Law School Discussion

Nine Years of Discussion
;

Author Topic: A question for people working in Biglaw...  (Read 18717 times)

LittleRussianPrincess, Esq.

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 2355
  • Hopelessly devoted...to the Tennessee Vols!
    • View Profile
Re: A question for people working in Biglaw...
« Reply #30 on: August 13, 2008, 05:19:05 AM »
LRP, are you happy with your decision to go into biglaw?  I recall you went to Berkeley...are you happy with your decision, and with the amount of time you expect to take to pay off your school loans?

Honestly, given my loan burden it would have been difficult to do anything but Biglaw. I have a very tight relationship with a PI organization that I summered and externed with in Florida, and while I could have taken a job there, financially, it made more sense to do Biglaw, at least for a while.

IF I am smart about it, it shouldn't take more than five years, but Biglaw comes with the burden of having to dress and live the part, so I am spending more money on things I wouldn't have before.

Craven, your summer experience is not really indicative of what is expected of you and what is indeed the daily reality once you join. When I summered, between my fancy lunches, dog & pony shows from every practice group and various other activities, I did maybe 2 hours of billable work each day. Now I rarely leave the office before 8 pm.

I summered at two V50 firms this summer, and 80% of the attorneys were bone by 6:30 every night. It really just depends on the market.

That is true, but you also have to keep in mind that summers are much slower for most firms and most practice groups than any other quarter.
Russian by birth, Southern by the grace of God.

LittleRussianPrincess, Esq.

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 2355
  • Hopelessly devoted...to the Tennessee Vols!
    • View Profile
Re: A question for people working in Biglaw...
« Reply #31 on: August 13, 2008, 05:26:16 AM »
LRP, are you happy with your decision to go into biglaw?  I recall you went to Berkeley...are you happy with your decision, and with the amount of time you expect to take to pay off your school loans?

Honestly, given my loan burden it would have been difficult to do anything but Biglaw. I have a very tight relationship with a PI organization that I summered and externed with in Florida, and while I could have taken a job there, financially, it made more sense to do Biglaw, at least for a while.

IF I am smart about it, it shouldn't take more than five years, but Biglaw comes with the burden of having to dress and live the part, so I am spending more money on things I wouldn't have before.

Craven, your summer experience is not really indicative of what is expected of you and what is indeed the daily reality once you join. When I summered, between my fancy lunches, dog & pony shows from every practice group and various other activities, I did maybe 2 hours of billable work each day. Now I rarely leave the office before 8 pm.

What extra expenses do biglaw jobs require over a public interest/government/smaller firm job?

It's not really required, but there's a lot of pressure to wear designer labels. I held out for about the first six months just because I always felt I dressed neatly and professionally, but eventually, looking more shabby than the rest of your team gets old and you head into the designer boutiques just like everyone else. For me, it meant I had to get nicer sutis, nicer shoes, nicer bags.

I never felt this pressure when I worked in a public interest firm. In fact, as an extern and as a summer, I looked more put together than most of the lawyers, who tended to show up to work wearing jeans and tshirts.

Also, when most of the people you hang out with during the week become the people you work with, you end up spending more money on eating and drinking with them. I usually prefer to cook at home and keep it simple, but I probably spend anywhere from 100-200/week on eating out and drinking with my colleagues. Again, this isn't a necessity, and is certainly something you can control, but no matter how frugal you intend to be, this lifestyle becomes you.
Russian by birth, Southern by the grace of God.

h2xblive

  • Guest
Re: A question for people working in Biglaw...
« Reply #32 on: August 13, 2008, 10:06:32 AM »
LRP, Esq.,

Those extra costs do sound "expected," but those costs don't sound that high.

I just don't understand how those making six figures (even in a large city) have to worry about money to the extent that their debt can't be paid off in 10 years after graduating law school.

Well, considering biglaw attrition rates, maybe I can understand a little more, but still.

LittleRussianPrincess, Esq.

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 2355
  • Hopelessly devoted...to the Tennessee Vols!
    • View Profile
Re: A question for people working in Biglaw...
« Reply #33 on: August 13, 2008, 11:02:29 AM »
LRP, Esq.,

Those extra costs do sound "expected," but those costs don't sound that high.

I just don't understand how those making six figures (even in a large city) have to worry about money to the extent that their debt can't be paid off in 10 years after graduating law school.

Well, considering biglaw attrition rates, maybe I can understand a little more, but still.

It's the lifestyle costs and the basic costs of living in a big city. My rent alone is 4k/mo.
Russian by birth, Southern by the grace of God.

h2xblive

  • Guest
Re: A question for people working in Biglaw...
« Reply #34 on: August 13, 2008, 11:56:34 AM »
LRP, Esq.,

Those extra costs do sound "expected," but those costs don't sound that high.

I just don't understand how those making six figures (even in a large city) have to worry about money to the extent that their debt can't be paid off in 10 years after graduating law school.

Well, considering biglaw attrition rates, maybe I can understand a little more, but still.

It's the lifestyle costs and the basic costs of living in a big city. My rent alone is 4k/mo.

You're in London, England, right?

LittleRussianPrincess, Esq.

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 2355
  • Hopelessly devoted...to the Tennessee Vols!
    • View Profile
Re: A question for people working in Biglaw...
« Reply #35 on: August 13, 2008, 12:43:24 PM »
yeah
Russian by birth, Southern by the grace of God.

offer

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 60
    • View Profile
Re: A question for people working in Biglaw...
« Reply #36 on: August 17, 2008, 04:40:32 AM »
I summered at two V50 firms this summer, and 80% of the attorneys were bone by 6:30 every night. It really just depends on the market.

My groups at both firms said the summer had been their busiest time of the year. While your point may very well be true generally, it doesn't account for my particular firms. The attorneys left early because a) the firms aren't sweatshops and b) some of them prefer to do extra work at home, rather than at the office.

Hey LonghornDub,

What city did you work in?

LittleRussianPrincess, Esq.

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 2355
  • Hopelessly devoted...to the Tennessee Vols!
    • View Profile
Re: A question for people working in Biglaw...
« Reply #37 on: August 17, 2008, 07:29:26 AM »
LRP, are you happy with your decision to go into biglaw?  I recall you went to Berkeley...are you happy with your decision, and with the amount of time you expect to take to pay off your school loans?

Honestly, given my loan burden it would have been difficult to do anything but Biglaw. I have a very tight relationship with a PI organization that I summered and externed with in Florida, and while I could have taken a job there, financially, it made more sense to do Biglaw, at least for a while.

IF I am smart about it, it shouldn't take more than five years, but Biglaw comes with the burden of having to dress and live the part, so I am spending more money on things I wouldn't have before.

Craven, your summer experience is not really indicative of what is expected of you and what is indeed the daily reality once you join. When I summered, between my fancy lunches, dog & pony shows from every practice group and various other activities, I did maybe 2 hours of billable work each day. Now I rarely leave the office before 8 pm.

I summered at two V50 firms this summer, and 80% of the attorneys were bone by 6:30 every night. It really just depends on the market.

That is true, but you also have to keep in mind that summers are much slower for most firms and most practice groups than any other quarter.

My groups at both firms said the summer had been their busiest time of the year. While your point may very well be true generally, it doesn't account for my particular firms. The attorneys left early because a) the firms aren't sweatshops and b) some of them prefer to do extra work at home, rather than at the office.
Most attorneys prefer to work at home rather than in the office, but that's not always possible with every task/project. Staying late is not an indication that a firm is a sweatshop. My minimum billables are 1500 and few people here bill over 2000, but legal work is cyclical. There are weeks when I stroll in late and go home at 5:30 on the dot because there's nothing to do and there are weeks when I pull several all-nighters a week. It just depends on the group, the project and the market. And while it may not be true across the board, the timelines for most corporate deals are such that work is slow in the summer. It's usually quite busy before the winter holidays though because the banks want to push deals through before the end of the calendar year.
Russian by birth, Southern by the grace of God.

offer

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 60
    • View Profile
Re: A question for people working in Biglaw...
« Reply #38 on: August 17, 2008, 07:40:13 AM »
Most attorneys prefer to work at home rather than in the office, but that's not always possible with every task/project. Staying late is not an indication that a firm is a sweatshop. My minimum billables are 1500 and few people here bill over 2000, but legal work is cyclical. There are weeks when I stroll in late and go home at 5:30 on the dot because there's nothing to do and there are weeks when I pull several all-nighters a week. It just depends on the group, the project and the market. And while it may not be true across the board, the timelines for most corporate deals are such that work is slow in the summer. It's usually quite busy before the winter holidays though because the banks want to push deals through before the end of the calendar year.

1500 hours per year is a very, very low billable hour requirement.  Is that standard in England?

LittleRussianPrincess, Esq.

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 2355
  • Hopelessly devoted...to the Tennessee Vols!
    • View Profile
Re: A question for people working in Biglaw...
« Reply #39 on: August 17, 2008, 07:52:25 AM »
Most attorneys prefer to work at home rather than in the office, but that's not always possible with every task/project. Staying late is not an indication that a firm is a sweatshop. My minimum billables are 1500 and few people here bill over 2000, but legal work is cyclical. There are weeks when I stroll in late and go home at 5:30 on the dot because there's nothing to do and there are weeks when I pull several all-nighters a week. It just depends on the group, the project and the market. And while it may not be true across the board, the timelines for most corporate deals are such that work is slow in the summer. It's usually quite busy before the winter holidays though because the banks want to push deals through before the end of the calendar year.

1500 hours per year is a very, very low billable hour requirement.  Is that standard in England?

I don't know and I don't much care. Minimum billables are a poor indicator of how much work you will do. My group's hours are roughly comparable to US groups in the other City firms. I probably bill a bit more because I get "borrowed" by a British partner who does a lot of CIS work and he keeps very long hours. I love working with him, though, so I don't mind.
Russian by birth, Southern by the grace of God.