Thank you for your column….give it to me straight
I’m a 4th year Bengoshi at a big firm and I’m looking forward to going overseas for an LLM.
My work is good, I’m learning a lot and gaining the experience I will need. However, there is too much work…..There is absolutely no work / life balance at all. Is this normal? Almost my entire life is work and at the office. I’m not sure I can hold on so I cam make it to my LLM year but I will try. I know I will not be working in a law firm after LLM however….But even with an in-hosue role I sometimes hear things are really not that much better. How much work / life balance can I actually expect by going in house?
Please give me some hope,
Working morning ’till morning
Thank you for contacting me. You are a junior/mid Associate so the first years are supposed to be tough to give you a wide vision of the law. It’s also how the law firm tests to see who has the physical & mental strength to survive long-term in the firm. However, if your health (physical and mental health) is suffering then please take care to protect yourself. No one, including you, will care about your career if you hurt yourself (or worse). And, if you are not keen on remaining in private practice long term then get on that LLM train asap (even if you have to pay for it yourself).
That said, those who move to an in-house role and work just as long as they did in private practice are extremely rare. For an in-house role, the standard (even with Bengoshi and in Japan) working hours are about 10 -12 hours a day. There are worse and there are better options out there and you should do your due diligence completely before making a move in-house. Ask to speak with some of the team members before accepting an offer or ask several different people during the interview process to make sure you know what you are getting yourself into. Your happiness and health is important to your long-term career. Make sure you are willing to accept a company’s work / life balance before signing up to live it.
However, it should be pretty easy to find some good options that allow you to work from 9am to 19~21:00 daily.
Give us a call once you are half way through your LLM and tell us what you are looking for. We can help