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The term “BigLaw” often evokes thoughts of grueling hours, demanding partners, and a roller-coaster schedule. As a former BigLaw associate, I have a much different perspective. Sure, the hours were long. But my colleagues became some of my closest friends, and the work opportunities were incredible. Sometimes, I even—gasp—miss BigLaw life. There is an intellectual rigor cultivated both by the sophisticated work and quality of attorneys that top firms attract that is difficult to match elsewhere. And the perks weren’t too bad either.
I also learned a lot about professionalism and how I wanted to shape my career while billing my days away in BigLaw. Perhaps one of my greatest take aways was the confidence I built through partners trusting me with substantive opportunities early in my career. And there’s no doubt that the work ethic and efficiency instilled in me through the billable hour continues to benefit me today.
In reflecting on my days in BigLaw, I wondered if others felt the same. I asked a group of former BigLaw associates some of their thoughts on law firm life, including what they wished they had known as a first year, their advice for associates leaving BigLaw, what they miss most, and tips on maximizing the BigLaw experience. Check out their thoughts below.
1. What do you wish you had known when you started as a first-year associate?
2. What advice do you have for associates who want to leave BigLaw?
3. What do you miss about working in BigLaw?
4. How can associates maximize their BigLaw experience?
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