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Usedsky123

Are you satisfied?

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Posted (edited)

Lawyers who have been out of school for 5+ years, are you satisfied with your life?

What is your income (if you don't mind sharing)? How is your work-life balance?

Would you choose to become a lawyer once again if you were to go back in time?

 

 

Edited by Usedsky123
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Yes I am satisfied with life, 9 years out of law school. In addition to work I make a real effort to stay connected with old friends and attend social events. I’m happy with my income, over 200, but I work too much. I advise people not to do it for the money but can’t take my own advice. Doing litigation problems keep coming up and people keep throwing money at me to fix those problems. I measure money in terms of the vacations it could buy but I just never get around to taking the vacation. 

I don’t think I’d choose to be a lawyer again given a second life because I’ve already done it. I’ve accomplished pretty much everything I set out to do, other than argue before the SCC. But if I went back in time of course I would do it again because I needed money and liked to argue. 

Other jobs I may have been happier in include actor or musician. I guess it’s not too late to switch. 

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1 hour ago, Usedsky123 said:

Haha yes for sure, never too late! Why don't you try be a in-house lawyer?

What I enjoy most about being a litigator is the high degree of freedom to come and go as I please. Unless I have court, I can work at any hour of the day or night, and by contrast no one expects me to be at my desk at any given moment. Being in house I imagine requires a lot more specific time where you're expected to be at the office.

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I'm very satisfied.  I am making MUCH less than I would make in private practice and don't work less than when I was in private practice, but it was definitely work the trade-off.  I work from home most days in outfits resembling pajamas, I don't have to worry about schmoozing or billable hours or other such things and, as long as I am publishing, no one cares at all what I am working on.  I have approximately 8 hours per week that aren't my own (classes, administrative stuff) during the school year and approximately 8 hours per month that aren't my own (administrative stuff) during the summer.  Beyond that, my time is entirely my own as long as I am publishing (what I want), presenting my work (when and where I want), etc. 

The only real downside (apart from the pay cut, but I knew that going in) is how much I work, but that is really my own fault.  I could work much, much less and still be fine, but academia has a way of causing people to be workaholics.  Basically, you say yes to every vaguely important committee, almost every speaking invitation, every interesting research project, every media interview, etc.  I think that it must be some sort of FOMO because the vast majority of people don't say no and are stretched pretty thin.  

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Five year call in less than a month.

I would not go to law school if I could start again.

My job is okay. My compensation is okay. My life as it pertains to work is okay.

So I would not go to law school again on a do over because I could have a very okay career without the time, expense, stress, opportunity cost, etc involved in getting to where I am now and where I expect to be in the future.

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I'm ten years in and wouldn't change my path for any reason. I worked for a few years before law school, and the career paths open to me now are many times better than the ones I had before law school.

I did about 5 years in private practice, and just over 5 in house now. My job is ideal for where I am in life right now. Hours are 9-5ish (obviously if something comes up, I have to be available) and salary is about $170+ db pension.

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On 5/18/2019 at 12:04 AM, Jaggers said:

I'm ten years in and wouldn't change my path for any reason. I worked for a few years before law school, and the career paths open to me now are many times better than the ones I had before law school.

I did about 5 years in private practice, and just over 5 in house now. My job is ideal for where I am in life right now. Hours are 9-5ish (obviously if something comes up, I have to be available) and salary is about $170+ db pension.

DB pension = safe to assume you’re in a government position? Any tips for transitioning into a government position from private practise?

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18 minutes ago, Mycousinsteve said:

DB pension = safe to assume you’re in a government position? Any tips for transitioning into a government position from private practise?

Man you do not like to read posts around here and no your assumption is not remotely safe.

"and just over 5 in house now"

Jaggers doesn't work for the government.

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Now that the Raptors have made the finals, I am more than satisfied. ; )

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Believe it or not, there are four times as many people in defined benefit pension plans as defined contribution plans in Canada now. A lot of those are certainly government employees, but there are still a bunch of non-government places with DB plans. In 2016, about 11% of men in private sector employment had DB pension plan coverage vs 8% who had DC coverage.

https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/daily-quotidien/180627/t002e-eng.htm

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1 hour ago, Jaggers said:

Believe it or not, there are four times as many people in defined benefit pension plans as defined contribution plans in Canada now. A lot of those are certainly government employees, but there are still a bunch of non-government places with DB plans. In 2016, about 11% of men in private sector employment had DB pension plan coverage vs 8% who had DC coverage.

https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/daily-quotidien/180627/t002e-eng.htm

Interesting article I’ll have to take a look 

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Posted (edited)

Just about 6 years post-call; yes, I'd say that I'm satisfied. I spent 3 years in a firm (including articles), and just about 4 years in-house at a public corporation. I get to do work in a niche area that I find interesting (including working in US for periods of time).

Income is six figures, not including DC pension, share purchase plan, and some other good benefits.

No, I'd probably be a vet because I really animals. But I don't regret my decision. Also, if I was a vet, I'd prob want to be a lawyer. So it goes.

Edited by conge
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Called in 2012, working as a lawyer in the public sector. Really couldn't have hoped for things to be better at this stage in my career. Total compensation is around $146K (that figure includes pension and health benefits). Work-life balance is quite reasonable - occasional evening and weekend work but rarely anything that interferes with other plans. The work is consistently interesting and has a meaningful impact. My colleagues are fantastic.

That said, I have been fortunate in a lot of ways:

  • I got an articling position at my top choice employer, starting immediately after law school. My law school grades were probably around the median so that's hardly guaranteed.
  • After articling I was hired back. Only about 30% of my articling class was hired back (although I suppose some may have chosen not to).
  • When it felt like the right time for a change in my work, there were internal opportunities available for a move.
  • I have not been disadvantaged by racism or sexism.

Certainly knowing the outcome I got, I absolutely would become a lawyer again. That said it's easy to imagine things turning out very differently, so I'm not going to turn my experience into a general recommendation to others.

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I'll throw OP a bone here:

I'm quite satisfied. Income is very generous and fluctuates depending on my bonus has ranged anywhere from 15% to 30% of my base salary so far. I work on Bay Street (not sure some people know the meaning of subtle or how to place in context a reference to my career when someone calls you out on it, but we'll move on) and while the hours and pressure are high, I like the work I do and my colleagues. Most of my clients are reasonable and enjoyable to work with. Some are terrible but that's legal practice generally.

My work-life balance now is pretty good. I've built up enough good will and have enough of a track record that face time, being in the office, etc. are not something people focus on as much, since I get my work done and I perform at a high level. As a junior associate it ranged from okay to terrible, but a lot of that was on me not turning down work sufficiently or setting boundaries. I took a step and took a significant amount of time off, following which my mentors and partners that I work with actively steered me into a better work-life balance. Following that, I have been in better control and only enter into busy stretches when transactions heat up or a significant piece of public disclosure needs finishing. I always have time to read through my work as well as read through things on websites as needed.

I would choose to be a lawyer again. I'm good at the work I do, it keeps me on my toes and allows me room to breathe, the actual day-to-day working is insanely flexible (i.e. I can go run errands and do appointments literally whenever I want) and it's lucrative, at least where and what I practice.

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5 hours ago, Rashabon said:

I'll throw OP a bone here:

I'm quite satisfied. Income is very generous and fluctuates depending on my bonus has ranged anywhere from 15% to 30% of my base salary so far. I work on Bay Street (not sure some people know the meaning of subtle or how to place in context a reference to my career when someone calls you out on it, but we'll move on) and while the hours and pressure are high, I like the work I do and my colleagues. Most of my clients are reasonable and enjoyable to work with. Some are terrible but that's legal practice generally.

My work-life balance now is pretty good. I've built up enough good will and have enough of a track record that face time, being in the office, etc. are not something people focus on as much, since I get my work done and I perform at a high level. As a junior associate it ranged from okay to terrible, but a lot of that was on me not turning down work sufficiently or setting boundaries. I took a step and took a significant amount of time off, following which my mentors and partners that I work with actively steered me into a better work-life balance. Following that, I have been in better control and only enter into busy stretches when transactions heat up or a significant piece of public disclosure needs finishing. I always have time to read through my work as well as read through things on websites as needed.

I would choose to be a lawyer again. I'm good at the work I do, it keeps me on my toes and allows me room to breathe, the actual day-to-day working is insanely flexible (i.e. I can go run errands and do appointments literally whenever I want) and it's lucrative, at least where and what I practice.

How long did it take before you felt comfortable pushing back a little and carving out some personal time? 

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8 hours ago, healthlaw said:

How long did it take before you felt comfortable pushing back a little and carving out some personal time? 

I was always comfortable enough to do it for a one-off event or for a planned vacation, but just generally it took about 2-3 years before I felt like I had control over my workflow in a manner I was happy with. I overloaded myself early but in retrospect, I'm glad I did. I got a lot of experience and built a lot of connections with both clients and partners in the firm, to the point where now I can sit back and do my work as I please. I also delegate a lot more now so while I still have plenty of grinding to do, I do a bit more minding of juniors which frees me up to do what I feel like.

Part of the issue was that as a second/third year associate, I ended up in a bit of a desert (which can happen in big law, especially if you take on a lot of responsibility like I did) where I didn't always feel comfortable either with the work of the juniors beneath me, didn't feel comfortable delegating, or simply couldn't because the work was also new to me, but was also taking on substantial responsibility and working directly for partners without a more senior associate as a buffer. Once I got past third year, there were enough juniors working beneath me, and enough juniors I felt comfortable with, that I could delegate more of the time-consuming work to focus on more on other work. So now, I'm that buffer associate between the partner and my juniors.

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Quote

 

Lawyers who have been out of school for 5+ years, are you satisfied with your life?

 

I'm 9 years out, 8 years post-call including a mat leave. Yes, I'm very satisfied with my life, both career-wise and life-wise, although I presume you're mostly asking about career-wise, or life-wise in relation to career. 

Quote

What is your income (if you don't mind sharing)? How is your work-life balance?

I'm in house, income is $190k+, with a bonus of up to $35k, plus benefits (no stock options). Work life balance has always been great. I got a significant promotion recently, and I would say I work longer hours now, but not anywhere near private practice hours. I can't complain. 

Quote

Would you choose to become a lawyer once again if you were to go back in time?

Similar to another poster, if time were rewinded, would I go back and be a lawyer? Yes. I had a few challenges and roadblocks during my career, most significantly getting that first articling position. But I love the work, the diversity of legal issues I face, my colleagues, my industry. I never had a career prior to law, and I do believe that had I not gotten a law degree, my income and prospects would not be as high now, or it would take a lot longer to catch up. Now if you're asking if I had a second life, would I choose law again? No. If one can dream, I'd be a resort developer or something like that.

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4 hours ago, tanx said:

I'm in house, income is $190k+, with a bonus of up to $35k, plus benefits (no stock options). Work life balance has always been great. I got a significant promotion recently, and I would say I work longer hours now, but not anywhere near private practice hours. I can't complain. 

 

This sound amazing. Where do you work, if you don't mind me asking?

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Posted (edited)
13 hours ago, hitman9172 said:

This sound amazing. Where do you work, if you don't mind me asking?

Well I’m not going to tell you exactly where to preserve my anonymity, but I work at a senior counsel level for a company in an established industry. I’m pretty sure my salary is on par with similar roles. 

Edited by tanx

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