Big law versus Mid law?

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1L1284
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Big law versus Mid law?

Postby 1L1284 » Fri Sep 23, 2011 3:04 pm

Does anyone have any thoughts on key differences between the two?
The midlaw firm has about 50-60 attorneys with a good partner to associate ratio.
The billable hour requirement is only 50 hours less than the biglaw firm I am looking at.
The midlaw firm also pays 15K less.

Can anyone who is familiar with both perhaps comment on the lifestyle difference if any? I noticed that most partners at the midlaw firm had kids and families which I took as a positive sign. Also, are there any other benefits to going with the mid size firm?

Anonymous User
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Re: Big law versus Mid law?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 23, 2011 4:00 pm

I decided on my midsize firm because (1) junior associates gain substantive assignments sooner than it seemed junior associates at large firms do; (2) realistic chances of becoming partner; and (3) even though the pay is less, most of the associates were out of the office by 630ish during my callback, whereas the large firm was full of associates past 7pm. For me the decision came down to lifestyle and where I could be happy and grow professionally without worrying about an exit plan. I think these things are generally unique to midsize firms, but of course, that's not true accross the board.

imohnone
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Re: Big law versus Mid law?

Postby imohnone » Fri Sep 23, 2011 4:05 pm

A lot of larger firms have set billable hour requirements, but really expect associates to bill more.

Anonymous User
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Re: Big law versus Mid law?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 23, 2011 6:15 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I decided on my midsize firm because (1) junior associates gain substantive assignments sooner than it seemed junior associates at large firms do; (2) realistic chances of becoming partner; and (3) even though the pay is less, most of the associates were out of the office by 630ish during my callback, whereas the large firm was full of associates past 7pm. For me the decision came down to lifestyle and where I could be happy and grow professionally without worrying about an exit plan. I think these things are generally unique to midsize firms, but of course, that's not true accross the board.


Thank you, I had the same impressions as well but it's nice to hear from another person.

Anonymous User
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Re: Big law versus Mid law?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 23, 2011 7:35 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I decided on my midsize firm because (1) junior associates gain substantive assignments sooner than it seemed junior associates at large firms do; (2) realistic chances of becoming partner; and (3) even though the pay is less, most of the associates were out of the office by 630ish during my callback, whereas the large firm was full of associates past 7pm. For me the decision came down to lifestyle and where I could be happy and grow professionally without worrying about an exit plan. I think these things are generally unique to midsize firms, but of course, that's not true accross the board.


I'm accepting a boutique midlaw firm on Monday, and taking it over several V5/V15 options. I'm very excited about it. My reasons:

- The firm pays market, with slightly above market bonuses. Standard hours are slightly lower than Biglaw in the market where the firm is located, and MUCH lower than firms in NYC. Think 1900 or so as a target.
- Very, very good leverage numbers (more partners than associates, and almost all partners started with the firm).
- Short partnership track (7 years). This includes up to 2 clerkship years, so an associate can make partner five years into actual practice.
- Pretty interesting work, with much less doc review and much more early responsibility (depos in month 2, stand-up experience as a first and second year for paying clients, not just pro bono, etc.)
- Interesting, fairly unique practice groups
- City where I want to settle down and raise a family (not NYC/DC/LA, but a major US city).

I'm very happy with my final decision, even if it might mean slightly lesser "exit options" from the V5s or V15s I was considering in NYC or DC. If anyone has questions about choosing a boutique midlaw firm, I'd be happy to answer them!

NightHooded
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Re: Big law versus Mid law?

Postby NightHooded » Sat Sep 24, 2011 12:45 am

Now I'm confused on Big Law vs. Mid-law. It's all done due to the Vault ranking? Or are all V100 firms big law?

Why not select a smaller office of a Big Law firm?

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minnbills
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Re: Big law versus Mid law?

Postby minnbills » Sat Sep 24, 2011 12:47 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I decided on my midsize firm because (1) junior associates gain substantive assignments sooner than it seemed junior associates at large firms do; (2) realistic chances of becoming partner; and (3) even though the pay is less, most of the associates were out of the office by 630ish during my callback, whereas the large firm was full of associates past 7pm. For me the decision came down to lifestyle and where I could be happy and grow professionally without worrying about an exit plan. I think these things are generally unique to midsize firms, but of course, that's not true accross the board.


I'm accepting a boutique midlaw firm on Monday, and taking it over several V5/V15 options. I'm very excited about it. My reasons:

- The firm pays market, with slightly above market bonuses. Standard hours are slightly lower than Biglaw in the market where the firm is located, and MUCH lower than firms in NYC. Think 1900 or so as a target.
- Very, very good leverage numbers (more partners than associates, and almost all partners started with the firm).
- Short partnership track (7 years). This includes up to 2 clerkship years, so an associate can make partner five years into actual practice.
- Pretty interesting work, with much less doc review and much more early responsibility (depos in month 2, stand-up experience as a first and second year for paying clients, not just pro bono, etc.)
- Interesting, fairly unique practice groups
- City where I want to settle down and raise a family (not NYC/DC/LA, but a major US city).

I'm very happy with my final decision, even if it might mean slightly lesser "exit options" from the V5s or V15s I was considering in NYC or DC. If anyone has questions about choosing a boutique midlaw firm, I'd be happy to answer them!



Are you sure this is really midlaw? I mean, this sounds like an awesome boutique which is basically biglaw as far as TLS is concerned.

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Grizz
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Re: Big law versus Mid law?

Postby Grizz » Sat Sep 24, 2011 12:49 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I decided on my midsize firm because (1) junior associates gain substantive assignments sooner than it seemed junior associates at large firms do; (2) realistic chances of becoming partner; and (3) even though the pay is less, most of the associates were out of the office by 630ish during my callback, whereas the large firm was full of associates past 7pm. For me the decision came down to lifestyle and where I could be happy and grow professionally without worrying about an exit plan. I think these things are generally unique to midsize firms, but of course, that's not true accross the board.


I'm accepting a boutique midlaw firm on Monday, and taking it over several V5/V15 options. I'm very excited about it. My reasons:

- The firm pays market, with slightly above market bonuses. Standard hours are slightly lower than Biglaw in the market where the firm is located, and MUCH lower than firms in NYC. Think 1900 or so as a target.
- Very, very good leverage numbers (more partners than associates, and almost all partners started with the firm).
- Short partnership track (7 years). This includes up to 2 clerkship years, so an associate can make partner five years into actual practice.
- Pretty interesting work, with much less doc review and much more early responsibility (depos in month 2, stand-up experience as a first and second year for paying clients, not just pro bono, etc.)
- Interesting, fairly unique practice groups
- City where I want to settle down and raise a family (not NYC/DC/LA, but a major US city).

I'm very happy with my final decision, even if it might mean slightly lesser "exit options" from the V5s or V15s I was considering in NYC or DC. If anyone has questions about choosing a boutique midlaw firm, I'd be happy to answer them!


Exit options from V5 or V15 in lit look very much like the firm you're describing, or so I understand. Well done.

Anonymous User
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Re: Big law versus Mid law?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 24, 2011 1:07 am

I had two big law callbacks and two mid-size callbacks. The biggest difference I noticed wasn't the hours, work/life balance, or salary (one mid-size paid $160K and one biglaw paid $145K). It was the fact that midsize firms focus on promoting business-generation among young associates. In big law firms, partners do not expect or encourage young associates to bring in clients because that's the partners' job. Nor do they want young associates to get business for the firm because they want them to focus on the business the partners are raking in. Yet in mid-size firms, they promote young associates to build client base early on because these firms want all associates to become partners sooner or later.

smittytron3k
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Re: Big law versus Mid law?

Postby smittytron3k » Sat Sep 24, 2011 1:48 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I decided on my midsize firm because (1) junior associates gain substantive assignments sooner than it seemed junior associates at large firms do; (2) realistic chances of becoming partner; and (3) even though the pay is less, most of the associates were out of the office by 630ish during my callback, whereas the large firm was full of associates past 7pm. For me the decision came down to lifestyle and where I could be happy and grow professionally without worrying about an exit plan. I think these things are generally unique to midsize firms, but of course, that's not true accross the board.


I'm accepting a boutique midlaw firm on Monday, and taking it over several V5/V15 options. I'm very excited about it. My reasons:

- The firm pays market, with slightly above market bonuses. Standard hours are slightly lower than Biglaw in the market where the firm is located, and MUCH lower than firms in NYC. Think 1900 or so as a target.
- Very, very good leverage numbers (more partners than associates, and almost all partners started with the firm).
- Short partnership track (7 years). This includes up to 2 clerkship years, so an associate can make partner five years into actual practice.
- Pretty interesting work, with much less doc review and much more early responsibility (depos in month 2, stand-up experience as a first and second year for paying clients, not just pro bono, etc.)
- Interesting, fairly unique practice groups
- City where I want to settle down and raise a family (not NYC/DC/LA, but a major US city).

I'm very happy with my final decision, even if it might mean slightly lesser "exit options" from the V5s or V15s I was considering in NYC or DC. If anyone has questions about choosing a boutique midlaw firm, I'd be happy to answer them!


Enjoy Howard Rice.

Anonymous User
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Re: Big law versus Mid law?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 24, 2011 2:05 am

Interested in this topic as well

Ronburgandy2468
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Re: Big law versus Mid law?

Postby Ronburgandy2468 » Sat Sep 24, 2011 3:18 am

TLS generally says that the hours are the same in mid/big law.
I guess not?

1L1284
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Joined: Mon May 23, 2011 6:39 pm

Re: Big law versus Mid law?

Postby 1L1284 » Sat Sep 24, 2011 3:27 am

Anonymous User wrote:TLS generally says that the hours are the same in mid/big law.
I guess not?


What if the firm is biglaw but the office in question only has 20 or so attorneys? Does the HQ have much say about how it's run or is it more independent?

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Grizz
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Re: Big law versus Mid law?

Postby Grizz » Sat Sep 24, 2011 3:38 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:TLS generally says that the hours are the same in mid/big law.
I guess not?


What if the firm is biglaw but the office in question only has 20 or so attorneys? Does the HQ have much say about how it's run or is it more independent?

Depends on the firm and office.

Anonymous User
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Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Big law versus Mid law?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 24, 2011 8:45 am

Anonymous User wrote:I had two big law callbacks and two mid-size callbacks. The biggest difference I noticed wasn't the hours, work/life balance, or salary (one mid-size paid $160K and one biglaw paid $145K). It was the fact that midsize firms focus on promoting business-generation among young associates. In big law firms, partners do not expect or encourage young associates to bring in clients because that's the partners' job. Nor do they want young associates to get business for the firm because they want them to focus on the business the partners are raking in. Yet in mid-size firms, they promote young associates to build client base early on because these firms want all associates to become partners sooner or later.


I think you are framing this as a completely positive difference, and I'm not so sure that I would. "Rainmaking" is not something we really learn in law school, and I believe that being expected to bring in new business as a young associate can put a lot more pressure on you. I am going to a V20 where I know I am not expected to bring in new clients (assuming, of course, that I get an offer at the end of next summer), and I placed that fact was in the "pro" column when I was making a decision between that firm and some others. In talking to many people who worked at the firm I'm going to, they also counted this as a positive aspect of life when they compared it to their or their friends' experiences at other firms in my market.

That being said, there are obvious benefits to life as an associate at firms that encourage you to bring in new business as well, and if you've got the gift, I'm sure it can lead to very lucrative opportunities.




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