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Thinking about law school? Read this.

Discussion in 'Business, Careers & Education' started by DNW, Jun 22, 2010.

  1. DNW

    DNW Senior member

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    All this talk about making it to BigLaw as if it's the be all, end all, of being a lawyer. Have you clowns paid any attention to what BigLaw did you its associates, staff, and even partners in the last few years? Even if you're giving up your life by billing 2,200+ hours/year, your ass could still be thrown out on the sidewalk less than 10 minutes after a partners' meeting. Fuck, after what BigLaw has done for recent graduates, the real question is why would any sane person want to go into BigLaw anymore.

    In any case, the current BigLaw model is fucked (save a few small elite firms). Join it at your own perile.

    /end rant
     
  2. Joffrey

    Joffrey Senior member

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    this is the most attention i've gotten on styleforum ever lol

    anyways, what i mean is i only want to be a lawyer. my backup is english teacher. i'm an english major right now.

    either way don't trip, my grades are good enough for t14, and i'm probably going to go to LSU. so i'll likely get a full ride anyway.


    You win the troll wars sir.
     
  3. lawyerdad

    lawyerdad Senior member

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    All this talk about making it to BigLaw as if it's the be all, end all, of being a lawyer. Have you clowns paid any attention to what BigLaw did you its associates, staff, and even partners in the last few years? Even if you're giving up your life by billing 2,200+ hours/year, your ass could still be thrown out on the sidewalk less than 10 minutes after a partners' meeting. Fuck, after what BigLaw has done for recent graduates, the real question is why would any sane person want to go into BigLaw anymore. In any case, the current BigLaw model is fucked (save a few small elite firms). Join it at your own perile. /end rant
    I think rumors of BigLaw's demise are greatly exaggerated. That said, I certainly agree it's not for everyone -- indeed, is not for lots of people. That's why I put quotation marks around "success". Which is not to say that it's not a viable, or even good, option for people who go into it with their eyes open and a clear sense of their personal goals. I did it for a little while at the beginning of my career, and haven't ended up any more of a failure than I otherwise would have been.
     
  4. DNW

    DNW Senior member

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    I think rumors of BigLaw's demise are greatly exaggerated.
    I don't know, LD. There's a gross excess supply of attorneys (both unemployed and underemployed), with more coming every year, and there's no real sign of lower billing rates. On top of that, many GCs from Fortune 500 firms have flat out said they would not pay for 1st year associates. LPO is on the rise, and recent progress in ESI discovery technology has the promise of significantly reducing the doc review work available to junior attorneys (as well as contract attorneys). And then, there's this recent Altman Weil survey. There's a lot of structural changes going on right now because the economics just don't add up. Of course, BigLaw will continue to exist in the future, but I doubt their business model, vis a vis staffing and billing, as it existed up until now, will be the same in a few years.
     
  5. edinatlanta

    edinatlanta Senior member

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    my only concern is with the notion that i'm "limiting [myself] to either law or education"

    yeah it doesn't seem great but i really have no other choice than to go to law school. i still have a couple years before 1L though.

    Dude, if you "really have no other choice than to go to law school", how are you not limiting yourself? And if you aren't, then you just can not express yourself well at all.

    Can't believe it hasn't been said before but being mature for 19 doesn't mean anything. Look back at yourself when you are 21 or 22 and you'll see what I mean. You're getting a lot of advice here from people who were in your boat not too long ago. If you were truly mature for a 19 year old you'd at least listen to what they say.
     
  6. crazyquik

    crazyquik Senior member

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    I don't know, LD. There's a gross excess supply of attorneys (both unemployed and underemployed), with more coming every year, and there's no real sign of lower billing rates. On top of that, many GCs from Fortune 500 firms have flat out said they would not pay for 1st year associates. LPO is on the rise, and recent progress in ESI discovery technology has the promise of significantly reducing the doc review work available to junior attorneys (as well as contract attorneys). And then, there's this recent Altman Weil survey. There's a lot of structural changes going on right now because the economics just don't add up. Of course, BigLaw will continue to exist in the future, but I doubt their business model, vis a vis staffing and billing, as it existed up until now, will be the same in a few years.

    I think you'll begin to see more of a bimodal distribution among large law firms.

    Firms that grew in the late '90s and '00s by acquiring middle market, midlaw firms to increase their regional footprint (Baker McKenzie, K&L Gates, and tons more) will face increased pressure to get away from a highly leveraged employment model, which is how they drive partner profits. The partners at DLA Piper Orlando will just have to take a smaller share. Compensation models should go back to how they were when these midlaw firms were acquired.

    Large firms in large markets and/or sought after practice areas will continue to have price insensitive clients.

    There is also an increase, at least in my area, of business litigation being done by "plaintiffs' lawyers," or boutique business litigation firms being run like plaintiffs' firms, as opposed to two "defense firms" going at it over business matters. The corporate plaintiff, instead of going to a midlaw firm and getting billed by the hour for mountains of useless discovery, instead goes to a firm which operates with lower staffing, minimal discovery, and typically only pays by the hour for some expenses and fixed costs; any attorney-compensation is taken on a contingency from potential recovery.
     
  7. AR_Six

    AR_Six Senior member

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    Even if you're giving up your life by billing 2,200+ hours/year
    Hahaha... yeah, sorry, this isn't even up there, I know a guy who bille over 3300 two years ago and is routinely in the 2800-3000 range. 2200 at biglaw is like "nice work, here's your bonus" but you're not playing on the "my life is work" field yet, in spite of having to work a few late nights a week.
    Firms that grew in the late '90s and '00s by acquiring middle market, midlaw firms to increase their regional footprint (Baker McKenzie, K&L Gates, and tons more) will face increased pressure to get away from a highly leveraged employment model, which is how they drive partner profits. The partners at DLA Piper Orlando will just have to take a smaller share. Compensation models should go back to how they were when these midlaw firms were acquired.
    There are a couple of firms up here, not to name names, that have engaged in the same strategically questionable practices and grown because of it, but the infrastructure of the firm is, by all accounts, pretty demented as a result. A relatively large amount of dead weight still being carried / entrenched and a "who were you before the merge" sort of attitude that I could detect even during the extended interview process. Not the best work environment, imo.
     
  8. Piobaire

    Piobaire Senior member

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    I wish I had gone to law school [​IMG]

    I wish I lived somewhere with a night program [​IMG]

    Btw, speaking of billable hours, what's the usual ratio of actual hours vs. billable?
     
  9. crazyquik

    crazyquik Senior member

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    Btw, speaking of billable hours, what's the usual ratio of actual hours vs. billable?
    It's variable across practice areas, and the type of work you're doing. Switching costs, from one task to another, pull the capture rate down [​IMG] However:
     
  10. Piobaire

    Piobaire Senior member

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    Hmm, I think 3k hours per year is nothing to bitch about. An FTE (full time equivalent) is 2080 hours. So basically, this lawyer making big cash is working less than 1.5 x usual hourly employee's time. Given the average rate of pay for hourly employees vs. that of Big Law types, seems a reasonable trade off. Truly, 60 hour weeks are nothing to overly complain about, given the probably compensation and career path.

    Now, 80 is worth bitching about. IMO, the energy drain at anything over about 60 hours increases at a log rate.
     
  11. nerdykarim

    nerdykarim Senior member

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    Hahaha... yeah, sorry, this isn't even up there, I know a guy who bille over 3300 two years ago and is routinely in the 2800-3000 range. 2200 at biglaw is like "nice work, here's your bonus" but you're not playing on the "my life is work" field yet, in spite of having to work a few late nights a week.
    That is ridiculous. I feel like starting (another) "I'm in law school and hate my life" threak.
     
  12. lawyerdad

    lawyerdad Senior member

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    I don't know, LD. There's a gross excess supply of attorneys (both unemployed and underemployed), with more coming every year, and there's no real sign of lower billing rates. On top of that, many GCs from Fortune 500 firms have flat out said they would not pay for 1st year associates. LPO is on the rise, and recent progress in ESI discovery technology has the promise of significantly reducing the doc review work available to junior attorneys (as well as contract attorneys). And then, there's this recent Altman Weil survey. There's a lot of structural changes going on right now because the economics just don't add up. Of course, BigLaw will continue to exist in the future, but I doubt their business model, vis a vis staffing and billing, as it existed up until now, will be the same in a few years.

    I could be wrong, of course -- always a reasonable bet. But I'm old enough now to have seen several boom-and-bust cycles come and go. I certainly agree there will be structural changes, modifications in business models, etc. But my completely-out-of-my-*ss expectation for the future is that 5 or 10 or 20 years out, there will be more about big law firms that looks and feels the same than things that feel radically different.
     
  13. intent

    intent Senior member

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    if you believe a statement like that you're not very smart, lol. that's a really bad justification for your beliefs.
    Really? Prove me wrong. Once upon a time, I thought I was mature for my age. Time proves otherwise. Have some humility, kid.
     
  14. DNW

    DNW Senior member

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    Hahaha... yeah, sorry, this isn't even up there, I know a guy who bille over 3300 two years ago and is routinely in the 2800-3000 range. 2200 at biglaw is like "nice work, here's your bonus" but you're not playing on the "my life is work" field yet, in spite of having to work a few late nights a week.

    At some point, something is going to snap, and it ain't going to be pretty.
     
  15. Valor

    Valor Senior member

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    Is this the point in time where I bring up Investment Banking?
     
  16. lawyerdad

    lawyerdad Senior member

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    Really? Prove me wrong. Once upon a time, I thought I was mature for my age. Time proves otherwise. Have some humility, kid.

    Isn't what time proves that you get more mature as you age? The fact that when you're 30 you realize that you weren't all that mature at 20 doesn't necessary bear on your relative maturity at 20.

    Also, given that the point of disagreement is clearly one of subjective opinion, it is -- as I'm sure you realize -- not particularly susceptible of "proof". A few years down the road, you might come to feel that the tone of your post reflects less maturity than you currently seem to think.

    [​IMG]
     
  17. javyn

    javyn Senior member

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    Screw biglaw. Now I gotta go bates stamp some docs
     
  18. odoreater

    odoreater Senior member

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    Hmm, I think 3k hours per year is nothing to bitch about. An FTE (full time equivalent) is 2080 hours. So basically, this lawyer making big cash is working less than 1.5 x usual hourly employee's time. Given the average rate of pay for hourly employees vs. that of Big Law types, seems a reasonable trade off. Truly, 60 hour weeks are nothing to overly complain about, given the probably compensation and career path. Now, 80 is worth bitching about. IMO, the energy drain at anything over about 60 hours increases at a log rate.
    I don't think it's that simple. The usual hourly employee is not actually spending 40 hours per week working, because they're also checking e-mails, chatting with colleagues, checking espn.com, posting on styleforum, etc. throughout the day. The usual biglaw lawyer has to do all of this in addition to actually working for 8 hours of the day. On top of that, other issues come up: you have to make up for any missed time (e.g., time missed for sickness, personal reasons, etc.), yeah you get your 3 or 4 weeks vacation, but there are no "sick days" no "personal days," etc. Also, it happens from time to time that you don't have any work or you are waiting for work, but you still have to be in the office (and still have to look like you are doing something), and you have to make up for that non-billable time too. There is also the issue of "face time," you have to be seen at the office by partners and senior associates. You are not going home until the senior associate and partner in your group have already gone home no matter how much work you've done that day. I billed 2000+ hours in all of my years in "biglaw," and it sucked a whole lot of ass. There is pretty much no time in your life to do anything other than work. There is no chance to even see the light of day.
     
  19. Piobaire

    Piobaire Senior member

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    OE, just going off the report that was posted, which was basically 1.5 hours worked vs. 1 hour billable. So 2k billable hours = 3k hours worked. Basically, 50% more than a 40 hour per week working stiff for probably far more than 50% more than what the usual 40 hour per week working stiff earns. Yes, yes, cost of school, missed income while in school, etc. Still, career trajectories and future earnings are vastly different divergent.
     
  20. lee_44106

    lee_44106 Senior member

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    I'm surprised [​IMG] hasn't chimed in.
     

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