accepted offers from 2 firms- what to do?

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Master Tofu
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Re: accepted offers from 2 firms- what to do?

Postby Master Tofu » Wed Dec 21, 2011 2:14 pm

MrKappus wrote:You've incorrectly framed this as a navel-gazing debate about ethics. There are practical, real-life consequences to acting without regard for your reputation, and the legal world can be a pretty small one. This is particularly true in small- and medium-sized markets, where alienating an entire firm isn't something one should take lightly.


You've incorrectly framed my response but thanks for playing. I was not saying reputation should not be considered but that characterizing a rescission of contract as ethically offensive is over-the-top posturing and unhelpful.

Master Tofu
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Re: accepted offers from 2 firms- what to do?

Postby Master Tofu » Wed Dec 21, 2011 2:18 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Master Tofu wrote:
Your moral posturing is ethically offensive to me. Please refrain. People are trying to make a tough life decision and you regurgitating something you heard in your social philosophy class is not helpful.


Yes, how dare I suggest that someone act with integrity! Life decisions should never be made with such a consideration.


Ever heard of the efficient breach? Even if it is poor form to renege, it's hardly ethically offensive. To take it one step further, how you see fit to pontificate on what is or is not ethically offensive without knowing ANYTHING about the poster and his or her personal circumstances is beyond me.

Anonymous User
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Re: accepted offers from 2 firms- what to do?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Dec 22, 2011 9:07 am

Would love to hear an update if OP feels comfortable.


No action taken yet, things have been too crazy at work for Firm B this last week and I didn't want to deal with the extra stress. I'm taking off some time next week, and I'm going to write out a script of what to tell them. I'm sure that if I just lay out my situation they'll certainly be pissed in the short-term, but not to the point that they'll take actions to harm me in the longer-term, which is all I'm really worried about.

I think that Kappus does have a point to some extent. I'm not in NYC, where you could probably do something like this with relatively minimal repercussions, but I'm not in bumblefuck nowhere either. Also working in my favor is that the two firms are in different, though nearby and somewhat connected, markets. There certainly will be some attorneys in my state who think I'm an ass, but I feel like that's not something that'll stick with you after you make a name for yourself in practice.

Anonymous User
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Re: accepted offers from 2 firms- what to do?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Dec 22, 2011 9:17 am

I think your second point misinterpreted my argument, which is simply that the inconvenience to a firm of someone rescinding their acceptance--as well as the ethical offensiveness of breaking your word to them--is something that should weigh against any decision to do so. The COA clerk was saying basically that rescinding is a right for the offeree-attorney, and that no weight should be given to the fact that you made a deal for employment. However, as both you and I pointed out, most people would be aghast if a firm took this approach and rescinded offers simply because better candidates came along because of the serious economic impact it would have on the guy that just got his offer rescinded. Thus, if people expect a firm to weigh the impact of a rescission on the law student/attorney, the law student/attorney should similarly be obligated to weigh the impact of a rescission on the firm. Because of the disproportionate impact of a law firm rescinding v. the law student rescinding, there are likely more scenarios where a law student rescinding would be justified, but my main point is that I disagree with the free-for-all, no-obligation rescissions that the COA clerk is advocating.



I guess that what I was going for is that in my opinion the disparate impact makes the two situations very distinguishable. Though I agree with you that the CoA clerk's philosophy is fairly unscrupulous-- I didn't send out a single resume, whereas this guy is furiously applying for new jobs. Also, I think it makes a difference that the CoA clerk seems to mainly be on the hunt for preftige, whereas if I take Firm A's offer at ~$65k I'm going to be living almost paycheck to paycheck when you factor in debt service, as opposed to having some comfort with Firm B's ~$90k

goodolgil
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Re: accepted offers from 2 firms- what to do?

Postby goodolgil » Thu Dec 22, 2011 6:30 pm

At-will employment cuts both ways.

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MrKappus
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Re: accepted offers from 2 firms- what to do?

Postby MrKappus » Thu Dec 22, 2011 8:39 pm

Master Tofu wrote:
MrKappus wrote:You've incorrectly framed this as a navel-gazing debate about ethics. There are practical, real-life consequences to acting without regard for your reputation, and the legal world can be a pretty small one. This is particularly true in small- and medium-sized markets, where alienating an entire firm isn't something one should take lightly.


You've incorrectly framed my response but thanks for playing. I was not saying reputation should not be considered but that characterizing a rescission of contract as ethically offensive is over-the-top posturing and unhelpful.


So much fail. We're not talking about a K or "rescission" (lol). If we were, we wouldn't be talking about ethics. We'd be talking about the law. HTH.

Master Tofu
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Re: accepted offers from 2 firms- what to do?

Postby Master Tofu » Thu Dec 22, 2011 10:59 pm

goodolgil wrote:At-will employment cuts both ways.


Yes.


MrKappus wrote:
Master Tofu wrote:
MrKappus wrote:You've incorrectly framed this as a navel-gazing debate about ethics. There are practical, real-life consequences to acting without regard for your reputation, and the legal world can be a pretty small one. This is particularly true in small- and medium-sized markets, where alienating an entire firm isn't something one should take lightly.


You've incorrectly framed my response but thanks for playing. I was not saying reputation should not be considered but that characterizing a rescission of contract as ethically offensive is over-the-top posturing and unhelpful.


So much fail. We're not talking about a K or "rescission" (lol). If we were, we wouldn't be talking about ethics. We'd be talking about the law. HTH.


This is not responsive. My point was that walking away from any employment arrangement is at worst a breach of contract and hardly worthy of the label ethically offensive.

I want to have a civil discourse but your existence annoys me. Disappear now.

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MrKappus
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Re: accepted offers from 2 firms- what to do?

Postby MrKappus » Thu Dec 22, 2011 11:08 pm

I'm afraid you have nothing to teach me, Tofu Man. Enjoy loneliness.

sparty99
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Re: accepted offers from 2 firms- what to do?

Postby sparty99 » Thu Dec 22, 2011 11:27 pm

Dude, will you grow up and be a man. Reneging offers is common. Quit delaying this and tell Firm A so you can go on with your life.

If firm B offered me 1/3 more salary and sounded like a better opportunity, of course I would take it (in a heart beat). Your responsability is to yourself and firm A won't give a damn that you rescinded an offer. They will forget about you in a month.

I have reneged before. Just say, "I recently received an offer at another firm who I had previously been in contact with and while I am excited to have accepted your offer, I feel this other opportunity is the best thing for me at this time in my career. Thank you.

Anonymous User
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Re: accepted offers from 2 firms- what to do?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Dec 24, 2011 5:08 pm

Happy Holidays

I’m the anonymous clerk that’s been beat up in this thread. I respect your opinions, but I want to address a point and then go through logistics that make me think my choices aren’t as reprehensible as posters seem to think.

First, I don’t think I’m seeking prestige as much as I’m seeking long-term stability. I say that because it is my perception from my experiences that the future of someone who is forced out as a 5th year at, e.g., Skadden is brighter than someone who is forced out as a 5th year at, e.g., a regional office of Bryan Cave. Stability is even more of an issue if the regional office has a strong tendency to layoff very junior attorneys. This situation is analogous to the firm I summered at.

Second, the timeline of events for my situation was as follows:

(1) landed clerkship before end of SA gig
(2) determined (based on the fact that the firm laid off very good junior associates during my summer) that I should look for other jobs
(3) was told by firms I reached out to that they didn’t look to hire lateral clerks until the January (or so) before the clerkship ended
(4) was offered a job by the SA firm at the end of the summer
(5) accepted the SA firm’s offer as a safety measure because they were looking for an answer on the spot

I think it would have been very foolish and irresponsible to my family to turn down the SA firm offer before I landed something new. The risk being that I would turn down the unstable SA job and end up with no job at all. I also think it would be irresponsible to my family to go to the unstable SA firm—which could very well lay me off after a short tenure—without exploring the market. I also applied to more stable government jobs, but was not offered a job.

I was very nervous that firms in my regional market would look down on my choice to look elsewhere, but I got over that fear when several other firms in the market offered me unsolicited jobs.

I think my choices were absolutely rational, but I’m sure some will disagree. Feel free to tell me why I’m wrong/a bad person.

c3pO4
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Re: accepted offers from 2 firms- what to do?

Postby c3pO4 » Sat Dec 24, 2011 7:08 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Happy Holidays

I’m the anonymous clerk that’s been beat up in this thread. I respect your opinions, but I want to address a point and then go through logistics that make me think my choices aren’t as reprehensible as posters seem to think.

First, I don’t think I’m seeking prestige as much as I’m seeking long-term stability. I say that because it is my perception from my experiences that the future of someone who is forced out as a 5th year at, e.g., Skadden is brighter than someone who is forced out as a 5th year at, e.g., a regional office of Bryan Cave. Stability is even more of an issue if the regional office has a strong tendency to layoff very junior attorneys. This situation is analogous to the firm I summered at.

Second, the timeline of events for my situation was as follows:

(1) landed clerkship before end of SA gig
(2) determined (based on the fact that the firm laid off very good junior associates during my summer) that I should look for other jobs
(3) was told by firms I reached out to that they didn’t look to hire lateral clerks until the January (or so) before the clerkship ended
(4) was offered a job by the SA firm at the end of the summer
(5) accepted the SA firm’s offer as a safety measure because they were looking for an answer on the spot

I think it would have been very foolish and irresponsible to my family to turn down the SA firm offer before I landed something new. The risk being that I would turn down the unstable SA job and end up with no job at all. I also think it would be irresponsible to my family to go to the unstable SA firm—which could very well lay me off after a short tenure—without exploring the market. I also applied to more stable government jobs, but was not offered a job.

I was very nervous that firms in my regional market would look down on my choice to look elsewhere, but I got over that fear when several other firms in the market offered me unsolicited jobs.

I think my choices were absolutely rational, but I’m sure some will disagree. Feel free to tell me why I’m wrong/a bad person.


Wait so you are a clerk, have accepted an offer from your old SA firm, but are still looking for other, better jobs? What's wrong with this again? Presumably, if you don't find a better job, you'd go work at the firm where you accepted the offer, right? I must have missed the uproar but I genuinely don't understand why this is immoral or even rationally wrong. Every employer realizes if better offers come around, their employees will leave. I think sometimes law students are so dialed into following external rules and set paths that they are incapable of acting with independent rational thought. More power to you, bro/sis.

Anonymous User
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Re: accepted offers from 2 firms- what to do?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Dec 24, 2011 7:16 pm

c3pO4 wrote:Wait so you are a clerk, have accepted an offer from your old SA firm, but are still looking for other, better jobs? What's wrong with this again? Presumably, if you don't find a better job, you'd go work at the firm where you accepted the offer, right? I must have missed the uproar but I genuinely don't understand why this is immoral or even rationally wrong. Every employer realizes if better offers come around, their employees will leave. I think sometimes law students are so dialed into following external rules and set paths that they are incapable of acting with independent rational thought. More power to you, bro/sis.


I’m the clerk:
My original post was: Posted: Sat Dec 17, 2011 2:48 am

People indicated they thought my plan was improper at:
Posted: Sat Dec 17, 2011 4:01 am
Posted: Sun Dec 18, 2011 5:43 am
Posted: Sun Dec 18, 2011 10:59 am
Posted: Sun Dec 18, 2011 10:28 pm
Posted: Thu Dec 22, 2011 8:17 am

I think they’re entitled to their opinions, but I know what my responsibilities are, so I’m not going to let it sway me too much.

JusticeJackson
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Re: accepted offers from 2 firms- what to do?

Postby JusticeJackson » Sun Dec 25, 2011 1:21 am

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Last edited by JusticeJackson on Sun Jul 15, 2012 9:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Anonymous User
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Re: accepted offers from 2 firms- what to do?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Dec 25, 2011 2:20 am

I recently had a similar situation where I had accepted a summer position at a government agency, then a firm I had done a resume drop with months before called up and asked if I wanted to come in for an interview. I went in and got the offer. I called the agency to ask if I could rescind my acceptance and they understood and let me withdraw without penalty (C&F or otherwise) and on good personal terms. For them, what mattered was that I had applied to the firm long before I accepted their offer, so it was not as if I was looking for a position after accepting and that the firm offered a better prospect of permanent employment then their agency did. This single non-representative example would seem to indicate OP is ok in reneging and that the latter poster isn't.

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Renne Walker
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Re: accepted offers from 2 firms- what to do?

Postby Renne Walker » Sun Dec 25, 2011 3:00 am

I believe the potential long-term blowback is contingent on how much time the firm put into its hiring decision. Did they have to phone a half dozen other candidates with the bad news that their coveted position had been filled? Consider their likely demeanor on having to restart the hiring process from square one. Shrug it off, or grudge?

This question (breaking one’s word) came about one day. The cohort’s [surprisingly unwavering] response centered on personal character and professionalism backed by the sentiment that the law community is much smaller than one might suspect. That alone should give one pause.

How you would feel if they phoned and said, hey we just received an application from a T-6 student, so you can certainly understand why we're pulling our offer to you. Ouch. You would understand, right?

c3pO4
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Re: accepted offers from 2 firms- what to do?

Postby c3pO4 » Sun Dec 25, 2011 3:17 am

Renne Walker wrote:
How you would feel if they phoned and said, hey we just received an application from a T-6 student, so you can certainly understand why we're pulling our offer to you. Ouch. You would understand, right?


This is a common response but I really don't think it's analogous. In one situation, someone is offering to pay you to do a job. In the other situation, you are agreeing to do work for someone. In the first situation, you don't have an almost limitless pool of other jobs to take if they turn around and give your offer to a higher ranked student after the fact. In the second, they will have no problem filling the position.

That's just my common sense reaction. I'm sure somebody who did better at K's could also explain why the two situations are different from a legal / ethics perspective as well.

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ben4847
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Re: accepted offers from 2 firms- what to do?

Postby ben4847 » Sun Dec 25, 2011 12:24 pm

Renne Walker wrote:How you would feel if they phoned and said, hey we just received an application from a T-6 student, so you can certainly understand why we're pulling our offer to you. Ouch. You would understand, right?


Or how would you feel if they phoned and said, hey we don't think we're going to be able to make as much money off you as we thought, so we don't need you.

And since they do that, he can do this.

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DoubleChecks
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Re: accepted offers from 2 firms- what to do?

Postby DoubleChecks » Sun Dec 25, 2011 1:14 pm

They're just considerations...isn't this just like cost/benefit analysis? Most posters in this thread aren't wrong -- you are all just weighing the factors differently (and like a gamble, results vary). The only thing to keep in mind is that these ARE factors that one should weigh before making their decisions...the weight you give each one will obviously vary from person to person; from situation to situation.

To OP: while you shouldn't have jumped the gun and gotten yourself into this debacle, I think what you're planning on doing now sounds like the best decision for you. But stop being a pansy and do it already lol -- more time you drag it out, douchier it is.

JusticeJackson
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Re: accepted offers from 2 firms- what to do?

Postby JusticeJackson » Mon Dec 26, 2011 2:54 am

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Last edited by JusticeJackson on Sun Jul 15, 2012 10:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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ggocat
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Re: accepted offers from 2 firms- what to do?

Postby ggocat » Mon Dec 26, 2011 8:04 am

JusticeJackson wrote:I never thought about a firm backing out because they received a better resume cheaper labor.

I think this is a better analogy.

Anonymous User
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Re: accepted offers from 2 firms- what to do?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Dec 26, 2011 11:38 am

OP here. Going to do this sometime this week (obviously no one's in the office today). Last week was crazy with work- had two partners drop files on my desk on Monday and say write me a Complaint, demand letter, and related discovery documents in one case, and a Petition to Vacate Arbitration Award (basically impossible) in the other.

Question though- I'm going to call the partner who has been my contact- if he is on an extended XMas vacation, do I drop the news in a voicemail, or wait for him to get back?

The more I think about this the less bad I feel about it. After talking to several friends in finance/consulting, their mindset has universally been "F*** Firm A." To some extent it's a cost-benefit analysis for the firm- they've decided that on the aggregate the benefits of opting for at-will employment as opposed to contract--that is being able to fire people at any time for any or no reason--outweigh the costs of at-will employment--their attorneys being able to leave at any time for any or no reason. I think it's actually kind of messed up for them to make this type of purely economic decision and then try to attach some kind of moral opprobrium to an employee, or in my case potential employee, with much less bargaining power who acts, as they have, in his/her own economic self-interest.

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180asBreath
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Re: accepted offers from 2 firms- what to do?

Postby 180asBreath » Mon Dec 26, 2011 12:18 pm

strangelove wrote:Work for Firm B and collect checks from Firm A until Firm A fires you.


I don't see how there could be a better answer than this one.

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DoubleChecks
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Re: accepted offers from 2 firms- what to do?

Postby DoubleChecks » Mon Dec 26, 2011 12:56 pm

Anonymous User wrote:OP here. Going to do this sometime this week (obviously no one's in the office today). Last week was crazy with work- had two partners drop files on my desk on Monday and say write me a Complaint, demand letter, and related discovery documents in one case, and a Petition to Vacate Arbitration Award (basically impossible) in the other.

Question though- I'm going to call the partner who has been my contact- if he is on an extended XMas vacation, do I drop the news in a voicemail, or wait for him to get back?

The more I think about this the less bad I feel about it. After talking to several friends in finance/consulting, their mindset has universally been "F*** Firm A." To some extent it's a cost-benefit analysis for the firm- they've decided that on the aggregate the benefits of opting for at-will employment as opposed to contract--that is being able to fire people at any time for any or no reason--outweigh the costs of at-will employment--their attorneys being able to leave at any time for any or no reason. I think it's actually kind of messed up for them to make this type of purely economic decision and then try to attach some kind of moral opprobrium to an employee, or in my case potential employee, with much less bargaining power who acts, as they have, in his/her own economic self-interest.


While that's fine and all, and I think you are doing what is probably the "right" thing for you in this case...I found interesting the poster who mentioned how structured law firm hiring seems to be. It certainly seems to have a lot more rules (said and unsaid) than other areas where reneging is not only more common, but comes with less of a black mark. But as long as you've factored that in, weighed your options, etc., then best of luck to you OP!

c3pO4
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Re: accepted offers from 2 firms- what to do?

Postby c3pO4 » Mon Dec 26, 2011 3:06 pm

Moral of the story. When dealing with corporations, never feel bad or let morality/emotions come into play about acting in your own self interest so long as it's within the law. Corps aren't people.

09042014
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Re: accepted offers from 2 firms- what to do?

Postby 09042014 » Mon Dec 26, 2011 3:09 pm

c3pO4 wrote:Moral of the story. When dealing with corporations, never feel bad or let morality/emotions come into play about acting in your own self interest so long as it's within the law. Corps aren't people.


But also don't neglect the very real consequences of looking like a jackass in a small field where everyone knows each other.




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