jessie

Southern Ms. Part V: The Good Life

So lately I've been thinking that this is a really good place to live. Good people, good work, good culture. Especially when you're a young professional and the cost of living is a fraction of what it is in New York or California.

Lawyers here make six figure salaries but live like millionaires would in the bigger legal markets because the cost of housing is so low that they have much more disposible income.

Best of all those six figures come with a considerably lower time commitment. Sure if you're in trial you'll be busy, but for the most part lawyers here seem to work fairly reasonable hours. Nothing like the all-nighters and long weekends my friends in BigLaw are pulling on the coasts. No kidding, 9-5 is realistic and 8-7 is considered cruel. And these are in the big law firms here - so you're still getting the benefits of good staff support and insitutional weigh that come with BigLaw posts in other cities. It's made me think that this whole work-life balance, billable-hour rebellion is (just like the "opt-out revolution") the problem of a very small fraction of women lawyers in this country.

Now granted the salaries are lower - about 30% less for associates, from what I can tell. And it's a small pond so the work may not always be as cutting edge as that which gets sent to the most prestigous firms in bigger markets - though it certainly can be. But given that housing is less than a fifth of comparable accommodations in the major metropolitan centers, that's not a significant handicap.

Plus there's really good BBQ.

1 Comments

Nicole Black

<span Georgia; line-height: 21px” class=“Apple-style-span”><span italic” class=“Apple-style-span”>"It's made me think that this whole work-life balance, billable-hour rebellion is (just like the "opt-out revolution") the problem of a very small fraction of women lawyers in this country."</span></span>
If you're single with no kids, then the hours you discuss are quite reasonable.  However, given that half of law graduates are now women, and, at the very least, 75% of those women will choose to have children, far more than a "small fraction of women lawyers" have work-life balance issues.  And, more and more men of the Gen X and Y generations are finding these issues to be challenging as well—especially when married to women with professional careers.
When you are single with no kids, it's hard to envision an 8-6 schedule as being unduly burdensome, but you're viewpoint changes drastically once that first child comes into your life.  And once you have 2 kids you lose your sanity unless you've got either a f/t nanny or a very flexible schedule.
I write about these issues all the time at my blog—Women Lawyers—Back on Track. 

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