at first I thought the title said "obligatory capitalism" --- it sunk in so well I think I already used the term today to describe my school choices (all in the city w/ lots of adjunct profs)
eh, as far as hrs go I think if you are interested enough in the work you are going to be thinking about it for 70 hours a week anyways so might as well work that much doing doing lots of research if your law job demands it.
Well, it's usually not 70 hour weeks. Those would be the light weeks. Also, much of the time, it is completely unpredictable. For instance, you'll do nothing all day from 7-6, and then at 6 get something that is needed by the next morning. So you are in the office past midnight. I also know someone at a huge firm who sat around a lot their first few months, but you have to be in the office. Then suddenly was thrust into really long weeks.
The other aspect of it is that you are tied to your Blackberry. SO even when you're not in the office, you are expected to be available. Finally, especially during those first few years at a big firm, the work tends to be pretty dull, so it's not as if you are doing exciting stuff (or so say the folks I know). So 80-100 weeks can really be a horrible grind.
To some folks it's worth it, but to some it's not. My strongest piece of advice if you want to go into a big law firm is to work a job that requires at least 65 hours a week so that you have an idea of the professional demands and how it will detract from your personal life. Going into a big law firm with no experience like this is a recipe for disaster, IMO and a big reason big law firms cannot keep their associates past two years.
I did actually work for a big firm for a couple years...that's what got me thinking about law school.
However, I didn't work long hrs generally, and only occasionally was called in on emergency projects. I do still feel as if I've been able to somehow evaluate things - albeight with a MUCH more modest magnitude. I have no doubt my heart would be in it, even doing the more "boring" legal research, discovery stuff, etc.
I'm not at all saying I want BIGLAW OR BUSTTT -- becuase there's a spectacular chance I won't get it, but at first thought I know I enjoy hustling at work and it doesn't bug me when I have no life because of it. (no fam to attend to, etc. for now - another factor). I've made work-friends with lots of associates, and I could kind of gauge which ones were going to be up for it more than others -- unfortunately, it seemed as if the SA's mostly just kind of had to learn by experience what it was all about, and it was inevitable that not all of them would stick around for too long once they really started working and piecing that together.
edit: is that even that bad for those guys though? 2 years @ 135K + and a big firm's name on your resume?