With all the talk about lawyers, big firms, etc. I thought I might chime in with my two cents. I did the big New York law firm thing for a little over two years, right out of law school. The hours were long, I never saw my family, and although I was getting paid a lot of money, I wasn't happy. The work was interesting, challenging, and fun, there was just too much of it. The economics of a modern firm simply requires that all of the associates bill insane hours, as this "leverage" is what pays the partners' huge salaries. The good things about working at (some) big firms are that you get very good training, and you make contacts which provide you with other opportunities. After a couple of years, I had sufficient training and contacts that I was able to take an "in-house" job I really enjoyed which was much more conducive to family life. In my experience, the majority of big firm associates do not stay at the big firms, but rather branch off and do other things. I have friends that I went to law school with that aren't even practicing law. A law degree isn't a one way ticket to a big firm life. There are tons of lawyer jobs all across the spectrum. I work in house for a pharmaceutical company. I enjoy what I do. It is challenging and rewarding, and gives me a good balance of work and family/personal life. Other folks have found similar niches that suit their preferences. I think that law is like many other professions, in that you can really tailor your job to your own personal preferences.