Anonymous User wrote:What are partner prospects for you? I have an offer for a small firm that pays similarly (adjusted for cost of living) to your gig to start, but the big draw is that they offer partner after just a few years. The result of that is that all of their attorneys except one are partners. Full partner is another handful of years after that, with sizable raises each year from first year partner to full partner. I was curious if this setup (guaranteed partnershi /, almost all the attorneys being partners) is common for small firms in NYC as well. It is definitely the biggest draw of the firm for me, along with the easy hours (the firm is a ghost town by 5:15 every evening).
Second, do they offer a 401k? The firm that offered me does not, which is kind of weird. They are looking into it, however.
Third, how do others in the legal profession view your firm? Do you have exit options? One of the partners at the firm that offered me recently became a judge, but everyone else just seems to stay there at the firm. On the one hand, that could be good, because it suggests that it's a decent place to work if nobody leaves. On the other hand, it might suggest that the attorneys simply have poor exit options. From what I can tell, the firm is well-respected in its geographical area, but I'm not sure it's the type of place that you leave to go in-house for a corporation or whatever. Then again, if I'm working ~50 hours a week and making partner money, why would I want to leave? So...what do you think would be most likely to cause you to want to leave in the future and where might you go?
Thanks a lot for the thread. It's obviously relevant to my interests! Good small law seems harder to find than biglaw.
1) 401k – My firm has it, with a poor match. My fiancée’s employer has an amazing match, so we contribute more to her and use my salary for living expenses.
2) Small firms of “all partners” many times are firms where a bunch of solos got together and joined forces (think captain planet). But what you are describing doesn’t sound like that. What you are describing sounds like a multi-tiered partnership track where most of the attorneys wind up making “partner.” I am assuming that the “junior partners” are still salaried employees and not actual equity partners. This is becoming more and more common in the legal profession, probably to compensate for the millennial generational need for everyone to win (you know, two teams play a soccer match, both teams “win” and everyone gets a trophy). It also helps the firm generate revenue because it can charge more for partner time. Some things to watch out for her are: a) many “junior” or “non-equity” partners and very few equity partners. What you will want to assess for yourself is how many people actually become “real” or equity partners at the firm. b) Also, do the junior partners have a voting right? Are they even invited to partnership meetings? Many times, the answer is a resounding ‘no’ on both counts. You need to familiarize yourself with the actual partnership structure (if you do have other and bigger options), and should do that before you make any real decisions. Moreover, I absolutely love my life, but I’m better off having had some larger firm experience. Each partner at my current small firm left a V50 firm to come here (with the exception of the founding partner who worked at an extremely well regarded mid-sized firm way back in the 60’s and 70s). The fact that I have a little bit of experience at a “bigger” firm (it was not biglaw), is a good thing and I’m glad I had it. I would never go back, nor could I imagine staying at my old firm – as my life is way too good now to consider leaving. That said, I’m glad I did it before coming to my current firm. I also have a standing job offer from my old firm to return and a close network of associates and partners that I actually socialize with on a regular basis from my prior firm. Those kinds of connections are invaluable. From sharing information to bouncing ideas off of former firm members, it really is great to have.
3) Partnership prospects. I was on a fast track to partner at my old firm. I came here knowing that there are no certainties. But the managing partner has had many conversations with me about my “future” and how “bright” it is here. I never like to count on anything until it happens, but I believe I have a good shot.
4) Exit options. People tend to die working here (of old age). It’s a really nice place to work. I had a serious inquiry from a great market-rate mid-law and didn’t really look into it at all, because honestly, I don’t want to work those hours or for those type of people anymore. I’m happy where I am and cannot imagine leaving. I’m arguing my first appeal in about 6 months. I will start questioning witnesses at federal court trials in the next few years and I’ve handled many cases through and successfully argued probably 10 summary judgment motions. I see no good reason to leave. However, one partner did leave a while back, on very good terms, and took a job at a major company for a shit-ton of money.