Remember when sticker at T10 seemed like a good idea?

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IAFG
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Re: Remember when sticker at T10 seemed like a good idea?

Postby IAFG » Sat Apr 13, 2013 10:07 pm

bk1 wrote:
kappycaft1 wrote:Do you all have any links that show data about how long associates last in biglaw? I keep hearing stats thrown around on TLS and elsewhere which state that [any number between 50 and 80] percent of biglaw associates only last for [any number between 2 and 5] years, and it isn't that I doubt this, but what is this based off of?


In 2007, 80% of biglaw associates had left biglaw by year 5.

Source: NALP

They were leaving in the boom years, when firms were paying huge recruiting fees to keep enough associates around. Something to keep in mind. These people were probably not leaving for doc review gigs.

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bk1
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Re: Remember when sticker at T10 seemed like a good idea?

Postby bk1 » Sat Apr 13, 2013 10:09 pm

Elston Gunn wrote:If anyone has a source that breaks it down attrition rate by class year that would be awesome.

It seems like NALP publishes a report on associate attrition each year. But it costs money and I can't find anybody that has cited statistics from it. That said, it seems as if some law school CDOs have a copy on hand.

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bk1
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Re: Remember when sticker at T10 seemed like a good idea?

Postby bk1 » Sat Apr 13, 2013 10:10 pm

IAFG wrote:They were leaving in the boom years, when firms were paying huge recruiting fees to keep enough associates around. Something to keep in mind. These people were probably not leaving for doc review gigs.

True, but I don't see a lot of data on the internet about how things are right now.

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thesealocust
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Re: Remember when sticker at T10 seemed like a good idea?

Postby thesealocust » Sat Apr 13, 2013 10:15 pm

Christ almighty there's a lack of useful information in this thread. I've got like 6 quotes pinned to respond to, let's get down to brass tacks about life in-and-after biglaw.

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Renne Walker
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Re: Remember when sticker at T10 seemed like a good idea?

Postby Renne Walker » Sat Apr 13, 2013 10:18 pm

I’ll take that deal. 5 Years with a BL resume in hand. Bank $800K, figure $560K net. Minus $150K for tuition (paid in full). $300K in living expenses, leaves me with $110K in my purse. Is this the nightmare scenario everyone is concerned about?

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Re: Remember when sticker at T10 seemed like a good idea?

Postby NYstate » Sat Apr 13, 2013 10:23 pm

I started to look for attrition rates, but then I realized that the largest factor in attrition the past few years has been downsizing. I don't think that is the information you wanted. There have been a number of stealth layoffs at firms so it is hard to pin down even that number.

I found an article about attrition by a Yale law student from 2008 for what it's worth. I didn't read it but perhaps it will be of some use like the UVa study .
--LinkRemoved--


There is also the ABA mid level associate thing - but keep in mind that people are pressured to answer those in a very positive way.
Last edited by NYstate on Sat Apr 13, 2013 10:31 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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TripTrip
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Re: Remember when sticker at T10 seemed like a good idea?

Postby TripTrip » Sat Apr 13, 2013 10:23 pm

Renne Walker wrote:I’ll take that deal. 5 Years with a BL resume in hand. Bank $800K, figure $560K net. Minus $150K for tuition (paid in full). $300K in living expenses, leaves me with $110K in my purse. Is this the nightmare scenario everyone is concerned about?

Yeah. You'd have to have a huge purse to carry $110k.

It would probably be an LV bag, and an LV bag capable of carrying that much money would probably cost about half that. $firstworldproblems$

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sinfiery
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Re: Remember when sticker at T10 seemed like a good idea?

Postby sinfiery » Sat Apr 13, 2013 10:26 pm

Renne Walker wrote:I’ll take that deal. 5 Years with a BL resume in hand. Bank $800K, figure $560K net. Minus $150K for tuition (paid in full). $300K in living expenses, leaves me with $110K in my purse. Is this the nightmare scenario everyone is concerned about?


Misread earlier.


But COA for LS isn't 150k, but 260-290k

NYstate wrote:--LinkRemoved--


lol 96 pages wow
Last edited by sinfiery on Sat Apr 13, 2013 10:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

NYstate
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Re: Remember when sticker at T10 seemed like a good idea?

Postby NYstate » Sat Apr 13, 2013 10:26 pm

Renne Walker wrote:I’ll take that deal. 5 Years with a BL resume in hand. Bank $800K, figure $560K net. Minus $150K for tuition (paid in full). $300K in living expenses, leaves me with $110K in my purse. Is this the nightmare scenario everyone is concerned about?

No. This is not the nightmare .

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Renne Walker
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Re: Remember when sticker at T10 seemed like a good idea?

Postby Renne Walker » Sat Apr 13, 2013 10:34 pm

sinfiery wrote:
Renne Walker wrote:I’ll take that deal. 5 Years with a BL resume in hand. Bank $800K, figure $560K net. Minus $150K for tuition (paid in full). $300K in living expenses, leaves me with $110K in my purse. Is this the nightmare scenario everyone is concerned about?


But COA for LS isn't 150k, but 260-290k

What? Please find us that school that charges $250K, because I sure do not know where it is. I did not mention that SA income of $60K ($30K for some) should be factored in. Then there is the likelihood of BL bonuses and pay increases. Netting $110K after five years is probably low.

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sinfiery
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Re: Remember when sticker at T10 seemed like a good idea?

Postby sinfiery » Sat Apr 13, 2013 10:36 pm

Including COL and tuition + fees, HYSCCN all cost about 270-290k if you take out loans. I guess my real disagreement with your scenario is that not all of us can cut a check for the cost of law school but will be taking out loans

Also 160k is 96k after tax so your 560k net figure already accounts for raises and bonuses to a significant degree

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Re: Remember when sticker at T10 seemed like a good idea?

Postby Mal Reynolds » Sat Apr 13, 2013 10:37 pm

Renne Walker wrote:
sinfiery wrote:
Renne Walker wrote:I’ll take that deal. 5 Years with a BL resume in hand. Bank $800K, figure $560K net. Minus $150K for tuition (paid in full). $300K in living expenses, leaves me with $110K in my purse. Is this the nightmare scenario everyone is concerned about?


But COA for LS isn't 150k, but 260-290k

What? Please find us that school that charges $250K, because I sure do not know where it is. I did not mention that SA income of $60K ($30K for some) should be factored in. Then there is the likelihood of BL bonuses and pay increases. Netting $110K after five years is probably low.


God you're dumb.

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TripTrip
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Re: Remember when sticker at T10 seemed like a good idea?

Postby TripTrip » Sat Apr 13, 2013 10:39 pm

Renne Walker wrote:I did not mention that SA income of $60K ($30K for some) should be factored in.

Wait, you've found a summer associate position that pays $60k?! Show me this now!

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thesealocust
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Re: Remember when sticker at T10 seemed like a good idea?

Postby thesealocust » Sat Apr 13, 2013 10:39 pm

OK, let's start with two things about life after that first biglaw job:

(1) Unexpected events and/or come-to-jesus moments: Some people leave the rat race more or less entirely. They drop out and open trendy cupcake shops (I assume this is why there are 4 or 5 per city block in NYC), become the next Scott Turrow, or else have kids and become stay at home parents or high school teachers or something.

(2) "Exit options" vary dramatically by geography, practice area, firm reputation, and economic climate: The numbers are hard to track in general, but these make them much more difficult. I can tell you litigators are having a harder time moving around because of the sea change in litigation, and that patent law seems to be booming. There are growth areas of law and dying areas of law, etc. Also, the big firm game is often like a giant plinko board. People lateral from one firm to another, and veeerrryyy frequently it's from the "better" firms in a practice area to the less-good ones.

I want to start there because it's really hard to generalize. M&A associate in NYC at Skadden is in a different world than real estate lawyer at a midlaw firm in texas. And it becomes very individualized, and down to what people want and try to do - no more OCI means getting data and doing studies just isn't feasible anymore.

On attrition - at gigantic mega firms, something like 5% of each incoming class might make partner. But studies (link not on hand, sorry) suggest that more like 20% of incoming associates from top school will make partner SOMEWHERE. It's important to keep the plinko analogy in mind.

About exit options more broadly:

They 'exist' from very early on. If you really want to move, and are at a decent firm, a call to a head hunter can often get you placed. I know people who have switched big law firms at a year of practice or less. But those are shitty lateral moves, because you're just joining another Name & Ampersand LLP and will probably be starting from the bottom up again.

I can't speak for all associates at all firms, but at good firms I'm familiar with random calls from hundhunters are quite common. While they might not be offering plum jobs, it's a strong indicator of the "you're not going to starve on the street after your stint in biglaw." A lot of the people proclaiming the difficulties of the post-biglaw job search are either ignorant/bitter people who aren't in biglaw, or come from the horror story examples as opposed to the average examples.

Good exit options tend to by jobs related to your field of practice that come through connections to the clients and industry. In house counsel, regulators, trade groups, litigation boutiques, government agencies, prosecutor's offices, legislative/policy roles, teaching, etc. It's never going to be handed to you buffet style the way OCI was, but they're out there. They will be most common after 2ish years when you're more established and have gained the experience and training (no joke) that future employers find valuable.

Never forget an important systematic element of the legal industry:

A big reason there are so few entry level jobs outside of biglaw is because its so easy for employers to hire former biglaw associates. They're pain tolerant, trained, often eager to leave, etc.

Some firms are slow, and some firms go bust. Some associates are unlucky and there aren't glamorous options for them. But overall, biglaw associates are in very high demand. Hiring freezes mean there are fewer of them, but there's still a lot of work to be done - and firms are needing to plug gaps from people leaving. And leave they do! Attrition rates are quite high.

As for salary post-biglaw, it's often a paycut but still 6-figures+. Law is a career, and former biglaw attorneys often take a paycut when they move but they have growth potential, access to security (fed gov) or income sources (stock options etc.) or perks (being able to go home ever) that make the transition worth it.

When it comes time to move, it's important to realize that the practice of law is VERY much a 'club' once you're on the inside. Firms are often keen to place calls and help their associates land on their feet elsewhere. Once you're in the legal world, you're a part of that club and there's a big network automatically at your disposal for help you land on your feet. There are also often generous and gradual partings - outright firings are very rare. Even getting 'lathamed' involved a large cash payment.

NYstate wrote:I wonder how many people actually make 6 figures for the rest of their life. I honestly have no idea. It doesn't seem like something to count on. Hard to know. People get pushed out of in- house jobs too, that isn't usually a lifetime gig.


Probably more than you'd expect. Even government work for people leaving biglaw often at least approaches 6-figure salaries.

NYstate wrote:Just wanted to point out that this attitude and belief is exactly why I think big law could cut salaries and still have more than enough grads to choose from. Big law is probably overpaying by at least $15,000. Not that a decrease is likely, but I wouldn't expect an increase soon.


Look up revenue per lawyer and profits per partner stats. Big law associates, even young ones, are worth their salary. As attrition rates, rent, and student loan expenses increase, I'm not so sure salary increases are impossible either. I wouldn't say more likely than not short term, but there's more pressure on the system than you'd realize. And while $160,000 is very generous, after all of the expenses associated with getting a law degree and leading a lifestyle as a big firm lawyer, it's definitely a somewhat rationale bargain between the firm and the associate. They're paying for pain tolerance and obsessive type-A personalities as much as they're paying for raw talent.

kappycaft1 wrote:Do you all have any links that show data about how long associates last in biglaw? I keep hearing stats thrown around on TLS and elsewhere which state that [any number between 50 and 80] percent of biglaw associates only last for [any number between 2 and 5] years, and it isn't that I doubt this, but what is this based off of?

Also, what do current bonuses look like for new associates (assuming bonuses still exist), and is there anything that shows general trends of how much salaries/bonuses in biglaw increase each year?


Bonuses for first years were $10,000 last year and (IIRC) $7,500 the year before.

Attrition at the firms is on the order of 20% per year. That's REALLY high when you think about it, and it's slanted - almost nobody leaves before year one, not many leave before year two, and from there the proverbial floodgates open. Options become available and burnout becomes real.

If you look at the salary scale, you'll notice the largest baked-in raise comes after the third year. That's when an associate tends to be much more valuable to the firm - and also valuable to potential recruiters.

To see one reason why salaries increased (as did bonuses) see this article about Sullivan & Cromwell from boom-times: http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2007/01/24/sul ... te-morale/

30% attrition.
Unsustainable. And while maybe S&C was worse because it's stereotypically not a great working environment, all firms were struggling with attrition. That's how salaries got to where they are now.

- - - - -

Random aside about math and cost: If you look at life time earnings, I'd imagine most of the T14 are still worth their cost at sticker over time, on average. The problem is that if you fail to get biglaw (or whatever gov't/PI position you dreamed of) out of the gate, or flame out too soon, the fact that the 'average' result was highly lucrative relative to its cost won't help you with your debt.

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Re: Remember when sticker at T10 seemed like a good idea?

Postby NYstate » Sat Apr 13, 2013 10:39 pm

Isn't Northwestern at almost 80,000 now? I can see that easily being over 250,000 at sticker for 3 years.

http://www.law.northwestern.edu/admissi ... getJD.html

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Re: Remember when sticker at T10 seemed like a good idea?

Postby WokeUpInACar » Sat Apr 13, 2013 10:40 pm

TripTrip wrote:
Renne Walker wrote:I did not mention that SA income of $60K ($30K for some) should be factored in.

Wait, you've found a summer associate position that pays $60k?! Show me this now!

She's assuming a 1L SA lol

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Re: Remember when sticker at T10 seemed like a good idea?

Postby TripTrip » Sat Apr 13, 2013 10:45 pm

For anyone who skipped thesealocust's wall of text, go back and read it. It was very good.

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Re: Remember when sticker at T10 seemed like a good idea?

Postby sinfiery » Sat Apr 13, 2013 10:47 pm

TripTrip wrote:For anyone who skipped thesealocust's wall of text, go back and read it. It was very good.

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Re: Remember when sticker at T10 seemed like a good idea?

Postby Renne Walker » Sat Apr 13, 2013 10:49 pm

sinfiery wrote:Including COL and tuition + fees, HYSCCN all cost about 270-290k if you take out loans. I guess my real disagreement with your scenario is that not all of us can cut a check for the cost of law school but will be taking out loans

Also 160k is 96k after tax so your 560k net figure already accounts for raises and bonuses to a significant degree

I am under the assumption that most no one (certainly not me) can cut a paid in full check for LS loans. My understanding is the debate is about how bad life will be after being dumped in 5 years by BL. I had to make certain assumptions, one being a BL associate will want to start paying as much as possible against their tuition — meaning that they will be living a less than spectacular lifestyle for a few years, resulting in a modest rainy day fund.

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Re: Remember when sticker at T10 seemed like a good idea?

Postby thesealocust » Sat Apr 13, 2013 10:49 pm

sinfiery wrote:
TripTrip wrote:For anyone who skipped thesealocust's wall of text, go back and read it. It was very good.

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Re: Remember when sticker at T10 seemed like a good idea?

Postby Renne Walker » Sat Apr 13, 2013 10:52 pm

TripTrip wrote:
Renne Walker wrote:I did not mention that SA income of $60K ($30K for some) should be factored in.

Wait, you've found a summer associate position that pays $60k?! Show me this now!


$30K 1L SA ditto for 2L. Most only score it once (that's why I noted $30K for some).

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sinfiery
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Re: Remember when sticker at T10 seemed like a good idea?

Postby sinfiery » Sat Apr 13, 2013 10:55 pm

Renne Walker wrote:I am under the assumption that most no one (certainly not me) can cut a paid in full check for LS loans. My understanding is the debate is about how bad life will be after being dumped in 5 years by BL. I had to make certain assumptions, one being a BL associate will want to start paying as much as possible against their tuition — meaning that they will be living a less than spectacular lifestyle for a few years, resulting in a modest rainy day fund.

You weren't far off, but your numbers were fudged a little bit.
If you pay sticker at NYU, you come to owing $280,000 once you graduate if your 1L/2L SA break even for your costs. (http://www.law.georgetown.edu/admission ... geid=61621 -- 1st year COA is $78,112 so really 290k but let's pretend we found 10k)

If you want to pay that off in 5 years, that is $5,600/month = ~68k
Your 160k is 96k after tax so 28k left for COL in a high COL area.

The COL becomes easier as you should ideally be able to throw your bonus/raises at it but there is a very good chance if you pay sticker, you won't have any savings after 5 years of biglaw.

Not to mention a lot of people disagree that you will be able to live off 28k-40k in NYC when you have to keep the biglaw lifestyle.

also the article said 80% leave BY 5 years so the very max was 5 years but far from 80% likely stayed 5 years.

TSL post definitely helps stabilize some fears about life after biglaw if you still have some debt left though

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Re: Remember when sticker at T10 seemed like a good idea?

Postby NYstate » Sat Apr 13, 2013 10:59 pm

@sealocust: yes I realize there is pressure on the system to pay assocuates more from the inside as you say. I was responding to the idea that salaries have to increase to keep getting the talent the need. Also, the increase in debt for students over the past six years hasn't resulted in an increase in salaries. I'm saying there are much bigger market forces at work keeping salaries constant than there are pressures to increase so firms can get students with high LSAT scores.

Also I don't agree that firings are rare, but maybe firms have stopped stealthing people if they are finally at the size they need.

I've always been extremely debt averse for a number of reasons. Being in debt and not getting big law is, as you noted, an issue students need to consider. But I have been around TLS long enough to know that most 0Ls just see the potential starting salary and that is really all the convincing they need. They all think they will get big law. They all think they will last in big law long enough to pay their debt, they are all calculating all the money they will make before they start school. They all think people who talk about life in big law as being very difficult are just spoiled complainers.*

And by all I mean most, all is just shorter to write. But I do think every T14 0L thinks they will get big law or the PI job they need to repay loans.

At least they have improved employment information to help them make better choices. There is no question it will work out for some people. But we know that for a decent number of people, even at T14, it isn't going to work out as they hoped.

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TripTrip
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Re: Remember when sticker at T10 seemed like a good idea?

Postby TripTrip » Sat Apr 13, 2013 11:00 pm

sinfiery wrote:Not to mention a lot of people disagree that you will be able to live off 28k-40k in NYC when you have to keep the biglaw lifestyle.
I think that's key. A lot of us "plan" to deal with biglaw for three years, buckle down, and pay off the law school debts. However, it's not as simple as figuring three years of biglaw salary can fill the debt void, because it really can't. You're not going to live on $30,000/yr while working biglaw and throwing the rest at debt maintenance.

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Re: Remember when sticker at T10 seemed like a good idea?

Postby ExBiglawAssociate » Sat Apr 13, 2013 11:03 pm

Good post from sealocust. I would just add that your chances of obtaining riches improve dramatically if you can latch onto a good partner/group of attorneys and commit (early) to an in-demand specialty. You need to become an expert more quickly than many junior associates anticipate. I.e., if you're in lit you need to have the entire procedural back and forth of litigation in federal courts memorized (at least at a general level) before anyone will take you seriously inside or outside of your firm.




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