Corporate In-House Pay

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DoubleChecks
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Corporate In-House Pay

Postby DoubleChecks » Sat May 01, 2010 10:43 pm

just curious -- what is the pay scale like for corporate in-house work? i know a lot of ppl who choose to do biglaw leave after say 4-5 yrs to do in-house, and in another thread i saw that the in-house one attorney worked at started off at $90k w/ much better hours (as opposed to say 80 hr weeks at biglaw w/ $160k starting pay lol)...i PMed the guy but never got a response so was curious, does anyone else know how much a 2nd, 3rd, 5th, etc.? in-house attorney would get paid?

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remotelyfeasible
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Re: Corporate In-House Pay

Postby remotelyfeasible » Sat May 01, 2010 11:03 pm

I suspect this would vary greatly by firm.

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underdawg
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Re: Corporate In-House Pay

Postby underdawg » Sun May 02, 2010 1:16 am

yeah i wager its not gonna be like the lockstep, same-at-100-different-firms type standardized pay. also hours can greatly vary

also 80 hrs/wk at 70% efficiency is like 3000 billables lol

Posner
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Re: Corporate In-House Pay

Postby Posner » Sun May 02, 2010 12:44 pm

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Last edited by Posner on Tue May 11, 2010 6:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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DoubleChecks
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Re: Corporate In-House Pay

Postby DoubleChecks » Sun May 02, 2010 2:49 pm

hm thanks - the posts so far have been very helpful

anyone have an anecdote as well? maybe for a particular firm? i see now that it may vary quite a bit

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Unemployed
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Re: Corporate In-House Pay

Postby Unemployed » Sun May 02, 2010 2:55 pm

One midlevel associate I know went to a huge retail corporation without much paycut, whatever that means (how much do 5th year associates make these days?). Another joined his family hedge fund and gets to boss around his former bosses. These are exceptional cases, I'm sure.

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DoubleChecks
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Re: Corporate In-House Pay

Postby DoubleChecks » Sun May 02, 2010 3:26 pm

Unemployed wrote:One midlevel associate I know went to a huge retail corporation without much paycut, whatever that means (how much do 5th year associates make these days?). Another joined his family hedge fund and gets to boss around his former bosses. These are exceptional cases, I'm sure.


oh i sure hope the first isnt exceptional :P haha

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Unemployed
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Re: Corporate In-House Pay

Postby Unemployed » Sun May 02, 2010 3:27 pm

DoubleChecks wrote:
Unemployed wrote:One midlevel associate I know went to a huge retail corporation without much paycut, whatever that means (how much do 5th year associates make these days?). Another joined his family hedge fund and gets to boss around his former bosses. These are exceptional cases, I'm sure.


oh i sure hope the first isnt exceptional :P haha


It is my understanding that "going in-house" usually means a paycut, but with better hours, which perhaps results in higher pay on a per hour basis(?)
Last edited by Unemployed on Sun May 02, 2010 3:28 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Drake014
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Re: Corporate In-House Pay

Postby Drake014 » Sun May 02, 2010 3:28 pm

Unemployed wrote:
DoubleChecks wrote:
Unemployed wrote:One midlevel associate I know went to a huge retail corporation without much paycut, whatever that means (how much do 5th year associates make these days?). Another joined his family hedge fund and gets to boss around his former bosses. These are exceptional cases, I'm sure.


oh i sure hope the first isnt exceptional :P haha


It is my understanding that "going in-house" usually means a paycut, but with better hours.


This is what I've heard from many many sources.

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Re: Corporate In-House Pay

Postby Anonymous User » Sun May 02, 2010 4:41 pm

My mom went 'in house' to a federal government agency. Basically was shown the door as a partner because her particular specialty dried up, and had to make the transition out of big law. The agency job kicked ass - for a while she was on an approved 4.5 day work week (basically 9 days worked every two weeks), can you even believe that? And the work was very interesting, she really enjoyed it. Pay cut was obviously substantial, but she still made enough to live a comfortable life style. After a few years the responsibility and hours increased, but it was still an amazing job. Certain niches as an attorney can mean really awesome careers.

In house work as well as some small firms / government / PI jobs really are the kind of gigs you can do because you love what you are doing in many cases, and not because you want to grind every dollar out of your existence possible. They also tend to get ex-big law types, because there are so many they don't need to recruit out of law school. Very worth considering for those who don't want to work big law long time that it can open doors to the kind of jobs you DO want.

Kochel
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Re: Corporate In-House Pay

Postby Kochel » Sun May 02, 2010 7:15 pm

As others have noted, in-house pay will vary depending on the size of the company and legal department as well as on the industry. Both I and my wife are Biglaw exiles now working in-house, but in different industries. I'm in the financial services sector in a department of about a dozen lawyers, and the pay approximates that of senior Biglaw associates. (For more junior lawyers at my company, though, it's more like junior Biglaw associate pay.) My wife is in industrials, and salaries there are like junior Biglaw associate salaries. For both of us equity is a potential part of compensation beyond cash.

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Re: Corporate In-House Pay

Postby SlipperyPete » Sun May 02, 2010 7:22 pm

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Last edited by SlipperyPete on Fri Feb 14, 2014 3:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Corporate In-House Pay

Postby Anonymous User » Sun May 02, 2010 7:25 pm

A close relative of mine is an in-house in the construction industry making nearly $300K a year. When he originally hired on he was making about $175K. Out of law school he worked for a mid-size firm in a large legal market.

Kochel
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Re: Corporate In-House Pay

Postby Kochel » Sun May 02, 2010 7:39 pm

SlipperyPete wrote:
Kochel wrote:As others have noted, in-house pay will vary depending on the size of the company and legal department as well as on the industry. Both I and my wife are Biglaw exiles now working in-house, but in different industries. I'm in the financial services sector in a department of about a dozen lawyers, and the pay approximates that of senior Biglaw associates. (For more junior lawyers at my company, though, it's more like junior Biglaw associate pay.) My wife is in industrials, and salaries there are like junior Biglaw associate salaries. For both of us equity is a potential part of compensation beyond cash.


Does this mean a discretionary stock bonus? Or you can choose a compensation structure of less cash but more stock? Or something else?

Whatever that structure is, what percent of your base salary do you get in equity compensation?

And I'm assuming by equity, you technically mean ESOs? Or do you in fact get pure stock or pure options?

Lastly, are you and the wife working in the same market where you worked BigLaw? Or did you move to a different city after the firm job?


1. Discretionary (doubtful that many people in any job have a choice of taking cash or equity). Also, this is in addition to cash bonuses.

2. Depending on the company's fortunes, personal performance, etc., % can be between 5-25%

3. Don't know what you mean by ESO's--but I'm referring to restricted stock and regular options (ISOs).

4. Same market as our Biglaw firms. However, we could have moved to a different market had we wanted to; Biglaw resumes are pretty portable.

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clintonius
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Re: Corporate In-House Pay

Postby clintonius » Sun May 02, 2010 7:52 pm

Obviously Goldman is not typical, but they promote in-house counsel all the way to MD and possibly PMD just as they do for their bankers. I'm reasonably sure the base salary for all MDs is $600k.

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Re: Corporate In-House Pay

Postby SlipperyPete » Sun May 02, 2010 8:04 pm

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Last edited by SlipperyPete on Fri Feb 14, 2014 3:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Kochel
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Re: Corporate In-House Pay

Postby Kochel » Sun May 02, 2010 9:18 pm

SlipperyPete wrote:

Thanks, that's all really informative.

By ESOs I meant "employee stock options." They are the type of equity issued to employees at a large corporation where my brother works. The way I understand them, they are similar to traditional options, but with a few exceptions. Most notably, they're not actually a security, but more like a private contract between the company and the employee. As such, they are nontransferable (or at least, they are not traded on any exchange). They also have a much longer expiration than exchange-traded options (I think 15 years). I believe the strike price is based on some moving average of the company's stock's trading price. I had just assumed that this was how all companies issued equity to employees, but obviously that was erroneous of me.


I understand you now--that's what I meant by "regular options," though they can vary in the terms of the stock acquired on exercise (restricted or restricted, or listed in the case of a public company). Also, just because they're non-transferable doesn't mean they're not securities.

There are many forms of equity or equity substitutes that can be issued to employees--"regular options," restricted stock, unrestricted stock, warrants, stock appreciation rights, phantom stock, etc. A given company's use of any of these forms will depend on numerous factors, including company culture, finances, size, market cap and employee level.

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Re: Corporate In-House Pay

Postby Posner » Sun May 02, 2010 9:19 pm

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Last edited by Posner on Tue May 11, 2010 6:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Kochel
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Re: Corporate In-House Pay

Postby Kochel » Sun May 02, 2010 9:24 pm

clintonius wrote:Obviously Goldman is not typical, but they promote in-house counsel all the way to MD and possibly PMD just as they do for their bankers. I'm reasonably sure the base salary for all MDs is $600k.


Technically, I'm sure this is true. I'm also sure that the likelihood of making MD as a lawyer is even lower than that for their bankers. In any case, it's rather like touting the PPP of a V50 firm as indicative of what a first-year associate can potentially make. But if you're in-house at GS, your pay will be very high no matter what your officer title.

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Re: Corporate In-House Pay

Postby Kochel » Sun May 02, 2010 9:29 pm

Posner wrote:
Kochel wrote:As others have noted, in-house pay will vary depending on the size of the company and legal department as well as on the industry. Both I and my wife are Biglaw exiles now working in-house, but in different industries. I'm in the financial services sector in a department of about a dozen lawyers, and the pay approximates that of senior Biglaw associates. (For more junior lawyers at my company, though, it's more like junior Biglaw associate pay.) My wife is in industrials, and salaries there are like junior Biglaw associate salaries. For both of us equity is a potential part of compensation beyond cash.

What's an average week look like for you in terms of hours? Are there random late nights? Weekends?

Also, how many years in big law before you are portable? I've heard various answers before but I'm interested in your perception.


Hours are very reasonable. Offices are uniformly dark by 7, nobody comes in on the weekends, and most don't even have to do much work at nights from home. And we all take our vacations. :)

All of the lawyers at my company are ex-Biglaw. We all put in at least 4-6 years before making the move. I'd say that you start looking "portable" to in-house employers with about 3 years of experience, particularly if you've been working in a specialized field. A generalist will probably want an extra 1-2 years experience before making the move.

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clintonius
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Re: Corporate In-House Pay

Postby clintonius » Sun May 02, 2010 9:44 pm

Kochel wrote:
clintonius wrote:Obviously Goldman is not typical, but they promote in-house counsel all the way to MD and possibly PMD just as they do for their bankers. I'm reasonably sure the base salary for all MDs is $600k.
Technically, I'm sure this is true. I'm also sure that the likelihood of making MD as a lawyer is even lower than that for their bankers. In any case, it's rather like touting the PPP of a V50 firm as indicative of what a first-year associate can potentially make. But if you're in-house at GS, your pay will be very high no matter what your officer title.

Oh, yeah, I just meant that the promotion titles are the same as the bankers, not that it's a realistic goal for anyone, let alone a junior associate. I imagine it's insanely difficult to make MD. I know of a whopping one guy who defected from my firm and is now an MD there as counsel, but it can't be a common occurrence. Anyways, your posts are very helpful -- thanks!

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Re: Corporate In-House Pay

Postby Anonymous User » Sun May 02, 2010 10:00 pm

Kochel wrote:
Hours are very reasonable. Offices are uniformly dark by 7, nobody comes in on the weekends, and most don't even have to do much work at nights from home. And we all take our vacations. :)

All of the lawyers at my company are ex-Biglaw. We all put in at least 4-6 years before making the move. I'd say that you start looking "portable" to in-house employers with about 3 years of experience, particularly if you've been working in a specialized field. A generalist will probably want an extra 1-2 years experience before making the move.

why do people bother staying in biglaw (did they mess up to prevent themselves from an inhouse option)? bad choice of practice group? bad firm/law school? or do they just like it so they stay?

im curious

motiontodismiss
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Re: Corporate In-House Pay

Postby motiontodismiss » Sun May 02, 2010 10:02 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Kochel wrote:
Hours are very reasonable. Offices are uniformly dark by 7, nobody comes in on the weekends, and most don't even have to do much work at nights from home. And we all take our vacations. :)

All of the lawyers at my company are ex-Biglaw. We all put in at least 4-6 years before making the move. I'd say that you start looking "portable" to in-house employers with about 3 years of experience, particularly if you've been working in a specialized field. A generalist will probably want an extra 1-2 years experience before making the move.

why do people bother staying in biglaw (did they mess up to prevent themselves from an inhouse option)? bad choice of practice group? bad firm/law school? or do they just like it so they stay?

im curious


Guess the money's good? How many employers do you know that offer lawyers $300k+ in cash comp?

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Re: Corporate In-House Pay

Postby Anonymous User » Sun May 02, 2010 10:05 pm

At the hedge fund I work at in NYC (I'm still an 0L), assistant general counsels make 250k + end of the year bonus (up to $1 mil) and the general counsel makes even more. Hours are 8am to 6-8pm like 90% of the time.

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Re: Corporate In-House Pay

Postby Anonymous User » Sun May 02, 2010 10:09 pm

motiontodismiss wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Kochel wrote:
Hours are very reasonable. Offices are uniformly dark by 7, nobody comes in on the weekends, and most don't even have to do much work at nights from home. And we all take our vacations. :)

All of the lawyers at my company are ex-Biglaw. We all put in at least 4-6 years before making the move. I'd say that you start looking "portable" to in-house employers with about 3 years of experience, particularly if you've been working in a specialized field. A generalist will probably want an extra 1-2 years experience before making the move.

why do people bother staying in biglaw (did they mess up to prevent themselves from an inhouse option)? bad choice of practice group? bad firm/law school? or do they just like it so they stay?

im curious


Guess the money's good? How many employers do you know that offer lawyers $300k+ in cash comp?

kochel has already said he pretty much makes what his biglaw counterpart makes




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