Author Topic: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?  (Read 116966 times)

YTProphet

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #150 on: March 25, 2015, 09:50:24 AM »
I am so excited!   Absolutely great meeting with the Fish-firm folks this morning.   What I do and want to build is aligned with their needs and strategic vision.  The personality mix was outstanding.   It was actually fun...

The recruiter says it will be a few weeks.  I think I was the first candidate interviewed.  I set the bar really high.   Fingers crossed....

That's awesome! Congratulations! Kinda fun to be able to get your dream job while serving up your current employer a nice, healthy heap of their just desserts.

ZiziPB

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #151 on: March 25, 2015, 09:56:07 AM »
I am so excited!   Absolutely great meeting with the Fish-firm folks this morning.   What I do and want to build is aligned with their needs and strategic vision.  The personality mix was outstanding.   It was actually fun...

The recruiter says it will be a few weeks.  I think I was the first candidate interviewed.  I set the bar really high.   Fingers crossed....

TrulyStashin, I am so glad!  I really hope you get the job!



Daleth

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #152 on: March 28, 2015, 07:36:09 AM »
Yes! Best of luck!

Wile E. Coyote

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #153 on: March 28, 2015, 08:31:50 AM »
I am so excited!   Absolutely great meeting with the Fish-firm folks this morning.   What I do and want to build is aligned with their needs and strategic vision.  The personality mix was outstanding.   It was actually fun...

The recruiter says it will be a few weeks.  I think I was the first candidate interviewed.  I set the bar really high.   Fingers crossed....

Congratulations!  If it's the "fish" firm that I think it is, it looks like they've really been growing that practice, so it is a good time to be joining. Best of luck!

OneCoolCat

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #154 on: March 28, 2015, 09:17:59 AM »
How much experience should I get before I contact a recruiter to find something better?  I only have 7 months, but my gut tells me 2 years, but I want to hear 1 year, lol. 
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IllusionNW

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #155 on: March 28, 2015, 01:14:08 PM »
Another lawyer here.  I'm a senior associate at a big regional firm (some would consider us big law), doing transactional work.  My awesome parents helped pay for my T14 private school tuition (I worked part time the entire three years and saved extensively prior to law school to cover all my living expenses and other costs), and was lucky to come out debt free.

I'm planning to stick around at least a few more years to see if I can make partner, but if not, I have plenty of in-house opportunities given my practice area and the local market.

Nice to "meet" everyone!

mozar

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #156 on: March 28, 2015, 06:01:13 PM »
You can contact a recruiter anytime. If they say they are not interested in your resume right now, wait. If they say they have opportunities for you, then go interview. It all depends on demand, not arbitrary rules. But yes less than a year at a job you might have to explain why.
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OneCoolCat

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #157 on: March 30, 2015, 08:16:39 PM »
New attorney practicing in an area of law that i've worked in for 4 years before and during law school.  I'm going into my eighth month practicing.  I was told today that I'm not eligible for annual review as I haven't been with the firm for a year.  I'm pretty bummed out about that as I've been there for 7.5 months as an attorney and worked as a clerk for another two while I awaited my bar results.  Should I roll with the punches, request a review on my 1 year anniversary, or request a review now?  I'm leaning towards requesting a review upon my 1 year anniversary, but I know they do firm wide reviews on April 15 every year.
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TrulyStashin

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #158 on: March 31, 2015, 07:39:51 AM »
New attorney practicing in an area of law that i've worked in for 4 years before and during law school.  I'm going into my eighth month practicing.  I was told today that I'm not eligible for annual review as I haven't been with the firm for a year.  I'm pretty bummed out about that as I've been there for 7.5 months as an attorney and worked as a clerk for another two while I awaited my bar results.  Should I roll with the punches, request a review on my 1 year anniversary, or request a review now?  I'm leaning towards requesting a review upon my 1 year anniversary, but I know they do firm wide reviews on April 15 every year.

How big is the firm?
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OneCoolCat

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #159 on: March 31, 2015, 10:27:32 AM »
New attorney practicing in an area of law that i've worked in for 4 years before and during law school.  I'm going into my eighth month practicing.  I was told today that I'm not eligible for annual review as I haven't been with the firm for a year.  I'm pretty bummed out about that as I've been there for 7.5 months as an attorney and worked as a clerk for another two while I awaited my bar results.  Should I roll with the punches, request a review on my 1 year anniversary, or request a review now?  I'm leaning towards requesting a review upon my 1 year anniversary, but I know they do firm wide reviews on April 15 every year.

How big is the firm?

Small.  10 attorneys counting me.
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TrulyStashin

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #160 on: March 31, 2015, 02:21:00 PM »
New attorney practicing in an area of law that i've worked in for 4 years before and during law school.  I'm going into my eighth month practicing.  I was told today that I'm not eligible for annual review as I haven't been with the firm for a year.  I'm pretty bummed out about that as I've been there for 7.5 months as an attorney and worked as a clerk for another two while I awaited my bar results.  Should I roll with the punches, request a review on my 1 year anniversary, or request a review now?  I'm leaning towards requesting a review upon my 1 year anniversary, but I know they do firm wide reviews on April 15 every year.

How big is the firm?

Small.  10 attorneys counting me.

Interesting.  I would expect a small firm to be much more flexible.   

YMMV, but if it were me, I'd argue that 1) I'm eager for feedback on my growth as a attorney and while I recognize that it hasn't quite been a year, getting feedback now allows me to tailor my efforts accordingly and improve my skill set more quickly which is good for the firm and 2) at some point, you need to sync up with the standard, Apr. 15, review cycle.  If not now, when?  How?   It's not more or less convenient to do it now, so long as they have enough data about your performance to form conclusions.

You'll notice that I left out any discussion of $$.   I'm thinking to treat this as a two-step process.  Step 1, successfully argue for being reviewed now.  Step 2, negotiate any salary issues later if they raise it.   Not unlike the job interview-salary negotiation two-step process.

If they say "Well, we can't do your review now because then you'd get a raise earlier than you should."   You can say, "the salary issue is negotiable.  My concern is that I get feedback as soon as possible so I can plan my professional development and become aligned with the standard review cycle."
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BlackIronStubble

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #161 on: April 01, 2015, 04:51:44 PM »
+1 on everything TrulyStashin just wrote.  In terms of getting feedback to help you learn, hopefully you're getting daily feedback from the folks you are working with. You should feel comfortable soliciting it regularly.  An annual review shouldn't include any surprises, or someone is missing the boat (hint: it's you, either for not noticing or for not pestering folks you work for for feedback or for staying on somewhere that won't help you develop your skills).  I know you've got experience and you've got to get paid, but salary negotiations should be secondary to getting feedback on learning how to be a lawyer at this point. 

Oh, and I'm a lawyer, too.  BigLaw associate in a mid-sized southern city.  Loved the work, but hated the job until I went to 70% of billables with a corresponding drop in salary.  Now it's fantastic.  The work is still interesting, I like my coworkers and clients, and the pay is still good, especially for my town and non-lawyerly lifestyle.  Only now I've got time to breathe.  There's just somethingabout sleeping and seeing your kids and spouse on the regular that gives you energy to work.   

Thalassa

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #162 on: April 03, 2015, 08:07:53 AM »
Greetings Attorney Mustachians:

I am a long-time lurker, and enjoyed this thread.  (Hi and good luck in particular to Truly Stashin', whose fight for associate status I am cheering on).  This is my introductory post to the forum, as it seems like it will draw a smaller community of readers, familiar with my predicaments.  I seek advice - thanks in advance for reading and answering if you take the time.

About me: 30-something, 2013 T15 grad, no debt, lower half of class, live in big city with partner of four years (also an attorney).  I have been onto frugality / mustachianism since last April.  I changed a lot about my life, and also got my live-in partner more or less on-board.  When I found MMM, I was in my first attorney position at a small creditor/debtor firm.  The work was slow, and they laid off the three most junior attorneys. I was only 10 months into my practice.  I have  been unemployed since October, with a few interviews, but no solid leads.  I now volunteer 2x a week at my dream non-profit.  I also obtained my real estate license recently, hoping to start learning the market for personal use in the future, and to also possibly help a few people I know who are in the market for housing.   
 
My unemployment is running out really soon.  I have no debt, but when I first read MMM, I got a little eager and put a larger chunk of my emergency fund in investments, which means my funds (~$20k) isn't particularly liquid.  My two main issues are (1) Cashflow; (2) Career trajectory. 

With regards to cashflow; I have no full-time job on the immediate horizon.  I think in the short term, contract work might be my best bet.  However, I fear getting stuck in the contract attorney pigeonhole.  Also, I want to maximize the earning potential in my profession, and I am not confident contract work is the way to do it.  (I know I missed the boat by not performing as well as I would have liked in law school).  Should I seek out a staff attorney position with big law? (How does one even find such a job?).  Keep gunning for boutique and small general practice firms, even though they can be precarious employers and have so far not been responsive?

Complicating the matter, I love the nonprofit I volunteer for.  It focuses on an issue that is #1 important to me.  They operate on a shoestring.  I would probably have to consistently volunteer there for 3-4 years before I could expect to get hired on, and then it would be for peanuts by attorney standards.  However, this is death-bed-no-regrets-type work which in a few short months has given me better experience, and better colleagues, than anything else I have done in the legal world thus far. 

So in summary:

What do you think is the maximum earning possibility in the law for someone in my position? 

Have any mustachian attorneys made a decent living doing contract work?

Has anyone struck a good compromises to incorporate significant pro bono work? 

Thanks for reading!  I am grateful to tap into the collective wisdom of this online community.

Embok

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #163 on: April 05, 2015, 09:07:46 PM »
Thalassa:

I would not rule out contract work as a way to get in the door in law firms.  If your law school academic credentials are not great, you need to get creative about getting relevant legal experience then, when you get an opportunity, work like crazy to do a great job on the work you are able to do. This will make you develop marketable skills, which you can parlay into other legal opportunities over time.  Unfortunately, as has been discussed earlier in this thread, lawyers and law firms place a high priority on candidates' having objectively good academic credentials; so since that area was not strong for you, you will simply have to work much harder to prove that you can do the legal work well for anyone who gives you an opportunity to do legal work.  You are more likely to find lawyers willing to hire you in smaller firms rather than larger firms.

As for the attractive nonprofit, why not volunteer there as well?  That will both add to your experience and skills, and feed your soul.   Typically contract lawyer work, unlike associate work, is measured and done hourly, typically topping off at 810 hours per day (as opposed to the 1216 hours working a day needed to translate into the 810 billed hours routinely expected of associates).  That should leave you time to do some volunteer work on the weekends, and perhaps in the evenings.

sweetkerryline

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #164 on: April 06, 2015, 11:59:52 AM »
Checking in. I am a 2013 graduate from a T-6 in BigLaw (not in NYC). I was fortunate to only have about 80K in loans (high COL area), but the interest rates were killing me (think 7.9%). Therefore, I refinanced them (at 3.05%) in October to get serious about repayment. I already max out my 401(k).

I recently switched practice groups (and to a new firm) my salary has reset to $160,000 + bonus. I actually don't mind biglaw so much so my goal here is financial independence. I am shooting to have my student loans paid off in the next year and a half (dependent on how big my bonus is) and then to focus completely on savings.

 
« Last Edit: April 06, 2015, 12:01:29 PM by sweetkerryline »
If you have questions about refinancing through sofi, please ask. Here's a referral link: https://www.sofi.com/refer/91/4207

Daleth

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #165 on: April 07, 2015, 07:08:05 AM »
Should I seek out a staff attorney position with big law? (How does one even find such a job?).  Keep gunning for boutique and small general practice firms, even though they can be precarious employers and have so far not been responsive?

The way you get in as a big law associate at your level of experience is by being a summer associate during law school. (There are other ways to get in if you have several years of very solid experience and either a sought-after specialty and/or a book of business.) So as far as I can tell, and I am a big law associate, that avenue is closed to you now and will be until/unless you get the years of very solid experience etc. that I just mentioned.

So in your shoes, yes, keep looking at boutique and small/smallish firms. Also look at government jobs--not just litigation type work (prosecutor's office etc.), but also clerkships for judges and in-house counsel at various government agencies. They don't have the earning potential of private practice but they're the polar opposite of precarious, they have excellent benefits and most of them are great additions to your resume.

Complicating the matter, I love the nonprofit I volunteer for.  It focuses on an issue that is #1 important to me.  They operate on a shoestring.  I would probably have to consistently volunteer there for 3-4 years before I could expect to get hired on, and then it would be for peanuts by attorney standards.  However, this is death-bed-no-regrets-type work which in a few short months has given me better experience, and better colleagues, than anything else I have done in the legal world thus far. 

That sounds awesome. You might want to consider a couple of ways of integrating that into your life:
- Going solo as a real estate agent/real estate lawyer so that you have a little more ability to set your own schedule, to fit the nonprofit in where you can;
- Learning grantwriting (book recommendation: Writing for a Good Cause) and seeing if you can find a grant the nonprofit can apply for, with you writing the application and creating a position (salary to be covered by the grant) for yourself. The salary will be peanuts by biglaw standards but at least it will be consistent and let you do something you love. Also, perhaps you could still fit in some real estate agent or lawyer work to supplement your income.


RFAAOATB

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #166 on: April 07, 2015, 05:35:57 PM »
You all are tempting me to start studying for the LSAT.

dragoncar

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #167 on: April 07, 2015, 05:52:36 PM »
You all are tempting me to start studying for the LSAT.

That's ... surprising.

rafiki

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #168 on: April 07, 2015, 06:29:44 PM »
Greetings Attorney Mustachians:

I am a long-time lurker, and enjoyed this thread.  (Hi and good luck in particular to Truly Stashin', whose fight for associate status I am cheering on).  This is my introductory post to the forum, as it seems like it will draw a smaller community of readers, familiar with my predicaments.  I seek advice - thanks in advance for reading and answering if you take the time.

About me: 30-something, 2013 T15 grad, no debt, lower half of class, live in big city with partner of four years (also an attorney).  I have been onto frugality / mustachianism since last April.  I changed a lot about my life, and also got my live-in partner more or less on-board.  When I found MMM, I was in my first attorney position at a small creditor/debtor firm.  The work was slow, and they laid off the three most junior attorneys. I was only 10 months into my practice.  I have  been unemployed since October, with a few interviews, but no solid leads.  I now volunteer 2x a week at my dream non-profit.  I also obtained my real estate license recently, hoping to start learning the market for personal use in the future, and to also possibly help a few people I know who are in the market for housing.   
 
My unemployment is running out really soon.  I have no debt, but when I first read MMM, I got a little eager and put a larger chunk of my emergency fund in investments, which means my funds (~$20k) isn't particularly liquid.  My two main issues are (1) Cashflow; (2) Career trajectory. 

With regards to cashflow; I have no full-time job on the immediate horizon.  I think in the short term, contract work might be my best bet.  However, I fear getting stuck in the contract attorney pigeonhole.  Also, I want to maximize the earning potential in my profession, and I am not confident contract work is the way to do it.  (I know I missed the boat by not performing as well as I would have liked in law school).  Should I seek out a staff attorney position with big law? (How does one even find such a job?).  Keep gunning for boutique and small general practice firms, even though they can be precarious employers and have so far not been responsive?

Complicating the matter, I love the nonprofit I volunteer for.  It focuses on an issue that is #1 important to me.  They operate on a shoestring.  I would probably have to consistently volunteer there for 3-4 years before I could expect to get hired on, and then it would be for peanuts by attorney standards.  However, this is death-bed-no-regrets-type work which in a few short months has given me better experience, and better colleagues, than anything else I have done in the legal world thus far. 

So in summary:

What do you think is the maximum earning possibility in the law for someone in my position? 

Have any mustachian attorneys made a decent living doing contract work?

Has anyone struck a good compromises to incorporate significant pro bono work? 

Thanks for reading!  I am grateful to tap into the collective wisdom of this online community.

Are you getting involved with the local bar association(s)? That's the best networking you can do at this point. That and volunteering, which you already appear to be doing.
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ReadySetMillionaire

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #169 on: April 08, 2015, 07:41:48 AM »
Checking back in. To summarize: I'm a 2014 graduate working at a small (25 attorney) firm in a low COL area in Ohio.

I'm freaking out because I had a disastrous experience last week. In short, ...

I went on vacation Easter weekend and had been in a huge rush to finish two motions before I left on Good Friday. So I came to the office last Wednesday and slammed away at one of the motions all day without regard to anything else. I was so insanely focused on getting this motion filed that I didn't open anything on my desktop so as to avoid distractions (including Outlook).

And then I got an email from my partner. He got a call from the county clerk asking why he didn't appear at a hearing. In short, I totally missed a hearing I was supposed to cover for this partner because I was so focused on the above-described motion. Luckily, he has a good relationship with the judge, and the judge issued a continuance.

But I think I shit my pants when I read that email, and I have been sweating bullets thinking about it all week. I made the partner look bad, pissed off a judge right down the street, presumably pissed off the client, etc.

I called the partner last Wednesday and straight up said, "I don't have a good reason, I wish I did, but I fucked up. I was so focused on this other motion that I completely forgot about the hearing this morning." I also told him that I'd put a system in place to never let it happen again. He said he really appreciated the candor and that we'd move on from here, and not to worry about it.

It's now a week later and I'm back from my vacation from North Carolina. But I just feel incompetent. I posted this previously on here, but when I'm not 100% focused at work (like right now), I'm distracted, less efficient, and just not going as good of a job as I should be.

So this morning, I ordered four books about being a valuable junior associate (I read a lot anyway, and figured I might as well invest in my profession): The Curmudgeon's Guide to Practicing Law; The Partner Track: How to Go from Associate to Partner in Any Law Firm; Jagged Rocks of Wisdom: Professional Advice for the New Attorney; and The New Lawyer's Handbook: 101 Things They Don't Teach You in Law School.

In the meantime, I was hoping some of the experienced attorneys in here could share similar screw ups and just give me some pointers. I feel lost at sea here sometimes and am too scared to ask basic questions because I don't want to look dumb.

Thus, any and all advice is really appreciated.
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pbkmaine

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #170 on: April 08, 2015, 08:25:13 AM »
Not an attorney, but worked in management consulting for many years. Stop beating yourself up. It's counter-productive. We all screw up. Every one of us. Those who succeed in spite of the screw ups are the ones who are able to learn and move on. Right now, you are being your own worst enemy. Cut it out. Now, in terms of techniques, you already know the answers without reading all the books. Make sure everything is on your schedule. Check your schedule every Sunday night for the week ahead and a couple of weeks out. Then check it again every morning, first thing. Also check email at least every morning first thing, before and after lunch, and before going home.

TN_Steve

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #171 on: April 08, 2015, 08:34:59 AM »
Checking back in. To summarize: I'm a 2014 graduate working at a small (25 attorney) firm in a low COL area in Ohio.

I'm freaking out because I had a [near] disastrous experience last week. In short, ...

...He got a call from the county clerk asking why he didn't appear at a hearing. In short, I totally missed a hearing I was supposed to cover for this partner because I was so focused on the above-described motion. Luckily, he has a good relationship with the judge, and the judge issued a continuance.

But I think I shit my pants when I read that email, and I have been sweating bullets thinking about it all week. ....

Note the emphasis.  :-)  You've had the [mis]fortune of living through (and surviving) every lawyer's nightmare.  As pbkmaine suggests, learn from it, don't dwell on it.  I never ever fail to open outlook immediately upon arrival at office, and I calendar everything religiously.  Do you have your phone set up to deliver calendar reminders?


ReadySetMillionaire

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #172 on: April 08, 2015, 08:52:09 AM »
Checking back in. To summarize: I'm a 2014 graduate working at a small (25 attorney) firm in a low COL area in Ohio.

I'm freaking out because I had a [near] disastrous experience last week. In short, ...

...He got a call from the county clerk asking why he didn't appear at a hearing. In short, I totally missed a hearing I was supposed to cover for this partner because I was so focused on the above-described motion. Luckily, he has a good relationship with the judge, and the judge issued a continuance.

But I think I shit my pants when I read that email, and I have been sweating bullets thinking about it all week. ....

Note the emphasis.  :-)  You've had the [mis]fortune of living through (and surviving) every lawyer's nightmare.  As pbkmaine suggests, learn from it, don't dwell on it.  I never ever fail to open outlook immediately upon arrival at office, and I calendar everything religiously.  Do you have your phone set up to deliver calendar reminders?
Yes, everything was synced but I didn't have notifications or anything set up. Thus, if something was on my calendar, I relied on actually viewing it on my calendar. Obviously that was the first thing I changed and now have notifications for everything.

As for the Sunday recommendation, that's the first thing my dad (also an attorney) said to do. He said when he first started he came in before church and just organized his desk and files for about 2-3 hours. It's something I'm going to pick up starting this weekend.

Lastly, sorry if I sounded dramatic--definitely not my intent. I'm more looking for advice from people who are now senior associates/partners to get their input on how I could be a valuable junior associate, how to make sure I'm doing good work, how to get feedback, etc.
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Blonde Lawyer

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #173 on: April 08, 2015, 10:26:02 AM »
Do you have an assistant? If so, make sure your calendar is shared.  That person should also be reminding you if they see something you are not off headed to.  For reminders, make sure 9 am hearings have a reminder they day before and right when you wake up so you remember to go there and not to the office.

I also have a paper calendar I keep with just the places I need to be or in office meetings.  I keep the other clutter (discovery deadlines etc) off the paper calendar so I only see the VIP can't undo things.  (I guess I also put SOL's and answer deadlines on there if I am the only one on the file.)

If the partner was also appeared he/she owns a tad of fault too though you should never say that.  In my firm, if you have an appearance, you check in with the other person appeared so you know that the event is covered. 

I also sit down with my assistant every Monday and we discuss what is on my calendar for the next two weeks.  She basically makes me do it.  She just walks in and says "okay, so this week . . ."

ZiziPB

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #174 on: April 08, 2015, 12:03:57 PM »

In the meantime, I was hoping some of the experienced attorneys in here could share similar screw ups and just give me some pointers. I feel lost at sea here sometimes and am too scared to ask basic questions because I don't want to look dumb.

Thus, any and all advice is really appreciated.

Everyone makes mistakes so stop beating yourself up about it.  I like the way you handled it and clearly the partner was similarly impressed. 

I made a mistake once that ended up costing the firm real money.  The partners were very good about it and told me that sh*t happens to everyone once in a while.  That's what malpractice insurance is for :-)



pbkmaine

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #175 on: April 08, 2015, 03:11:21 PM »
Ask your partner or another mentor if you can buy him or her lunch and ask dumb questions. They will probably be charmed and happy to help.

dad_of_four

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #176 on: April 08, 2015, 03:43:08 PM »
I posted here previously, but this is a pretty long thread. Hope someone has some advice.

I have an atypical career route.  Night law school, after I passed the bar I stayed on at the same employer, but in the legal dept (which is just general counsel, another young attorney, and me).  It's a medium size company, kinda blue collar.

I work with outside counsel around the country often. Respond to discovery. Also do some grunt work that's not really attorney work. I'm concerned that I might be stuck here. I'm not getting the experience that I think I need to go elsewhere, or to work for a firm. I.e. I'm not drafting documents, I'm just reviewing other people's documents.   I have never clerked or worked in the legal field outside of this job.

I don't mean to whine. It has its benefits. I don't work crazy hours, get a steady paycheck, and it's safe and familiar.  But,  I don't see me really advancing here, and without advancement, I don't think I will make the kind of money I'd envisioned.   (Currently at about $60K).

When I look at inhouse counsel for other companies, they invariably have spent several years at some firm before that.  So I'm concerned I'm not a very appealing applicant against those guys.

I do have all this experience in this field, but most of it actually isn't that helpful.  (i.e. I spent 8 years building widgets at the widget factory, you don't have to know that much about widgets to defend another factory that also builds widgets in a widget product liability suit.)

Am I stuck ?

Thalassa

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #177 on: April 08, 2015, 04:15:30 PM »

Hi and thanks to everyone who responded.  Your answers were really helpful.  I think I am going to do Bar Association Networking and focus on Realty / Real Estate Law so I can keep doing my pro bono work.  Good luck to everyone else, and thanks for sharing your legal war stories!

mozar

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #178 on: April 08, 2015, 05:02:30 PM »
Dad of four: have you started applying to jobs, updating the linked-in, networking, etc? it's up to you whether you are stuck or not.
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sweetkerryline

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #179 on: April 08, 2015, 05:57:16 PM »
I would also reach out to some headhunters and see what their thoughts are. If they say they can't place you, that is a pretty good indicator.

I posted here previously, but this is a pretty long thread. Hope someone has some advice.

I have an atypical career route.  Night law school, after I passed the bar I stayed on at the same employer, but in the legal dept (which is just general counsel, another young attorney, and me).  It's a medium size company, kinda blue collar.

I work with outside counsel around the country often. Respond to discovery. Also do some grunt work that's not really attorney work. I'm concerned that I might be stuck here. I'm not getting the experience that I think I need to go elsewhere, or to work for a firm. I.e. I'm not drafting documents, I'm just reviewing other people's documents.   I have never clerked or worked in the legal field outside of this job.

I don't mean to whine. It has its benefits. I don't work crazy hours, get a steady paycheck, and it's safe and familiar.  But,  I don't see me really advancing here, and without advancement, I don't think I will make the kind of money I'd envisioned.   (Currently at about $60K).

When I look at inhouse counsel for other companies, they invariably have spent several years at some firm before that.  So I'm concerned I'm not a very appealing applicant against those guys.

I do have all this experience in this field, but most of it actually isn't that helpful.  (i.e. I spent 8 years building widgets at the widget factory, you don't have to know that much about widgets to defend another factory that also builds widgets in a widget product liability suit.)

Am I stuck ?
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Mr Dorothy Dollar

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #180 on: April 09, 2015, 01:09:07 PM »
Non-practicing working for the government as a patent examiner. Pay is $100K salary nonexempt with set objectives for pay raises and overtime is on straight time. Patent examiner is the best job I have had out of Big IP law firm and engineering. I was able to pay off all my law school debt within 2 years of employment. I did this by living in uncomfortable situations.
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CommonCents

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #181 on: April 09, 2015, 01:53:55 PM »
Non-practicing working for the government as a patent examiner. Pay is $100K salary nonexempt with set objectives for pay raises and overtime is on straight time. Patent examiner is the best job I have had out of Big IP law firm and engineering. I was able to pay off all my law school debt within 2 years of employment. I did this by living in uncomfortable situations.

The brother of a friend of mine did this, and then fell into being a ALJ judge at a pretty young age (he's 40 this year, been a judge for a bit).  I hear it's great.

dragoncar

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #182 on: April 10, 2015, 01:29:52 PM »
Non-practicing working for the government as a patent examiner. Pay is $100K salary nonexempt with set objectives for pay raises and overtime is on straight time. Patent examiner is the best job I have had out of Big IP law firm and engineering. I was able to pay off all my law school debt within 2 years of employment. I did this by living in uncomfortable situations.

The brother of a friend of mine did this, and then fell into being a ALJ judge at a pretty young age (he's 40 this year, been a judge for a bit).  I hear it's great.

Considered this but don't want to put in the time required before allowed to hotel.   Patent examining in underwear from a low col area would rock

TrulyStashin

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #183 on: April 10, 2015, 02:06:35 PM »


In the meantime, I was hoping some of the experienced attorneys in here could share similar screw ups and just give me some pointers. I feel lost at sea here sometimes and am too scared to ask basic questions because I don't want to look dumb.

Thus, any and all advice is really appreciated.

We ALL have these stories.  I'm still close with four friends from law school and we meet up every few months for wine and whine.  Though the "I fucked up" stories have slowed now that we're 3 years out of school, they are still a regular feature.   

My first year of practice I wrote a memo for a partner and proudly sent it to him.  A few days later, my supervising partner walked into my office and said "You're out of room to make another mistake."   Yeah.  I almost shit my pants.   I wanted to say, "um... like forever???  Or just for a while?"  Because, let's face it, we all make mistakes and if you stop making mistakes then you're not learning anymore.  They call it "law practice" for a reason. 

So, what had I done wrong?  I had missed a code section (buried in another chapter) that made my answer absolutely, completely, expressly WRONG.  I had confidently stated that Client could do X with that parcel of land.  Nope.  Client most definitely could NOT do X, thanks to that stray section of code. 

I can laugh about it now.  Well, not really.  That happened on January 21, 2013 (at 5:48 PM).  It took me 6 months to recover my confidence.

Hang in there.  And find someone you can ask those dumb questions.  It helps if you ask questions.
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TrulyStashin

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #184 on: April 10, 2015, 02:10:46 PM »
Checking in. I am a 2013 graduate

I recently switched practice groups (and to a new firm) my salary has reset to $160,000 + bonus.

Hi there --

Do you mind giving me an idea of the market in which you practice?  It would be helpful to have a benchmark for salaries.  I'm a 2011 grad and I'll hopefully be negotiating salary soon.  Are you in a big market (NY, DC, Chicago, LA, San Fran, Boston)?  Or a mid-sized market (Nashville, Jacksonville, Richmond, Austin, Pittsburgh)?  Thanks!
I refinanced my student loans with SoFi and dropped my interest rate from over 7% to 3.9%.

YTProphet

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #185 on: April 10, 2015, 02:23:28 PM »
Checking in. I am a 2013 graduate

I recently switched practice groups (and to a new firm) my salary has reset to $160,000 + bonus.

Hi there --

Do you mind giving me an idea of the market in which you practice?  It would be helpful to have a benchmark for salaries.  I'm a 2011 grad and I'll hopefully be negotiating salary soon.  Are you in a big market (NY, DC, Chicago, LA, San Fran, Boston)?  Or a mid-sized market (Nashville, Jacksonville, Richmond, Austin, Pittsburgh)?  Thanks!

I check every day to see if you've gotten the job offer! Pulling for you!

TrulyStashin

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #186 on: April 10, 2015, 03:29:15 PM »
Checking in. I am a 2013 graduate

I recently switched practice groups (and to a new firm) my salary has reset to $160,000 + bonus.

Hi there --

Do you mind giving me an idea of the market in which you practice?  It would be helpful to have a benchmark for salaries.  I'm a 2011 grad and I'll hopefully be negotiating salary soon.  Are you in a big market (NY, DC, Chicago, LA, San Fran, Boston)?  Or a mid-sized market (Nashville, Jacksonville, Richmond, Austin, Pittsburgh)?  Thanks!

I check every day to see if you've gotten the job offer! Pulling for you!

Thanks!!  This week is the 2-week mark.  Next week, maybe???   Of course, since the interview, I've been Monday-morning quarterbacking myself like crazy.  One way or the other, we'll know soon.

Edited to correct the elapsed time.   Apr. 15th is exactly 3 weeks since my interview.  Amazing how slowly time can crawl when you're waiting for something!
« Last Edit: April 13, 2015, 10:39:18 AM by TrulyStashin »
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dragoncar

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #187 on: April 10, 2015, 03:57:00 PM »
Checking in. I am a 2013 graduate

I recently switched practice groups (and to a new firm) my salary has reset to $160,000 + bonus.

Hi there --

Do you mind giving me an idea of the market in which you practice?  It would be helpful to have a benchmark for salaries.  I'm a 2011 grad and I'll hopefully be negotiating salary soon.  Are you in a big market (NY, DC, Chicago, LA, San Fran, Boston)?  Or a mid-sized market (Nashville, Jacksonville, Richmond, Austin, Pittsburgh)?  Thanks!

I check every day to see if you've gotten the job offer! Pulling for you!

Thanks!!  This week is the 3-week mark.  Next week, maybe???   Of course, since the interview, I've been Monday-morning quarterbacking myself like crazy.  One way or the other, we'll know soon.

I'm sure you are aware of abovethelaw.com, which is one of the better places to learn about market salaries.

sweetkerryline

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #188 on: April 10, 2015, 10:06:26 PM »
Checking in. I am a 2013 graduate

I recently switched practice groups (and to a new firm) my salary has reset to $160,000 + bonus.

Hi there --

Do you mind giving me an idea of the market in which you practice?  It would be helpful to have a benchmark for salaries.  I'm a 2011 grad and I'll hopefully be negotiating salary soon.  Are you in a big market (NY, DC, Chicago, LA, San Fran, Boston)?  Or a mid-sized market (Nashville, Jacksonville, Richmond, Austin, Pittsburgh)?  Thanks!

I am at a lockstep firm in a secondary market.
« Last Edit: May 04, 2015, 01:49:16 PM by sweetkerryline »
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Mr Dorothy Dollar

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #189 on: April 11, 2015, 03:45:09 PM »
Non-practicing working for the government as a patent examiner. Pay is $100K salary nonexempt with set objectives for pay raises and overtime is on straight time. Patent examiner is the best job I have had out of Big IP law firm and engineering. I was able to pay off all my law school debt within 2 years of employment. I did this by living in uncomfortable situations.

The brother of a friend of mine did this, and then fell into being a ALJ judge at a pretty young age (he's 40 this year, been a judge for a bit).  I hear it's great.

Considered this but don't want to put in the time required before allowed to hotel.   Patent examining in underwear from a low col area would rock

Yes, patent examining in my basement with flexible hrs in a T-shirt and lounge pants is quite nice. I started at GS 12 because of my firm work. I was able to work part-time from home after 1 year (32 hrs / 2 weeks period). After meeting the criteria of 2 years of service, passage of the patent bar, and being at least GS 12, I was able to work full time from home. After a week of training, approval into the hotelling pilot program, and shipments to my house, I was able to leave the Detroit satellite office and move to Grand Rapids, MI which saves me even more money mainly in housing and insurance. Further, I geographically freed up my spouse to pursue his career goals.
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Daleth

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #190 on: April 12, 2015, 07:32:04 AM »
Non-practicing working for the government as a patent examiner. Pay is $100K salary nonexempt with set objectives for pay raises and overtime is on straight time. Patent examiner is the best job I have had out of Big IP law firm and engineering. I was able to pay off all my law school debt within 2 years of employment. I did this by living in uncomfortable situations.

The brother of a friend of mine did this, and then fell into being a ALJ judge at a pretty young age (he's 40 this year, been a judge for a bit).  I hear it's great.

Considered this but don't want to put in the time required before allowed to hotel.   Patent examining in underwear from a low col area would rock

Yes, patent examining in my basement with flexible hrs in a T-shirt and lounge pants is quite nice. I started at GS 12 because of my firm work. I was able to work part-time from home after 1 year (32 hrs / 2 weeks period). After meeting the criteria of 2 years of service, passage of the patent bar, and being at least GS 12, I was able to work full time from home. After a week of training, approval into the hotelling pilot program, and shipments to my house, I was able to leave the Detroit satellite office and move to Grand Rapids, MI which saves me even more money mainly in housing and insurance. Further, I geographically freed up my spouse to pursue his career goals.

One year! Dude, that's amazing. I know someone who did that in my area--had to move to DC for a year (flew home on weekends because had small kids), and after a year he was earning $100k in his underwear. If I had an engineering or science degree I would be all over that!

Daleth

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #191 on: April 12, 2015, 07:35:07 AM »


In the meantime, I was hoping some of the experienced attorneys in here could share similar screw ups and just give me some pointers. I feel lost at sea here sometimes and am too scared to ask basic questions because I don't want to look dumb.

Thus, any and all advice is really appreciated.

We ALL have these stories.  I'm still close with four friends from law school and we meet up every few months for wine and whine.  Though the "I fucked up" stories have slowed now that we're 3 years out of school, they are still a regular feature.   


I know a lawyer, male, who was shocked to discover in open court that his genitalia had somehow escaped from his boxers and was protruding through his open fly. And he was not the only person who noticed... by far. I don't think anyone here can quite top that, so keep it in mind when you're feeling down.

RobinAZ

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #192 on: April 13, 2015, 10:05:40 AM »
I am a lawyer in Phoenix.  Three years with small firm as a clerk/associate ($60k), three years in house at a national title company ($75k), three years at regional big law ($130k with salary freeze from the get go), then laid off when the market tanked. Got picked up by two firms after a year of being a solo/ Of Counsel at a boutique firm, both firms folded ($100k each but they imploded, really).  Went back to being Of Counsel at the boutique firm ($250-300/hr billable rate).  Last year, I billed about one hour/day and made $45k.  There was more work available but my son has an emotional disability and he needed support in kinder and first grade.  We have meds and school really well situated right now and my firm has offered me more work.  They will be taking a bigger cut of the hours I bill and collect above last years's collectables, but it should mean $2-4k/mo more for me before taxes.  I am 1099, so I pay everything.

I loved real estate law but that dried up here with the crash.  I am doing litigation now.  Was terrified at first but am feeling much better.  Firm wants me to learn family law as that is their primary focus, I am considering it.  There is $$ in litigation and family law.

TrulyStashin

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #193 on: April 13, 2015, 10:40:55 AM »
Checking in. I am a 2013 graduate

I recently switched practice groups (and to a new firm) my salary has reset to $160,000 + bonus.

Hi there --

Do you mind giving me an idea of the market in which you practice?  It would be helpful to have a benchmark for salaries.  I'm a 2011 grad and I'll hopefully be negotiating salary soon.  Are you in a big market (NY, DC, Chicago, LA, San Fran, Boston)?  Or a mid-sized market (Nashville, Jacksonville, Richmond, Austin, Pittsburgh)?  Thanks!

I check every day to see if you've gotten the job offer! Pulling for you!

Thanks!!  This week is the 3-week mark.  Next week, maybe???   Of course, since the interview, I've been Monday-morning quarterbacking myself like crazy.  One way or the other, we'll know soon.

I'm sure you are aware of abovethelaw.com, which is one of the better places to learn about market salaries.

Yes, I'm a frequent reader but the focus is primarily on the big markets/ high COL (NY, DC).  It's less helpful for understanding what's happening in BigLaw/ Smaller City.
I refinanced my student loans with SoFi and dropped my interest rate from over 7% to 3.9%.

dragoncar

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #194 on: April 13, 2015, 11:34:43 AM »
Checking in. I am a 2013 graduate

I recently switched practice groups (and to a new firm) my salary has reset to $160,000 + bonus.

Hi there --

Do you mind giving me an idea of the market in which you practice?  It would be helpful to have a benchmark for salaries.  I'm a 2011 grad and I'll hopefully be negotiating salary soon.  Are you in a big market (NY, DC, Chicago, LA, San Fran, Boston)?  Or a mid-sized market (Nashville, Jacksonville, Richmond, Austin, Pittsburgh)?  Thanks!

I check every day to see if you've gotten the job offer! Pulling for you!

Thanks!!  This week is the 3-week mark.  Next week, maybe???   Of course, since the interview, I've been Monday-morning quarterbacking myself like crazy.  One way or the other, we'll know soon.

I'm sure you are aware of abovethelaw.com, which is one of the better places to learn about market salaries.

Yes, I'm a frequent reader but the focus is primarily on the big markets/ high COL (NY, DC).  It's less helpful for understanding what's happening in BigLaw/ Smaller City.

I also had good luck with infirmation.com back in the day but it got hit hard in the recession

LouLou

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #195 on: April 14, 2015, 05:58:36 PM »
Checking in. I am a 2013 graduate

I recently switched practice groups (and to a new firm) my salary has reset to $160,000 + bonus.

Hi there --

Do you mind giving me an idea of the market in which you practice?  It would be helpful to have a benchmark for salaries.  I'm a 2011 grad and I'll hopefully be negotiating salary soon.  Are you in a big market (NY, DC, Chicago, LA, San Fran, Boston)?  Or a mid-sized market (Nashville, Jacksonville, Richmond, Austin, Pittsburgh)?  Thanks!

I check every day to see if you've gotten the job offer! Pulling for you!

Thanks!!  This week is the 3-week mark.  Next week, maybe???   Of course, since the interview, I've been Monday-morning quarterbacking myself like crazy.  One way or the other, we'll know soon.

I'm sure you are aware of abovethelaw.com, which is one of the better places to learn about market salaries.

Yes, I'm a frequent reader but the focus is primarily on the big markets/ high COL (NY, DC).  It's less helpful for understanding what's happening in BigLaw/ Smaller City.

I also had good luck with infirmation.com back in the day but it got hit hard in the recession

Robert Half Legal's salary guide is very detailed as as adjustment for small and large US cities:  http://s3.amazonaws.com/DBM/M3/2011/Downloads/Salary_Guide_Robert_Half_Legal_2015.pdf

LeRainDrop

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #196 on: April 14, 2015, 07:48:26 PM »
Hi, everyone!  I'm a senior associate in the litigation group of my BigLaw firm.  Thankfully, I studied for the LSAT, beat Cathy's score, and was given nearly 50% tuition scholarship to the T10 law school I attended.  I graduated in 2007, with about $120k in student loans all totaled, and paid those off over five years.  In that time, I also bought a condo near my office, which has been such a blessing for short walking commute time, especially given the very long hours we are expected to work.  Salary plus bonus put me around $200k gross last year, working in a large-ish market.  I feel good about where my net worth is currently, and really get a kick out of seeing it grow over time on mint -- even better than when I was tracking my student debt going down!  I cannot claim to be totally mustachain, but I'm quite frugal at least :-)

On balance, I enjoy the challenges of my job, using investigation and persuasion skills, and advising my clients.  Most of the folks I work with are smart, friendly people who make it an enjoyable work environment.  However, I have come across a couple pretty terrible people as partners over the years, who have really made me question WTH I was doing with my life at certain times.  One in particular was so unhappy in her own life and dealt with her stress by severely taking it out on a series of subordinate-targets.  That really was hell, but now I'm in a honeymoon phase because she finally resigned about a month ago!  So, yeah, I'll echo the other attorney who said office politics is one of the less pleasant parts of BigLaw.

TrulyStashin

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #197 on: April 14, 2015, 08:00:41 PM »
LouLou that salary guide is exactly what I needed!  Thanks so much.
I refinanced my student loans with SoFi and dropped my interest rate from over 7% to 3.9%.

YTProphet

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #198 on: April 15, 2015, 08:15:41 AM »
LouLou that salary guide is exactly what I needed!  Thanks so much.

If it's any help, I work at a big midlaw firm in the Midwest. Associates with six years experience generally make in the $130k range, plus $20-30k bonus if they hit their hours. Once they make non-equity partner (usually after six or seven years), they're grossed up to the $150-160k range and bonuses stay about the same.

YTProphet

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #199 on: May 01, 2015, 01:16:56 PM »
Bump. Waiting to hear about TrulyStashin's outcome.