Quitting law Watch

arrowhead
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I left my training firm at 1+ year PQE and have been at my new firm for 6 months now...My new Partners are lovely people, the office has a collegiate vibe and I have made good friends with the other Associates.

Yet I feel so done with law at this point. No horror stories as such and I have been blessed with good bosses and good quality work throughout my 4 years in the profession. But I just feel...done. I'm bored with my work and it's so predictable and dull and all about the paper pushing. I don't seem to have it in me to care enough to continue with it anymore. I walk into work checked out and looking at the clock.

The money, stability and 'reputation' that comes with being a lawyer is great, but I'm deeply unsatisfied and disengaged. Gosh, I sound like a cliche millenial. I think I'm going to quit law and go find something else to do. Not sure what yet, but hopefully I'll figure it out.
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cheesecakelove
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(Original post by arrowhead)
I left my training firm at 1+ year PQE and have been at my new firm for 6 months now...My new Partners are lovely people, the office has a collegiate vibe and I have made good friends with the other Associates.

Yet I feel so done with law at this point. No horror stories as such and I have been blessed with good bosses and good quality work throughout my 4 years in the profession. But I just feel...done. I'm bored with my work and it's so predictable and dull and all about the paper pushing. I don't seem to have it in me to care enough to continue with it anymore. I walk into work checked out and looking at the clock.

The money, stability and 'reputation' that comes with being a lawyer is great, but I'm deeply unsatisfied and disengaged. Gosh, I sound like a cliche millenial. I think I'm going to quit law and go find something else to do. Not sure what yet, but hopefully I'll figure it out.
If you aren't happy, it is worth taking a break and exploring your other interests. Law isn't the easiest profession and you want to make sure you are passionate about it before you devote a lot of time and commitment to pursing a career in it.
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The West Wing
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In case you didn't already realise, nearly everyone thinks about quitting all the time so you're not alone.

I spent 20 hours at the weekend essentially copying things from one prospectus into another and I'm facing a week of tedious paper pushing - hardly stuff you dream about as a kid.

Start planning your way out - this job isn't sustainable unless you are actually passionate about the paper you're pushing and you fundamentally care about what the Paying Agency Agreement actually does.
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JohanGRK
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(Original post by The West Wing)
In case you didn't already realise, nearly everyone thinks about quitting all the time so you're not alone.

I spent 20 hours at the weekend essentially copying things from one prospectus into another and I'm facing a week of tedious paper pushing - hardly stuff you dream about as a kid.

Start planning your way out - this job isn't sustainable unless you are actually passionate about the paper you're pushing and you fundamentally care about what the Paying Agency Agreement actually does.
What sort of work do you do? Capital Markets?
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The West Wing
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(Original post by JohanGRK)
What sort of work do you do? Capital Markets?
I have a diverse practice that includes capital markets. All the areas of law I do are equally beasty
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LpoolLawStudent
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(Original post by The West Wing)
In case you didn't already realise, nearly everyone thinks about quitting all the time so you're not alone.

I spent 20 hours at the weekend essentially copying things from one prospectus into another and I'm facing a week of tedious paper pushing - hardly stuff you dream about as a kid.

Start planning your way out - this job isn't sustainable unless you are actually passionate about the paper you're pushing and you fundamentally care about what the Paying Agency Agreement actually does.
The thing is that if you're doing a job long enough, it's always going to get monotonous. I doubt there are a great many exceptions to that. I certainly haven't worked in one yet! The trick is, as you say, finding one you care about on some level. Easier said than done though!
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jacketpotato
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I am a senior associate in a city firm and, personally, I really enjoy my job. There are negatives obviously but overall its great fun - I get to work with all sorts of different businesses on strategic transactions.

It does get more fun as you get more senior. Though, by the time you get to 1.5 PQE you will have a pretty good idea what the work involves. It's not for everybody.

If you feel completely checked out, then it is time to think about what you might want to do. There are lots of options out there. A lot of people seem to be having great fun working in-house for tech companies at the moment. You could also transition into something entirely different.
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Palmyra
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(Original post by jacketpotato)
I am a senior associate in a city firm and, personally, I really enjoy my job. There are negatives obviously but overall its great fun - I get to work with all sorts of different businesses on strategic transactions.

It does get more fun as you get more senior. Though, by the time you get to 1.5 PQE you will have a pretty good idea what the work involves. It's not for everybody.

If you feel completely checked out, then it is time to think about what you might want to do. There are lots of options out there. A lot of people seem to be having great fun working in-house for tech companies at the moment. You could also transition into something entirely different.
How many years PQE are you and at what stage would you say the endless 'paper pushing' and other tedious menial tasks tend to be phased out of your workload (seems to be a very common complaint)?
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ecolier
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(Original post by arrowhead)
...I think I'm going to quit law and go find something else to do. Not sure what yet, but hopefully I'll figure it out.
Quit the dark side and join the happy world of Medicine.

Sorry lawyers
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cursed child
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I am in exactly the same situation, although I am 3.5 years' PQE at a City firm.

I moved firms laterally at 2 years and thought it would change. I enjoyed the change for a few months and then the same thoughts came back, essentially a combination of:

1. The money is good but legal work is meaningless.
2. The job is largely administrative and I feel unfulfilled every day.
3. Litigation and transactional work can both take their toll on you.
4. I checked out years ago but I'm still here. I essentially turn up, do the bare minimum and collect a pay check.
5. I'm almost 30 and the thought of having spent my 20s doing this / going into my 30s doing this makes me groan.
6. There must be more fulfilling and exciting, possibly tech related, careers out there.
7. I regret doing a law degree and wasting my 20s doing law. I wish I had done something tech related.
8. Law is one of the least socially conscious fields out there. You do not really help anybody or society as a whole.
9. Most lawyers are painful to work with, whether that be other lawyers on the other side of deals / cases or your own colleagues. A lot of the time on a deal / case I feel like you not only have to put up with the pain of a lawyer on the other side but you also have to deal with painful / clueless / MIA partners and irritating senior associates sucking up to partners on their way up the greasy pole. It's grotesque!
10. Most lawyers are very ill-rounded people. Sure, it is 'intellectual' in the sense of cases, legislation, having to understand commercial positions and arguments etc. etc. However, I've found most lawyers lacking cultural capital / outside interests. They aren't actually the smartest people and basically settled for easy jobs that pay well. Who ever met a lawyer that ever built or changed something?

I'm in the process of coming up with an exit strategy to try to get out of law entirely in the next five years. In the meantime, I'm looking at various volunteering programmes to just try to feel as though I am doing something for the wider benefit of society.

It won't be easy but one of the things I am looking at is either finding a part time Associate role or joining a LoD / Axlom model.

Rant over / bad day.
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Kessler`
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And this is why, reading threads like this, I am so glad that I went to the Bar instead. Yes I am overworked, underpaid (for my publicly funded work anyway) and am stressed but god my job can be amazing. I likely saved a guy's life today (kept him out of prison - had he gone to prison, he would have died as there were...associates waiting for him there and he would have probably killed himself anyway. In the same day I cross-examined a witness and got them to admit something which they really didn't want to admit. The look on their face as they stepped down from the witness box was so satisfying.

Have you considered transferring to the Bar?
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JohanGRK
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(Original post by cursed child)
I am in exactly the same situation, although I am 3.5 years' PQE at a City firm.

I moved firms laterally at 2 years and thought it would change. I enjoyed the change for a few months and then the same thoughts came back, essentially a combination of:

1. The money is good but legal work is meaningless.
2. The job is largely administrative and I feel unfulfilled every day.
3. Litigation and transactional work can both take their toll on you.
4. I checked out years ago but I'm still here. I essentially turn up, do the bare minimum and collect a pay check.
5. I'm almost 30 and the thought of having spent my 20s doing this / going into my 30s doing this makes me groan.
6. There must be more fulfilling and exciting, possibly tech related, careers out there.
7. I regret doing a law degree and wasting my 20s doing law. I wish I had done something tech related.
8. Law is one of the least socially conscious fields out there. You do not really help anybody or society as a whole.
9. Most lawyers are painful to work with, whether that be other lawyers on the other side of deals / cases or your own colleagues. A lot of the time on a deal / case I feel like you not only have to put up with the pain of a lawyer on the other side but you also have to deal with painful / clueless / MIA partners and irritating senior associates sucking up to partners on their way up the greasy pole. It's grotesque!
10. Most lawyers are very ill-rounded people. Sure, it is 'intellectual' in the sense of cases, legislation, having to understand commercial positions and arguments etc. etc. However, I've found most lawyers lacking cultural capital / outside interests. They aren't actually the smartest people and basically settled for easy jobs that pay well. Who ever met a lawyer that ever built or changed something?

I'm in the process of coming up with an exit strategy to try to get out of law entirely in the next five years. In the meantime, I'm looking at various volunteering programmes to just try to feel as though I am doing something for the wider benefit of society.

It won't be easy but one of the things I am looking at is either finding a part time Associate role or joining a LoD / Axlom model.

Rant over / bad day.
Very helpful post, and I'm sure that flatlined is happy to have someone on the 'I hate this career' side

Out of curiosity, what sort of choices do you think that someone who wants to maximise their time in the City should make? (e.g. with regard to changing firms, picking departments, that sort of thing). Or, if that's a bit vague, what sort of behaviours do people who make it in the long run adopt to make the pressure/frustration they face sustainable?
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JohanGRK
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(Original post by ecolier)
Quit the dark side and join the happy world of Medicine.

Sorry lawyers
Half of the aspiring medics I know are looking at management consulting or the Bar :3
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LpoolLawStudent
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(Original post by cursed child)
I am in exactly the same situation, although I am 3.5 years' PQE at a City firm.

I moved firms laterally at 2 years and thought it would change. I enjoyed the change for a few months and then the same thoughts came back, essentially a combination of:

1. The money is good but legal work is meaningless.
2. The job is largely administrative and I feel unfulfilled every day.
3. Litigation and transactional work can both take their toll on you.
4. I checked out years ago but I'm still here. I essentially turn up, do the bare minimum and collect a pay check.
5. I'm almost 30 and the thought of having spent my 20s doing this / going into my 30s doing this makes me groan.
6. There must be more fulfilling and exciting, possibly tech related, careers out there.
7. I regret doing a law degree and wasting my 20s doing law. I wish I had done something tech related.
8. Law is one of the least socially conscious fields out there. You do not really help anybody or society as a whole.
9. Most lawyers are painful to work with, whether that be other lawyers on the other side of deals / cases or your own colleagues. A lot of the time on a deal / case I feel like you not only have to put up with the pain of a lawyer on the other side but you also have to deal with painful / clueless / MIA partners and irritating senior associates sucking up to partners on their way up the greasy pole. It's grotesque!
10. Most lawyers are very ill-rounded people. Sure, it is 'intellectual' in the sense of cases, legislation, having to understand commercial positions and arguments etc. etc. However, I've found most lawyers lacking cultural capital / outside interests. They aren't actually the smartest people and basically settled for easy jobs that pay well. Who ever met a lawyer that ever built or changed something?

I'm in the process of coming up with an exit strategy to try to get out of law entirely in the next five years. In the meantime, I'm looking at various volunteering programmes to just try to feel as though I am doing something for the wider benefit of society.

It won't be easy but one of the things I am looking at is either finding a part time Associate role or joining a LoD / Axlom model.

Rant over / bad day.
I'm fairly certain that most of these apply equally in tech jobs. My other half (who is in coding) frequently complains about a number of these things...
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laurenlodge
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(Original post by cursed child)
I am in exactly the same situation, although I am 3.5 years' PQE at a City firm.

I moved firms laterally at 2 years and thought it would change. I enjoyed the change for a few months and then the same thoughts came back, essentially a combination of:

1. The money is good but legal work is meaningless.
2. The job is largely administrative and I feel unfulfilled every day.
3. Litigation and transactional work can both take their toll on you.
4. I checked out years ago but I'm still here. I essentially turn up, do the bare minimum and collect a pay check.
5. I'm almost 30 and the thought of having spent my 20s doing this / going into my 30s doing this makes me groan.
6. There must be more fulfilling and exciting, possibly tech related, careers out there.
7. I regret doing a law degree and wasting my 20s doing law. I wish I had done something tech related.
8. Law is one of the least socially conscious fields out there. You do not really help anybody or society as a whole.
9. Most lawyers are painful to work with, whether that be other lawyers on the other side of deals / cases or your own colleagues. A lot of the time on a deal / case I feel like you not only have to put up with the pain of a lawyer on the other side but you also have to deal with painful / clueless / MIA partners and irritating senior associates sucking up to partners on their way up the greasy pole. It's grotesque!
10. Most lawyers are very ill-rounded people. Sure, it is 'intellectual' in the sense of cases, legislation, having to understand commercial positions and arguments etc. etc. However, I've found most lawyers lacking cultural capital / outside interests. They aren't actually the smartest people and basically settled for easy jobs that pay well. Who ever met a lawyer that ever built or changed something?

I'm in the process of coming up with an exit strategy to try to get out of law entirely in the next five years. In the meantime, I'm looking at various volunteering programmes to just try to feel as though I am doing something for the wider benefit of society.

It won't be easy but one of the things I am looking at is either finding a part time Associate role or joining a LoD / Axlom model.

Rant over / bad day.
Sad to say a lot of this applies to many professional industries (with the exception of the good money!). Advertising, consultancy, PR, media, marketing - all similar. I worked in one of them before deciding to switch to law and had exactly the same thoughts - basically what's the point and what am I contributing. I figured at least in law there are fields I could help people in and that my clients might listen (in my previous industry clients would literally just ignore your recommendations and you'd be thinking great glad I spent 4 months on that project).

If you decide to move, bear in mind the same feelings could hit you 3.5 years into that job and so on (and it's something I'm terrified of happening to me too!). It's either making a total switch I think or accepting that a lot of people aren't lucky enough to love what they do everyday.
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Kessler`
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"The grass is always greener..."
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arrowhead
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It's always satisfying to know I'm not alone. Thanks guys!

I had initially, at the start of my training contract, fantasised about moving to the Bar, but I qualified into the arbitration team where all associates are expected to get involved in advocacy and we do internal training and such for that. That trend has continued in my new firm and my direct Partner does all the advocacy on his cases.

I've managed three pretty big arbitrations from start to finish, including two that went to hearings. I sat through my partner's advocacy and played a key role in drafting every document (SOC/Defence, Opening and Closing submissions, jurisdiction application and submissions, factual and expert witness statements, etc.). I have been told that it is very rare for someone at my level to have done so much but it was due to a combination of 1 senior associate quitting and another one going on maternity leave at the just worst time such that everything fell on me as the only associate familiar with the cases while the partners went on a desperate recruitment drive.

The problem I face is that I'm sort of at the end of my rope with my work. Every case now coming through the pipeline goes through the same motions and the arguments while distinct to each one will follow along the same process and procedure. There's nothing fresh about it, I feel quite bored with it all.

I've made my decision to quit and take some time out. I have had the good fortune of saving up a small nest egg over the past few years that can sustain me for at least a year (longer if I stretch) and I'm moving back in with my parents and giving myself one year to write the novel I have always dreamt about writing but kept putting off. I feel like I need to give my dream to be a writer a legitimate shot without any excuses, and if I still fail at my dream, well, at least I can say I tried.
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