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theycancallyouhoju last won the day on August 1 2020

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  1. @WannaBeLaw99 For my own curiosity, a few questions. When you say you handle drafting, as a partner, are you still taking the first stab at any document? For the more complex documents, how much variation do you have in the quality level of what’s handed to you for review - are you reviewing things drafted by juniors very often, or is there always a senior associate polishing things before they get to your desk? And what do you think is the likely difference between our practices that makes your weekends more predictable? I primarily do private transactions, almost exclusively PE, and while there are some weekends I’m working on something I just couldn’t get to over the week with no tight deadline, any weekend day with 10+ hours of work is usually a matter of receiving drafts in on Friday night/weekend or having a client send an email that causes everything to jumpstart asap. I don’t think the partners I work for have weekends that are significantly more predictable than mine. Though they can obviously get away with saying they’ll do something tomorrow a little easier than I can. The variation is nice in the sense that a month where I bill 150 means more time with my wife. But the flip side of that coin is that I more often have to cancel plans or suddenly and unexpectedly tell my wife I won’t be around for a chunk of time. I don’t know which is better in the long run, but I know that when I was a junior, the hardest part of the hours wasn’t the hours - it was the sense of being unable to control my own life.
  2. Make some friends in law school. It’s always good to have a couple friends among your professional peers. Seek out lawyers who do jobs you find cool and ask them for a coffee/zoom. Given you’re in first year, it’s no tragedy you found out about OCIs now. You’ll be fine. Chin up. And remember that you’re going to law school so you can join a profession. This isn’t like undergrad where the point is just to do school - it’s a platform to use to get yourself a career. Think of it in that vein and you’ll be more naturally inclined to seek out the info on career paths.
  3. I think you’re doing the right thing by asking people from different practices to weigh in. I really can’t tell you with any certainty what the hours are like for people other than those in practices like mine or a few friends in other areas, and with them I have no reliable way to gauge how normal their hours are for their area. I have a good friend in crim defense in Toronto and he seems to work a lot, though I don’t think his worst case scenarios approach mine. But I’d be a totally unreliable source for figuring out how much an estates lawyer in Toronto works, for example. I’d be surprised if many biglaw lawyers in Toronto work less than an average 55-60 hours a week in effect, with some weeks closer to 35 and some closer to 70. As you're piecing that together, remember that hours billed is not the same as hours worked. So I might bill 2200+ hours one year but my actual hours attending to my career are going to be a material chunk higher than that. Same goes for a bay lawyer billing 1900+ or whatever. The gap between Toronto and NY from what I can see is material, but not so material that it means your life is of a different sort. Ive also definitely had weeks where I bill 10 hours, yet the annual average still ends up about the same each year. So there’s a ton of variation throughout for me. That’s not true in every type of practice even within a big firm.
  4. Madness because of the hours? I work for a NY biglaw firm. Over the years, I think my annual billable hours are higher than most Bay Street averages, but not by a ton. I posted because biglaw didn’t seem very represented in this thread and, at least from what I’ve seen, emailing really doesn’t make up close to the majority of our work.
  5. Sometimes yes, sometimes no. It’s gotten a lot more fun with time. I enjoy handling clients and I love negotiation. I enjoy the document work when it’s challenging. I’d rather stare at a wall than review simple documents, but I try to approach it more as an exercise in teaching whoever drafted it for my review how to lawyer better - so, the fun is in helping someone learn a craft. It was much less fulfilling when I was a junior. Most of the work was simple, and to the extent I was screwing it up, that was either out of being too bored to pay close attention or too inexperienced to know the craft-worthy answer. You can plot my enjoyment of being a transactional lawyer as an inverted ratio of how much someone cares about a typo mistake - when being ‘good’ at my job meant never making a typo while writing something simple, I wasn’t having fun. But I don’t find my current work/life balance fulfilling in the fullest sense, no. A not insignificant part of the decision to keep doing it is the willingness to sacrifice some fulfillment in the short term for a quality of life for my wife and I that we want in the long term. That, in itself, is fulfilling. But the bargain will stop being so eventually.
  6. That’s a big part of it. Everyone can solve for x = 3+4 in their head. Not everyone can solve for (4+10) = 3x-2x+8+(x-4) in their head quickly, because it involves moving too many things around, even though each step of it is individually easy. When I did the logic games, it always seemed the four options given were (a) Monkeys like bananas on Tuesdays, (b) x is 35,000, (c) x is 5, (d) x is 8. One answer was the wrong kind of answer. One was dumb. Two passed the smell test, but one of them seemed outlandish. I’d often test the outlandish one to confirm it didn’t work, circle the right answer, and move on without checking. Trying to teach people how to do that is very hard when (a) and (b) don’t strike them immediately as too dumb to consider.
  7. Man, you guys should hear about my November/December. I don’t want to rant about the worst periods because they’re infrequent enough to not be the deciding factor for most people, but they certainly are awful. And I’m not in the worst camp by far - I know people in other practice groups who have those truly long nights regularly. Though an important takeaway is that a multinational/cross-border career isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Mostly, it’s a lot of calls early and late. I’m actually enjoying the fact travel doesn’t exist. It means no more flying somewhere, working on the car ride to the hotel, working the whole time you’re there, and knowing you’ll land back home at 10pm having missed 40+ emails needing a response.
  8. I’ve had whole months where I don’t work past 8pm, but it’s definitely not the norm. It’s also not all that unusual that I’m cooking/eating dinner from 7-9, then back online for a call with a different time zone. (Edit: this sort of gap didn’t exist when I was a junior, it’s very much a benefit of seniority that I get to carve out time when most convenient to me.) Nature of a cross-border practice!
  9. Probably should have made this one post, but oh well. It’s not that it’s nature v nurture, at least not in my case. Throughout childhood, I loved logical puzzles and games, played chess, etc. I studied mathematical logic in school because of that attraction. The type of thinking the lsat rewards was something I innately found fun, but it’s not the innate attraction that does the trick - it’s the years and years of practice. You can’t replicate that in your 20s when you’ve decided to spend 3-12 months prepping for the test. I honestly didn’t even make diagrams. After doing a few practice tests, I finally opened up the ‘how to lsat’ book and started reading through the ‘explanations’ of how to answer the games questions. My gut reaction was that their system was slow, cumbersome, required mapping out too much meaningless information, and just generally got in the way. When I started tutoring, I tried explaining how I thought through a problem to students. It didn’t work well. It wasn’t that I had a formula that could simply be handed to someone else to execute, it was that I had something like an instinct that could quickly and reliably figure out a formula that was most efficient for a given question. “Come up with a tailored formula for this one” isn’t a useful instruction to people who feel like they were thrown into the middle of an ocean and asked to swim to shore. Inevitably, I ended up tutoring variations on the textbook diagraming instructions from which I tried to remove clutter. The rest was a matter of drilling someone’s focus, clarity and confidence.
  10. There’s so much variation. I do so much work with multiple time zones that it’s normal for me to wake up to 15 emails I read/skim before I jump in the shower, just to make sure there’s no emergency. (Or, when I was more junior, to make sure I didn’t mess anything up.) Most often, I try to start working by 9am. Depending on the deal occupying most of my time, it could be 7am, or I could still be eating breakfast at 10am.
  11. I’m too close to being middle aged to be proud of an lsat mark, so this isn’t meant as a brag. I was in the 177-180 camp. The first time I sat down to do a practice test, which I did timed, I got something like a 175. I actually called a friend in law school to confirm I hadn’t somehow screwed up and bought the wrong materials. The lsat, for me, was like doing arithmetic. It just clicked. I also tutored the lsat before law school. I never managed to help get anyone into the 175+ range if they weren’t already capable of the high 160s.
  12. I wasn’t gonna post, but just to curtail anyone’s views that lawyering is mostly emails...every day is different, but if you averaged out my time, I’d estimate: - 40% on drafting, reviewing, commenting, analyzing documents - 25% on calls/meetings - 20% reading or writing emails - 15% miscellaneous admin and other junk It’s not unusual to go through a day where I spend 4-5 hours on calls and then the rest on document work. On a great day, I go home at 8pm. More often I’m done around 10pm. Somewhat frequently I’m working till 12-2am. On rare occasion, it’s worse.
  13. I tend to pull out the ol’ make ‘em laugh routine, but always over a call. “I’m happy to bill you more hours for this, but these changes don’t make any legal difference. Do you still want me to go ahead? Prefer to keep your money?” Maybe that only works with finance professionals, though.
  14. As the others said, I have come across a few people from other schools. I don’t know exactly their path, but you could always reach out and ask.
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