Any ex lawyers…

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  • Any ex lawyers…
  • Premier Icon Nipper99
    Subscriber

    when was ‘enoughs enough’ and what did you do after.

    Premier Icon andyfla
    Subscriber

    Did 3 years of law at uni – hated it – did work exp at Slaughter and May in London, hated it even more.

    Now own a indoor climbing wall

    Sorry, not much help πŸ˜€

    Premier Icon Drac
    Subscriber

    I think you have to try and get your soul back from the Devil, challenge him to a fiddling contest.

    [video]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xdAiLMD0pdo[/video]

    cynic-al
    Member

    I came close to breaking point and they worked this out.

    Took some time out then back to bike trade, still there after 2.5 years, trying to move on but finding job market tough.

    There is a website covering this, I forget the name but I’ll be googleable

    Premier Icon Nipper99
    Subscriber

    Al, are looking to go back into the law.

    cynic-al
    Member

    No, had enough, too long out of it now.

    drlex
    Member

    Think it was the workload; at heart I’m a lazy bΓ₯rstard. Clients and some of my colleagues ran a close second. Got a doctorate, loafed for a while, and now work an easy IT role (like what feels to be 50% of the members here) in the country. Don’t miss it, and rarely miss London village. Guess it was a mid-life crisis in my twenties…

    Is there such a thing as an ex Lawyer? isn’t that like an ex criminal? πŸ˜€

    Premier Icon cu dubh
    Subscriber

    Went from private practice here to inhouse. My then boss was cosec and when she moved on I took over. Not planned that way but a bit of luck. Currently redundant for complicated reasons but looking for another cosec job. As I said to my wife last night that will do until I see the ad for really slow pro triathlete.

    konabunny
    Member

    exlawyers I know:

    – private investigator x 3

    – literary agent

    – semi-HR consultant

    mostly high stress, boring work and douchebag bosses that did them in

    Premier Icon ourmaninthenorth
    Subscriber

    Yes. As of 2 weeks ago. Went in-house 4 years ago after deciding partnership as a corporate lawyer post-2008 was a doomed enterprise. Learned loads as an in-houser, but hit the glass ceiling and boredom factor. Stayed at same company, but now doing a commercial role.

    I know some others. All of whom are happier, less stressed and have a better* work/life balance.

    *few hit nirvana – I think I probably work more intensely on more things at the same time.

    Premier Icon ourmaninthenorth
    Subscriber

    Edit – double post.

    If you’re in private practice, then either become a consultant if you’re niche or head to a decent – ie commercial – inhouse team.

    Am on hols now, but feel free to mail me and I’ll share more info. Addy in profile.

    badnewz
    Member

    Not a lawyer, but three good friends qualified. One has stayed with it, specialising in tax law (he say’s it’s boring but he’s a family man and can put up with the boredom), one left practice and now lectures in law at a London uni, the other left one of the big firms and is now in-house lawyer at a tech start-up.

    Premier Icon Nipper99
    Subscriber

    Ta for the replies.

    Jgmoores
    Member

    This is very interesting reading for someone about to qualify. Should I quit now?

    hjghg5
    Member

    11 years qualified and I’d get out if I had a viable plan of something else to do.

    Premier Icon Nipper99
    Subscriber

    10 yrs qualified – other than mrs nipper i would be quite happy if i never saw or spoke to another human being ever again (well most of the time anyway)!

    peterfile
    Member

    I moved from private practice to an in house role just over 2 years ago. Old firm was sending me here, there and everywhere – great for the CV but was ruining my life (or what was left of it). Hours were horrific at times, but it was working with other lawyers that eventually broke my will, not the graft.

    A role came up with one of our clients. Commercial/legal role. Seemed almost perfect. I do the same stuff as before, but I’m the client now and get to run a large part of the commercials too. Work on my own on deals (with good advisers) and part of a small but highly supportive legal department. Company is generally excellent to work for.

    But…I’d still rather be doing something else if I could work out what really makes me tick. Long hours stress has just been replaced with fewer hours (most of the time) but a completely different kind of pressure/stress. Plus although I don’t have to do any day to day legal stuff, I feel like my time is often wasted (no charge out rate means people love to have the lawyers sit in on absolutely everything).

    Advice to OP (same as OMITN really)…try doing something else in the law first, before you jump ship entirely. I’m actually pretty happy at work at the moment and earn more than I would in PP. It might not be the law itself, perhaps you’re just need to approach it from a different angle.

    I started this thread 3 years ago. Looking back, I was making my life (and those around me) shit. If you think you need to so something about it, you probably do.

    My wife was a Commercial Lit lawyer for around 4 years before the work load, clients, work mates and soul destroying situations made her jack it in.

    I can clearly remember the moment she did it. I was away at the time and I remember thinking it was the absolute correct thing to do.

    6 years later it’s still the best decision (well, second best after that whole getting together with me thing of course) that she’s ever made.

    She works as a Project Manager at a uni now and still uses her law expertise daily but not in such an unpleasant environment.

    cyclical
    Member

    Stuck it out as a property lawyer for 17 years despite never real enjoying it from day one. Although the money got better the hours just got longer and longer so jumped at the chance to go and work with clients 5 years ago. Now running a moderately successful property company and still feel relief every morning I wake up and realise I don’t have a 12 hour day tied to my desk being reactive to clients ahead.

    Don’t beat yourself up about leaving private practice, it’s a real bind and not many go back. Hats off to the guys who actually genuinely enjoy private practice but I didn’t come across many.

    konabunny
    Member

    it was working with other lawyers that eventually broke my will, not the graft.

    are you, in fact, me talking from the future?

    lcj
    Member

    Wannabe ex lawyer here!

    Any suggestions for a nearly 5 yr PQE private client solicitor?

    Premier Icon BigDummy
    Subscriber

    I realised that if I was going to make partner at my current shop, I needed to work 4x harder than I was currently doing (and that was only viable while eating anti-depressants anyway).

    I am instead trying to make partner somewhere where this is possible on a sane working week. Still going to be rubbish though.

    πŸ™‚

    sugdenr
    Member

    Not yet but busy trying to be, fed up working for the man in a soul destroying role, want something stimulating where its up to me to make it happen but I have an interest in the result, and something I am proud of.

    Premier Icon bedmaker
    Subscriber

    Well this is a heartening read! It’s good to know that lawyers hate their lives as much as the rest of the world hates the thought of having to have any dealings with them. πŸ™‚

    I’ve often wondered about the huge workload/long hours thing with lawyers – is it basically a greed thing? The more money they make the more they want…

    A cousin of mine works daft hours for an Edinburgh law firm, I was rather surprised when he told me that after only being qualified a few years his tieme was charged out at £165 P/H and his boss £265 😯

    I know there’s swanky offices in the right postcode and fit office receptionists to pay for but still 😯

    peterfile
    Member

    Bedmaker, your post makes you sound like a bit of a fanny tbh

    Premier Icon bedmaker
    Subscriber

    Fair enough.

    How come? It’s a genuine enough question, why does someone on a huge hourly rate feel the need to work loads of hours when they could work a bit less, enjoy the job a bit more, and still make plenty of monay?

    I realise there are plenty minions in big law firms to whom this doesn’t apply, it’s more directed at those a bit further up the greasy pole who are still working big hours.

    Premier Icon Nipper99
    Subscriber

    jadedlawyertrackworld meet somewhere wet and gloomy mid winter which we can then all gib out of at the last min because we don’t have time πŸ˜•

    peterfile
    Member

    Fair enough.

    How come? It’s a genuine enough question, why does someone on a huge hourly rate feel the need to work loads of hours when they could work a bit less, enjoy the job a bit more, and still make plenty of monay?

    I realise there are plenty minions in big law firms to whom this doesn’t apply, it’s more directed at those a bit further up the greasy pole who are still working big hours.

    You were trying to be antagonistic πŸ™‚

    The huge workload isn’t optional for the vast majority (unless you quit). Most lawyers I know don’t work in private client areas of law as sole practitioners where they have more control on how much work they take on (eg the type of lawyer you might meet, wills, divorce, criminal). Most I know work in big corporate/commercial firms. You’re on a huge charge out rate (Β£400+ per hour) and have equally huge chargeable hours/billing targets to meet. But, they pay you a huge salary, which makes leaving the profession (or at least big law firms) that wee bit harder, because your life tends to grow around that salary. It’s a trap. It cost me Β£40k out of my own pocket (well, HSBCs anyway) to go through 6 years of law school and although I was hardly thrilled by the time I got into practice, if it was the choice between earning more than an MP straight out of uni, or to ignore the 6 years of graft you just put in and go do something you might enjoy more but for 1/4 of the money…with all that debt hanging over you….it’s easy to see why most people stick it out for a bit.

    Those of us who have jumped ship to client side (or out of law) realise that there is an alternative, but you generally have to go through a number of years of torture in order to get there .

    In all fairness, there are a lot of greedy lawyers, but there are greedy people everywhere. Lawyers are just an easy target because we make taking obscene amounts of money from people/companies look so effortless πŸ˜‰

    Premier Icon ourmaninthenorth
    Subscriber

    Just to temper peterfile’s enthusiasm for his wedge, there are bucket loads of lawyers who don’t earn top dollar and find themselves equally trapped because they believed the graduate recruitment lie that going into the law these days was a big deal. It isn’t. It’s a grunt job being someone else’s bitch. Only, once you’ve spent a wedge to get in, you feel like a massive loser for wanting to get out. And there’s nothing worse than bright people feeling like they’ve failed to make them stick at it in the hope they’ll get the big bucks and somehow it’ll be ok.

    Oh, and anyone who confuses the charge out rates with the take home is what we might call “an unsophisticated client”. There are a handful (probably literally across the country) who make more than they charge.

    @ the lawyers thinking about doing something else, I have plenty more opinions where these came from. Email’s in my profile.

    konabunny
    Member

    a huge hourly rate

    165 an hour – the employee’s slice of that will be about a sixth or a seventh. the rest goes to paying all the other expense and profit needs of the business

    how much do plumbers and mechanics charge an hour? a car dealership or estate agent will (appear to) make thousands of pounds an hour selling just one car (but of course s/he has massive expenses and doesn’t sell a car an hour).

    lawyers generally get paid more than social workers or carers or loads of other people that do real hard work BUT it’s also a very competitive market, there have never been more providers and so you have to assume that (for sophisticated clients whose lawyers charge top whack) they’re paying that money because it’s worth it.

    peterfile
    Member

    Just to temper peterfile’s enthusiasm for his wedge

    Ha! No enthusiasm on my part, it’s a rueful reflection on how things ended up the way they have for me πŸ™‚ I trained at a firm that thought it appropriate to not pay GDL/LPC fees and to pay law society minimum (which actually works out at under the minimum wage). I picked the firm when I still had delusions that perhaps I could practise in a field that interested me. I moved on qualification for more money because I had to work 2 jobs for two years (training contract plus every saturday and sunday in a part time job) just to meet the minimum repayment on my tuition fees.

    I agree it is a trap either way though, especially when you consider the willingness of LLB/GDL/LPC/Diploma providers to take students money despite the distinct lack of training contracts. The competition is fierce and it forces many young lawyers to make compromises.

    I wanted to go into criminal law, that’s what attracted me to the law as a kid. I spent every summer from 14 working in a firm, starting with making tea and sorting out the library and eventually working as a precognition agent whilst studying. But the longer you spend studying, the higher the debts become and the more you become aware of the huge salary difference between doing the thing you want v doing the thing that will pay the bills. So I sold out πŸ™

    Not sure I’d be happier as a criminal lawyer, but probably less bored.

    Premier Icon pedroball
    Subscriber

    Really interesting views here, particularly as I see the insides of a range of firms from your Top 100 size up to the big US ones and a lot aren’t as profitable as they would have you think, perhaps explaining in part the comments on salaries here.

    I did a law degree but ended up a tax accountant – it seems to have a more commercial feel to it, in terms of the work you do, and less transactional, so your’re working with the clients on all the inter relating issues as they grow the business. The work life “mix” seems to be more progressed in accountancy than law. The chargeable hour targets are realistic too, with real chances to work from home regularly. I sometimes wonder how US lawyers are expected to hit their chargeable hours targets and have a life – the above replies suggest they don’t.

    I work with plenty of people who used to be lawyers and moved into accountancy and the skillsets are easily transferable, I would say. It’s a kind of a half way house, perhaps.

    If money is your thing, then that is there for the taking, with average partner profit shares at the big 4 firms averaging Β£600k.

    Premier Icon nedrapier
    Subscriber

    I know one guy who was doing the standard big London law firm, mental hours, bed at the office, didn’t see his family thing.

    He took a position in the British Virgin Islands and is a lot happier, and so is his family. Might not be getting on quite as quick as he would be if he was still in London, but he’s certainly not doing badly. He gets to see his girls grow up, and his wife can remember what he looks like without checking photographs. And they live in the Caribbean.

    Another friend gave up being a tax lawyer to take on his parents’ farm. Working just as hard, but feeling more fulfilled.

    And another (family law) sleft to set up his own practice. He seems a lot happier too.

    badnewz
    Member

    Good thread this. Most of my friends who went into law came from lower middle class background, their dads all told them to go into law and “make some proper money”.
    As with all life it is a compromise – I don’t know too many people making very good money without very long hours, in any profession.

    Premier Icon nedrapier
    Subscriber

    I don’t know too many people making very good money without very long hours, in any profession.

    Depends what you mean by very good money, I guess. There is something particular about the culture in the few professions that are top of the list for ambitious people who want to make a lot of money. If you’re that sort of person, you’re looking at Law, Investment Banking, Consulting/accountancy at one of big 4, [Medicine maybe but there are different factors involved there]

    You’re surrounded by other people wanting to do the same, cutting your teeth on the stuff that’s too boring and tedious to interest partners and seniors, so often the only way to differentiate yourself is to work harder and longer than your peers. All on the promise of untold riches and an easier life when you break through into the upper echelons.

    badnewz
    Member

    Depends what you mean by very good money, I guess.

    I’d say 70k a year plus. And in terms of being surrounded by arseholes, that goes for a huge variety of jobs, including fairly low paid ones. I agree though the constant pressure makes the difference.

    If you work for a living, why kill yourself working.

    peterfile
    Member

    All on the promise of untold riches and an easier life when you break through into the upper echelons.

    It’s odd isn’t it? Even though you can see the statistics for yourself, no one fully accepts them. An equity partner at my last shop was taking home over Β£1m on average…yet a new salaried partner would be taking home under Β£150-175k. The reality is…for most… you’ll never see equity if you stick with a big firm.

    Yet people still aim for partnership/equity as if it’s necessary. As if somehow life will get easier once you reach it πŸ™‚

    Working your arse off for Β£1m a year would be tolerable if cash is important to you (I don’t know many office jobs that pay that). Yet working your arse of in the hope that you might hit Β£175k and almost killing youself in the process (still believing that a relaxing work life on Β£1m is just around the corner), is a much less appealing proposition, yet is the more likely outcome for most lawyers at big firms.

    I never really had a desire to reach partnership or be wealthy. I just wanted enough to pay my debts off and go on holiday. 80 hour weeks doing stressful and boring work, surrounded by people I wouldn’t piss on if they were on fire, wasn’t worth it for someone not chasing the partnership “dream”. I became disillusioned quite quickly, but opportunities of escape were few and far between. I eventually got lucky and am much, much happier.

    konabunny
    Member

    why does someone on a huge hourly rate feel the need to work loads of hours when they could work a bit less, enjoy the job a bit more, and still make plenty of monay?

    Because most lawyers are employees paid a salary. The more they work, they more they bill and the more the owners of the business earn – but the amount the salaried employee stays the same. That’s why there’s such overwork of lawyers – the more they work, the lower their per hour cost to the employer is.

    You can’t just piss off at 2pm because you think you’ve earned enough monay (although you should be able to).

    Premier Icon BigDummy
    Subscriber

    Peterfile puts this very well indeed.

    πŸ™‚

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