Am I about to make a big F*** up?

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What should I do? Not what you would do

Flyover
56
78%
NYC
16
22%
 
Total votes: 72

Anonymous User
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Re: Am I about to make a big F*** up?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 05, 2012 11:01 am

People here are saying there are better opportunities in the future after working 3-5 years at a Vault-ranked firm in NYC. Is this also true of Vault-ranked firms in LA? Or, is there still a marked difference between NYC and LA firms?

holborn
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Re: Am I about to make a big F*** up?

Postby holborn » Wed Sep 05, 2012 11:10 am

Anonymous User wrote:People here are saying there are better opportunities in the future after working 3-5 years at a Vault-ranked firm in NYC. Is this also true of Vault-ranked firms in LA? Or, is there still a marked difference between NYC and LA firms?


I may be wrong, but my impression is that the key is to work at a firm that legal recruiters will know and that has a good reputation. I'm guessing Skadden LA isn't going to close any doors. That being said, it probably also depends where you're trying to go afterward.

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romothesavior
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Re: Am I about to make a big F*** up?

Postby romothesavior » Wed Sep 05, 2012 12:26 pm

I think either one is a perfectly acceptable decision, but it depends on so many factors... offer rates, personal preferences (i.e., any aversion to NYC), personal relationships (do you have anything holding you in your market?), long-term goals (obviously your exit opportunities will be stronger from the Vault firm, but your partnership chances will be better at the other firm), etc. etc.

Personally, I love the prospect of heading to a secondary market. After taxes and COL, the difference in pay is not all that great (although 88k is a little low even for a secondary). To me, the extra pay certainly isn't worth the extra 300-500+ billable hours a year. I'll take less prestige, fewer exit opportunities, and somewhat lower starting pay for realistic long-term partnership opportunities, better work-life balance, fewer hours, much lower COL, and a better "fit." Other people will make the opposite choice because they love NYC, want the exit opportunities, and want a little more coin. It's a very personal call.

Other posters have suggested some good things for you to think about. To answer your question, no you're not about to make a big fuckup, assuming this secondary firm does actually make 100% offers. Either one of these is a justifiable decision, and will depend a lot on what you want in both the short-term and the long-term.

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IAFG
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Re: Am I about to make a big F*** up?

Postby IAFG » Wed Sep 05, 2012 12:37 pm

romothesavior wrote:After taxes and COL, the difference in pay is not all that great (although 88k is a little low even for a secondary).

Yeah, see... in OP's case, the difference is actually fairly substantial. And if OP doesn't make partner, what are the exit options? Can someone with full-ride debt ever get out of it in the low-paying secondary? But then again, in NYC, with NYC COL, it's not like you can get out from under full ride debt in 2-3 years. Shitty all around.

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romothesavior
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Re: Am I about to make a big F*** up?

Postby romothesavior » Wed Sep 05, 2012 12:40 pm

IAFG wrote:
romothesavior wrote:After taxes and COL, the difference in pay is not all that great (although 88k is a little low even for a secondary).

Yeah, see... in OP's case, the difference is actually fairly substantial. And if OP doesn't make partner, what are the exit options? Can someone with full-ride debt ever get out of it in the low-paying secondary? But then again, in NYC, with NYC COL, it's not like you can get out from under full ride debt in 2-3 years. Shitty all around.

Yeah, the secondaries I'm familiar with are generally in the 100-120k range, plus fairly solid bonuses. 88k is fairly low.

OP, do you know what your firm's bonus structure is? Some secondary market firms hours-based bonus structures that are very favorable to younger associates (although not as great for older associates). This also helps to close the first-year salary difference between NYC and secondaries. But if you're just making 88k, that may be a pretty tight financial situation with 200k+ in debt.

dixiecupdrinking
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Re: Am I about to make a big F*** up?

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Wed Sep 05, 2012 12:47 pm

I'd take the money and do NYC for a while. The fact that you're even contemplating going on a 25-year repayment plan suggests to me that you will end up regretting it if you take the secondary market job. NYC is more expensive and all but that's almost twice the salary.

005618502
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Re: Am I about to make a big F*** up?

Postby 005618502 » Wed Sep 05, 2012 12:55 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
IAFG wrote:First question: what is the offer rate at flyover state firm?? Getting no-offered is bad for your debt situation.

Next, you need to know what your income after federal/state/local taxes is going to be in both places, then look at the healthcare insurance cost of all the firms, the retirement fund contribution (if any), and compare COL (car vs. pub transportation, rent, groceries) to help you see what the real difference is in your ability to get out from under your debt. Maybe it's actually pretty close, maybe you can't afford to choose the flyover firm at this stage in your career.


OP here. Flyover has a very good offer rate. Not sure on the exact numbers. But they only hire a small number of SAs and intend to make offers to everyone.

NYC = take home is 98k. After Rent = 78k. Debt (10 yr repayment) = 50k

Flyover = take home is 65k. After Rent = 59k. Debt (25 yr repayment) = 47k

Food would be a lot cheaper in flyover. Big difference is 10 yr repayment vs 25 yr.


Your numbers seem a little off. How did you figure out rent (you left out other expenses....) and how is the debt a 10 year repayment at 50k and a 25 at 47? Also, at 50k a year how does it ever take 10 years to pay off 200k?


Sorry I didnt break that down. The numbers are what is left over, after I did the subtraction, so

NYC = take home is (160k-72K) = 98k leftover. After Rent = (98k-20k) = 78k leftover . Debt (10 yr repayment) = (78k - 38k) = 50k leftover

Flyover = take home is (88k - 23k) = 65k leftover. After Rent = (65k - 7k) = 59k leftover. Debt (25 yr repayment) = (59k - 12K) = 47k leftover

What am I missing besides food?


Your math is so bad bro. 160-72 is 88k leftover. so after rent would be 68k.
How the hell did you get 78-38 to come to 50? That would be 40.

edit: saw you corrected one, but the NYC wage is still off. Are you considering the correct wages? just making sure

Anonymous User
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Re: Am I about to make a big F*** up?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 05, 2012 1:13 pm

OP here. Thank you everyone for the comments, I really appreciate it.

My math is atrocious.

The firms SA--->Partner advancement is unreal. Basically everyone who summers there is still there.

This firm doesn't have anyone who worked in NYC that lateraled into their firm. They only hire out of their SA class.

johndhi
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Re: Am I about to make a big F*** up?

Postby johndhi » Wed Sep 05, 2012 2:19 pm

There's nothing wrong with choosing your home state firm. I'll allow it, so don't feel bad about it.

What would your reasons for working in NYC be? just the money? would you like being in NYC? does the small state firm really work fewer hours?

I've been told it's best to find what you want to practice as early as possible. I think those extra years getting ingrained in the community in your state are probably worth more than some more $.

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IAFG
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Re: Am I about to make a big F*** up?

Postby IAFG » Wed Sep 05, 2012 2:40 pm

johndhi wrote:There's nothing wrong with choosing your home state firm. I'll allow it, so don't feel bad about it.

What would your reasons for working in NYC be? just the money? would you like being in NYC? does the small state firm really work fewer hours?

I've been told it's best to find what you want to practice as early as possible. I think those extra years getting ingrained in the community in your state are probably worth more than some more $.

Having more money isn't the same thing as not being able to service student loans.

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stewie27
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Re: Am I about to make a big F*** up?

Postby stewie27 » Wed Nov 14, 2012 9:54 pm

I was just in a similar situation. Took an offer in my home state. Curious what OP ended up doing.

kryptix
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Re: Am I about to make a big F*** up?

Postby kryptix » Thu Nov 15, 2012 1:08 pm

I'm from NYC so difference of opinion will definitely apply but my wife went to school in the midwest and we spent some time out there. I voted flyover for the OP but personally, I think a number of factors really must be considered before giving up on more immediate cash from NYC especially because COL etc is not as bad as most people think in NYC.

For example, we definitely spent significantly more on food in Madison, WI than in Queens, NYC. If you don't buy food from Whole Foods but rather go to more ethnic supermarkets like Western Beef (Hispanic) or Chinese/Korean supermarkets in Flushing, your spending a lot less than in the midwest. As an example, they sell lobster for $4.28-$4.88 per pound in Flushing.

Also rent in Queens you can get a 2 bedroom for $1600, what you lose out on is ~1 hour commute to most big law offices.

Living alone, pedal to the metal repaying debt, you can probably actually live decently and have your debt almost gone in 3-4 years then lateral back to your hometown with much more financial security.

Just want to point that out for people to consider.

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Re: Am I about to make a big F*** up?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Nov 15, 2012 1:32 pm

Anonymous User wrote:The firms SA--->Partner advancement is unreal. Basically everyone who summers there is still there.

This firm doesn't have anyone who worked in NYC that lateraled into their firm. They only hire out of their SA class.

NYC V20 associate here. If that's true then go flyover and don't look back.

I'm from flyover country and would like to go back someday. But I chose the NYC Vault thing. The hours are long and random and long. I don't mind NYC, but it's not fun trying to live here cheap. It's really not fun living here cheap when you don't really want to be here. It's hard to be disciplined about money when I'm tired from work and want to enjoy living. I could get another job right now if I wanted but most of the open doors are for other major markets. Being from a Vault firm carries prestige for sure. But some firms in smaller markets just don't want NYC folk, period. The firm you're considering sounds like one. If you want to work there then go work there. Nothing beats actually being happy where you are.

Don't worry about if you lose your job. IBR will help you out. You'll just make minimal payments based on whatever you make wherever until you hit 25 years. And working NYC isn't a safety net either. It'll take me five years or more to pay off my debt. I'm not sure I'll make it that long here. If I get pushed out before then I'm screwed too.

Take the better quality of life. If I could do it again I would.

Anonymous User
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Re: Am I about to make a big F*** up?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Nov 15, 2012 9:25 pm

I don't think this thread gave enough weight to the potential hiring culture of the flyover market in this situation. OP mentioned that the hiring culture is pretty established at the flyover firm. I think entire markets can be prone to a certain type of hiring culture, which will affect conclusions about the fate of someone in OP's position in 3-5 years. If you know you want to end up in your hometown secondary market, and you doubt whether you could tolerate the Vault firm lifestyle for an extended period of time, I don't know if it's entirely true that the V-firm offers you the best prospects in 3-5 years.

Coming from a T6 school, I took a 1L SA at a firm in my hometown secondary market, and when faced with the 2L SA decision between a V25 and going back to my hometown firm that will start at ~$100k, I chose to go home. I knew I wanted to be there eventually- sooner than later, actually- and in my particular situation, the "start big then go smaller" idea didn't really apply.

My hometown market is pretty evenly divided between "bigger" offices of regional firms on one hand, and smaller offices of national and international firms on the other. While the work at these firms/offices is generally less complex and sexy than the work in larger markets, the overall responsibility level/learning curve for young associates in my market appears to be steeper than that of most young associates at main offices of very large firms.

The hiring trends in my market appear to follow. Firms don't end up hiring too many 3rd or 4th year associates from Vault firms in large markets (1) due to the obvious effect of self-selection (not everyone is dying to move to generic flyover cities), and (2) more importantly, because even when they have the chance, the firms are finding a disconnect between the amount they would have to pay for such laterals and the relative level of responsibility to which the laterals have been exposed. The firms don't necessarily want to gamble on expensive laterals who have spent three years making $160k+ doing nothing but due diligence and doc review when the firm has been giving much greater levels of responsibility to its own associates at the same level of seniority, for less money. I'm exaggerating a little bit but I think the sentiment is very real. Some secondary markets won't necessarily welcome your resume with open, unquestioning arms. Some might actually pause and wonder whether 3 years in NYC really allowed you to develop as an attorney.

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dingbat
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Re: Am I about to make a big F*** up?

Postby dingbat » Thu Nov 15, 2012 9:35 pm

Better to be a big fish in a small pond




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