BigLaw Exit Oppurtunities?

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Maserati91
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BigLaw Exit Oppurtunities?

Postby Maserati91 » Mon May 30, 2011 9:37 pm

What do most people do after say 5-6 years at big law?
I know some get promoted to partner, but what about the rest? Do they start their own firms, go to the business side, etc?

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rayiner
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Re: BigLaw Exit Oppurtunities?

Postby rayiner » Mon May 30, 2011 9:38 pm

Maserati91 wrote:What do most people do after say 5-6 years at big law?
I know some get promoted to partner, but what about the rest? Do they start their own firms, go to the business side, etc?


Killself.

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thesealocust
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Re: BigLaw Exit Oppurtunities?

Postby thesealocust » Mon May 30, 2011 9:41 pm

At most true biglaw firms much less than 10% of any given summer associate class will ever make partner.

Those who leave (and few stay even 5 years) move on to a variety of other pursuits. Many lateral to other law firms, often who need associates of whatever practice area the current associate has. Many take in house counsel positions at clients. Many move to government positions, at agencies or with prosecutors offices. Still others just leave - become stay at home parents, travel, open restaurants, or any number of other pursuits. Some definitely do start their own firms.

Two points: One, it's worth emphasizing again that almost everyone who starts at a firm will leave it before making partner, and most will do so relatively quickly. Second, many of the jobs that they take are only available to those who started at big firms. As an example, very few corporations hire new law school graduates into their legal department, they tend to exclusively recruit from major law firms.

rayiner wrote:
Maserati91 wrote:What do most people do after say 5-6 years at big law?
I know some get promoted to partner, but what about the rest? Do they start their own firms, go to the business side, etc?


Killself.


Or that :p

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Maserati91
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Re: BigLaw Exit Oppurtunities?

Postby Maserati91 » Mon May 30, 2011 10:04 pm

thesealocust wrote:At most true biglaw firms much less than 10% of any given summer associate class will ever make partner.

Those who leave (and few stay even 5 years) move on to a variety of other pursuits. Many lateral to other law firms, often who need associates of whatever practice area the current associate has. Many take in house counsel positions at clients. Many move to government positions, at agencies or with prosecutors offices. Still others just leave - become stay at home parents, travel, open restaurants, or any number of other pursuits. Some definitely do start their own firms.

Two points: One, it's worth emphasizing again that almost everyone who starts at a firm will leave it before making partner, and most will do so relatively quickly. Second, many of the jobs that they take are only available to those who started at big firms. As an example, very few corporations hire new law school graduates into their legal department, they tend to exclusively recruit from major law firms.

rayiner wrote:
Maserati91 wrote:What do most people do after say 5-6 years at big law?
I know some get promoted to partner, but what about the rest? Do they start their own firms, go to the business side, etc?


Killself.


Or that :p


Thanks for the great input. I had a question regarding opening your own law firm. Say I worked at big law as a corporate attorney for 5 years and didn't make partner but wanted to start my own law firm. Is it realistic? Would I have a clientbase and reputation by then to succeed? In Manhattan btw, thanks so much for the input

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mrtoren
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Re: BigLaw Exit Oppurtunities?

Postby mrtoren » Mon May 30, 2011 10:09 pm

Maserati91 wrote:Say I worked at big law as a corporate attorney for 5 years and didn't make partner but wanted to start my own law firm. Is it realistic? Would I have a clientbase and reputation by then to succeed?

Would you? How can anyone say what kind of client base or reputation you would have? Some people do it, some people don't. Some people succeed, others fail.

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thesealocust
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Re: BigLaw Exit Oppurtunities?

Postby thesealocust » Mon May 30, 2011 10:13 pm

It's less realistic for corporate practice, because of the manpower and skill needed to handle the legal work involved in major corporate transactions. I have never heard of a boutique corporate law firm (Wachtell is about as close as you can get, and that's 200 attorneys) but there are tones of boutique litigation firms, regulatory law firms, etc.

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Stanford4Me
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Re: BigLaw Exit Oppurtunities?

Postby Stanford4Me » Mon May 30, 2011 10:16 pm

This is mere speculation on my part, but considering that most partner tracks at large law firms are in the 7 - 9 year range, it seems like it would be difficult (though not impossible) to leave after 5 years and start your own law firm with the connections you've developed. The difficulty of doing this is further exacerbated by the fact that, at most large law firms, associates aren't given much client interaction until a few years in, meaning that after 5 years you'll likely have only limited client interaction. That being said, if you're a hard worker who is extremely personable and charismatic, then the sky is the limit. I tend to stay on the conservative end when giving advice and will go ahead and say that you're not a special snowflake, so I wouldn't bank on being able to get clients from your limited five years of experience in Biglaw.

Anyone is free to correct me.

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Maserati91
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Re: BigLaw Exit Oppurtunities?

Postby Maserati91 » Mon May 30, 2011 10:27 pm

Alright thanks so much. What about in house counsel? What if after the 7-9 years you stay on the partner track and don't make it. How is it if you leave and go to a corporation as in house counsel? Money-wise, career wise?

Also, what are the exit opportunities for getting into business if you have been a corporate lawyer for 7-9 years? I have read a bit about how the CEO of Goldman Sachs was a law school grad, same with Lazard, etc. I was just wondering how that works?

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thesealocust
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Re: BigLaw Exit Oppurtunities?

Postby thesealocust » Mon May 30, 2011 10:34 pm

Maserati91 wrote:Alright thanks so much. What about in house counsel? What if after the 7-9 years you stay on the partner track and don't make it. How is it if you leave and go to a corporation as in house counsel? Money-wise, career wise?

Also, what are the exit opportunities for getting into business if you have been a corporate lawyer for 7-9 years? I have read a bit about how the CEO of Goldman Sachs was a law school grad, same with Lazard, etc. I was just wondering how that works?


First off, 7-9 years is a very, very, very long time to last at a large law firm. During the boom, S&C once lost more than 30% of its associates in a single year, and the average sometimes hovers around 20% a year at big firms. For most people it's more-or-less voluntary, but it has to do with the brutal hours and stress of the job. It's never sound to plan on a half-decade+ career at a single large law firm.

There are several ways to leave and get an in house job. Some people get cold calls from recruiters, even on a daily basis. From limited research that appears especially true for strong practice groups at strong firms. The other common path is getting to know clients and getting invited over to the other side that way. People also contact head hunters on their own or apply to job openings. But it's not an easy thing to understand, because most who undergo such a job search do so secretively.

Exit opportunities into business are rare. I have read speculation, which may be off-base, that direct jumps to business tend to be limited to corporate attorneys at the very 'best' law firms. Suffice to say that while possible the average law grad who starts at a firm is not going to ever be presented with an obvious opportunity to switch to the business side at a bank.

Renzo
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Re: BigLaw Exit Oppurtunities?

Postby Renzo » Mon May 30, 2011 11:02 pm

rayiner wrote:
Maserati91 wrote:What do most people do after say 5-6 years at big law?
I know some get promoted to partner, but what about the rest? Do they start their own firms, go to the business side, etc?


Killself A process referred to as "going home."

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Maserati91
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Re: BigLaw Exit Oppurtunities?

Postby Maserati91 » Mon May 30, 2011 11:24 pm

Hmm also, I always assumed biglaw meant corporate. Am I right in this assumption? Or can biglaw include litigation too?

I aspire to open my own law firm one day but am in love with finance and business so want to do corporate law.. but as it seems like it is pretty hard/ludicrous to attempt to open my own corporate law firm.. I'm stuck.

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Stanford4Me
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Re: BigLaw Exit Oppurtunities?

Postby Stanford4Me » Mon May 30, 2011 11:28 pm

Maserati91 wrote:Hmm also, I always assumed biglaw meant corporate. Am I right in this assumption? Or can biglaw include litigation too?

I aspire to open my own law firm one day but am in love with finance and business so want to do corporate law.. but as it seems like it is pretty hard/ludicrous to attempt to open my own corporate law firm.. I'm stuck.

No, biglaw includes many practice areas

(Very rough sketch)

Transactional: M&A, Private Equity, Capital Markets, Real Estate
Litigation: SEC Litigation, Corporate Defense, IP (which is usually it's own department), Labor and Employment
Then many firms have a Tax department which usually is considered separate from Transactional and Litigation. How different practice areas are structured/separated varies from firm to firm.

Visit any biglaw firm's website and you can see the breath of their practice areas.

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Maserati91
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Re: BigLaw Exit Oppurtunities?

Postby Maserati91 » Mon May 30, 2011 11:49 pm

Stanford4Me wrote:
Maserati91 wrote:Hmm also, I always assumed biglaw meant corporate. Am I right in this assumption? Or can biglaw include litigation too?

I aspire to open my own law firm one day but am in love with finance and business so want to do corporate law.. but as it seems like it is pretty hard/ludicrous to attempt to open my own corporate law firm.. I'm stuck.

No, biglaw includes many practice areas

(Very rough sketch)

Transactional: M&A, Private Equity, Capital Markets, Real Estate
Litigation: SEC Litigation, Corporate Defense, IP (which is usually it's own department), Labor and Employment
Then many firms have a Tax department which usually is considered separate from Transactional and Litigation. How different practice areas are structured/separated varies from firm to firm.

Visit any biglaw firm's website and you can see the breath of their practice areas.


Oh alright, but would it be realistic to start a firm based on corporate litigation or tax. I know transactional (m&a, pe, cm, etc) are not startable on your own.

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dailygrind
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Re: BigLaw Exit Oppurtunities?

Postby dailygrind » Wed Jun 01, 2011 11:19 pm

rayiner wrote:
Maserati91 wrote:What do most people do after say 5-6 years at big law?
I know some get promoted to partner, but what about the rest? Do they start their own firms, go to the business side, etc?


Killself.


Some people have reported this post. I am going to clarify for anyone who cares: the reply "killself" is an issue when it's used negatively (often to tell someone they're a failure). That's not how it was used here - from what I can tell rayiner was alluding to how miserable big law life was. It's a joke, people.

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Stanford4Me
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Re: BigLaw Exit Oppurtunities?

Postby Stanford4Me » Thu Jun 02, 2011 1:13 am

dailygrind wrote:
rayiner wrote:
Maserati91 wrote:What do most people do after say 5-6 years at big law?
I know some get promoted to partner, but what about the rest? Do they start their own firms, go to the business side, etc?


Killself.


Some people have reported this post. I am going to clarify for anyone who cares: the reply "killself" is an issue when it's used negatively (often to tell someone they're a failure). That's not how it was used here - from what I can tell rayiner was alluding to how miserable big law life was. It's a joke, people.

LOL@peoplereportingthat




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