{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "Other than higher pay (I didn’t become a lawyer to get rich 🤣) what is the benefit of working for BigLaw, or private practice in general? As a government lawyer, I make 6 figures, have excellent benefits, no billable hours requirements, more time off than I know what to do with (including mental health days), a pension, a 401(K), option to chose whether to WFH or not, no weekend work, no working before 8am or after 5pm. It seems like so many lawyers in private practice are unhappy.", "post_id": "626ada7fa0e87100331fe391", "reply_count": 230, "vote_count": 52, "bowl_id": "552d1d24dc1c586b09d2d052", "bowl_name": "Law", "feed_type": "crowd" }
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Other than higher pay (I didn’t become a lawyer to get rich 🤣) what is the benefit of working for BigLaw, or private practice in general? As a government lawyer, I make 6 figures, have excellent benefits, no billable hours requirements, more time off than I know what to do with (including mental health days), a pension, a 401(K), option to chose whether to WFH or not, no weekend work, no working before 8am or after 5pm. It seems like so many lawyers in private practice are unhappy.

likefunnyhelpful
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I tripped and fell into biglaw. I originally worked in healthcare and my employer literally forced me to go to law school. If it were up to me, I would still work in a hospital.

Regarding the socioeconomic comments, I’m a first generation American. My brother and I are both first generation college grads and lawyers. He graduated law school in 2013, and I graduated in 2015.

My brother worked in Congress after college and returned when he graduated from law school. He worked on the Hill until he transitioned to the Administration when Biden was elected. That said, he has always had an incredible calling for public service because our parents are immigrants and because they grew up in poverty.

What’s crazy to me is that he made like $75-85 from 2013 to 2021 while living in DC! It wasn’t until he changed branches that he started making lawyer money (>$150).

When he worked in Congress his hours were insane and his bosses (the members) were all insane and abusive. Elections made his life less predictable. All of that, and he still had a satisfying experience. So much so, that he says he misses working on the hill, despite the pay difference.

Meanwhile, I went to a mid size national firm immediately after the bar making what he makes now. I recently lateraled to an AmLaw100 firm that feels a lot like a mid size firm, except it feels like working for a big company. My work ensures that patients receive safe and quality health care in hospitals. As a Catholic, I believe this is God’s plan for my life.

Overall, I think my brother has it better. He’s been able to get married and buy a house. I’ve let my work destroy my personal life. I’m single, live alone, don’t have any friends, and have been WFH since 3/16/20. Basically, I’m completely alone with my biglaw salary. Yay!

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Late to the party but wanted to share my perspective - I have had a super untraditional legal path. Was lucky to not have loans and wanted to pursue a career in public interest civil rights law (which is why I went to law school in the first place), so I worked for the government and then a somewhat civil rights oriented law firm for the first few years post law school.

I then decided to go into biglaw because I wasn’t making enough to save and invest in my family’s future and wouldn’t have been able to accomplish some of my goals like buy a house, etc. (which I’ve been able to do after 3 years in biglaw).

I was skeptical of biglaw my entire career up until the time I joined a biglaw firm and I still have a lot of criticisms of it but, money aside, there is no question it made me a MUCH better thinker and lawyer than I would have been if I had stayed at my small firm and in government. It’s the amount of resources available and the fact that I get to interact with so many different incredibly smart lawyers and specialists on a daily basis. The quality of lawyers in the public interest positions was also great (a lot of people were super well credentialed and well qualified) but I felt that resources were stretched and I found myself doing a ton of administrative non legal work that I don’t have to do now.

I also think that yes capitalism sucks but the fact that the pace is much much faster in biglaw has helped me work better under pressure and has forced me to learn a lot more much quicker than in my previous jobs.

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This !!

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It really seems like you made this post to boast about yourself and potentially even to try to make big law attorneys feel bad? There’s nothing wrong with being motivated by money or prestige. Frankly half the time we hear about some groundbreaking social initiative case, there was a biglaw attorney behind that doing it as pro bono. A lot of biglaw attorneys are in it just so they can pay off massive amount of debt, so that they can support their families, and often because they grew up in poverty themselves and don’t want their families to experience that (seriously seems like 1/2 biglaw attorneys I know grew up in houses where they were food scared at least once).

So it sounds like you have a good gig for what you’re looking for in your life.

likesmarthelpfuluplifting

Why the dismissive tone OP?

Yes some of us need to make more than $100-150k to pay off debts and lift our families (not just ourselves) out of poverty.

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Financial freedom goes above meeting immediate family needs. Double Big Law household, both under 40, combined income close to $1M. We both enjoy the complex nature of the work, but both coming from low to middle income homes, we are maximizing the opportunity to skip a generation of wealth building and give our children an astronomically better life than either of us had growing up.

It's really about working for our kids and hopefully grandkids. Generational wealth has to start somewhere. I don't look down on government attorneys by any means but the original post was really demeaning to those of us who ARE working very hard in exchange for potentially generation-changing money. I think that is a pretty good reason to stay practicing at this level.

likesmartuplifting

There are government attorneys who aren’t happy working 8-5 just as there are big law attorneys who aren’t happy working crazy hours. I have friends in both government jobs and big law jobs that are unhappy. Just keep that in mind.

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This thread in a nutshell:

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funnylike

A19 crying 😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂🤣🤣😂🤣🤣🤣🤣😂😂😂😂😂

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Substantive training, trial by fire, better exit ops, money.

likesmart

Ok. “Six figures” covers everything from $100,000 to $999,999. I cannot make ends meet in a major metropolitan area at $100,000. Cool if you can, but don’t minimize the differential in your post.

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Humble brag but not great at hiding it. This post is toxic and patronizing af. What was the point here really? If you like it, then stay. Wouldn’t we all want to make the big bucks and leave by 5?

likesmart

She just said $150K is more than enough for everyone to live off (😆) for the sole reason that’s her financial position. You can’t reason with those who can’t even imagine circumstances outside their own exact life experience.

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Honestly, this sounds like a “I like my job better than yours, you folks are crazy, but I want to phrase it as something other than that” post.

The reality is that people take jobs for lots of different reasons. Money, prestige, intellectual stimulation, expectations of others, and the list goes on.

It sounds like you have a gig that gives you the things that you want. Asking others why they’ve chosen to take jobs that give them the things they seek and then explaining why those things aren’t important to you seems like a silly exercise.

likesmart

“My home is in the courtroom” 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣 sorry this just funny 2 me

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I made over $500k last year as an associate that took 6 months maternity leave.

likesmart

All of us trying to find a job where A13 works like 👀👀👀

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I’m confused do you not have student loans? I pay 3k a month just in loans to have them paid off in FIVE YEARS. I couldn’t do that on a non-big law salary while also putting money in retirement and savings and also have enough left over for rent and food, not to mention trying to save enough for a down payment on a house? You say you have kids, are you able to save up for college as well? I know I wouldn’t be able to but if you’re doing all the things you want to do then that’s fine! I love that you’re happy! It’s not nice to put ppl down for their choices, we’re not all greedy monsters it’s just that if I want to upgrade from my 700 sq ft apartment to buying a house that’s 1300 sq ft in my neighborhood its like 1mil so like what the hell else am I supposed to do haha

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Between PSLF and employer benefitted student loan payment reimbursement, I’m set to only repay about 20k of my student loan debt out of my own pocket. Doing 10 years public service, racking up as many trials as I can, and then getting out and going private.

If you’re content with the money, then you’re not missing out on anything. Biglaw is about money. If you don’t care about making multiples of your current salary, you’re golden!

likesmart

Doesn’t seem like it’s worth it for you, which is great! It’s worth it for other people, which is also great!

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Why do you need to one up everyone on the thread? You’re happy in govt, plenty of people wouldn’t. What’s the big accomplishment us private lawyers aren’t reaching?

likesmart

At the end of the day, you’re in Arizona so probably not leaving that much money on the table in private practice anyway.

likefunnysmart

Luxuries: A vacation house; a watch collection; a car(s) you can’t drive anywhere near its limits; private school tuition

likefunny

A big law atty can take a mental health day - assuming there’s no pressing unmet deadline. They just have to make up their hours later if they want that bonus. Works for me!

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Working with smart, competent people on the most complex, newsworthy matters. The working with smart, competent people piece cannot be overstated because I have experienced the opposite when I had a stint in the government and it was horrific.

likesmart

Partner 2, um, the most incompetent attorneys I’ve ever seen were ones from a BL firm in Chicago. They appear pro hac vice on a criminal case and it was cringe-inducing how incompetent they were. They didn’t even know the significant differences in civil and criminal procedure. They though BRD was the standard for a preliminary hearing 😂🤣😂🤣

I make six figures working part-time in big law, and I think the staff we have is better than government staff. My husband makes seven figures working in big law. He doesn’t work that many hours, because he’s a rainmaker who has a lot of attorneys working on his cases and gets a portion of everything they bill. Big law has worked out really well for us. But you do you.

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A8 you and your husband are goals!! 🙌

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Confused. You mention BL in the post but it looks like you have been interviewing at/offered posts at private firms that are not necessarily BL (AmLaw 100/200, V50). There is a huge pay disparity in private vs biglaw. Plus I just don’t think you appreciate the pay differential in major markets vs non (BL attorneys in non-major markets, even within the same firm do not make major market salaries. Including Phoenix as non major). In order to maintain the same life you have based on $150k in Phoenix you’d have to make $385k in Manhattan. Therefore in some places people are forced to work for literally triple your salary just to make ends meet. It seems to me that you don’t appreciate how your blanket statements seem our of touch.

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Is DLA Piper not considered Big Law? Perkins Coie? RCA? I’m legitimately asking because I don’t know. You people seem to assume that I know a whole lot about BL and I just don’t. Most of what I know is from people I went to law school with, whatever is on the internet at any given point in time and and memes. That’s why I asked the question.

likefunny

Sounds like you feel insecure about not being in BigLaw and are just trying to convince yourself it’s okay you couldn’t make it in. People who are happy with their life usually don’t post stuff like this.

likesmart

It’s obvious OP applied to a few big firms, got no interviews and is looking for a reason to not want it anymore.

like

God this thread went off the rails 😈

likeuplifting

And it’s early!

And people say biglaw attorneys have big egos... OP, you need an attitude check

likesmart

You touched a nerve for some of these folks 😂. I’ve often wondered the same and I guess the only thing besides money is people wouldn’t look down on me for defending “bad” people. I’d rather have a go at the government any day.

likefunny

SC1 THE PART ABOUT CONVINCING 12 PEOPLE TOO DUMB TO GET OUT OF JURY DUTY. I feel seen.

funny

OP is a weirdo

likesmart

Thanks OP!!! You’re still a weirdo 🤷🏻‍♀️

likefunny

This post did not go as OP planned lol. She was looking for cookies but got crap instead

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Literally just send me jail, I don’t want OP touching my case

likefunny

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How do you improve your UX skills?

likeupliftinghelpful

I have slept incredibly hard the last two nights. I am thankful for a two week break. It is long overdue. Take some time for you this break. Get outside. Go hiking or skiing. Get refreshed. Talk to you all in 2022!

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likeupliftingsmart

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