Is becoming a lawyer a mistake?

Discussion in 'Business, Careers & Education' started by CTGuy, Feb 4, 2008.

  1. aragon765

    aragon765 Senior member

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    ^^^ No matter how you cut it though, being a life-long associate sounds like a pretty bleak proposition.

    true, but I know several lawyers that are perfectly content with their balance of level of work, pay scale, and time for other interests (be they kids, vacations or trolling internet fora [​IMG] ). They know they will never be the rainmaker, but they are plenty happy putting in the hours, doing interesting work, and having enough time to pursue the 'rest' of their lives.

    Neither good nor bad, but not everyone is in pursuit of the huge paycheck and the senior partner status. I see myself somewhere in the middle, I prefer a good balance of home life, but want to do the best I can and end up in a satisfying position in my professional life. My wife is an architect, and I am (going to be) a lawyer so we are in two professions with some of the highest divorce rates. My #1 goal is making sure I don't add to that statistic -- for better or worse, my career will suffer if it means being true to my wife/relationship.
     


  2. mafoofan

    mafoofan THE FOO Dubiously Honored

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    It's really no different from being a valued, non-management employee in many other fields. It's only a bleak proposition if you accept the BigLaw mindset that a lawyer ultimately ends up as either a partner or a failure.

    I should have qualified my statement by adding "to me." I can see how some might negotiate terms beneficial to them, but it's bleak to me because I'd like to have a real stake in whatever it is I wind up doing.
     


  3. lawyerdad

    lawyerdad Senior member

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    I should have qualified my statement by adding "to me." I can see how some might negotiate terms beneficial to them, but it's bleak to me because I'd like to have a real stake in whatever it is I wind up doing.

    Fair enough. And while my friends with such deals are satisfied with them now, given where they are in their lives and careers, it's probably not what they had in mind at the outsets of their careers, either.
     


  4. mafoofan

    mafoofan THE FOO Dubiously Honored

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    My #1 goal is making sure I don't add to that statistic -- for better or worse, my career will suffer if it means being true to my wife/relationship.

    Absolutely agreed. Family and marriage always come first.
     


  5. Radagast

    Radagast Senior member

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    Last edited: Oct 23, 2011


  6. z7f9q

    z7f9q Senior member

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    Dredging up this thread. I'm looking at a making a career change and am considering applying to law school. I'm wondering what the SF members who are in/knowledgeable about the legal community think about the potential for outsourcing of legal work? Is this something you are concerned about at all?

    There's only so much outsourcing that can go on in the legal profession. But sure, it has room to expand.
     


  7. taxgenius

    taxgenius Senior member

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    Dredging up this thread. I'm looking at a making a career change and am considering applying to law school. I'm wondering what the SF members who are in/knowledgeable about the legal community think about the potential for outsourcing of legal work? Is this something you are concerned about at all?

    Why does outsourcing in particular concern you?
     


  8. mafoofan

    mafoofan THE FOO Dubiously Honored

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    If you're thinking that you're likely to land yourself in a legal job that can be outsourced, be pretty sure you have a real passion for the law. Most lawyers don't make much money. Most of the ones who do don't do work that can be easily sent off to India.
     


  9. taxgenius

    taxgenius Senior member

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    If you're thinking that you're likely to land yourself in a legal job that can be outsourced, be pretty sure you have a real passion for the law. Most lawyers don't make much money. Most of the ones who do don't do work that can be easily sent off to India.

    I think, at least in NY, is that lawyers either make a lot or very little. No one makes the average salary. So it's an expensive gamble.
     


  10. crazyquik

    crazyquik Senior member

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    Dredging up this thread. I'm looking at a making a career change and am considering applying to law school. I'm wondering what the SF members who are in/knowledgeable about the legal community think about the potential for outsourcing of legal work? Is this something you are concerned about at all?

    Outsourcing is real, and growing year-over-year. It will take a change to the ABA's position on ethical rules to stop it. Depending on what kind of law-work you plan on doing, it could have a small or large effect on you.

    If you're thinking that you're likely to land yourself in a legal job that can be outsourced, be pretty sure you have a real passion for the law. Most lawyers don't make much money. Most of the ones who do don't do work that can be easily sent off to India.

    Actually, a lot of the ones who make significant sums of money are doing work that can be outsourced. Indian lawyers aren't going to become trial lawyers or do domestic relations work. They (as well as domestic contract attorneys) are going to replace the hordes of highly-paid biglaw associates who churn paper doing document review and production.
     


  11. Radagast

    Radagast Senior member

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  12. taxgenius

    taxgenius Senior member

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    One of the concerns I have with my current position (cubicle dwelling analyst) is how easily it could be (partially) outsourced. The same goes for the position which is the next logical step for me to be promoted to. I'm looking into alternative lines of work mainly to shake things up and try something new so this isn't the only motivation for me to change careers, but I'd prefer whatever I try next to not have the same concern (or have it to a lesser degree).

    As others indicated, some areas of law are too difficult to outsource, for example, real estate closings, trial lawyers....
     


  13. mafoofan

    mafoofan THE FOO Dubiously Honored

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    Actually, a lot of the ones who make significant sums of money are doing work that can be outsourced. Indian lawyers aren't going to become trial lawyers or do domestic relations work. They (as well as domestic contract attorneys) are going to replace the hordes of highly-paid biglaw associates who churn paper doing document review and production.
    The due diligence and document review that junior BigLaw lawyers do is tedious, but it is also extremely important. When firms get sued, you can often trace the error back to those processes. So, I doubt outsourcing of such work will ever become very widespread. The liability risks are simply too high. Also, given the complexity of the deals and litigation that big firms typically handle, a junior associate told to look through documents is usually given only the vaguest of guidance on what to look for. I'm not sure how you can outsource work when you don't have precise instructions to give. Anyway, trial lawyers and domestic relations lawyers are not the sorts I'd aim to be if I wanted a good shot at making lots of money. The surest way to make a solid six figures is by going to a top law school, then going to work at a big firm.
     


  14. the.chikor

    the.chikor Senior member

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    I There are lawyers out there who genuinely love what they do, regardless of how much money they're making.


    I would like to meet one! There are worse jobs that I have had and there are certain aspects that I like about the job, but I have never met a colleague or adversary who "genuinely loves what they do."
     


  15. crazyquik

    crazyquik Senior member

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    The due diligence and document review that junior BigLaw lawyers do is tedious, but it is also extremely important. When firms get sued, you can often trace the error back to those processes. So, I doubt outsourcing of such work will ever become very widespread. The liability risks are simply too high. Also, given the complexity of the deals and litigation that big firms typically handle, a junior associate told to look through documents is usually given only the vaguest of guidance on what to look for. I'm not sure how you can outsource work when you don't have precise instructions to give.
    I used to think the same thing: the liability is too high and the potential dimunition of prestige too much to risk getting sued because of an oversight by Indian attorneys. However, you can hire ten sets of eyes, or more, for the cost of one junior associate in New York. That means each document can be reviewed multiple times, and still be cheaper for the client. The Indian attorneys will be supervised by a US-licensed attorney, and given the same vague instructions. It may be a bellweather, but already o the University of Michigan's law school jobs page is a job posting in India, as a supervisor for Indian-trained legal process outsourcers. And here are some excerpts from a recent NYTimes piece on the topic: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/05/bu...ewanted=1&_r=1
    I also think you underestimate the compensation of experienced non-Biglaw attorneys.
     


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