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Christopher King

Yeah but write too many mean letters as a Black Civil Rights attorney and see what happens to you, even if you are "right."



Christopher King

Yeah but write too many mean letters as a Black Civil Rights attorney and see what happens to you, even if you are "right."

And when I got to American Tower Corporation things only got worse.



That Lawyer Dude

This is a very good post however it overlooks that leaders do not have to practice law this way.
I love being a lawyer. I was a law review editor and a trial team captain. I never sought a big firm, instead I went the public service route for a really short while, then went into solo practice. I live and work in a very affluent area in NY and I own two new cars while still practicing criminal law.
I have spent sometime in small firms and worked with the billable hour issue and I am back on my own and happier than ever.
Here is the truth. Almost anyone could, in their debt in their first year out of law school if they want to sacrifice some of the niceties for a year or two.

It is possible to learn to practice law and learn how to think like a lawyer both at the same time... DO A CLINIC. Law does open many doors but it doesn't necessarily turn on many lights in the room you enter. You have to make your bones no matter what and that means starting at square one. That may mean working on your big idea while working in a traditional legal setting.
Being realistic means that you have the dicipline to do the things that will make you successful.

Some life advice for the new or soon to be newly minted lawyer. Be diciplined, and put your career first (for at least the first 10 years after graduation.) That means even if you are allowed to go home at 6 get home and read advance sheets or take a home study course on the net (at least one a month.)Make time to network and market yourself and your firm.
You are better off bringing in the firms largest client than billing the most hours, that goes for the Smith firm on Main street and THE BIG FIRM on Wall street.
Eat with someone who can refer you business at least one meal a week.

Now home life. Again it doesn't matter if you work at a big firm or a small firm. If you have a bad home life it will affect your work. Set aside time to be with your partner and some for your kids and finally those people who fed you while you were trying to get into college. Work will be there till you die. Family and friends will die without you.

What is a fair time breakdown for a new lawyer (one to three years out? 9-10 hours of work a day 4 days a week 8 -9 on a friday and another 4-6 over the weekend.( that will yield almost 2000 billed hours a year.) Sundays for God and family emergencies excepted (emergency does not mean too much work to still accomplish it's when somebody gets busted or the like)Friday or Saturday is date night use it or lose it. 3-8 hours a week should be spent marketing yourself and your practice or improving your skills (CLE or Bar activities.) YOu will adjust this as you go. As you get higher up and become a partner more time will go into business development and less into the grunt work. As you earn more money if you have been frugal you can spend more in your late 30's and 40's and it will mean more to you. If I am out of line on this so be it, but the reality is, any firm that does not allow time to have a balanced life is not one I would want to work for or have work for me. I want to work in a place where the boss doesn't earn more than 5x the lowest paid lawyer. You want to be Bill Gates, invent something. You want professional satisfaction do something you love. The rewards will come to you without you even asking.


Well, perhaps I have heard the lies. So, my Firm hired someone with ok grades (right below top 50%) to work this summer.

Right now in our less than 12 lawyer PI firm she has worked on files right away and helped craft a court Motion. Meanwhile her friend has spent the week rearranging a big firm library

Marshall R. Isaacs

Ms. Fowler, your article "Legal Lies" is well-intended but we know what Samuel Johnson said about good intentions....

One of the the repugnant elements of blawging is unproductive, under-edited soapbox preaching. Actions speak louder than words. Why not target the source and submit this very insightful article to the newspapers of universities which generate large numbers of law school applications.


Marshall R. Isaacs


Actually those laws that are told to law students are lies toldto any university student. How many times have kids been told "If you go to college, then you will earn hundreds and own a great big house and playthings?"

Traverse Legal

Isn’t that enough? I agree that we need to do better educating law students and new associates about what to expect when they enter the practice. I also believe that we need to create legitimate alternatives for our young bright lawyers beyond the big firm practice. Of course, most lawyers out of law school take the highest paying jobs in order to pay down their debt or in order to achieve a level of financial success. In effect we suck all the best talent out of the pool so they can toil away in the dungeons of big firm practice learning all about turning one hour worth of work into two hours of billable time. What a waste.

Enrico Schaefer, Traverse City Lawyer


You are amazing. I write this to you as I sit in my top 30 ranked school's classroom, watching a Professor (whom I must admit I love) teach me the theorys of Employment Law. I only wish I had read this two years ago . . .

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