Author Topic: Lawyers - Share your career experiences?  (Read 7976 times)

Gizsuat2

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Lawyers - Share your career experiences?
« on: September 25, 2015, 11:21:18 AM »
If you're willing to share, I'd love to hear about some of the legal careers of some other wannabe (or already there!) Mustachians.  Any thoughts appreciated!

If you're a lawyer ...
1) What area of law do you practice?
2) What do you like about what you do?
3) What do you not like about what you do?
4) How many hours a week do you typically work? 
5) Do you have control over your hours? 
6) Could you work less if you wanted to?
7) Updated, by popular demand: How much do you make in a year?

I've been practicing law for about 8 years now and am considering my career options going forward.  I've had some great PMs with attorneys these past few days, so I was hoping to keep the inspiration moving forward.
« Last Edit: October 01, 2015, 10:02:57 PM by Gizsuat2 »

hoodedfalcon

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Re: Lawyers - Share your career experiences?
« Reply #1 on: September 25, 2015, 11:26:27 AM »
1) What area of law do you practice? I work at a non-profit doing policy and advocacy
2) What do you like about what you do? I get to help change laws and positively impact folks who have a tough lot in life.
3) What do you not like about what you do? I do not like a lot of the deception around lobbying. I also miss one on one representation.
4) How many hours a week do you typically work? 35-38
5) Do you have control over your hours? generally 9-5ish, some evening work, weekend work
6) Could you work less if you wanted to? Yes. Always.

HappyHoya

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Re: Lawyers - Share your career experiences?
« Reply #2 on: September 25, 2015, 11:35:13 AM »
If you're willing to share, I'd love to hear about some of the legal careers of some other wannabe (or already there!) Mustachians.  Any thoughts appreciated!

If you're a lawyer ...
1) What area of law do you practice?
2) What do you like about what you do?
3) What do you not like about what you do?
4) How many hours a week do you typically work? 
5) Do you have control over your hours? 
6) Could you work less if you wanted to?

I've been practicing law for about 8 years now and am considering my career options going forward.  I've had some great PMs with attorneys these past few days, so I was hoping to keep the inspiration moving forward.

Since this is a site significantly about finances, would people mind sharing pay, too? I'm in a law-adjacent field but not practicing and I always wonder if there is a financial reason to make the jump to practicing (and start paying bar dues, etc.).

Gizsuat2

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Re: Lawyers - Share your career experiences?
« Reply #3 on: September 25, 2015, 11:43:57 AM »
Hoodedfalcon - I've never had a good concept of what policy attorneys actually do.  How do you spend your days?  And what kind of one-on-one law did you previously practice?  Why did you leave?

TVRodriguez

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Re: Lawyers - Share your career experiences?
« Reply #4 on: September 25, 2015, 12:41:41 PM »
I think you've heard some of this from me already, but here it is:

If you're a lawyer ...
1) What area of law do you practice?  My practice is limited to Wills, Trusts & Estates & Federal Transfer Tax.
2) What do you like about what you do? I enjoy working for individuals, helping my clients meet their goals, helping minimize their costs in the long term, and educating clients. I like working as a team with a client's other advisors (CPAs, Insurance, Private Bank Wealth Managers).  I like that I can work for a mix of clients, both high net worth and "regular people" who need my skills.  I also enjoy the work itself, which (on the planning end) is like putting together a puzzle.  I like puzzles.  I love that I rarely, if ever, get involved in litigation, and that I have excellent co-counsel when I do get involved.  I like that I don't have to go to court often but that when I do, it's probate court, which is like a mini-court.  I like continuing to learn at CLEs and conferences, and I like that I get to go to nice lunches at great places I'd never pay for personally. 
3) What do you not like about what you do? I wish I moved more--I do a lot of sitting.
4) How many hours a week do you typically work?  I work anywhere from 20-40 hours per week, usually 25-30.
5) Do you have control over your hours?  I have a lot of control b/c I'm a sole practitioner and can and do turn down new clients if I have enough other stuff to do. If there's a no school day, I stay home with my kids, for example.
6) Could you work less if you wanted to? I could work less.  I used to work 3 days/week.  I upped it to 4-5 with all my kids in school, but they're flexible days.  I have enough time to do dropoff and pickup of my kids and be home and make dinner (or eat dinner if DH has cooked) almost every day.  DH & I also try to dedicate some time to/for each other every Friday (he doesn't work Fridays) when the kids are in school--time for us to reconnect over a cup of coffee or a home project.  Today (a Friday) I'm at work b/c I have a meeting this afternoon and had a lunch with a friend who works nearby.  Otherwise, I'd be home w/ DH.
7) What's the pay like?    For the past few years, it's varied between 70K ish and 125K ish. I could earn a lot more, easily double, if I wanted to.  I don't need more money, though. I prefer balance.  Oh, and fyi, I'm out of law school and practicing 16 years.  I had some crap years, but they are behind me.

hoodedfalcon

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Re: Lawyers - Share your career experiences?
« Reply #5 on: September 25, 2015, 01:16:03 PM »
Hoodedfalcon - I've never had a good concept of what policy attorneys actually do.  How do you spend your days?  And what kind of one-on-one law did you previously practice?  Why did you leave?

To update from the previous poster, my pay is in the low $70s, 8 years out of school.

Yeah, you are not alone. No one really knows what a policy attorney does. So in my case, I work a lot with local government to help improve what they do/keep them from doing things that we would sue them over. Also, we do a lot of impact litigation, almost exclusively against state agencies. I teach a lot of CLEs or conduct trainings. I help build and advise grassroots coalitions. For the lobbyist side - I work with state lawmakers to draft legislation, work the bills through subcommittees, testify, etc.

I currently work in a lefty/progressive field but in a very conservative (though LCOL) area.

I previously worked as a Public Defender. I left because I totally and completely burned out. And one of my clients assaulted me. :)

Bleeding heart over here, if you haven't picked up on that yet....

Gizsuat2

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Re: Lawyers - Share your career experiences?
« Reply #6 on: September 25, 2015, 02:25:53 PM »
hoodedfalcon, can we back up to the part where one of your clients assaulted you?? WTF?

Gizsuat2

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Re: Lawyers - Share your career experiences?
« Reply #7 on: September 25, 2015, 02:27:05 PM »
TVRodriguez - You've totally sold me on trusts and estates.  Seriously, I'm looking into it!

TN_Steve

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Re: Lawyers - Share your career experiences?
« Reply #8 on: September 25, 2015, 09:30:00 PM »
If you're willing to share, I'd love to hear about some of the legal careers of some other wannabe (or already there!) Mustachians.  Any thoughts appreciated!

If you're a lawyer I am, but atypical, so take it FWIW...
1) What area of law do you practice? commercial lit, some assistance to our PI people on intricate matters. Earlier career, was on ultra big antitrust/products cases, then academia
2) What do you like about what you do?  Fun to outwork and out-think the other side; sometimes our clients got screwed and it is nice to help them out.
3) What do you not like about what you do?  Cost of the process for clients; the spectacular waste of resources; the judges who can't think their way out of a wet paper bag; dumb opposing lawyers--always fun to be up against hyper-competent firms; electronic discovery; time demands (which is why I took academic hiatus for 15 years when raising kids)
4) How many hours a week do you typically work?  Typically/baseline; leave home at 6:05, get in office 6:30;  leave office 6:30-7:00 (M-F); Sat/Sun only 4 hours a day or so most weeks. Last two months have been Much worse.  2-3 weeks vacation a year--although I can take as much as I want. 
5) Do you have control over your hours?  Maybe?  Although I like to win.
6) Could you work less if you wanted to?  See previous answer and note that I could see no options other than hiring a second nanny or quitting private practice when our kids were young; half/part time wouldn't work for me.

I've been practicing law for about 8 years now and am considering my career options going forward.  I've had some great PMs with attorneys these past few days, so I was hoping to keep the inspiration moving forward.

OH, on the pay, I make before bonus a little bit more than my son and his GF will make right out of school at big NYC firms, but in much cheaper location--but that is after taking 15+ years off to raise kids.  (Pay isn't what drives me; basically after adjusting for inflation, etc., I make just a little bit more now that I made in big law right out of law school.)

NorCal

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Re: Lawyers - Share your career experiences?
« Reply #9 on: September 25, 2015, 10:58:37 PM »
I'm not a lawyer, but my wife is.  I'll answer on her behalf.

If you're a lawyer(spouse) ...
1) What area of law do you practice?- Corporate Law & Securities, Biglaw firm
2) What do you like about what you do?  Challenging work and interesting clients
3) What do you not like about what you do?  Partners that are horrible human beings (most of them), hours, and short-turn client requests.
4) How many hours a week do you typically work? Average 50-60, with a few peaks over 100 (for IPO's usually).  Annually, it's been in the 2,000-2,300 billable hour range.
5) Do you have control over your hours? No
6) Could you work less if you wanted to?  Possible, but it would have serious career ramifications.  The partnership track would be out of the question, and in an "up-or-out" environment, that means "out" eventually.

hoodedfalcon

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Re: Lawyers - Share your career experiences?
« Reply #10 on: September 27, 2015, 05:48:15 PM »
hoodedfalcon, can we back up to the part where one of your clients assaulted you?? WTF?

Yeah. That was definitely a career-changing moment. The client in question was in jail - housed in one of the dorms for the most violent offenders. I was meeting with him in his dorm so he wasn't shackled or restrained. He was awaiting trial on some very serious charges-facing a life sentence. I delivered that news to him, and he was less than happy about that. He decided to take it out on me. Luckily I got out of there before things got really bad. All he managed to do was throw a chair at me which I was able to deflect.

99% of the time my clients were fine. This guy...not so much.

Gizsuat2

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Re: Lawyers - Share your career experiences?
« Reply #11 on: September 27, 2015, 11:11:00 PM »
Thanks for the biglaw replies, and reminding me why I got out of that game quickly.  : )

And hoodedfalcon ... yes, for sure I can see that as a career changer!

kkbmustang

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Re: Lawyers - Share your career experiences?
« Reply #12 on: September 28, 2015, 01:16:40 PM »
Thanks for the biglaw replies, and reminding me why I got out of that game quickly.  : )


+1
I legit took maybe 2 weeks of vacation total in 4 years. There was a saying when I was in BigLaw - You take your vacation one hour at a time.

jhess002

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Re: Lawyers - Share your career experiences?
« Reply #13 on: September 28, 2015, 03:09:42 PM »
1. Environmental law
2. Working in the government is great, being a trial attorney for the government is even better.
3. Always being on defense is tough since I have much less control of the case/deadlines.
4. Typically I work 40 hours - sometimes less, and every once in a while much much more (around 60ish).
5. As a trial attorney, I do not have as much control as I wish I had.  But my management just about always signs off on a motion for extension if needed.
6. Yes I could probably work less, but 90% of the time I love what I do (and I like to win).  Also, working for the government I have pretty good work/life balance compared to most attorneys. 
7. ~$100k
« Last Edit: September 29, 2015, 08:28:15 AM by jhess002 »

LeRainDrop

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Re: Lawyers - Share your career experiences?
« Reply #14 on: September 28, 2015, 09:30:03 PM »
Thanks for the biglaw replies, and reminding me why I got out of that game quickly.  : )


+1
I legit took maybe 2 weeks of vacation total in 4 years. There was a saying when I was in BigLaw - You take your vacation one hour at a time.

Oh yeah, and at my biglaw firm, we get "unlimited" vacation, LOL!

chesebert

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Re: Lawyers - Share your career experiences?
« Reply #15 on: September 29, 2015, 04:32:43 AM »
Thanks for the biglaw replies, and reminding me why I got out of that game quickly.  : )


+1
I legit took maybe 2 weeks of vacation total in 4 years. There was a saying when I was in BigLaw - You take your vacation one hour at a time.

Oh yeah, and at my biglaw firm, we get "unlimited" vacation, LOL!

In theory, you could work 100 hours per week for 20 weeks and then take the rest of the year off.....if you are satisfied with doing just the minimum.

<cue up the flair scene from office space>

InternationalStache

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Re: Lawyers - Share your career experiences?
« Reply #16 on: September 29, 2015, 05:25:57 AM »
1) What area of law do you practice? Corporate
2) What do you like about what you do? Incredible challenge, working with some mighty brilliant folks (internally and externally), diversity in projects.
3) What do you not like about what you do? Hours.
4) How many hours a week do you typically work?  50+
5) Do you have control over your hours?  More than you might expect--as you get more senior in biglaw, you do gain more ability to influence the pace on various workstreams. There are still times where you can't, of course.
6) Could you work less if you wanted to? No, not without jeopardizing partnership or other career prospects.
7) Compensation ~$425k including bonus this year.

(ps - have always taken all of my vacation time every year of my career and I work at a place where Google would tell you is horrific)
« Last Edit: September 29, 2015, 05:40:42 AM by InternationalStache »

YTProphet

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Re: Lawyers - Share your career experiences?
« Reply #17 on: September 29, 2015, 09:02:33 AM »
1) What area of law do you practice? General commercial/corporate. I'm in-house now.
2) What do you like about what you do? Negotiating is fun. Also, learning new things pretty frequently now that I'm more of a generalist.
3) What do you not like about what you do? Sit too much. Also, sometimes have big projects that are annoying.
4) How many hours a week do you typically work?  45.
5) Do you have control over your hours?  Somewhat. 9-5 in the office but that's flexible. Need to be responsive to internal clients.
6) Could you work less if you wanted to? Not really.

Pay is around $125k in a medium-size Midwest city, plus 10% bonus if the company performs well. So, COL isn't Chicago level high, but also not middle of Tennessee cheap either. If I were still at the law firm I worked for, I'd probably be making $135k, with $10k raises every year.

ReadySetMillionaire

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Re: Lawyers - Share your career experiences?
« Reply #18 on: September 29, 2015, 09:26:48 AM »
1) What area of law do you practice?

Been out of law school and at my mid-size firm (24 attorneys) for about a year now. Thought I was going to specialize in labor/employment but that is honestly less than 5% of my work. I'm doing pretty much any civil litigation.

2) What do you like about what you do?

As of right now, not much. But I do enjoy the very competent attorneys I work with--they are genuine, knowledgeable, and laid back.

3) What do you not like about what you do?

I'll quote what I wrote in a thread yesterday:

Quote
I just can't be enthusiastic about boring cases and representing clients that I don't know. I just can't do it anymore.

For example, I drafted an answer and counterclaim in a mineral rights case this morning. I have no idea who the client is and what they're like. I simply can't get emotionally invested in whether they will win or lose this case because after drafting this document, I likely won't see the case again.

To the contrary, if I knew this client and this was my case, hell yes I would care about this case. I would be motivated to fight tooth and nail for them.

I know I should have this same fire and spark right now, but I just can't artificially produce that. I've tried for almost a year now and I simply can't.

4) How many hours a week do you typically work? 

Typical 9:00 - 5:00 job, so 40. I rarely have the motivation to come in on the weekends.

5) Do you have control over your hours? 

Yes and no. I can theoretically show up whenever I want, but it's taboo to not be here from 9:00 - 5:00.

6) Could you work less if you wanted to?

Probably not.


All this reflection has me thinking that I want to go solo as soon as I feasibly can. I have a handful of clients I can take with me that should keep the lights on for a while. I have a few connections legally (I know several judges in the area and, because my dad is a lawyer, a couple dozen pretty active members of the local bar) and elsewhere (e.g., I have a friend that could design a logo and website for minimal cost). I also have most of the office equipment necessary (just bought a nice computer, have a dedicated office at home, etc.) and think I can make it work.

My gameplan can be summarized as follows: (1) continue to learn and absorb information at current firm; (2) discuss going solo with attorneys I know and trust, ask for advice; (3) this is admittedly selfish, but stay long enough to have my current firm pay for next reporting period's bar membership dues and CLEs; (4) save money for 3-6 months of living expenses; (5) and go solo by next summer. This is obviously oversimplified, but it is the nuts and bolts of my plan.

I assume almost all of you have thought about going solo, or at least know somebody who has? So I'll ask, why have you chosen to work in a law firm instead? Can you share your friends' experiences? Is my attitude symptomatic of a "grass is greener" attitude, or is going solo really something I should pursue?

 And if I'm hijacking the thread, I'll start a new one. I just thought this career-specific thread was appropriate to post in. Thanks guys.

Gizsuat2

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Re: Lawyers - Share your career experiences?
« Reply #19 on: September 29, 2015, 11:17:09 AM »
Readysetmillionare - Where did that thread come from?  Looks like an interesting conversation.

Thanks for the continued contributions everyone else!

Gizsuat2

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Re: Lawyers - Share your career experiences?
« Reply #20 on: September 29, 2015, 11:22:06 AM »
Readysetmillionaire - Also, I don't think you're hijacking at all.  Totally appropriate.

My experience: Shortly after law school, I met with 4 dozen (yes, nearly 50) attorneys for coffee appointments.  I asked them roughly what I did in this post: What did they like about their jobs, what didn't they like, etc.  I was fascinated to find that 80% of these attorneys were utterly miserable, so much so they were willing to tell a complete stranger about how much they hated their jobs.  The happiest attorneys I spoke with were (1) prosecutors and (2) sole practitioners. 

I'm positive there are individuals who have happy, fulfilling jobs in biglaw.  I think there are a lot of them who don't though.  But I think the pull of not having to figure out the logistics, of having someone else figure out the health insurance and benefits, hiring the secretary, etc. ... I think that's big for a lot people.  That has value.

Anyways, I like your (simplified) small practice plan.  I'm on a similar path at this point.  Good luck!

NYCAtty

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Re: Lawyers - Share your career experiences?
« Reply #21 on: September 29, 2015, 09:06:10 PM »
I'll play...

1) What area of law do you practice? Litigation, NYC biglaw

2) What do you like about what you do? Many things, actually! I work on interesting cases, which challenge me intellectually. I have great colleagues. My firm is pretty supportive of pro bono work, so I get to supplement my billable cases with projects about which I am truly passionate.

3) What do you not like about what you do? I hate the gamesmanship of litigation - opposing counsel who are difficult just for the sake of being difficult.

4) How many hours a week do you typically work?  It varies, but I usually end up billing about 2300-2400 a year so about 50 a week. That includes pro bono.

5) Do you have control over your hours?  On a daily basis, my schedule is flexible - I come and go as I please. As long as the work gets done, no one at my firm cares about "facetime."

6) Could you work less if you wanted to? Not with my current caseload or if I wanted to continue to advance at my firm (at this point I'm a fairly senior associate).

TVRodriguez

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Re: Lawyers - Share your career experiences?
« Reply #22 on: September 29, 2015, 10:15:11 PM »
Quote
I assume almost all of you have thought about going solo, or at least know somebody who has? So I'll ask, why have you chosen to work in a law firm instead? Can you share your friends' experiences? Is my attitude symptomatic of a "grass is greener" attitude, or is going solo really something I should pursue?

 And if I'm hijacking the thread, I'll start a new one. I just thought this career-specific thread was appropriate to post in. Thanks guys.

Readysetmillionaire, your game plan sounds good. When I went solo, I was told that you need three things to go out on your own:
1. Clients, at least a few, to give you something billable right away.
2. Cash, too tide you over till you get regular pay
3. Contacts, too help get more clients.

Sounds like you are on track for all three.

Also, a logo is nice but not necessary, and a website is easy enough to do yourself. I have zero technical skills, and I made my own from a template. Super simple and cheap.

Finally, in case it's not obvious from my earlier reply, I think I have the best life as a solo. I've been at big firms and small firms, and this is the happiest I've been as an attorney (aside from clerking, which was easy and fun ).

ReadySetMillionaire

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Re: Lawyers - Share your career experiences?
« Reply #23 on: September 30, 2015, 07:14:08 AM »
Quote
I assume almost all of you have thought about going solo, or at least know somebody who has? So I'll ask, why have you chosen to work in a law firm instead? Can you share your friends' experiences? Is my attitude symptomatic of a "grass is greener" attitude, or is going solo really something I should pursue?

 And if I'm hijacking the thread, I'll start a new one. I just thought this career-specific thread was appropriate to post in. Thanks guys.

Readysetmillionaire, your game plan sounds good. When I went solo, I was told that you need three things to go out on your own:
1. Clients, at least a few, to give you something billable right away.
2. Cash, too tide you over till you get regular pay
3. Contacts, too help get more clients.

Sounds like you are on track for all three.

Also, a logo is nice but not necessary, and a website is easy enough to do yourself. I have zero technical skills, and I made my own from a template. Super simple and cheap.

Finally, in case it's not obvious from my earlier reply, I think I have the best life as a solo. I've been at big firms and small firms, and this is the happiest I've been as an attorney (aside from clerking, which was easy and fun ).
Thanks for the encouragement. I'm admittedly a bit concerned about the most obvious thing--getting clients--so if you could post or PM me any advice, I'd greatly appreciate it.

TVRodriguez

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Re: Lawyers - Share your career experiences?
« Reply #24 on: September 30, 2015, 12:44:59 PM »
Quote
I assume almost all of you have thought about going solo, or at least know somebody who has? So I'll ask, why have you chosen to work in a law firm instead? Can you share your friends' experiences? Is my attitude symptomatic of a "grass is greener" attitude, or is going solo really something I should pursue?

 And if I'm hijacking the thread, I'll start a new one. I just thought this career-specific thread was appropriate to post in. Thanks guys.

Readysetmillionaire, your game plan sounds good. When I went solo, I was told that you need three things to go out on your own:
1. Clients, at least a few, to give you something billable right away.
2. Cash, too tide you over till you get regular pay
3. Contacts, too help get more clients.

Sounds like you are on track for all three.

Also, a logo is nice but not necessary, and a website is easy enough to do yourself. I have zero technical skills, and I made my own from a template. Super simple and cheap.

Finally, in case it's not obvious from my earlier reply, I think I have the best life as a solo. I've been at big firms and small firms, and this is the happiest I've been as an attorney (aside from clerking, which was easy and fun ).
Thanks for the encouragement. I'm admittedly a bit concerned about the most obvious thing--getting clients--so if you could post or PM me any advice, I'd greatly appreciate it.

Ouch, I saw the typos I posted--awful.  That's what I get for posting from my phone . . .

The biggest things that have worked for me were playing to my strengths, finding a niche practice, being responsive, being optimistic, being impatient for profits, and not being afraid to send out my bills.  Oh, and keeping a low low overhead.  If you have more questions or want to move off thread, feel free to PM me.

cheddarpie

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Re: Lawyers - Share your career experiences?
« Reply #25 on: September 30, 2015, 07:58:55 PM »
1) What area of law do you practice?
Small firm in a niche practice (keeping this intentionally vague); previously at a mid-size firm in litigation.

2) What do you like about what you do?
Interesting work, flexible/autonomous work schedule, every once in a while I feel like I'm helping someone.

3) What do you not like about what you do?
The people I work with (small office drama and politics, big egos); desk time; crazy swings from super busy to completely bored - this was never the case at my old firm, which was steadily busy but never Biglaw insane.

4) How many hours a week do you typically work? 
It completely varies. Billable-wise, anywhere from 10-80. Last year I billed 2200 plus another 200+ unbillable; this year will be more like 1200/400. I would much rather be busy than bored, so this year has been hard.

5) Do you have control over your hours? 
Yes, to some extent. I'm not a partner and I can't say no to big projects, but as long as the work gets done I can do it when and how I want. This is a huge benefit of the firm where I am now.

6) Could you work less if you wanted to?
I don't know. My firm is one with "no rules," which means no policies in place to support alternative work schedules. I don't think an official part-time schedule would go over well, so I just make my own ad hoc.

totoro

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Re: Lawyers - Share your career experiences?
« Reply #26 on: September 30, 2015, 08:12:20 PM »
1) What area of law do you practice?  Niche.
2) What do you like about what you do?  Clients/social justice.
3) What do you not like about what you do?  High level of responsibility.
4) How many hours a week do you typically work?  20
5) Do you have control over your hours?  Yes.
6) Could you work less if you wanted to? Yes.


I earn a lot.  I own the firm and most of the net profit is retained in a holding corporation.  I'll be retiring (mostly) September 2016 after a total of 11 years of practice as a lawyer.  Not sure what will happen with the firm yet.  Still working on a transition plan.

Gizsuat2

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Re: Lawyers - Share your career experiences?
« Reply #27 on: September 30, 2015, 09:20:06 PM »
totoro -

Your answer is intriguing.  Feel comfortable sharing any further details on this mystical awesome gig you have set up for yourself?  And if not ... sure looks like you're living the good life!

hoodedfalcon

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Re: Lawyers - Share your career experiences?
« Reply #28 on: October 01, 2015, 07:36:16 AM »
totoro -

Your answer is intriguing.  Feel comfortable sharing any further details on this mystical awesome gig you have set up for yourself?  And if not ... sure looks like you're living the good life!

^^^ Yes! More information would be great, if you are willing to share. :)

totoro

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Re: Lawyers - Share your career experiences?
« Reply #29 on: October 01, 2015, 09:07:26 AM »
I've posted a bit about what I did here: http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/any-lawyer-mustachians-on-here/?topicseen

PM me if you have questions.

LouLou

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Re: Lawyers - Share your career experiences?
« Reply #30 on: October 01, 2015, 03:13:09 PM »
1) What area of law do you practice? Commercial litigation at a biglaw-ish firm (large for my region)
2) What do you like about what you do? I like that I'm always learning new things.  The attorneys at my firm are smart, hardworking, and genuinely pleasant to spend time with.  Plus, we have big clients and do sophisticated work.
3) What do you not like about what you do? Large document review projects, because they are boring. I have to do them from time to time because I'm junior.
4) How many hours a week do you typically work?  Varies greatly because of the nature of the specific niche that I am developing.  Overall, between 40 and 60 hours a week if we include non-billable tasks
5) Do you have control over your hours?  No. I do have control over when I'm physically in the office, which I love. I do push the boundaries more than all the other associates though. 
6) Could you work less if you wanted to? Yes, we have a part time partnership track.  At least one attorney has made partner while working part time.  It would be more advantageous to go part time later though. Several attorneys went part time after making partner.

I make about $120k a year in a LCOL area.

Quote
I assume almost all of you have thought about going solo, or at least know somebody who has? So I'll ask, why have you chosen to work in a law firm instead? Can you share your friends' experiences? Is my attitude symptomatic of a "grass is greener" attitude, or is going solo really something I should pursue?

My law firm gets me a big, steady pay check and access to smart attorneys who are invested in me. I also don't have to deal with any administrative stuff.  Plus, my firm is well know in this region and the fact that I work there reflects well on me.  I have identified what I want my long-term niche to be, and my firm will happily fund my development and marketing. Plus, I would not be able to attract my ideal clients on my own at this stage in the game.

After I have an expertise in my niche and a growing book of business, I will evaluate my options.  Staying at my firm (full time or part time) is a great option though.

peeps_be_peeping

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Re: Lawyers - Share your career experiences?
« Reply #31 on: October 01, 2015, 05:08:40 PM »
1) What area of law do you practice? I work for my state government doing mostly litigation but also giving advice to government agencies.
2) What do you like about what you do? Honestly, not too much. I have great co-irkers and the vacation is super sweet for the USA (5 weeks), but that's about it.
3) What do you not like about what you do? I dislike the boring subject matter, the soul-sucking attention to detail, the inconvenience of planning my life around trial and hearing dates, and having to deal with other lawyers.
4) How many hours a week do you typically work?  About 40-45 hours per week.
5) Do you have control over your hours?  Not really but it's not too bad.
6) Could you work less if you wanted to? No.
7) Compensation: $97,000 plus excellent benefits worth about $30,000 per year.

I'm going to quit in two weeks. :-D

OneCoolCat

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Re: Lawyers - Share your career experiences?
« Reply #32 on: October 01, 2015, 05:31:17 PM »
1) Litigation - Creditor's Rights (Foreclosure/Bankruptcy) in small firm
2) Job is pretty flexible about taking time off, hours arent too bad.  Get real litigation experience really fast
3) There is a lot of traveling.  Not uncommon to have an 8hr r/t commute for a single uncontested trial (defaulted defendants).  Not interesting work once so ever once you learn basic litigation.  Not very challenging.  Feel like there is very little advancement and very little left to learn from my co-workers in my current situation (1 year out of law school).
4) 50 (used to be higher but every case is the same so I can pull from old filings and be more efficient)
5) Not really
6) No
7) 70k

grantmeaname

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Re: Lawyers - Share your career experiences?
« Reply #33 on: October 02, 2015, 02:11:11 AM »
I've posted a bit about what I did here: http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/any-lawyer-mustachians-on-here/?topicseen

PM me if you have questions.
Not to be obnoxious, but could you link to the actual post you mean? I'm 100 in and still haven't found it.

TVRodriguez

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Re: Lawyers - Share your career experiences?
« Reply #34 on: October 02, 2015, 08:40:23 AM »
My law firm gets me a big, steady pay check and access to smart attorneys who are invested in me. I also don't have to deal with any administrative stuff.  Plus, my firm is well know in this region and the fact that I work there reflects well on me.  I have identified what I want my long-term niche to be, and my firm will happily fund my development and marketing. Plus, I would not be able to attract my ideal clients on my own at this stage in the game.

After I have an expertise in my niche and a growing book of business, I will evaluate my options.  Staying at my firm (full time or part time) is a great option though.

I went this route, and it worked for me.  I stayed at my biglaw firm for 7 years.  Got the steady paycheck, benefits, niche experience, networking, plus the biglaw name on my resume.  I got to be part-time there for several years (plus paid maternity leave three times--nice).  Now that I'm on my own, I find that dropping the biglaw name in my 20 second elevator speech helps people to realize that I have a brain and that I am not someone who hung out a shingle for lack of a job.

totoro

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Re: Lawyers - Share your career experiences?
« Reply #35 on: October 02, 2015, 08:41:42 AM »
I've posted a bit about what I did here: http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/any-lawyer-mustachians-on-here/?topicseen

PM me if you have questions.
Not to be obnoxious, but could you link to the actual post you mean? I'm 100 in and still haven't found it.

Well, I've worked in the profession for over ten years now.  I graduated with not too much debt because I had savings and got some scholarships and prices are a bit lower in Canada.  I believe my debt was repaid within the first year.  I know that some US lawyers have a much bigger burden when they graduate and I'm not sure I would have gone to law school had I been in the states.

I started at $65,000 per year working in a firm.  Left after two years and started my own practice working pt from home to be with my kids.  Last summer I  went ft.  I made over $300,000 last year.

I would highly recommend law if you are entrepreneurial.  Many lawyers are not so those that are can position themselves well using technology to lower overhead.  As for biglaw, it can be a good place to learn a niche skill set but I was never interested in it.  It always seemed like too much of a sacrifice of life energy to me.  I think having children brought that home early.

As for the LSAT, I do remember that I did some practice tests and my scores improved.  I'd say it was worth it to practice.

And you are welcome to PM me if you would like more information.