Celebrating 10 years! 2007-2017

Simple Work vs. Complex Work

For my first year or so of practice, I did residential real 3lol03/21/18
"I moved to a practice area where I do a mix of complex liti jeffm03/21/18
I like having small doses of intellectually fulfilling work. trollfeeder03/21/18
As trollfeeder notes. Small doses of intellectually stim greenhorn03/21/18
I do mostly Imm which can be cut and paste. The only intelle isthisit03/21/18
What is that old curse, "may you live in interesting times." thirdtierlaw03/21/18
3lol (Mar 21, 2018 - 4:48 pm)

For my first year or so of practice, I did residential real estate transactions. Once you learn the basics, with a few exceptions it's pretty much the same thing over and over again. I can comfortably do a RE purchase/sale/lending transaction from contract to closing. I understand lots of litigation jobs are like this, as well. It's not mentally stimulating, but it feels good to have a solid grasp of your job.

I moved to a practice area where I do a mix of complex litigation, transactional and regulatory work. Endless abstract issues, legal research, and every item of work better be perfect when it goes out the door. In contrast to my old RE job, I feel like it will take at least 5 years to have a solid big-picture grasp. It's intellectually fulfilling, and a great area to be in with respect to my future prospects, but man is it mentally taxing and the learning curve is steep.

So what think you, JDU? If you had the choice, would you rather do a high volume of simple/brainless work or complex, sophisticated lawyering?

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jeffm (Mar 21, 2018 - 6:22 pm)

"I moved to a practice area where I do a mix of complex litigation, transactional and regulatory work. Endless abstract issues, legal research, and every item of work better be perfect when it goes out the door. In contrast to my old RE job, I feel like it will take at least 5 years to have a solid big-picture grasp. It's intellectually fulfilling, and a great area to be in with respect to my future prospects, but man is it mentally taxing and the learning curve is steep."

That describes my experience, too, except I never really considered the learning curve to be all that steep. I never had a specialized job as a residential real estate attorney, and I can see why you say litigation/transactional has a steep learning curve. They certainly are not things you just learn once and are done. You just come to grips with the fact that you will always be learning and making sure the law is what you think it should be. You will become bored with things as they become old-hat and more like work than learning.

Congratulations!

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trollfeeder (Mar 21, 2018 - 8:20 pm)

I like having small doses of intellectually fulfilling work. It feels good when it is done, but it burns me out.

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greenhorn (Mar 21, 2018 - 8:47 pm)

As trollfeeder notes.

Small doses of intellectually stimulating work, the rest I want to be bread and butter, relatively low stress money making type work.

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isthisit (Mar 21, 2018 - 10:09 pm)

I do mostly Imm which can be cut and paste. The only intellectually stimulating part of the gig is the deportation defense.

I'll take the simple over the complex during my 9-5. It's less stressful and leaves you free to stimulate yourself intellectually after work, if that's what you're looking for.

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thirdtierlaw (Mar 21, 2018 - 11:13 pm)

What is that old curse, "may you live in interesting times." Or something like that. The problem with "interesting" cases is that they take so much more time than a normal case. Which is only a problem because your other cases don't just disappear or stand still while you're working on your interesting case, same with trial preps. So I really would prefer only 1 "interesting" case every 2-3months.

I've been making a lot of law, relatively speaking, in the past 4 months. I had 3 major briefs/arguments before my state's supreme court. Which now that I'm on the other side of seems awesome. But it has been brutal. I also had two trials and resolved who knows how many misdemeanors. But when you have a client in custody they don't care that you have a brief due next week, they want to know why they aren't already out of jail.

I'm spoiled because my two bosses let us associates take on these "pet projects," but they always laugh and remind us, that though other attorneys may be impressed no prospective client is reading these supreme court decisions much less the names of the attorney's on the case.

So bring on the mindless churn and burn cases.

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