85K/BIGLAW/Small City v. 160K in large city

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85K/BIGLAW/Small City v. 160K in large city

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Feb 04, 2011 9:09 am

If you had offers of

1. 85K at a small NLJP 250 firm in a small city, low COL, 6-8 years to make partner (from what I have gathered)/less hours

or

2. 160K Biglaw in DC (crapshoot)

Which would you go with and why? I am assuming my NLJP 250 can easily be figured out for the 85K job but I am curious?

rose711
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Re: 85K/BIGLAW/Small City v. 160K in large city

Postby rose711 » Fri Feb 04, 2011 9:49 am

This is totally a personal question. I live for the city so I would never live in a smaller place. You also don't mention debt which is the biggest factor in most people's choosing a job. As far as I know, making partner is a crap shoot most places, though very difficult in biglaw.

keg411
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Re: 85K/BIGLAW/Small City v. 160K in large city

Postby keg411 » Fri Feb 04, 2011 9:53 am

Depends on your loans and whether or not you want to stay long-term in the small city (or the small city is your hometown).

BlueDiamond
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Re: 85K/BIGLAW/Small City v. 160K in large city

Postby BlueDiamond » Fri Feb 04, 2011 10:01 am

I'd say enjoy Buffalo.. You can get an enormous house in the burbs with 85 a year

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Re: 85K/BIGLAW/Small City v. 160K in large city

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Feb 04, 2011 10:25 am

Debt would be zero.

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TTH
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Re: 85K/BIGLAW/Small City v. 160K in large city

Postby TTH » Fri Feb 04, 2011 10:30 am

keg411 wrote:Depends on your loans and whether or not you want to stay long-term in the small city (or the small city is your hometown).



This. If you have any connection to the small city such that you want to be there, then that argues very strong in favor. I'm dealing with similar decisions.

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Re: 85K/BIGLAW/Small City v. 160K in large city

Postby Aqualibrium » Fri Feb 04, 2011 10:44 am

With zero debt you really don't have to take the big law job. This is really all personal preference. Do you want to live in the small city, or would you like to start your career in the big city. You'll definitely work more on less substantive stuff at the big city firm; that's just the nature of the game. You also won't be expected to stick around past three our four years. It's generally the case that the smaller city firm expects you to be there for a long time, and expects you to contribute early and often. If that is a situation you wouldn't mind, I'd say go for it.

FWIW, I'm not in a position to contemplate permanent offers, but I took the 100k mid-sized city SA over the 160k large city SA.

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Re: 85K/BIGLAW/Small City v. 160K in large city

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Feb 04, 2011 1:01 pm

I took the $125k job at an NLJ250 in my hometown over V5 and V10 offers in NYC. Here was my reasoning:

1. I don't care much for prestige.
2. I have zero debt.
3. After factoring in tax and COL, my $125k is equivalent to about $250k in NYC.
4. My wife has already secured a job in hometown, would have had trouble getting a comparable job in NYC.
5. Can get a nice house in the suburbs for a mortgage payment that's about 1/3 of what rent would be in NYC. We'll be saving about 5k/month while we remain childless.
6. Wasn't sure what I want to do. I don't think the lit opportunities at the NYC firms I was considering were that great - lots of doc review for juniors.
7. Firm I'm going to requires 1800 hours billed per year and a lot of associates show up at 7:30 and are out of the office by 5:30. In NYC and other large cities, the schedule is a lot more like 10:00 to 8:00 and associates are billing 2200-2300.
8. Had I gone to NYC, the #1 "exit option" I would have been eying would be a lateral move to the firm I'm going to. I figured I'd cut out the middle man.
9. The partnership prospects are good - the number of people making partner per year is higher than the number of summer associates per year.

I think I made the right choice for me. But I definitely would have started in the big city if:
(a) I only wanted to do corp
(b) I didn't know where I wanted to permanently settle
(c) I were single, or
(d) I had no interest in ever making partner at a BigLaw firm

2011Law
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Re: 85K/BIGLAW/Small City v. 160K in large city

Postby 2011Law » Fri Feb 04, 2011 1:08 pm

I'd choose to make more money and live in a big city, but that's because I like both big cities and lots of money. Also, I'd be able to pay off my loans sooner.

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Re: 85K/BIGLAW/Small City v. 160K in large city

Postby Patriot1208 » Fri Feb 04, 2011 1:16 pm

This is certainly a personal preference question, but even adjusted for COL the 160k in DC is still a good bit more than the 85k in a smaller city.

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Re: 85K/BIGLAW/Small City v. 160K in large city

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Feb 04, 2011 1:19 pm

Patriot1208 wrote:This is certainly a personal preference question, but even adjusted for COL the 160k in DC is still a good bit more than the 85k in a smaller city.


Gotta adjust for taxes, too.

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Re: 85K/BIGLAW/Small City v. 160K in large city

Postby Patriot1208 » Fri Feb 04, 2011 2:42 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Patriot1208 wrote:This is certainly a personal preference question, but even adjusted for COL the 160k in DC is still a good bit more than the 85k in a smaller city.


Gotta adjust for taxes, too.

I lived in the NOVA area and the taxes were not really any different than my current midwestern city. I'm not sure if you live in DC, but who the fuck wants to live downtown anyways?

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Re: 85K/BIGLAW/Small City v. 160K in large city

Postby bk1 » Fri Feb 04, 2011 2:45 pm

With 0 debt, I'd prefer the small city's job but the large city's location. Not sure which I'd end up picking. I'm not a huge fan of DC so it would depend on which small city it was.

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Re: 85K/BIGLAW/Small City v. 160K in large city

Postby AreJay711 » Fri Feb 04, 2011 3:07 pm

Someone please correct me since I am a 0L but from a biglaw office in DC you would have exit options after a couple years so if you don't make partner it isn't like you would likely be stuck in D.C. IDK if the same would be true form the firm in the small city. While I would prefer to live in a small city (other than for the fact that all my family is in the DC area) but I think would choose DC just because of increased future options. Also, while small cities are better if you aren't making very much, I doubt they are 80K less expensive especially if you are willing to take metro from Alexandria or Arlington.

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bk1
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Re: 85K/BIGLAW/Small City v. 160K in large city

Postby bk1 » Fri Feb 04, 2011 3:19 pm

AreJay711 wrote:Someone please correct me since I am a 0L but from a biglaw office in DC you would have exit options after a couple years so if you don't make partner it isn't like you would likely be stuck in D.C. IDK if the same would be true form the firm in the small city. While I would prefer to live in a small city (other than for the fact that all my family is in the DC area) but I think would choose DC just because of increased future options. Also, while small cities are better if you aren't making very much, I doubt they are 80K less expensive especially if you are willing to take metro from Alexandria or Arlington.


Even so, a few years in DC biglaw is not something many people want to actually do. To me the big difference between these two is the amount of hours you are going to have to put in.

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Re: 85K/BIGLAW/Small City v. 160K in large city

Postby AreJay711 » Fri Feb 04, 2011 3:25 pm

bk1 wrote:
AreJay711 wrote:Someone please correct me since I am a 0L but from a biglaw office in DC you would have exit options after a couple years so if you don't make partner it isn't like you would likely be stuck in D.C. IDK if the same would be true form the firm in the small city. While I would prefer to live in a small city (other than for the fact that all my family is in the DC area) but I think would choose DC just because of increased future options. Also, while small cities are better if you aren't making very much, I doubt they are 80K less expensive especially if you are willing to take metro from Alexandria or Arlington.


Even so, a few years in DC biglaw is not something many people want to actually do. To me the big difference between these two is the amount of hours you are going to have to put in.


That is a good point. I'm a single guy without kids so I'm not giving up as much with my time as someone in a different situation and everyone's income/leisure decisions are different.

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Re: 85K/BIGLAW/Small City v. 160K in large city

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Feb 04, 2011 3:42 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I took the $125k job at an NLJ250 in my hometown over V5 and V10 offers in NYC. Here was my reasoning:

1. I don't care much for prestige.
2. I have zero debt.
3. After factoring in tax and COL, my $125k is equivalent to about $250k in NYC.
4. My wife has already secured a job in hometown, would have had trouble getting a comparable job in NYC.
5. Can get a nice house in the suburbs for a mortgage payment that's about 1/3 of what rent would be in NYC. We'll be saving about 5k/month while we remain childless.
6. Wasn't sure what I want to do. I don't think the lit opportunities at the NYC firms I was considering were that great - lots of doc review for juniors.
7. Firm I'm going to requires 1800 hours billed per year and a lot of associates show up at 7:30 and are out of the office by 5:30. In NYC and other large cities, the schedule is a lot more like 10:00 to 8:00 and associates are billing 2200-2300.
8. Had I gone to NYC, the #1 "exit option" I would have been eying would be a lateral move to the firm I'm going to. I figured I'd cut out the middle man.
9. The partnership prospects are good - the number of people making partner per year is higher than the number of summer associates per year.

I think I made the right choice for me. But I definitely would have started in the big city if:
(a) I only wanted to do corp
(b) I didn't know where I wanted to permanently settle
(c) I were single, or
(d) I had no interest in ever making partner at a BigLaw firm

I would consider doing some questionable things to have $125,000 at a good firm in a smaller city that was nice with family around. Good work.

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Re: 85K/BIGLAW/Small City v. 160K in large city

Postby vamedic03 » Fri Feb 04, 2011 4:56 pm

bk1 wrote:
AreJay711 wrote:Someone please correct me since I am a 0L but from a biglaw office in DC you would have exit options after a couple years so if you don't make partner it isn't like you would likely be stuck in D.C. IDK if the same would be true form the firm in the small city. While I would prefer to live in a small city (other than for the fact that all my family is in the DC area) but I think would choose DC just because of increased future options. Also, while small cities are better if you aren't making very much, I doubt they are 80K less expensive especially if you are willing to take metro from Alexandria or Arlington.


Even so, a few years in DC biglaw is not something many people want to actually do. To me the big difference between these two is the amount of hours you are going to have to put in.


Huh?

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bk1
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Re: 85K/BIGLAW/Small City v. 160K in large city

Postby bk1 » Fri Feb 04, 2011 5:16 pm

vamedic03 wrote:
bk1 wrote:
AreJay711 wrote:Someone please correct me since I am a 0L but from a biglaw office in DC you would have exit options after a couple years so if you don't make partner it isn't like you would likely be stuck in D.C. IDK if the same would be true form the firm in the small city. While I would prefer to live in a small city (other than for the fact that all my family is in the DC area) but I think would choose DC just because of increased future options. Also, while small cities are better if you aren't making very much, I doubt they are 80K less expensive especially if you are willing to take metro from Alexandria or Arlington.


Even so, a few years in DC biglaw is not something many people want to actually do. To me the big difference between these two is the amount of hours you are going to have to put in.


Huh?


What I mean is that from a purely hours-wise perspective, not many people actually want to do that kind of work.

I'm not saying that it isn't worth the prestige, exit-options, pay, etc, but that I really don't think people want to have billables that high if other options were to exist.

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Re: 85K/BIGLAW/Small City v. 160K in large city

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Feb 05, 2011 12:16 am

Anonymous User wrote:I took the $125k job at an NLJ250 in my hometown over V5 and V10 offers in NYC. Here was my reasoning:

1. I don't care much for prestige.
2. I have zero debt.
3. After factoring in tax and COL, my $125k is equivalent to about $250k in NYC.
4. My wife has already secured a job in hometown, would have had trouble getting a comparable job in NYC.
5. Can get a nice house in the suburbs for a mortgage payment that's about 1/3 of what rent would be in NYC. We'll be saving about 5k/month while we remain childless.
6. Wasn't sure what I want to do. I don't think the lit opportunities at the NYC firms I was considering were that great - lots of doc review for juniors.
7. Firm I'm going to requires 1800 hours billed per year and a lot of associates show up at 7:30 and are out of the office by 5:30. In NYC and other large cities, the schedule is a lot more like 10:00 to 8:00 and associates are billing 2200-2300.
8. Had I gone to NYC, the #1 "exit option" I would have been eying would be a lateral move to the firm I'm going to. I figured I'd cut out the middle man.
9. The partnership prospects are good - the number of people making partner per year is higher than the number of summer associates per year.

I think I made the right choice for me. But I definitely would have started in the big city if:
(a) I only wanted to do corp
(b) I didn't know where I wanted to permanently settle
(c) I were single, or
(d) I had no interest in ever making partner at a BigLaw firm

I agree with the line of reasoning here. Absolute salary means far less than the weighted amount of salary when counted against cost of living. I took a firm job paying about $100,000 in SF (probably the third-most expensive US city after NYC and DC) over an $80,000 firm job in a small CA city with a very low COL. I'll be coming out money behind, but (1.) to me the value of living in SF over Boring City X greatly outweighs any potential pecuniary disadvantage and (2.) both firms offered low billables expectations and a good shot at being a partner in 8 years, so it was a pick em in that respect.

Picking a firm with (relatively) humane hours and where you could really make a career, as opposed to one that will grind you down in 5 years or less, especially if debt is not a huge factor, is not a terrible decision.

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Re: 85K/BIGLAW/Small City v. 160K in large city

Postby soullesswonder » Sat Feb 05, 2011 12:19 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I took the $125k job at an NLJ250 in my hometown over V5 and V10 offers in NYC. Here was my reasoning:

1. I don't care much for prestige.
2. I have zero debt.
3. After factoring in tax and COL, my $125k is equivalent to about $250k in NYC.
4. My wife has already secured a job in hometown, would have had trouble getting a comparable job in NYC.
5. Can get a nice house in the suburbs for a mortgage payment that's about 1/3 of what rent would be in NYC. We'll be saving about 5k/month while we remain childless.
6. Wasn't sure what I want to do. I don't think the lit opportunities at the NYC firms I was considering were that great - lots of doc review for juniors.
7. Firm I'm going to requires 1800 hours billed per year and a lot of associates show up at 7:30 and are out of the office by 5:30. In NYC and other large cities, the schedule is a lot more like 10:00 to 8:00 and associates are billing 2200-2300.
8. Had I gone to NYC, the #1 "exit option" I would have been eying would be a lateral move to the firm I'm going to. I figured I'd cut out the middle man.
9. The partnership prospects are good - the number of people making partner per year is higher than the number of summer associates per year.

I think I made the right choice for me. But I definitely would have started in the big city if:
(a) I only wanted to do corp
(b) I didn't know where I wanted to permanently settle
(c) I were single, or
(d) I had no interest in ever making partner at a BigLaw firm

I would consider doing some questionable things to have $125,000 at a good firm in a smaller city that was nice with family around. Good work.


+1




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