New Recruiting & Biglaw Retention

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thesealocust
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Re: New Recruiting & Biglaw Retention

Postby thesealocust » Wed Jun 02, 2010 9:56 pm

edit: n/m
Last edited by thesealocust on Sun Jun 27, 2010 2:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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clintonius
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Re: New Recruiting & Biglaw Retention

Postby clintonius » Wed Jun 02, 2010 10:16 pm

Bert wrote:I don't recall you ever specifying "first years" or "summer classes" in your arguments with me, but I would generally agree with you on this point as to most first years being fired in their first year.

Um...

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Bert
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Re: New Recruiting & Biglaw Retention

Postby Bert » Wed Jun 02, 2010 10:37 pm

mallard wrote:The problem is in calling them for-cause firings, as I said from the beginning. I said nothing about whether 100% offer rates should continue to obtain. Nobody is entitled to a job. But if somebody loses their job because of the economy, a firm shouldn't say it's for performance reasons. I don't really know how entitlement got into this in the first place. Do you really think in your example that the second janitor was fired "for cause," i.e., for performance reasons?


OK, so we'll take entitlement and offer rates off the table too then. We are now more in agreement, but maybe we are destined to but heads on "for cause" forever.

Maybe its because of where I sit and the conversations I hear, but I legitimately have bought into this argument. The "inferior associate" could have been fired at some point (any point) in time prior to the economic downturn "for cause", and presumably, nobody would have argued about it. However, the firm kept the associate around because his existence was justified by the fact that was turning a profit, or the firm didn't want to deal with unemployment insurance issues and all that, or the firm knew that it would take a lot of shit for dumping an associate, or the associates wife let the managing partner do lines off her ass, or whatever other reason the firm kept him around for a little longer than they should have. The fact remains that his work is inferior and he could have been terminated at any point in time prior to the recession "for cause" (the "cause" being that he is underperforming in relation to his peers), and nobody would have then argued about it. Just because his work was inferior and nothing was done about it each time his work was viewed as sub-par does not make his work par or above. It is still sub-par work, he has just been doing it for more time.

To avoid doubt, this argument could not be used for laying off hundreds of people at a time, but with one or two people, sure, why not? One or two people a week for a couple weeks, maybe, but it would be hard to justify? Maybe the disconnect is that I am arguing that some stealth lay-offs "for cause" could be legitimately "for cause" and you are arguing it is far-fetched that all "for cause" lay-offs are legitimate, I don't know, but I can totally see how it could/would work. And to be fair, I think many firms laid off people under the auspices of the poor economy, even if they did the lay-offs stealthfully.

As for my janitor, I'll agree that it was a poor analogy as written, and it the analogy should have been populated with more details. I can write a better one.

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Bert
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Re: New Recruiting & Biglaw Retention

Postby Bert » Wed Jun 02, 2010 10:44 pm

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Last edited by Bert on Wed Jun 02, 2010 10:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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clintonius
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Re: New Recruiting & Biglaw Retention

Postby clintonius » Wed Jun 02, 2010 10:51 pm

Oof. I was only questioning the phrasing. First years can only be fired in their first year. After that point, they are no longer first years. That's it. Just a little lighthearted fun.

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Bert
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Re: New Recruiting & Biglaw Retention

Postby Bert » Wed Jun 02, 2010 10:53 pm

clintonius wrote:Oof. I was only questioning the phrasing. First years can only be fired in their first year. After that point, they are no longer first years. That's it. Just a little lighthearted fun.


Sorry. Didn't think of that.


EDIT: it now makes me smile when I read that.

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romothesavior
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Re: New Recruiting & Biglaw Retention

Postby romothesavior » Wed Jun 02, 2010 11:07 pm

Bert wrote:
mallard wrote:The problem is in calling them for-cause firings, as I said from the beginning. I said nothing about whether 100% offer rates should continue to obtain. Nobody is entitled to a job. But if somebody loses their job because of the economy, a firm shouldn't say it's for performance reasons. I don't really know how entitlement got into this in the first place. Do you really think in your example that the second janitor was fired "for cause," i.e., for performance reasons?


OK, so we'll take entitlement and offer rates off the table too then. We are now more in agreement, but maybe we are destined to but heads on "for cause" forever.

Maybe its because of where I sit and the conversations I hear, but I legitimately have bought into this argument. The "inferior associate" could have been fired at some point (any point) in time prior to the economic downturn "for cause", and presumably, nobody would have argued about it. However, the firm kept the associate around because his existence was justified by the fact that was turning a profit, or the firm didn't want to deal with unemployment insurance issues and all that, or the firm knew that it would take a lot of shit for dumping an associate, or the associates wife let the managing partner do lines off her ass, or whatever other reason the firm kept him around for a little longer than they should have. The fact remains that his work is inferior and he could have been terminated at any point in time prior to the recession "for cause" (the "cause" being that he is underperforming in relation to his peers), and nobody would have then argued about it. Just because his work was inferior and nothing was done about it each time his work was viewed as sub-par does not make his work par or above. It is still sub-par work, he has just been doing it for more time.

To avoid doubt, this argument could not be used for laying off hundreds of people at a time, but with one or two people, sure, why not? One or two people a week for a couple weeks, maybe, but it would be hard to justify? Maybe the disconnect is that I am arguing that some stealth lay-offs "for cause" could be legitimately "for cause" and you are arguing it is far-fetched that all "for cause" lay-offs are legitimate, I don't know, but I can totally see how it could/would work. And to be fair, I think many firms laid off people under the auspices of the poor economy, even if they did the lay-offs stealthfully.

As for my janitor, I'll agree that it was a poor analogy as written, and it the analogy should have been populated with more details. I can write a better one.


Your definition of "for cause" allows for almost any layoff to be considered "for cause." That seems absurd to me.

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Bert
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Re: New Recruiting & Biglaw Retention

Postby Bert » Wed Jun 02, 2010 11:12 pm

romothesavior wrote:Your definition of "for cause" allows for almost any layoff to be considered "for cause." That seems absurd to me.


I was thinking more of ineptitude / general inability to perform at a similar level as one's peers, something along those lines.

06072010
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Re: New Recruiting & Biglaw Retention

Postby 06072010 » Wed Jun 02, 2010 11:14 pm

Bert wrote:
romothesavior wrote:Your definition of "for cause" allows for almost any layoff to be considered "for cause." That seems absurd to me.


I was thinking more of ineptitude / general inability to perform at a similar level as one's peers, something along those lines.


Typical stupid lawyer thinking that everything is zero-sum game.

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clintonius
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Re: New Recruiting & Biglaw Retention

Postby clintonius » Wed Jun 02, 2010 11:15 pm

Bert wrote:
clintonius wrote:Oof. I was only questioning the phrasing. First years can only be fired in their first year. After that point, they are no longer first years. That's it. Just a little lighthearted fun.
Sorry. Didn't think of that.

EDIT: it now makes me smile when I read that.

Hehe, no worries. Always glad to be of service.

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romothesavior
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Re: New Recruiting & Biglaw Retention

Postby romothesavior » Wed Jun 02, 2010 11:31 pm

Bert wrote:
romothesavior wrote:Your definition of "for cause" allows for almost any layoff to be considered "for cause." That seems absurd to me.


I was thinking more of ineptitude / general inability to perform at a similar level as one's peers, something along those lines.


Just because a company has to make cuts and determines those cuts based on some sort of rating system or based on performance does not mean they were fired for cause.

In fact, I believe most companies make some sort of distinction between "for cause" and "for performance." Cause is typically something like lying, stealing, cheating, failing a drug test, violating a policy, etc. To say that these people are being laid off with cause is an insult to their integrity and ethics, and such as claim is really to downplay the effects that the economy has had on the legal market. It also absolves the firms from real responsibility, when it is clear that their hands are not clean in this whole hiring/deferring/no-offering mess.

Sorry if I have totally missed the boat on this conversation; I know I came late to the party. I just find the assertion that associates are being truly fired "for cause" in the types of situations being discussed to be absurd.

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Matthies
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Re: New Recruiting & Biglaw Retention

Postby Matthies » Thu Jun 03, 2010 5:51 pm

PKSebben wrote:
And what's this crap about elevation only upon books of business or wealthy father. Both of my firms did not allow associates to carry books; you punted any business you brought in as an associate to a billing partner and took in origination credits, but were not allowed to have "portable" business. I asked some d00ders at other firms and their firms didn't allow this either. With the type of work my firms do, it's virtually impossible to build a book of business on your own. Where exactly do these books come from?


Well there are two answers to this: the wrong and the right.

The wrong answer is the one you will get from successful equity partners about how they created a book and keep business. They will gives you some BS about connections, contacts, and keeping General Council happy. About how, once in the olden days the massive firms was a but a tiny firm. And that the associates went out and courted business, that they made friends with people that would one day be GC's at big companies and that they offered them a superior work product. That they stayed in contact with the GC's, joined the same clubs, went to the same events, spent much firm money on GC's to get their business. That they tracked the current of the legal and political waves and were able to predict what might affect their clients business before it did and made suggestions to the clients, sometimes ever without billing them for it or being asked by a partner to do so! But that's just what they WANT you to believe. Its total BS.

The right answer comes from 1-3yr associates who's only interaction with partners was at summer SA lunches. How you actually get business and create book at big firm is actually like this: You work long hours writing pointless memos on tiny issues, you make sure you keep your office door closed at all times, and then late one night the biglaw fairy, seeing how hard you worked and cross checking your LSAT scores deems you worthy, waives her magic wand and the next morning, into the oak paneled lobby with 12k per 161x16 marble tiled floors and incredibly attractive receptionists rides, bareback, side saddle and naked the most attractive women you have ever seen. She dismounts her trusty Unicorn, walks down the hall to your office, introduces herself as the new GC for Google, makes love to you on your desk then begs you to charge her $1000 a hour for all their legal services, twists, leaves and never returns. Next day BAM your equity partner. That's how it REALLY works.


Image


Now get back to studying and stoping coming to the forum until after July 28/29 :P

theghostofDrewTate
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Re: New Recruiting & Biglaw Retention

Postby theghostofDrewTate » Sat Jun 05, 2010 1:47 pm

Matthies wrote:
PKSebben wrote:
And what's this crap about elevation only upon books of business or wealthy father. Both of my firms did not allow associates to carry books; you punted any business you brought in as an associate to a billing partner and took in origination credits, but were not allowed to have "portable" business. I asked some d00ders at other firms and their firms didn't allow this either. With the type of work my firms do, it's virtually impossible to build a book of business on your own. Where exactly do these books come from?


Well there are two answers to this: the wrong and the right.

The wrong answer is the one you will get from successful equity partners about how they created a book and keep business. They will gives you some BS about connections, contacts, and keeping General Council happy. About how, once in the olden days the massive firms was a but a tiny firm. And that the associates went out and courted business, that they made friends with people that would one day be GC's at big companies and that they offered them a superior work product. That they stayed in contact with the GC's, joined the same clubs, went to the same events, spent much firm money on GC's to get their business. That they tracked the current of the legal and political waves and were able to predict what might affect their clients business before it did and made suggestions to the clients, sometimes ever without billing them for it or being asked by a partner to do so! But that's just what they WANT you to believe. Its total BS.

The right answer comes from 1-3yr associates who's only interaction with partners was at summer SA lunches. How you actually get business and create book at big firm is actually like this: You work long hours writing pointless memos on tiny issues, you make sure you keep your office door closed at all times, and then late one night the biglaw fairy, seeing how hard you worked and cross checking your LSAT scores deems you worthy, waives her magic wand and the next morning, into the oak paneled lobby with 12k per 161x16 marble tiled floors and incredibly attractive receptionists rides, bareback, side saddle and naked the most attractive women you have ever seen. She dismounts her trusty Unicorn, walks down the hall to your office, introduces herself as the new GC for Google, makes love to you on your desk then begs you to charge her $1000 a hour for all their legal services, twists, leaves and never returns. Next day BAM your equity partner. That's how it REALLY works.


Image


Now get back to studying and stoping coming to the forum until after July 28/29 :P


Bravo - 180. I was going to respond to PKSebben's earlier post, but it was just too "I've summered in biglaw so I know everything" delusional for me to know where to begin (nothing against you Sebben - you just need a few years to get more grizzled). A significant percentage of people I know had their book fall into their lap in two ways: 1) buddy gets a job as a GC, CEO or something and suddenly a giant book lands on them and 2) old dude in a firm is retiring and hands off the book to a young whippersnapper who he likes. Of course, some juice comes from RFPs/beauty shows, but the old fashioned dumb luck is the way the overwhelming majority of people I know with big books landed the books because the RFPs usually end up going out on one time type of stuff and the GC is going to keep using his buddies for ordinary course work.

I can land business under number 1, one of my best friends from LS was a non trad who did a year of biglaw in Chicago and then had a contact from years ago offer him a job as a biz dev guy for a huge company in a second tier midwestern city. He took that job and now controls all legal spend on the transactional/corporate side and can send the work anywhere. He has offered it up to me but when we started chatting billing rates, it got pulled because my firm is way too high, but he's made me a promise that if I roll somewhere cheaper, I am going to land a nice chunk of biz (me and this dude talk 3x a week, share season FB tickets, meet up at least a few times a year outside of football games to go drinking and stuff). But worst case for me, I head over to a mid sized firm in a few years and roll this business into a place where the billing rates are reasonable.

Now let's say I brought that guy into my current firm. Of course some sharp elbowed partner would tell me "Associates can't have business, that's my business." But regardless of whether or not that business shows up in the firm records as my business or some sharp elbowed partner's business, it is my portable business because my buddy is going to send his work wherever I go - he wants to deal with me, not my firm. Outside of maybe the V5 or 10 (where you have institutional clients and little need to market - someone in a massive public deal knows to call Wachtell, Cravath, etc., underwriters know to call Davis Polk, etc.), guys with portable business are the masters of the universe.

Prestigious firms simply do not make more than a few handful equity partners a year, and the only way to guarantee a spot in that inner circle is to have a substantial book of portable business. I've been in a giant firm for more than a few years and I can count on one hand the number of equity partners my firm has made since I've been here. Thinking you have a 10% chance at making EQUITY partner (the only kind that matters) at a large, prestigious firm is delusional. Maybe on the lower end of the V100 it's possible, but the closer to the top of the V100 you get, the more unlikely it becomes. Didn't Cravath have 160 kids a few years ago - out of those, at most 2 or 3 will ever touch the golden ring. 3/160 < 10%.

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Bosque
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Re: New Recruiting & Biglaw Retention

Postby Bosque » Sat Jun 05, 2010 3:27 pm

That was painful to read. Mallard, mucho respect. But next time you find yourself arguing with a brick wall, you might want to just let the wall think what it wants and walk around.

bigben
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Re: New Recruiting & Biglaw Retention

Postby bigben » Sat Jun 05, 2010 10:39 pm

matthies, ghostofdrewtate - thanks for that. well done

kritiosboy
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Re: New Recruiting & Biglaw Retention

Postby kritiosboy » Tue Jun 08, 2010 10:46 pm

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Last edited by kritiosboy on Tue Nov 27, 2012 12:38 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Matthies
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Re: New Recruiting & Biglaw Retention

Postby Matthies » Wed Jun 09, 2010 1:48 pm

kritiosboy wrote:Why would your buddy want to automatically throw the business your way?

While I understand that he a) is comfortable with you and b) probably has a high opinion of your intellect, professionalism, and work product, isn't he shirking his professional duties to his company if he doesn't seek out the best counsel, or, at the least, the best value counsel for the budget he is constrained by?

I understand the old "it's not what you know..." thing, but please elaborate on how important knowing the right people is for the biglaw career track. Thank you.


It's like this, you have to think about the entire career trajectory, not just the first job you get. Basically getting that first job is pretty much entirely out of your control if you go the typical route (i.e. OCI = the firms decides if they want to interview you, if they give you a summer job and if they give you an offer afterwards). But after that its completely up to you and your individual perfraomce on if you keep the job.

I'm not sure how it works in other markets but here, very basically its up or out in 7 years. What that means is if you can last seven years at a firm and you don't make partner, you're out. And if you did not make partner at firm A its likely firm B is not going to hire you as an eight years associate. Your pretty much locked out of big firms unless you land partner or Of counsel by year eight. Additionally everyone proceeds in lockstep, in other words everyone you started with as a first year associate is now an second year associate, third in three years ect.

So what separates you from the other 2/3/4 associates? Well its not likely pedigree since you all are likely pretty similar to get the first offer, pedigree maters to get you in, but not keep you in. Work product maybe, but likely the other 3/4/5 year associates have similar skills and are doing the same tasks as you.

What separates you then is who you know and how you get along with the people above you feeding you business. You can be the best lawyer in the firm, but if people do give you biz and you can't create biz your just a very well paid (and at some point along the continuum overpaid for what you bring in) worker bee. So who you know = how you create rain = your value to the firm. It's also how you get exit options. There are very few 'want ads" for hire level positions because most of the time they are filled by recoendations by people you know in the business.

As to why someone would throw you busness over someone else, ist about trust and report. Even if that other firm might be cheaper or even do better work, people, even GC's, hire PEOPLE, not firms. They want to be able to trust the person they are hiring to do their work because their rep is online if the firm fucks up. Knowing someone personally, knowing you can pick up the phone and call that guy at 2AM, or that if you say "get this done by x" you know it will be done by X are all important aspects of choosing a LAWYER and hence a firm to do your business. Its not like GC's or other big clients open the phonebook and pick a firm. Or want to trust their entire portfolio to someone they just met. You also need to spread your rep, GC's don't have time to follow court cases and trends to see what firms are the "best" at X, the rely on referrals and reputation. To get your rep as a firm out to new people you need to know those people and joint the same clubs as them, hang out where they hang out ect.




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