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Old 09-26-06, 10:17 PM   #1
fatpossum22
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Question for the Lawyers out there

So awhile ago I took the LSAT exam with the intention of going to law school, but wound up not applying anywhere. Now I'm thinking about going again, but I'm wondering... is it possible to be a successful lawyer and not work like 50-60+ hours a week? Also, what other lucrative jobs are out there for people with a law degree besides actually being a lawyer? Thanks.
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Old 09-26-06, 10:24 PM   #2
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consultant for law and order?
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Old 09-27-06, 05:49 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fatpossum22
So awhile ago I took the LSAT exam with the intention of going to law school, but wound up not applying anywhere. Now I'm thinking about going again, but I'm wondering... is it possible to be a successful lawyer and not work like 50-60+ hours a week? Also, what other lucrative jobs are out there for people with a law degree besides actually being a lawyer? Thanks.
Depends where you apply (In location wise), depends on your experience becuase the new people tend to work more hours due to less pay. Also depends on your resume as well.
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Old 09-27-06, 05:52 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fatpossum22
is it possible to be a successful lawyer and not work like 50-60+ hours a week?
Yep. Be a lawyer at a gov't agency. Drawback: you may have to move to DC.
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Old 09-27-06, 05:53 PM   #5
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Are you thinking of staying in Madison? Because there are many state agency lawyers who work civilized hours. You won't get rich, but you won't starve either.
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Old 09-27-06, 06:39 PM   #6
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going in house as a transactional lawyer is fun but usually requires a hard 2-3 years in a big firm

going to work for a consulting firm (like Booz Allen), but you'll need hot grades and you'll still work nutty hours.

hours may be a bit less in places like Memphis or Madison (but not if you work for Foley & Lardner).

best plan - go to law school, marry the smart girl and let her work 50-60 hrs per week
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Old 09-27-06, 07:32 PM   #7
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It depends on what you define as "successful." My wife is an attorney and, after worked for other law firms, opened her own practice and she is much happier being on her own. However, she works at least 6 days per week. Sixty hours per week is not uncommon for her.

You have to love being a lawyer in order to be successful (just like with anything) but you won't know until you go through law school. Some people love it, and some hate it. There usually aren't too many in between.

There are several books available about alternative careers for attorneys (one is What To Do With A Law Degree, but she can't remember the author's name). People who have law degrees certainly do not have to have the traditional lawyer career.

Hope that helps
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Old 09-27-06, 07:35 PM   #8
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Here's a link to that book.

http://www.amazon.com/What-Can-Law-D.../dp/0940675463
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Old 09-27-06, 10:25 PM   #9
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In short, No. 50 to 60 hours is the low end of the spectrum IMHO for most private practice jobs. Obviously at bigger firms you'll be working a lot more. In-house and government jobs are non-existent for graduates right out of school, and are hard to get. If you plan on staying in Madison, good luck. A friend of mine graduated *** laude from UW Law and was unemployed for nearly two years because he limited his search to just Madison.

Also, the practice of law isn't all that lucrative. My first job out of law school (2001 grad) paid $45,000 -- and that's with a fairly large Milwaukee firm. A lot of the jobs I had interviewed for paid a lot less (in the $20,000s). Government jobs are going to start anywhere from $27,000-ish to slightly over $50,000. And they don't go up that quickly. Sure, the first-years at Foley, Michael Best, etc. are all now making well over $100K, but there are not many of those jobs available -- and they work you like a dog.

The lucrative alternative careers are in the Business field. But, you may as well skip the JD and go right for the MBA.
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Old 09-27-06, 10:37 PM   #10
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Thanks for the advice, everybody. Your answers pretty much confirmed what I was thinking, but I thought it would be good to hear this stuff from people who have some degree of experience. I'm still weighing my options, and I'm taking the GRE in a week, so I still haven't made my mind up, career-wise. I just know that I'm starting to get sick of my current job and would like to be back in school next fall. I want a job that is personally rewarding, will allow me to spend time with a family when I decide to start one, and offers me more pay and opportunity for career advancement than the job I have now (doesn't everyone want this?). I also know that the B.S. in History that I have probably won't cut it. The advice has been really helpful.
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Old 09-28-06, 09:50 AM   #11
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Heh. I have a Bachelor's in History too. (Ain't it useful?) Every History major I knew was taking the LSAT and just about all of them eventually went to LS. I also took the GRE and at the time (22 years old, what the hell does any 22 year-old know about life?), I thought, well it's 10 years to a Ph.D (plus a language, which probably would have been Russian for me) or 3 years and no language to a J.D.

Anyway, good for you for taking the GRE and the LSAT. It's good to have options.

BTW, fatpossum22: Did you take any Philosophy or Math as an undergrad? I ask because the LSAT has a lot of logic questions. In retrospect, if I'd known I was going to end up in LS, I would have at least taken Intro to Logic.
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Old 09-28-06, 10:13 AM   #12
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I'm not a lawyer, but I did stay in a Red Roof Inn...
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Old 09-28-06, 10:20 AM   #13
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a friend of mine is a business analyst/project manager in training - did a law degree but, his words, "didn't love the law" so went to work for PWC instead of a law firm

and , possibly because of the degree, is never short of work and has a normal 40hr+ working week, i.e., a life outside of work.
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Old 09-28-06, 11:07 AM   #14
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50-60 hours is not even close to working hard. When you log 80-90 hours a week at a job then that is enough.
Any time you are working salaried you will usually be expected to work 50-60 standard. Which is one extra hour a day and/or coming in a 5th day.
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Old 09-28-06, 08:20 PM   #15
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Caloso: I did not take any philosophy classes in college, but I did take one stats class. I tested out of 1st semester calculus, and hated the way they taught math at the UW, so I never took any more math classes. That being said, out of all the LSAT sections, I did the best on the logic puzzles (only one wrong).

80-90 hours at a job? To me that just seems nuts. There's working hard, and then there's letting your job take over your life. I refuse to have a job that requires me to consistently work more than 50-60 hours a week. Maybe I'm being idealistic (I'm still only 23), but like I said, I want to be able to devote time to a family when I decide to start one... I'm not going to let any job take away from that.
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Old 09-29-06, 09:54 AM   #16
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No argument from this lawyer. That is nuts.
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