"Of Counsel"

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"Of Counsel"

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 06, 2012 9:24 pm

I'm interviewing with a couple people tomorrow who are "Of Counsel" and "Senior Counsel" instead of partner/associate/etc. Okay...what the hell does this mean?

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ben4847
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Re: "Of Counsel"

Postby ben4847 » Thu Sep 06, 2012 9:25 pm

means not partner track.

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Re: "Of Counsel"

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 06, 2012 9:29 pm

Okay. Anything more specific or just that? Is this akin to like a non-equity partner type deal?

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Re: "Of Counsel"

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 06, 2012 9:34 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Okay. Anything more specific or just that? Is this akin to like a non-equity partner type deal?


It could be several things. Might be that he can't bring in clients, but still does great work so they kept him around. Or it might have been someone who had his own practice and lateraled in.

Either way, treat them more or less like a partner. Especially if it's someone who has been with the firm awhile

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Arbiter213
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Re: "Of Counsel"

Postby Arbiter213 » Thu Sep 06, 2012 9:34 pm

ben4847 wrote:means not partner track.


That's not always true. It can also be a retired partner.

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bk1
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Re: "Of Counsel"

Postby bk1 » Thu Sep 06, 2012 9:35 pm

It really depends on the firm. Generally it means someone who works part time or is not partner track, however this is not always the case. I know of at least one firm that calls their senior associates "counsel." Just assume they are a senior person in the firm. You could also ask them during the interview, e.g. "I saw you were Of Counsel, I know that means different things at different firms and I was curious what it means here."

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Re: "Of Counsel"

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 06, 2012 9:38 pm

While I would not recommend asking what "Of Counsel" means at a particular firm, I can say that there are a few firms that use the title during the time between associate and partner - even for those who will likely eventually be elected partner. Anon because I spoke with a hiring partner about this very recently.

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ben4847
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Re: "Of Counsel"

Postby ben4847 » Thu Sep 06, 2012 9:39 pm

Arbiter213 wrote:
ben4847 wrote:means not partner track.


That's not always true. It can also be a retired partner.


right. Which is functionally the same thing for our purposes.

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Arbiter213
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Re: "Of Counsel"

Postby Arbiter213 » Thu Sep 06, 2012 9:40 pm

ben4847 wrote:
Arbiter213 wrote:
ben4847 wrote:means not partner track.


That's not always true. It can also be a retired partner.


right. Which is functionally the same thing for our purposes.


"Not partner track" vs. "Was a partner" can be tremendously different in terms of clout.

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bk1
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Re: "Of Counsel"

Postby bk1 » Thu Sep 06, 2012 9:43 pm

Anonymous User wrote:While I would not recommend asking what "Of Counsel" means at a particular firm, I can say that there are a few firms that use the title during the time between associate and partner - even for those who will likely eventually be elected partner. Anon because I spoke with a hiring partner about this very recently.

This is fair. I think that not asking is much safer (the only time I did ask it ended up meaning senior associate so it wasn't a big deal but I do see how it could have been otherwise).

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Re: "Of Counsel"

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 06, 2012 9:47 pm

Thanks for the input everyone

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Re: "Of Counsel"

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 06, 2012 11:00 pm

ben4847 wrote:means not partner track.


Not necessarily... To break it down, it can mean the following things:

(1) Another name for a senior associate - e.g., Akin Gump does this... sort of like how Kirkland calls their senior associates partners.

(2) Another name for a non-equity partner - in a firm that only has equity partners, their non-equity class (i.e., the equivalent of salaried partners in multi-tier firms) are called of counsel

(3) Lateral partner who is required to wait 1-2 years before becoming a partner. Some firms prefer to bring people in as of counsel

(4) A senior partner who has aged out of the partnership and is, most likely, de-equitized. This is a positive - forced semi-retirement helps keep partnership opportunities open for young lawyers

(5) A senior associate who is in a holding pattern for partnership -- i.e., if a firm has an 8 year partnership track, a couple of top-notch 8th year associates who just missed the partnership cut off may be kept around for another shot in a year or two... I've heard of this happening in two particular situations: (1) at a certain V5, I've heard it's pretty standard for lit associates to have to spend a couple years as counsel and (2) when a senior associate has been stuck, albeit in a critical role, on a couple big cases and hasn't yet developed key junior partnership skills, they may be kept for a couple years in a counsel position to build those skills.

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TTRansfer
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Re: "Of Counsel"

Postby TTRansfer » Fri Sep 07, 2012 12:20 am

When in doubt, treat them as you would a partner. No reason not to. If you ask one of them how they get work from the partners? Well, I doubt they'd be pleased.

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Re: "Of Counsel"

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 07, 2012 12:39 am

My V100 evidently allows people to choose whether they want partner or of counsel, there are evidently pros and cons to both. My informal mentor chose the latter after lateraling in from a peer firm, though he said he was offered the title of partner.

Can mean a heck of a lot of things, OP. Just treat them like attorneys who have a job I you want.

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Loose Seal
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Re: "Of Counsel"

Postby Loose Seal » Fri Sep 07, 2012 2:09 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
ben4847 wrote:means not partner track.


Not necessarily... To break it down, it can mean the following things:

(1) Another name for a senior associate - e.g., Akin Gump does this... sort of like how Kirkland calls their senior associates partners.

(2) Another name for a non-equity partner - in a firm that only has equity partners, their non-equity class (i.e., the equivalent of salaried partners in multi-tier firms) are called of counsel

(3) Lateral partner who is required to wait 1-2 years before becoming a partner. Some firms prefer to bring people in as of counsel

(4) A senior partner who has aged out of the partnership and is, most likely, de-equitized. This is a positive - forced semi-retirement helps keep partnership opportunities open for young lawyers

(5) A senior associate who is in a holding pattern for partnership -- i.e., if a firm has an 8 year partnership track, a couple of top-notch 8th year associates who just missed the partnership cut off may be kept around for another shot in a year or two... I've heard of this happening in two particular situations: (1) at a certain V5, I've heard it's pretty standard for lit associates to have to spend a couple years as counsel and (2) when a senior associate has been stuck, albeit in a critical role, on a couple big cases and hasn't yet developed key junior partnership skills, they may be kept for a couple years in a counsel position to build those skills.


TITCR.




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