Q&A: Recent Law School Graduate at a T30

T30Graduate's picture
Rank: Monkey | 61

I forwarded WSO to a friend looking to switch industries and decided to search its consensus on the legal profession. Even with the naysayers carrying the day, there is still too much positivity. I would know, I left a career with upward mobility, entree to the M7, skill building, networking, and strong undergraduate credentials for a top 30 law school. No one I've met with anything "going on" career wise after undergraduate days would still choose to pursue a JD (this includes Yale, Harvard, and Stanford with the exception of a handful of litigators, see below). The only ones very happy with the decision in retrospect had a bogus undergraduate degree (BA in humanities from satellite non-flagship state U), a menial job, and preexisting debt such that a Hail Mary for corporate law had to pan out for solvency.

For anybody at any stage of life considering law school, please feel free to ask any question and expect strong pushback if you are considering the plunge. My most important advice is as follows:

  1. Only go if you are certain you want to be a litigator and have spent several months shadowing a litigator (do not work as a paralegal, this will pigeon hole your resume). If this is done, remain skeptical and understand what it took for the litigator to achieve his or her position in the industry and the opportunity cost it entailed. Also understand that what litigators at big law firms do is nothing like its portrayal in the media and is nothing like what small firms do (actually go to court).
  2. Only go to a T13 for at least half tuition off or a T50 in your hometown for free. Any more debt than this and you've lost 3 years of law school plus 4-6 years of poverty post-grad minimum. With the pandemic and structural changes, the bottom half of the T13 is still a big gamble.
  3. Do not begin law school past age 26. You do not want to start your career in your 30s and drain whatever saving you may have. Building a nest egg is much more difficult with the JD path.
  4. Do not count on more than a handful of years in big law. Expect a major pay cut and change in practice area.

AMA.

Comments (83)

May 28, 2020

This is all correct. Law school generally is not a good choice unless you want to be a litigator. Even if you want to do something where legal analysis is heavy (distressed investing), you can learn it on the job, I know plenty of non-lawyers who understand legal docs better than lawyers. And also the practice of law is dying... plus there are a slew of companies working on AI solutions to things like doc review, diligence, and minor contract negotiation. Not a great place to be.

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May 28, 2020

didn't know distressed investing required a lot a legal understanding. thanks

Array

May 29, 2020

Talked to a VP on the buyside in that space who said it 100% does (he was never a lawyer for those interested). What happens in bankruptcy court determines what route the company has to take to return to profitability and how much a corporation has to give to creditors and on and on. The obligations a company has to fulfill to reorganize in Chapter 11 bankruptcy are set by different court appointed committees representing creditors and shareholders. and then confirmed by the court itself. If a plan can't get through those hoops, the company will go into Chapter 7 bankruptcy where a court appointed trustee just liquidates the company's assets and uses all the proceeds to pay off creditors. Figuring out the likely results of this complex process for X company is obviously really valuable as an distressed investor. If anyone would want to elaborate/correct, that would be great as I imagine my explanation was very simplified.

Array

May 29, 2020
distressedlawyer:

the practice of law is dying

what do you mean by this?

Jun 2, 2020

I think there is a real serious bifurcation in the market - you have the mega biglaw firms who are highly specialized and handle top-flight transactions. But jobs at those firms are limited, and there is increasing pressure from clients to not pay for junior associate training. Then you have everyone else, smaller and midsize firms. You can make a living at those firms, but not after borrowing >$200k for school. Add to that the fact that there are increasingly more companies that are using tech solutions (AI, natural language processing, etc.) or outsourcing for things like doc review, due diligence, etc. And there is increasingly a call to have non-lawyer owned firms, you might see that coming. Firms also tend to be stingier with partnerships than they used to be. Add that up and I don't think that you can look at law as a real path to moderate wealth anymore.

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Jun 4, 2020

The field has shrunk a bit since the dot com bubble while the rest of the economy has roared forward. Arbitration, offshoring, AI, ridiculous ABA regs, and the oversupply of lawyers (most of whom hold six figure non dischargable debt loads upon graduation) have ruined what was a more stable industry.

May 30, 2020

I also feel like this is true because your non-law distressed folks will look at legal docs with a much more objective perspective and having a goal in mind where I've seen some law guys in that area getting caught up in the minutiae of the wording etc and not step back to see the broader objecting or actual agreement point

Jun 4, 2020

Yes. And the business side will try to avoid the mind numbing minutiae of much of corporate practice whenever possible. It can be unbearable.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
May 28, 2020

Thanks for this write up. I'm an A1 in IB and was considering going for T14 -> transactional / capital markets law as recently as this week. These were my major concerns to a tee, so it's great to see that I wasn't off the mark in deciding not to pursue it.

Out of curiosity though, what portion of law students do you see with an IB background? Do they have a significant edge recruiting for big law? Seemed to be the only thing I couldn't find in my own research.

May 31, 2020

Sorry, I had trouble getting into my account. At most low single digits percentage wise. It is generally a sad case, almost all regret it.

May 31, 2020

No edge in recruiting that I've noticed. Firms don't care about your prior experience. It is all your grades, rank, and whether you can avoid offending anyone (a low social threshold).

Jun 2, 2020

Lawyers all think they are smarter than bankers, and vice versa. But I would argue that a midlevel lev fin banker knows more about legal docs than a midlevel lawyer knows about the economics behind a deal.

  • Analyst 1 in Other
May 28, 2020

Although law is still a very lucrative profession right? Used to see a girl who went to a top 5 law school. I think her starting salary was $140K. That was why she pursued law school, and could be why many people still do. Unless I'm mistaken and the demand is deteriorating or has gone down a lot, which could be the case. Not familiar with this field.

  • Prospect in Other
May 28, 2020

High salaries, yes. Starting biglaw is around $200k.

This is balanced by six figure debt

May 30, 2020

And that is achieved by a very small minority of law grads. And it's more like 150. But again only by a minority.

May 30, 2020

Not necessarily. Law is case study in bimodal distribution (like the letter M for those who skipped stats class). Your starting salary is either $60k or $150-160k p.a. 95% of law grads will start at $60k p.a. The top half of the class at H/Y/S start at $150k in big law. The top 10%-20% of the rest of the tier 1 schools do start at the same. But what about the bottom half of H/Y/S and the rest of the 80% of the tier 1? Good luck to you.

Now, I am sure many of you can throw out counter examples but that's all they are. Singular counterexamples of N=1 or N=2. Singular examples don't speak for the norm.

So let me throw out a singular (and hence meaningless) example. My college roommate is a good case study. Great undergrad, Northwestern for law. Middle of the pack in law school. $60k p.a. as a litigator. May as well not have gotten a JD.

So when I see things like "law is still a very lucrative profession right?" it sends shivers down my spine. I've heard that fallacy, and I know the odds aren't great.

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May 30, 2020

Thank you sir. AFAIK Northwestern law is a top school right? $60K...there are better alternatives. That's roughly the salary of an entry-level auditor/accountant.

May 30, 2020

lol the starting salaries are a lot more than 150k. https://www.vault.com/best-companies-to-work-for/l... there's not one firm that pays that low in a major market on this whole 100 firm list and way more than the top half of HYS get to these firms.If your friend is earning 60k out of northwestern not by choice then he's doing something wrong. Here's the placement stats: http://www.law.northwestern.edu/professional-life/...
232 students, 135 went to biglaw (95% of the law firms with 500+ attorneys are biglaw), 16 got federal clerkships
That means that at the very least 151/232 students are doing very very well for themselves. Biglaw has very real downsides but this post is inaccurately pessimistic. .

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  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
May 30, 2020

What you fail to clarify is that not all law students want biglaw. It is categorically false to say that if you are in bottom half of H/Y/S that you're essentially SOL for a big law job. Absolutely false. For starters, almost 60% of Yale students don't go into big law, they go into clerkships or public interest work where the salary is lower but the prestige and work overall is still increidbley interesting to them. Additionally, it's far fetched to state that for those students that follow that path that law school was a waste for them. Big Law is absolutely doable at a t6 school and very doable between t6-t14. What your statement would be better focused on is those schools that aren't t14 - that's where your job opportunities are minimized and it becomes a question of should that person attend law school or not. The point is that for many law school isn't about big law and making obscene money but for those that attend a top school and do well they can do get the top salaries.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
May 31, 2020

Why post completely inaccurate information when it takes literally 2 seconds to verify what you're about to say is wrong? What happened to thinking before speaking?

It should be goddamn obvious that "only 50%" of HLS grads get BigLaw is an utterly asinine claim to basically anyone. Genuinely amazes me when people who have 0 idea what they're talking about come out of the woodworks so confidently with stuff like this.

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May 28, 2020

Interesting. So the implication is do not go to law school for corporate law?

Jun 4, 2020

Almost never.

Most Helpful
  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
May 28, 2020

I think your experience may have been shaded by going to a bad law school ("top 30" ie, not HYS or CCN). Unlike undergrad, and much like bschool, there are really only a handful of law schools worth going to. If your intent was to point out that its not worth it to not got to a T6 law school, that's old news. On the other hand, the opportunities offered with a law degree from HYS will more than cover your student debts and launch a successful career in litigation for you. If you attend a t6 law school and want to go to biglaw, you will literally have a job fall in your lap. That's a 200k job in your first year out. That said, people have different reasons for going to law school. You saying that its not worth it to go to HYS law school unless you go to biglaw is straight up dumb. Each year hundreds of students at top law schools (and a very good chunk of the best ones) pursue federal clerkships. Some of them will stay in the public sector; others will move onto other careers. To call their decision dumb is analogous to calling someone who went to HBS/GSB and went into the nonprofit or social impact space dumb. Sure they won't pay off their student debt as fast, but the sheer number of HYS law grads occupying the most influential congressional, executive, and judicial roles in this country should paint a very clear picture of the possibilities and aspirations of many law students. Not everything's about making a few more thousand when you're 25, but hey, guess its a by product of the site we're on.

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  • Associate 1 in IB - Ind
May 30, 2020

This is especially true at YLS. Took some classes there and a lot of the students there want to clerk for a judge / work in policy spaces as opposed to big law, which I think it's more popular at HLS

  • Prospect in Other
May 30, 2020

Right. Many top schools also have some sort of loan forgiveness/payment plans if you do public service and make below a certain income

May 30, 2020

It'd be great to be on the Supreme Court.
But you'll never be on the Supreme Court.
There's truly no chance of that happening.
Don't be a lawyer.

  • My Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Don't Be A Lawyer
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Jun 4, 2020

YLS grads ten years out will make significantly less than a Tuck graduate, let alone an M7 alum and they will do less interesting work (clerkship end on year in and people use them to advance a corporate litigation career, good luck on policy, even YLS students struggle for those with MPP/MPA grads having a better credential). Go to YLS and you'll know far more classmates making under 100 than over 300

May 31, 2020

About half my class entered big law at a T30, we did well regionally. My outcome would've been the same at a T6, maybe a slightly better firm. All of that doesn't matter because nearly no one makes it past six years, and less than half make it to 4-5 years at a firm.

If you go to Harvard Yale etc, you will know more people ten years out making sub 100k in in house positions than anyone making over 350. Harvard is a big school, at most two of your classmates will have those unicorn judicial/executive positions.

May 31, 2020

Same can be said for finance too. Only a few people from your analyst class will be making the big bucks 20 years down the line. Everyone else will be enjoying a cushy $200-300K job in Corporate.

Will update my computer soon and leave Incognito so I will disappear forever. How did I achieve Neanderthal by trolling? Some people are after me so need to close account for safety.

  • VP in S&T - FI
May 28, 2020

I know several current and former biglaw attorneys and there seems to be a pretty decent playbook that most of them followed. Also everyone I know started law school a max 2 years out of undergrad and most of them knew they were going to law school/wanted to be a lawyer but had some sort of non-profit/public sector work they wanted to try first.

  1. Go to a top 15 school, whichever one gives you the most money. I had friends go to schools in the 10-15 range over Harvard based on $$ and all of them got the most competitive jobs. Also there seemed to be a certain regional element so don't go to a school on one coast if you want to work on the other.
  2. Do internships during the summer, you are going to have your pick of internships. Most people I know paid whatever they borrowed for school with internship earnings. General logic is with a decent scholarship and good internships you should be able to leave debt free.
  3. Most people leave biglaw after 3-5 years. The lifestyle sucks and you start to get hit up by headhunters for job opportunities during year 3 and you start getting the good job opportunities/converting interviews during year 4 (yes you take a paycut but you get your life back and you are still making a very nice living). If you need the $$ they will generally let you stay even if you are not going to make partner to year 8, generally by year 4 or 5 you have a pretty good idea what your chances are. Most people I know have left for corporate jobs in the sector that they covered but some leave for smaller firms where they can make partner and are not expected to bill as many hours to stay there.

The work is totally different and it takes a different set of skills to succeed as a lawyer vs finance. Most lawyers I know have no interest in working in finance and vice versa. I am in no way advocating for a career in law but it is not as awful as people are making it out to be if done right.

Bonus Perk- Most larger law firms also have access to pretty much any event you want to go to, and they usually let the junior people take their friends and call it "client development". These places are all private firms so nobody really pays attention to expenses. If you can get away from your desk its a pretty nice perk.

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Jun 4, 2020

Lawyers aren't interested in finance because they have a fear of numbers and think they need calculus to run a DCF. The misinformation is rampant. Most lawyers now have far worse undergrad credentials than 10 years ago. Ivy League alums don't enter law at the same rate they used to.

Those exit ops in law are not ideal. Again, a 24 year old analyst has better prospects and they didn't enter into grad school debt, spend their 20s in a classroom

May 29, 2020

Lawyer by trade here, and have to say that the OP is way too doom-and-gloom. I know lots of happy lawyers leading happy lives who find fulfillment in their work and get paid well. I actually really enjoyed my time working at a big law firm. A big factor is not going to a crappy law school and taking on way too much debt for your likely job opportunities. Also, I worked as a barrister and would never wish being a litigator on anyone :) Putting out fires for a living would make anyone miserable.

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May 29, 2020

Seems like you have a European bent though. May be different in the states...

May 29, 2020

Split between Canadian and American. I agree that the American legal system is a lot more stratified - you have a lot of shitty law schools pumping in way too many law grads, so the competition for well-paying jobs is fierce, and many people end up taking shitty, low-paying jobs or sweatshop, high-paying jobs that they didn't really want to do but had to accept in order to pay off debt. Canada only has about 13 law schools for 40 million people, so the equivalent in the US would be about 100-120 law schools - but I believe the US actually has about 300 law schools, so you can see where the over-saturation comes from.

I don't want to take away from the OP, because his experience is his experience, but I do suggest that people here take negative comments from lawyers with a grain of salt - most lawyers are here because they were unhappy with their jobs and wanted to switch to finance. The happy lawyers are practicing law and not spending their time on WSO.

May 31, 2020

You said barrister. You are probably not an American. The legal profession varies by country significantly.

May 31, 2020

I'm a dual Canadian-American citizen, having worked in both. Attorneys in America are considered both barristers and solicitors, and I did all "barrister-type" or "solicitor-type" work in America, i.e. non-litigator

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Ind
May 29, 2020

What does lifestyle look like at a big law firm? (in comparison to IB)

What's the typical career progression and payscale?

Also - are there opportunities in finance/life that a JD/MBA can open up that a traditional undergrad finance degree/MBA couldn't open?

Is it true that your LSAT score basically determines what law school you go to? ie if I had a 99th percentile LSAT score, and no other previous law experience (previous IB experience at name brand firm only), I would have a shot at a top school?

Does Harvard Law give scholarships on merit? I know they didn't for undergrad so just curious

Thanks!

May 29, 2020

My responses below

What does lifestyle look like at a big law firm? (in comparison to IB)

Depends on practice group. The day-to-day life of a lawyer varies greatly between different practice areas at the same firm e.g., M&A, securities, banking, real estate, tax, wills and estates, insolvency, litigation, etc. You're probably thinking of an M&A or securities lawyer if you're comparing to IB. The hours can be intense during deal times, but in general, lawyers work less than their banking counterparts, although both of them never shut the fuck up about how hard they have to work :)

What's the typical career progression and payscale?

At large firms, the salary scale for associates is currently:
1st Year $190,000
2nd Year $200,000
3rd Year $220,000
4th Year $255,000
5th Year $280,000
6th Year $305,000
7th Year $325,000
8th Year $345,000

Bonuses vary at different firms and around the 8th year is when you're up for partnership. If you make it, you get a percentage of the firm's profits (or at least a bump in salary if you get made non-equity partner first). If you don't make it, you usually take a job with a lower salary and less hours as a lawyer at a smaller firm, in-house counsel for a company, or a government lawyer. Or you lateral to a competitor and they make you partner after a test run of 1-2 years. It's generally an up-or-out model, although "counsel" positions are becoming more common (i.e., seniors lawyers who have no ability or desire to do business development and become partner, but can still provide the firm with valuable legal expertise)

Also - are there opportunities in finance/life that a JD/MBA can open up that a traditional undergrad finance degree/MBA couldn't open?

Probably, but not very many. MBAs should be used to switch careers by capitalizing on the networking opportunities and employers visiting campus. Doing a JD at the same time is a waste of one of the degrees IMO.

Is it true that your LSAT score basically determines what law school you go to? ie if I had a 99th percentile LSAT score, and no other previous law experience (previous IB experience at name brand firm only), I would have a shot at a top school?

Yes. Most law schools place a ton of weight on your undergrad GPA and LSAT. Some will pay lip service to other experiences, but if you have a good GPA and a killer LSAT, you'll probably get into most of the top law schools. Nobody cares about your previous work experience unless it's something really unique.

Does Harvard Law give scholarships on merit? I know they didn't for undergrad so just curious

Not sure

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  • Analyst 1 in IB - Ind
May 31, 2020

Awesome response, thank you!

May 29, 2020

Harvard, Yale, and Stanford do not give merit scholarships. The highest law schools that give merit scholarships are Columbia and Uchicago. Below those schools, it is a lot easier to get significant merit but anything huge in the top 8 schools or so still requires you to be at the very top of candidates. Here are profiles of people who got a full tuition+room and board merit scholarship to uchicago law school: https://www.law.uchicago.edu/news/inside-minds-rub...

Array

May 31, 2020

What does lifestyle look like at a big law firm? (in comparison to IB)
- slightly better, not by much
What's the typical career progression and payscale?
- forced out of big law by year four to make 90-110k in house. Probably fired during your employer's merger with another company and your spouse pays off the rest of the mortgage by going back to work at age 50.
Also - are there opportunities in finance/life that a JD/MBA can open up that a traditional undergrad finance degree/MBA couldn't open?
- No. you'll scare off both law firm and business employers who don't think you're committed to them.

Is it true that your LSAT score basically determines what law school you go to? ie if I had a 99th percentile LSAT score, and no other previous law experience (previous IB experience at name brand firm only), I would have a shot at a top school?

Jun 2, 2020

My worst weeks as a junior associate at a top 10 law firm in finance were >120 hours. But that was fairly rare. More common in my experience were 60-80 hour weeks, but the actual time you worked was very variable - you get the call from the bankers after they've been working on something Friday night, and have to draft docs for a Sunday morning call, that sort of thing.

May 29, 2020

I know a lot of lawyers from family, neighbors etc. The entry level route to big law requires you to go to a T14 law school unless you are at the very top of your class at a lower law school (going to a T30 for very little money is alright too). That may sound bad but getting into a T14 law school is seriously not that hard. There are too many law schools in this country in general so I don't have much sympathy for people who paid 300k to go to the #30 law school and didn't get big law or people who went to the #120 law school and are upset they are making 50k. The people in the latter bracket aren't suited to be lawyers and have contributed to the legal career's bad rep as of late. To give you an idea, getting into Cornell Law School (#13) has a median GPA of 3.77 and LSAT of 167/180. You can take the easiest major and go to the shittiest undergrad and you'll likely get in with those stats. They don't care very much about your undergrad or major as only GPA and LSAT affect their rankings. 80% admits get somewhat substantial merit scholarships and upper 50% of the class will get some sort of big law where you are making at least 190k first year (and 40-45k SA summer) in a major metro. Just look at Vault examples: https://www.vault.com/best-companies-to-work-for/l...
95% of the top 100 law firms offer what I described. Are there 100 investment banks worth working at?

Now it is important to talk about the bad parts of biglaw. Work as a junior is just as draining and mind numbing as IB frequently even in litigation. There are many who burnout and I know there were a lot of people who got fired in 2008. Those who really burnout frequently move to some unrelated government jobs where they make 115k. Those who stick it out can move inhouse to an F500 where you can make at least the same as in corp dev and work legitimately 40 hrs/week. At the senior level, biglaw is all about bringing in business in a way that can be similar to IB. You can bounce around firms if you come across well. Dad's friend went to a T40 law school worked for the govt for many years and then left to private sector. Couldn't bring in good enough business and kept bouncing around lower middle market firms until he just got hired as a partner at a T100 firm that subsequently combined with another T100 and then suddenly his practice area (restructuring) became very hot after a decades long downturn with the current crisis. Partners pay is very variable as it encompasses both non equity and equity brackets. Non equity partners are more like VPs and directors in IB and make 500k+. Equity partners at a T100 firm make anywhere from 800k to 10 million at the very high end. Data that can give you some idea is profit per partner for each firm: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_largest_Unit...
It's also key for me to not make it seem like biglaw is the only option. First , law delves into our society in a ton of ways that finance doesn't. There are so many different types of fascinating work at the government. Top graduates commonly do clerkships after law school for a federal judge. If you're into litigation or apellate work, a number of different government jobs can be much better for your career to start in than big law. It's also much easier to start your own little firm/work for yourself and be successful compared to finance. The most successful litigators are those in small firms representing their clients on contingency. That means they make nothing if they lose and make a shitton if they win. That model obviously has a ton of risk and requires enormous skill but these are the attorneys who make the very most (at the very very top 20-30mil/yr). These cases usually involve some type of complex torts and lawyers are frequently representing "plaintiffs" against big corporates, government etc (it's not uncommon however for them to represent corporate v corp cases on contingency). There is controversy over the amount lawyers net if they win these cases especially with class action cases where the very large class of plaintiffs receives like $100 each. However, it all boils down to whether attorneys would take on these cases at very large risk without such a large potential payday. Many major changes have been made in society due to this type of litigation (ex. asbestos and mesothelioma).

I'll give some examples of different paths from personal knowledge. A relative worked at Skadden Arps at a senior level in securities litigation and then decided to quit to briefly be a prosecutor and then started his own practice as a federal public defender (which pays well unlike other public defenders) and criminal defense attorney. The friend I mentioned before this paragraph was a top 3 candidate to be a federal bankruptcy judge in the NE where you can retire at 65 with retirement benefits being you receive the same nearly 200k salary for the rest of your life. He isn't one of the top bankruptcy attorneys out there to give you an idea. Another friend works on his own doing restructuring related litigation and works out of his house for everything except client meetings. He bills 600 an hour.

My dad started out briefly in bankruptcy law before getting fired and has been doing social security litigation on his own forever. It is tedious (you frequently have to appeal all the way to US district courts to win because of bureaucratic insanity) and can be boring but it earns you a riskless 100k a year at 40/hrs a week. Your clients don't have to have any money because you are payed a set contingency by the government if you win the case. If you become an administrative law judge in this area, you make 175k a year. You can do this type of law on your own in any place in the country with a law degree from any law school if you're decently intelligent. My uncle has a very generic law practice making 150k a year and has worked for himself his whole career. That's why I have very little sympathy for people making crappy wages in law as it's really not that hard to make a living. Things like document review which people here are talking about being automated used to be done by lawyers working for temp agencies in the basements of big law firms and they made 40k a year. It's pathetic that someone with a JD was even doing that kind of work and for that reason regulators have finally given permission for big law firms to outsource much of that work to India. Any legitimate legal work beyond the most menial stuff has very very little risk of being automated.

Edit: here are fascinating examples of a few of the most prominent plaintiffs attorneys including both the good, bad and controversial: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joe_Jamail https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melvin_Belli https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Scruggs https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Lerach https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/W._Mark_Lanier https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gary_J._Aguirre A very interesting area of US plaintiffs law for awhile now has involved cases against the Catholic Church for sexual abuse.

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May 29, 2020

Very solid post

May 30, 2020

Thanks!

Array

May 29, 2020

This seems a bit too rosy - especially considering the median salary for lawyers in the country is like $100K...

May 29, 2020

Law - especially in America - is very bi-modal. Incomes tend to clump around 2 modes - 1) the $60-100k range and the $200-300k+ range.

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May 31, 2020

It was too rosy in 1999, too rosy in 2019, and now, with the pandemic, utterly insane. The industry never recovered from 08 and it will be dealt her another unrecoverable blow.

  • Intern in IB-M&A
May 29, 2020

Have you ever used the my dad is a lawyer line?

May 30, 2020

Nope but I should lol

Array

May 30, 2020
May 30, 2020

Tucker Max wrote a good piece on the law profession in HuffPo.

Tucker Max's Article

My favorite section is the quotes he got from other practicing attorneys, which I will share below.

I would HIGHLY recommend that anyone who is thinking of law school spend a year as a paralegal or as some sort of staff at a law firm before going to law school. Enough so that you can see 1) what young attorneys have to do 2) hear how much they bitch about hating it and 3) dispel any notions about ANY law firm caring about their associates or being "family friendly". Because that is a damn expensive mistake to make if you find out you don't like the practice of law. I went to a very good, very expensive law school and started out at a big firm. I hated it. I have since moved on to a smaller firm, which I do like more. But in all honesty, if I could do it all over, I would not go at all. And if I wasn't staring 100k in student loans in the face, I would probably quit firm practice altogether.

I have worked as a paralegal in some form of legal (family, bond, litigation) for 14 years now. I have yet to meet an attorney who is satisfied with his lot in life. I am not saying everyone non-esquire is thrilled with theirs, just that on a whole, these are some of the saddest, most down-trodden people I have known in my life. Most of my best friends are attorneys so I hear first hand about the student loans they are STILL paying off at 38; the huge houses and Mercedes' they purchased well beyond their means to "keep up with the Joneses" (a.k.a. every other attorney in the firm); the misery that is their ongoing marriages; the ridiculous hours; ice cold dinners; the utter lack of originality in their conversations; etc., etc., etc. Listening to these woes sucks the energy out of me everytime they come up. The most common nugget I hear: "Why, God WHY did I choose this profession?"

Nobody ever told me that I would be keeping time sheets that require me to divide my days into six-minute increments. Nobody told me I would have to choose between doing it right and doing it on a budget. The words "the client is cost-sensitive" burn my ears. But the marketing shit is the worst. The push to bring in business and schmooze potential clients and "cross-sell" within the firm. It's worse at some firms than others, but it is absolute misery to me no matter how much or how little marketing I may be doing. I've been practicing for 10 years, most of that time in big firms, and I have yet to get used to the business side of things. So I suppose that would be my take on things: even if you are going to law school for all of the "right reasons," odds are you will spend a significant portion of your day as the used-car salesman from Hell whose boss is nickle and diming you to an early grave.

As I write this, it is 85 degrees, sunny, with a slight, cooling breeze coming from the West. The only reason I know this is that I took twenty minutes to run to get a sandwich to eat at my desk. I am sitting in a basement office which houses three of us, putting off research on state law fair debt collection vs. the Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the definition of a creditor to write this post. If that paragraph alone doesn't deter someone from law school, then I don't know what will.

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May 31, 2020

Correct, the billables and the need for them warp anyone's life. Firms are sad places full of divorce, drinking, and depression.

Jun 3, 2020

9/10. I only left a point off because, believe it or not, there are far more boring topics than debt collection. It is a dumpster fire.

May 30, 2020

If you don't mind me asking, which law school did you go to and which large firm did you work at?

I also worked as an attorney in big law and I actually quite enjoyed it. I'd even go as far as saying it was my favourite job (and I've held over a dozen).

Jun 1, 2020
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