20220706 Why Law Firm Lawyers Must Work Weekends and Holidays - Law Firms Own Your Time and You Do Not
[00:00:00] So we'll get started. So today's webinar. This is actually based on a article that over 20 years ago, I believe. And this is one of the first I think articles that I ever wrote about this kind of stuff. And I remember it quite well. And this is it's a topic that I think a lot of people don't like to hear, but it's it's a pretty important one, I think.
And and so I will get started just gimme one second here. And the format of these webinars is typically what I'll do is I will give the presentation. I'm a little tired today cause I have a bad cold, but I'll give the presentation. And then after the presentation I'll take as many questions this people have.
So one second. Okay. This is really talks about some things that a lot of people believe, especially a lot of younger people that, that are inhumane and and not. Good things about working in law firms and but at the same time it's a very important topic because I've seen a lot of careers ruined by the wrong attitude when it comes to working on weekends and holidays.
And and a lot of people especially a lot of younger people that end up doing other things and not necessarily [00:01:00] working in law firms. Don't consider working in a law firm, just a job. But the problem with working in a law firm is it's not just, it's not just a job.
And if you're a superiors belief that you don't think if you think about it more as a job and nothing else, then you're often gonna be in trouble quite quickly. And in order to thrive in a law firm your work needs to be far more than just a job. There's a couple points that I think are very interesting.
It's been for the past several years, it's been a very good employment market. And and so people were able to get away with a lot of things that they might not have gotten away with in, in more demanding markets. But anytime we're going in into a recession or the economy slows down everything that I'm gonna talk about today becomes even more important and becomes really one of, some of the most important stuff that you can think about with your career and in order to be very successful in any type of law firm you need to be your work needs to be more than just a job to you.
And and it's something that you need to get ahead. Now, you certainly don't need to work every weekend holiday but. But, and, simply avoiding working on the weekends, isn't something you should do, [00:02:00] but it's generally my experience, a lot of times the youngest attorneys who take a hit or careers take a hit due to their work ethic and in part, because they're unwilling to work on weekends and and they're willing unwilling to be seen and look like they're dedicated.
And and they may think they're immune from that. And they may be able to think they, they coast on the merits of what they did in the past. But really it's important to understand that it's very important as an attorney to to be working on weekends and holidays most of the time.
And I'm gonna go through all the reasons for that. And I'm talking about more of the point of view of an associate right now. But also as a partner as well. One of the first things that you should understand, and this is something that a lot of people don't understand, but it's a privilege.
I should have work. A lot of law firms don't have a lot of work. And if you're in an employer that has a lot of work then you can, should consider yourself very fortunate. And the fact that the law firm has a lot of work means that the law firm's doing something right. And the presence of the work means they're generating money to pay your salary and to advance you.
And and it also means that the firm's probably getting a [00:03:00] lot of re repeat work from its clients because it's doing good work on the work that it has. And it also means that. The firm likely the more work a firm has, the more opportunities they will have where you do advance. And so if you're in a place where there's a lot of work, it's actually not a bad thing, it's actually a very good thing.
And and so to be in a firm with a lot of work means that the organization is healthy, that they're doing something right, and that you also have the opportunity to learn. And when you're young it's really, especially when you're like a first or fourth or fifth year associate, you really, it's really your big opportunity to get experience and to learn.
And that's where most of the training happens. And especially if you're able to work in a larger law firm early on, because that experience will expose you to larger clients and all sorts of things like that. And and I've, spoken to, thousands of people that have been downsized when there's not a lot of work and that can be a very bad thing.
And when the work slows down inside of law firms and it always does to some extent, different law firms will slow down and different practice areas will slow down. [00:04:00] Then what happens is either you're unable to make bonuses and so forth or you're you lose your job and it becomes much harder to find a job and it happens a lot.
And it hasn't happened for several years, but the market is definitely right now, I believe to some extent slowing down. So it's important to, to understand. And and if if work slows down, then everyone's job suddenly become jeopardy. And and there becomes a situation where you know where there, there's not a lot of work.
And you could be in a situation where you're in a firm where everyone else is slow and you have a lot of work, and that's actually a very good thing. And and if partners are giving you a lot of work and you're getting a lot of repeat work, that means you're doing good work and they like your work.
That's a very good thing as well. And and the people are giving you more work. It means that you're in a position where you have at a job security. And if you don't have a lot of work, you probably don't have job security. I've worked in firms where there were people that were billing 3000 hours a year, and there were people billing associates billing, a thousand hours a year.
And typically the ones that were billing like a thousand [00:05:00] hours a year were, or a thousand hours a year were just not doing as good at work. And and that was the reason they weren't getting repeat work and. And when people are giving you a lot of work, they typically not doing it to punish you.
They're doing it to reward you. And especially in large law firms the partners have a lot of people that they can choose to give their work to. And and they typically will give it to people that they believe we're gonna do the best work. And not only that, but it will help you to get more hours and look much better.
A lot of firms as a matter of fact a high number of them when they make decisions about who they're gonna advance and who they're gonna let go, they always look at your hours, cuz your hours are a sign of how how much work you're getting. And and presumably a reflection of the quality of the work that you do, and then also your motivation.
So the biggest problem, if you're, even if you find yourself having to work on a weekend holiday, the, a worst problem would be the firm doesn't have any work to give, or the firm's giving work to other people that think is work is better than yours. And you need to understand that having work is a privilege and it's a very good thing.
And even though. There certainly are limits [00:06:00] to work, meaning you could be in a firm where there's way, way too much work when you're young and you're getting experience and so forth, having work is a very good thing. The next thing is the only way your firm makes money is if you're doing work.
And you, the firm can't make money when you're off. And you're, if you're at a family gathering the 4th of July, or if you're out with your friends or something, they're not making money, they're only making money when you're billing. And and so most people don't necessarily understand the economics of their law firm.
They don't know things about like how much the space costs the overhead, the furniture, the all those sorts of things and what the firm's a obligations are. But the most firms just need to bring in quite a bit of money to survive and and they need it. The more work you have.
The better off you're gonna be. And and if you help your firm make lots of money, you're contributing to it, survival. And and then the firm will also believe that you're your, a contributor and will keep you around when they start letting other people go, which most firms ill go through kind of ups and downs.
And then when things are slow, they almost every [00:07:00] firm not every single one, but almost all of them will let people go and they slow down and And people when they evaluate you, they're typically gonna be concerned with the number of hours you're billing and and how much you're making money how much money you're making them with the hours of you're billing.
And in order to for the firm to make money you need to bill a lot of hours. This is really all it's down to it. And in your relationship with any employer comes down to your ability to make the money and they don't care how you do this. And they don't care if you work on the weekends or what they just don't care.
There's a lot of other things about working on excuse me, I'm working on the weekends and holidays, but one of the big ones I think is that clients don't care about weekends and holidays. When someone goes to a law firm especially large law firms, they may have the emergency side that it's no different.
How would you feel. If you went into a hospital on a holiday or on a weekend, and there was no one there working to help you. And because the client the law is very similar in that respect that people are expected to be working quite a bit. And and a lot of times, if you think about [00:08:00] it from the client standpoint, clients often come to law firms with major problems or litigation or transactions that are very important.
And and then the attorneys need to be ready and they need to be able to help the firm and the client when the client needs it. And so just because you don't wanna work, doesn't necessarily mean that that, that's the best thing. I do ask people a lot of times when they bring up this question if they don't wanna work on an important and time sensitive matters, you have to ask yourself why you're an attorney because the job of an attorney is really to take a lot of interest in solving other people's problems.
Now it doesn't mean you have to do this job in a law firm. You can do it in other places too, but that's really what it's about. And and because you have that role, you're, it's very, you're the work you do is very important to clients and your clients really need someone who is not afraid to work weekends on holidays.
The, in most cases clients want to feel that, the attorneys have their backs at all times. They want to feel that if the, they need the attorney's gonna be working for them. And the clients are paying a lot of money for their work.
You do. And if they think you're important enough to them [00:09:00] that you're working on weekends, then they're gonna be impressed and feel you're working diligently on their behalf. They also want to feel the work you're doing for them really the most important thing on your agenda.
And working weekends and holidays makes them think that, and then finally anytime there's, you're thinking about work there's only a limited number of people that can be advanced inside of law firms and kept around over the long term. So a lot of times people when the law firm's considering them to be partners and so forth, they're I've seen people where they were told You were asked to work on a matter three years ago and didn't, and the, therefore we're not gonna advance you.
I, it sounds crazy, but I've talked to someone at a major firm that, that told me that quite recently, and and law firms are generally looking for reasons to to exclude you from advancement because it's not on their best interest to advance everyone and they need to make it very difficult to make it profitable for the people that are advanced and for the firm.
Most law firms don't give you as much encouragement as you would like. And and and if you work a lot less than other people in your class, he may not even say anything to you, [00:10:00] but But it gives them a way to justify letting you go when they can advance you.
It's just important to do everything you can to stand out. Now, one of the things that I've noticed too, is the people that tend to be advanced the most often are people that are able to build the most hours. And I don't know why that is, but they look at all the work that they get as a very good thing.
And and they're able to build the most hours and and that is something that helps them get ahead. And then finally the last one of these I think is that you're not always gonna have to work instant holidays most partners and people in law firms. Don't all don't work all weekend.
And but when they were younger they probably did. And and when, and and so they wanna see other people doing the same you working on weekends and holidays will help them feel good about themselves. And it's, it is your job to, to make the people you're working for feel good about themselves, to some extent and it helps you bond with 'em and and they feel taken care of.
And and people don't talk about it a lot, but when you're working for someone it's very important that the people that you're working for feel taken care [00:11:00] of by you, they want to feel that you've got their back. They want to feel that you're gonna work hard from them. And really when you're working for partners it's, you're really learning the skills that you would have.
And when you get further on in your career working for clients, and so the partner becomes your client that you're giving work for, and they wanna see what a good job you're doing. And and that makes them feel good. And and as people get more senior, they have children and other responsibilities and and and then they simply don't have as much time for work.
But but the idea is that you, it's not something you need to do forever. This is really about it. I'm glad this is your presentation, cuz I'm sick but that, there's really a lot that can be said about not working on weekends and holidays, but it's important to understand that it's very important to, to your advancement.
It's important to the, your ability to to, to bond with your superiors, it support the clients and so forth. And and it's something that you need to get ahead just for 15
I apologize for being a little out of it today. It's just I think I have this kinda cold or something. [00:12:00] Okay. Let's see here. So first question. I
have a couple questions, please. How does a recent law school graduate get an entry level position while 99% of the posts won postgrad experience? Okay. That's a good question. Lemme see here whoops. No. So from small to firms to big, the job postings are all discouraging. Cuz love of experience required.
It's no one wants to train anymore days. Legal job marketable firms really hire associates who do not have current license in their jurisdiction. Okay. That's a good one. I'm UBE eligible and UBA states, but I can't afford to apply to states. I'm interested in it's like I'm chasing my tail in both categories, finding a job.
I'm getting license thinking in advance. Okay. So this is a good question. So the first thing is you shouldn't, when you're applying to jobs you should never. Especially as an entry level attorney, you should not be applying to just job openings. So what you should be doing is just applying to employers.
So if you wanna work in a law firm, I'm assuming then you should apply to law firms that are in your the market you wanna work in. And and they will consider bringing you [00:13:00] on and training you. And and they will, you will get hired this way. It just depends on the the the law firm in terms of the size of the market that you're trying to work in.
And and then, the size of the firm. So it's much harder to get entry level positions in larger firms than it is smaller firms. And it's much hard to get jobs in one ones that pay more then ones that pay less. So there's a couple questions here that I, I did wanna should go over with you with with what people manage.
And these are obvious the questions that the employers are asking when they're trying to hire you, or when they're considering hiring you. Do you want the job? And I think it's useful just to.
Okay. So these are the, these are the questions that people that are asking when they're hiring you for a new job, including an entry level position. And and everyone's asking these questions and they're asking it based on what they see in your resume, and they're asking it in a bunch of different ways, but that they're asking it.
So when they're asking 'em whether or not you can do the job, they're asking. Basically, do you have the smarts to do it or do they think you can, do they think you can do the job? So you should be applying to employers where you feel like you're going [00:14:00] to be where the people are somewhat similar to you in terms of their background in terms of your background.
So if went to. I don't know, tough five law school and so forth. And you probably wanna try to work in the biggest firms or the most prestigious places, even if they're boutiques. If you went to a, if you didn't, if you did really well in law school, it's probably the same thing.
If you didn't then think about it that way. And so there's all these different practice areas and people go into them and firm sizes depending on their background. And you can always move up if you get really good, but you're but most people, when they ask, if you can do the job, they're just asking whether or not that they think you, you have the skills and so forth to do it.
And whether they think you'll do it and you either do, you either do or you don't. But most of that, those questions that can determine from your resume and your scholastics and your other background. But the other big question, I think that most people ask is they ask where to do the job long term.
So you're talking about trying to move to all these different markets and do things from different markets. One of the things that's the smartest thing to always do is most people, most employers want people that are have some connection to the area with the exception of big markets [00:15:00] like New York and LA, they probably don't care as much, but most in San Francisco, places like that.
But most markets like you to have some kind of connection because they want you to stick around once you're hired. And so if you start trying to apply to all sorts of markets outside of where you're living or where you're from, then employers are going to be much, much more nervous about hiring you and because they're gonna figure that you might just come there and then leave.
And so you have to be very careful. So most of the time it's like markets where you've lived, it's markets where you may have grown up where you've spent time or where you have family or some sort of connections because they want you to stay there. The next one is just, and these are some fairly simple ones or whether or not you can be managed.
So people's resumes will often show whether they can be managed or not. And people will talk about sometimes will talk about all sorts of social issues and things on their resumes, or they'll look like they don't want to practice law on their resume because they may have. Been entrepreneurs and done other stuff.
And so when people see that that they get very nervous and they think that they may not that you may not necessarily want [00:16:00] to do that. So people get very that, that kind of makes people nervous with that. And then wanting the job is another one. So you have to have some sort of passion for what you're doing some sort of passion or interest in the subject matter.
And and that's, either you have, or you don't, so an example would be someone wants to do. Medical malpractice litigation with a nurse. And I don't know, before going to law school and has always worked in the medical field, that would be someone that might want the job if they're applying for those types of jobs.
And so you people wanna see you think like that, and then they also are just asking if they like you. So I see people all the time that have various personality, quirk and things that may not be as likable as other people and have a hard time getting a job. And other people are extremely likable and are able to get positions that they normally wouldn't get.
So these are the questions that they're asking. And for the most part, I think that all you need to do to really get a position is just, you need to have some sort of you need to apply to places that match your [00:17:00] skillset. Do places match your skillset, and then you need to you need to look.
Like you will commit to the geographic area, commit to the geographic area and the firm
to the geo area, the firm,
You need to look like you'll follow directions and do things the way want. You need to look like you really want the job like you, there's some sort, some reason that you would really want to do the work
and then you need to hope that they like you and different people have different personalities. So it doesn't mean that just because one firm doesn't like you another wall, but those are kinda the big questions. OK. So here.
Okay. Okay. Is it going to affect your employment negatively if we're gonna if you don't work on weekends on holidays.
Is it going to affect your employment negatively if you don't, if you decline working on weekends, like effect performance reviews or good five review. Yes. So it depends on the firm. So there are certain firms where when it's Friday, everyone just shuts up and goes home. And then they come back on Monday and then there are firms like that.
And you could certainly work in a firm like that, but there are also firms [00:18:00] where if those firms have a lot of work they definitely expect people to be to be working on the weekends and and holidays and so forth. So you need to be very careful about with your time in terms of the firm, the type of firm you're at.
And and typically the people that are the most committed, if you're a firm, you look like you're very committed to be advanced. If you're declining to work weekends and holidays and so forth, and other people are. Then the law, firm's just gonna believe that they can't trust you and that's gonna create issues.
Okay. Let's see here. Okay. When we work on weekends and holidays, let's see. But other employees do not get that possibly cost conflict at worse as coworkers. I feel like we're trying to one up them. No. So the, so law firms are competitive environments and because they're competitive environments.
What happens in them is people are expected to try to get as much work as they possibly can. And so you should in every law firm that you ever work. You should do the absolute best you can to get work and and really go outta your way to get work [00:19:00] and as much work as you can.
And the more of that you do, the more the law firm is likely to advance you especially when you're young. I've seen some crazy stuff like in my career, but I've just, I'm thinking of this one person that I, I was working with not too long ago. And and he was working in a firm where you had to be in the office at Monday at 8:30 AM.
And this partner would mail out the assignments or mail out the work that you had for the following week. And this is I guess, someone he was working for and he refused to play that game. And so he never had any work. And then he got fired and then basically blackball in the entire city of New York.
It was a big firm that he, where he had this, that was going on. But and he couldn't get a job. No one would hire him which he really didn't care too much about, which was funny itself. But the point is that you need to do everything you can to get as much work. And that's really, the name of the game is getting work inside of law firms.
And if you're not able to do that then you need to be be very careful with that stuff. Okay. Let's see. What kind of questions should I ask to show the commitment of working on [00:20:00] weekends and holidays? I think that 1, 1, 1 of the things that in the way to show commitment about work in weekends and holidays, it's not that firms necessarily are looking for that in, in an interview.
But they wanna think that you're buying into their whole way of doing things. They wanna hire people. They want to lemme just get this covered this I'm sorry. They wanna hire people that they believe are going to work that are gonna be very dedicated just as you would.
Just think about how you would feel if you were running a law firm, you would wanna hire people that were very dedicated that clients could rely on and all sorts of stuff. And if you felt like they couldn't. If you felt like the clients couldn't rely on them then then that would be very, then you wouldn't want them to represent your clients.
You don't need to show commitment to working weekends and holidays, but you, the only way to do that I don't think, you don't need to ask questions to do that. But you can give people the impression that you plan to work very hard and and and do a good job as asking the sorts of questions that I talked about above here.
So let just see here. So just remember these this is what employers are asking. They're asking whether or not you can do the job [00:21:00] and they're asking whether or not you're gonna commit whether you can be managed whether or not you want the job and whether or not they like you.
And tho those are really the main things and this person that asked this question what I would recommend, I think your best way of getting a position is to apply to firms that are probably in an area where you have some sort of connection to, and, but you can apply to really any firm.
That doesn't matter. I typically, when I work with firms I just wanted to show you the the different types of firms and we rank firms, but there's nothing negative about them. And these rankings, so one isn't necessarily bad consumer and small business, and then three would be small, mid business, mid side.
the law firms, when you're looking at law firms, this is how I think about them. And we rank all the firms in our database me the large, large, largest.
So law firms can be divided and candidates too, can be divided into these rankings, like one to five. And so the smallest law firms will typically be consumer facing. So they'll do things like bankruptcy. They may do trust in the states. They may do [00:22:00] family law and just because it's consumer facing doesn't mean that it's not a prestigious firm.
It doesn't mean that the people there aren't doing well financially but it's consumer facing. And so the consumer facing firms generally the there's less money involved because you're working for consumers. And and so they're hiring standards are a little also lower to some extent, but not always, but generally lower hiring standards.
And and there's not as much money involved because if you were a consumer, just think about it. You're not gonna be paying, you're not willing to pay. A lot of money for legal business legal stuff. And then and then as you go up, these clients are much less cost sensitive. So these you start, as you get into the largest companies being represented and so forth, these they're very, cost sensitive.
So they're not cost sensitive. And these are the law firms that also pay the most and are hard to get into for the most part. Some of the car companies, law firms that represent the largest companies, there might not be a lot of money involved if they're doing I dunno, insurance defense or something, but for the most part, that's what it is.
So anybody that comes out of [00:23:00] law school and if you're looking for a job, you have to think you can always get a job. You can always get a position with the consumer facing law firm that might pay very poorly, but you can always get a job at a consumer facing law firm. It's just, when you start getting access to more, clients willing to spend more money.
That the work quality changes like you have to do better work for the largest companies because they have general counsels overlooking the work. They're making sure they have the best attorneys and the smartest people working on their stuff and they can afford to have those standards.
Whereas in the smaller firms represented consumer, they don't care where you went to law school. They don't care if you're went to a accredited law school. If you're doing a family law, most people don't care at all. It doesn't matter. So this is the difference. So if you're having a hard time getting a job, all you need to do is think the farther you go towards consumer facing law firms, the easier it's gonna be to get a job.
It's not to say that those are the best jobs, but some people do very well in them. People do very well in a lot of consumer facing practice areas. And then you can do small business, you can do mid-size business and you can do all sorts of things, but that's how it [00:24:00] works. If that makes sense.
Okay. This is another good question here. Someone just asks, I'm gonna put, I'm not gonna copy the questions. I don't share their name. So a lot of times employers will ask questions about salary expectations and and not I really, I don't like those questions either. So they're typically asking that because the employer wants to save money and and wants to know how cheaply they're willing to work.
And and a lot of law firms will not post salaries and then they'll bring people in and then and then and then they'll often press for specifics and so forth. So there's a couple problems with that. And I'll just tell you the way I've seen these questions, answer the best of my career, but.
I, I don't know that I'm a hundred percent, so people will answer the questions in different ways. One way to answer the salary question is to say this is what I'm making now. This is what I'd like to make. If you tell them what you're making now, and it's a lot more than they can pay, then they're gonna feel like you wouldn't take the job and they won't hire you, or they'll feel like you can do better in the market.
So that's what [00:25:00] happens if you tell them your current salary, if you give them a lower salary and tell them that your current salary's lower, then they will even if they're paying people more money, they may offer you a lower salary or they'll figure out a way to pay you a lower salary. And I've seen people I saw a girl what's going to.
Interview to be a, I don't know, it's some firm in Washington, DC, and she was in this practice area that wasn't a, it was more of a nichey practice area. And when she told them she was currently making I dunno, 80,000 to a firm that was making that were, she was interviewing for a job paying like probably one 70.
They said, oh, they thought about that. And then they made her a staff attorney when she told 'em that even though she was interviewing for a job that could have paid double that. Then they made her a staff attorney in the same practice here because I figured and then she took the job, which I couldn't, which I was disappointed in because I didn't think.
That was something she should have done because anyway, because I felt like she would've, she could have gotten the job at a higher salary, but so they're basically, when employers are asking you that they're asking you that for a couple different reasons, [00:26:00] one is that they want to pay you less or two.
They don't want to make an offer if they feel like they can get away with it. So that get away, they don't wanna make you an offer if they feel like you won't take it. If this hour's too low. So I had this woman I was working with once and She was making she was a partner in a big firm and making $3 million a year.
And she was losing her job and she didn't have a lot of business. And she interviewed with this firm and and when they found out how much she was making and the job that they would've hired her for, would've paid probably like million dollars or 800,000 or something. They didn't hire her.
And she was very upset and she really wanted to work there. So it can really work against you. So you need to be very careful about your salaries, especially if you make a big salary because if you've been making a large salary, then then it can hurt you. So how do you respond to the question?
I think you come back to the firm and you say I'd like to be paid fairly, based on what other people here are being paid. and but I'm really more interested in a place where I can settle down the quality of the work and that sort of thing. So [00:27:00] you make it about that and you don't make it about the money.
And and then, and if people wanna know how much you make and suck, then you can say I realize I make more money cuz I'm a, this size firm or I'm in a larger market. And and moving here, something like that. So you have to make the employer think you wanna work there and that the fit is more important to you and being happy is more important and than the money and that a lot of times isn't easy, but the best way to do that is to really concentrate on the work, the people in a way that's sincere and and come across things that way.
One of the things it's interesting and this is one of the problems with working in large law firms, especially when you're young, is that most jobs, most people will never make. As much money in the rest of the legal careers they made, if they started their career in large law firms, meaning they, they may make as much money in the future, but they're not the level of income that they're making is probably not gonna be the same, compared to other people.
So you to some extent, you're giving up a lot of you, you're making a lot of money. You're [00:28:00] firm, loing a lot of your compensation when you go to work in large law firms that with the idea that you and you're gonna make more money when you're young, then you might make when you're older most people, when they leave big law firms that they're making, three, four, $500,000 a year, when they get other jobs in house and stuff, they don't make anywhere near what they were making.
And the in house employers know that the people are happy to take those jobs because. The hours are better. The work's more controllable, the, all sorts of reasons. So you need to basically do the same thing when you go in and talk to if you're talking another law firm and they're asking you your salary requirements, you need to basically do the same thing, cuz you can definitely talk yourself out of getting jobs.
And and salary is something that really does mess up a lot of people. Like a lot of people. If you tell people, if you tell a law firm, a salary in that salary is more that you say you wanna make this much or this is so you're making. And if they can't pay you that then, and if that's not what they pay, then they just won't hire you.
They won't even take a chance. Cause let's see. I work at a tax planning and transactional firm is the only [00:29:00] litigator general practice guy. I essentially ran a one man department. My firm closed up. Now I'm looking for firms to say they have, they're looking for a team player. I'm older and afraid that firms will look at me and discard my resume and assumption.
I have no team experience and will be fixed in my ways and will not be able to do the job, but I would love to work on matters with a group without having to be the team leader. Yeah. So I, I think that's a good point. I think that if you were working independently and it's very common, many times for estate planning, people, especially in law firms oh, it's a tax planning, the only litigator RC I've seen that actually happen several times for someone's the only litigator in a tax type firm.
Yeah. I think saying they're looking for a team player. I think the problem wouldn't, you get to be an older attorney, but it's not just attorneys. It's it's like that in every. Every profession, like regardless is people do become set in their ways and they think they know everything and it becomes harder for them to learn.
And and many times they're angry because firms close up and things. And so those sorts of [00:30:00] questions like you're bringing up or issues can be. People will, to some extent hold it against you, but I don't think law firms will hold that against you. I think if you have litigation and general practice experience, I think you, you shouldn't have too much.
Trouble finding something else. we have, I have a lot of candidates like you that are doing just fine. I think the big thing to remember, and this is I keep coming back to this point, the, these points, because these are just very important points in terms of applying for jobs is just asking the questions.
And this is the one that you would probably be the most concerned about where they're most concerned is can you be managed? And there are a lot of people that aren't manageable. And it's not to say that it's bad, that they're not manageable, it's just their personality. And when you get older, people do become very concerned that you may not be able to be managed.
So that's you need to. Basically give people the impression that you're willing to follow gen directions and so forth and leave it at that. And then and then and then in terms of the size firms you're applying to, you probably wanna, I would say, you may be looking at the one to two to threes.
I don't know what to, of litigation you were doing, but [00:31:00] generally the closer you get to consumer facing law firms the easier it is to get a job. So anybody can get a job at a law firm, by the way, it's just, you have to what most people are trying to do is they're trying to get jobs in the firms that work for only the largest companies and can be extremely discriminating against the people that they hire.
And instead of working in the, midsize or the smaller firms, and anybody can get a job in a law firm. There's, tens of thousands of solo practitioners and small consumer facing law firms just in LA excuse. Anyone can get a job, let. Sorry.
Okay. Yeah. So this do you have any suggestion of following after interview? The, yeah. So following up with firms, after an interviewer, after you sent them your resume, I think there's a bunch of schools thought about sending thank you notes after an interview and there's other schools of thought about after you sent your resume following up I do think it can be useful sometimes to call the firm.
And if you have a real interest in the position call them and get someone on the phone and talk to them about if you believe that you're a very good fit for the firm for some reason. And sometimes people are, there are [00:32:00] people that could be exceptional fits for a certain type of firm or a certain job that the firm has because of your experience.
And you can call up and talk to someone in HR or even a partner in the firm and talk to them if you're a very good fit for the job. An example would be like you might be I don't know a company you might have experience doing antitrust related work for I dunno, education company. I don't know, I'm just giving a hypothetical example.
And so if you have that kind of experience and you see an opening for someone that's looking for someone like that, and you send your resume and you've been doing nothing about that, you should call the firm and basically say, I have this kind of experience. Exactly. I am perfect for this job.
I'd like to talk to you about it. And I think that's good, but you can't do that with most jobs. An example would be if you're I don't know, graduated from law school and you wanna work in a big firm and you just call the firm. They're not they're not gonna care that you have to have some sort of very special thing to, to get the firm's attention when you call you can also follow up after interviews.
I think that thank you notes and things can often go a long [00:33:00] way and people like those. So I think you can certainly follow up after interviews if you want. But in the most cases, the thank you notes, aren't gonna make a big difference, the and can often get you more trouble than not.
And and then following up after you sent your resume is really only effective if there's something that's very special in your background. Okay. These are great questions. Thanks everyone for asking you. I was scared today, cuz I. I've been sick and I was let's see here worried about these questions or worried about this webinar.
Cause I'm it's energy, but these are great questions. I appreciate. Okay. Let's see. Do you think it's worthwhile avoiding smaller firms and instead working related field first before going to a larger firm? For example, if I wanted to tech related law is more valuable to get a tech job rather than start off in a small firm and probably unrelated type of job.
I don't think anybody should have to avoid smaller firms. I think that a lot of times people are much happier, I believe in smaller firms and larger firms. I think it's just because it's more personal and there's more connection, but I don't know. I think that, but I [00:34:00] do think that. If you have a law degree, you should definitely try to get a job practicing law.
When you come out. Now, if you have a tech background, meaning you're gonna be a patent attorney or something along those lines, patent attorneys often can move between different practice settings more so than a lot of other types of attorneys because the technical stuff is very respected.
There are a lot of very small firms by the way, that do a lot of very sophisticated technology work. Amazon and Microsoft and apple and all these big companies. A lot of their patents are done by very small, like three and four person law firms all over the country. So it doesn't really matter necessarily the size firm you're at, especially for tech related stuff.
But if you are interested in doing tech related work I do think that and I don't know what your specific background is, but the patent buyer is a really smart thing to take just because it gives you it's a real kind of badge of honor, and it helps you get into that. And and it allows you to write patents and so forth.
And and if you do work in a related field before going to law school, that could be very helpful. So if you're thinking about [00:35:00] going to law school and you wanna do, and you wanna work as an engineer, a lot of patent attorneys are engineers before they go to law school. That, that can be very helpful too.
Let's see here. Okay. Let's see here.
Okay. During interviews, can you suggest how candidates can make use of the recommenders to highlight connections to the firm and the location? So the connections of the firm, you have to be careful about the connections to the firm. And that's always a big issue because what happens is You may know someone in the firm and and you don't know how that person's regarded by the firm.
So you have to be very careful about those connections. I sometimes if someone in the person isn't is well regarded by the firm. That's very good, but you just never know. So you need to be very careful about that. But if the person has had a really good experience there and really likes the firm, you can talk about that in your interviews and this person, if the person and if you if you have see if I copy this, sorry, gimme one second.
And then if you highlight in the connection of the location, so what law firms wanna know is they wanna know really why you're gonna, why you wanna work in that area. And [00:36:00] so the big thing about working in an area is that the reason the law firms wanna know that is because they don't want you to come and just leave.
So again, there's certain cities which would be San Francisco, the bay area New York, Chicago places like that, where if you're interviewing with a firm there, the firm assumes you're gonna come there and stick around. Especially if you're even if you're not from there, but a lot of areas of the country most other areas of the country they're gonna be, Miami's probably not one of 'em either.
And increasingly less so Texas, but but just different areas. They wanna feel like you're gonna settle down there and stay what law firms like is law firms. Like people that. Do things like have houses and student loans and husbands and wives and kids in school and other connections it makes, so they have to work because then they're then the law firm the more obligations you have, the more control the law firm has over you and the better work you're likely to do.
Which is a sick thing to say, but it's true. So the law firms wanna see that don't want to hire people. That'll just get up and [00:37:00] leave. Then that makes them very nervous. And so they wanna always see those connections. And then if you do have connections inside of a law firm, meaning, people that can be helpful too.
The O the only problem with those connections is Because a lot of times those connections will can it may not be the right people. So if people in the firm, they may not be people that are doing well in the firm and you never really know, or they may people on the way out, or you just don't know.
And and when you use people like that as recommendations it can sometimes go against you. So it's better many times to try to it. It's also speaks. It also looks like nepotism to some extent, and people don't like nepotism, it makes them mad. So if someone who's gotten a job at that firm on their own, and you're telling them about someone, there or something, and they think that person's gonna help you they may actually resent you.
So it's just important to be careful with that. Okay. Any recommendation, transition from a nonprofit law firm to private practice or from practice here to another. Okay. So there's two questions there. So one is just from a nonprofit type of work and then. And [00:38:00] then two other for profit, for profit.
And then and then the other one is from practice area switches and then practice your switches. Okay. So one of the nice things about all of these questions is that you can really a ask most of them. And this is, and I tell you this from, having done this work for decades, it's just, these are just some things that I've developed and I'm, I spend hours each day just, reviewing law firms interviews and and I've been doing this, forever.
So the big thing is when this particular question, let me see lemme see, is from any recommendations from transition to small, just copy this. So in anytime you're trying to transition from a from one practice setting to another practice setting, meaning a nonprofit law firm to private practice the law firms are gonna be a little nervous that that you may not buy into the whole profit motive of whatever they have, that that you may not be interested in the job that you may bring your, whatever the nonprofit politics were with you.
If your job is to go out and [00:39:00] Sue employers regardless, or maybe that's not a good example but go out and Sue I don't know, employees or something, I don't know, to do something that someone from the nonprofit might not like the law firm's gonna be very worried that you might not be able to manage that you might not want the job.
They're coming at things from a different perspective. So anytime you have something different practice sitting in your resume, whether it's in house or a nonprofit or government or whatever the the law firm wants to judge you and make sure that they can, that you're gonna be the kind of person that's gonna stick around and gonna want the job, and to be able to be managed and so forth.
And and because they can hire people in private practice all the time, they can hire people that are also already in private practice. The same thing with practice areas. If you're switching practice areas, the law firms are gonna wonder why should we train this person's practice area?
If they're not happy with their practice area right now, what's going to happen. So most of the time, what happens when people are trying to switch practice areas. So say you're working at a five firm, which is working on the largest companies, and you're doing [00:40:00] litigation. You wanna do environmental?
You'd probably go to a three firm. That's what you would have to do if you wanted to do environmental or even a two firm. So typically what happens is the less trustworthy, whatever you're trying to do is the closer you're gonna have to get to consumers and not large businesses, cuz large businesses typically are gonna want and the largest firms are gonna be paying a lot of money.
And so they're not gonna wanna take a chance on you. So you're gonna have to go very, you're gonna have to go closer to consumer facing law firms or small businesses. And tell you, establish yourself and then you can move up. So by the way it doesn't really matter what law firms you start out at.
I've seen people start out at one firm. I see it every day. When I look at resumes, it wind up at four and five firms. So it's not to say that there's anything wrong. We started on a consumer facing or consumer facing in small business or small to medium business. It's just that most people end up moving.
They're if you're doing something that's a little unusual, like moving from one practice setting to private practice or moving from one practice area to another, then law firms [00:41:00] are gonna be a little skittish issue about hiring you because it's a risk. It's it they would much prefer to hire someone that's coming directly from private practice and they would much refer to hire someone that's coming directly from that practice here because it's just better.
It's more trustworthy. Just one second.
sorry about that. So that, that's the big thing to understand about with those transitions is that anytime you're trying to do something alone, unusual you're typically going to need to Can move to a place where where they're going to, they're gonna ask fewer questions and they will ask fewer questions because typically they're paying a lot less money and there's less risk if you screw up, if you screw up in a, some guy's I don't know, in a consumer facing firm it, and somebody's stuff it's not as big of a deal than if you screw up in a massive company that gives a law firm millions of dollars a year, if that makes sense.
OK. That's a great question. And one of the things too, I'll just say about practice area switches is people approaches at BCG all the time, like trying to do practice area switches. And and it's just it's so difficult. It's it can happen, but [00:42:00] typically when you do a practice area switch, you're going to need to work in a you'll often need to take a job in a smaller market.
So if you want it to be like if you're doing, I don't know, corporate law and you wanted to do. Labor and employment, you might even need to move to a smaller market or a smaller firm because where they're gonna be very impressed by your law degree from university of Michigan or wherever.
Cause there's not a lot of people like you. So that's what I see a lot. When people switch firms and switch practice areas is they will often move to smaller markets. The other thing too, is that as a someone in my position, like as a recruiter, like we're paid to find people that match what the law firms are seeking, not someone that wants to do something else.
And so it's very difficult many times to transition someone from one practice area to another for us because the law firms just aren't gonna take the risk. And cuz what happens by the way is not all people, but most people when they. Switch, practice areas. They're not gonna be long for the practice of law.
They will often switch and do that practice area. [00:43:00] And then after they do that new practice area, they will decide they wanna do something else again. Cause they're just not happy practicing law. I don't know if that's accurate for everyone. Of course it's not, but but it's for a lot of people.
And so that's the problem. These are great questions. See here. Good. Okay. This is lemme see here.
If you don't have the competitive grades and you're applying to consumer facing firms, should you address that in your cover letter? Just wait and see if they ask your version transcript. Yeah. So most consumer facing firms don't care about your grades. They don't, even a lot of small to mid-size firms don't care about your grades.
I've been hired by plenty of firms that never even saw my grades, even large firms. I don't know why. But they will, so the grades are really not that important. They they're a sign of how well you take task, but they practicing law, especially a lot of consumer facing work doesn't necessarily require you to be brilliant and or at least it may require you to be brilliant socially and have a lot of very good social skills and other types of skills, but it doesn't require long brief writing skills or the ability to document complex transactions and that sort of thing, like you might [00:44:00] have to do or you a lot of larger firms.
So there's nothing wrong with working for a consumer facing firm. There's nothing wrong with working for a small business firm or a small to medium business firm. But you don't, you should never address your grades. One of the things that people do, that's dumb that I see a lot and I don't know why people do this, but they'll often put their grades on their, they'll say they have a two eight or a three, two, and they may be very proud of it.
And they'll put it on their. Resume and a three, two may be a good grade point at your school, but it's just you typically don't wanna put your grades unless they're exceptional on your resume. And for the most part, people don't care. There're people are just think about, you interviewing someone.
You're more concerned about if you were hiring someone to work for you, you would be less concerned about their grades probably than than their how much they seem like they want the job or how much you like them. And whether or not the person's gonna stick around or, and take your firm seriously.
So that, and that's how most firms are as well. They're less concerned about your grades. Most people really aren't that concerned about your grades? The only reason grades matter is they matter when you're in [00:45:00] school. So if you're in I don't know, Delaware, and you go to Widener law school and everyone's applying to other law firms around in whatever part of Delaware you're in.
The only way they can distinguish between all the different people coming outta school at the same time in the past few years is how their grades were. So that's really all they have to, if few receive 50 applicants from a third year people from the same law school, the only way you can sort them is based on their grades, but grades aren't, I don't think grades are really that important.
Some of the most famous attorneys in the world didn't have good grades and it's just, it's not there's a lot of other skills that come into play to be a good, to be a good attorney grades don't really matter that much. OK. Good follow up. So this is a good question. So what about law professors as recommenders?
So law professors do so some law professors have A lot of pull with law firms. It's true. There's certain law I was in when I was in law school. Once I was sitting outside. A guy's door and he was talking to a law firm about a candidate and and talking about where [00:46:00] she wasn't gonna get an offer and where she was gonna get an offer and why they should make her an offer.
So I know that some law professors can help you with certain firms. But for the most part the law professors are not like practicing attorneys. So they're not, they're, they they're just, it's a whole it's academic. It's not it's not practicing law. So it's a lot different.
Now, there are people that practice law and teach at the same time, but it's, but but a lot of times law professors aren't the best people to have recommend you because it's not, I get applications from law professors wanting to work with us all the time, and they're very hard to place because they're coming out of a different A different practice setting, which is academic.
So the, once someone becomes a law professor, they're not really practicing now, if they're, they're not practicing law, like in the sense of working for clients anymore, they're doing something else. Law professors can be very good recommenders and very powerful ones. So like the one I was thinking of can help you probably but at the same time you should be you, the law, most law professors, I don't think most law professors.
Again, I've seen them do it, so it's true. So I [00:47:00] know that they can help you, but I don't know that that they can help you that much, they can certainly write recommendations for clerkships and different things, but for law firms, for the most part, I don't think so. And it's just different.
Being a law professor is a different type of profession than practicing law. They don't have to be as quick on their toes. And it's just a different type of work. They have to be quick on their toes. I don't know that's the right fair thing to say, but it's academic, it's not practicing law where you're, it's different type of job and it's a good job.
And it's a, something that society needs obviously, and it's not being critical Buster, but it's a different type of job. Okay. Work for litigation firm, the senior partners and attorneys like to create work by filing defense motions that have very little chance of success. I believe this work is required for me in order to generate billion hours instead of ly advocating for the client.
At what point it's become ethical to do this kind of work. So you should not worry about that. I know that this I know that you may think it's unethical but. I've seen a lot of very young attorneys lose jobs and get into trouble for believing that for believing the [00:48:00] sort of stuff's unethical for believing that the law firm is overbilling the clients, but most clients will know what's going on.
They will and the it's the job of the attorneys to sell them on their services. So if you go into a I don't know, a a hair salon and they try to sell you shampoo and all this other stuff, that's just their job. It's probably unethical to sell a bottle shampoo for $40 when it only costs a dollar to make, but that's just how it is.
So you shouldn't really worry about it. I do understand what, where you're coming from. And why you believe that they're trying to generate hours, but that's really their job is to create work. I don't it's to help the client, of course, but it's also to create work and it's a service and, you don't know what's going on behind the scenes.
Sometimes clients want, wanna have very aggressive representation and don't care about the cost and they may actually do, they may be mad or something for someone soon. I don't know. But but yeah, you can't worry about that. I had something very sad happen and it was it was a guy I was working with in Washington DC [00:49:00] several years ago.
And he was The first year attorney. And he went and researched something and came back and realized that this partner that had asked him to spend several weeks working on something, was giving him assignment that wasn't needed because he found the, an he found the answer and why didn't he be done?
There was some loophole or something. And instead of being happy for him, the, it was a young partner. The partner was very upset with him. And this was a very smart guy. He'd gone to university of Chicago law school and was at the very top of his class. And and but they fired him. They were like, we don't think you're a good fit and all this stuff.
And the firm that fired him and that, that was very sad. I, and and they fired him because he. Basically talking behind the back. So the partners and everyone saying that, this was unethical and why were we doing this? And he was probably right. I'm sure he was right, but you just can't make those judgements.
You just have to look the other way. And I don't like saying that I'm not, you can make those judgements and but if you do make those judgements it's gonna hurt you. And and you can't really put yourself in the mind. It's not your job to, to be [00:50:00] a moral arbitrator of the partners and the the people that are giving you work.
You can do that later when you have your own clients, but you just need to watch everything that's happening and and understand and not get involved because the only thing it's gonna do is hurt you. If you and it is it is required of you to bill our, and and to do that.
And I don't think it's unethical to file lots of motions. Maybe the partner, maybe they just want you to maybe the client's really mad. I had a client once that was I donunno, it was Lockheed Martin and they were sued by someone for someone just made up this, these discrimination claims against them.
It doesn't matter what kind of discrimination and and costs them hundreds of thousands of dollars. And then they tried to file bankruptcy and Lockheed Martin came after them and prevented them from filing bankruptcy, all this stuff. So it's just it's not necessarily what I would say to you is you can't always put yourself in the shoes of the the, you can't, you shouldn't be judging the stuff as a young attorney, it's not, it just still get you in trouble and it gets too many people in trouble doing that.
Even if you're right. And you prob it sounds like you are right. [00:51:00] Okay. Lemme see here.
You got the salary excavation and someone asked if if the webinar will be available to rewatch yes. It'll be available. It usually goes up within a week or so under the webinars in BC. What if you, into working a large platform, we did the experience of managing your own caseload early on in your career and your practice area is easily transfer as to consumer financial.
Yeah that's great. The only difference is the only problem with between when you're working for a nonprofit, as opposed to a profit making law firm is things like ours become important. And and other things that may not have been important in the other practice setting.
And so law firms, a lot of times are just nervous that those skills may not necessarily transfer, but I think that's perfectly fine. Okay. See here one second. Got all the questions. How can we achieve a work life balance? Okay. I think that's about it. Thank you for being here. I apologize for being out of the, under the weather today.
Thank you for all the comments. And yeah, that's about it. Thank you everyone. And I will see you guys next week.