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Author Topic: Do you hate law?  (Read 10744 times)

Burning Sands

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Re: Do you hate law?
« Reply #20 on: July 15, 2005, 12:22:35 PM »
Quinten & Midwest - I'm trying to tell you guys this is very much reality, straight from the horse's mouth.  I'm sitting next to an attorney right now as we speak.  He worked for White & Case for 5 years before coming here (in house counsel) and he said in actuallity the 74k number seemed about right, if not a little higher than what he used to take home.

Another attorney here came from Sullivan & Cromwell, she said the same thing.

And besides, this should be second nature to you by now if you are working.  If you went straight from undergrad to law school then it probably looks unreal but having come from corp. america prior to law school, even I can tell you that your base salary & your take home are two different animals.
Burning Sands

MidWestLawGril

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Re: Do you hate law?
« Reply #21 on: July 15, 2005, 01:11:36 PM »
I don't think we disagree here, and I am not really sure what you are arguing.

I agree that I'll get somewhere between $75k and $85 after taxes.

I worked for 5 years between UG and LS.  I made an average of $1800 per month after taxes.  I am very very happy at the prospect of pulling down $6,000 per month after taxes.  It's a lot of money and I won't take it for granted.

LawLady

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Re: Do you hate law?
« Reply #22 on: July 15, 2005, 03:09:12 PM »
Law Dog: I agree with you.  As for the comment about "being in a higher tax bracket at retirement" - how could that be if you aren't working (you are retired, right)

The whole purpose of not making you pay taxes when you deposit the money is because you would be in a higher bracket while working, and a lower one later.

Also, if you make $125K a year before taxes, you will likely own a home, which is another way to decrease your taxes (interest on the mortgage is deductible).  You might also have some children (more deductions)

Burning Sands

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Re: Do you hate law?
« Reply #23 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.

Burning Sands

MidWestLawGril

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Re: Do you hate law?
« Reply #24 on: July 16, 2005, 08:41:59 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.

StrictlyLiable

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Re: Do you hate law?
« Reply #25 on: July 16, 2005, 08:45:19 PM »
Its not secret that tons of lawyers really hate being lawyers and wish they had done something else.

Is this the case with any law students out there? Is anyone regretting their decision to attend and to be an attorney?


I'm just super nervous about going through such an ordeal to find that I hate doing what I do. I've done the research, it seems that I'd like the work, but how do I know? I bet a lot of dissatisfied lawyers felt they know what they were doing.

Look dude, if you second guess yourself as much in law school as you have in this forum, you won't have to worry about hating your career. . . . because you'll fail out after 1 semester.

Burning Sands

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Re: Do you hate law?
« Reply #26 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.

Burning Sands

Burning Sands

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Re: Do you hate law?
« Reply #27 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??
Burning Sands

jdohno

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Re: Do you hate law?
« Reply #28 on: July 17, 2005, 08:46:07 PM »
Yeah it means instead of the big house in the suburbs I was dreaming about, I better look at a condo near the job to cut down on the commuting time. Also it means a 70 hour work week with no time to enjoy a big house. It means going home after work and going straight to bed and to wake up the next morning to do the same thing over again. But someone told me the billable hours go down after you have been at the firm 3 or 5 years.  :-\

Like I told Sands, this thread should be on the prelaw side too. People who haven't worked full time before going to law school don't understand the 40 hour work week and how law firms go beyond it. Also I agree with Sands, there are easier ways to make $100,000/yr. I don't know about everyone else but I'm glad I'm going into a legal field that I have a deep interest and some experience in.

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??


IHEARTLS

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Re: Do you hate law?
« Reply #29 on: July 18, 2005, 11:53:46 AM »
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!!!