Getting hired at smaller Law firms

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pleaseberkeley

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Getting hired at smaller Law firms

Postby pleaseberkeley » Thu May 18, 2017 4:14 am

There is so much talk about big law here. But what about smaller law firms? Don't smaller law firms also pay 6 figures? Aren't law schools ranked #15-20 capable of landing you in one these smaller firms? How good are schools outside the top 14 at getting you there? Is it still worth going to Law School if you end up at a 6 figure position (although not the 160k + signing bonus of big law)?

cavalier1138

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Re: Getting hired at smaller Law firms

Postby cavalier1138 » Thu May 18, 2017 6:07 am

pleaseberkeley wrote:There is so much talk about big law here. But what about smaller law firms? Don't smaller law firms also pay 6 figures? Aren't law schools ranked #15-20 capable of landing you in one these smaller firms? How good are schools outside the top 14 at getting you there? Is it still worth going to Law School if you end up at a 6 figure position (although not the 160k + signing bonus of big law)?


In order:

Smaller firms exist. Some are just small, and some are boutique firms. Boutique firms are harder to get into than a generic small firm.

No, the vast majority of smaller firms don't pay six figures. Most of them pay $45-60k for new associates. Boutique firms can pay biglaw-level salaries, but again, those are harder to get than biglaw.

Yes, pretty much any real law school (read: T2+) can get you a job at a small, non-boutique firm. It doesn't take much.

It's worth going to law school if you a) want to be a lawyer and b) will be in a reasonable position to pay off the debt you incur going to school.

Npret

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Re: Getting hired at smaller Law firms

Postby Npret » Thu May 18, 2017 8:54 am

pleaseberkeley wrote:There is so much talk about big law here. But what about smaller law firms? Don't smaller law firms also pay 6 figures? Aren't law schools ranked #15-20 capable of landing you in one these smaller firms? How good are schools outside the top 14 at getting you there? Is it still worth going to Law School if you end up at a 6 figure position (although not the 160k + signing bonus of big law)?

If you know of small firms that pay 6 figures to entry level attorneys I'm sure everyone would be interested in them.
There seems to be an idea (that I have seen posted here as well)that all lawyers make 6 figures.

The salary curve is bimodal. You can find it atNALP.
http://www.nalp.org/class_of_2014_salar ... ry%20curve

There may be more recent one

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jchiles

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Re: Getting hired at smaller Law firms

Postby jchiles » Thu May 18, 2017 9:14 am

pleaseberkeley wrote:There is so much talk about big law here. But what about smaller law firms? Don't smaller law firms also pay 6 figures? Aren't law schools ranked #15-20 capable of landing you in one these smaller firms? How good are schools outside the top 14 at getting you there? Is it still worth going to Law School if you end up at a 6 figure position (although not the 160k + signing bonus of big law)?


A "small firm" as usually described on this website will not pay 6 figures to an entry level attorney regardless of their school/grades. Billing rates and volume are not high enough to justify that salary at most small firms, and as other posters noted, boutique firms, which are generally smaller than big or mid sized firms in terms of attorney headcount, are very competitive but sometimes will pay a lot compared to small firms.

Unfortunately you can't really generalize small firms and what they look for in new hires, but it's still very possible to make a career and easily hit that 6 figure number after several years at a well-run and reputable small firm.

Npret

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Re: Getting hired at smaller Law firms

Postby Npret » Thu May 18, 2017 9:21 am

jchiles wrote:
pleaseberkeley wrote:There is so much talk about big law here. But what about smaller law firms? Don't smaller law firms also pay 6 figures? Aren't law schools ranked #15-20 capable of landing you in one these smaller firms? How good are schools outside the top 14 at getting you there? Is it still worth going to Law School if you end up at a 6 figure position (although not the 160k + signing bonus of big law)?


A "small firm" as usually described on this website will not pay 6 figures to an entry level attorney regardless of their school/grades. Billing rates and volume are not high enough to justify that salary at most small firms, and as other posters noted, boutique firms, which are generally smaller than big or mid sized firms in terms of attorney headcount, are very competitive but sometimes will pay a lot compared to small firms.

Unfortunately you can't really generalize small firms and what they look for in new hires, but it's still very possible to make a career and easily hit that 6 figure number after several years at a well-run and reputable small firm.

Yes. We have no data on small firm salary outside of entry level. There is probably a huge variation in salary depending on the firm and the market.

silenttimer

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Re: Getting hired at smaller Law firms

Postby silenttimer » Thu May 18, 2017 9:59 am

Perhaps not "small," but regional firms with approximately 30-100 lawyers do exist and they typically pay between $85-$115k starting out. In my experience, these firms may hire only one or two summer associates per year (sometimes every other year), so those are tough to come by. They will also typically hire laterals with 1 or 2 years of experience or people who completed a state-level clerkship.

I agree with the OP that these firms are not typically discussed on this board and they may offer median students from strong regional schools a decent shot at them.

Npret

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Re: Getting hired at smaller Law firms

Postby Npret » Thu May 18, 2017 10:21 am

silenttimer wrote:Perhaps not "small," but regional firms with approximately 30-100 lawyers do exist and they typically pay between $85-$115k starting out. In my experience, these firms may hire only one or two summer associates per year (sometimes every other year), so those are tough to come by. They will also typically hire laterals with 1 or 2 years of experience or people who completed a state-level clerkship.

I agree with the OP that these firms are not typically discussed on this board and they may offer median students from strong regional schools a decent shot at them.

Yes I assumed OP meant firms of a few to maybe 10 attorneys. I would consider 30-100 midlaw.

cavalier1138

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Re: Getting hired at smaller Law firms

Postby cavalier1138 » Thu May 18, 2017 10:28 am

silenttimer wrote:Perhaps not "small," but regional firms with approximately 30-100 lawyers do exist and they typically pay between $85-$115k starting out. In my experience, these firms may hire only one or two summer associates per year (sometimes every other year), so those are tough to come by. They will also typically hire laterals with 1 or 2 years of experience or people who completed a state-level clerkship.

I agree with the OP that these firms are not typically discussed on this board and they may offer median students from strong regional schools a decent shot at them.


If they only take one or two summer associates a year, I fail to see how that's a "decent shot". It's not like there are dozens of these firms in minor secondary markets.

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jchiles

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Re: Getting hired at smaller Law firms

Postby jchiles » Thu May 18, 2017 10:28 am

silenttimer wrote:Perhaps not "small," but regional firms with approximately 30-100 lawyers do exist and they typically pay between $85-$115k starting out. In my experience, these firms may hire only one or two summer associates per year (sometimes every other year), so those are tough to come by. They will also typically hire laterals with 1 or 2 years of experience or people who completed a state-level clerkship.

I agree with the OP that these firms are not typically discussed on this board and they may offer median students from strong regional schools a decent shot at them.


I think that pay range is right but there is a usually a big gap in compensation and sophistication between a 30 attorney firm and a 100 attorney firm. I strongly disagree that these jobs are available to median students from strong regional schools. These firms will have no problem filling their one or two openings a year with top students at regional schools and likely even good students from a T14 who want to be in the market or want that type of lifestyle.

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cron1834

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Re: Getting hired at smaller Law firms

Postby cron1834 » Thu May 18, 2017 10:35 am

Npret wrote:
silenttimer wrote:Perhaps not "small," but regional firms with approximately 30-100 lawyers do exist and they typically pay between $85-$115k starting out. In my experience, these firms may hire only one or two summer associates per year (sometimes every other year), so those are tough to come by. They will also typically hire laterals with 1 or 2 years of experience or people who completed a state-level clerkship.

I agree with the OP that these firms are not typically discussed on this board and they may offer median students from strong regional schools a decent shot at them.

Yes I assumed OP meant firms of a few to maybe 10 attorneys. I would consider 30-100 midlaw.

Right. Plus I'm pretty sure median students at regional schools aren't getting $100k midlaw/regional-biglaw jobs.

OP, I think you are being wildly optimistic. The vast majority of SMALL firms simply can't afford to pay attorneys that much unless they are business generators. Which they won't be out of law school. A true boutique firm is different, but that is the tiny minority among firms.

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Tiago Splitter

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Re: Getting hired at smaller Law firms

Postby Tiago Splitter » Thu May 18, 2017 7:31 pm

26-100 attorney bucket is pretty small. A lot of those places hire from larger firms:

http://www.nalp.org/uploads/NatlSummaryClassof2015.pdf



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