There are no perfect professions. Each has their pros and cons. And so does being a Biglaw associate. You’ll encounter the good, bad, and ugly experiences at some point in your career. While some will give you a reason to strive for more success, others may make you regret why you chose the profession. But what experiences can be categorized under the good, the bad, and the ugly? Please read on.
- The Good
Everyone wants to have a good name and a well-paying job. Where you can support yourself and family without having to apply for loans once in a while – except unavoidable situations, of course. It’s a good feeling, right? This is what you can enjoy being a Biglaw associate.
You’ll get to make and spend good and quality times with new friends. Based on the demanding nature of the profession, you may not have time to spend with your high school and college friends. Who else will be there for you except your fellow lawyers?
Despite having to work for long hours every day, the outcome is very invigorating and rewarding. Right from the good briefs to successful completion of complex, nuanced tasks and getting stellar performance reviews. You’ll get to enjoy external validations for your hard work.
- The Bad
The main downside of working as an associate – especially if you’re a junior corporate associate – is the extensive number of hours you have to spend doing mind-blowing and tedious work. You could find yourself working for about 15-18 hours in a day, or worse, you’ll be forced to become an all-nighter drafting closing documents or whatever role you’re assigned.
This means that you’ll hardly have time for your family and friends. And, perhaps, you’ll need some time alone free of work stresses which you may not get due to the demanding nature of the job.
You’ll also be faced with the giant pressure to a bill. You’ll have to meet some minimum annual billing thresholds to better your job security. And these thresholds will as well determine the bonuses that you’ll be awarded.
- The Ugly
Abusive treatment is not a new thing in most firms, more so in the case of junior associates. There are several cases where senior lawyers disrespect and belittle the junior professionals. From personal insults and disrespect to not being acknowledged in the hallways and in presence of other attorneys.
Women have faced a pretty ugly life in the field. They have been greatly affected by the gender pay gap that exists with most law firms across all states. It will be bad news if you are pregnant in Biglaw. Remember, your job security depends on the hours you billed and being pregnant taxes your time, resources, and patience. Constant feelings of being tired or sick lower your productivity and performance in the field.
Biglaw moms hardly get partners to give them new contracts and the often get disrespected by fellow attorneys. And taking a maternity leave have seen most moms get stiffed bonuses or worse, losing entire bonus for the year.
Your life as a Biglaw associate will be surrounded by the good, the bad, and the ugly experiences. And you need to be prepared for all these. You’ve been working hard in high school and college just to get yourself the chance. If there’s anything you can do to change the bad and the ugly, the better your career will become. Good luck!