Poll - Help me pick between a firm for POST-grad

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Which Firm?

Firm #1 (Large)
11
55%
Firm #2 (Mid-sized)
9
45%
 
Total votes: 20

Anonymous User
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Poll - Help me pick between a firm for POST-grad

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 18, 2011 8:42 pm

Firm #1 (Large V50 general practice, 500+ lawyers)
PROS:
- $160K
- Well-known name
CONS:
- Long hours
- Tiny cog on huge litigation teams, not a lot of responsibility; even 4/5 years have little client interaction and almost no chance of actually appearing in court
- Making partner is almost impossible but they earn $2-$5M/year
- Sometimes I feel lost among so many cookie-cutter versions of me

Firm #2 (Mid-sized Amlaw 250, ~250 lawyers in "regional" offices)
CONS:
- $120K
- Not well-known
- Work can be mind-numbing because the cases are smaller and all very similar
PROS:
- ShortER hours, but not by much
- Given tons of responsibility early on; for example, 2nd year associates take depositions and even argue minor issues in court
- Partner takes 6-8 years but firm's top rainmaker only makes $1M/year
- Entire office (partners, associates, and even staff) is a small group that I really fit well with

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MrKappus
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Re: Poll - Help me pick between a firm for POST-grad

Postby MrKappus » Thu Aug 18, 2011 8:49 pm

I would probably go with Firm #1, the PROS of which are: $160K; well-known name. Its CONS are long hours; tiny cog on huge litigation teams, not a lot of responsibility; even 4/5 years have little client interaction and almost no chance of actually appearing in court; making partner is almost impossible but they earn $2-$5M/year; and sometimes you may feel lost among so many cookie-cutter versions of yourself.

As to Firm #2, the PROS are: shortER hours, but not by much; given tons of responsibility early on; for example, 2nd year associates take depositions and even argue minor issues in court; partner takes 6-8 years but firm's top rainmaker only makes $1M/year; and entire office (partners, associates, and even staff) is a small group that you'll really fit well with. The CONS are: $120K; not well-known; and work can be mind-numbing because the cases are smaller and all very similar.

So now that you know the pros/cons of each choice, it's obviously now a matter of personal preference (which no one on TLS can help you out on).

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Re: Poll - Help me pick between a firm for POST-grad

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 18, 2011 8:51 pm

Oh hai me (but for SA). Long term goals? How important is early responsibility to you?

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Re: Poll - Help me pick between a firm for POST-grad

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 18, 2011 8:53 pm

MrKappus wrote:I would probably go with Firm #1, the PROS of which are: $160K; well-known name. Its CONS are long hours; tiny cog on huge litigation teams, not a lot of responsibility; even 4/5 years have little client interaction and almost no chance of actually appearing in court; making partner is almost impossible but they earn $2-$5M/year; and sometimes you may feel lost among so many cookie-cutter versions of yourself.

As to Firm #2, the PROS are: shortER hours, but not by much; given tons of responsibility early on; for example, 2nd year associates take depositions and even argue minor issues in court; partner takes 6-8 years but firm's top rainmaker only makes $1M/year; and entire office (partners, associates, and even staff) is a small group that you'll really fit well with. The CONS are: $120K; not well-known; and work can be mind-numbing because the cases are smaller and all very similar.

So now that you know the pros/cons of each choice, it's obviously now a matter of personal preference (which no one on TLS can help you out on).


It's just a tough decision and I want to see if there is anything I forgot to consider. The main issue is that I have a lot of debt, so money is important to me. If it were a $5K, $10K, even 15K difference I would go with the smaller firm.

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Re: Poll - Help me pick between a firm for POST-grad

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 18, 2011 8:55 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
MrKappus wrote:I would probably go with Firm #1, the PROS of which are: $160K; well-known name. Its CONS are long hours; tiny cog on huge litigation teams, not a lot of responsibility; even 4/5 years have little client interaction and almost no chance of actually appearing in court; making partner is almost impossible but they earn $2-$5M/year; and sometimes you may feel lost among so many cookie-cutter versions of yourself.

As to Firm #2, the PROS are: shortER hours, but not by much; given tons of responsibility early on; for example, 2nd year associates take depositions and even argue minor issues in court; partner takes 6-8 years but firm's top rainmaker only makes $1M/year; and entire office (partners, associates, and even staff) is a small group that you'll really fit well with. The CONS are: $120K; not well-known; and work can be mind-numbing because the cases are smaller and all very similar.

So now that you know the pros/cons of each choice, it's obviously now a matter of personal preference (which no one on TLS can help you out on).


It's just a tough decision and I want to see if there is anything I forgot to consider. The main issue is that I have a lot of debt, so money is important to me. If it were a $5K, $10K, even 15K difference I would go with the smaller firm.


Same city?

Anonymous User
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Re: Poll - Help me pick between a firm for POST-grad

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 18, 2011 9:01 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Oh hai me (but for SA). Long term goals? How important is early responsibility to you?


OP here. I'm really not sure about long-term and that is part of the problem. I like the idea of being partner, but realistically I'm not sure I'll feel the same way in 4 years (in which case the big firm would be better). Early responsibility is very important, this is probably the primary factor. I didn't come to law school to write memos. I want to be in the courtroom asap.

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BackToTheOldHouse
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Re: Poll - Help me pick between a firm for POST-grad

Postby BackToTheOldHouse » Thu Aug 18, 2011 9:03 pm

MrKappus wrote:I would probably go with Firm #1, the PROS of which are: $160K; well-known name. Its CONS are long hours; tiny cog on huge litigation teams, not a lot of responsibility; even 4/5 years have little client interaction and almost no chance of actually appearing in court; making partner is almost impossible but they earn $2-$5M/year; and sometimes you may feel lost among so many cookie-cutter versions of yourself.

As to Firm #2, the PROS are: shortER hours, but not by much; given tons of responsibility early on; for example, 2nd year associates take depositions and even argue minor issues in court; partner takes 6-8 years but firm's top rainmaker only makes $1M/year; and entire office (partners, associates, and even staff) is a small group that you'll really fit well with. The CONS are: $120K; not well-known; and work can be mind-numbing because the cases are smaller and all very similar.

So now that you know the pros/cons of each choice, it's obviously now a matter of personal preference (which no one on TLS can help you out on).

I am confused by the verbiage of this post, but I voted for firm 2. Personal preference for sure.

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Re: Poll - Help me pick between a firm for POST-grad

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 18, 2011 9:04 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Same city?


Yes, NYC - another reason why the difference in salary is important.

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Re: Poll - Help me pick between a firm for POST-grad

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 18, 2011 9:08 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Same city?


Yes, NYC - another reason why the difference in salary is important.


OP here. My dad brought up a good about this: working at the big firm would allow me to pay back my loans faster and then I could always lateral to the small firm in 3-4 years. But the reverse would be tougher.

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Re: Poll - Help me pick between a firm for POST-grad

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 18, 2011 9:10 pm

Go to firm 1, lateral to firm 2 (or an equivalent) after a few years if you're not happy. The advantage of choosing prestige over lifestyle is that you can usually move down, but it's hard to move up.

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BackToTheOldHouse
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Re: Poll - Help me pick between a firm for POST-grad

Postby BackToTheOldHouse » Thu Aug 18, 2011 9:24 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Same city?


Yes, NYC - another reason why the difference in salary is important.

I am confused. You left out the fact that BOTH FIRMS ARE IN NYC? I would consider your poll results useless at this point.

Obvious choice: firm 1.

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Re: Poll - Help me pick between a firm for POST-grad

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 18, 2011 9:27 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Oh hai me (but for SA). Long term goals? How important is early responsibility to you?


OP here. I'm really not sure about long-term and that is part of the problem. I like the idea of being partner, but realistically I'm not sure I'll feel the same way in 4 years (in which case the big firm would be better). Early responsibility is very important, this is probably the primary factor. I didn't come to law school to write memos. I want to be in the courtroom asap.


Oh hai me again. Now I'm very curious to hear what you decide.

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Re: Poll - Help me pick between a firm for POST-grad

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 18, 2011 9:31 pm

BackToTheOldHouse wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Same city?


Yes, NYC - another reason why the difference in salary is important.

I am confused. You left out the fact that BOTH FIRMS ARE IN NYC? I would consider your poll results useless at this point.

Obvious choice: firm 1.


OP here. See the poster above me and below you - how much money is worth putting your life on "hold"?

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BackToTheOldHouse
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Re: Poll - Help me pick between a firm for POST-grad

Postby BackToTheOldHouse » Thu Aug 18, 2011 9:48 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Go to firm 1, lateral to firm 2 (or an equivalent) after a few years if you're not happy. The advantage of choosing prestige over lifestyle is that you can usually move down, but it's hard to move up.

TICR. You might see this as "putting your life on hold," but I would imagine the lateraling options would allow you to eventually do the things you want to do in your career. For that matter, you might even have the chance to lateral to firm 2 in a couple years if that ends up being what you want.

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KMaine
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Re: Poll - Help me pick between a firm for POST-grad

Postby KMaine » Thu Aug 18, 2011 9:52 pm

Your life will be on hold with a lot of debt hanging over your head. Go with firm #1, lateral out when you can/want to.

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Bosque
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Re: Poll - Help me pick between a firm for POST-grad

Postby Bosque » Thu Aug 18, 2011 9:56 pm

I was going to vote 2... SO glad I actually read through the posts. Both firms being in NYC makes a huge difference. You gotta go for 1 here.

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Re: Poll - Help me pick between a firm for POST-grad

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 18, 2011 11:36 pm

A caveat about the "#1 then lateral out" plan: An unfulfilling position can end up turning you off the profession as a whole. I happened to me (non legal). After 4 years in a dreadful work environment, by the time I found a similar job elsewhere, I wanted nothing to do with that profession any more. To this day, I don't know if it's because that career was never really for me, or because my first job ruined it for me. But the end result is the same. Just FYI...

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Re: Poll - Help me pick between a firm for POST-grad

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 19, 2011 12:03 am

Curious what people think if it was the same two firms except in different cities. Say the mid-law firm is in a secondary cheap cost of living market and the biglaw firm is NYC. Same result?




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