Asking to come in as a second year

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Asking to come in as a second year

Postby Anonymous User » Sat May 26, 2012 7:10 pm

I'm a fed coa clerk. I accepted at the hometown firm I summered at (the local office of a V50). I just looked at the new NALP data from the firm, and just realized they'll be paying me as a first year. I'm a little insulted. The office has no fed coa clerks, and they really acted like they were excited I was going to go clerk. Now I find out they appreciate the clerkship so little they're paying me as a first year. How do I tactfully bring this up? Should I just give up and not raise the issue, since I start August and really didn't think about a backup plan in case this didn't work out.

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cantaboot
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Re: Asking to come in as a second year

Postby cantaboot » Sat May 26, 2012 7:12 pm

say the same thing to them. :P

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Stonewall
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Re: Asking to come in as a second year

Postby Stonewall » Sat May 26, 2012 7:42 pm

deal with it? don't be a d-bag because you are getting paid on a 1L scale. there is no golden rule that you are actually worth more after your first year

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Re: Asking to come in as a second year

Postby TooOld4This » Sat May 26, 2012 7:57 pm

I believe you may not be taking into account the "stub year" of law firm classes. Very often class years flip with either the calendar year or fiscal year of the firm. That means first year salary is often in effect for 15 mos (eg Sept 2011-Jan 2013). If you are coming in off of a clerkship in the fall of the year after you graduated, you will be a first year until the year flips (generally sometime between October and January) -- just like every other "2nd year" at the firm.

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booboo
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Re: Asking to come in as a second year

Postby booboo » Sat May 26, 2012 8:11 pm

What's the financial difference between coming in as a first year or coming in as a second year? Also, will you be getting a bonus?

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Re: Asking to come in as a second year

Postby Anonymous User » Sat May 26, 2012 8:32 pm

booboo wrote:What's the financial difference between coming in as a first year or coming in as a second year? Also, will you be getting a bonus?


I don't know about the difference, and I don't really care about the money. The firm does not pay clerkship bonuses in its non-big city markets. I'm more pissed because I could have traded up, but I thought I'd be loyal, and I think I made a mistake there. Oh well. I guess there's nothing to do now but live with it. Hopefully the above poster is correct re: stub years. Maybe I just jumped to conclusions there.

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Re: Asking to come in as a second year

Postby Anonymous User » Sat May 26, 2012 8:35 pm

Not the OP.

As someone else said: make sure that they aren't just "putting you with your class"--if that's what's going on, you'll move up to a second-year pay scale on January 1, along with the folks who started immediately after graduation. That's how all firm I'm aware of treat clerkship pay.

Financial difference is a $10k pay jump and a bigger bonus. Basically, the question is whether you're being paid as a first-year or a second-year come January 1, 2013.

Being "insulted" is ridiculous: clerks don't come in with the same skillset as someone who has put in a year at the firm--ESPECIALLY COA clerks. LOL if you think otherwise--and be sure not to let your arrogance show once you start, or you will quickly find yourself without allies and without any decent work. That said, not getting the bump cuts strongly against the market standard. If you don't like it, look for a different job--but certainly don't bring it up with the firm.

Edit: Wait, you knew they didn't pay a clerkship bonus in their secondary office and stuck with them anyway? That's... insane.

legends159
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Re: Asking to come in as a second year

Postby legends159 » Sat May 26, 2012 8:37 pm

Definitely ask about it to clear up any issues regarding stub year. Since your firm is not in a major market the market may be set by other peer firms are in that region so you can't assume you'll get the same treatment as what you read in ATL (which focuses on NYC predominately).

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Re: Asking to come in as a second year

Postby Anonymous User » Sat May 26, 2012 8:46 pm

Anonymous User wrote:clerks don't come in with the same skillset as someone who has put in a year at the firm--ESPECIALLY COA clerks. LOL if you think otherwise.


I heard this, and believed it, before I started working here. I'm certain that I'm a much better writer now than I was when I started, and I don't think I would have had the same opportunities to improve if I were at the firm. If I went to the firm, I'd focus on writing short portions of pleadings and doc review for my first year. I think what I've done here is much more valuable (feel free to disagree). I also have a much better understanding of what makes the judges on my circuit tick. I wouldn't have that undersanding either.

Anonymous User wrote: you knew they didn't pay a clerkship bonus in their secondary office and stuck with them anyway? That's... insane.


Yes, and perhaps. I'm from the city. I have a house and family here. Most of my lifelong friends are here. My wife has a good job here. We could have uprooted and went to NYC or DC, but I'd have to give up all of the above (my family would obviously come along, and my wife could most likely land a similar job in NYC or DC). It was a tough decision. I thought the local firm would appreciate my loyalty and I hope they do.

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Re: Asking to come in as a second year

Postby Anonymous User » Sat May 26, 2012 8:53 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:clerks don't come in with the same skillset as someone who has put in a year at the firm--ESPECIALLY COA clerks. LOL if you think otherwise.


I heard this, and believed it, before I started working here. I'm certain that I'm a much better writer now than I was when I started, and I don't think I would have had the same opportunities to improve if I were at the firm. If I went to the firm, I'd focus on writing short portions of pleadings and doc review for my first year. I think what I've done here is much more valuable (feel free to disagree). I also have a much better understanding of what makes the judges on my circuit tick. I wouldn't have that undersanding either.

Anonymous User wrote: you knew they didn't pay a clerkship bonus in their secondary office and stuck with them anyway? That's... insane.


Yes, and perhaps. I'm from the city. I have a house and family here. Most of my lifelong friends are here. My wife has a good job here. We could have uprooted and went to NYC or DC, but I'd have to give up all of the above. It was a tough decision. I thought the local firm would appreciate my loyalty and I hope they do.


The local firm couldn't give a shit less about your loyalty. They would cut you in a heartbeat if it was economically sound to do so. Frankly, no decision-maker is even going to be aware of your loyalty.

I find it very strange that you're surprised that the firm may not bump you to a second-year if the firm doesn't pay clerkship bonuses.

Anyway, you made your decision based on very reasonable inputs. You should have looked at the other firms in your city to see whether you could get a better deal, because the "loyalty" aspect of things is totally irrelevant. It is what it is. I just don't understand the "insult" here.

And I'm a COA clerk, too--you made my point for me on the experience issue. You're a better writer now, perhaps, but you've engaged in a style of writing that is irrelevant to practice. Unless you're headed to an app. lit. group (not likely in a secondary market), writing opinions has absolutely nothing to do with "writing portions of briefs and pleadings." You're not going to get to jump past writing pleadings and so on just because you clerked. Knowing how judges tick is an intangible, but do you really think the the lawyer in charge of the case is going to let you change anything based on your gut feeling about how the judges tick?

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Re: Asking to come in as a second year

Postby Anonymous User » Sat May 26, 2012 9:12 pm

Anonymous User wrote: I find it very strange that you're surprised that the firm may not bump you to a second-year if the firm doesn't pay clerkship bonuses.


Well I think class year is a function of experience, and the bonus is a function of doing what it takes to bring in clerks. I really think they compensate for different things. But fair enough. Perhaps I made a huge mistake by going back.

Anonymous User wrote:you've engaged in a style of writing that is irrelevant to practice. Unless you're headed to an app. lit. group (not likely in a secondary market), writing opinions has absolutely nothing to do with "writing portions of briefs and pleadings." You're not going to get to jump past writing pleadings and so on just because you clerked.


I think writing entire opinions and bench memos is very applicable to writing entire motions and briefs. The things that make a bench memo good make motions and briefs good. While first years at the firm I was at don't write entire briefs or motions, more senior associates do. Same with knowing the judges. It may not matter on day one, but I think it will 2 years in. I still think the clerkship provided a much more valuable experience in the long run when compared to working as a first year attorney. You obviously disagree. Fair enough.

Also, I am a complete idiot when it comes to loyalty. I used to own a company when I was in college and right after college, and loyalty was everything to me. Based on that I assume it matters to someone else on earth. Every time I bring it up, I'm scolded. I guess I should have learned by now.




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