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5 bad things about being a City lawyer that nobody tells you about

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Anonymous London solicitor Corporate Drone goes where the graduate recruitment brochures definitely do not

Corporate

1. You will constantly be at someone’s beck and call

Be it one of your (many) bosses or a client, you’re going to be someone else’s paper bitch. Your free time is expendable. Got a date this evening? Think again. Off on a city break this weekend? Not anymore!

There will be times when you watch your evenings and weekends slowly slip through your fingertips over the course of a week. Other times they will be blasted into oblivion by a one line email. To add salt to your wounds, often your sacrifice will be for no real reason and/or not appreciated.

Long hours are expected by default: you’ll need a good excuse to leave anywhere near your contractual finish time.

Rest assured you’ll be informed that you must work late and cancel plans in a very subtle and polite way. A common conversation at 7pm on a Friday evening can be along the lines of:

You: “…okay thanks, so does this need to be done urgently?”

Boss: “No, no don’t worry it’s not urgent. 9am Monday will be fine. Have a great weekend!”

You: *DEEP SIGH*

Law firms are notorious for “unpredictable working hours” but this isn’t strictly accurate. You can predict that you’ll be working 9am-8pm on a daily basis … but you can’t always predict when your client is going to obliterate your weekend plans on a whim.

2. Everything is urgent. All of the time

Computers, the internet, word processing and (f**king) blackberries have produced a situation where lawyers are under an expectation to deliver almost immediate responses to the most complex of issues.

It’s a perpetual and vicious cycle.

You need to deliver fast in order to keep your clients happy (and make your firm money), but the more you give, the more they expect next time. Clients are rapid response junkies and lawyers are on call, standing by ready to administer their next fix.

As a result, law firms are constantly on DEFCON 1 — for those of you unfamiliar with US military defence jargon: a maximum state of readiness, nuclear war imminent.

Logically, if everything is urgent, then nothing is. However the harsh truth is that if the client isn’t harassing you for a response, the client partner (AKA your boss) almost certainly will be.

In addition to false urgency, technology has also increased the volume of work required. Contracts that would have traditionally been 20 pages are now 200 pages. Negotiations involve draft after draft after draft, often involving an over-zealous lawyer copy and pasting long and pointless generic terms that they don’t fully understand. It’s really too easy to hit “control C, control V”.

3. You’re not going to be rich

Don’t be stupid, everyone knows lawyers are rich, right? Well … technically yes, on paper and compared to the national average salary, lawyers are well paid. A City trainee solicitor starts on a salary of £36-40k per year and jumps to £60-70k once they are fully qualified (which takes two years).

These sound like good figures, but bear in mind the following:

• You are going to work 40-70% more than your contracted hours and, aside from social exclusion amongst your non-lawyer friends, you do not get overtime. Not one penny. You might get a free pizza and a taxi ride home after a 14 hour day if you’re lucky.

• If you calculate your hourly rate you’ll be pretty disappointed! If money is your goal then other jobs can pay just as well or better, particularly if you’re willing to work as hard as you will be in a law firm. You may very well enjoy them more too.

Two things will erode your income in particular:

• London existing expenses. In other words, rent and travel (you cannot buy a house — at least not with your own money). Admittedly this is the case for everyone in London — about £1,200 is going to disapparate from your account balance every month.

• Reckless and frivolous spending habits. In order to compensate for the emotional and spiritual injuries you will sustain during your working hours, you are likely to develop a wasteful/expensive lifestyle as a form of escape or release. This can come in the form of alcohol, expensive vacations, shopping sprees, more alcohol, recreational drugs and just general nonchalance vis-à-vis money.

4. Your health is likely to suffer

Lots of sitting, screen staring, not much time for exercise, irregular (and unhealthy) eating and alcohol, lots of it. Welcome to the good life …

Most of your time will be spent at your desk, proverbially “plugged in” to the matrix. You are a stationary worker bee.

Working late means takeaways. If you work for a more “caring” firm someone is actually employed to specifically to take care of your late night food orders. Seriously.

It’s not that you can’t hit the gym at all, but you will need to make a real effort to escape for an hour. A good technique is to sneak out early in the day when you have greater control over the remainder of your day. If you miss that valuable window of opportunity it’s difficult to find another.

Lastly, lawyers drink. As previously mentioned this is often to forget — or at least temporarily numb — their worries and stresses. It all seems like a great idea at the time … all until the next morning when the emails are flowing in, the hangover can’t be tamed and you’re forced to lie down/take refuge in the nearest disabled bathroom.

5. Be prepared to execute orders

You will be told specifically what to do, most of the time. There’s little room for independent thought until you reach the upper echelons of your firm.

You’re a weapon, not a soldier, ready to be picked up and fired down the range. A resource waiting to be exploited.

A lawyer’s training contract can be a very frustrating time, particularly if your supervisor doesn’t really care about your development.

During a time when you are meant to be learning the ropes, you can easily become lumbered with soul destroying admin work. Your supervisor must balance your development versus business needs but this is tough for firms to achieve.

Not everyone makes a great teacher but the senior lawyers must supervise a junior as part of their own development. The result is another vicious cycle … junior lawyers take sh*t for years and then don’t feel bad about dishing it out when the boot is on the other foot.

It’s common to hear the phrase:

“Think yourself lucky…when I was a trainee I had to [INSERT demeaning task].”

You have to be mentally tough to endure these orders and there will be times where you’ll want to scream, cry or just walk out the door and join the rebellion. The key is to always think of yourself and keep your best interests in mind — your superiors sure as hell won’t.

A version of this article was published earlier this week at Corporate–drone.blogspot.co.uk. You can follow Corporate Drone on Facebook and on Twitter.

76 Comments

City Lawyer

Agree with every word of this. Thanks LC for a counterbalance to the puff pieces from law firms spouting about “great social activities” and “work life balance” and “open-door policies” at their firm.

(128)(3)

Former Law student

Really great article! Apparently, everything in England is like a really bad American commercial, where they romanticise shitty products and situations. ‘Come to our Law firm’, they say. ‘It’ll be fun’, they say. NOT! Think again! You’ll be someone’s bitch with no free time of your own and your salary will be spent on stuff to compensate for your miserable life! When will people get it? I’m so glad I didn’t go down the TC route, and I can enjoy my freedom and still have a decent salary. You left out one reality/piece of advice, though: don’t do your TC in London, because there’s thousands of others in the same position and the competition means it’s nearly impossible to find one!

(29)(7)

Gagarin's boot

If you won’t do your TC in London, you are never going to become a City lawyer. Regional lateral hires are practically unheard of. It’s your choice.

(31)(35)

Anonymous

Utter nonsense – it’s not uncommon at the NQ to 2 year PQE level in the City and it also happens further up too. The senior partner of the City firm I work for didn’t train in the City, nor did one of our group heads.

(26)(2)

Anonymous

That’s just wrong. I know associates at Slaughters who have trained at regional firms.

(21)(5)

Anonymous

no

(6)(2)

Eliott

‘You’re a weapon, not a soldier’ – beautifully put. I think you have just summed up what business lawyers are.

(71)(1)

Anonymous

Pretty pointless article, everybody knows you sell your soul to climb the greasy pole – faster than in any other profession.

(25)(48)

City Lawyer

It’s not pointless – as I mentioned above it’s important to give a realistic account of life in a commercial firm to balance against the reams and reams of marketing produced by firms that will give some students the wrong idea (see article in LC by Mayer Brown just a few days ago!).

(45)(5)

Daniel

Going to agree with anon. here – the entire piece is pretty hyperbolic.

(17)(41)

Anonymous

An inane comment.

(3)(4)

Adam

When people say ‘why do you want to do family law, that’s not where the money is’ – as well as espousing the views as to why I like that field, I also do a simple calculation in my head

£40,000/12 hours a day = £12.82 an hour
or £20,000/8 hours a day = £9.61 an hour

Then I look at the small differences between those figures and I smile.

(49)(11)

Pantman

There’s a small difference between £20,000 and £40,000? There’s not even a small difference between £9.61 and £12.82 – the latter is 33% more than the former. You might not be bothered about £3.21, but are you bothered about £25.68 a day, £128.40 a week or £6,676.80 a year? That’s the real difference in the hourly rates.

For less of an hourly difference you could be working for the minimum wage in a pizza shop, and not worried about getting into debt for your education or all the money you didn’t earn during that period.

(44)(8)

Adam

When I said “small differences” I was referring to the hourly rate, of course. The two annual salaries have a £20,000 difference.

In fact I could take this further

£40,000 (minus tax, 2012-onwards student loan and national insurance) is approximately £28,775. Now divide that down and you get £9.22 an hour

£20,000 (after PAYE) is approximately £16,687. Now divide that down and you get £8.02.

That difference is starting to look pretty marginal, don’t you think?

In any event, my point was that for a “mere” 25% reduction in hourly pay, you have access to more fulfilling satisfying work (speaking for myself) and more free time to enjoy it in. To me, that’s about the balance. I’m not saying I don’t want to be appropriately remunerated – I am saying I want to find a middle ground between having money, enjoying my job and having time to myself.

(40)(6)

Pantman

Yes, and I’m saying that this seemingly small amount adds up over the course of a year. There’s no skill in saying that you’re not paying off your student loan at the lower salary – the question is whether you’ll ever be in a position to be asked to pay any of it off.

And, if you’re not worried about earning 33% more, then I’m sure you could get a job for around £8.00/hr in a supermarket stacking shelves, which is a little bit less than what you are aspiring to, but you’ve lost £66,000 over the four years of your degree and LPC, which at your current rate of pay is going to take you nearly 20 years to make up.

Try looking at the real economics of the situation.

(18)(18)

Pantman

Oh, and that’s not even counting the debt you’ve run up in your education, which could add another 10-15 years to the break-even point.

(8)(7)

But

Lawyers are notorious for poor maths, but I think the following works out:

9am – 8pm = 11 hours
11 (day) x 5 (working week) = 55
55 (week) x 52 (weeks in a year) = 2,860
– 220 (holiday hours, presuming 28 days granted, = 55 x 4 = 220)
= TOTAL: 2,640 hours work per year*

1PQE salary = £60,000
/ 2,640
= £22.73 p/h

TL;DR as a newly qualified associate on £60,000 you’ll earn, on average, £23.00 an hour.

*Didn’t include working on weekends (adding to the hours) or bank holidays (detracting from the hours) – presuming for simplicity that they roughly balance out.

(33)(2)

But

Ah, didn’t see Adam’s post. You get the gist.

(4)(1)

Anonymous

Add a decent performance bonus to that 1PQE salary and that per hour rate would be even higher.

(6)(2)

Anonymous

I wish my employer could learn what a bonus is!

(7)(0)

Barry

In addition, that 23 p/hr involves living in the most expensive city in the Western world, and painfully long commutes.

(7)(0)

Corporate Drone

Thanks for the feedback all! I’ll write more in between being figuratively raped by partners.

Follow me on twitter and FB for more blog updates or check out corporate–drone.blogspot.co.uk.

(32)(5)

VTESI

Spot on post. The “everything is urgent” type of lifestyle makes me want to scream. Most things are NOT actually urgent.

(27)(1)

US TC

My law firm doesnt event pay £40K :/…. £37K just isnt enough these days.

(15)(3)

Gagarin's boot

Squire Patton Boggs, I presume?

(16)(5)

Gagarin's boot

Actually scratch that – it’s Reed Smith isn’t it?

(9)(4)

Anonymous

Isn’t all of this kind of…a given? You don’t get something for nothing, especially not at the bottom of a very long corporate food chain.

(19)(4)

Simon Myerson

If you’re doing those hours, you’re better off at the Bar. The hours may be the same, but you are doing something more useful and you have more control over it.

Interestingly, the people concerned with “work life balance” are those doing the most to ensure it isn’t real. It always used to be said that lawyers were like hookers, but (I am told), prostitutes occasionally say no…

(15)(24)

Eliott

Two points – 1) what exactly is ‘useful’ when it comes to legal work? and 2) what if people don’t want a work life balance? I’ve met quite a few partners who frankly don’t want to go home to a wife they cannot even make conversation with and children who are totally alien to them. Many partners at top firms would rather be involved in a deal at 2AM than sitting with their family. As to friends…many of these partners don’t have friends in the conventional sense (at least not since they started work in the City).

(19)(7)

Anonymous

Think you’re confusing cause and effect here…

(18)(0)

Eliott

Interesting point, Anonymous re. character / behaviour of partners. Are workaholic, deal junkie partners made out of the NQs who wanted to change the world? Or were they always going to be that way and perhaps if had not become City lawyers would have become something else equally intense and life swallowing?

Perhaps the answer is some of both camps. Some evolve into workaholics through social moulding and others (perhaps unconsciously) see such a lifestyle as something liberating and frees them from whatever they have been running from all their life.

(11)(2)

Sir Viv

I agree with SM to a certain extent. I work City hours at the junior end of the chancery bar but enjoy the control. Small things like taking lunch when I want or working from home when I feel like it is important. Having said that, I never work from home and I defo don’t have time to eat lunch. I never feel like I can say no to the clerks, senior barristers, solicitors, judges or lay clients….. Wife resents it and kids hate my job!

(14)(1)

Catalan

I can’t help but feel all of these per hour financial calculations are rather daft.

We aren’t talking about working in a shop or bar here. And what’s the sacrifice, a few hours in front of the TV in the evening a large percentage of the time, no doubt.

Most salaried positions in the professional world will require you to work more than your ‘contracted hours’. Yes, working in the City is particularly brutal, but there’s more to it than the money, as is evidenced by the amount of people doing these jobs…

(34)(2)

Anonymous

Agreed – especially as they are only based on the basic salary and not a full remuneration package.

(5)(0)

Pantman

Ah, you gotta love all them takeaways!

(9)(0)

Anonymous

massive lol @ lawyers saying they don’t earn enough.

Or that the salary a City associate earns is not enough to buy a house in London. You don’t need to live in zone 1 you know. Zone 2 or even (gasp) zone 3 contain thoroughly acceptable places to live.

(12)(14)

Anonymous

Do tell me about the Zone 3 houses I can afford on my NQ salary with the very limited deposit I’ve managed to save up since I was a trainee.

(19)(2)

Non-Oxbridge Pleb

House prices are horrifying, but they aren’t exactly the fault of the profession. It’s the result of buy to let, right to buy, and a complete lack of political will to build houses coupled with a ridiculous obsession with house prices rising year on year. In central London, they’ve mostly become investments rather than homes. Which is a real shame, but hits us all across the board.

(12)(2)

Anonymous

Erm, who on earth expects to own a house as an NQ?

Perhaps you should re-adjust your lofty expectations.

On an associate salary, with prudent saving, you will be able to afford a zone 3 house within 5 or so years. That is unless you waste all your money renting somewhere too expensive as many entitled people do.

(6)(8)

Anonymous

It’s hardly being entitled – with the hours I work, I can’t live too far out from the office otherwise I would never be at home. And I’m not sure what you think the price of a Zone 3 house is, but it’s far beyond what I would be able to afford even after saving for 5 years – more like 10! When I may well be a partner somewhere as opposed to an associate.

You need to factor in the size of the deposit and house price inflation – plus the need to service the repayments which, for a “Zone 3 house”, would be hefty.

(14)(1)

Anonymous

That’s a nonsense argument. It is possible to commute from (affordable) zone 3 places to central London by train in 20 mins, and a late night taxi wouldn’t take much more time.

Just admit you want to rent in a fancy postcode.

Whether you can save for a deposit depends on how much you get drawn into heavy spending to accompany your heavy salary. Bear in mind that the vast majority of professions earn less than City law, and their professionals still manage to afford London properties.

My advice: rent in a cheaper postcode and cut down on the cocktails.

(9)(15)

Anonymous

Well, I don’t live in a fancy postcode now to be honest – I actually just rent a room rather than a whole flat. Just to try and save for that deposit.

I’m not sure you’re that knowledgeable about London my friend, but people who earn below what I earn do also really struggle to get on the housing ladder – I would go so far as to say that without parental help, it’s largely impossible, irrespective of where they live in London. Sure, you can theoretically save up a deposit, but try doing that if you’ve got a kid and are paying rent on a two bed place, plus your commuting costs in from somewhere affordable.

Even if you have a deposit in the tens of thousands, unless you’re earning a large salary (or a large joint salary) you’re not going to be able to satisfy a lender’s salary multiples-of-salary test – your ability to borrow is capped, but it’s capped at a level where a lot of people are going after the same properties. Which pushes prices up beyond the reach of most people. Plus, if you don’t manage to get a large deposit – which I think is the norm – you’re faced with getting a higher interest-rate mortgage which renders the monthly repayments to be unaffordable.

Unless you’re aware of something that all of us aren’t?

(9)(6)

Anonymous

“Even if you have a deposit in the tens of thousands, unless you’re earning a large salary (or a large joint salary) you’re not going to be able to satisfy a lender’s salary multiples-of-salary test”

You are being deliberately obstructive now. An NQ salary is a “large salary” for these purposes.

5 PQE salary + prudently saved deposit = astronomical salary for these purposes.

Either you haven’t been a committed saver or you haven’t done your homework, I’m not sure which.

(7)(12)

Anonymous

My point was about the other, non-lawyer, professionals you mentioned who earn below a City associate – and who you claim can afford to buy houses in Zone 3.

You seem to have something of a preoccupation about “entitled people” – entitled to what exactly? Living in a half-decent area for the first 7 years of their careers when they’re on a decent salary and working in a very demanding job? Is that being “entitled”?

(9)(2)

Anonymous

Nope, being “entitled” is expecting to own a London property as an NQ, as you previously stated.

You can’t get much more entitled than that.

(2)(13)

Anonymous

Not as an NQ, but on a typical NQ salary – which is a City associate’s salary after all! It’s also fairly median salary given the number of City lawyers who don’t earn what a lot of people would expect them to.

I’ve just seen a report this morning that prices in the capital could rise by 30% over the next 5 years. Good luck buying a property on that even if you don’t lead an “entitled” lifestyle and are earning a City associate’s salary.

Zone 3… Zone 30 more like.

(7)(1)

Sucker

All of this is 100% true and applicable to everyone I work with. The law firm model is broken: lawyers bill ungodly sums per hour of work, target hours are high, people are “rewarded” if they bill more, and efficiency is frowned upon because it would earn the partners less money (I say “rewarded” because yes you get a bonus if you meet your target hours, but you also get given more work because you’re earning the firm more money and are seen as Someone On The Firm’s Side). Vicious cycle.
If you’re unlucky enough to have to stay at your firm for any period of time after you figure this all out, you’ll be a broken individual.

(13)(0)

Monica

I’m an ex City lawyer with years of corporate work under my belt. Junior lawyers are eager to please and keen to succeed, but don’t always fully appreciate the impact of the job before signing up to their TCs.
If you get the right firm for you, City law can offer a fantastic career path. The reality for most junior lawyers is that firms’ expectations are so high the work load and strain becomes overwhelming, and impacts every aspect of life as the author rightly pointed out. When you’re working 80 billable hours a week on a deal, you can’t not live in zones 1 and 2 (if you want more than 3 hours sleep a night!), you can’t find time to work out properly, and you have to eat for convenience. Holidays and other escapes become a necessary way of coping. This can be demoralising and can end up leading to depression and other health problems. I have been there and know at least 10 lawyers in my group of friends who have had mental health counselling or been treated for health conditions as a result of stress.
I think the key is getting out if you realise it’s not for you. If you can cope and don’t need to then it will be a stellar career!

(48)(0)

Anonymous

I’m sure this is true for some city firms. But others are changing. My firm (a medium sized city firm) is increasingly offering part-time/flexible working after realising it was losing good people on the assumption everyone would be willing to make the kind of sacrifices which this article talks about. I work part-time and largely from home, meaning I have a good work/life balance which is also conducive to a family/social life. I guess you just have to pick your firm very carefully.

(14)(2)

Meh

I think being a city lawyer is great. You have a good level of job security, exposed to some cutting edge deals, able to make high-end connections and network with interesting/ influential people. The work is intellectually demanding so you are always learning and developing mentally. This article ignores the fact that, as a junior, you will most probably be at the bottom of the food chain in most mainstream professions. A lot of my friends are junior doctors and earn the same amount as junior lawyers, they do far more hours and are treated badly by senior doctors and patients alike.

Your career is ultimately what you make of it. You can choose to become a robot with no personality and have a crap time in the city. OR, you can be positive, energetic and kind to everyone (regardless of how much they abuse you) and steadily climb the ranks within your profession. Lawyers have a reputation for being miserable sods, but I’ve met lots of partners and associates who are genuinely good-natured people – they are widely respected by both clients and colleagues and have succeeded far quicker than their unpleasant counterparts.

(58)(9)

Coq LaGrande

This. Well said, sir.

(12)(0)

VTESI

I agree with the approach but it should be tempered with all the BS mentioned in this article. People only put up with crap because they’re scared. Nevermind the numerous scientific studies proving that people who work 80 hour + weeks are less effective than those who work less.

(8)(1)

Also Meh

Agreed.

Silver Circle member here.

The work is interesting, I’ve done jobs where I though the work was utter dogshit. Also you need to take a step to think of yourself in the bigger picture. You can think of yourself as a photocopier or a spell checker, or you can ask questions to figure out how disclosure impacts litigation or how drafting an ISDA master agreement impacts a client looking to raise finance.

You are well remunerated, most jobs with this entry level of pay are (IB). If you’re looking for a 9-5 sadly you may not enjoy this.

Also, I have found a lot of this stuff really isnt synonymous to corporate law, I think you can easily apply this to IB or Insurance. I think its more bad management and non-realistic expectations not being dealt with very well. If you would like a 9-5, that’s great, just find a smaller firm that will let you do it!

(5)(3)

Anonymous

You are a partner, not a trainee or NQ – try doing their work and I’m sure you’ll agree it isn’t ‘interesting’ at all.

(7)(1)

Also meh

I’m actually a trainee. . .

(5)(1)

Optional

I cannot understand anyone who decides to work on a 9-5 regional law firm helping Mr down the road client sell his average local record shop for next to nothing pounds. Where is the excitement? Where is the andrenaline? When are you being pushed out of your comfort zone and being forced to adapt and develop?

I am a city associate. Give me billion pound deals with multiple jurisdictions and conference calls with the U.S. at 3am any day. I get paid more than x2 times my regional counterparts regardless of the hours. In fact I get taxis on expenses, ironing, dry cleaning and a cheap as chips canteen for breakfast and lunch.

(17)(62)

Denning's Dong

Fuuaark everyone, the big swinging dick is in the house!

Do they also offer subsidised, bespoke cocaine courier services? I’m running a bit low and could do with some meself…

(73)(6)

Anonymous

You are the perfect worker bee 🙂

Hours of overtime working (£250-400 an hour for your firm)

… consideration in kind for you = taxis and dry cleaning (market value- about 50quid, book value £10).

(31)(1)

Also meh

Why would any job pay you more than you bring in? Unless you’re support staff.

I think this calculation is ubsurd, no job in the city pays more than you bring in, it’s not logical business.

If you want to be on the other end of this calculation, set up a business!

(1)(1)

Adam

Some lawyers – and this may come as a shock to many people – some lawyers want to combine a thrill for intellectual challenges and high-responsibility work with emotional intelligence, empathy, and the ability to contextualise cases in the very real human background in which they take place. These lawyers do crime, or family, or represent individuals in litigation.

“Mr Down The Road Client”, as you so disparagingly termed him, might be fighting to see his children, or going through a horrible divorce, or being arrested for something serious, or even involved in a hilariously pointless dispute with his neighbour that would make Ward LJ cry. He needs “Mr Down The Road Lawyer” to help. And some of those lawyers become very good at helping people with all those things and make a good living in their own right. Your egotistical sidelining of a huge chunk of your own profession reflects spectacularly poorly on you.

If you don’t think that dealing with the very real tears and anger and fears and hopes of human beings isn’t “pushing you out of your comfort zone” and “forcing you to adapt and develop” then your view is as arrogant as it is one-dimensional.

(77)(3)

U Mad Brah

Dat dere toxic trainee

(12)(0)

Pantman

Hey, look, it’s one of the Masters of the Universe – have you seen Skeletor recently?

(10)(1)

Juan Pertayta

You provide corporate legal advice. That’s all. It’s not glamorous.

The people who actually make these deals don’t give a shit about the fawning lawyers. They think you’re an irritation.

(19)(1)

Anonymous

Agee with Juan. I worked on a billion dollar historical deal for a client, no sleep, lots of bullshit and no big bonus for my work. I recently completed a small deal for my own company, made way more money for myself and in much less time. Anyone that would prefer to work on a billion dollar deal and earn 100k working 18 hour days rather than earn 250k working 5 hour days is a Moron and bad allocator of time resource. The size of the deal you are working on is immaterial. The amount you take home is material.

(13)(0)

Also meh

We if you think of something in only monetary terms you can easily make that calculation.

Your logic there could be applied to nurses working in private care.

Some people, like myself, want to be on the cutting edge. There is nothing wrong with that.

I’m glad you found more enjoyment in your own company, I find more enjoyment in this – really, we are both winners.

(1)(2)

Frisky Hard Disks

When corporate lawyers start getting grandiose ideas about how important they are I always think of this little clip from Suits

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i1NjBSo5_ik

(2)(1)

Frisky Hard Disks

How important are corporate lawyers?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i1NjBSo5_ik

(2)(1)

Anonymous

The awful truth is that solicitors of any stripe aren’t pushed out of their comfort zones full stop. They spend most of their time filling in precedents, avoiding detail, and calling counsel when it gets too difficult.

(9)(5)

james

Clearly you`ve never represented a client at the police station…

(1)(1)

Anonymous

Do a day’s work in a legal aid firm and then talk about comfort zones, excitement and the other buzzwords.

Legal aid is tough; people’s liberty, homes, families and everything else are in your hands. Unlike your financial deals those are not things which can be made good by your insurer. I’ve done legal aid work for years, I’m about to qualify and I’ll barely be able to pay off my LPC loan but I would’t change it for anything.

(14)(1)

Also meh

Good man.

Can we not all accept this is all about happiness!

I think OP has unfortunately picked a career that wasn’t for them, it’s great to get another insight through this, but that’s all.

(2)(2)

Eliott

I think what the comments show is simply horses for courses. Some of the above relish staying awake at 2AM to do conference calls, others feel shit about their lives and their now likely broken dreams that corporate law would be for them because partners are asking so much of them.
It seems, as others have said, the real problem is at the very beginning, when students are thinking about what they ‘want to be’ and perhaps parents too, while knowing very little about the realities of life in a City firm.
It’s like saying you want to be a marathon runner yet have never been told what kind of exertion this will entail.
Good on Legal Cheek for helping to educate on this.

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Deed U No

The gauntlet – please put me to the test – I know I can take it and make it.

Yours perpetual paralegal actively seeking elusive TC.

(5)(1)

Anonymous

As someone who has just left a magic circle city firm after 7 years this all rings very true. They need to try and develop a better model – partnership is no longer a carrot for many people or even achievable – law firms are haemorrhaging good people all the time for all these reasons

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oxford_lawyer

I don’t get the point in the article about poor pay getting paid loads is the one thing you do get a NQ salary of at least 70,000 works out at £19 ph assuming you worked 10 hours a day 365 days a year. Plus that’s without the inevitable bonus. And Latham and Watkins et al have NQ pay of closer to £100,000 plus bonuses of 40% of salary

(1)(2)

ItsAllGood.

I was a partner in a big City firm for 14 years. I’m having a lot more fun now, running my own boutique (aka small) firm in EC2 that I founded in 2004. The big firm ethos didn’t really suit me. Now, we all have fun, do some great work, trainees get real responsibility and enjoy life. If you don’t like your own situation, don’t complain about it; change it.

(33)(3)

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