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Author Topic: Real deal on law firm life  (Read 19054 times)

mc378

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Re: Real deal on law firm life
« Reply #20 on: October 13, 2007, 06:06:21 PM »
Mr. Roe's multiple replies contain excellent advice and are entirely accurate.  His point about asking an attorney is well taken. 

With that said, keep in mind that not every attorney will be a good fit for a large firm. I began my career at a large firm and enjoyed it.  After several years, I left that firm with a practice group to form a 20-attorney boutique. At my new firm, I work many less hours, few weekends, and the occasional late night.  I also make almost as much money as I would have if I had remained at my old firm.

Surprisingly, among the hundreds of attorneys with whom I have worked over the years, the top 5 most successful are plaintiffs' attorneys at small firms (or solo practitioners). Their income blows away all but the highest-paid partners at the large firms. Smaller firms also allow more latitude for entrepreneurialism.  When I graduated from law school, I would have been devastated had I not been offered a position with a large firm. If I had only known then what I know now....

yalecollege06

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Re: Real deal on law firm life
« Reply #21 on: November 01, 2007, 12:23:26 AM »
If being a lawyer is such a miserable profession then why is enrollment/interest in law school higher than ever before?  Why do people become lawyers and work at high paying law firms if the firms do rob them of having any life?

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yalecollege06

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Re: Real deal on law firm life
« Reply #22 on: November 01, 2007, 12:25:48 AM »
Mr. Roe's multiple replies contain excellent advice and are entirely accurate.  His point about asking an attorney is well taken.

With that said, keep in mind that not every attorney will be a good fit for a large firm. I began my career at a large firm and enjoyed it.  After several years, I left that firm with a practice group to form a 20-attorney boutique. At my new firm, I work many less hours, few weekends, and the occasional late night.  I also make almost as much money as I would have if I had remained at my old firm.

Surprisingly, among the hundreds of attorneys with whom I have worked over the years, the top 5 most successful are plaintiffs' attorneys at small firms (or solo practitioners). Their income blows away all but the highest-paid partners at the large firms. Smaller firms also allow more latitude for entrepreneurialism.  When I graduated from law school, I would have been devastated had I not been offered a position with a large firm. If I had only known then what I know now....


Isn't it also true that at some boutiques / small firms, the lawyers work really really long hours, too--particualarly at the boutiques whose profits blow away the profits per partner of big firms?

Best-Legal-Aid.com

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Re: Real deal on law firm life
« Reply #23 on: July 05, 2008, 10:37:27 AM »
Most of it is based more on the region where the firm is located rather than the firm.  So if you're in New York, you will be billing crazy hours and working late no matter if you are working in mid-size or large firms.  If you are in Florida, the pace is much slower and even large law firms do not expect you to work past 7 pm unless you are working on a big case.
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Connelly

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Re: Real deal on law firm life
« Reply #24 on: July 18, 2008, 02:09:55 PM »
Just make sure you know the real deal on how the rest of the world works as well.  There are very few jobs where you can come in, work 40 hours a week, and then completely mentally and physically check out at the end of the day and still get paid extremely well.  I am not saying that being a lawyer is a walk in the park or that the rest of the world is 60+ hour drudgery, but we need to be sure we're making accurate comparisons.  If your goal is to work your 40 hours, pick up your paycheck, and go home, then that will eventually become evident to those around you no matter your career. 

The other side of this is that I see people who have no idea of what even a 40 hour work week feels like making the decision to go work 70+ hour weeks at large firms.  Not very curious why there is a lot of burnout.

LittleRussianPrincess, Esq.

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Re: Real deal on law firm life
« Reply #25 on: August 17, 2008, 07:48:25 AM »
FInd out what the billing requirements are at the firms you are interested in, that will tell you how many hours you have to work. A 2000 hour billing requirment is going to run you roughly 60-70 hours a week at work, depending on how much nonbilling stuff you do (like eat, development, firm meeting). 1500 is going to run you about a 40 hours a week, both assuming you take 2 weeks vacation and holidays.

This is exactly why you shouldn't rely on this board to answer your question...ask a real lawyer, somebody in a big firm who actually bills 2000 hours/year.
n
To say that in order to bill 2000 hours you have to work 60-70 a week is utterly retarded.  Let's say you work 48 weeks out of the year...2000/48 = 41.6 hours/week...so assuming that you bill 80% of your time at work (which is a standard at many firms), you would have to work 52 hours per week.  Some weeks may require 60 or more, but average at my firm is ALWAYS under 60, and sometimes under 50...and its still possible to bill 2000.

Don't forget, pro bono work can often be included toward billable requirements (sometimes in upwards of 250+ hours). Think about that.

Actually, Galt's figure is not that far off.  We are discussing the MINIMUM billable hours. What you fail to take into account is that you are not free to stop working as soon as you reach the minimum, nor does your work day tailor neatly to the rigid calculation of 50 hour weeks. Some weeks will be 35 hour weeks, but most will be much longer than that. In reality, the billable minimums are useless as a measure of how much work you actually do. You do all the work that is given to you. When you meet your minimum billable requirement (you WILL do so and you WILL go over it) you are entitled to your bonus and/or you're "safe" for the year.

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deedeeleigh

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Re: Real deal on law firm life
« Reply #26 on: August 17, 2008, 06:57:00 PM »
Is there a good resource to find out a firm's true minimum billables (especially for those that don't list a minimum billable requirement on NALP). I just don't believe some NY firms when they say 1850 is their minimum on NALP and would like some concrete numbers. Also, what firms require different levels of billables for different levels of bonuses? Infirmation doesn't seem to have updated info.

offer

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Re: Real deal on law firm life
« Reply #27 on: August 17, 2008, 07:33:36 PM »
Is there a good resource to find out a firm's true minimum billables (especially for those that don't list a minimum billable requirement on NALP). I just don't believe some NY firms when they say 1850 is their minimum on NALP and would like some concrete numbers. Also, what firms require different levels of billables for different levels of bonuses? Infirmation doesn't seem to have updated info.

Some NALP forms show the average billable hours worked and the average total hours worked.  These numbers, however, can be misleading.

uh huh.

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Re: Real deal on law firm life
« Reply #28 on: August 18, 2008, 09:11:23 AM »
Just make sure you know the real deal on how the rest of the world works as well.  There are very few jobs where you can come in, work 40 hours a week, and then completely mentally and physically check out at the end of the day and still get paid extremely well.

This is a great point. I worked in advertising sales for a decade before becoming a lawyer, and my work week now is really no different than it was before. Most jobs worth having are NOT 40-hour per week gigs, no matter what industry you're in.

LittleRussianPrincess, Esq.

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Re: Real deal on law firm life
« Reply #29 on: August 19, 2008, 05:18:07 AM »
Just make sure you know the real deal on how the rest of the world works as well.  There are very few jobs where you can come in, work 40 hours a week, and then completely mentally and physically check out at the end of the day and still get paid extremely well.

This is a great point. I worked in advertising sales for a decade before becoming a lawyer, and my work week now is really no different than it was before. Most jobs worth having are NOT 40-hour per week gigs, no matter what industry you're in.

Worth having in terms of financial or personal satisfaction? Or both?
Russian by birth, Southern by the grace of God.