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Messages - Burning Sands

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51
General Board / Re: President of my Law School student senate?
« on: August 01, 2005, 01:03:45 PM »
I start law school in the fall.  I already know that I am interested in this position.  Do any 1L, 2L's or 3L's know anything about running for this?

I wasn't part of student government in hs or college so does that hurt my chances of being 'experienced' so to speak?

Also, is the President of the senate the class speaker at graduation?


Student Government in law school is called SBA.  Student Bar Association.  Every school has one (or should).  At each school it is the organization that is the umbrella to all other organizations because it controls the $$.

Your primary mission is to study.

After that, if you have time, join SBA.  I ran and was elected as one of the class reps and now I'm the treasurer, but during 1L its expected that you won't be able to make it to that many meetings just because...


52
General Board / Re: Do you hate law?
« on: July 19, 2005, 07:03:11 PM »
F*ck doctors!!!  They answer to us!


Ok, j/k.  (or am I)  There is one thing for certain, med students have it the worst of all professional schools, hands down.

53
General Board / Re: Do you hate law?
« on: July 18, 2005, 01:38:57 PM »
School rankings, grades and billable hour requirements don't mean a thing.

I heard that!!!

Do you guys realize that the entire ranking system is for big law, by big law?  If you're not doing big law, a JD from any school = a JD from any other school.

I have a frat brother who graduated from a 4th tier law school in the midwest, worked for a small midwest firm for a few years and now does his own criminal practice on the east coast by himself. He's been out of law school for about...4 or 5 years now and just last month he bought the new 750 BMW with one payment.  No financing, no payment plan, none of that. 

54
General Board / Re: Do you hate law?
« on: July 18, 2005, 01:26:38 PM »
What next after that?

55
General Board / Re: Do you hate law?
« on: July 18, 2005, 01:09:46 PM »
I think its time for me to jump back in. There are many things I look forward to with a law degree. Big Law is not one of them. Remember, we are not slaves to the corporations, we have a choice and do not have to work any job we do not want to.

Yes, some jobs require you bill ridiculous hours. But many smaller firm...and be prepared to let go of some of that loot we all have in our eyes.....have much more accomodatable schedules. Billing 1800 hours isn't that bad. I work at Target Corp right now and the guys with "double cubes" and corner offices work at least 50 hours a week. Thats what professionals with "salaries" work. If you work 40 hrs a week, you are a wage earner and probably make less than 40k per year, at least at the beginning of your career.

If new eager law students told biglaw eat sh't, 125k isn't worth it, then one of two things would happen. 1) Law firms would realize that the quality of life (less hours) needs to be improved or 2) Raise salaries even more. But at some point this is not profitable.

Anyway, I'm shooting for a salary when I graduate in the 65,000 - 75,000 range working in a small firm doing litigation (i.e. slightly better hours, more interesting work/hands on with clients, will get to see a court room before I retire).



Good plan.

And you're right, this quality of life that has become common place in big law firms would change (even if slightly) if more lawyers demanded more and accepted less BS.  The practice of law did not exist like this 20 years ago.  The 2400 billable hour year is a relatively new phenominon that came about from a large push in the 80's from law firms who cater only to big money clients who will pay by the hour while neglecting their own staff.

Midwest - I don't think anybody here is crying (looking around the room)...ok well maybe IHEARTLS a little bit  ;), but still to each their own opinion.  But you're talkin like 125k is the end all be all of salaries that just comes form a little hard work at a law firm.  There are too many first hand experiences out there for us to be that naive about what we're getting into.
I'd be curious to hear your perspective on your own comments as a 5th year associate.

56
General Board / Re: Do you hate law?
« on: July 18, 2005, 12:28:27 PM »
You may hate the law if: the only class you are looking forward to taking is Critical Race Theory!

Critical Race Theory?  Umm...do you attend my school?

Anyway, I HATE law school.  I'm interning now and although I have to admit it is interesting, I really do not like it.  I hate my law school, I hate the people there, I hate our career services office, I just hate that place.  I am NOT looking forward to returning in the fall.  Sorry to be so negative, but the only reason I'm attending law school is to increase my net worth.  Yep...I think I'm the only law student willing to admit it.  Truthfully, the only thing I really care about is makeup and clothes, but I can't make a living sitting around talking about that on a daily basis.  Oh well, back to work!!!

Man, and you guys thought I was bad? 

I actually like law school and am looking forward to going back in the fall.  I just don't like the idea of working 80 hours a week after law school in order to "increase my net worth." 

57
General Board / Re: Do you hate law?
« on: July 17, 2005, 08:21:34 PM »
The Truth about the Billable Hour

As you try to choose a path in the law, or choose among various law firms, you will often hear mention of the billable hours that are expected of the associates in a law firm. Most law firms make their money by billing their clients by the hour. If you do not bill a certain number of hours, you do not bring in enough money to cover your salary, not to mention the profit share for the partners and overhead. The more hours billed, the more profit for the firm. Government and public interest employers do not typically have any billable hour requirements because they do not bill their hours to a paying client.

Firms "average," "target" or "minimum" billables typically range between 1700 and 2300, although informal networks often quote much higher numbers. The NALP forms ask employers for their average associate billable hours, as do many interviewees, because of its enormous impact on associates' lives.

The purpose of this handout is to help you understand the billable hour expectations most law firms have for associates, and the impact of those expectations on your lifestyle. Keep in mind that not all law firms have the same emphasis on billable hours: public interest law firms, smaller law firms, and law firms outside of large metropolitan areas often require less billable hours and may place more emphasis on training, client development, community-related activities and the like. In addition, government and public interest employers typically do not have any billable hour requirements because they do not bill their hours to a paying client. Speak with a CDO counselor to discuss these options in more detail.

A. The Full Time Job:
   

Target 1800 Billable Hours
Assume you "work" from 8:00 am - 6:00 pm each day    10.0
Assume you take an hour for lunch    -1.0
Assume you take two 15 minute coffee breaks    -.5
Assume you spend a half-hour reading legal updates and reviewing general correspondence    -.5
Assume you will need to attend department meetings, occasional conferences, and do CLE    -.5
This means that you work 10 hours a day but may bill    7.5
If you work a 5 day week    x 5
You have been at work 50 hours and billed    37.5
If you do this all year long, and we assume:    
3 weeks vacation
2 weeks holiday
No sick days or personal days    
You will work 47 weeks    x 47
And have billed an annual average of    1762

 
To gain an extra 70 hours to be respectable you could:
(a). Add approximately 1 1/2 hours a week (approximately 20 minutes per day) 1 ˝ x 47=70    1832
So come in at 8:00 am and work until 6:20 pm Monday - Friday    

The Commute

With a half hour commute (to your desk and working) you are gone from home 7:30 am to 6:50 pm
   
With a one hour commute you will be gone from 7:00 am to 7:20 pm, Monday - Friday    
OR    
(b) Work one Saturday a month (10:00 am to 5:00 pm with 1 nonbillable)    6 x 12 months = 72
You have now billed    1834
You have been "at work"    2434
This schedule does not account for any personal calls at work, training/observing, talking with co-workers, a longer lunch (to exercise? Christmas shop?), a family funeral, any pro bono work (if not treated as billable hours), serving on a Bar committee, writing an article for the bar journal, interviewing an applicant, etc.

B. The Overtime Job:
   

Target 2200 Billable Hours
Assume you "work" from 8:00 am - 8:00 pm each day    12.0
Assume you take an hour for lunch and an hour for dinner    -2.0
Assume you take four 15 minute bathroom/coffee breaks    -1.0
Assume you will need the same time for department meetings, conferences and CLE    -.5
This means you "work" 12 hours a day but bill only    8.5
You do this 5 days a week    x .5
You have "worked" 60 hours but have billed only    42.5
If you do this all year long, and we assume:    
3 weeks vacation
2 weeks holiday
No sick days or personal days    
You will work 47 weeks    
And have billed an annual average of    1997

To gain the needed 200+ hours you could add two Saturdays a month    
If you work 10-5 on these Saturdays with 1 nonbillable hour you will have 6 billables per day x 2 = 12 x 12 months =    144
For a new total of…    

2141

Still Short!

So add another Saturday a month for 10 months (take a break in Nov. & Dec. for the Holidays)

6 x 10 months = 60

You made it!

You have billed 2201

However, you have been "at work" 3058
 
The Commute    
With a half hour commute you are gone from 7:30 am to 8:30 pm Monday - Friday    
And 9:30 am - 5:30 pm three Saturdays a month    
With a one hour commute you are gone from 7:00 am to 9:00 pm Monday - Friday    
And 9:00 am to 6:00 pm three Saturdays a month    
BUT once again this schedule does not account for any personal calls at work, training/observing, talking with coworkers, a longer lunch (to exercise? Christmas shop?), a family funeral, any pro bono work (if not treated as billable hours), serving on a Bar committee, writing an article for the bar journal, interviewing an applicant, etc.


http://www.law.yale.edu/outside/html/Career_Development/cdo-billable.htm





So is the light bulb turning on yet about the quality of life we're talking about if you try to bill 2400 hours a year??

58
General Board / Re: Law Review Write On Competition
« on: July 17, 2005, 12:39:35 PM »
Good luck with that.  That is probably the most difficult thing that you have to do during 1L.  I pulled my 1st (and 2nd, and 3rd) all-nighters in law school during the write on competition.  The hardest part is at the beginning when you're like "ok, how the hell am I going to do this?"  Once you get it moving though you'll be cool.

59
General Board / Re: Do you hate law?
« on: July 17, 2005, 12:35:07 PM »
Sands, I think you need a more optimistic outlook on life! Are you really complaining about the problems of making $125k per year? come on.  Doesn't that put you in the top 1% of wage earners or something?  Let's get real here.  Many people work 70 hours a week for less than minimum wage.  Let's be happy for the blessings that we have.  Yes, we have to pay taxes and repay our student loans, but we are still better off than 99.9% of the world.


LOL

I'm always happy for my blessings and very greatful to be in the position I am.

I just want to make sure everybody's eyes are wide open as to what we're really getting into.  I think a lot of people see the $125k salary and think that we've hit the lottery.  Not the case. It may shock a few people but $125k a year really is not that much money - especially when you consider the amount of hours we will put in to get it.  There are far easier ways to make six figures than working 70 - 80 hours a week in a law firm.  Ask many lawyers who work in Big Law and they'll tell you the same.  I just doin't think that many law students and pre-law students understand what 2400 billable hours truly means...

Now if you do understand that and you're comfortable with that, then full steam ahead.  Just make sure you know that it will suck, which MidWest already said a few posts back that it would so Midwest, you should be ok b/c you already know the deal.  Some people don't.

Strictly Liable - LOL!  :D

P.S.  - I'm not sure about being in the top 1% of wage earners at $125k - considering non-equity partners make (on average) $300,000 to 500,000/yr and equity partners at the Big Law firms in NYC make 2 to 3 meeeeeeleon dollars PER YEAR.  (no that's not a typo) - equity partners in 2004 made anywhere between $1,000,000 on the low end to as much as $3,500,000 on the high end...in ONE year...no bull$hit.  Our friends at the Med School will come out averaging a 1/4 million for their starting salaries.  But it's all relative. Like MidWest said - $125k is a lot of money, relatively speaking, when you've only made 30k a year all your life and also when you consider that there are MANY families who will NEVER break the $100,000 mark even with 2 incomes... but in the grand scheme of things, its just a drop in the bucket.  A respectable drop, but a drop nonetheless.


60
General Board / Re: Do you hate law?
« on: July 16, 2005, 01:40:14 PM »
Oh yeah, I forgot something else.  I was talking to the lawyers again (dangit) and I forgot to mention the part about STUDENT LOANS (uhg!).  And be thankful you guys dont live in NYC, b/c that's another $2000/mo for an apartment the size of your old door room.


Yeah.  'nuff said.


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