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Author Topic: I don't understand the appeal of "big law"  (Read 1938 times)

Bob Loblaw

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I don't understand the appeal of "big law"
« on: January 13, 2006, 09:56:13 PM »
the reason i don't see why a "big law" job is so sought after is simply this: you get paid twice as much but you work twice the hours (70-80 hours). so is it not the case that your "wage" (i.e. hourly pay) is the same at a non-biglaw firm?

i understand the potential to make partner, but there's a slim chance doing so in most firms, from what i've heard. am i missing something?

slacker

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Re: I don't understand the appeal of "big law"
« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2006, 10:15:22 PM »
I've taken out a mortgage on myself to get through law school. I want to recoup that investment as quickly as possible so that I'm not forever owned by the man.

That said, I'll probably aim more small/mid-sized. I've been through the grind first time around in another industry...would rather take things a little slower for a little less.

T. Durden

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Re: I don't understand the appeal of "big law"
« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2006, 10:24:02 PM »
it's nothing all that esoteric

you have to look no further than the contents of your own wallet to figure it out

green

money

to the tune of 125g / yr

ApproachTheBench

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Re: I don't understand the appeal of "big law"
« Reply #3 on: January 14, 2006, 12:33:34 AM »
If you play your cards right you can save a bunch of money and some people find that if they land at the right firm the exit opportunities are better, they have more contacts.

I'd recommend at least doing biglaw for a summer job, because you just can't beat $2k-$2500 / week for a pretty undemanding summer job.
Save time, save money, find a summer job at http://www.approachthebench.com

tacojohn

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Re: I don't understand the appeal of "big law"
« Reply #4 on: January 14, 2006, 09:54:48 AM »
In certain areas of the law, people find the work more rewarding at biglaw firms.  Some people actually like the pace.  I think it's more the exception rather than the rule, but some people are attracted to the job itself.

BigPimpinBU

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Re: I don't understand the appeal of "big law"
« Reply #5 on: January 14, 2006, 01:04:58 PM »
Most people I know who go into biglaw do it primarily because of the marketing value that it adds to your resume. If you work for Skadden (or Proskauer, or whatever) for 2-3 years, it makes you that much more appealing to employers later on. Every little/mid-size Hobson & Hobson wants to have an associate on its website, whose snippet says that he worked for a hot firm and went to a hot school.

Aside from this, there are genuinely crazy people who want to work, sleep, work-out, wash clothes, get haircuts, and see their shrink in the same office where they work 90 hours a week. I dont know whats up with that.

linquest

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Re: I don't understand the appeal of "big law"
« Reply #6 on: January 17, 2006, 08:18:41 PM »
Yes, you may be working for the same rate of pay elsewhere, but other organizations simply do not have the resources/capability of paying their junior employees that much money.  So, even if you wanted to make more money and were willing to put in the hours, most orgs just can't afford to make up the difference.  Also, prestige, connections, and (sometimes) better supervision while you're learning.

I have no desire to go into Big Law either, but I have resigned myself to a certain standard of living and realizing that I'll be in debt for quite some time. 
Fed gov't atty

QUAKER OATS

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Re: I don't understand the appeal of "big law"
« Reply #7 on: January 17, 2006, 08:56:18 PM »
I disagree w/ the better instruction std.  Most BIGLAW firms keep their associates in menial drafting work for a while.  My cousin worked in BIGLAW and he was so excited the first day he got to advise a client directly -- about 2 yrs into the job!

Notwithstanding this, the $$, the prestige/resume value, the pace (some think it is exciting)

I think, also, that most people don't know what they're getting into; hence the ltra high attrition rates in BIGLAW

nate

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Re: I don't understand the appeal of "big law"
« Reply #8 on: January 17, 2006, 08:57:53 PM »
according to a post from xoxohth (which references a website to which i have no access), the average weekly hours at biglaw are more like 60. i take no responsibility for the correctness of the source, but it is in line with what people seem to say around that site, and they're all obsessed with biglaw.

so, 60 hours/week for $125K to start, with probably a $15K bonus a year (am i wrong about this bonus??). so it's 60 hours/week for $140K. that seems pretty decent to me. i can't think of many other fields in which you can get a job for that much, even if you worked that many hours.

even if you were only to work 40 hours, in biglaw pay, it would stil be about $95K.

even if you figured the extra 20 hours as over-time (time and a half), it's still about $80K.

at the least, it's twice as much as my friends coming out of undergrad are making, and even for many with MAs.

-------------------------------------------------------------
"http://www.law.com/jsp/article.jsp?id=1127898315547
Some random firms...
WLRK: 71.1
Cravath: 69.8
S&C: 62.5
Davis: 58.9
Skadden: 58.8
Cadwalader: 62.3
Debevoise: 57.6
Weil: 58.6
Kirkland: 59.9
Paul Weis: 64.2
White & Case: 58.0
Cahill: 61.9
CGSH: 59.8"
GW

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Re: I don't understand the appeal of "big law"
« Reply #9 on: January 17, 2006, 09:39:50 PM »
You're forgetting manditory social events on top of billable hours. I have heard that the firm "encourages" new associates to attend social functions so that the associates can network. The theory is that if new associates network now, by the time they're ready to be partner the people they have made connections with earlier will be in positions of power and bring the firm business.