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Do all careers in law have long hours? watch

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    Hi all,

    I want to study law and would like to be a lawyer working in IP someday. The one thing that really puts me off though, is the crazy amount of hours supposedly worked by lawyers. Like many I am prepared to work my butt off, but working 12+ hour days regularly is a major turn-off. The odd late night a week? Sure... but not 5 or 6 days a week.

    So my question is whether this is the case for all lawyers (particularly City lawyers)? How about the TC, does anyone know what kind of hours you work during that also? Do the traditional 9-6 roles exist where you can still earn a "decent" salary?

    Basically I'd like a nice work/life balance, so I'm debating whether this is totally the wrong arena for me before investing in an LLB.

    Any input would be greatly appreciated Thanks
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    I think it really does depend on where you work, what sort of work and where you are.

    I don't work for a city firm so I shouldn't really comment but it seems fairly obvious that if you are working for high rolling and high paying outfits, then you will have to put the hours in.

    If you are after a more 9 to 6 type of experience, then you will have to go out of the city, maybe high street - although I would have thought that the bigger the firm, the more the hours expected - the smaller the firm, the more likely you will get a shorter day. Or maybe in-house or of course, into the public sector.

    Government ie GLS and maybe CPS I hear have better 'work/life' balances.

    Barristers also do very long hours at late notice.

    The other two things to bear in mind are - a) some areas of law lend themselves to shorter hours and b) once you qualify, then you can muck around more with where you work, say, or find a job that suits you. So work hard first of all.

    Lastly, if you work in the professions, then long hours are pretty standard. You also need to think about what you think you will accept - a big difference between working 12 hours a day and the 'occasional late night'.

    You will also want different hours in different points of your life.
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    (Original post by happyinthehaze)
    I think it really does depend on where you work, what sort of work and where you are.

    I don't work for a city firm so I shouldn't really comment but it seems fairly obvious that if you are working for high rolling and high paying outfits, then you will have to put the hours in.

    If you are after a more 9 to 6 type of experience, then you will have to go out of the city, maybe high street - although I would have thought that the bigger the firm, the more the hours expected - the smaller the firm, the more likely you will get a shorter day. Or maybe in-house or of course, into the public sector.

    Government ie GLS and maybe CPS I hear have better 'work/life' balances.

    Barristers also do very long hours at late notice.

    The other two things to bear in mind are - a) some areas of law lend themselves to shorter hours and b) once you qualify, then you can muck around more with where you work, say, or find a job that suits you. So work hard first of all.

    Lastly, if you work in the professions, then long hours are pretty standard. You also need to think about what you think you will accept - a big difference between working 12 hours a day and the 'occasional late night'.

    You will also want different hours in different points of your life.
    Many thanks for your helpful response.

    I understand that a lot of people go into law for the potential earnings and your input will reflect this. However, I'm someone who would ideally like to earn a 'decent' salary, put the effort in but not work hours which take over my life - which I hear is often the case! I need down-time as a person so this is why I'm questioning if it's the right area for someone like myself.

    In-house sounds as though it's the way to go. Where do you work? Do you enjoy it and have much down-time?
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    (Original post by AvaKings)
    Many thanks for your helpful response.

    I understand that a lot of people go into law for the potential earnings and your input will reflect this. However, I'm someone who would ideally like to earn a 'decent' salary, put the effort in but not work hours which take over my life - which I hear is often the case! I need down-time as a person so this is why I'm questioning if it's the right area for someone like myself.

    In-house sounds as though it's the way to go. Where do you work? Do you enjoy it and have much down-time?
    Medium sized commercial city firms will have relatively nicer hours than magic circle or US firms, e.g. 9:30-8 with late nights during busy periods.

    It also depends on the department, transactional seats can give you horrific hours if a deal is closing but if it's quieter you can leave at 5:30. Litigation on the other hand is relatively steadier if there isn't an ongoing trial.

    There are some but not many opportunities for training in-house, most lawyers go through a training contract at a law firm before moving post qualification


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    The thing around city law hours isn't necessarily the length of them (although they an be significant), it's the unpredictability of them. One minute you can be expecting to go home at 5.30pm, then next you find out you have to cancel your plans and stay until the early hours. Similarly you can go from expecting to be really busy to work schedules collapsing due to clients demands and finding you can leave the office early but with nothing to do/planned.

    If you want to avoid longer hours, then the reality is:

    1) avoid international firms - however given you have an interest in IP a lot of IP specialists will be dealing on international matters

    2) avoid transactional departments - again unfortunately a lot of IP teams have close ties to M&A teams, and so true work tends to fluctuate a fair amount (although the litigation side of IP less so).

    3) avoid the city/London full stop. It isn't just law firms that work crazy hours in London, most professionals in the private sector do in the city. But again this is more difficult because you are specifically choosing IP.

    My advice - do some work experience at different type of firms, in different locations and in different practice areas and re-evaluate. It is likely something on your list of preferences will have to give, you just have to work out what that "preference" will be.

    If you choose a LLB, you open up a multitude of career paths both within law but more significantly outside of it - you won't "waste" your degree unless you flunk it.




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    Thanks very much for your replies Perhaps it is better to look into other areas of law then and aim to get a TC in a mid-sized firm or in-house if possible. I'm quite interested in entertainment & media law too so perhaps a niche/boutique firm would be better suited.

    Thanks again.
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    (Original post by AvaKings)
    Hi all,

    I want to study law and would like to be a lawyer working in IP someday. The one thing that really puts me off though, is the crazy amount of hours supposedly worked by lawyers. Like many I am prepared to work my butt off, but working 12+ hour days regularly is a major turn-off. The odd late night a week? Sure... but not 5 or 6 days a week.

    So my question is whether this is the case for all lawyers (particularly City lawyers)? How about the TC, does anyone know what kind of hours you work during that also? Do the traditional 9-6 roles exist where you can still earn a "decent" salary?

    Basically I'd like a nice work/life balance, so I'm debating whether this is totally the wrong arena for me before investing in an LLB.

    Any input would be greatly appreciated Thanks
    You can certainly work decent hours and earn a decent salary at City firms if you pick your firm and practice area carefully. IP is pretty much as close to 9-5 as you'll get in City practice, although it's probably closer to 9-7 in reality.

    Finance and M&A are the ones you have to watch out for in terms of hours. You should bear in mind that even if you aim to work in IP ultimately, you may have to do a corporate/finance seat during your TC which will see you doing some unsociable hours to a greater or lesser extent.
 
 
 
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