Associate at top 5 Michigan firm taking questions

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Re: Associate at top 5 Michigan firm taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Feb 04, 2012 4:03 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I summered at a Cleveland firm a couple years ago and was from Detroit and let me tell you.... they treated me like I was from a different country... I don't think they put a lot of weight on the closeness of the two cities. Most of my co workers have never even been to Detroit. They talked about what HS they went to and all of them seemed to have went to St. Ignatius in Cleveland or something....

Id say just about everyone in the Cleveland market has some kind of ties to Cleveland. Most grew up in the area. The other small minority moved back because of their wife.

I think it might be the same way in Detroit.


I'm an associate at a Cleveland firm with no ties to Cleveland, and I know at least 2 other people (one who is from SE MI) in my class with no ties to the city (i.e., former resident, spouse, school, etc.). I don't think it's unheard of to get jobs in markets like Cleveland or Detroit if you have strong credentials and can articulate some reasons for general interest in the area. I played up the general "Midwest" as a reason for going to Cleveland, and I emphasized my desire to stay long term. The other associates I know had similar profiles.

There's no question you face an uphill battle trying to get jobs in relatively insular legal markets like Michigan if you have few or no ties, but it can be done.

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Re: Associate at top 5 Michigan firm taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Feb 04, 2012 9:36 pm

Anonymous User wrote:don't know if the op is still around....
What are the lateral opportunities to other markets ie NY/CA/IL from a top 5 Michigan firm?
How is the quality of the work compared to firms in major cities ie Chicago, NYC, LA?


OP here.

In my experience it's highly unusual for an associate to lateral out of a top 5 Michigan firm to another city. It generally flows in the other direction. As I mentioned up top, the firms work hard to avoid this by really pushing SA candidates on their local ties and desire to be in Michigan. I know of one associate lateraling to LA for an in-house job. Think that particular associate wanted out of firm law, tho.

Can't comment on the quality of work, given that I've never worked in NY or LA.

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Re: Associate at top 5 Michigan firm taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Feb 04, 2012 9:39 pm

Does your firm do a background check before hiring? Do most law firms?

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Re: Associate at top 5 Michigan firm taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Feb 04, 2012 9:44 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Out of curiosity, do you know what opportunities there are in the Detroit market for environmental law? I grew up in Metro-Detroit, have extensive family here, and worked for General Motors at one point, so I have fairly strong ties. Just not sure what kind of work there is for my concentration.


OP here.

My fellow associates and I tend to roll our eyes because so many law students say they want to practice environmental. The competition for those spots is quite high. Seemingly everyone has an environmental group, but some are a lot larger and a lot more active than others - you'll want to do your homework. You should also realize that you could summer at a firm, get an offer, and then not get placed in their environmental group if there isn't an opening. Happens all the time.

If your heart is absolutely set at practicing environmental, you might want to consider trying for an in-house spot at a place like Dow or the EPA. With experience like that you'd be able to lateral to firm law quite easily IMO.

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Re: Associate at top 5 Michigan firm taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Feb 04, 2012 9:46 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Does your firm do a background check before hiring? Do most law firms?


If we do, it's above my pay grade. I would guess we don't.

No idea on other firms.

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Re: Associate at top 5 Michigan firm taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Feb 04, 2012 9:49 pm

UML wrote:University of Michigan student here.

What can I do to increase my chances of getting a 1L SA position in Detroit?


As noted above, if you're a minority you can apply through the Wolverine Bar Association Summer Clerkship program, which places 1Ls with Detroit firms for the first half the summer and with a federal judge in the Eastern District for the second half.

My understanding is that the Wolverine Bar positions are the only paid 1L positions in Detroit. The Grand Rapids firms have some paid positions for 1Ls. Not sure why Detroit doesn't.

OP
Last edited by Anonymous User on Sat Feb 04, 2012 9:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Associate at top 5 Michigan firm taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Feb 04, 2012 9:52 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I'm a 1L at the University of Michigan. My wife and I are not from Michigan, but we fell in love Ann Arbor and want to say here after graduation: live in Ann Arbor, commute to Detroit. What's your advice re: 1L SAs in Detroit this summer? How should an out-of-state-er approach the hunt?


If you're at UM you'll have a shot with the Detroit firms. See my post above about 1L SA positions.

If you're not a minority and you want to stay in Detroit I'd strongly suggest spending your 1L summer with a federal judge in the Eastern District. Firms like the federal court experience and it gives you another tie to the market.

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Re: Associate at top 5 Michigan firm taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Feb 04, 2012 10:51 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:don't know if the op is still around....
What are the lateral opportunities to other markets ie NY/CA/IL from a top 5 Michigan firm?
How is the quality of the work compared to firms in major cities ie Chicago, NYC, LA?


OP here.

In my experience it's highly unusual for an associate to lateral out of a top 5 Michigan firm to another city. It generally flows in the other direction. As I mentioned up top, the firms work hard to avoid this by really pushing SA candidates on their local ties and desire to be in Michigan. I know of one associate lateraling to LA for an in-house job. Think that particular associate wanted out of firm law, tho.

Can't comment on the quality of work, given that I've never worked in NY or LA.


Thanks for the response. Do you think that is due to self selection, less opportunities if you start at a smaller firm, or both?



Thanks

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Re: Associate at top 5 Michigan firm taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Feb 04, 2012 11:07 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Thanks for the response. Do you think that is due to self selection, less opportunities if you start at a smaller firm, or both?



Probably a combination of all those factors, plus the fact that Michigan has an extremely low cost of living. Making $100k to $120k base plus bonus here gives you a higher standard of living than someone making $160k plus bonus in NYC/DC/LA. Plus the workplace culture is very different - associates at my firm rarely stay past 7 p.m., and that's obviously not how things are done in Big Law. You also typically receive substantive work on a much more accelerated schedule.

I have great connections at a 400+ attorney firm on the East Coast and a 350+ firm in the West. I'm confident I could play those cards and lateral if I wanted to. But I like Michigan, love the people I work with, don't think the financial windfall would be that significant, and am already doing challenging work. Why move?

That said, I'm sure people do.

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Re: Associate at top 5 Michigan firm taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Feb 05, 2012 12:24 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Thanks for the response. Do you think that is due to self selection, less opportunities if you start at a smaller firm, or both?



Probably a combination of all those factors, plus the fact that Michigan has an extremely low cost of living. Making $100k to $120k base plus bonus here gives you a higher standard of living than someone making $160k plus bonus in NYC/DC/LA. Plus the workplace culture is very different - associates at my firm rarely stay past 7 p.m., and that's obviously not how things are done in Big Law. You also typically receive substantive work on a much more accelerated schedule.

I have great connections at a 400+ attorney firm on the East Coast and a 350+ firm in the West. I'm confident I could play those cards and lateral if I wanted to. But I like Michigan, love the people I work with, don't think the financial windfall would be that significant, and am already doing challenging work. Why move?

That said, I'm sure people do.


Hello, OP.

I was just wondering how did you get the "great connections" to other firms?
I am a 3L who will be working in a secondary city similar to Detroit and my current significant other might want to move back to LA after residency. (She is from California)

Thanks.

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Re: Associate at top 5 Michigan firm taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Feb 05, 2012 2:52 pm

I'm a career changer and developed the first relationship in my original career. It was a close friendship outside of the law through the first career. Senior partner on exec committee, etc. The second relationship is a senior partner with close ties to my law school who I've cultivated over the years and have since referred work to. Head of their group in my area, etc.

I have a surprising amount of relationships at other firms via my first career, which is why I consistently tell prospective law students that they're much better off spending 3-4 years in another area prior to going to law school. Higher education or charity development is a great first career because you (a) meet a lot of lawyers; and (b) meet a lot of business people and wealthy individuals who donate to colleges/charities. Everybody's impatient, though. I don't think one person I've told to wait has waited.

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Re: Associate at top 5 Michigan firm taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Feb 08, 2012 10:51 am

3L joining the corporate group of a regional biglaw firm. This might sound weird... but what kind of things do corp associates actually do?

Thanks

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Re: Associate at top 5 Michigan firm taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Feb 08, 2012 1:33 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Thanks for the response. Do you think that is due to self selection, less opportunities if you start at a smaller firm, or both?



Probably a combination of all those factors, plus the fact that Michigan has an extremely low cost of living. Making $100k to $120k base plus bonus here gives you a higher standard of living than someone making $160k plus bonus in NYC/DC/LA. Plus the workplace culture is very different - associates at my firm rarely stay past 7 p.m., and that's obviously not how things are done in Big Law. You also typically receive substantive work on a much more accelerated schedule.
I have great connections at a 400+ attorney firm on the East Coast and a 350+ firm in the West. I'm confident I could play those cards and lateral if I wanted to. But I like Michigan, love the people I work with, don't think the financial windfall would be that significant, and am already doing challenging work. Why move?

That said, I'm sure people do.


The bolded part is absolutely true. I was at a hearing within a month of getting my law license, and drafting motions for summary disposition with a few months. I attended a case evaluation on a $40,000 leasing dispute within three months, and won. You hear people say things like "if you work in Biglaw you won't see a courtroom for years." Well, that may be true in NY, but not in D-Town. I'll have more practical practice skills by the end of my second year practicing than a lot of NY Biglaw attorneys will have after four.

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Re: Associate at top 5 Michigan firm taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Feb 08, 2012 1:43 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Thanks for the response. Do you think that is due to self selection, less opportunities if you start at a smaller firm, or both?



Probably a combination of all those factors, plus the fact that Michigan has an extremely low cost of living. Making $100k to $120k base plus bonus here gives you a higher standard of living than someone making $160k plus bonus in NYC/DC/LA. Plus the workplace culture is very different - associates at my firm rarely stay past 7 p.m., and that's obviously not how things are done in Big Law. You also typically receive substantive work on a much more accelerated schedule.
I have great connections at a 400+ attorney firm on the East Coast and a 350+ firm in the West. I'm confident I could play those cards and lateral if I wanted to. But I like Michigan, love the people I work with, don't think the financial windfall would be that significant, and am already doing challenging work. Why move?

That said, I'm sure people do.


The bolded part is absolutely true. I was at a hearing within a month of getting my law license, and drafting motions for summary disposition with a few months. I attended a case evaluation on a $40,000 leasing dispute within three months, and won. You hear people say things like "if you work in Biglaw you won't see a courtroom for years." Well, that may be true in NY, but not in D-Town. I'll have more practical practice skills by the end of my second year practicing than a lot of NY Biglaw attorneys will have after four.



Does this then make you more attractive to biglaw ny/chicago/LA firms as a lateral candidate? or if not, do you know why it doesn't help?

Lastly, is there a difference in "prestige" between the top 5 firms?
I'm guessing the top 5 firms are Miller, Butzel, Dickinson, Dykma, Clark Hill?
Thanks in advance.

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Re: Associate at top 5 Michigan firm taking questions

Postby ahnhub » Sun Feb 12, 2012 1:36 am

How would Michigan firms view someone from Detroit who went to another T-14 school like NYU and wanted to come back to work in Michigan? Somewhat suspiciously?

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Re: Associate at top 5 Michigan firm taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 14, 2012 9:27 am

Anonymous User wrote:Does this then make you more attractive to biglaw ny/chicago/LA firms as a lateral candidate? or if not, do you know why it doesn't help?


In law school I had a long conversation with one of the top lateral headhunters in Chicago. He said that early experience that translates to Biglaw makes you more attractive. I asked what translates and he said it depends on the group, but that for litigation associates it's things like taking deps and drafting SD motions, while for someone in corporate or banking it's being involved in the kind of deals that your potential lateral firm is involved in.


Anonymous User wrote:Lastly, is there a difference in "prestige" between the top 5 firms?
I'm guessing the top 5 firms are Miller, Butzel, Dickinson, Dykma, Clark Hill?


It would be pretty unusual for a partner or associate to leave Honigman, Bodman, Miller Canfield or Dickinson for any firm outside of that group. Not completely unheard of, but pretty unusual - and I think that defines the top tier for you. Is there a difference? The folks at those firms would probably say there is, the folks at other firms might argue there isn't (and anyone at Honigman would simply chuckle condescendingly at your question).

;)

OP
Last edited by Anonymous User on Tue Feb 14, 2012 9:32 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Associate at top 5 Michigan firm taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 14, 2012 9:28 am

ahnhub wrote:How would Michigan firms view someone from Detroit who went to another T-14 school like NYU and wanted to come back to work in Michigan? Somewhat suspiciously?


No, my firm would consider you an attractive candidate. Very much so.

OP.

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Re: Associate at top 5 Michigan firm taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 14, 2012 9:29 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:The bolded part is absolutely true. I was at a hearing within a month of getting my law license, and drafting motions for summary disposition with a few months. I attended a case evaluation on a $40,000 leasing dispute within three months, and won. You hear people say things like "if you work in Biglaw you won't see a courtroom for years." Well, that may be true in NY, but not in D-Town. I'll have more practical practice skills by the end of my second year practicing than a lot of NY Biglaw attorneys will have after four.


Your experience mirrors my own, and that of other associates at my firm, regardless of group.

OP

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Re: Associate at top 5 Michigan firm taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 14, 2012 4:56 pm

ahnhub wrote:How would Michigan firms view someone from Detroit who went to another T-14 school like NYU and wanted to come back to work in Michigan? Somewhat suspiciously?


Not OP here, but am in D-Town large firm, and we'd love to interview you. But have a good story for why you're back besides "I couldn't get work elsewhere." That suggests you'll lateral out as soon as you can.

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Re: Associate at top 5 Michigan firm taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 14, 2012 4:57 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Does this then make you more attractive to biglaw ny/chicago/LA firms as a lateral candidate? or if not, do you know why it doesn't help?


In law school I had a long conversation with one of the top lateral headhunters in Chicago. He said that early experience that translates to Biglaw makes you more attractive. I asked what translates and he said it depends on the group, but that for litigation associates it's things like taking deps and drafting SD motions, while for someone in corporate or banking it's being involved in the kind of deals that your potential lateral firm is involved in.


Anonymous User wrote:Lastly, is there a difference in "prestige" between the top 5 firms?
I'm guessing the top 5 firms are Miller, Butzel, Dickinson, Dykma, Clark Hill?


It would be pretty unusual for a partner or associate to leave Honigman, Bodman, Miller Canfield or Dickinson for any firm outside of that group. Not completely unheard of, but pretty unusual - and I think that defines the top tier for you. Is there a difference? The folks at those firms would probably say there is, the folks at other firms might argue there isn't (and anyone at Honigman would simply chuckle condescendingly at your question).

;)

OP


ZING!

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Re: Associate at top 5 Michigan firm taking questions

Postby grtbooks91 » Tue Feb 14, 2012 5:50 pm

0L here, likely heading to ND in the fall, and I'd love to get back to one of the big firms in Detroit. I grew up in the area (ages 0-18) and my whole family is still in the suburbs. Additionally, I know partners in Miller Canfield, Plunket Cooney, and Kerr Russell very well.

Are those substantive enough ties? How well would I have to do at ND to get in the door at the firms discussed above and others like Honigman, Butzel, Dykema, etc.?

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Re: Associate at top 5 Michigan firm taking questions

Postby Cubyfan21 » Tue Feb 14, 2012 8:17 pm

I am from West Michigan, and go to U of M. I am a 1L and am wondering if you could talk about the gpa requirements for firms in Michigan. Specifically, I am hoping to work in Grand Rapids. Also, do firms take the same approach to 1L recruiting; I mean, do they invite a lot of 1L's back for a callback interview?

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Re: Associate at top 5 Michigan firm taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Feb 15, 2012 9:23 pm

grtbooks91 wrote:0L here, likely heading to ND in the fall, and I'd love to get back to one of the big firms in Detroit. I grew up in the area (ages 0-18) and my whole family is still in the suburbs. Additionally, I know partners in Miller Canfield, Plunket Cooney, and Kerr Russell very well.

Are those substantive enough ties? How well would I have to do at ND to get in the door at the firms discussed above and others like Honigman, Butzel, Dykema, etc.?


Those are solid ties and should get you a look. It's always difficult to set a GPA or class rank parameter. Anything below a 3.0 or median in your class would rule you out with my firm IMO, no matter how good your ties are. Above a 3.5 and/or top third of your class will considerably help your chances. Everything in between is a sliding scale. Did you make law review? Is your Dad VP at Ford Motor Credit? Is your aunt a partner at our firm? Are your extracurriculars special? Do you interview particularly well? If so, those factors, in combination with a GPA over 3.0, might get you an offer. A previous career can also help a lot, but it doesn't appear you're in that category.

You could also help your chances by spending some time this summer and next summer interning with local judges - Eastern District and Wayne/Oakland circuit would be best - or with an in-house counsel's office. You should also develop those ties with firms - ask your contacts what would help you be an attractive summer associate candidate, ask them if their firm has summer filing clerk positions, etc.

OP

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Re: Associate at top 5 Michigan firm taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Feb 15, 2012 9:29 pm

Cubyfan21 wrote:I am from West Michigan, and go to U of M. I am a 1L and am wondering if you could talk about the gpa requirements for firms in Michigan. Specifically, I am hoping to work in Grand Rapids. Also, do firms take the same approach to 1L recruiting; I mean, do they invite a lot of 1L's back for a callback interview?


If you're talking about a 1L summer position, it will likely be more competitive IMO than a 2L summer position. From a West Michigan 1L position perspective, it really helps to know someone at the firm

See above for GPA thoughts.

BTW, if you're above median at UM you'll have a lot of options. My advice would be not to just focus on the GR area, it's too small to guarantee you'll get a spot. Make sure you target Detroit and Chicago as well.

OP

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Re: Associate at top 5 Michigan firm taking questions

Postby CGI Fridays » Sat Feb 25, 2012 6:09 pm

Anonymous User wrote:...what kind of things do corp associates actually do?

Thanks




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