Trading Up at 3L OCI

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Anonymous User
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Trading Up at 3L OCI

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Feb 18, 2012 10:59 pm

I am currently a 2L and have an offer at a small/midsize law firm (25 attorneys) this coming summer. I've heard through the grapevine that the firm does occasionally make offers to their summers, but they usually happen towards the end of 3L (they expect you to work part time during the 3L school year). From my pre-LS experience at a similar sized firm, this seems to be a reasonably standard practice (at least in this market).

I'm looking to trade up at 3L OCI for biglaw (long shot, I know). I know the question of whether I have an offer from my summer firm will come up, and in all likelihood I won't have one by August. Everyone seems to say this is a huge red flag because at most large firms you gotta mess up pretty bad to get no-offered at the end of summer. However, at the firm I'll be working at (and it seems at most small/mid size firms), not having a full offer by August doesn't mean you sucked, it just means that they're unsure of what their hiring needs will be in a year's time. How should I address this in interviews, and will big firms be understanding?

Anonymous User
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Re: Trading Up at 3L OCI

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Feb 19, 2012 12:32 am

I suppose you could always tell them what you said in your OP: that you're still working for the firm part time currently (during the school year) and that offer decisions won't be made until the end of fall/spring semester. Obviously, you shouldn't leave it at "no" when the question's asked.

MrAnon
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Re: Trading Up at 3L OCI

Postby MrAnon » Sun Feb 19, 2012 12:51 am

Don't try to outguess or out-think the situation. just tell the biglaw firms the truth. Worked there, offers won't come out for another few months, the end. It would be your bad luck to twist that into some kind of half truth when you are speaking to the one associate or partner who happens to know how your small law firm does offers. So just stick to the truth.

handsonthewheel
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Re: Trading Up at 3L OCI

Postby handsonthewheel » Sun Feb 19, 2012 1:18 am

Find out the expectation for when you'll know or not know from the firm you'll be at this summer. It sounds like you'll hear a story about their hiring needs not being known until far into the future. This being the case, tell the large firm exactly that.

When you work at a large firm where offers are routinely given, it's a red flag that you were not among that group. However, for small firms, I believe it is absolutely the norm to no be able to hire head of need.

Anonymous User
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Re: Trading Up at 3L OCI

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Feb 19, 2012 1:46 pm

OP here. Thanks for the responses.

Anonymous User
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Re: Trading Up at 3L OCI

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Feb 19, 2012 7:06 pm

Not to hijack this thread, but I have a related question probably relevant to OP's interest. Do summer firm jobs at small-mid size firms make you more competitive for 3L OCI assuming you have the grades. I'll be at a 50 attorney firm this summer with the same kind of gig as OP (summer and part time throughout hte year, potential for a full time offer but by no means automatic). I know 3L OCI is really for people looking to lateral from one big firm to another, but does being at a smaller firm make you more competitve than say if you just did an unpaid internship the summer before?

Anonymous User
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Re: Trading Up at 3L OCI

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Feb 19, 2012 7:24 pm

How hard is it to trade-up during 3L OCI? Or just trade cities?

I'm at a V30 for the summer. The only possible downside is the city. Although a major city, it is not the primary major city that I would like to be in full-time.

Anonymous User
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Re: Trading Up at 3L OCI

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Feb 19, 2012 7:28 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Not to hijack this thread, but I have a related question probably relevant to OP's interest. Do summer firm jobs at small-mid size firms make you more competitive for 3L OCI assuming you have the grades. I'll be at a 50 attorney firm this summer with the same kind of gig as OP (summer and part time throughout hte year, potential for a full time offer but by no means automatic). I know 3L OCI is really for people looking to lateral from one big firm to another, but does being at a smaller firm make you more competitve than say if you just did an unpaid internship the summer before?

Highly relevant to my interests as I'm in a similar boat. Had a mediocre first semester, but really killed it the last two semesters after I figured out how to take exams. Unfortunately too late to get into any bigger firms for this summer, but would definitely like to trade up next year if possible. Does anyone have any experience/anecdotes they could share on this point? Also, in addition to 3LOLCI, when is a good time to start mass mailing for entry level positions?

anchuldigs
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Re: Trading Up at 3L OCI

Postby anchuldigs » Mon Apr 23, 2012 1:07 am

Bump!

Anonymous User
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Re: Trading Up at 3L OCI

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Apr 23, 2012 7:41 am

Make sure you have something to "trade-up" from first...no guarantees at small firms and if no big firms grabbed you as 2L then you're obviously not so great that they are going to be falling for you as a 3L....don't lose sight of the opportunity you have and surely don't bet on anything else being available as a 3L....you should spend your energy on trying to get something out of the place that would take you as a 2L....not dreaming of 3L OCI trades

run26.2
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Re: Trading Up at 3L OCI

Postby run26.2 » Mon Apr 23, 2012 8:06 am

Anonymous User wrote:How hard is it to trade-up during 3L OCI? Or just trade cities?

I'm at a V30 for the summer. The only possible downside is the city. Although a major city, it is not the primary major city that I would like to be in full-time.

This is a fine reason for trading up. This was one of the reasons for why I switched markets after my 2L summer SA.

There don't have to be a bunch of "downsides" to trade - in fact I wouldn't play up downsides at 3L OCI. But you will want to provide other positive reasons about the new firm, like the new firm is also a better cultural fit or you like their practice better, etc. If you convey that it is only based on location, you could be seen as something of a flight risk, i.e. you're willing to jump ship based on one thing you don't like about the firm.

anchuldigs
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Re: Trading Up at 3L OCI

Postby anchuldigs » Mon Apr 23, 2012 8:46 am

How did you go about switching markets? I'm a New Yorker born and raised and have absolutely no connection to anywhere else (except a few weeks I worked in DC 1L summer). Every non-NY firm knows that I'll jump ship in 3 years to move back to NY.

Also, isn't it generally much more difficult to find a firm job outside NY?

run26.2
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Re: Trading Up at 3L OCI

Postby run26.2 » Mon Apr 23, 2012 9:14 am

anchuldigs wrote:How did you go about switching markets? I'm a New Yorker born and raised and have absolutely no connection to anywhere else (except a few weeks I worked in DC 1L summer). Every non-NY firm knows that I'll jump ship in 3 years to move back to NY.

Also, isn't it generally much more difficult to find a firm job outside NY?

I made a compelling case to be in the new market (also a difficult one to break into) even though I had no connections to that market. You have to sell yourself to the firm, understanding what you have to offer and why that fits in well with what they are looking for in that office.

Why do you want to go to a market that you will only be in for 3 years? Maybe you should be open to staying there for a bit longer. Also, if you're committed to such a plan, you could look for a firm with a NY office and a less-restrictive transfer policy.

Anonymous User
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Re: Trading Up at 3L OCI

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Apr 23, 2012 4:38 pm

Relevant to my interest.. working at a midsized (50ish) attorney firm in NYC - it a boutique specializing in a practice area and pretty legit. Does this help trading up at 3L oci? or is it just for switching from V firms. (have the grades... just struck out at oci and have moved up since)

Morgan12Oak
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Re: Trading Up at 3L OCI

Postby Morgan12Oak » Mon Apr 23, 2012 4:49 pm

Tagged – relevant to my interests as well. At v50 now trying to move up. Gotta get that prestige brothers.

Anonymous User
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Re: Trading Up at 3L OCI

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Apr 23, 2012 5:34 pm

Morgan12Oak wrote:Tagged – relevant to my interests as well. At v50 now trying to move up. Gotta get that prestige brothers.

+1. Can we hear some success stories/words of wisdom from people who SA'd at V50s and traded up during 3L OCI? Is this a common occurrence?

Anonymous User
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Re: Trading Up at 3L OCI

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Apr 23, 2012 5:39 pm

Attending a T10 with a guy who traded up from a top firm (think V30) in one city to another top firm in another major city during 3L OCI. Law Review grade on, plus COA clerkship lined up.

concurrent fork
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Re: Trading Up at 3L OCI

Postby concurrent fork » Mon Apr 23, 2012 6:16 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Make sure you have something to "trade-up" from first...no guarantees at small firms and if no big firms grabbed you as 2L then you're obviously not so great that they are going to be falling for you as a 3L....don't lose sight of the opportunity you have and surely don't bet on anything else being available as a 3L....you should spend your energy on trying to get something out of the place that would take you as a 2L....not dreaming of 3L OCI trades

This. "Trading up" refers to people who are already biglaw secure and do 3L OCI to climb the rankings. As you were at a 25-person firm, this is not you OP. I wish you the best of luck, but in all likelihood you will be viewed the same as any other 3L with a non-biglaw job trying to get into biglaw (i.e. very low chance of success).

Anonymous User
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Re: Trading Up at 3L OCI

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Apr 23, 2012 6:46 pm

concurrent fork wrote: This. "Trading up" refers to people who are already biglaw secure and do 3L OCI to climb the rankings. As you were at a 25-person firm, this is not you OP. I wish you the best of luck, but in all likelihood you will be viewed the same as any other 3L with a non-biglaw job trying to get into biglaw (i.e. very low chance of success).

I have heard that most of the few who succeed at 3LOLci were 2L Summer Associates, but do other people agree with this poster that Vault firms won't give you serious consideration unless you were a 2L SA at a Vault firm specifically?

Would a 2L SA at a market-paying boutique be considered comparable experience, even if it is at like a 25-person firm?

Anonymous User
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Re: Trading Up at 3L OCI

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Apr 23, 2012 7:04 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Attending a T10 with a guy who traded up from a top firm (think V30) in one city to another top firm in another major city during 3L OCI. Law Review grade on, plus COA clerkship lined up.

Haha, well that guy's a rockstar, so my situation is a little different. I'm T10 looking to go from V40 --> another V40 after going from median --> top 1/3 (when I say top 1/3, I mean on a 1L scale, which is clearly not still applicable). Basically, I want to go from one primary market firm to another firm in the same market that's stronger in the area I want to enter. Anyone think this is feasible?

Anonymous User
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Re: Trading Up at 3L OCI

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Apr 23, 2012 8:04 pm

How would subpar grades effect the process? I'm below median at a T14 and ended up in a V50 specialty practice because the interviewers didn't understand my school's curve (they kept raving over how high my grades were). Assuming I would like to move to a different practice or city and manage to get an offer from the V50, how much will my GPA continue to hurt me? A couple of the firms at my 2L OCI said I was the perfect fit, but that their hiring committee would never let them call back someone with a GPA as low as mine.

Anonymous User
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Re: Trading Up at 3L OCI

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Apr 23, 2012 8:14 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Relevant to my interest.. working at a midsized (50ish) attorney firm in NYC - it a boutique specializing in a practice area and pretty legit. Does this help trading up at 3L oci? or is it just for switching from V firms. (have the grades... just struck out at oci and have moved up since)


I've known people to do this - for example, one traded up from an IP boutique with under 100 attorneys to a general practice firm.

I ended up "trading down" to a small firm at 3L OCI.

Lord Randolph McDuff
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Re: Trading Up at 3L OCI

Postby Lord Randolph McDuff » Mon Apr 23, 2012 8:15 pm

Anonymous User wrote:How would subpar grades effect the process? I'm below median at a T14 and ended up in a V50 specialty practice because the interviewers didn't understand my school's curve (they kept raving over how high my grades were). Assuming I would like to move to a different practice or city and manage to get an offer from the V50, how much will my GPA continue to hurt me? A couple of the firms at my 2L OCI said I was the perfect fit, but that their hiring committee would never let them call back someone with a GPA as low as mine.


This is hilarious.

concurrent fork
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Re: Trading Up at 3L OCI

Postby concurrent fork » Mon Apr 23, 2012 9:18 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
concurrent fork wrote: This. "Trading up" refers to people who are already biglaw secure and do 3L OCI to climb the rankings. As you were at a 25-person firm, this is not you OP. I wish you the best of luck, but in all likelihood you will be viewed the same as any other 3L with a non-biglaw job trying to get into biglaw (i.e. very low chance of success).

I have heard that most of the few who succeed at 3LOLci were 2L Summer Associates, but do other people agree with this poster that Vault firms won't give you serious consideration unless you were a 2L SA at a Vault firm specifically?

Would a 2L SA at a market-paying boutique be considered comparable experience, even if it is at like a 25-person firm?

I didn't say you had to SA at a Vault firm. Plenty of firms outside V100 are still considered "biglaw." Market-paying boutiques are a good example.

Anonymous User
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Re: Trading Up at 3L OCI

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Apr 23, 2012 10:45 pm

concurrent fork wrote: I didn't say you had to SA at a Vault firm. Plenty of firms outside V100 are still considered "biglaw." Market-paying boutiques are a good example.


Fair enough you didn't say Vault specifically, but it seemed like you were saying that below a certain firm size they would fail to take the employer seriously. Just wanted to confirm that the salary/reputation/type of work can make up for small size.

For those of us summering at a boutique but who end up wanting to do something else, how would you answer in a 3L interview a) why you ended up working at a smaller firm as a 2L b) why you want to do something else?

I imagine for a), if you give the wrong answer they might assume that you don't have the priorities they want, or that you just couldn't get into a big firm as a 2L?

and for b), if the boutique focuses on a very narrow area of law, is it enough to just say you want to have the chance to work in more practice areas than you could have at that firm?

Thanks for the help.




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