Why the obsession with exit options?

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Anonymous User
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Why the obsession with exit options?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 10, 2011 11:12 pm

I'm sure there is something I'm missing, but why do people care so much about exit options? Is it not reasonable to just want to work at a biglaw firm and try to advance through the ranks at the firm? That seems to be the way to go in most industries. Is it the slim chances of making partner? Somewhat confused about what the point of it all is...

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Re: Why the obsession with exit options?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 10, 2011 11:18 pm

Dude, REALLY? Are you already a 2L or are you reading this as a 0L or 1L?

Partnership is tough to make, and a lot of people DONT WANT to make it - they'd rather have a family, make good money but with lesser hours and demands.

Hence, it's important to know into which doors your future firm will be able to get you.

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patrickd139
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Re: Why the obsession with exit options?

Postby patrickd139 » Sat Sep 10, 2011 11:21 pm

Other than the absurd short-sightedness of the post, why was this anonymous?

Analogy: What is people's obsession with gauging a school's employment options at the median instead of the top 10% of the class?

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Re: Why the obsession with exit options?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 10, 2011 11:25 pm

patrickd139 wrote:Other than the absurd short-sightedness of the post, why was this anonymous?

Analogy: What is people's obsession with gauging a school's employment options at the median instead of the top 10% of the class?


OP here. I'm a 2L. It's a serious question. What are the odds of becoming a CEO or VP of a F500 company? People still try to do that and it takes hard work. I'm honestly curious what people's thoughts are, sorry if it pisses people off. As a 2L going through LOLCI, I'd rather post anon. That's why it's anon.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Sat Sep 10, 2011 11:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Why the obsession with exit options?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 10, 2011 11:25 pm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cravath_System

Not atypical of biglaw firms in general, though Cravath is probably much more on the strict up-or-out spectrum than most. But, even at firms that don't have a strict up-or-out policy, the chances of making partner are very very slim (as in maybe 2 out of an entering associate class of 100 will make partner).

Also, not everyone wants to permanently stay in biglaw, but rather enter biglaw to gain experience. Lots of desirable legal jobs are only available to biglaw exits, including coveted in-house counsel positions, positions at some prestigious boutiques, and certain types of public service work (like becoming a federal prosecutor).

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ggocat
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Re: Why the obsession with exit options?

Postby ggocat » Sat Sep 10, 2011 11:41 pm

Anonymous User wrote:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cravath_System

See also, e.g., --LinkRemoved--.

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Re: Why the obsession with exit options?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 11, 2011 12:52 am

ggocat wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cravath_System

See also, e.g., --LinkRemoved--.


Fair enough.

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Na_Swatch
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Re: Why the obsession with exit options?

Postby Na_Swatch » Sun Sep 11, 2011 1:06 am

Lol seriously, this is like asking, "why the obsession with law school employment stats? i'm going to be top 10% no matter where I go!"


(Except that the odds are even less than 10%)

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quakeroats
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Re: Why the obsession with exit options?

Postby quakeroats » Sun Sep 11, 2011 1:26 am

Anonymous User wrote:I'm sure there is something I'm missing, but why do people care so much about exit options? Is it not reasonable to just want to work at a biglaw firm and try to advance through the ranks at the firm? That seems to be the way to go in most industries. Is it the slim chances of making partner? Somewhat confused about what the point of it all is...


Law schools are full of children that cower in the face of a 65-hour work week. They generally came to law school right out of undergrad without any interest in legal work or client development. But, they are interested in making money--as long as it doesn't involve more than 40 hours a week or, god forbid, developing business--so they want to keep their options open.

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Re: Why the obsession with exit options?

Postby keg411 » Sun Sep 11, 2011 9:42 am

quakeroats wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I'm sure there is something I'm missing, but why do people care so much about exit options? Is it not reasonable to just want to work at a biglaw firm and try to advance through the ranks at the firm? That seems to be the way to go in most industries. Is it the slim chances of making partner? Somewhat confused about what the point of it all is...


Law schools are full of children that cower in the face of a 65-hour work week. They generally came to law school right out of undergrad without any interest in legal work or client development. But, they are interested in making money--as long as it doesn't involve more than 40 hours a week or, god forbid, developing business--so they want to keep their options open.


Have you ever even worked in BigLaw? "Making partner" takes a lot more than 65 hour work weeks, and "business development" isn't something everyone is able to do unless you have serious connections in your firm's industry/ies.

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quakeroats
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Re: Why the obsession with exit options?

Postby quakeroats » Sun Sep 11, 2011 10:00 am

keg411 wrote:
quakeroats wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I'm sure there is something I'm missing, but why do people care so much about exit options? Is it not reasonable to just want to work at a biglaw firm and try to advance through the ranks at the firm? That seems to be the way to go in most industries. Is it the slim chances of making partner? Somewhat confused about what the point of it all is...


Law schools are full of children that cower in the face of a 65-hour work week. They generally came to law school right out of undergrad without any interest in legal work or client development. But, they are interested in making money--as long as it doesn't involve more than 40 hours a week or, god forbid, developing business--so they want to keep their options open.


Have you ever even worked in BigLaw? "Making partner" takes a lot more than 65 hour work weeks, and "business development" isn't something everyone is able to do unless you have serious connections in your firm's industry/ies.


Sometimes you'll work more, other times less. Connections don't fall from the sky. They're built up over time.

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Re: Why the obsession with exit options?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 11, 2011 10:17 am

quakeroats wrote:Sometimes you'll work more, other times less. Connections don't fall from the sky. They're built up over time.


To be on track for partner at these firms, working 65+ is the NORM. So yes, I guess sometimes you'll work 60 / week, sometimes a 70 / week. Also note, this is a necessity to make partner, but no where near sufficient.

Also, no one denies connections are built up over time, but so much of whether you are able to build those connections are based on factors you can't control or just grind out with lots of hard work.

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Re: Why the obsession with exit options?

Postby quakeroats » Sun Sep 11, 2011 10:32 am

Anonymous User wrote:
quakeroats wrote:Sometimes you'll work more, other times less. Connections don't fall from the sky. They're built up over time.


To be on track for partner at these firms, working 65+ is the NORM. So yes, I guess sometimes you'll work 60 / week, sometimes a 70 / week. Also note, this is a necessity to make partner, but no where near sufficient.

Also, no one denies connections are built up over time, but so much of whether you are able to build those connections are based on factors you can't control or just grind out with lots of hard work.


Nonsense. Building a book isn't any more difficult than practicing law well. It is different, but that's no reason to assume there are some secret factors that determine one's success or failure. External issues are no more determinative here than they would be elsewhere.

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Re: Why the obsession with exit options?

Postby keg411 » Sun Sep 11, 2011 10:41 am

quakeroats wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
quakeroats wrote:Sometimes you'll work more, other times less. Connections don't fall from the sky. They're built up over time.


To be on track for partner at these firms, working 65+ is the NORM. So yes, I guess sometimes you'll work 60 / week, sometimes a 70 / week. Also note, this is a necessity to make partner, but no where near sufficient.

Also, no one denies connections are built up over time, but so much of whether you are able to build those connections are based on factors you can't control or just grind out with lots of hard work.


Nonsense. Building a book isn't any more difficult than practicing law well. It is different, but that's no reason to assume there are some secret factors that determine one's success or failure. External issues are no more determinative here than they would be elsewhere.


How do you even know what it takes to build a book of business and that it's not that difficult? I think you're mistaken in that you think anyone who isn't "lazy" can make partner at a BigLaw firm.

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quakeroats
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Re: Why the obsession with exit options?

Postby quakeroats » Sun Sep 11, 2011 10:46 am

keg411 wrote:
quakeroats wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
quakeroats wrote:Sometimes you'll work more, other times less. Connections don't fall from the sky. They're built up over time.


To be on track for partner at these firms, working 65+ is the NORM. So yes, I guess sometimes you'll work 60 / week, sometimes a 70 / week. Also note, this is a necessity to make partner, but no where near sufficient.

Also, no one denies connections are built up over time, but so much of whether you are able to build those connections are based on factors you can't control or just grind out with lots of hard work.


Nonsense. Building a book isn't any more difficult than practicing law well. It is different, but that's no reason to assume there are some secret factors that determine one's success or failure. External issues are no more determinative here than they would be elsewhere.


How do you even know what it takes to build a book of business and that it's not that difficult?


Experience.

I think you're mistaken in that you think anyone who isn't "lazy" can make partner at a BigLaw firm.

I didn't say that.

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Re: Why the obsession with exit options?

Postby TooOld4This » Sun Sep 11, 2011 10:47 am

Not thinking about exit options is foolish. You should always be looking at "what's next" in your career.

Whether you make partner is a lot less in your control than people would like to believe. Politics plays a huge part. The economy plays a huge part. Movement of partners plays a huge part. You cannot control any of these issues as a junior (or even senior) associate.

Unlike the "corporate" model the OP referred to, law firms will not just keep you around. It's up or out. Some firms will make the determination of whether you are partnership material very early. You can be starved out of work before you've even really had a chance to get your footing.

Now, if you think you want to become a partner, by all means you should pursue it. You should choose firms that have lower leverage, tend to hire with idea of preserving a certain firm culture, have personalities you think you will fit in with, allow movement within practice groups, etc. When you start work, you will often see that some associates are doing time and others really want to stay long term. Management picks up on this too. You can do things to maximize your chances of staying around, but those who don't also keep a Plan B in mind do so at great peril.

Planning on making partner and preserving exit options are not mutually exclusive activities.

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Re: Why the obsession with exit options?

Postby quakeroats » Sun Sep 11, 2011 11:01 am

TooOld4This wrote:Not thinking about exit options is foolish. You should always be looking at "what's next" in your career.

Whether you make partner is a lot less in your control than people would like to believe. Politics plays a huge part. The economy plays a huge part. Movement of partners plays a huge part. You cannot control any of these issues as a junior (or even senior) associate.

Unlike the "corporate" model the OP referred to, law firms will not just keep you around. It's up or out. Some firms will make the determination of whether you are partnership material very early. You can be starved out of work before you've even really had a chance to get your footing.

Now, if you think you want to become a partner, by all means you should pursue it. You should choose firms that have lower leverage, tend to hire with idea of preserving a certain firm culture, have personalities you think you will fit in with, allow movement within practice groups, etc. When you start work, you will often see that some associates are doing time and others really want to stay long term. Management picks up on this too. You can do things to maximize your chances of staying around, but those who don't also keep a Plan B in mind do so at great peril.

Planning on making partner and preserving exit options are not mutually exclusive activities.


Politics is within your control. Not completely of course, but that's what keeps it interesting.

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Re: Why the obsession with exit options?

Postby quakeroats » Sun Sep 11, 2011 11:30 am

G. T. L. Rev. wrote:The discussion above makes some good points, but too many TLS users throw around exit options without really knowing what they are talking about. Most frequently, they do this to justify picking a higher ranked firm.


+1

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Veyron
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Re: Why the obsession with exit options?

Postby Veyron » Sun Sep 11, 2011 11:33 am

Making partner doesn't require more than 65 hours a week if you bring in lots of business (though you usually can't bill for the time you spend on this). Most firms have a sliding scale - the more hours billed, the less business development you need to have done and vice versa.

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Re: Why the obsession with exit options?

Postby HamDel » Sun Sep 11, 2011 11:53 am

quakeroats wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
quakeroats wrote:Sometimes you'll work more, other times less. Connections don't fall from the sky. They're built up over time.


To be on track for partner at these firms, working 65+ is the NORM. So yes, I guess sometimes you'll work 60 / week, sometimes a 70 / week. Also note, this is a necessity to make partner, but no where near sufficient.

Also, no one denies connections are built up over time, but so much of whether you are able to build those connections are based on factors you can't control or just grind out with lots of hard work.


Nonsense. Building a book isn't any more difficult than practicing law well. It is different, but that's no reason to assume there are some secret factors that determine one's success or failure. External issues are no more determinative here than they would be elsewhere.


This whole site is full of exactly this. People with absolutely NO experience talking in authoritative voices about "what it takes" to get to a place they've never been.

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rayiner
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Re: Why the obsession with exit options?

Postby rayiner » Sun Sep 11, 2011 1:05 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
patrickd139 wrote:Other than the absurd short-sightedness of the post, why was this anonymous?

Analogy: What is people's obsession with gauging a school's employment options at the median instead of the top 10% of the class?


OP here. I'm a 2L. It's a serious question. What are the odds of becoming a CEO or VP of a F500 company? People still try to do that and it takes hard work. I'm honestly curious what people's thoughts are, sorry if it pisses people off. As a 2L going through LOLCI, I'd rather post anon. That's why it's anon.


The odds of becoming CEO or VP of an F500 company are slim, but if you fail to attain that position at an F500 company, you're not forced to leave. Banking/consulting/law doesn't operate on that model. The premise there is that you either improve at every step until you're partner material, or you're asked to leave. People care about exit options because having to leave the firm is the expected outcome.

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Bronte
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Re: Why the obsession with exit options?

Postby Bronte » Sun Sep 11, 2011 1:09 pm

Since it's self-evident that exit options matter, anyone have a good perception as to how to go about gauging the quality of exit options?

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Re: Why the obsession with exit options?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 11, 2011 1:16 pm

TooOld4This wrote:Whether you make partner is a lot less in your control than people would like to believe. Politics plays a huge part. The economy plays a huge part. Movement of partners plays a huge part. You cannot control any of these issues as a junior (or even senior) associate.


This is especially true at big firms. At these firms, you don't become partner by "building a book." Associates by and large can't land the sorts of big clients that these firms take on. Business is brought in largely on the reputation of partners who are experts in their field. At these firms, partnership depends heavily on luck and the ability to manage the firm's existing client relationships. You become partner at Cravath not because you bring in a Google M&A deal, but by handling IBM's M&A work so well that you put yourself in a position to manage that client relationship.

Luck plays a huge role in this process. During the boom, S&C, DPW and STB were promoting more than a dozen partners per year. These past years, it was 4-6 per year. To give an example of what it takes, one partner promoted recently at one of the V5 happened to be handling a particular client relationship in the financial industry when the markets collapsed. Obviously skill played a big part in helping him take advantage of the resulting opportunity, but to some extent the opportunity itself was the result of luck.

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Bronte
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Re: Why the obsession with exit options?

Postby Bronte » Sun Sep 11, 2011 1:18 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
TooOld4This wrote:Whether you make partner is a lot less in your control than people would like to believe. Politics plays a huge part. The economy plays a huge part. Movement of partners plays a huge part. You cannot control any of these issues as a junior (or even senior) associate.


This is especially true at big firms. At these firms, you don't become partner by "building a book." Associates by and large can't land the sorts of big clients that these firms take on. Business is brought in largely on the reputation of partners who are experts in their field. At these firms, partnership depends heavily on luck and the ability to manage the firm's existing client relationships. You become partner at Cravath not because you bring in a Google M&A deal, but by handling IBM's M&A work so well that you put yourself in a position to manage that client relationship.

Luck plays a huge role in this process. During the boom, S&C, DPW and STB were promoting more than a dozen partners per year. These past years, it was 4-6 per year. To give an example of what it takes, one partner promoted recently at one of the V5 happened to be handling a particular client relationship in the financial industry when the markets collapsed. Obviously skill played a big part in helping him take advantage of the resulting opportunity, but to some extent the opportunity itself was the result of luck.


Good insight. I've always thought the prospect of building a book as an associate at firm that handles mostly Fortune 500 clients seems pretty dubious.

ee1122
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Re: Why the obsession with exit options?

Postby ee1122 » Sun Sep 11, 2011 1:49 pm

in response to the "up and out" point made above, where/how can one figure out what a firm's specific policy on this is. i'm considering two offers and whether a firm kicks you out after 5 years or lets you stay for longer is important to me. aside from talking with people at post-offer visits, how can i find this out? is this info typically available on the firm's website? nalp? help?




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