Realistic QoL expectations for family man, T14 grad, top 1/3rd of class, minimal debt

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switchcareerdad
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Realistic QoL expectations for family man, T14 grad, top 1/3rd of class, minimal debt

Post by switchcareerdad » Mon Sep 03, 2018 11:30 pm

I'm a dad of three kids and married to a wonderful woman, about to jump into LS apps, and I'm trying to figure out reasonable expectations re work hours and salary after LS (assuming I pull the trigger on this). With my numbers, resume, and what we've thrown in savings over the past several years, I think it's reasonable to think that I can get into a T14 and graduate without a ton of debt. Let's say I work my butt off and finish in the top third of my class. This all might be delusions of grandeur, but let's go with it. I'm thinking more transactional than litigation FWIW

So when I finish, I'm going to be more worried about QoL than $$$ (we're used to $45k/yr). Looking through LST, the vast majority of T14 grads do biglaw, and I'm wondering if that's because they want/need the salary and prestige, or if that's pretty much their only option after graduation. I'm leery of the hours that come with biglaw because I don’t want to crap on my family, and I've talked to too many people who started biglaw when married and ended up rich and divorced. I'm okay with every so often you'll have crazy weeks/months, but I'm not interested if that's the norm. However, I'd prefer working at a small/medium firm (or big firm with not too crazy hours) at first because I want to learn my stuff and not just do lazy gov work.

So…is it realistic to think I can find a position where ~50hrs/wk at work is fairly common, and let's say I make ~low-6-figs in coastal markets or ~high-5-figs in secondary/tertiary? After scouring through old threads, I can't seem to find the answer to this question. TIA!

[Backstory if you're interested: Been working in education the past 10 years--teacher then school administrator--mainly overseas, but my wife came down with a super-rare neurological condition while pregnant with our third child, which forced us back to the States. She's better now, but son (almost 1yr) has health issues that will probably prevent us from returning overseas. I'm not sure I want to spend the rest of my career working with kids--sorry I said it--and I think law would be a good fit for multiple reasons. I'm from SoCal but don't mind moving--wife and I have always talked about the Rockies (Denver/Boise/etc), we have family in Louisville, so we're open.]

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MKC
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Re: Realistic QoL expectations for family man, T14 grad, top 1/3rd of class, minimal debt

Post by MKC » Mon Sep 03, 2018 11:38 pm

Small and medium firms will almost all require as many hours as large firms but pay less and have fewer exit options. They will lie and talk about work life balance. They're lying.

BigZuck
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Re: Realistic QoL expectations for family man, T14 grad, top 1/3rd of class, minimal debt

Post by BigZuck » Mon Sep 03, 2018 11:59 pm

Seems like school administration would get you closer to DAT CHILL AF low 6 figs/high 5 figs you’re hoping for than law would. I’d just rid that out till you retire. Just focus on the family and cash checks, nothing wrong with that at all. Sounds pretty sweet to me, honestly.

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HelloYesThisIsDog
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Re: Realistic QoL expectations for family man, T14 grad, top 1/3rd of class, minimal debt

Post by HelloYesThisIsDog » Tue Sep 04, 2018 1:59 am

Many government attorney jobs cannot be described as lazy. Say that to my friends in their first year as a prosecutor or public defender. You might lose a limb.

Also, even the government jobs that are chill still give you good experience. If you want quality of life and solid experience, government may actually be a good direction for you. Reconsider your bias on that, as law firms of any size are a mixed bag.

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blueapple
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Re: Realistic QoL expectations for family man, T14 grad, top 1/3rd of class, minimal debt

Post by blueapple » Tue Sep 04, 2018 7:02 am

yeah pretty sure government is what you want if you are aiming for QoL. there's nowhere else in law that you'll find a 40 hour work week that can get you to low 6 figs within 2-4 years (depends on where you're living).

i'm not sure why you're taking jabs at government lawyers (maybe you want to make it clear that you can handle the work of biglaw even if you don't want to? i don't know) when you're looking for that lifestyle, but dog is right that most if not all government lawyers i know have been able to get great experience right off the bat.

ETA: I should mention that not *all* government jobs will give you a 40 hour work week. mine does, but i have friends who regularly need to work more than that

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jeff chiles
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Re: Realistic QoL expectations for family man, T14 grad, top 1/3rd of class, minimal debt

Post by jeff chiles » Tue Sep 04, 2018 8:47 am

Yeah you want to shoot for government, there are a lot of interesting places you could end up if you go to a T14 and are flexible on location.

But seriously if you want time with family and are cool with topping out around 100k stick with school administration! You are going to have a way harder time finding the lifestyle you want in any law job.

switchcareerdad
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Re: Realistic QoL expectations for family man, T14 grad, top 1/3rd of class, minimal debt

Post by switchcareerdad » Tue Sep 04, 2018 11:46 am

OP here. My bad for taking a shot at gov work. Thanks for advice

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Rink
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Re: Realistic QoL expectations for family man, T14 grad, top 1/3rd of class, minimal debt

Post by Rink » Tue Sep 04, 2018 12:24 pm

OP, do you even want to be a lawyer?

Also, government work is some of the most interesting work with a better chance at reasonable hours. It's not "lazy" and some of it is actually really hard to get.

switchcareerdad
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Re: Realistic QoL expectations for family man, T14 grad, top 1/3rd of class, minimal debt

Post by switchcareerdad » Tue Sep 04, 2018 1:25 pm

Rink wrote:
Tue Sep 04, 2018 12:24 pm
OP, do you even want to be a lawyer?
Yes, totally all in on being a lawyer--can't tell you how much I would like to get out of education. However I totally get that there's no guarantee T14 and finances will work out. I'm mainly asking because my story is weird--IF my hypo works out (and I know it might not), I'd like to be realistic about what employment might look like afterwards, and if I can find a decent job without soul-sucking hours. Figured you all would know better than I.

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