New Recruiting & Biglaw Retention

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greenlight
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New Recruiting & Biglaw Retention

Postby greenlight » Wed Jun 02, 2010 8:48 am

I know that competition (jockeying) at some biglaw firms can get steep between 1st years, but what are the percentages, if known, of the standard retention rates? By retention rate I am referencing those hires that make it past the first couple years and are eventually brought on as partners? I hear that there are quite a few new hires that never make it past the first year or two within biglaw, taking a mid size, public or non-law related positions. I am also not certain the departures, if true, are because of burnout by the new hire or employer squeezing. Do biglaw firms continually hire more newbees than they can eventually partner under the assumption that the best will survive and cutting loose a few stragglers is expected?

Just trying to gauge the ever extending war to survive.

Any information is appreciated.

Thanks,

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thesealocust
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Re: New Recruiting & Biglaw Retention

Postby thesealocust » Wed Jun 02, 2010 9:22 am

edit: n/m
Last edited by thesealocust on Sun Jun 27, 2010 2:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Locke N. Lawded
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Re: New Recruiting & Biglaw Retention

Postby Locke N. Lawded » Wed Jun 02, 2010 9:27 am

thesealocust wrote:at big firms, probably something like 5 to 10 % of associates make partner. It isn't all that dissimilar to a pyramid scheme. Few are fired in good times, most burn out and bail.


Credited. And there's a lot of stealth layoffs going on right now, too, so that associates who don't make their billables are quietly let go for cause, instead of being "laid off".

Check out Above the Law...they talk about BigLaw shenanigans all the time.

d34d9823
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Re: New Recruiting & Biglaw Retention

Postby d34d9823 » Wed Jun 02, 2010 9:31 am

Locke N. Lawded wrote:
thesealocust wrote:at big firms, probably something like 5 to 10 % of associates make partner. It isn't all that dissimilar to a pyramid scheme. Few are fired in good times, most burn out and bail.


Credited. And there's a lot of stealth layoffs going on right now, too, so that associates who don't make their billables are quietly let go for cause, instead of being "laid off".

Check out Above the Law...they talk about BigLaw shenanigans all the time.

That's not a stealth layoff - they didn't make their billables, that's cause for being let go even in good economic times.

Stealth layoffs are when employees in good standing are let go secretly.

Yimbeezy
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Re: New Recruiting & Biglaw Retention

Postby Yimbeezy » Wed Jun 02, 2010 9:33 am

thesealocust wrote:at big firms, probably something like 5 to 10 % of associates make partner. It isn't all that dissimilar to a pyramid scheme. Few are fired in good times, most burn out and bail.


Please direct me to another "pyramid scheme" that "isn't all that dissimilar" to biglaw. Kthx.

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greenlight
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Re: New Recruiting & Biglaw Retention

Postby greenlight » Wed Jun 02, 2010 10:29 am

5-10%?? Ouch.

How long before you are sure it's time to move on or begin worrying your billable hour quota is going to skyrocket without cause ......always an associate and never a bride?

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greenlight
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Re: New Recruiting & Biglaw Retention

Postby greenlight » Wed Jun 02, 2010 10:43 am

Any better stats on an aspiring patent attorney's percentages of partnering at BigLaw?

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FlightoftheEarls
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Re: New Recruiting & Biglaw Retention

Postby FlightoftheEarls » Wed Jun 02, 2010 3:27 pm

d34dluk3 wrote:
Locke N. Lawded wrote:
thesealocust wrote:at big firms, probably something like 5 to 10 % of associates make partner. It isn't all that dissimilar to a pyramid scheme. Few are fired in good times, most burn out and bail.


Credited. And there's a lot of stealth layoffs going on right now, too, so that associates who don't make their billables are quietly let go for cause, instead of being "laid off".

Check out Above the Law...they talk about BigLaw shenanigans all the time.

That's not a stealth layoff - they didn't make their billables, that's cause for being let go even in good economic times.

Stealth layoffs are when employees in good standing are let go secretly.

The point is that these associates aren't yet responsible for keeping their own books and clients in many cases, and as a result rely on the hours they are able to bill through projects assigned by the partners. Even if they wanted to get the billables, they don't have the option because the work just isn't there - at which point they are then let go.

d34d9823
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Re: New Recruiting & Biglaw Retention

Postby d34d9823 » Wed Jun 02, 2010 3:31 pm

FlightoftheEarls wrote:
d34dluk3 wrote:
Locke N. Lawded wrote:
thesealocust wrote:at big firms, probably something like 5 to 10 % of associates make partner. It isn't all that dissimilar to a pyramid scheme. Few are fired in good times, most burn out and bail.


Credited. And there's a lot of stealth layoffs going on right now, too, so that associates who don't make their billables are quietly let go for cause, instead of being "laid off".

Check out Above the Law...they talk about BigLaw shenanigans all the time.

That's not a stealth layoff - they didn't make their billables, that's cause for being let go even in good economic times.

Stealth layoffs are when employees in good standing are let go secretly.

The point is that these associates aren't yet responsible for keeping their own books and clients in many cases, and as a result rely on the hours they are able to bill through projects assigned by the partners. Even if they wanted to get the billables, they don't have the option because the work just isn't there - at which point they are then let go.

The partners have to see it coming, though, right? Surely they give work to the associates they want to keep and let the ones they don't languish.

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FlightoftheEarls
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Re: New Recruiting & Biglaw Retention

Postby FlightoftheEarls » Wed Jun 02, 2010 3:33 pm

d34dluk3 wrote:
FlightoftheEarls wrote:
d34dluk3 wrote:
Locke N. Lawded wrote:
Credited. And there's a lot of stealth layoffs going on right now, too, so that associates who don't make their billables are quietly let go for cause, instead of being "laid off".

Check out Above the Law...they talk about BigLaw shenanigans all the time.

That's not a stealth layoff - they didn't make their billables, that's cause for being let go even in good economic times.

Stealth layoffs are when employees in good standing are let go secretly.

The point is that these associates aren't yet responsible for keeping their own books and clients in many cases, and as a result rely on the hours they are able to bill through projects assigned by the partners. Even if they wanted to get the billables, they don't have the option because the work just isn't there - at which point they are then let go.

The partners have to see it coming, though, right? Surely they give work to the associates they want to keep and let the ones they don't languish.

Exactly. Hence the term stealth layoff.

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Re: New Recruiting & Biglaw Retention

Postby d34d9823 » Wed Jun 02, 2010 3:42 pm

FlightoftheEarls wrote:Exactly. Hence the term stealth layoff.

Well, I mean, obviously you're right in a literal sense. I took umbrage at the connotation that these "lay-offs" were not for cause, since they obviously were.

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FlightoftheEarls
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Re: New Recruiting & Biglaw Retention

Postby FlightoftheEarls » Wed Jun 02, 2010 3:48 pm

d34dluk3 wrote:
FlightoftheEarls wrote:Exactly. Hence the term stealth layoff.

Well, I mean, obviously you're right in a literal sense. I took umbrage at the connotation that these "lay-offs" were not for cause, since they obviously were.

But that's the point. What if you had a job where you could only do work at the job when you boss told you to, but he never gave you any assignments even when you asked and then fired you for not working hard enough? That's why they're being called stealth layoffs by a lot of attorneys, rather than firings for cause.

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Bert
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Re: New Recruiting & Biglaw Retention

Postby Bert » Wed Jun 02, 2010 3:56 pm

FlightoftheEarls wrote:
d34dluk3 wrote:
FlightoftheEarls wrote:Exactly. Hence the term stealth layoff.

Well, I mean, obviously you're right in a literal sense. I took umbrage at the connotation that these "lay-offs" were not for cause, since they obviously were.

But that's the point. What if you had a job where you could only do work at the job when you boss told you to, but he never gave you any assignments even when you asked and then fired you for not working hard enough? That's why they're being called stealth layoffs by a lot of attorneys, rather than firings for cause.


That is referred to in biglaw as "freezing somebody out". I have heard of partners here doing that to associates. From what I understand, the logic is that the associate should be cognizant of the fact that the partners are not doling out work to said associate, and said associate should take the hint that his/her services will not be needed much longer and get out before the axe falls.

06072010
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Re: New Recruiting & Biglaw Retention

Postby 06072010 » Wed Jun 02, 2010 3:57 pm

greenlight wrote:5-10%?? Ouch.

How long before you are sure it's time to move on or begin worrying your billable hour quota is going to skyrocket without cause ......always an associate and never a bride?


You will probably know at year 5 whether you are on a partnership track. It won't be laid out for you in black and white, but you will know. And lots of firms prefer to lateral partners rather than grow them so the 5 to 10% may not even apply to your eventual firm. I don't understand your "billable hour quota skyrocketing" point. You just stop getting work and then you get booted if you are on the outs with a firm. This can happen during your first year or your sixth year.

06072010
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Re: New Recruiting & Biglaw Retention

Postby 06072010 » Wed Jun 02, 2010 3:58 pm

Bert wrote:
FlightoftheEarls wrote:
d34dluk3 wrote:
FlightoftheEarls wrote:Exactly. Hence the term stealth layoff.

Well, I mean, obviously you're right in a literal sense. I took umbrage at the connotation that these "lay-offs" were not for cause, since they obviously were.

But that's the point. What if you had a job where you could only do work at the job when you boss told you to, but he never gave you any assignments even when you asked and then fired you for not working hard enough? That's why they're being called stealth layoffs by a lot of attorneys, rather than firings for cause.


That is referred to in biglaw as "freezing somebody out". I have heard of partners here doing that to associates. From what I understand, the logic is that the associate should be cognizant of the fact that the partners are not doling out work to said associate, and said associate should take the hint that his/her services will not be needed much longer and get out before the axe falls.


Yup.

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Matthies
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Re: New Recruiting & Biglaw Retention

Postby Matthies » Wed Jun 02, 2010 4:01 pm

Bert wrote:
FlightoftheEarls wrote:
d34dluk3 wrote:
FlightoftheEarls wrote:Exactly. Hence the term stealth layoff.

Well, I mean, obviously you're right in a literal sense. I took umbrage at the connotation that these "lay-offs" were not for cause, since they obviously were.

But that's the point. What if you had a job where you could only do work at the job when you boss told you to, but he never gave you any assignments even when you asked and then fired you for not working hard enough? That's why they're being called stealth layoffs by a lot of attorneys, rather than firings for cause.


That is referred to in biglaw as "freezing somebody out". I have heard of partners here doing that to associates. From what I understand, the logic is that the associate should be cognizant of the fact that the partners are not doling out work to said associate, and said associate should take the hint that his/her services will not be needed much longer and get out before the axe falls.


Yep, then they get on JDU and Above the Law and says its all the economy and TTTT grads floding the market why they got "stleathed"

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Re: New Recruiting & Biglaw Retention

Postby Kochel » Wed Jun 02, 2010 4:07 pm

PKSebben wrote:
greenlight wrote:5-10%?? Ouch.

How long before you are sure it's time to move on or begin worrying your billable hour quota is going to skyrocket without cause ......always an associate and never a bride?


You will probably know at year 5 whether you are on a partnership track. It won't be laid out for you in black and white, but you will know. And lots of firms prefer to lateral partners rather than grow them so the 5 to 10% may not even apply to your eventual firm. I don't understand your "billable hour quota skyrocketing" point. You just stop getting work and then you get booted if you are on the outs with a firm. This can happen during your first year or your sixth year.


Agreed. Although in normal economic times, you have to try pretty hard to get booted as a first or second year associate--i.e., your work product has to be pretty consistently bad. Most firms will cut junior associates a little slack as they climb the learning curve.

Also, all it takes is one partner to screw the associate's career. I've known very good associates get let go solely because they had one bad experience with a vindictive or influential partner.

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Re: New Recruiting & Biglaw Retention

Postby d34d9823 » Wed Jun 02, 2010 4:16 pm

FlightoftheEarls wrote:
d34dluk3 wrote:
FlightoftheEarls wrote:Exactly. Hence the term stealth layoff.

Well, I mean, obviously you're right in a literal sense. I took umbrage at the connotation that these "lay-offs" were not for cause, since they obviously were.

But that's the point. What if you had a job where you could only do work at the job when you boss told you to, but he never gave you any assignments even when you asked and then fired you for not working hard enough? That's why they're being called stealth layoffs by a lot of attorneys, rather than firings for cause.

Well, again, you're correct, but the cause here is not the short hours, it's the unsatisfactory (to the partner's standard, not saying it's bad) work product/personality/drive/whatever. Giving people short hours in response to this is the intelligent way to stifle legal recourse.

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Re: New Recruiting & Biglaw Retention

Postby theghostofDrewTate » Wed Jun 02, 2010 4:32 pm

PKSebben wrote:
greenlight wrote:5-10%?? Ouch.

How long before you are sure it's time to move on or begin worrying your billable hour quota is going to skyrocket without cause ......always an associate and never a bride?


You will probably know at year 5 whether you are on a partnership track. It won't be laid out for you in black and white, but you will know. And lots of firms prefer to lateral partners rather than grow them so the 5 to 10% may not even apply to your eventual firm. I don't understand your "billable hour quota skyrocketing" point. You just stop getting work and then you get booted if you are on the outs with a firm. This can happen during your first year or your sixth year.


Wrong, during busy times, big firms will hint to almost everyone who makes it to year 5 they are on partner track in order to extract more work out of them. A lot of big firms will make maybe one or two equity partners a year, which could be well below the 5-10% mark. Associates who have made it that far are generally very profitable, firms want to show a little piece of cheese to extract more hours and willingness to chip in. I work with a guy who is a Davis Polk alum who, along with several other people in his class, made it to that review the year he was up for partner only to hear "You're doing a great job. Well, did you know that Client XYZ is hiring?" That's fairly standard operating procedure - no sense in adding partners to dilute the PPP.

06072010
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Re: New Recruiting & Biglaw Retention

Postby 06072010 » Wed Jun 02, 2010 5:02 pm

theghostofDrewTate wrote:
PKSebben wrote:
greenlight wrote:5-10%?? Ouch.

How long before you are sure it's time to move on or begin worrying your billable hour quota is going to skyrocket without cause ......always an associate and never a bride?


You will probably know at year 5 whether you are on a partnership track. It won't be laid out for you in black and white, but you will know. And lots of firms prefer to lateral partners rather than grow them so the 5 to 10% may not even apply to your eventual firm. I don't understand your "billable hour quota skyrocketing" point. You just stop getting work and then you get booted if you are on the outs with a firm. This can happen during your first year or your sixth year.


Wrong, during busy times, big firms will hint to almost everyone who makes it to year 5 they are on partner track in order to extract more work out of them. A lot of big firms will make maybe one or two equity partners a year, which could be well below the 5-10% mark. Associates who have made it that far are generally very profitable, firms want to show a little piece of cheese to extract more hours and willingness to chip in. I work with a guy who is a Davis Polk alum who, along with several other people in his class, made it to that review the year he was up for partner only to hear "You're doing a great job. Well, did you know that Client XYZ is hiring?" That's fairly standard operating procedure - no sense in adding partners to dilute the PPP.


No way, dude. At year five you have two years to up and out at most firms. If you can't read between the lines when you get the "A+ work, bud" while Joe down the hall is first chairing trials and doing beauty shows, you're a fucking idiot. Especially when the only elevate one or two partners each year. Does everyone really think they are a special snowflake? At the firms I've worked, you can tell who is partnership track and who isn't by a lot of factors. Perhaps it's a function of firm, but at the ones I've summered at, it's pretty transparent.

keg411
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Re: New Recruiting & Biglaw Retention

Postby keg411 » Wed Jun 02, 2010 5:32 pm

PKSebben wrote:
greenlight wrote:5-10%?? Ouch.

How long before you are sure it's time to move on or begin worrying your billable hour quota is going to skyrocket without cause ......always an associate and never a bride?


You will probably know at year 5 whether you are on a partnership track. It won't be laid out for you in black and white, but you will know. And lots of firms prefer to lateral partners rather than grow them so the 5 to 10% may not even apply to your eventual firm. I don't understand your "billable hour quota skyrocketing" point. You just stop getting work and then you get booted if you are on the outs with a firm. This can happen during your first year or your sixth year.


Definitely credited. My cousin went from DC BigLaw -> USAO -> BigLaw Partner.

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mallard
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Re: New Recruiting & Biglaw Retention

Postby mallard » Wed Jun 02, 2010 6:10 pm

d34dluk3 wrote:
FlightoftheEarls wrote:
d34dluk3 wrote:
FlightoftheEarls wrote:Exactly. Hence the term stealth layoff.

Well, I mean, obviously you're right in a literal sense. I took umbrage at the connotation that these "lay-offs" were not for cause, since they obviously were.

But that's the point. What if you had a job where you could only do work at the job when you boss told you to, but he never gave you any assignments even when you asked and then fired you for not working hard enough? That's why they're being called stealth layoffs by a lot of attorneys, rather than firings for cause.

Well, again, you're correct, but the cause here is not the short hours, it's the unsatisfactory (to the partner's standard, not saying it's bad) work product/personality/drive/whatever. Giving people short hours in response to this is the intelligent way to stifle legal recourse.


Except if there's simply not enough work to go around. Which is the case recently. Which is why they are called stealth layoffs.

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Bert
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Re: New Recruiting & Biglaw Retention

Postby Bert » Wed Jun 02, 2010 6:26 pm

mallard wrote:Except if there's simply not enough work to go around. Which is the case recently. Which is why they are called stealth layoffs.


The better (more liked by the partnership) associates will always be more busy than those who are not as good. There are always projects going on at firms and partners tend to protect those associates whose work they like.

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mallard
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Re: New Recruiting & Biglaw Retention

Postby mallard » Wed Jun 02, 2010 6:28 pm

Bert wrote:
mallard wrote:Except if there's simply not enough work to go around. Which is the case recently. Which is why they are called stealth layoffs.


The better (more liked by the partnership) associates will always be more busy than those who are not as good. There are always projects going on at firms and partners tend to protect those associates whose work they like.


The issue isn't about the preferred associates, it's about the other ones: do they get inferior work (as they would in 2007) or do they get fired? If they're getting fired, it's because there's no inferior work for them, and the inferior work there is ends up being done by other associates, some of whom might have been preferred in a better economy. Look at partnership promotion rates for firms before and after the downturn.

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Bert
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Re: New Recruiting & Biglaw Retention

Postby Bert » Wed Jun 02, 2010 6:41 pm

You say inferior, I say shitty, but either way:

The inferior attorneys get the inferior work because they are inferior attorneys (in the eyes of the partnership) and the good attorneys are needed elsewhere -- but, the inferior work needs to get done. If there is only inferior work available, the good attorneys get the inferior work because the partners dole it out this way so as to keep the good attorneys billing more hours to justify the good attorneys existence at the firms. Since the good attorneys are doing the inferior work, the inferior attorneys have nothing to do and are generally shown the door because their existence at the firm isn't justified -- i.e. they aren't even seen as being competent enough to do the inferior work anymore.




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