Associate at top 5 Michigan firm taking questions

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Re: Associate at top 5 Michigan firm taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 20, 2012 9:32 am

Anonymous User wrote:I have a clerkship offer for 2014 in ED Mich. I summered this year in NY BigLaw. Will any Detroit firm look at me for a year knowing that I'll be gone for a year. I intend to return post-clerkship, but otherwise have no Michigan ties.


If it's a 1-year clerkship and you have absolutely no Michigan ties, the odds would be against you. If it's a 2-year clerkship and you take steps to really get involved in Detroit/Wayne County, and can demonstrate your involvement, and your judge was willing to go to bat for you, I think you'd have a solid chance at a firm job here.

T14? That would help.

OP
Last edited by Anonymous User on Thu Sep 20, 2012 7:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Associate at top 5 Michigan firm taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 20, 2012 6:43 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:How does honigman compare to market paying firms in Chicago in the categories of exit options and prestige? Would you recommend going to honigman over a market paying Chicago firm (similar to KL Gates, DLA Piper, Greenberg Traurig, etc.)? My ultimate goal is to end up in Michigan.

How tough is it to lateral to one of the top 5 Michigan firms after spending a few years in Chicago?


Honigman has a reputation as a bit of a meat grinder for associates, so in that respect it might be a little more like Chicago Biglaw than a lot of other largish Michigan firms. It pays top dollar in the market.

If you want to end up in Michigan, why go to Chicago? That might help me answer your question.

In general, if you really want to build a firm law career in Michigan, you're making a mistake going to Chicago. At some point, a successful firm law career means you have to bring in your own clients or become invaluably connected to an existing client. Both of these things are about building relationships. The longer you take to get into the market, the less time you have to build relationships.

So if you have a sincere desire to try and make equity partner some day, you should just start in Michigan.

If you're taking an approach of, "well, I'm pretty sure my skills will get me to junior partner, and I'll just ride that bus as far as it goes and hope for the best," then it may not matter where you start.

OP


Thanks for your advice.

I would like to go to Chicago for a couple years to get the experience of living in a big, vibrant city and for the large pay increase but I would not be willing to hurt my chances of being an equity partner one day for that experience.

How fast do associates at Honigman generally get nudged out the door if they're not performing up to par?

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Re: Associate at top 5 Michigan firm taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 20, 2012 7:27 pm

Just to be clear, when I said Honigman has a reputation as being a bit of a meat grinder for associates, I meant in terms of workload, not in terms of turnover. I have no evidence that their turnover rate is any higher than other Detroit firms.

As far as being nudged out the door, it's a very individualistic question. If you're not meeting expectations, i.e. your work or hours are clearly subpar, it will happen quickly. If you don't fit a little personality-wise, but your work and hours are good, you could last until it's time to make partner. Michigan firm law is not very ruthless. If you're an associate that they don't see as partner material, you should be able to know that long before any official nudging begins and find a soft landing spot. The people who actually have to be told, "you need to find a new job," often know it's coming, but are riding the bus as long as they can (for various reasons).

OP

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Re: Associate at top 5 Michigan firm taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 20, 2012 7:55 pm

Anonymous User wrote: The area is obviously not as economically attractive as NY or Chicago and they want to do everything they can to avoid losing you as a lateral 3-5 years in.


Have you seen many midlevel associates (3-5 yrs) lateral out of the state to NY or Chicago, for example?

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Re: Associate at top 5 Michigan firm taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 20, 2012 8:18 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote: The area is obviously not as economically attractive as NY or Chicago and they want to do everything they can to avoid losing you as a lateral 3-5 years in.


Have you seen many midlevel associates (3-5 yrs) lateral out of the state to NY or Chicago, for example?


It's rare. As I said earlier, it generally flows in the other direction. Michigan firms work hard to avoid losing associates by emphasizing local ties and desire to be in Michigan when they hire summer associates.

I know of one third year associate lateraling to LA for an in-house job and one sixth-year associate lateraling to a V10 firm in D.C.

OP

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Re: Associate at top 5 Michigan firm taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Oct 12, 2012 11:57 pm

Thanks for fielding our questions OP, much appreciated. I have a few questions, sorry in advance if they've been answered previously:

1) You've spoken about how SE Michigan offers a better bang for your buck with the market rate 110-100k base pay for new associates after factoring in COL/income tax rates for associates in bigger markets like NYC/Chi. Do you think this continues to be the case moving forward in one's career when comparing lockstep pay increases between a GR/Detroit and Chicago/NYC associate?

2) How much does non-legal work experience factor into interviews? Would someone with a few years of public policy experience in Michigan state government be a more attractive candidate?

3) You've talked a little bit about SA 1L spots; can you speak to how rare is a paid 1L SA position in Detroit? What's the best way to get one if you can't join the Wolverine Bar Association, and do you think someone should take a paid 1L position over a fed court internship?

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Re: Associate at top 5 Michigan firm taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Oct 14, 2012 3:48 pm

Anonymous User wrote:1) You've spoken about how SE Michigan offers a better bang for your buck with the market rate 110-100k base pay for new associates after factoring in COL/income tax rates for associates in bigger markets like NYC/Chi. Do you think this continues to be the case moving forward in one's career when comparing lockstep pay increases between a GR/Detroit and Chicago/NYC associate?


The Big Law attrition rate makes this a difficult question to answer. There are scenarios where someone who is very successful in Big Law is going do much better financially than someone with the same success in a market such as Detroit (let along Grand Rapids). NY/Chicago has higher upside, there's no question about that. But along the way to that success the majority of people who started as associates at those firm either self-select out at some point (or are culled for various reasons). At top Detroit firms, by comparison, the majority of associates will make junior partner if they want to make junior partner, so fewer of them self-select out.

There's no black-and-white answer to your question. If you're confident you'll be a superstar associate and you genuinely want to be, and believe you can be, a NY/Chicago Big Law partner, maybe you're selling yourself short in Detroit. If you believe you would enjoy the work and life in both places and want to maximize your odds of a 10+ year career at the same firm, Detroit is a better bet.

Anonymous User wrote:2) How much does non-legal work experience factor into interviews? Would someone with a few years of public policy experience in Michigan state government be a more attractive candidate?


Anything outside of K-through-JD is a very significant advantage IMO. The experience you describe would likely be looked at as a strong positive by my firm.


Anonymous User wrote:3) You've talked a little bit about SA 1L spots; can you speak to how rare is a paid 1L SA position in Detroit? What's the best way to get one if you can't join the Wolverine Bar Association, and do you think someone should take a paid 1L position over a fed court internship?


Non-Wolverine Bar 1L SA spots are non-existent at most large Detroit firms and extremely rare at the few that have them from time to time. If you can get one, I'd take it. But a paying position at a small- or mid-sized plaintiff's firm would not be more attractive than a federal court externship IMO.

OP

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Re: Associate at top 5 Michigan firm taking questions

Postby LaFinDuMonde » Sun Oct 14, 2012 4:00 pm

.

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Re: Associate at top 5 Michigan firm taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jan 09, 2013 10:44 am

Does a JD/MBA make a candidate look more attractive to your firm or less so? From advice given around here, it seems like the general answer is that an MBA's attractiveness and usefulness depends on the firm and that a key part of getting hired is having a story behind why you thought the MBA was necessary for your career path.

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Re: Associate at top 5 Michigan firm taking questions

Postby mrosmith » Wed Jan 23, 2013 7:25 pm

Not sure as to the life left in this thread, but is there any movement in Michigan?

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Re: Associate at top 5 Michigan firm taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Feb 15, 2013 4:24 am

I've noticed Foley & Lardner hasn't been mentioned...i know they're not headquatered in Michigan, but don't their Detroit office pay tops in the state? (130k for 1st year associates according to NALP)

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Re: Associate at top 5 Michigan firm taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Feb 15, 2013 2:12 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I've noticed Foley & Lardner hasn't been mentioned...i know they're not headquatered in Michigan, but don't their Detroit office pay tops in the state? (130k for 1st year associates according to NALP)


Also curious. OP is probably still not around, but there has to be someone in a Detroit firm that can speak to Foley.

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Re: Associate at top 5 Michigan firm taking questions

Postby UnamSanctam » Fri Feb 15, 2013 2:13 pm

Oops. Am the immediately preceding anon. My bad.

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Re: Associate at top 5 Michigan firm taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Feb 18, 2013 8:30 am

Anonymous User wrote:Does a JD/MBA make a candidate look more attractive to your firm or less so? From advice given around here, it seems like the general answer is that an MBA's attractiveness and usefulness depends on the firm and that a key part of getting hired is having a story behind why you thought the MBA was necessary for your career path.


An MBA is never going to be a negative at my firm, and for certain transactional practice groups it will be a positive.

But a variety of other factors would be much more important. At most it would be looked at as a small plus.

OP

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Re: Associate at top 5 Michigan firm taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Feb 18, 2013 8:32 am

mrosmith wrote:Not sure as to the life left in this thread, but is there any movement in Michigan?


I'm not sure how you define "any movement", but my firm is actively hiring and will expand our summer class slightly this year. Business is good.

OP

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Re: Associate at top 5 Michigan firm taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Feb 18, 2013 8:35 am

Anonymous User wrote:I've noticed Foley & Lardner hasn't been mentioned...i know they're not headquatered in Michigan, but don't their Detroit office pay tops in the state? (130k for 1st year associates according to NALP)


That's accurate, as far as I know, but it's a small office (under 40 attorneys) with a low profile.

OP

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Re: Associate at top 5 Michigan firm taking questions

Postby NotMyRealName09 » Mon Feb 18, 2013 10:53 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I've noticed Foley & Lardner hasn't been mentioned...i know they're not headquatered in Michigan, but don't their Detroit office pay tops in the state? (130k for 1st year associates according to NALP)


That's accurate, as far as I know, but it's a small office (under 40 attorneys) with a low profile.

OP


Something tells me they only hire federal law clerks, laterals, or allow partners with fat books o' business to take up residence.

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Re: Associate at top 5 Michigan firm taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 19, 2013 9:41 am

NotMyRealName09 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I've noticed Foley & Lardner hasn't been mentioned...i know they're not headquatered in Michigan, but don't their Detroit office pay tops in the state? (130k for 1st year associates according to NALP)


That's accurate, as far as I know, but it's a small office (under 40 attorneys) with a low profile.

OP


Something tells me they only hire federal law clerks, laterals, or allow partners with fat books o' business to take up residence.



This was my general impression as well.

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Re: Associate at top 5 Michigan firm taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Feb 22, 2013 10:50 pm

OP, I know you briefly mentioned UMN. I'm currently a 1L at Minnesota and I'm considering transferring. I want to return to Detroit after graduation and as far as I can tell, UMN does not have a strong presence in the Metro area. As of now, my grades put me in the top third of the class. Would it be worth it to transfer down to ND or even further to Wayne (and pay sticker), or should I stick it out here? I'm sure you're aware that virtually no Detroit firms OCI here. Apart from emailing recruiting personnel, are there other ways to get one's name out there?

Thanks, boss.

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Re: Associate at top 5 Michigan firm taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 26, 2013 12:05 pm

Anonymous User wrote:OP, I know you briefly mentioned UMN. I'm currently a 1L at Minnesota and I'm considering transferring. I want to return to Detroit after graduation and as far as I can tell, UMN does not have a strong presence in the Metro area. As of now, my grades put me in the top third of the class. Would it be worth it to transfer down to ND or even further to Wayne (and pay sticker), or should I stick it out here? I'm sure you're aware that virtually no Detroit firms OCI here. Apart from emailing recruiting personnel, are there other ways to get one's name out there?

Thanks, boss.


If you like Minnesota, and you're successful there, I would stay, particularly if you're getting aid (because you won't get any as a transfer).

You need to get a summer internship with a judge or magistrate here in the Eastern District (preferably a judge) and/or with an in-house outfit (always attractive to firms). Your in-house options could include the automakers, large medical systems, insurers like Blue Cross, etc. I know some people who have done 2 days in federal court, 2 days with an in-house internship. Once your second semester grades are in, I would try and set up lunches with every firm recruiting coordinator that was willing to have lunch with me.

You can also use LinkedIn to see if you have connections to Detroit firm lawyers. If you do, have your connections introduce you and go from there. It's actually fairly easy.

As you said, Michigan firms aren't going to OCI at Minnesota, so you need to get in front of those people over the summer and interview before you go back to school (you want to be first in line because a lot of firms roll offers). Then go through the normal OCI process to cover your bases. Maybe your best options are outside Michigan - you can always lateral back.

OP

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Re: Associate at top 5 Michigan firm taking questions

Postby NotMyRealName09 » Thu Feb 28, 2013 7:07 pm

OP said a while ago that "It is considerably easier to get a Detroit firm job from Wayne than MSU."

I disagreed as an MSU alum as well as a person who landed in a big Detroit firm, and now there's this.

viewtopic.php?f=23&t=205174

So Wayne placed 6 associates at NLJ 250 firms in 2012. MSU placed 5. UofD placed 3. All of those seem to be in D-Town.

Now, on the one hand, those are not great numbers for any of the schools - and I wonder where the makers of that pie chart thingy get their numbers from. On the other hand, I don't think Wayne students have a "considerable" advantage over MSU in landing Detroit big firm jobs, and these numbers support that.

Me sense some Wayne bias OP! I kid, and I freely admit my MSU bias.

All that said - you better be top of the class at either Wayne, MSU, or UofD if you want a job at a large Detroit firm. And even then, you need to have that "something" that gets you through the interview process and offered a job, whether that be personality, looks, interview skills, your family owns a huge business who will bring hundreds of thousands of dollars in business to whatever firm you're at and everyone knows it, or maybe fricken pure luck.

Those are the facts.

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Re: Associate at top 5 Michigan firm taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Mar 02, 2013 4:04 pm

OP here. A couple of thoughts ...

I'm pleasantly surprised to see U of D with 3 lawyers going to NLJ 250 firms. They've had a rough time of late. It would not surprise me if that number is a recent high.

The last time I checked (and it's been a year or two), I think Miller Canfield, Honigman and Dickinson were the only Southeast Michigan-based firms in the NLJ 250. So your metric here leaves Clark Hill, Dykema, Plunket, Bodman, Butzel and Jaffe (all of whom have summer programs) out of the equation. That is more than half the Detroit large firm market.

My takeaway? Your NLJ stats are interesting, but as I posted before, the overall numbers from top Detroit-based firms (42 associates from Wayne Law, 18 from Michigan State) show a 2-1 advantage for Wayne. Now, do I think MSU's position can and will improve? I do. But I don't expect MSU will ever pass Wayne, and currently they are not even with Wayne. The reasons for this are both historical and geographical.

And - for the record - I did not attend law school or undergrad in Michigan, so I'm a fairly neutral party in this opinion.

Edited to add: I delved into that link you posted. It lists firm-reported data from NLJ 250 firms for first-year associates. Here is what I found:

Dickinson: 4 MSU grads, 1 Wayne grad
Miller Canfield: 1 Wayne grad, 0 MSU grads
Honigman: 0 from both
Clark Hill: 1 MSU grad
Warner Norcross: 2 Wayne grads, 0 MSU grads (tough to say how applicable this is to my point, since WN is a Grand Rapids firm. We'd have to know if the Wayne SAs were for the Detroit office)

I don't know where the other two Wayne grads are floating around ...

Overall? Dickinson is a clear statistical outlier. Once you knock that out, it's pretty even. As I said, it is interesting from a 1-year snapshot perspective, but the long-term stats I listed above seem more meaningful.

And, yes, I completely agree with you conclusion: You better do very well at either of these schools to have any options at the NLJ 250 level.

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Re: Associate at top 5 Michigan firm taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jun 17, 2013 8:06 pm

Do you have any information on which of the large Michigan firms are most female-friendly?

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Re: Associate at top 5 Michigan firm taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jun 17, 2013 8:24 pm

are Indiana/Ohio ties useful in applying to Michigan firms (and vice versa, if you know). I'm from one of the three and looking to mail Indianapolis, Detroit, C-Bus, and Cincy

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Re: Associate at top 5 Michigan firm taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 17, 2013 11:23 am

Anonymous User wrote:Do you have any information on which of the large Michigan firms are most female-friendly?


This is a very difficult question to quantify. I would start by examining the number of female partners and then the number of female partners in the practice group(s) that most interest you. I would examine whether there are any trends present - did they lateral in or have they been with the firm their whole career, etc. I would then try to reach out to any femaile associates with a tie to your law school or undergrad institution.

OP




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