I'm encouraged to hear this confirmed from the posters above. To be clear, no one would dispute that when it's bad, it's a FUCKING NIGHTMARE. Though, in my (limited) experience, things are fine(ish) 2/3 of the time, and I rarely work more than one, maybe two, weekends a month (unless I'm in the middle of a busy period).

I wonder if so much of the "big law is soooo shitty" that you hear in all of the other threads is largely created by first years, in the same way that many of the "ask a law student" threads are dominated by scared to death 1Ls.

Just a thought, I could be completely wrong.

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Re: Is There Something to Look Forward to in BigLaw?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 06, 2018 1:38 am

BigLaw can be rewarding if you play the game on your own terms. I took 2+ weeks of vacation during my first year, turned down work routinely (turned down 70%+ of assignments from the staffer), and never pulled any all-nighters. They still told me that I was among the highest reviewed.

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Re: Is There Something to Look Forward to in BigLaw?

Postby InGoodFaith » Tue Feb 06, 2018 8:55 am

TFALAWL wrote:You know, I'm a second year as well, and I don't find big law to be nearly as bad as it could be. I'm encouraged to hear this confirmed from the posters above. To be clear, no one would dispute that when it's bad, it's a FUCKING NIGHTMARE. Though, in my (limited) experience, things are fine(ish) 2/3 of the time, and I rarely work more than one, maybe two, weekends a month (unless I'm in the middle of a busy period).

I wonder if so much of the "big law is soooo shitty" that you hear in all of the other threads is largely created by first years, in the same way that many of the "ask a law student" threads are dominated by scared to death 1Ls.

Just a thought, I could be completely wrong.

(Stockholm syndrome)

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Re: Is There Something to Look Forward to in BigLaw?

Postby ur_hero » Tue Feb 06, 2018 5:36 pm

If you're in your second year, you're likely getting recruiter calls/emails all the time now. Maybe now's the time to start turning down work to balance out your life and consider putting some time into pursuing those for a change. I'm pretty sure it's not the norm to be shamed for taking a few weeks vacation once or twice a year as long as you're somewhat mindful of the timing.

Your life will drastically improve if you learn to turn down work and take a bit more control over balancing out your life. It may be that your firm and the people you work with truly suck, but you also have to draw boundaries. It might be super refreshing to start slowing down your work load and interviewing elsewhere if you're simply living in fear of losing your job. With 1-2 years experience, you should be able to find something better within 4-12 months of chilling where you currently are.

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Re: Is There Something to Look Forward to in BigLaw?

Postby CanadianWolf » Tue Feb 06, 2018 5:46 pm

Consider visiting a homeless shelter, a children's hospital cancer ward or municipal court where a mother was caught stealing baby food or diapers for her infant child while showing a black eye & a broken arm given to her by her significant other, her protector & provider. Then check your bank balance, Finally, reassess your current complaint.

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Re: Is There Something to Look Forward to in BigLaw?

Postby spyke123 » Tue Feb 06, 2018 7:07 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:Consider visiting a homeless shelter, a children's hospital cancer ward or municipal court where a mother was caught stealing baby food or diapers for her infant child while showing a black eye & a broken arm given to her by her significant other, her protector & provider. Then check your bank balance, Finally, reassess your current complaint.


Are you serious?

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Re: Is There Something to Look Forward to in BigLaw?

Postby CanadianWolf » Tue Feb 06, 2018 8:18 pm

Yes, I am serious.

When I read of one earning $200,000 plus per year complaining about their work, I get upset.

I am probably not allowed to write what I am thinking, but OP should understand that several years of earning this level of salary & bonus is exactly what he/she strived for during law school.

Thank you for asking. You have no idea how proud you all should be of yourselves to be in the position that you are in. Quit crying. Get some perspective. Most are envious of you.

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Re: Is There Something to Look Forward to in BigLaw?

Postby bobbyflayed » Tue Feb 06, 2018 10:36 pm

I took two weeks at the end of my second year and went on an international trip at a "sweatshoppy" type firm and it was fine. Just be tight with your first year class and you'll find that you just trade coverage. I covered the other first years when they left on vacation and they returned the favor.

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Re: Is There Something to Look Forward to in BigLaw?

Postby jd20132013 » Tue Feb 06, 2018 11:03 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:Consider visiting a homeless shelter, a children's hospital cancer ward or municipal court where a mother was caught stealing baby food or diapers for her infant child while showing a black eye & a broken arm given to her by her significant other, her protector & provider. Then check your bank balance, Finally, reassess your current complaint.


spare us

we can recognize that we have relatively great lives without that meaning we accept any and everything imposed on us by the employer

By your logic no one in America should ever complain about anything since at least we aren't being bombed around the clock

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Re: Is There Something to Look Forward to in BigLaw?

Postby Wild Card » Wed Feb 07, 2018 12:02 am

spyke123 wrote:
CanadianWolf wrote:Consider visiting a homeless shelter, a children's hospital cancer ward or municipal court where a mother was caught stealing baby food or diapers for her infant child while showing a black eye & a broken arm given to her by her significant other, her protector & provider. Then check your bank balance, Finally, reassess your current complaint.


Are you serious?


Conceivably, he might have a very low bank balance, because he's $350,000 in debt from attending a top law school, comes from a working class background so his family can't help him pay it back, and he's stuck aggressively trying to pay down the debt before his firm finally tells him to leave.

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Re: Is There Something to Look Forward to in BigLaw?

Postby smokeylarue » Wed Feb 07, 2018 6:45 am

CanadianWolf wrote:Consider visiting a homeless shelter, a children's hospital cancer ward or municipal court where a mother was caught stealing baby food or diapers for her infant child while showing a black eye & a broken arm given to her by her significant other, her protector & provider. Then check your bank balance, Finally, reassess your current complaint.


lol yes every employer that pays you 6 figures has the right to treat you like shit. :roll: One of the dumbest/most absurd replies I've ever seen on this site.

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Re: Is There Something to Look Forward to in BigLaw?

Postby jimmythecatdied6 » Wed Feb 07, 2018 10:18 am

smokeylarue wrote:
CanadianWolf wrote:Consider visiting a homeless shelter, a children's hospital cancer ward or municipal court where a mother was caught stealing baby food or diapers for her infant child while showing a black eye & a broken arm given to her by her significant other, her protector & provider. Then check your bank balance, Finally, reassess your current complaint.


lol yes every employer that pays you 6 figures has the right to treat you like shit. :roll: One of the dumbest/most absurd replies I've ever seen on this site.


yeh... they have the right to treat you like shit. you have the right to leave, too.

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Re: Is There Something to Look Forward to in BigLaw?

Postby Dcc617 » Wed Feb 07, 2018 10:26 am

smokeylarue wrote:
CanadianWolf wrote:Consider visiting a homeless shelter, a children's hospital cancer ward or municipal court where a mother was caught stealing baby food or diapers for her infant child while showing a black eye & a broken arm given to her by her significant other, her protector & provider. Then check your bank balance, Finally, reassess your current complaint.


lol yes every employer that pays you 6 figures has the right to treat you like shit. :roll: One of the dumbest/most absurd replies I've ever seen on this site.


Actually this site is brand new so this may be the dumbest reply on the website at the moment.

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Re: Is There Something to Look Forward to in BigLaw?

Postby Dcc617 » Wed Feb 07, 2018 10:27 am

smokeylarue wrote:
CanadianWolf wrote:Consider visiting a homeless shelter, a children's hospital cancer ward or municipal court where a mother was caught stealing baby food or diapers for her infant child while showing a black eye & a broken arm given to her by her significant other, her protector & provider. Then check your bank balance, Finally, reassess your current complaint.


lol yes every employer that pays you 6 figures has the right to treat you like shit. :roll: One of the dumbest/most absurd replies I've ever seen on this site.[/quote

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Re: Is There Something to Look Forward to in BigLaw?

Postby nealric » Wed Feb 07, 2018 11:12 am

jd20132013 wrote:
CanadianWolf wrote:Consider visiting a homeless shelter, a children's hospital cancer ward or municipal court where a mother was caught stealing baby food or diapers for her infant child while showing a black eye & a broken arm given to her by her significant other, her protector & provider. Then check your bank balance, Finally, reassess your current complaint.


spare us

we can recognize that we have relatively great lives without that meaning we accept any and everything imposed on us by the employer

By your logic no one in America should ever complain about anything since at least we aren't being bombed around the clock


While the "it could always be worse" perspective can delve into absurdity, I think it's helpful to keep some perspective when evaluating our complaints about legal careers. Law is hardly the only profession where employees are sometimes treated poorly and overworked. Lawyers are not the only professionals who are heavily indebted.

I think no matter how you swing it, biglaw is a career path that will always involve hard work, stress, and long hours. It will not necessarily always involve mind numbing work or bad personalities. Bad personalities can be avoided at the right shop, and the work will get better as you get more senior. If it's not for you long-term, biglaw does have the advantage of being a good foundation for a corporate or government career if you are comfortable with limiting financial upside in exchange for limiting hours.

Finally, while law school debt may seem insurmountable to a new graduate, it can be attacked in fairly short order on a biglaw salary if you can live a student's lifestyle for just a few more years after graduation.

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Re: Is There Something to Look Forward to in BigLaw?

Postby AVBucks4239 » Wed Feb 07, 2018 11:55 am

Give a month's notice of your vacation, stick to it, and decline incoming work the week before. I admittedly wasn't at a big law firm, but I was the only associate for a bit of time (in a 20ish lawyer firm) and I would always decline work before my vacations.

Just stick up for yourself and be professional about it. If your group/firm gives you shit afterwards then it's not a group/firm worth working in/at.

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Re: Is There Something to Look Forward to in BigLaw?

Postby ughbugchugplug » Wed Feb 07, 2018 3:52 pm

nealric wrote:
jd20132013 wrote:
CanadianWolf wrote:Consider visiting a homeless shelter, a children's hospital cancer ward or municipal court where a mother was caught stealing baby food or diapers for her infant child while showing a black eye & a broken arm given to her by her significant other, her protector & provider. Then check your bank balance, Finally, reassess your current complaint.


spare us

we can recognize that we have relatively great lives without that meaning we accept any and everything imposed on us by the employer

By your logic no one in America should ever complain about anything since at least we aren't being bombed around the clock


While the "it could always be worse" perspective can delve into absurdity, I think it's helpful to keep some perspective when evaluating our complaints about legal careers. Law is hardly the only profession where employees are sometimes treated poorly and overworked. Lawyers are not the only professionals who are heavily indebted.

I think no matter how you swing it, biglaw is a career path that will always involve hard work, stress, and long hours. It will not necessarily always involve mind numbing work or bad personalities. Bad personalities can be avoided at the right shop, and the work will get better as you get more senior. If it's not for you long-term, biglaw does have the advantage of being a good foundation for a corporate or government career if you are comfortable with limiting financial upside in exchange for limiting hours.

Finally, while law school debt may seem insurmountable to a new graduate, it can be attacked in fairly short order on a biglaw salary if you can live a student's lifestyle for just a few more years after graduation.[/]

Kinda agree with everyone quoted here. We can and should ask for more from our employers - they don't ask themselves if they've earned the right to ask more of us. Every labor relationship is a constant negotiation, and we should get what we can.

On the other hand, I've worked at jobs muchhhh worse than my big law job. Most jobs are dreary and boring. Some have brutal bosses with complexes. In big law, people are respectful (if not always of your time) and you occasionally get interesting work. You get treated like a professional, which means people can be demanding and (if you're unlucky) rude, but that much and more is pretty common in other jobs. I sold cars before doing this, and had bosses that would hound me, yell, undermine my deals, and try to withhold pay. They were toxic even for salesmen, but my current job is full of people with a human sense of dignity. Gotta love it.

And the notion that you actually have vacation time and the ability to afford a real vacation is pretty great, as things go. Every job I had before this paid too little to actually go anywhere and would give maybe a week or two off, unpaid or counted as sick time. We should be willing to acknowledge that being a professional is a very privileged position, even if we can also recognize that it comes with downsides.

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Re: Is There Something to Look Forward to in BigLaw?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Feb 08, 2018 4:35 pm

This is NOT how it is everywhere. I’m a first year and many people have encouraged me to take vacations because I’ve been staffed on some tough cases. FWIW the firm I’m at is known for crazy hours. But we still take vacations.

Biglaw will not create boundaries for you; you need to create them for yourself. You can turn down work. In the long run what’s best/most profitable for the firm is you sticking around through year 5. That requires some occasional downtime and recharging.



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