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MAGIC CIRCLE, life/work balance watch

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    Especially interested in hearing from people who have parents working in these firms or know people that do:
    do they/you see their children often, what with the gruelling work hours.. do you think its worth it?
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    (Original post by Tabby10)
    Especially interested in hearing from people who have parents working in these firms or know people that do:
    do they/you see their children often, what with the gruelling work hours.. do you think its worth it?
    Its only worth it if you are going for partnership or (more of a borderline case) plan to swap out to go inhouse after 3 - 5 years.

    Otherwise you might as well take the same pay and 30 - 50% less hours offered by a silver circle firm.
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    my friend works for linklaters. insane hours...often rings me at 11pm walking home, averages a finish time of 9pm.
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    (Original post by HistoryRepeating)
    Its only worth it if you are going for partnership or (more of a borderline case) plan to swap out to go inhouse after 3 - 5 years.

    Otherwise you might as well take the same pay and 30 - 50% less hours offered by a silver circle firm.
    30-50% fewer hours? Not at all sure the hours are that different between the magic circle and the silver circle.
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    (Original post by jjarvis)
    30-50% fewer hours? Not at all sure the hours are that different between the magic circle and the silver circle.
    I disagree having worked at a MC firm for 3 years and my housemate working in the same department at a top 3 SC firm
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    They require a lot from you, obviously, and you're expected to put work first. If you can get ajob there it's worth working hard for 5 or so years just so you can have a great name and a great reference on your CV. The lawyer I know worked for a MC firm till he was 35, then went and became partners at more successful local firm with a very big pay package and easier hours.
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    What are the typical working hours for MC firms?

    Also, I read somewhere here that the intenral computer system determines a set number of "actions" an employee has to make, before he/she can log off.

    Is that true?
    What happens when you actually finish your countless letters etc etc?
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    (Original post by HistoryRepeating)
    Its only worth it if you are going for partnership or (more of a borderline case) plan to swap out to go inhouse after 3 - 5 years.

    Otherwise you might as well take the same pay and 30 - 50% less hours offered by a silver circle firm.
    First of all this is nonsense, I did vac schemes at two silver circle firms and they were doing 9-8 regularly and often more. It's rather unlikely this is 30-50% less than the magic circle by any measure.


    (Original post by paella)
    They require a lot from you, obviously, and you're expected to put work first. If you can get ajob there it's worth working hard for 5 or so years just so you can have a great name and a great reference on your CV. The lawyer I know worked for a MC firm till he was 35, then went and became partners at more successful local firm with a very big pay package and easier hours.
    I broadly agree with this. One of the main reasons to train at a MC firm is to get the name for your CV, and because you'll learn from the best. If you train somewhere where they are incredibly demanding and make you put in the hours, you are going to improve at a quicker rate than training somewhere else, and hence you will be more attractive to employers when you come to leave. Only 1-2% of a trainee intake will make partnership at that firm so it's a good idea to have one eye on the door.
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    (Original post by tehforum)
    What are the typical working hours for MC firms?

    Also, I read somewhere here that the intenral computer system determines a set number of "actions" an employee has to make, before he/she can log off.

    Is that true?
    What happens when you actually finish your countless letters etc etc?
    At one of the firms I was at you had to account for 7 hours per day before you could leave - this could be done quite roughly and there are assistants to fill in the gaps for you. I think different firms have different ways of doing things.
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    (Original post by The West Wing)
    First of all this is nonsense, I did vac schemes at two silver circle firms and they were doing 9-8 regularly and often more. It's rather unlikely this is 30-50% less than the magic circle by any measure.
    Not post-qualification. In most departments in a MC firm, finishing before 9 is rare. SC its closer to 7.30. This is based on personal experience (I'm an NQ and have tonnes of friends at both kinds of firm)

    I broadly agree with this. One of the main reasons to train at a MC firm is to get the name for your CV, and because you'll learn from the best. If you train somewhere where they are incredibly demanding and make you put in the hours, you are going to improve at a quicker rate than training somewhere else, and hence you will be more attractive to employers when you come to leave. Only 1-2% of a trainee intake will make partnership at that firm so it's a good idea to have one eye on the door.
    You are just as well served going to a SC firm, specialising heavily in an area of law that the MC firms want to develop, and then switching over as a lateral hire at 3 - 5 PQE tbh.
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    (Original post by HistoryRepeating)
    Not post-qualification. In most departments in a MC firm, finishing before 9 is rare. SC its closer to 7.30. This is based on personal experience (I'm an NQ and have tonnes of friends at both kinds of firm)
    These things depend enormously on who you ask and what they want you to think (or have convinced themselves).

    I've been in an MC firm for 8months and am usually out the door at 6:30. Obviously this isn't possible a lot of the time but that is maybe 70% of the time. Its not like this for everybody, I really make an effort to get out at a decent time, whereas a lot of people don't and are perfectly happy to assume that they will leave 7-8, and of course certain areas can be busy for extended periods of time, but it is certainly doable.

    Of course it also depends what you mean by Silver Circle. If you are talking about firms that are on par with the MC in the quality of work they do, and are better MC firms in certain areas, then its not going to be any different. If you are talking about a firm at the low-end of the Silver Circle, then there may be a bit less pressure.

    You are just as well served going to a SC firm, specialising heavily in an area of law that the MC firms want to develop, and then switching over as a lateral hire at 3 - 5 PQE tbh.
    Its easier to do it the other way around, though of course its still possible. In any event, if people are doing consistently ridiculous hours this is more likely to be at associate than trainee level.

    Also worth mentioning that it is a little difficult to predict what the market is going to do in five years time. If you asked people in 2007, many would have told people that doing Capital Markets was a good idea, of course now the market for that has completely crashed.
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    (Original post by tehforum)
    Also, I read somewhere here that the intenral computer system determines a set number of "actions" an employee has to make, before he/she can log off.

    Is that true?
    What happens when you actually finish your countless letters etc etc?
    Not true.

    If you don't have work that needs to be done you go home. Some people stay for work that doesn't really need to be done that night, but tahts up to them.
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    Feel free to believe whatever you want. I'm an (MC) NQ, just telling you how it actually is.
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    Jacket and history - which departments are you in?
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    Try a US firm...
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    (Original post by HistoryRepeating)
    Not post-qualification. In most departments in a MC firm, finishing before 9 is rare. SC its closer to 7.30. This is based on personal experience (I'm an NQ and have tonnes of friends at both kinds of firm)
    I'm speaking from personal experience too, and I also have loads of friends at both magic circle and silver circle firms, and I can say that there is no discernible difference in hours worked between magic circle and silver circle (I assume you mean real 'silver circle' firms such as Herbert Smith, Macfarlanes, Ashurst etc. as opposed to any smaller City firm -- I accept somewhere like Stephenson Harwood or LG might have shorter hours).

    A much, much bigger difference than the difference in hours between firms is the difference between departments -- hours in support and non-transactional departments tend to be much much better than mainstream finance or corporate departments.
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    (Original post by Dimebag)
    Jacket and history - which departments are you in?
    I've done Finance and Corporate. Admittedly it probably helps with hours that the market is slow at the moment, I find it a little bit difficult to believe that competetent associates/trainees are finishing at 9 or later every day (admittedly this will happen a fair amount of the time).
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    I agree that hours at some SC firms are more or less the same as at MC - I am doing a vac scheme at SC firm the moment and people in finance department have been doing some pretty late hours.... It depends on the department but not necessarily the firm.
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    (Original post by HistoryRepeating)
    Not post-qualification. In most departments in a MC firm, finishing before 9 is rare. SC its closer to 7.30. This is based on personal experience (I'm an NQ and have tonnes of friends at both kinds of firm)

    You are just as well served going to a SC firm, specialising heavily in an area of law that the MC firms want to develop, and then switching over as a lateral hire at 3 - 5 PQE tbh.
    9 - 7:30 is hardly 30-50% less than 9 - 9!!!

    I can't stand the way some people in MC think they must automatically work SO much harder than anyone else... I don't deny that many work hard but not 50% more hours, what a joke.
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    Let's put it like this -- they are not paying your flat in the city and vacation house abroad so that you enjoy them! Hours ARE inhumane, but everyone is given a choice in life
 
 
 
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