What is it like to work at a big law firm?

Asked by: Elbert Thompson  |  Last update: February 19, 2022
Score: 4.4/5 (3 votes)

Attorneys who stay with Biglaw firms over the long-run tend to work long hours but they also have the opportunity to control the type of work they take, which directly affects their schedule. Stress management, setting expectations, and self-care are requirements of working in this field.

What is working at a big law firm like?

It's a tough and usually intense environment. The demands are very real. But there are also some great things about Biglaw that are often forgotten that make Biglaw firms cool places to work. There are also some great people in Biglaw who can make the job fulfilling and enjoyable.

Is it better to work for a big or small law firm?

With fewer employees vying for assignments, promotions, and a slice of the profits, legal professionals in small law firms face less in-house competition than their big-firm counterparts. Small law firm employees can more easily prove their worth to those in power, making it simpler to garner recognition and reward.

How hard is it to get a big law job?

But it is very rare. In large legal markets, it is incredibly difficult to get hired in such a situation. Getting a job in a large law firm is extremely competitive as it is. Large law firms have their pick of scores of highly qualified attorneys interested in working for them.

How stressful is Biglaw?

Between long hours, heavy workloads, and pandemic-induced worries, Big Law associates are stressed and seeking jobs elsewhere. Over the past year, the profits of major law firms have soared, largely on the backs of associates who were suffering. ...

Day in the Life of a Big Law Associate | What Does a Lawyer Do on a Typical Day

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How do you survive BigLaw?

How To Survive BigLaw
  1. Learn Your Passions. Many people dislike being a BigLaw associate. ...
  2. Actively Seek Out Work. ...
  3. Who Are Those Lovely People Sitting Outside Your Office? ...
  4. Bill Properly. ...
  5. Ask the Money Questions Upfront. ...
  6. Find The Key Partners. ...
  7. Earn Your Work-Life Fit. ...
  8. Learn the Rules.

How many hours do BigLaw associates work?

It's not uncommon for lawyers (especially Big Law attorneys) to work up to 80 hours each week. On average, according to the 2018 Legal Trends Report, full-time lawyers work 49.6 hours each week.

How competitive is BigLaw?

Big Law is competitive because it's lucrative and prestigious. (My lawyer friends tell me that it's also soul-sucking and hellish, but YMMV). Since most law students want to be highly compensated and working on important issues, big law firms can afford to be incredibly selective.

Can you work your way up to BigLaw?

Path One: The Traditional Route to Big Law. The easiest way to obtain a full-time Big Law associate position is by participating in a Big Law firm's summer associate program, which occurs the summer between your 2L and 3L years.

What GPA do you need for big law?

In fact, many prestigious law firms have "hard" GPA cutoffs for hiring law students during the summer: the most elite firms are looking for candidates with 3.7 GPAs and higher; firms right behind them are looking for candidates with 3.5 GPAs or higher.

What are the disadvantages of working for a large law firm?

Disadvantages of Working for a Large Law Firm
  • Long Hours. In a large firm environment, there is no standard 40 hour work week.
  • Competitive Environment. ...
  • High Expectations. ...
  • High Billing Quotas. ...
  • Limited Client Contact.

Are small firm lawyers happy?

While midsize firm respondents were more likely than small firm survey takers to say they were either "satisfied" or "very satisfied" with their opportunities for advancement at their firm, small firm attorneys still had the most people in the "very satisfied" category.

What is the highest paying law firm?

  • #1. McDermott Will & Emery. SCORE 9.807. ...
  • #2. Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz. SCORE 9.608. ...
  • #3. Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP. SCORE 9.599. ...
  • #4. Clifford Chance US LLP. SCORE 9.593. ...
  • #5. Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP. SCORE 9.570. ...
  • #6. Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP. ...
  • #7. Debevoise & Plimpton LLP. ...
  • #8. Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP.

Is law school difficult?

In summary, law school is hard. Harder than regular college or universities, in terms of stress, workload, and required commitment. But about 40,000 people graduate from law schools every year–so it is clearly attainable.

Why do you want to be a partner in a law firm?

On becoming a partner at a law firm, you not only take on more responsibility but also receive an equity stake in the firm's profits. This provides you access to draw profits to cover your bills and monthly expenses. At the end of the year, you'll be able to take a larger share when profits are distributed.

How do you break into BigLaw?

Attend a T25 law school. Write for the flagship law review. Work as a summer associate at a BigLaw firm. Graduate in the top 25% of your law school class.

Is it hard to get a job after law school?

It is very easy if you graduate from a top law school or even a highly-rated regional law school. Large law firms, the federal and state government are eager to hire such graduates. There are many crucial state agencies that need good lawyers. Top law grads tend to go to large law firms or top federal clerkships.

How do I get a job in a law firm with no experience?

Find the right firms
  1. Visit your law school's career services office. It is literally our job to help you get jobs—take advantage! ...
  2. Look up alumni from your law school on LinkedIn. ...
  3. Try using a reputable legal search engine, such as Martindale, to search for law firms by practice area, size, and/or location.

Are there law firms that only hire from Harvard?

For instance, BigLaw firms like Wachtell or Cravath hire *almost* exclusively Harvard, Yale, Stanford, and some Columbia and NYU Law grads, and some investment banks and other financial firms recruit only at Harvard, Wharton, and Princeton (or any combination of the three).

Which law firm only hires Harvard?

Pearson Hardman had a policy of hiring only associates that graduated from HLS. After the firm became known as Pearson Specter, the rule was waived for Rachel Zane, and eventually abolished when Harvey Specter became managing partner of Pearson Specter Litt.

Do law firms care about University?

BigLaw firms in the United States absolutely care where one earned his/her undergrad degree AND law degree. A candidate who is, e.g., Harvard undergrad and Harvard law stands a far better chance of a BigLaw firm interviewing him/her than, e.g., a candidate with University of Colorado undergrad-Univ. of Colorado .

Are lawyers happy?

Satisfaction with one's pay and reward definitely increases in accordance with how many years one has been in practice. Three in four lawyers with between one and six years of PQE are happy with their remuneration, while four in five of those with more than seven years of practical experience have comparable happiness.

How can I pay 2000 hours a year?

For example, if you want to reach a goal of 2,000 hours annually, you would need to bill for roughly 40 hours each week, or eight billable hours a day. You may not work exactly eight hours each day, but this breaks down what you should average in a day, week, and month to reach your annual goal.

Where do I go after BigLaw?

Some people who leave their first BigLaw firm will not leave BigLaw; rather, they'll just move to another large firm in the same city or one back home. But most who leave will go either to a boutique, in-house, government, or a smaller, less profitable firm.