Celebrating 10 years! 2007-2017

I can't fathom the idea of working at any one place 5+ years...

unless I was in charge. Anyone else agree? I feel that even vohod06/28/17
Does anyone share this sentiment? There's no doubt that l ejs201706/28/17
Well put. vohod06/28/17
No. There are tolerable jobs out there. They're usually foun e36m306/28/17
I currently work in a state government agency and most lawye wolfman06/28/17
True. I was discussing firms moreso. I keep applying to vohod06/28/17
I could see how this is true for firms. I was at mine for a sjlawyer06/28/17
I'm hoping to find a permanent job soon. Getting too old for fettywap06/28/17
JeffM makes a lot of sense on this point. Ultimately we will vohod06/28/17
Love my firm. Hate the billable hour. Will ultimately leav jd4hire06/28/17
I wouldn't even bother with partnership. You would become li vohod06/28/17
Why become partner only to walk away with trial experience? sjlawyer06/28/17
My firm is expanding into new markets and I'm doing well. I jd4hire06/28/17
Oh, then practicing law is the right career for you. Af patenttrollnj06/28/17
Not sure the meaning of the comment. My firm will make peop jd4hire06/28/17
"After 2-5 years, you'll be let go at any job (unless you ca karlfarbman06/28/17
Good point, not "at any" job. That was me being hyperbolic. patenttrollnj06/28/17
Its all good. Your approach is common. The other common appr vohod06/28/17
I'm 7 years in at a state court staff attorney job. I'll pro tacocheese06/28/17
vohod (Jun 28, 2017 - 12:17 am)

unless I was in charge. Anyone else agree? I feel that even 2 years is more than enough at most firms.

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ejs2017 (Jun 28, 2017 - 10:13 am)

Does anyone share this sentiment?

There's no doubt that law in particular is a demanding field. It's particularly tough for those who go in with unrealistic expectations, preconceived notions or, as in my case, no real-life concept of what to do with the J.D. once one obtains it and passes the bar. I know that I've made a number of job changes over the course of my career in an attempt to find what I felt was a satisfactory existence.

I've never been able to find the proverbial sweet spot between work-life balance, compensation, and a practice area that I felt strongly about. When I made what I thought was excellent money, the job sucked. When I've worked for firms with a good culture and that recognized that there is more to life than churning out billables, the money wasn't good and the area of practice was basically cookie-cutter insurance defense litigation.

I envy my friends and colleagues in the profession who have stuck with and have grown with a firm over the course of their career. They've obviously had their own share of down periods but they seem to be much better off for weathering whatever storms they encountered along the way rather than jumping ship to a new job in search of the ever-elusive greener pasture.

That's really the tragedy of the law degree. In like other disciplines like medicine that have more of a defined educational path, it's still too easy to get a law degree. As a consequence, too many people continue to resort to law school in an attempt to make up for mistakes made at the undergraduate level: "I graduated with an art history degree. I can't find a job. I'll go to law school."

Once they graduate the reaction more often than not is, "WTF do I do now?" Law was never was a panacea and is undoubtedly less so today with the high cost of education and the over-saturated job market.

In my case, I recognize why my career trajectory has been fraught with hits and misses. I'm good at what I do but the passion has never been there. I realize that this is because I didn't know what I wanted when I started law school and years later I still don't know. The problem isn't "law" or "the job" as much as it is simply me.

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vohod (Jun 28, 2017 - 12:43 pm)

Well put.

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e36m3 (Jun 28, 2017 - 12:57 am)

No. There are tolerable jobs out there. They're usually found thru word of mouth or reputation and not an open cattle call. Do good work, be respectful, and you're bound to run into a decent, tolerable job. Good luck.

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wolfman (Jun 28, 2017 - 1:12 am)

I currently work in a state government agency and most lawyers here have been working for the agency for at least that long and a smalller group who came in recently definitely sound like they plan to stick around for at least that long... but then it's not a firm... folks retire after a decade plus or even decades here all the time.

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vohod (Jun 28, 2017 - 8:44 am)

True. I was discussing firms moreso.

I keep applying to every non-attorney state job relevant to me. Over the decades plus I will do this maybe I will get a few interviews and an offer.

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sjlawyer (Jun 28, 2017 - 8:58 am)

I could see how this is true for firms. I was at mine for about 3 years before I took a local gov't job. I know a guy I graduated with who is on his 4th firm in 4 years. Seems like a poor career choice, IMHO.

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fettywap (Jun 28, 2017 - 9:24 am)

I'm hoping to find a permanent job soon. Getting too old for this job hopping. I've been at my current firm almost a year and it makes me want to die.

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vohod (Jun 28, 2017 - 9:35 am)

JeffM makes a lot of sense on this point. Ultimately we will either go solo or get out of the profession. I don't know any normal people who are associates at a firm in excess of 10 years. The decade plus endless grind wears them down.

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jd4hire (Jun 28, 2017 - 9:37 am)

Love my firm. Hate the billable hour. Will ultimately leave because of that. Trying to bide my time, get some trial experience, hopefully make partner, and then actively attempt to leave. I will toss out applications to jobs where I am very selective in the meantime. Don't know if I truly can make it until partner (and that's me thinking I even can).

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vohod (Jun 28, 2017 - 9:45 am)

I wouldn't even bother with partnership. You would become liable for overhead and firm debts then need to find a way to "quit"? The senior associate can walk away in a NY minute, the partner really can't.

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sjlawyer (Jun 28, 2017 - 9:58 am)

Why become partner only to walk away with trial experience? You either die young (go in house of gov't or out of the law) or live long enough to become the villain (partnership/solo owner).

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jd4hire (Jun 28, 2017 - 11:06 am)

My firm is expanding into new markets and I'm doing well. I guess I want to prove to myself I can, see what the earning potential is, etc.

I'm already a senior associate per my billing rates and they let other associates who have been here longer, but have less experience know that I'm "Senior."

My salary will max out in 3 years (they have a cap on associate salary, but bonuses then can cover a lot). I guess I'll play it by ear.

I've been tempted to chase money and apply to BigLaw, but at this point (6 years out and on my third job - 4 years first firm, staff counsel for insurance carrier 5 months, then new firm for about 1.5 years) I feel as if I should stay put and figure out how to get away from the billable hour. It eats at me. I have a two week trip to Vietnam in September and all I can think about is building up hours so I'm okay (billable year ends 10/31).

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patenttrollnj (Jun 28, 2017 - 11:47 am)

Oh, then practicing law is the right career for you.

After 2-5 years, you'll be let go at any job (unless you can produce business for the firm).

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jd4hire (Jun 28, 2017 - 1:30 pm)

Not sure the meaning of the comment. My firm will make people non-equity partners if not producing business and they have done so more than once. They don't ax people for lack of business - they generate 1,800 plus hours of billables on partner's files - why would they let someone go if the work is there?

I've brought in an insurance carrier that we routinely bill 150k plus a year and have some irons in the fire.

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karlfarbman (Jun 28, 2017 - 1:35 pm)

"After 2-5 years, you'll be let go at any job (unless you can produce business for the firm)."


Lol what? You might not progress after 5 but this is true only in biglaw really. I could link to easily 50 examples. You just languish like ejs's excellent post.

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patenttrollnj (Jun 28, 2017 - 2:04 pm)

Good point, not "at any" job. That was me being hyperbolic. What I should have said is "many, many" jobs.

My experience practicing law (as well as the experiences of most attorneys in my circle) has been rather awful, so kindly excuse my general pessimism about the profession.

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vohod (Jun 28, 2017 - 2:54 pm)

Its all good. Your approach is common. The other common approach is no raises after 4 years, ever, and wait on the associate to become trapped in the job for life, quit law and hire fresh at 40k, or some such.

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tacocheese (Jun 28, 2017 - 6:38 pm)

I'm 7 years in at a state court staff attorney job. I'll probably stay until retirement, or at the very least 3 more years so my pension is vested. Interesting work, not high stress, no need to get business, 40 hour work week. I can't imagine being at a firm.

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