Is the big law experience different for people who were poor before law school?

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RSolano
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Is the big law experience different for people who were poor before law school?

Postby RSolano » Mon Jul 31, 2017 8:18 pm

I hear and read so much about how overall miserable working in big law is and I understand that experiences vary based on firm and location but as someone who currently works a job that's neither fulfilling nor makes me enough money (money is a constant stress weighing on me), I imagine it'd feel a whole lot better to atleast go from having neither to having one of the two (still not fulfilled but atleast making money and saving for the future).

Interested to hear anyone's input on this because I imagine financial security feeling a whole lot better than lack thereof, despite long hours, bad bosses etc.

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SmokeytheBear
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Re: Is the big law experience different for people who were poor before law school?

Postby SmokeytheBear » Mon Jul 31, 2017 8:21 pm

It is awesome not to have to worry about paying bills.

It is awesome being able to take my parents to nice meals.

It is awesome knowing that my kids won't have to deal with the same stresses that I did.

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Re: Is the big law experience different for people who were poor before law school?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jul 31, 2017 8:47 pm

RSolano wrote:I hear and read so much about how overall miserable working in big law is and I understand that experiences vary based on firm and location but as someone who currently works a job that's neither fulfilling nor makes me enough money (money is a constant stress weighing on me), I imagine it'd feel a whole lot better to atleast go from having neither to having one of the two (still not fulfilled but atleast making money and saving for the future).

Interested to hear anyone's input on this because I imagine financial security feeling a whole lot better than lack thereof, despite long hours, bad bosses etc.

Agree with the above, but...

It still kind of sucks.

RSolano
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Re: Is the big law experience different for people who were poor before law school?

Postby RSolano » Mon Jul 31, 2017 9:13 pm

SmokeytheBear wrote:It is awesome not to have to worry about paying bills.

It is awesome being able to take my parents to nice meals.

It is awesome knowing that my kids won't have to deal with the same stresses that I did.



Definitely think these things are appreciated more when you didn't have them at one point!

RSolano
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Re: Is the big law experience different for people who were poor before law school?

Postby RSolano » Mon Jul 31, 2017 9:16 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
RSolano wrote:I hear and read so much about how overall miserable working in big law is and I understand that experiences vary based on firm and location but as someone who currently works a job that's neither fulfilling nor makes me enough money (money is a constant stress weighing on me), I imagine it'd feel a whole lot better to atleast go from having neither to having one of the two (still not fulfilled but atleast making money and saving for the future).

Interested to hear anyone's input on this because I imagine financial security feeling a whole lot better than lack thereof, despite long hours, bad bosses etc.

Agree with the above, but...

It still kind of sucks.



Haha yes from what I've read I can imagine that it does!
I'd think mindset and financial planning changes things too?

Ie someone blowing all their money on things that bring very temporary happiness (new cars etc) vs those saving meticulously for retirement or travel/those with plans for more fulfilling work in the future?

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Re: Is the big law experience different for people who were poor before law school?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jul 31, 2017 9:24 pm

I'm really interested in this topic. I'm a rising 2L going into OCI, and I keep hearing how awful biglaw is with all the hours and partners screaming at you... but during undergrad (while taking a full credit load) I worked full time, many times getting overtime in retail and food service. The hours were long there too and I got screamed at my bosses there as well. So biglaw sounds amazing to me as a poor person because (1) you get to sit down while doing the job and (2) you get paid actual money. Am I missing something?

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Pneumonia
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Re: Is the big law experience different for people who were poor before law school?

Postby Pneumonia » Mon Jul 31, 2017 9:24 pm

Rising 4L (starting in a month), but....

Law school is different for poor people, and SAs are different for poor people, so I feel confident in expecting that Big Law will feel different for poors too.

SA was the first time that I've been able to pay all of my bills in advance. It's a great feeling, and it's not something that anyone I worked with understood.

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sublime
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Re: Is the big law experience different for people who were poor before law school?

Postby sublime » Mon Jul 31, 2017 9:27 pm

Yes, you are. I worked full time in hospitality while in school too, and this is far worse. Way different type of stress. It may be more worth it for the money, and you are probably going to figure that this doesn't apply to you as much like I did. But it does. And big law can be miserable.

@anon but probably applies to all.

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Pneumonia
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Re: Is the big law experience different for people who were poor before law school?

Postby Pneumonia » Mon Jul 31, 2017 9:33 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I'm really interested in this topic. I'm a rising 2L going into OCI, and I keep hearing how awful biglaw is with all the hours and partners screaming at you... but during undergrad (while taking a full credit load) I worked full time, many times getting overtime in retail and food service. The hours were long there too and I got screamed at my bosses there as well. So biglaw sounds amazing to me as a poor person because (1) you get to sit down while doing the job and (2) you get paid actual money. Am I missing something?

Yes, you are. it's tough to explain so I won't try, but you'll figure it out once you start. Your background is good and you should be proud of it. It will help you in some ways while making some things more difficult. But the people who say biglaw sucks aren't saying that just because they've never had a real job (although many of them never have).

The ways in which retail/food-service/manual labor etc. differ from biglaw are extremely difficult to appreciate until you've actually done both. But make no mistake--they do. I haven't started for real yet, but I will say this: I feel like an idiot for posting the below as a 0L:

Pneumonia wrote:Out of curiosity, what was your work experience before law? Like did you ever wash dishes 35 hours a week at Wendy's or shovel horse shit during the summer to pay for gas? One thing about work is that most of sucks no matter what, because its work. Maybe yours sucks more, but I'm just wondering what you are comparing it to.

I understand that you hate your job, and I'm sorry about that, but even as just a 0L I am legitimately curious as to what your expectations and previous experiences were going in.

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Re: Is the big law experience different for people who were poor before law school?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jul 31, 2017 9:41 pm

Pneumonia wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I'm really interested in this topic. I'm a rising 2L going into OCI, and I keep hearing how awful biglaw is with all the hours and partners screaming at you... but during undergrad (while taking a full credit load) I worked full time, many times getting overtime in retail and food service. The hours were long there too and I got screamed at my bosses there as well. So biglaw sounds amazing to me as a poor person because (1) you get to sit down while doing the job and (2) you get paid actual money. Am I missing something?

Yes, you are. it's tough to explain so I won't try, but you'll figure it out once you start. Your background is good and you should be proud of it. It will help you in some ways while making some things more difficult. But the people who say biglaw sucks aren't saying that just because they've never had a real job (although many of them never have).

The ways in which retail/food-service/manual labor etc. differ from biglaw are extremely difficult to appreciate until you've actually done both. But make no mistake--they do. I haven't started for real yet, but I will say this: I feel like an idiot for posting the below as a 0L:

Pneumonia wrote:Out of curiosity, what was your work experience before law? Like did you ever wash dishes 35 hours a week at Wendy's or shovel horse shit during the summer to pay for gas? One thing about work is that most of sucks no matter what, because its work. Maybe yours sucks more, but I'm just wondering what you are comparing it to.

I understand that you hate your job, and I'm sorry about that, but even as just a 0L I am legitimately curious as to what your expectations and previous experiences were going in.


Previous anon. I didn't mean to discount anyone else's experiences- as someone who's worked in really unhealthy working environments I understand how miserable they can make you. But because that's been the majority of my working life, and it's been generally for minimum wage, I feel like I might be better able to survive this than someone who has had better, healthier jobs before law school. Hopefully that made sense.

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Pneumonia
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Re: Is the big law experience different for people who were poor before law school?

Postby Pneumonia » Mon Jul 31, 2017 10:07 pm

Anonymous User wrote: Previous anon. I didn't mean to discount anyone else's experiences- as someone who's worked in really unhealthy working environments I understand how miserable they can make you. But because that's been the majority of my working life, and it's been generally for minimum wage, I feel like I might be better able to survive this than someone who has had better, healthier jobs before law school. Hopefully that made sense.

I understand what you were saying, and you didn't come across (to me) as though you were trying to discount anyone's experiences. The reason I responded to your post is that your belief that you
Anonymous User wrote: might be better able to survive this than someone who has had better, healthier jobs before law school

is manifestly incorrect and also something that could potentially end up being hurtful to you in the long run. A few years ago, I felt the same way that you do now, but I was wrong. I'm not preaching doom and gloom, it's just that the retail/fast-food grind is a totally different kind of bad than big law. So if your attitude going in is that you're prepared for then you're going to have a rude awakening.

Again, I'm not trying to say you shouldn't do biglaw. Shitty minimum wage jobs prepare you for a lot of the bad things that law school and biglaw will throw at you. It's just that the biglaw workload/environment isn't one of them.

jd20132013
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Re: Is the big law experience different for people who were poor before law school?

Postby jd20132013 » Mon Jul 31, 2017 10:16 pm

Lol. You're more or less right, pneumonia, but it is slightly amusing how much advice you're dispensing having not started

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Re: Is the big law experience different for people who were poor before law school?

Postby Monochromatic Oeuvre » Mon Jul 31, 2017 10:19 pm

This thread has been done to death.

Constantly worrying about not paying your bills really sucks.

Working a job that never allows you to enjoy your money (or anything else you enjoy) also really sucks.

You won't be happy until you've managed to purge both of those things. Therefore, you should work Biglaw until the moment you can transition into a job with a comfortable income that also allows you to have your nights and weekends.

Now we can please stop asking if every associate is just unappreciative every three days?

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Re: Is the big law experience different for people who were poor before law school?

Postby Pneumonia » Mon Jul 31, 2017 10:27 pm

jd20132013 wrote:Lol. You're more or less right, pneumonia, but it is slightly amusing how much advice you're dispensing having not started

Yeah, gotta agree with you there. Although I do think the point I'm trying to make is something that can be gleaned in a few days as an SA. Mono is right too, but this type of post recurs because—for some reason—everyone thinks that their shitty minimum wage job was qualitatively different than everyone else's shitty minimum wage job.

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Re: Is the big law experience different for people who were poor before law school?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Mon Jul 31, 2017 10:39 pm

Moved to the correct forum (this was originally posted in Legal Employment, if anyone's wondering about the anon posting in this thread).

RSolano
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Re: Is the big law experience different for people who were poor before law school?

Postby RSolano » Mon Jul 31, 2017 11:01 pm

Thanks!

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Re: Is the big law experience different for people who were poor before law school?

Postby elendinel » Wed Aug 02, 2017 12:27 am

sublime wrote:Yes, you are. I worked full time in hospitality while in school too, and this is far worse. Way different type of stress. It may be more worth it for the money, and you are probably going to figure that this doesn't apply to you as much like I did. But it does. And big law can be miserable.

@anon but probably applies to all.


Yeah agreed; it's hard to fathom how biglaw is worse than anything you could have done in UG until you actually get into it. I also worked full-time in a client-facing environment where people yelled and got all sorts of emotional while going to school full-time, and it did not prepare me for biglaw.

I also agree this topic has been done to death and that people need to stop acting like all the people who don't like biglaw are upper class special snowflakes who just don't understand what it's like to not have a lot of money. Having money is cool, but being too stressed or busy to spend most of it isn't. Being able to provide a better-funded life for your kids is cool, but not being able to be there with them to the extent you could be if you worked a true 9-6 job (or having no time to find a future SO who will have kids with you), isn't. Money doesn't make all your stress go away; it just causes/comes with new forms of stress.

If you're the kind of person who gave up friends in UG to take on extra side jobs because it felt super sweet to save an extra $500/month, biglaw will be a great opportunity for you. If you're the kind of person who chose to work odd hours so that you could go hang out with your friends at least once a day/week and who felt bummed if you didn't get to hang out during a given week, there's no amount of money in the world that is going to make biglaw less stressful for you than living paycheck-to-paycheck in UG was. You don't have to be a spoiled rich kid to decide money's not the end-all, be-all for you; plenty of people who started out poor come to that conclusion after a few years in biglaw, too.

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Re: Is the big law experience different for people who were poor before law school?

Postby beepboopbeep » Wed Aug 02, 2017 2:01 am

I learned two things this week:

  • Oh, my driver's license expired five months ago. I probably didn't notice because I haven't had time to do anything that would require my getting carded since like January, because I have no time. I'm on pace for 2500-2700 hours, and now I'm ubering every day until I can have a quiet enough morning to go to the DMV (hopefully not another five months from now). I guess it's nice to be able to afford that, but it would be nicer not to be in this situation.
  • Digging up my birth certificate for abovementioned driver's license renewal, apparently the address my mom was living in when I was born literally has the phrase "trailer park" in the street address. I knew that we lived in one until I was 3. I didn't know that any actual trailer parks had street names that included the phrase "trailer park."
I think I enjoy biglaw more than many in the thread and among the working biglawyers on TLS, but it doesn't really have to do with the money. It just turns out that I'm an insane person who enjoys the work, as, I think, you have to be to enjoy this job (note: this does not mean that I'm good at the job, as I am regularly reminded). I would probably also enjoy the work getting paid half as much and working like 75% as much, and without the totally needless fire drills and constant pressure-cooker environment requiring basically perfect work at all times, but so would I think many people who are unhappy in biglaw. Point being: as a Former Poor, it's easy to overestimate how happy transitioning from Poor to Former Poor will make you. The rest of the shit that makes everyone else unhappy is still there and you are not immune.

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sublime
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Re: Is the big law experience different for people who were poor before law school?

Postby sublime » Wed Aug 02, 2017 2:04 am

JFC at 2700 bro.

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Re: Is the big law experience different for people who were poor before law school?

Postby beepboopbeep » Wed Aug 02, 2017 2:08 am

sublime wrote:JFC at 2700 bro.


It sucks. Not recommended.

I don't know if it would be better to just have like 4 months of what I've had all year and be really slow for the other ones and end up at 2000. That seems equally stressful, just in a different way. I'm discounting the possibility of having a reasonable workload throughout because I haven't seen it happen to anyone yet.

Ok being a little facetious. Like two people I know are happy as a clam and billing a cool 170 every month. Out of like 15-20 first years? No idea if that number is accurate but probably better if it's not for self-doxing purposes.

And sorry for derailing a bit, threadreaders, just can't miss an opportunity to playfully jab at the miserableness of this entire enterprise while drafting defendant's fifth set of RFAs at 11PM

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Re: Is the big law experience different for people who were poor before law school?

Postby future liT1g4tor » Wed Aug 02, 2017 11:00 am

In theory it makes sense. However, regardless of where you started off once you are there, things change. IMO, the reason we see so much of this trend on TLS about BigLaw is due to the following:

You can be dirt poor your whole life, or not be, and an yearly income of 200k+ for a couple of years will be nice. When the dust settles and you are now adjusted to this life, things that once did not matter may start to matter.

You have (or Biglaw has) accomodated a nice income for yourself, however you have not accumulated vast amounts of money. So when you spend more than you should (or have spent more than you should) in addition to other debts you may have, you'll want to keep that stream of money. Once youre in this position, I would assume that what I have stated above will be 10X.
Last edited by future liT1g4tor on Wed Aug 02, 2017 3:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Is the big law experience different for people who were poor before law school?

Postby cavalier1138 » Wed Aug 02, 2017 11:10 am

future liT1g4tor wrote:In theory it makes sense. However, regardless of where you started off once you are there, things change. IMO, the reason we see so much of this trend on TLS about BigLaw is due to the following:

You can be dirt poor your whole life, or not be, and a yearly income of 200k+ for a couple of years will be nice. When the dust settles and you are now adjusted to this life, things that once did not matter may start to matter.

You have (or Biglaw has) accomodated a nice income for yourself, however you have not accumulated vast amounts of money. So when you spend more than you should (or have spent more than you should) in addition to other debts you may have, you'll want to keep that stream of money. Once youre in this position, I would assume that what I have stated above will be 10X.


Fantastic input from a 0L.

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Re: Is the big law experience different for people who were poor before law school?

Postby landshoes » Wed Aug 02, 2017 7:16 pm

Yes and no. As someone who has been extremely broke and had a whole 10 weeks of cushy SA life I can say this:

Culturally harder to adjust and fit in.
Easier to deal with working a lot.
Harder to deal with stress of losing the job because I know how bad life can get.
Easier to accept less "elite" outcomes/options.
Harder not to throw money to friends/family who want or need it.

All that said, go into it preparing for it to be difficult and all-consuming. Don't be scared, be prepared.

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Re: Is the big law experience different for people who were poor before law school?

Postby Nebby » Thu Aug 03, 2017 11:51 pm

SmokeytheBear wrote:It is awesome not to have to worry about paying bills.

It is awesome being able to take my parents to nice meals.

It is awesome knowing that my kids won't have to deal with the same stresses that I did.

It is not awesome that my kids grow up and I'm stuck at work

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Re: Is the big law experience different for people who were poor before law school?

Postby Nebby » Thu Aug 03, 2017 11:56 pm

landshoes wrote:Harder not to throw money to friends/family who want or need it.

This is so true, even if you're not making biglaw bucks. I work in public interest, and I started a scholarship at my high school and helped my brother pay off a number of debts in order to prepare for the arrival of my (now born) niece! Something I've never been able to do in my life before graduating law school and starting work.




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