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Argument: Higher paying law jobs are harder, less fulfilling

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Zaring & Henderson, "Young Lawyers in Trouble" (2007)): "In this review essay, we compare Kermit Roosevelt's and Nick Laird's bleak portrayals with findings from a unique dataset on law firm profitability, prestige, hours worked, and various measures of several associate satisfactions. We also mine the findings of several empirical studies that track the experience of lawyers over time. We observe that higher firm profitability is associated with higher salaries, bonuses, and prestige. Yet, higher profits also have a statistically significant relationship with longer hours, a less family-friendly workplace, less interesting work, less opportunity to work with partners, less associate training, less communication regarding partnership, and a higher reported likelihood of leaving the firm within the next two years. Nonetheless, graduates from the nation's most elite law schools tend to gravitate toward the most profitable and prestigious (and most grueling) law firms. The attraction of the most elite firms may be superior outplacement options. Or perhaps, as both novels intimate, it may stem from a reluctance to make hard life choices."


Iknowizberfmark comment on MetaFilter. December 9, 2008: "If you work in the large-firm, for-profit law world, that light at the end of the tunnel is likely an oncoming train. The pressure to bill only increases as you develop the skill set to run cases or deals and attract clients. Your first few years may be boring slavery reviewing documents. Your years after that are interesting and demanding slavery. Law school and clerking for a judge is the fun and relatively easy part of your career. If you are competitive enough (doing really well at a top-tier law school followed by a prestigious clerkship) to get a teaching job, you can expect the sabaticals and holidays. My friends at non-profit or small law shops work more regular hours than biglaw lawyers, but they don't take long holidays either. The big money has a big trade off in terms of lifestyle, for the most part."

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