Why are Ties so Important?

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abc12345675
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Why are Ties so Important?

Postby abc12345675 » Wed Jun 13, 2012 11:05 am

I read on here all the time that in markets besides DC or NYC ties are important. My question is why?

For me personally, I grew up in the Mid Atlantic and my family drives me BONKERS. I'd rather go to prison than live within 6 hours of those wackos. So why can't I randomly decide I want to live in, say, Dallas? Or San Francisco? Why isn't it enough for me to just tell firms that I am looking to start my life out on my own in a place that I DON'T have ties to?

I really could care about nothing less than where I live for the rest of my life as long as it's not on the eastern seaboard. I want a rewarding career and a metro area with over 750,000 people. Outside of that, I don't care.

badaboom61
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Re: Why are Ties so Important?

Postby badaboom61 » Wed Jun 13, 2012 11:13 am

Firms put a lot of investment into a recent law school hire. Chances are they won't break even and start to make money off you until you work for them for 2 - 4 years.

Something firms really worry about is you working for them for 18 months and then leaving to taking a new job with a firm in a city you would rather be in, and that firm won't have to pay for those 18 months of training. Ties are a signal to firms that you won't do that, because you have a good reason to be in the city and not leave other than "I'm telling you (a Dallas firm) that Dallas is really awesome, I really want to be here over anywhere else is the country! I swear I'm not telling the same thing to firms in San Francisco!"

It's possible to get a job in any market without ties if you can present a compelling story for wanting to be in that market. But ties really help tell that story.

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Sauer Grapes
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Re: Why are Ties so Important?

Postby Sauer Grapes » Wed Jun 13, 2012 11:14 am

The traditional view is that firms see ties as evidence that you are truly interested in that market and are likely to stay. Also, if you are familiar with the city/market, you are less likely to decide that you hate living in that city and decide to quit for that reason.

I personally think the importance of ties is overstated on this board and that you can get around it. You need to be able to sincerely express to firms why you want to live in that city and/or why that firm (and that office).

While sincerity is the key, I'd suggest not telling a firm that you want that city because it's as far away as you can get from your crazy family.

Aqualibrium
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Re: Why are Ties so Important?

Postby Aqualibrium » Wed Jun 13, 2012 11:15 am

You can do that, it's just difficult.

Ties are important because firms spend a great deal of money on developing young talent, money that often won't begin to be made up until an associate is in their 3-5th year. Attritition rates are already so ridiculously high in the industry...wouldn't you go out of your way to weed out one of the few pre hiring factors you can control that contributes to attrition?

abc12345675
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Re: Why are Ties so Important?

Postby abc12345675 » Wed Jun 13, 2012 11:22 am

[quote="
While sincerity is the key, I'd suggest not telling a firm that you want that city because it's as far away as you can get from your crazy family.[/quote]

Obviously I wouldn't tell them that. I'd come up with SOMETHING.

It's just annoying to me that firms overlook the fact that some people don't care. I get where they're coming from, but I can't be the only one who couldn't care less whether he has his career in Dallas or Seattle. I just want a rewarding career. I've lived in enough cities to know that different parts of the country aren't THAT different. Particularly in urban areas.

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ggocat
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Re: Why are Ties so Important?

Postby ggocat » Wed Jun 13, 2012 11:39 am

abc12345675 wrote:It's just annoying to me that firms overlook the fact that some people don't care. I get where they're coming from, but I can't be the only one who couldn't care less whether he has his career in Dallas or Seattle. I just want a rewarding career. I've lived in enough cities to know that different parts of the country aren't THAT different. Particularly in urban areas.

That's part of the problem because if you don't care, then you don't care about picking up and moving again in six months or a year when you realize the firm is not providing you with the rewarding career you wanted.

IMO, "ties" is a shorthand for anything that allows you to convincingly convey to an employer you want to stick around.

Anonymous User
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Re: Why are Ties so Important?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jun 13, 2012 11:41 am

ggocat wrote:
abc12345675 wrote:It's just annoying to me that firms overlook the fact that some people don't care. I get where they're coming from, but I can't be the only one who couldn't care less whether he has his career in Dallas or Seattle. I just want a rewarding career. I've lived in enough cities to know that different parts of the country aren't THAT different. Particularly in urban areas.

That's part of the problem because if you don't care, then you don't care about picking up and moving again in six months or a year when you realize the firm is not providing you with the rewarding career you wanted.

IMO, "ties" is a shorthand for anything that allows you to convincingly convey to an employer you want to stick around.


Wouldn't people pick up and move to a different firm anyway if their career wasn't what they were looking for? Either in the same market if ties are important, or elsewhere.

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kalvano
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Re: Why are Ties so Important?

Postby kalvano » Wed Jun 13, 2012 11:42 am

Let's say you've never been to, or spent much time in Dallas. You say you don't care where you live, and a firm in Dallas takes a chance on you. You get there and realize that it is ridiculously hot in Dallas for several months in a row and you can't deal with it. You leave for somewhere else. That firm has invested time and money into you and gotten no real reward. Hence, firms want someone that has a likelihood of sticking around for a while.

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Sauer Grapes
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Re: Why are Ties so Important?

Postby Sauer Grapes » Wed Jun 13, 2012 11:57 am

One more thing. While I can't offer proof, I think that the larger the firm, the more likely they are to look past a lack of "ties."

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ggocat
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Re: Why are Ties so Important?

Postby ggocat » Wed Jun 13, 2012 12:00 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
ggocat wrote:
abc12345675 wrote:It's just annoying to me that firms overlook the fact that some people don't care. I get where they're coming from, but I can't be the only one who couldn't care less whether he has his career in Dallas or Seattle. I just want a rewarding career. I've lived in enough cities to know that different parts of the country aren't THAT different. Particularly in urban areas.

That's part of the problem because if you don't care, then you don't care about picking up and moving again in six months or a year when you realize the firm is not providing you with the rewarding career you wanted.

IMO, "ties" is a shorthand for anything that allows you to convincingly convey to an employer you want to stick around.


Wouldn't people pick up and move to a different firm anyway if their career wasn't what they were looking for? Either in the same market if ties are important, or elsewhere.

That's true, but with more geographic mobility, an employee may be more likely to look elsewhere (and move elsewhere). Also, the same market may not provide the employee with the opportunities he/she wants (e.g., clerking, federal government, oil and gas transactions, corporate bankruptcy, IP litigation).

Anonymous User
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Re: Why are Ties so Important?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jun 13, 2012 12:02 pm

kalvano wrote:Let's say you've never been to, or spent much time in Dallas. You say you don't care where you live, and a firm in Dallas takes a chance on you. You get there and realize that it is ridiculously hot in Dallas for several months in a row and you can't deal with it. You leave for somewhere else. That firm has invested time and money into you and gotten no real reward. Hence, firms want someone that has a likelihood of sticking around for a while.


But no you don't understand. I REALLY couldn't care less. Hot, cold, north, south. I don't care. Seems like this is rare, however, otherwise firms wouldn't be so adamant about it.

Sup Kid
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Re: Why are Ties so Important?

Postby Sup Kid » Wed Jun 13, 2012 1:21 pm

badaboom61 wrote:Chances are they won't break even and start to make money off you until you work for them for 2 - 4 years.

Aqualibrium wrote:Ties are important because firms spend a great deal of money on developing young talent, money that often won't begin to be made up until an associate is in their 3-5th year.

Can someone please explain this? If I'm billing 2000 hours/year at $350/hour, that's revenue of $700,000. Say they give the client a 15% discount, that's $600,000 in revenue. Out of that, they pay me $160,000 + healthcare + other expenses + bonus = ~$200,000. Sure, I'm averaging here, but the rough calculation seems to be that the firm is making $400,000/first-year attorney, and it only goes up from there as billing rates go up each year. How are firms not making money off you until the 3rd to 5th year??

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lisjjen
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Re: Why are Ties so Important?

Postby lisjjen » Wed Jun 13, 2012 1:26 pm

This is a difficult question to answer. When the Chinese and Romans first wore them, they did so as an identifier on the field of battle. Now it's a status thing I guess. You wear them because if you don't, you'll look sloppy. Not one of the boys. I guess nothing has changed really.

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Dr. Review
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Re: Why are Ties so Important?

Postby Dr. Review » Wed Jun 13, 2012 1:28 pm

Sup Kid wrote:
badaboom61 wrote:Chances are they won't break even and start to make money off you until you work for them for 2 - 4 years.

Aqualibrium wrote:Ties are important because firms spend a great deal of money on developing young talent, money that often won't begin to be made up until an associate is in their 3-5th year.

Can someone please explain this? If I'm billing 2000 hours/year at $350/hour, that's revenue of $700,000. Say they give the client a 15% discount, that's $600,000 in revenue. Out of that, they pay me $160,000 + healthcare + other expenses + bonus = ~$200,000. Sure, I'm averaging here, but the rough calculation seems to be that the firm is making $400,000/first-year attorney, and it only goes up from there as billing rates go up each year. How are firms not making money off you until the 3rd to 5th year??


Part of it is that billable hours are not necessarily billed hours, and billed hours are not necessarily paid hours. Many companies have policies and invoice review procedures such that "First year associate #1 billing 1 hour for litigation strategy planning" might get billed, but is fairly unlikely to actually be paid. Additionally you have to factor in the firm's overhead and other things that don't really get billed. Those things have to be covered by your billables also.

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hume85
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Re: Why are Ties so Important?

Postby hume85 » Sun Jun 24, 2012 5:54 pm

lisjjen wrote:This is a difficult question to answer. When the Chinese and Romans first wore them, they did so as an identifier on the field of battle. Now it's a status thing I guess. You wear them because if you don't, you'll look sloppy. Not one of the boys. I guess nothing has changed really.

WTF dude?

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cinephile
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Re: Why are Ties so Important?

Postby cinephile » Sun Jun 24, 2012 6:05 pm

hume85 wrote:
lisjjen wrote:This is a difficult question to answer. When the Chinese and Romans first wore them, they did so as an identifier on the field of battle. Now it's a status thing I guess. You wear them because if you don't, you'll look sloppy. Not one of the boys. I guess nothing has changed really.

WTF dude?


Actually, this was one of the best responses.

But to the OP, if your family drives you crazy, that doesn't mean you have to see them. You'll probably be working late nights and weekends anyway, so no need to visit. Or lie about where you work. Or live just far enough away that a visit would be impracticable. Or just move to NYC.

SchopenhauerFTW
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Re: Why are Ties so Important?

Postby SchopenhauerFTW » Sun Jun 24, 2012 6:06 pm

lisjjen wrote:This is a difficult question to answer. When the Chinese and Romans first wore them, they did so as an identifier on the field of battle. Now it's a status thing I guess. You wear them because if you don't, you'll look sloppy. Not one of the boys. I guess nothing has changed really.

This is why you read the thread and not just its title. :lol:

071816
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Re: Why are Ties so Important?

Postby 071816 » Sun Jun 24, 2012 6:06 pm

Harvard’s Robert Putnam writes about social capital in his book, Bowling Alone, and shows how social ties are not only important for personal well-being, but also for our democracy. To paraphrase Putnam, “the culture in which people talk to each other over the back fence is the culture in which people vote.” Apparently, when you feel part of a group, you’re more likely to contribute to it — such as by voting.

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IAFG
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Re: Why are Ties so Important?

Postby IAFG » Sun Jun 24, 2012 6:14 pm

If I interviewed you and you told me exactly what you just said here and I totally believed it, I would still not hire you because 1) you seem unhappy with where you are rather than enthusiastic about where I am (you say you would be happy anywhere but the midatlantic but there is no evidence that's true) 2) you don't sound like you have experience uprooting yourself for opportunity and I am not sure you know how you would feel about that down the road.

You also misunderstand what "investment" means. Most firms are worried you won't return after your summer, costing them tens of thousands in salary and overhead and generating almost no revenue, not to mention recruiting costs of replacing you and the lost opportunity of recruiting someone who would come back and be happy about it. Hell, both the costs and lost opportunity concerns would stop a firm from even calling you back.

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englawyer
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Re: Why are Ties so Important?

Postby englawyer » Sun Jun 24, 2012 6:21 pm

IAFG wrote:If I interviewed you and you told me exactly what you just said here and I totally believed it, I would still not hire you because 1) you seem unhappy with where you are rather than enthusiastic about where I am (you say you would be happy anywhere but the midatlantic but there is no evidence that's true) 2) you don't sound like you have experience uprooting yourself for opportunity and I am not sure you know how you would feel about that down the road.

You also misunderstand what "investment" means. Most firms are worried you won't return after your summer, costing them tens of thousands in salary and overhead and generating almost no revenue, not to mention recruiting costs of replacing you and the lost opportunity of recruiting someone who would come back and be happy about it. Hell, both the costs and lost opportunity concerns would stop a firm from even calling you back.


+1 to all. firm's nightmare scenario is a SA that turns down their offer for 3L OCI. 30k+ salary, ridiculous $$ on events, partner/associate time, support staff time, office space, etc. all of it adds up and they get practically nothing in return.

and the firms have a point. it might be cool to be in City X for the summer, but in the end most people want to end up close to their family and friends, especially if you plan on having a family and need the support network.

nouseforaname123
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Re: Why are Ties so Important?

Postby nouseforaname123 » Sun Jun 24, 2012 6:23 pm

As an applicant, you are not evaluated in a vacuum. Why would the hypothetical Seattle firm take a chance on an outsider when there are plenty of other applicants who are from Seattle with similar or better qualifications? The out-of-towner represents an unnecessary risk.

Myself
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Postby Myself » Sun Jun 24, 2012 6:34 pm

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Last edited by Myself on Tue Nov 19, 2013 11:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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RVP11
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Re: Why are Ties so Important?

Postby RVP11 » Sun Jun 24, 2012 6:37 pm

Most big firms easily make enough money on you in the first year to cover the cost of recruiting you. Those who are saying that you're still a net loss to the firm until the third or fourth year are simply wrong. A better way to put it is that the associates who make the firm the most money are those who stay 7-8 years and make a push for partnership. Every firm wants as many of those associates as possible, and if you have significant ties to the city there's a much better chance that you will be one of those associates.

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Perseus_I
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Re: Why are Ties so Important?

Postby Perseus_I » Sun Jun 24, 2012 6:45 pm

abc12345675 wrote:I read on here all the time that in markets besides DC or NYC ties are important. My question is why?

For me personally, I grew up in the Mid Atlantic and my family drives me BONKERS. I'd rather go to prison than live within 6 hours of those wackos. So why can't I randomly decide I want to live in, say, Dallas? Or San Francisco? Why isn't it enough for me to just tell firms that I am looking to start my life out on my own in a place that I DON'T have ties to?

I really could care about nothing less than where I live for the rest of my life as long as it's not on the eastern seaboard. I want a rewarding career and a metro area with over 750,000 people. Outside of that, I don't care.


They want to be able to determine if 1) you'll stick around when they invest money into training you; or 2) you are such a convincing liar that they are willing to, nevertheless, take a chance on you, given the raw talent you will bring to their practice.

My guess is that #2 is likely the most common concern.

acrossthelake
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Re: Why are Ties so Important?

Postby acrossthelake » Sun Jun 24, 2012 6:48 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Wouldn't people pick up and move to a different firm anyway if their career wasn't what they were looking for? Either in the same market if ties are important, or elsewhere.


To another firm? Only if you actually think it's any better there. But there's obv. a different life in a Seattle firm than an NYC firm.
And in terms of changing markets, a person won't if his/her spouse just happens to work in this field where you really can't jobs outside of this particular city or his or her parents live nearby and you know we really can't raise the kids without their help or they really want to do X type of work and it's really not strong in any other city, etc. Those are strong ties to a region.

I've also heard this before:
"Why can't I just say I want to be at a firm where I'll feel fulfilled and happy?"
"Because most junior associates don't feel fulfilled and happy."




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