Poll

Do you like being a lawyer?

Yes, my job is awesome. Law school was the best choice I ever made.
9 (8%)
I like practicing law. I just hate law firms.
33 (29.5%)
It's not my calling in life, but the money is good. Will do it for now.
49 (43.8%)
It's bullshit. I'm just going to pay off my debt/save a bit then quit.
11 (9.8%)
It's pure hell. The modern legal industry is screwed up. I want out.
10 (8.9%)

Total Members Voted: 112

Author Topic: Survey for Mustachian Lawyers  (Read 9730 times)

OurTown

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Re: Survey for Mustachian Lawyers
« Reply #50 on: February 09, 2018, 12:52:48 PM »
Has anyone here trained as a mediator?  To me, mediation sounds like a great post-FIRE gig for when I leave the firm.

mckaylabaloney

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Re: Survey for Mustachian Lawyers
« Reply #51 on: February 17, 2018, 12:07:11 PM »
Has anyone here trained as a mediator?  To me, mediation sounds like a great post-FIRE gig for when I leave the firm.

I did ADR-related work before law school, and one of the things I most dislike about litigation is always being somebody's adversary -- so I'd love to return to ADR through something like mediation (and it sounds like a perfect post-FIRE plan). But now my impression is that good mediation work probably requires a lot more legal experience than I might want to accrue before RE.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2018, 11:44:40 AM by mckaylabaloney »

bridget

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Re: Survey for Mustachian Lawyers
« Reply #52 on: February 17, 2018, 12:16:37 PM »
Iím waffling between the first three options. I like being a lawyer, I like that Iím good at it, and I like that I have a useful skill that a lot of people need. I also donít mind my law firm, and will do the biglaw thing for now because the money is good.

Eventually I would like to practice law somewhat differently. I would like to trade the very high salary in exchange for a job in which I work less and have time for hobbies. I would like to spend more of my time working for clients who donít have many other options, rather than mostly working for mega corps (but one of the reasons why I donít mind the firm life too much is because 1) the mega Corp work I do is high level and super fascinating, and 2) I get credit for unlimited pro bono and am able to work on very cool public interest cases).

lhamo

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Re: Survey for Mustachian Lawyers
« Reply #53 on: February 17, 2018, 01:14:50 PM »
Being in a law firm, especially doing insurance/WC defense, sucks. The billing hour requirement is too high (because we bill "honest time" which means no mandatory minimums, no padding, no shadow billing) because to get an 8-hour billable day, I'm in the office 10...11... hours per day. Once I manage to bill that out, I have to justify it to the partner, who wants to cut my time before sending it to the client, who wants to cut my time again.

I think the only way that I will survive this is to find something in-house. I am on a 6-year partnership track and a senior partner has taken a very deep interest in me (very good, albeit difficult at times mentor-mentee relationship) so I have no doubts that I could make partner in 6 years. But I have no idea what senior/junior partners make, and it's certainly not as much as plaintiff firms.

Right now I'm making 65K. That's decent, for a first year attorney in my area, but vacation/time off is limited, and I'm working 9-10 hour days 90% of the time. I would much rather make less and work less than aim for partnership and stroke out in the process.

Are there firms in your area that work exclusively for one insurance company?  That seems to be the situation our lawyer is in.  He doesn't seem too stressed normally, and seems to work pretty normal hours, except when he is in trial, which is only a few times a year.   A lot of the negotiations with the plaintiff have been directly between her lawyer and our insurance adjuster.   Most of his work seems to be discovery.  I'm not sure how his compensation is structured and if he has a billable hours requirement, etc.  He does seem pretty chill about it all, though.  And he's a good litigator.  He was a prosecutor for 4 years before switching to this area.
Wherever you go, there you are

lexde

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Re: Survey for Mustachian Lawyers
« Reply #54 on: February 17, 2018, 01:19:14 PM »
Being in a law firm, especially doing insurance/WC defense, sucks. The billing hour requirement is too high (because we bill "honest time" which means no mandatory minimums, no padding, no shadow billing) because to get an 8-hour billable day, I'm in the office 10...11... hours per day. Once I manage to bill that out, I have to justify it to the partner, who wants to cut my time before sending it to the client, who wants to cut my time again.

I think the only way that I will survive this is to find something in-house. I am on a 6-year partnership track and a senior partner has taken a very deep interest in me (very good, albeit difficult at times mentor-mentee relationship) so I have no doubts that I could make partner in 6 years. But I have no idea what senior/junior partners make, and it's certainly not as much as plaintiff firms.

Right now I'm making 65K. That's decent, for a first year attorney in my area, but vacation/time off is limited, and I'm working 9-10 hour days 90% of the time. I would much rather make less and work less than aim for partnership and stroke out in the process.

Are there firms in your area that work exclusively for one insurance company?  That seems to be the situation our lawyer is in.  He doesn't seem too stressed normally, and seems to work pretty normal hours, except when he is in trial, which is only a few times a year.   A lot of the negotiations with the plaintiff have been directly between her lawyer and our insurance adjuster.   Most of his work seems to be discovery.  I'm not sure how his compensation is structured and if he has a billable hours requirement, etc.  He does seem pretty chill about it all, though.  And he's a good litigator.  He was a prosecutor for 4 years before switching to this area.
In-house is definitely the way to go but it’s hard to find open positions. My goal is to either go in-house or government (DOD/non-law) once I gain some more experience. I’m looking at another year or two at a minimum. But working directly for a company would be awesome. In house for one of our biggest client barely litigates and is more like a claim evaluator and determines whether the adjuster should handle settlement or if they should refer to outside defense counsel. It’s pretty cushy 8-5 with holidays, weekends and vacation.

lhamo

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Re: Survey for Mustachian Lawyers
« Reply #55 on: February 17, 2018, 04:58:55 PM »
I think what our lawyer does is not in-house but the kind of specialized external defense you mentioned -- he officially works for an independent law firm, but all of his cases seem to be for one insurance company that contracts with them.  I don't know if they have other lawyers that work for other companies, or if the whole shop just works on contracts for this one insurance firm.   I'll try to ask him next week more about how the whole thing is structured. I find it a really interesting arrangement.....
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Xenantaya

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Re: Survey for Mustachian Lawyers
« Reply #56 on: February 27, 2018, 08:36:23 AM »
My answer would be something like "I enjoy my big law firm job so long as I'm working 55 hours or less."  I focus on writing briefs in complex cases (primarily class actions and multi-district litigation), and truly do enjoy constructing arguments, thinking up ways to distinguish case law, or show how law from a different area supports my arguments, etc.  But like almost anything else, doing too much of it becomes stressful, especially when you're facing one short-term deadline after another.  I am thankful that I got my biglaw job and have been able to make and save a significant amount of money to set myself up to FIRE at some point in the next several years while maintaining a comfortable lifestyle.

chrisgermany

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Re: Survey for Mustachian Lawyers
« Reply #57 on: February 27, 2018, 11:42:24 PM »
I have collected all the formal qualifications as a mediator with the idea to use it in retirement.
But then I realised that I love it NOT to be connected to other peoples issues any more and in any way.

WalkaboutStache

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Re: Survey for Mustachian Lawyers
« Reply #58 on: July 10, 2018, 04:06:18 AM »
Quote
In-house is definitely the way to go but itís hard to find open positions. My goal is to either go in-house or government (DOD/non-law) once I gain some more experience. Iím looking at another year or two at a minimum. But working directly for a company would be awesome. In house for one of our biggest client barely litigates and is more like a claim evaluator and determines whether the adjuster should handle settlement or if they should refer to outside defense counsel. Itís pretty cushy 8-5 with holidays, weekends and vacation.

Have you considered Axiom Legal?  I am not sure if they have an office in your state (probably do),  but it is a gateway to in-house positions, or (even better) a way to do project work and take regular unpaid leave without losing health and other benefits.  I have taken 2 sabbaticals with them over the course of 10 years (one for 2 years, one for 6 months), and have another one lined up for next year once the project I am in stabilizes a bit. 

dogboyslim

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Re: Survey for Mustachian Lawyers
« Reply #59 on: July 11, 2018, 09:29:11 AM »
In-house is definitely the way to go but itís hard to find open positions. My goal is to either go in-house or government (DOD/non-law) once I gain some more experience. Iím looking at another year or two at a minimum. But working directly for a company would be awesome. In house for one of our biggest client barely litigates and is more like a claim evaluator and determines whether the adjuster should handle settlement or if they should refer to outside defense counsel. Itís pretty cushy 8-5 with holidays, weekends and vacation.

IANAL but I've worked for multiple insurance companies.  The lawyers tend to be in a few different places. 

1. Compliance/internal audit.  Monitor state laws and interpret them in light of company practice and advise/opine on the legality of current processes.  Most of these folks have never litigated, and most have business backgrounds in addition to legal.

2. Corporate law.  This is more corporate compliance: Sarbanes Oxley, SEC filings etc.  Also, contract negotiation, corporate structure, dealing with legal entities (mutual holding companies, stock companies etc.)

3. Claims.  The companies where I've worked the defense litigation is typically outsourced, but is managed by an internal lawyer that monitors the cases.  They are also there when things go very badly wrong.  These tend to be serious travel jobs, with travel 40-60% of the time.

To get these jobs, start connecting with people that work in insurance companies, get to know the lawyers there, and start expressing your interest.  I'm always happy to introduce people, but in your case I'm in the Midwest so doubt you'd like to talk to folks that far from home.  Anyway, not a lot of jobs get posted for long, so if you want an in-house job, you need to get to know the people that hire in-house lawyers.

CNM

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Re: Survey for Mustachian Lawyers
« Reply #60 on: July 11, 2018, 09:51:09 AM »
Also a lawyer.  I had a hard time voting, because all of the options are true for me at different times.  I'm at a small firm, so I don't have to deal with crazy billable hours requirements or internal politics.  But I do have to deal with a lot of terrible opposing counsel, lots of conflict (I know, it's part of the job), and unfairness.  Over the past decade of practice, I can tell that I have become a more bitter and negative person because of it.  I also don't like the billable hour model, as it means that there is never an "end" to work- it just keeps going and going regardless of how efficient you are.  Thankfully the people I work with are really excellent, or else I suspect I would have left the practice long ago.

ejchis

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Re: Survey for Mustachian Lawyers
« Reply #61 on: July 11, 2018, 11:57:30 AM »
I went in-house earlier this year from litigation/trial practice. So far, I am VERY happy with the decision. I suddenly find myself far less stressed while I'm working, and the time spent working has reduced substantially. Also, many of my former clients have reached out since my transition to see if I am willing to take on small tasks at the same rate they had been paying my firm. For those I can accommodate, it's turning into a nice little surprise side gig.

dude

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Re: Survey for Mustachian Lawyers
« Reply #62 on: July 11, 2018, 12:11:41 PM »
Not my calling in life by any stretch, but it's afforded me a good life for the past 20 years and I only have to do it for 2 more years.  After that, I'll be canceling my bar membership. I don't ever want to practice law again.

Damn, I was two years from retirement when I first responded, and now I'm 10 months from retirement. Woo-hoo!

John Galt incarnate!

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Re: Survey for Mustachian Lawyers
« Reply #63 on: July 11, 2018, 06:59:29 PM »

One thing I've noticed from the comments is that some of us like our job and some of us hate our job. So, I thought I would bust out a little survey to see which way the mustachian lawyers lean. But, then again, I'm surprised to see a number of posts from lawyers who really like their jobs. I'm just wondering if there are tons of unhappy lawyers lurking around here, or if many of us actually enjoy our work

To complete my education and please my wonderful parents I considered earning a doctorate in philology or a law degree.

I chose the latter and enjoyed it very much.

My personal (non-professional) scholarship concentrates on 20th and 21st-century constitutional cases of civil society and its individual liberties.

 Among all things legal they are my favorite subject matter.

I did not think that I would enjoy practicing law so after graduating I never took the bar exam.

Aocean

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Re: Survey for Mustachian Lawyers
« Reply #64 on: July 11, 2018, 07:59:10 PM »
I used to be a lawyer. There were days that I was excited to go to work and do the work I was involved in, but after a while in an extremely mentally and emotionally draining field, I burned out. I found that I was becoming more and more miserable every day and I began developing severe physical symptoms. Iím still very proud of what I accomplished, but making the decision to change careers was one of the best decisions. Every now and then, I think about what my life would be like if I had stayed. After a few minutes of mentally glorifying my previous career, I recall all the reasons I left it and realize that Iím far better off now despite the drop in income.

dude

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Re: Survey for Mustachian Lawyers
« Reply #65 on: July 12, 2018, 06:58:02 AM »
I used to be a lawyer. There were days that I was excited to go to work and do the work I was involved in, but after a while in an extremely mentally and emotionally draining field, I burned out. I found that I was becoming more and more miserable every day and I began developing severe physical symptoms. Iím still very proud of what I accomplished, but making the decision to change careers was one of the best decisions. Every now and then, I think about what my life would be like if I had stayed. After a few minutes of mentally glorifying my previous career, I recall all the reasons I left it and realize that Iím far better off now despite the drop in income.

That was the experience of a friend of mine from law school. He worked at one of the country's top law firms in DC, and it fucked him up pretty good for a while. Gained a shitload of weight and the stress was killing him. He walked away and more or less disappeared for the better part of a year, before taking a position at a start-up. That didn't pan out after a few years, but he ended up at a prestigious consulting firm where he's now a partner.