Missing out on biglaw benefits

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Missing out on biglaw benefits

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jun 11, 2019 9:38 pm

So, I’ve only worked at regional offices of biglaw firms and I recently started at a boutique firm that pays near/at market. I’ve been here for a month now and I enjoy it, but, I feel like I’m missing out on things. Since I only worked in satellite offices of large firms, I never had a “class” to do things with. I’m now at a firm where there are even fewer associates.

People always talk about their large summer classes and all of the stuff they do with their fellow associates and I feel like I missed out on that.

Is it just overblown on here? Do people actually spend hours a day hanging out with other associates throughout the workday and go to lunch together, etc.?

I know it sounds stupid and lame, but I feel like I’m not as satisfied at the firms I’ve been at because I’m missing out on THAT culture of biglaw. At the firms I’ve been, people just worked through lunch and went home earlier.

I guess I’m dissatisfied with the social aspect of my experience. Being in an office for 10+ hours a day without speaking to anyone aside from the people who feed me work is unenjoyable at times.

I’m not really looking for advice, I guess. Just wondering if the big 100+ person class firms are better to be at since they have a better social aspect.

Also, I’m probably going to be too senior to even enjoy any of these aspects if I ever decide to lateral again, so just curious

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LaLiLuLeLo

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Re: Missing out on biglaw benefits

Postby LaLiLuLeLo » Tue Jun 11, 2019 10:27 pm

I am not from an office with a big associate class, but over the years the social aspect has certainly ebbed and flowed. Never lasts due to the attrition rate. There were times were I had friends and we’d shoot the shit and get lunch. There were times where I didn’t talk to anyone in person and ate at my desk.

Were the more social periods more fun? Yeah, absolutely. Did they make biglaw any better? No. The bad parts were all still there.

Even as people have come and gone I’d say I’ve only made 3 real friends for whatever that’s worth

QContinuum

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Re: Missing out on biglaw benefits

Postby QContinuum » Tue Jun 11, 2019 10:35 pm

LaLiLuLeLo wrote:Even as people have come and gone I’d say I’ve only made 3 real friends for whatever that’s worth

Real/personal friends are hard to make, for sure. But IMO there's something to be said for "friendly acquaintances"/"work friends"/whatever you want to label "situational"/"convenient" friends. People you're happy to chat with, and get along with, but probably wouldn't keep in touch with if you didn't work at the same firm. I've found that having a pool of such folks really makes a difference vs. not having those folks. Agree with OP that it gets real isolating real fast when your only sources of "social" interaction at work are your bosses and the paralegals/secretaries.

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Re: Missing out on biglaw benefits

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jun 11, 2019 11:50 pm

Thanks for the responses. I’ve already realized in my short-ish time here that most of my interactions will only be with the partners I work with. Even then, it’s usually not even face to face, but over the phone/e-mail. And I’m just pushed some work with tentative deadlines and vague details and expected to just present work to the partners (of which many of my hours are written off).

I feel very isolated already and I don’t know if it’ll get much better. I like the work and the people are pleasant, which is great, but I’m not sure if this is a sustainable situation.

This week so far, I’ve only spoken to one person at work.

I think having people around would make this all bearable. I mean, this is obviously a “first world” problem, but it’s just been bothering me for a bit.

QContinuum

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Re: Missing out on biglaw benefits

Postby QContinuum » Fri Jun 14, 2019 11:46 am

Anonymous User wrote:I feel very isolated already and I don’t know if it’ll get much better. I like the work and the people are pleasant, which is great, but I’m not sure if this is a sustainable situation.

This week so far, I’ve only spoken to one person at work.

I think having people around would make this all bearable. I mean, this is obviously a “first world” problem, but it’s just been bothering me for a bit.

I experienced a similar situation at a former job. I found that it helped to try to be a bit chattier with the secretaries/paralegals - esp. the ones that didn't work for me, so there was less of a power dynamic. I also made an effort to socialize a bit with partners in different practice areas (again, less of a power dynamic since there was no prospect of me doing work for them). That was helpful around the margins.

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Re: Missing out on biglaw benefits

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jun 16, 2019 11:11 am

Hey I went through something similar to you. Although I started with a big summer class, we all started drifting apart after our first six months (i.e. stopped grabbing lunch, etc.). Although it was hard (read: lonely) to work 10+ hours a day without really talking to anyone, I eventually made friends with the associates/paralegals in my group, and even some partners. Now, I feel comfortable swinging by their office to shoot the shit and they feel comfortable doing the same.

In the end, I am definitely closer to the people around me rather than anybody in my summer class, and I think other folks in my summer class are the same. Although you missed out on the summer associate experience, it's all the same in the long run.

Most likely, this board seems to focus on social activities with summer classes because (presumably) most of the posters are summers and/or junior associates. (Although, I have nothing to back that up, so it may be totally incorrect.)

I hope this helps.

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Re: Missing out on biglaw benefits

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jun 16, 2019 3:58 pm

I don't have much to add except to say I totally get where you are coming from. Currently summering at a small regional big law office. 40 attorneys + 5 summers. Most of my LS friends in the same market as me have giant classes. I always worry I am missing out on the experience. On some level, I am just happy to have a market paying big law job in my preferred market, but still feel bummed about not getting that "classic" experience.

icansortofmath

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Re: Missing out on biglaw benefits

Postby icansortofmath » Sun Jun 16, 2019 4:08 pm

It’s not much different than the freshmen experience with lots of artificial social events with people you won’t interact much with after freshman year.



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