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Author Topic: Do you really KNOW what you're getting yourself into?  (Read 619 times)

Gary Glitter

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Do you really KNOW what you're getting yourself into?
« on: June 20, 2005, 05:56:25 AM »
ok i'm starting law school in the fall and recently chanced upon this article:

http://www.jd2b.com/VanderbiltLawReview.pdf

i think anyone who is thinking about attending law school should definitely check this out. don't freak out when you open it. the font is enormous and you can burn through a page in thirty seconds or so. the first forty pages are DEFINITELY worth reading as the author presents a lot of really interesting statistics as they relate to the law profession that most of us are about to become involved in. The last forty present more wishy washy unsubstantiated op-ed type material but still worth reading if you're enjoying the article.

what do you contentious bastards think about this one? (start argument here:)
The Good:Harvard, Stanford
The Bad:
The Ugly: Yale

ricefigaro

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Re: Do you really KNOW what you're getting yourself into?
« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2005, 07:42:10 AM »
There is something about this paper that reminds me of a professor I had: "Hide it in the footnotes" he would half-humorously say. When I see a paper like this, with a footnote wordcount that is comparable with the wordcount of the actual article, it brings me back to my old professor and I have a chuckle.

BIG H2001

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Re: Do you really KNOW what you're getting yourself into?
« Reply #2 on: June 20, 2005, 05:49:23 PM »
Good read, thanks for the link.

This seems to apply disproportionately to those in biglaw and new associates at large firms.  I think anyone considering that career path should definitely read this article. 

It also helped me realize that all of this competition we see - for USNWR rankings, in law schools, for the best LSAT scores, etc... - is really just a microcosm of the profession we're entering.  The entire profession is structured around money and being "the best" means being at the top and earning the most money in a high stakes game.  Personally, I'm willing to trade being filthy rich for living comfortably and actually having a decent QOL.  I suppose there are far too many lawyers who will not or can not make this tradeoff and they end up being a statistic described in articles like this.

V00Jeff

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Re: Do you really KNOW what you're getting yourself into?
« Reply #3 on: June 20, 2005, 10:54:23 PM »
I thought this was a good article to read, but you have to kind of take it with a grain of salt.  As someone else pointed out, it doesn't apply as much to people outside of biglaw ... and even then, it applies to NYC biglaw much more than to anywhere else.

Also, I think the author is wrong in his contention that law school students choose firms on the basis of small differences in starting salary.  He seems to take this idea and use it as a justification for blaming all of biglaw's ills on young associates.  To me, it seems like partners dominate the environment, expectations, salaries, and attitudes of their firms.  I seriously doubt, for example, that huge gobs of associates go into firm life thinking that they want to work 80 hours a week so that they can earn that extra $20K in bonus at the end of the year.  Instead, I think they get swept up in the culture of a firm, which rewards brutally long hours; this culture for the most part is a result of a conscious decision by partners to use a business model that squeezes profits out of overworked associates.

One more thought: even if working in a firm sucks, it's often useful as a stepping stone to bigger and better things.  The author tends to discount the value of the firm credential, which is ironic because he obviously used his background as a biglaw lawyer as a part of his resume for getting a law prof's job at Vandy.  The reality is that most, if not all, succesful lawyers, in-house types, and law professors spend at least a few years in the clutches of some of the biggest and baddest firms.  Even public interest/government types have biglaw backgrounds; Spitzer worked at Skadden, for example. 

You have to put working in a firm in perspective.  Yes, it may suck.  But every young professional will face long weeks at some point in their career.  Every person that makes over $100K has had to prove themselevs at some point.  Why should the legal profession be any different? 
Attending: Columbia

180

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Re: Do you really KNOW what you're getting yourself into?
« Reply #4 on: June 21, 2005, 01:24:32 AM »
Biglaw is tempting.  This article reassures me that my gut instinct to steer clear of it is correct, despite the temptations of $ and prestige.

Nice article, I think I've read some of it before while scanning JD2B's archives.  I love that site.

alliwini

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Re: Do you really KNOW what you're getting yourself into?
« Reply #5 on: June 21, 2005, 03:38:38 PM »
Certainly not the first time I've read something like this, but it also reinforces my gut feeling that there is NO WAY that I belong in Big Law. It is good to hear that I'm not the only one... (Or are we just going to end up fueling the existing stats - entering to do good and leaving to make money??)

txntrio

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Re: Do you really KNOW what you're getting yourself into?
« Reply #6 on: June 21, 2005, 03:54:31 PM »
Biglaw is tempting.  This article reassures me that my gut instinct to steer clear of it is correct, despite the temptations of $ and prestige.

Nice article, I think I've read some of it before while scanning JD2B's archives.  I love that site.

What is JD2B's archives? 

cassise

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Re: Do you really KNOW what you're getting yourself into?
« Reply #7 on: June 21, 2005, 05:38:50 PM »
I think I could put up with one year of that to buy a car and payoff my loans (live at home while doing it), but anythign more than that and I would be tempted to jump out the window of the sky scrapper I was working in.

180

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Re: Do you really KNOW what you're getting yourself into?
« Reply #8 on: June 21, 2005, 06:33:58 PM »
Biglaw is tempting.  This article reassures me that my gut instinct to steer clear of it is correct, despite the temptations of $ and prestige.

Nice article, I think I've read some of it before while scanning JD2B's archives.  I love that site.

What is JD2B's archives? 

jd2b.com has a lot of great links to articles and blogs and such and they have all of the stuff from the past archived, i think this article is a somewhat older post of theres

mobo

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Re: Do you really KNOW what you're getting yourself into?
« Reply #9 on: June 21, 2005, 09:00:18 PM »
having been sucked into the corporate rat race, which went against every ideological bone in my body, i can personally attest to the author's point that you don't realize that it is happening till it is too late.

as he puts it, it is very very hard to resist the draw in the first place, very very hard to not buy into the culture once you are there, and very very hard to get out. i think people underestimate how hard it is to walk away from money. like drugs. some people can do 'em once and have no taste for 'em again. others become recreational users. others lose everything.

i know i took my corp job thinking, sheeet, i can quit this in six months after i pay my bills! and BAM there i went wheeeeeeing my way down the slippery slope and then six months later saying, sheeeet, i can buy a new car and....and....

i know that biglaw isn't for me. and at this point, i know i can walk away from it, having HAD the 2 door sporty beemer (and the speeding tickets! wheee!) and the rest of the lifestyle and not wanting the to pay the soul-price of that lifestyle again.

getting off my soapbox now! ;)