2 questions about biglaw

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shmoo597
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2 questions about biglaw

Postby shmoo597 » Wed Oct 20, 2010 4:44 pm

1. how long do most people stay in biglaw and where do they go? Are there really that many in house jobs?

2. what do summer associates do? I have no real training and have no idea what I can be expected to do.

THANKS

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bostlaw
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Re: 2 questions about biglaw

Postby bostlaw » Wed Oct 20, 2010 4:48 pm

anonymous?
but cant really help you out that much but from reading/asking around here most ppl stay at big law around 6 yrs and alot then move on to in house.

imchuckbass58
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Re: 2 questions about biglaw

Postby imchuckbass58 » Wed Oct 20, 2010 4:55 pm

bostlaw wrote:anonymous?
but cant really help you out that much but from reading/asking around here most ppl stay at big law around 6 yrs and alot then move on to in house.


6 years is quite long. The rule of thumb is that 1/3 will be gone after 2 years, and another 1/3 after 5. So figure median around 3-4.

Exit options depend a lot on your area of practice. Leaving aside people who exit law entirely (to have children, to do something else, etc) and lateral, most corporate/transactional lawyers go in-house. Most litigators go to prosecutor's offices, other government jobs, or small/mid-size firms.

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180orbust
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Re: 2 questions about biglaw

Postby 180orbust » Wed Oct 20, 2010 10:37 pm

When people leave after 2-5 years, is it usually because they are burnt out and want to get out, or are they pushed out? I guess what I'm asking is: how often do associates get fired, as compared to leaving of their own accord?

Kochel
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Re: 2 questions about biglaw

Postby Kochel » Thu Oct 21, 2010 12:00 am

180orbust wrote:When people leave after 2-5 years, is it usually because they are burnt out and want to get out, or are they pushed out? I guess what I'm asking is: how often do associates get fired, as compared to leaving of their own accord?


Most big firms budget for a certain rate of associate attrition. In a normal/good economy, in-house and lateral offers will be plentiful and the firm can expect a fair number of associates to be lured away. This is particularly true for third-years and higher. (Not too many in-house offers for first- and second-years.) Voluntary departures will account for the majority of attrition in normal times (maybe as much as 75% of attrition).

However, firms will usually begin firing associates beginning in the second year. Firings usually happen following annual/semiannual performance reviews. Obviously the ones who get canned first are those perceived as the worst workers or those who've managed to get themselves blacklisted by a vindictive partner. When I was in Biglaw, beginning with my third year there would be 3-6 people from my class let go after each review cycle. But most of us (myself included) left to go in-house, and almost everyone who stayed past 5 years eventually made partner or of counsel.

All that is generally true only in normal/good economic times. In the past three years, firms have had to resort more to firings (and, eventually, to hiring smaller classes) to make up for the lack of in-house opportunities.

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Cmoss
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Re: 2 questions about biglaw

Postby Cmoss » Thu Oct 21, 2010 10:26 am

so how do people make careers out of biglaw (i. e 20+ years at one firm) or is that unheard of? Why?

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dood
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Re: 2 questions about biglaw

Postby dood » Thu Oct 21, 2010 10:51 am

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Last edited by dood on Sun Oct 24, 2010 4:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Anonymous User
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Re: 2 questions about biglaw

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Oct 21, 2010 11:25 am

Maybe this should be its own thread, but if your main ambition is to work for the government does it make sense to start your career in biglaw, or should you actively be pushing towards government the entire time? If the common perception is that biglaw will burn you out within X number of years, is there an obvious downside (aside from money, but presumably a good LRAP program could alleviate some of that burden) to starting in government rather than biglaw?

EDIT: After thinking about it, this probably should have gone in another thread. I'm just an admittedly naive 0L, and there's a dearth of information about government jobs (or at least I haven't found anything substantial). I get that DOJ SLIP is harder to get into than a lot of biglaw, but is that the exception (and the smaller or less 'prestige' agencies are relatively easier) or the rule for all government jobs? Should biglaw be the goal just for (comparative) safety in amount of hires?

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Aberzombie1892
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Re: 2 questions about biglaw

Postby Aberzombie1892 » Thu Oct 21, 2010 11:39 am

Anonymous User wrote:Maybe this should be its own thread, but if your main ambition is to work for the government does it make sense to start your career in biglaw, or should you actively be pushing towards government the entire time? If the common perception is that biglaw will burn you out within X number of years, is there an obvious downside (aside from money, but presumably a good LRAP program could alleviate some of that burden) to starting in government rather than biglaw?

EDIT: After thinking about it, this probably should have gone in another thread. I'm just an admittedly naive 0L, and there's a dearth of information about government jobs (or at least I haven't found anything substantial). I get that DOJ SLIP is harder to get into than a lot of biglaw, but is that the exception (and the smaller or less 'prestige' agencies are relatively easier) or the rule for all government jobs? Should biglaw be the goal just for (comparative) safety in amount of hires?


I think you should pursue government first. After 10 years of going home at 6 pm and not having to go to work until 8/9, you can lateral into a partnership position at a large firm.

Kochel
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Re: 2 questions about biglaw

Postby Kochel » Thu Oct 21, 2010 11:45 am

Cmoss wrote:so how do people make careers out of biglaw (i. e 20+ years at one firm) or is that unheard of? Why?


Thinking about the people who graduated law school with me and those who started with me at my Biglaw firm, the ones who made partner (i.e., the ones for whom Biglaw is a career, rather than an apprenticeship) fall into two broad groups. First are those people whose practice areas don't lend themselves easily to in-house work (tax, appellate litigation, real estate, etc.). I'm not saying there were no exit opportunities for them, but rather that inertia played a greater role because those opportunities were harder to find.

Second are people who simply are better suited temperamentally to big firm work. They like working with multiple clients. They have a more "academic" orientation to legal practice than nuts-and-bolts in-house practitioners like myself have. They're less business-oriented and would feel constrained in a corporate environment.

In both cases, these people made partner because they were the best of those who stuck around and because the firm's needs could accommodate them. You can't make partner just because you'd rather not do anything else--you have to earn it.




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