Biglaw Associates - How do you keep doing this?

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Biglaw Associates - How do you keep doing this?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 10, 2018 4:07 pm

I'm currently a 5th year transactional associate (no idea how I got this far) at a big law firm and I'm having some major burnout issues. Working on numerous transactions right now to the point where I'm not billing 250+ hours a month, but still have work to do every day (including weekends) and I've been waiting for the floodgates to open for some time now where hours will get up to 250+ pretty fast.

Past weekend was ruined by emails at 8AM on Saturday. Life is already becoming filled with obligations outside of work since I'm newly married and have friends and family that I'd like to spend time with and it honestly just stresses me out more to be away from work, even for a weekend, cause then I have to make it all up the next week. I have practiced in a major market, and this place is way more humane than I'm used to, but it just sort of dawned on me that I hate my job and the demands that come with it. None of this is normal, and earning a six figure salary shouldn't have to mean that I give up my life. I have no time to workout and relax, no time to go home and have a beer and open the grill, no time to help raise our new puppy .... and the fact that it is completely normal and part of my job to get those kinds of emails on a weekend, I just don't really know how much more of this I can take.

How do you all keep doing this job? I could pay off my debt right now and be left with about a years worth of savings, but I feel like if I quit, I'll be leaving so much money on the table that would make this decade-long mistake at least partially worth it (yes, law school was a massive mistake). But then every minute I'm not trying to do something else, life passes me by a little bit more and it makes me even more sad.

I guess this is mostly a bitch post, but genuinely curious how people keep going after a few years. Is it just the money? I read that after a few years its very hard to fake interest anymore and I feel like that is where I am.

/Rant

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Re: Biglaw Associates - How do you keep doing this?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 10, 2018 4:13 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I'm currently a 5th year transactional associate (no idea how I got this far) at a big law firm and I'm having some major burnout issues. Working on numerous transactions right now to the point where I'm not billing 250+ hours a month, but still have work to do every day (including weekends) and I've been waiting for the floodgates to open for some time now where hours will get up to 250+ pretty fast.

Past weekend was ruined by emails at 8AM on Saturday. Life is already becoming filled with obligations outside of work since I'm newly married and have friends and family that I'd like to spend time with and it honestly just stresses me out more to be away from work, even for a weekend, cause then I have to make it all up the next week. I have practiced in a major market, and this place is way more humane than I'm used to, but it just sort of dawned on me that I hate my job and the demands that come with it. None of this is normal, and earning a six figure salary shouldn't have to mean that I give up my life. I have no time to workout and relax, no time to go home and have a beer and open the grill, no time to help raise our new puppy .... and the fact that it is completely normal and part of my job to get those kinds of emails on a weekend, I just don't really know how much more of this I can take.

How do you all keep doing this job? I could pay off my debt right now and be left with about a years worth of savings, but I feel like if I quit, I'll be leaving so much money on the table that would make this decade-long mistake at least partially worth it (yes, law school was a massive mistake). But then every minute I'm not trying to do something else, life passes me by a little bit more and it makes me even more sad.

I guess this is mostly a bitch post, but genuinely curious how people keep going after a few years. Is it just the money? I read that after a few years its very hard to fake interest anymore and I feel like that is where I am.

/Rant


There are a number of reasons why associates keep plugging away in the hell of biglaw.
1. Money. Not discretionary income, but rather student loans, child expenses, mortgage . . .
2. Being on the "cush" track. The experience is much different for a privileged white person who has goodies handed to them, than it would be for a minority who has to fight for everything.
3. Hopes of becoming a huge multi-million dollar salary partner.
4. No other options. No exit opportunities, no family/friend company to join . . .

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Re: Biglaw Associates - How do you keep doing this?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 10, 2018 4:19 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I'm currently a 5th year transactional associate (no idea how I got this far) at a big law firm and I'm having some major burnout issues. Working on numerous transactions right now to the point where I'm not billing 250+ hours a month, but still have work to do every day (including weekends) and I've been waiting for the floodgates to open for some time now where hours will get up to 250+ pretty fast.

Past weekend was ruined by emails at 8AM on Saturday. Life is already becoming filled with obligations outside of work since I'm newly married and have friends and family that I'd like to spend time with and it honestly just stresses me out more to be away from work, even for a weekend, cause then I have to make it all up the next week. I have practiced in a major market, and this place is way more humane than I'm used to, but it just sort of dawned on me that I hate my job and the demands that come with it. None of this is normal, and earning a six figure salary shouldn't have to mean that I give up my life. I have no time to workout and relax, no time to go home and have a beer and open the grill, no time to help raise our new puppy .... and the fact that it is completely normal and part of my job to get those kinds of emails on a weekend, I just don't really know how much more of this I can take.

How do you all keep doing this job? I could pay off my debt right now and be left with about a years worth of savings, but I feel like if I quit, I'll be leaving so much money on the table that would make this decade-long mistake at least partially worth it (yes, law school was a massive mistake). But then every minute I'm not trying to do something else, life passes me by a little bit more and it makes me even more sad.

I guess this is mostly a bitch post, but genuinely curious how people keep going after a few years. Is it just the money? I read that after a few years its very hard to fake interest anymore and I feel like that is where I am.

/Rant


I’m a 4th year with kids and I’ve hit the same point and I, too, regret law school. I will say that at this point I don’t see the decision to have been financially imprudent. I graduated with a ton of debt but I’ve since paid it off and having so much money straight out of law school allowed me to buy a house when interest rates were at a historical low. That being said, I’ve contemplated going back to school but the loss of income during this stage of my life is stopping me from doing it. I don’t know how people keep going—I guess money is more motivating for some than it is others. I’m trying to find a way out of biglaw before jumping ship completely and going back to school. The feeling of being proactive is helping me not to rage quit with nothing lined up. If I’ve learned one thing it’s that my happiness is worth more than money and if I had a do over I would not be a lawyer. Hopefully, we both find something that makes this all feel wroth it but, so far, it definitely wasn’t.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Mon Sep 10, 2018 4:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Anonymous User
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Re: Biglaw Associates - How do you keep doing this?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 10, 2018 4:20 pm

Embrace the days where the suck is less suck and fight the "not gonna make hours" or "they're going to fire me" neurosis if you have three light days in a row.

Have a bottle of good liquor in your offices for those days when you need to commiserate with colleagues you can stand.

Carve out time for yourself every day to be mindful - even if that means waking at 5am to exercise or meditating for two train stops on your commute.

At least once a month, spend some time on personal business development. Fill that bucket with areas of law you enjoy or are curious about. Write. Attend CLEs. Mentor baby law students. Volunteer to teach civics/government/social sciences to elementary school students.

This job is not bigger than you unless you let it be. Sure, there's a sense of golden handcuffs; but, re-establish boundaries and those handcuffs get a bit looser.

If it becomes unbearable, lateral elsewhere. You still have marketability, and although lateraling is stressful, it can re-fan the flame to buy you a few more years of tolerability.

(Perspective of a fellow 5th year transactional associate)

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Re: Biglaw Associates - How do you keep doing this?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 10, 2018 4:22 pm

I’m a sixth year and have found that the people who make it in biglaw have some combination of the following traits (which unfortunately I do not have).

1) The money/sense of accomplishment
2) They on some level like most of the work that they do and like the feeling of being “on call” for their clients or senior partners/trusted with important matters. That’s not to say that they don’t hate aspects of the job or ever get frustrated with specific situations but they love the job enough that any feeling of being trampled over by clients is mitigated.
3) They have the skill and ability to effectively delegate the work they do not want to do to lower level people. The more you can do this, the more (2) comes into play.
4) Risk aversion

That being said, sounds like you are going through a tough couple of months. Eventually you’ll reach a slow period and then you can commit more time to your family and start the process of trying to find a new gig.

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Re: Biglaw Associates - How do you keep doing this?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 10, 2018 4:28 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I'm currently a 5th year transactional associate (no idea how I got this far) at a big law firm and I'm having some major burnout issues. Working on numerous transactions right now to the point where I'm not billing 250+ hours a month, but still have work to do every day (including weekends) and I've been waiting for the floodgates to open for some time now where hours will get up to 250+ pretty fast.

Past weekend was ruined by emails at 8AM on Saturday. Life is already becoming filled with obligations outside of work since I'm newly married and have friends and family that I'd like to spend time with and it honestly just stresses me out more to be away from work, even for a weekend, cause then I have to make it all up the next week. I have practiced in a major market, and this place is way more humane than I'm used to, but it just sort of dawned on me that I hate my job and the demands that come with it. None of this is normal, and earning a six figure salary shouldn't have to mean that I give up my life. I have no time to workout and relax, no time to go home and have a beer and open the grill, no time to help raise our new puppy .... and the fact that it is completely normal and part of my job to get those kinds of emails on a weekend, I just don't really know how much more of this I can take.

How do you all keep doing this job? I could pay off my debt right now and be left with about a years worth of savings, but I feel like if I quit, I'll be leaving so much money on the table that would make this decade-long mistake at least partially worth it (yes, law school was a massive mistake). But then every minute I'm not trying to do something else, life passes me by a little bit more and it makes me even more sad.

I guess this is mostly a bitch post, but genuinely curious how people keep going after a few years. Is it just the money? I read that after a few years its very hard to fake interest anymore and I feel like that is where I am.

/Rant


I’m a 4th year with kids and I’ve hit the same point and I, too, regret law school. I will say that at this point I don’t see the decision to have been financially imprudent. I graduated with a ton of debt but I’ve since paid it off and having so much money straight out of law school allowed me to buy a house when interest rates were at a historical low. That being said, I’ve contemplated going back to school but the loss of income during this stage of my life is stopping me from doing it. I don’t know how people keep going—I guess money is more motivating for some than it is others. I’m trying to find a way out of biglaw before jumping ship completely and going back to school. The feeling of being proactive is helping me not to rage quit with nothing lined up. If I’ve learned one thing it’s that my happiness is worth more than money and if I had a do over I would not be a lawyer. Hopefully, we both find something that makes this all feel wroth it but, so far, it definitely wasn’t.


OP Here - I feel that. If I could do it over again, I would have just majored in what I enjoyed (physics/atmospheric science) and just called it a day. Instead I tried to do something that could make money and hold myself off until the financial crisis was over and I somehow, ten years later, ended up here. Now I'm jaded because I feel like I'll never actually be able to do a job that fits my natural ability better (much more of a math/numbers/strategy person). Everyone I work with jokes about being bad at math, but I am legit bad at reading boring shit and writing boring shit and was much better at math. I'm thinking about taking actuarial exams, but those are beasts, and working full time in biglaw isn't conducive for studying.

I think for me the problem is that I am always like "once this period is over, I'll get healthy and look around and figure out a plan." But that all goes to shit again once work piles up. Hard to stay in shape, let alone get enough sleep, eat right, have a social life, do things outside of work in this job.

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Re: Biglaw Associates - How do you keep doing this?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 10, 2018 4:31 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I'm currently a 5th year transactional associate (no idea how I got this far) at a big law firm and I'm having some major burnout issues. Working on numerous transactions right now to the point where I'm not billing 250+ hours a month, but still have work to do every day (including weekends) and I've been waiting for the floodgates to open for some time now where hours will get up to 250+ pretty fast.

Past weekend was ruined by emails at 8AM on Saturday. Life is already becoming filled with obligations outside of work since I'm newly married and have friends and family that I'd like to spend time with and it honestly just stresses me out more to be away from work, even for a weekend, cause then I have to make it all up the next week. I have practiced in a major market, and this place is way more humane than I'm used to, but it just sort of dawned on me that I hate my job and the demands that come with it. None of this is normal, and earning a six figure salary shouldn't have to mean that I give up my life. I have no time to workout and relax, no time to go home and have a beer and open the grill, no time to help raise our new puppy .... and the fact that it is completely normal and part of my job to get those kinds of emails on a weekend, I just don't really know how much more of this I can take.

How do you all keep doing this job? I could pay off my debt right now and be left with about a years worth of savings, but I feel like if I quit, I'll be leaving so much money on the table that would make this decade-long mistake at least partially worth it (yes, law school was a massive mistake). But then every minute I'm not trying to do something else, life passes me by a little bit more and it makes me even more sad.

I guess this is mostly a bitch post, but genuinely curious how people keep going after a few years. Is it just the money? I read that after a few years its very hard to fake interest anymore and I feel like that is where I am.

/Rant


Go in-house? It's a simple tradeoff really: time vs money. Sounds like you want your life back, so you just need to muster up the courage to take the plunge and find a new gig. Depending on your market and prestige of your firm, at your seniority level you should be able to land a cushy in-house job that pays at least $150k (here in TX that's very attainable).

Looking around I notice that the associates who are most unhappy are not so much the ones billing crazy hours as the ones who NEED the money because either they made poor financial decisions (e.g. buying a Porsche as a first year) or have 2+ kids who need to be private schooled. Not making dumb financial decisions is winning half the battle. Sounds like your financial situation is pretty decent, so you're by no means stuck. You're free to make your own decisions in life and money isn't everything.

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Re: Biglaw Associates - How do you keep doing this?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 10, 2018 4:35 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I'm currently a 5th year transactional associate (no idea how I got this far) at a big law firm and I'm having some major burnout issues. Working on numerous transactions right now to the point where I'm not billing 250+ hours a month, but still have work to do every day (including weekends) and I've been waiting for the floodgates to open for some time now where hours will get up to 250+ pretty fast.

Past weekend was ruined by emails at 8AM on Saturday. Life is already becoming filled with obligations outside of work since I'm newly married and have friends and family that I'd like to spend time with and it honestly just stresses me out more to be away from work, even for a weekend, cause then I have to make it all up the next week. I have practiced in a major market, and this place is way more humane than I'm used to, but it just sort of dawned on me that I hate my job and the demands that come with it. None of this is normal, and earning a six figure salary shouldn't have to mean that I give up my life. I have no time to workout and relax, no time to go home and have a beer and open the grill, no time to help raise our new puppy .... and the fact that it is completely normal and part of my job to get those kinds of emails on a weekend, I just don't really know how much more of this I can take.

How do you all keep doing this job? I could pay off my debt right now and be left with about a years worth of savings, but I feel like if I quit, I'll be leaving so much money on the table that would make this decade-long mistake at least partially worth it (yes, law school was a massive mistake). But then every minute I'm not trying to do something else, life passes me by a little bit more and it makes me even more sad.

I guess this is mostly a bitch post, but genuinely curious how people keep going after a few years. Is it just the money? I read that after a few years its very hard to fake interest anymore and I feel like that is where I am.

/Rant


Go in-house? It's a simple tradeoff really: time vs money. Sounds like you want your life back, so you just need to muster up the courage to take the plunge and find a new gig. Depending on your market and prestige of your firm, at your seniority level you should be able to land a cushy in-house job that pays at least $150k (here in TX that's very attainable).

Looking around I notice that the associates who are most unhappy are not so much the ones billing crazy hours as the ones who need the money because either they made poor financial decisions (e.g. buying a Porsche as a first year) or have 2+ kids who need to be private schooled. Not making dumb financial decisions is winning half the battle. Sounds like your financial situation is pretty decent, so you're by no means stuck. You're free to make your own decisions in life and money isn't everything.


OP Here - problem is that my market is pretty small for in-house and I literally just passed the bar in february in my new state (came from major market). I feel like if I make my wife leave after just a year, she'll have a shit fit and she has a job here too that she likes. Hence the feeling stuck. My market is amazing for a biglaw associate (lower COL and high pay) but there aren't a ton of opportunities outside of a firm environment for a lawyer.

And yes, I made a point to stash away as much money as possible while getting paid market and have paid down about $200K in debt already. I know if I can stick it out a few more years, my financial situation will be very, very good. Just not sure how I can keep using money as an excuse to put off real life.

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Re: Biglaw Associates - How do you keep doing this?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 10, 2018 4:38 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I'm currently a 5th year transactional associate (no idea how I got this far) at a big law firm and I'm having some major burnout issues. Working on numerous transactions right now to the point where I'm not billing 250+ hours a month, but still have work to do every day (including weekends) and I've been waiting for the floodgates to open for some time now where hours will get up to 250+ pretty fast.

Past weekend was ruined by emails at 8AM on Saturday. Life is already becoming filled with obligations outside of work since I'm newly married and have friends and family that I'd like to spend time with and it honestly just stresses me out more to be away from work, even for a weekend, cause then I have to make it all up the next week. I have practiced in a major market, and this place is way more humane than I'm used to, but it just sort of dawned on me that I hate my job and the demands that come with it. None of this is normal, and earning a six figure salary shouldn't have to mean that I give up my life. I have no time to workout and relax, no time to go home and have a beer and open the grill, no time to help raise our new puppy .... and the fact that it is completely normal and part of my job to get those kinds of emails on a weekend, I just don't really know how much more of this I can take.

How do you all keep doing this job? I could pay off my debt right now and be left with about a years worth of savings, but I feel like if I quit, I'll be leaving so much money on the table that would make this decade-long mistake at least partially worth it (yes, law school was a massive mistake). But then every minute I'm not trying to do something else, life passes me by a little bit more and it makes me even more sad.

I guess this is mostly a bitch post, but genuinely curious how people keep going after a few years. Is it just the money? I read that after a few years its very hard to fake interest anymore and I feel like that is where I am.

/Rant


I’m a 4th year with kids and I’ve hit the same point and I, too, regret law school. I will say that at this point I don’t see the decision to have been financially imprudent. I graduated with a ton of debt but I’ve since paid it off and having so much money straight out of law school allowed me to buy a house when interest rates were at a historical low. That being said, I’ve contemplated going back to school but the loss of income during this stage of my life is stopping me from doing it. I don’t know how people keep going—I guess money is more motivating for some than it is others. I’m trying to find a way out of biglaw before jumping ship completely and going back to school. The feeling of being proactive is helping me not to rage quit with nothing lined up. If I’ve learned one thing it’s that my happiness is worth more than money and if I had a do over I would not be a lawyer. Hopefully, we both find something that makes this all feel wroth it but, so far, it definitely wasn’t.


OP Here - I feel that. If I could do it over again, I would have just majored in what I enjoyed (physics/atmospheric science) and just called it a day. Instead I tried to do something that could make money and hold myself off until the financial crisis was over and I somehow, ten years later, ended up here. Now I'm jaded because I feel like I'll never actually be able to do a job that fits my natural ability better (much more of a math/numbers/strategy person). Everyone I work with jokes about being bad at math, but I am legit bad at reading boring shit and writing boring shit and was much better at math. I'm thinking about taking actuarial exams, but those are beasts, and working full time in biglaw isn't conducive for studying.

I think for me the problem is that I am always like "once this period is over, I'll get healthy and look around and figure out a plan." But that all goes to shit again once work piles up. Hard to stay in shape, let alone get enough sleep, eat right, have a social life, do things outside of work in this job.


What I would say to you is that your happiness is worth more than money, prestige, or the feeling of loss arising out of letting go of something you worked so hard for. If you plan to have kids, it would be so much easier to cut your losses now than wait until other expenses are added to your obligations (e.g. daycare, insurance premiums, baby gear, etc.). I wish I would have listened to that inner voice that told me during my 1L summer this was not the path for me. Money was motivating far more then that it is now--now, I just want to snuggle with my babies, take family hikes, have a picnic, go on a real vacation. I want the freedom of not checking my phone 17 times an hour (okay, I'm exaggerating there but you get it). Partnership doesn't look much better either and paying someone to fulfill my childcare duties is not appealing to me. I got married and had children because those were roles that were (are) important to me and performing well in those roles is far more important to me than making sure that I'm on X partner's good side by responding to his/her every email within 2 minutes of having received it. I just find this job far more demanding and stressful than it's worth. This shit is not life and death for a biglaw attorney yet people behave as if our job is the most important in the world.

I guess my question is--what are you waiting for? Why are you putting off your happiness? Do you think your future self will thank you for putting up with this shit and taking time away from your spouse and new family so that you could make more money? If you were talking to a younger sibling, niece, nephew, or someone you love and feel compelled to protect and they told you they are miserable in their job and feel life they are missing out on the most important things in life, what would you tell them? Why can't you follow this advice?

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Re: Biglaw Associates - How do you keep doing this?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 10, 2018 4:41 pm

Keep your eye on the ball.... 200k a month (or more) as a partner. Not a bad carrot.

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Re: Biglaw Associates - How do you keep doing this?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 10, 2018 4:45 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
OP Here - problem is that my market is pretty small for in-house and I literally just passed the bar in february in my new state (came from major market). I feel like if I make my wife leave after just a year, she'll have a shit fit and she has a job here too that she likes.


What does your wife do?

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Re: Biglaw Associates - How do you keep doing this?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 10, 2018 4:46 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Keep your eye on the ball.... 200k a month (or more) as a partner. Not a bad carrot.


So, the prize is money. That's only going to get you so far. And what good is an excessive amount of it if you have no time to spend with the people you love? Or is money important enough that you don't need the companionship of others? I know this sounds hash but I honestly don't see how this "prize" is enough to put off living your life...and it sounds like you're saying that doing so indefinitely is worth it if you're paid enough.

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Re: Biglaw Associates - How do you keep doing this?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 10, 2018 4:49 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Keep your eye on the ball.... 200k a month (or more) as a partner. Not a bad carrot.


So, the prize is money. That's only going to get you so far. And what good is an excessive amount of it if you have no time to spend with the people you love? Or is money important enough that you don't need the companionship of others? I know this sounds hash but I honestly don't see how this "prize" is enough to put off living your life...and it sounds like you're saying that doing so indefinitely is worth it if you're paid enough.


Of course it's not. They don't just give you a $2.4 million salary. You have to sell, I would estimate, at least $5 million of work (about 9,000 hours of work) a year to make that. Unless you're at Cravath or something that's not easy.

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Re: Biglaw Associates - How do you keep doing this?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 10, 2018 5:18 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Keep your eye on the ball.... 200k a month (or more) as a partner. Not a bad carrot.


So, the prize is money. That's only going to get you so far. And what good is an excessive amount of it if you have no time to spend with the people you love? Or is money important enough that you don't need the companionship of others? I know this sounds hash but I honestly don't see how this "prize" is enough to put off living your life...and it sounds like you're saying that doing so indefinitely is worth it if you're paid enough.

No. Saying that if you want to live the life you so desire, you will have to work. Am I missing something?

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Re: Biglaw Associates - How do you keep doing this?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 10, 2018 5:21 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Keep your eye on the ball.... 200k a month (or more) as a partner. Not a bad carrot.


Junior partners don't make anywhere near that figure. You don't just make partner (already an incredibly rare proposition) and start raking in that kind of money.

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Re: Biglaw Associates - How do you keep doing this?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 10, 2018 5:32 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Keep your eye on the ball.... 200k a month (or more) as a partner. Not a bad carrot.


So, the prize is money. That's only going to get you so far. And what good is an excessive amount of it if you have no time to spend with the people you love? Or is money important enough that you don't need the companionship of others? I know this sounds hash but I honestly don't see how this "prize" is enough to put off living your life...and it sounds like you're saying that doing so indefinitely is worth it if you're paid enough.


Of course it's not. They don't just give you a $2.4 million salary. You have to sell, I would estimate, at least $5 million of work (about 9,000 hours of work) a year to make that. Unless you're at Cravath or something that's not easy.


That’s keeping 4 associates completely busy (~1800 hours/year) at a blended rate of $550 per hour, plus assuming you bill and collect another 1800 hours per year personally. Probably pretty accurate when you factor in taxes, overhead, assocate salaries, write-offs, etc. As a junior partner, your time is largely going to be taken up servicing the institutional clients of more established partners, plus doing all the firm administrative stuff (hiring, reviews, etc) that none of the rainmakers want to do. So you are going to have very little time for your own work or client development.

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Re: Biglaw Associates - How do you keep doing this?

Postby nixy » Mon Sep 10, 2018 5:33 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Keep your eye on the ball.... 200k a month (or more) as a partner. Not a bad carrot.


So, the prize is money. That's only going to get you so far. And what good is an excessive amount of it if you have no time to spend with the people you love? Or is money important enough that you don't need the companionship of others? I know this sounds hash but I honestly don't see how this "prize" is enough to put off living your life...and it sounds like you're saying that doing so indefinitely is worth it if you're paid enough.

No. Saying that if you want to live the life you so desire, you will have to work. Am I missing something?

I mean, there’s work, and then there’s biglaw. I don’t think the OP’s suggesting they should be able to sit back and get paid to do nothing. It’s just that there’s a pretty big range of options between that and what the OP describes.

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Re: Biglaw Associates - How do you keep doing this?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 10, 2018 5:51 pm

Anonymous User wrote:1) The money/sense of accomplishment
2) They on some level like most of the work that they do and like the feeling of being “on call” for their clients or senior partners/trusted with important matters. That’s not to say that they don’t hate aspects of the job or ever get frustrated with specific situations but they love the job enough that any feeling of being trampled over by clients is mitigated.
3) They have the skill and ability to effectively delegate the work they do not want to do to lower level people. The more you can do this, the more (2) comes into play.
4) Risk aversion
7th year biglaw associate here and I think that's right. To make it, you have to find some aspect of the job you like, and then you have to shift your workload so you do as much of the "fun" stuff as possible and delegate/avoid all the boring stuff (or get really really efficient at it). If you don't like anything that you do, and you don't think you'd like the stuff that more senior people do, then you should probably find another job before it kills you. If you like certain aspects of your work but you're bogged down in boring minutia or 90% of your practice is doing a type of deal you hate, then you should think about changing your environment - maybe switch practice groups, lateral, or lobby your firm to hire more junior associates.

I don't think the money is that big a factor except that by the time you're a mid-level, it's hard to jump to anything else that pays about as well, and if you live in a high COL area, even biglaw associate comp doesn't go very far, so it's hard to imagine taking a significant pay cut. Risk aversion is obviously huge, especially by the time you're a mid-level or senior and you realize that even if you'd be better at something else, you essentially have to start over and there's no guarantee you can do as well in a new profession.

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Re: Biglaw Associates - How do you keep doing this?

Postby Miznitic » Mon Sep 10, 2018 6:43 pm

I did it because I liked the work I did when I was an associate. That being said, you still need to carve out time in the day where you can be yourself. Don't forget to also spend quality time with those whom you care about. Do that and you'll be fine.

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Re: Biglaw Associates - How do you keep doing this?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 10, 2018 7:19 pm

Miznitic wrote:I did it because I liked the work I did when I was an associate. That being said, you still need to carve out time in the day where you can be yourself. Don't forget to also spend quality time with those whom you care about. Do that and you'll be fine.


The difficulty is having enough time to spend quality time with those you care about. Sometimes...no, often... quantity has to be sacrificed in biglaw and the amount matters. This is especially true when you’re raising kids as they go from infant to toddler to preschooler and beyond so quickly and experiencing those stages fully requires quantity.

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Re: Biglaw Associates - How do you keep doing this?

Postby objctnyrhnr » Mon Sep 10, 2018 7:27 pm

Pay what it takes to ditch the commute. Live near work and throw money at whatever you need to in order to make that living situation work (downtown garage for car, private school for kid if applicable, etc). Will you save less? Of course, but IME it makes the time commitment manageable. I think that walking a couple blocks to work is a very underrated potential perk in the broader how do I handle biglaw conversation.

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Re: Biglaw Associates - How do you keep doing this?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 10, 2018 7:42 pm

objctnyrhnr wrote:Pay what it takes to ditch the commute. Live near work and throw money at whatever you need to in order to make that living situation work (downtown garage for car, private school for kid if applicable, etc). Will you save less? Of course, but IME it makes the time commitment manageable. I think that walking a couple blocks to work is a very underrated potential perk in the broader how do I handle biglaw conversation.


I definitely agree that having a super short commute makes biglaw MUCH more manageable and will definitely allow you to sustain it longer.

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Re: Biglaw Associates - How do you keep doing this?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 10, 2018 8:11 pm

The best advice I can give is to save as much as you can. Pretend like you only make $40,000 a year. Every day those savings go up, you're another step closer to freedom.

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Re: Biglaw Associates - How do you keep doing this?

Postby Miznitic » Mon Sep 10, 2018 9:11 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Miznitic wrote:I did it because I liked the work I did when I was an associate. That being said, you still need to carve out time in the day where you can be yourself. Don't forget to also spend quality time with those whom you care about. Do that and you'll be fine.


The difficulty is having enough time to spend quality time with those you care about. Sometimes...no, often... quantity has to be sacrificed in biglaw and the amount matters. This is especially true when you’re raising kids as they go from infant to toddler to preschooler and beyond so quickly and experiencing those stages fully requires quantity.


You make time. Never sacrifice family for work. I've told my associates that while I expect they get their shit done, I don't expect them to never see their family. Learn quickly. Become efficient. Don't slack off. I have seen past associates complain about a lack of time, but then they're spending time talking to their cohorts in the office for extended periods of time.

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Re: Biglaw Associates - How do you keep doing this?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 10, 2018 9:54 pm

OP: I went through a similar experience a few months ago after an absolutely brutal year and it spurred me to actively for a new job, but in the meantime I've tried introducing a few coping mechanisms into my work that have made my life a lot easier.

I think about ways to delegate as much work as possible to junior associate most efficiently. For example, rather than draft something by myself I give them an issues list to follow, topics to research, and let them draft it and give them a tight deadline. It's a lot easier to edit than to draft on your own. Of course there are things I absolutely have to do but I find that most assignments can be delegated to a lower cost service provider who will do the job just as well.

I try to "train" the partners to interact with junior associates if they need something simple done. I will delegate to a junior associate and instead of emailing the partner what they sent me I tell the junior to email the partner directly. That limits follow up emails that I need to pay attention to. Eventually the partners learn that they can email all of us instead of running everything through me and the juniors learn what they can and can't email the partners about.

I decline work for partners who I know have toxic working styles or run their matters inefficiently and seek out work from people who are efficient and respect my time. I do not take on too many matters with different partners and always make sure I have support from a junior.

I schedule check-ins and meetings for early in the morning so that whatever the partners want to do they can talk to me about early. I don't answer emails immediately or on weekends unless it's obvious from the email that it needs to be answered and I will decline night or weekend calls unless I am asked to be on them. Nothing is a bigger fucking waste of time than an hour long call or meeting between lawyers on a Saturday where you aren't actively participating, people show up 15 minutes late, etc.

I make it a rule to leave by 5:30 each day - 4:30 if nobody has called me. I answer emails and return calls once every one or two hours so as to limit distractions, and don't pick up calls from the people who just call you every time a thought pops in their head (most of the time they just follow with an email). I don't call people if I can email them and I make it a point to especially avoid talking to people who want to talk or gossip during the day.

Of course, it's a constant struggle and all these rules get violated at one time or another. And maybe it shows I don't have the chops to make partner, but I've decided that's fine. I just want a few months of valuable headspace while I am strategic and focused about my job search.



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