Opting for Mid-Law over Big-Law

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Opting for Mid-Law over Big-Law

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 23, 2012 4:08 am

I want to substantiate my anticipated choice of choosing mid-law over big-law.

Big-law pays more but mid-law is nicely over $100K. My understanding is that some choose big-law so that they can lateral over to an illustrious mid-law firm where stability and the chance to advance to partner is theoretically better. If this is indeed the rationale, why not choose mid-law from the start? Your opinion is . . .

PS – My definition of mid-law is 50 attorneys, give or take.

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Re: Opting for Mid-Law over Big-Law

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 23, 2012 4:31 am

Anonymous User wrote:I want to substantiate my anticipated choice of choosing mid-law over big-law.

Big-law pays more but mid-law is nicely over $100K. My understanding is that some choose big-law so that they can lateral over to an illustrious mid-law firm where stability and the chance to advance to partner is theoretically better. If this is indeed the rationale, why not choose mid-law from the start? Your opinion is . . .

PS – My definition of mid-law is 50 attorneys, give or take.


Just keep in mind though that the number of hours worked, stress, etc. could be just as bad, if not worse at a mid-law firm (at least for a few years as an associate). That being the case, why not take more money?

ajr
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Re: Opting for Mid-Law over Big-Law

Postby ajr » Sun Sep 23, 2012 4:33 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I want to substantiate my anticipated choice of choosing mid-law over big-law.

Big-law pays more but mid-law is nicely over $100K. My understanding is that some choose big-law so that they can lateral over to an illustrious mid-law firm where stability and the chance to advance to partner is theoretically better. If this is indeed the rationale, why not choose mid-law from the start? Your opinion is . . .

PS – My definition of mid-law is 50 attorneys, give or take.


Just keep in mind though that the number of hours worked, stress, etc. could be just as bad, if not worse at a mid-law firm (at least for a few years as an associate). That being the case, why not take more money?


Sorry didnt intend for this to be anon.

09042014
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Re: Opting for Mid-Law over Big-Law

Postby 09042014 » Sun Sep 23, 2012 4:49 am

Midlaw firms don't typically hire law students so it's not even on most students radar.

Those kind of firms aren't nearly as standardized as big law. Pay, hours, stability wildly vary. Some firms like this intend to make you partner if you don't quit. Some firms are just as bad hours wise as big law. Some firms hire 5 SAs and give 0 offers.

But 1600 hours, no up or out, and 100K, and I'd cop dat shit every day and twice on sunday. Congrats if you actually found it.

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Re: Opting for Mid-Law over Big-Law

Postby midwestls » Sun Sep 23, 2012 12:56 pm

Desert Fox wrote:But 1600 hours, no up or out, and 100K, and I'd cop dat shit every day and twice on sunday. Congrats if you actually found it.


I work at a 100+ lawyer Midwestern firm that meets most of those conditions (1900 hours, not 1600). We also typically hire all our summer associates. Unless you're one of the very precious few who hit the Big Law partner jackpot, this is a better deal IMO.

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Re: Opting for Mid-Law over Big-Law

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 23, 2012 1:34 pm

Those qualities can also be found in Biglaw offices in smaller secondary markets. At least in the secondary market I'm going to, the few vault/nlj250 firms that are there hire maybe 5 SAs, have close to 100% offer rates, billable requirements around 1900, and seem to have the expectation that you are going to make partner (better than 2:1 partner to associate ratio, very low attrition, no up or out (can be made of counsel), etc.), plus have the big firm pay/benefits. Not saying these jobs are easy to get, but you don't necessarily have to give up biglaw benefits in order to be somewhere where it's not bill 2400 or gtfo.

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Re: Opting for Mid-Law over Big-Law

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 23, 2012 1:50 pm

Desert Fox wrote:Midlaw firms don't typically hire law students so it's not even on most students radar.

Those kind of firms aren't nearly as standardized as big law. Pay, hours, stability wildly vary. Some firms like this intend to make you partner if you don't quit. Some firms are just as bad hours wise as big law. Some firms hire 5 SAs and give 0 offers.

But 1600 hours, no up or out, and 100K, and I'd cop dat shit every day and twice on sunday. Congrats if you actually found it.

After a few weeks of high anxiety, I did. . .but, I am now torn. I am not yet concerned about the work hours (that will likely come soon enough). The cohorts I know are elated with their big-law offers (even those outside NYC). When I mention my mid-law firm option no one says it is a poor choice, on the other side, no one has encouraged me to sidestep big-law for mid-law.

Since mid-law tends only to hire 2-4 SAs, my guess is that an offer is as likely (or perhaps better) than big-law. I cannot validate my rationale, other than it is my feeling.

My question here is opened ended to your opinion.

PS - I am T-14, but no LR or top third GPA to boast about.

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Re: Opting for Mid-Law over Big-Law

Postby 005618502 » Sun Sep 23, 2012 2:11 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:Midlaw firms don't typically hire law students so it's not even on most students radar.

Those kind of firms aren't nearly as standardized as big law. Pay, hours, stability wildly vary. Some firms like this intend to make you partner if you don't quit. Some firms are just as bad hours wise as big law. Some firms hire 5 SAs and give 0 offers.

But 1600 hours, no up or out, and 100K, and I'd cop dat shit every day and twice on sunday. Congrats if you actually found it.

After a few weeks of high anxiety, I did. . .but, I am now torn. I am not yet concerned about the work hours (that will likely come soon enough). The cohorts I know are elated with their big-law offers (even those outside NYC). When I mention my mid-law firm option no one says it is a poor choice, on the other side, no one has encouraged me to sidestep big-law for mid-law.

Since mid-law tends only to hire 2-4 SAs, my guess is that an offer is as likely (or perhaps better) than big-law. I cannot validate my rationale, other than it is my feeling.

My question here is opened ended to your opinion.

PS - I am T-14, but no LR or top third GPA to boast about.


I know of a couple mid size firms (one in particular) that I would take over any big law firm. With the expectancy of partner and solid work, I dont see why biglaw would be better. If you goal is to lateral into a diff. firm one day and not go in-house I think its the better choice. Even though you make less, once you make partner (at most of these firms) you are basically guaranteed over $200k for life. In lower COL cities, that is very nice

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Re: Opting for Mid-Law over Big-Law

Postby anon168 » Sun Sep 23, 2012 3:10 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I want to substantiate my anticipated choice of choosing mid-law over big-law.

Big-law pays more but mid-law is nicely over $100K. My understanding is that some choose big-law so that they can lateral over to an illustrious mid-law firm where stability and the chance to advance to partner is theoretically better. If this is indeed the rationale, why not choose mid-law from the start? Your opinion is . . .

PS – My definition of mid-law is 50 attorneys, give or take.


There are alot of advantage of taking midlaw over biglaw, incl.

1. Work-life balance. Don't kid yourself, there are very few (if any) midlaw firms that have the hours expectancy, or atmosphere, that biglaw firms do. That is driven, in no small part, by their client base, which I'll get to in a minute.

2. Work. The clients, most likely, won't be as big or "glamorous" (e.g. Fortune 500), as your biglaw slate, but that being said there are still many practice areas where midlaw firms do have a Fortune 500 type of client base. Most obvious areas are, employment, IP and tax. But even without the glamorous clients, the work at midlaw can be more substantial than at most biglaw firms because the leverage is lower and the nature of the cases are smaller (read: less doc review and more depos).

3. Practice area. If the midlaw firm is in an area where you know you want to practice in and specialize, than it's most likely better to go to midlaw than biglaw. Obvious examples are, again, tax, bankruptcy, entertainment or IP.

4. Partnership track. Generally, speaking it is shorter.

5. Stability. There's less turnover, so you get to know the people. Definitely a more personal atmo.

So, to answer, your question, no, there is nothing wrong with going to midlaw.

And, really, the question shouldn't be, "Should I choose midlaw over biglaw" ... but rather, "Should I choose biglaw over a firm I really like better simply because it is 'biglaw'"?

Good luck with your decision.

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Re: Opting for Mid-Law over Big-Law

Postby Veyron » Sun Sep 23, 2012 3:12 pm

Desert Fox wrote:But 1600 hours, no up or out, and 100K, and I'd cop dat shit every day and twice on sunday. Congrats if you actually found it.


This.

Those qualities can also be found in Biglaw offices in smaller secondary markets. At least in the secondary market I'm going to, the few vault/nlj250 firms that are there hire maybe 5 SAs, have close to 100% offer rates, billable requirements around 1900, and seem to have the expectation that you are going to make partner (better than 2:1 partner to associate ratio, very low attrition, no up or out (can be made of counsel), etc.), plus have the big firm pay/benefits. Not saying these jobs are easy to get, but you don't necessarily have to give up biglaw benefits in order to be somewhere where it's not bill 2400 or gtfo.


Also this. Although "biglaw" in secondary markets and "midlaw" is often indistinguishable.

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Re: Opting for Mid-Law over Big-Law

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 23, 2012 4:20 pm

not OP, but have a similar question.

In a secondary market is it preferable to work at the main office of a NLJ250 or a satellite office of a V50? Salary is roughly identical.

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nevdash
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Re: Opting for Mid-Law over Big-Law

Postby nevdash » Sun Sep 23, 2012 5:40 pm

Anonymous User wrote:not OP, but have a similar question.

In a secondary market is it preferable to work at the main office of a NLJ250 or a satellite office of a V50? Salary is roughly identical.

Better exit options out of the V50, but that only matters if you're trying to for something like an AUSA position down the road. If your exit plan is midlaw, might as well just begin in midlaw.

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Re: Opting for Mid-Law over Big-Law

Postby dissonance1848 » Sun Sep 23, 2012 6:20 pm

If you can snag midlaw in the first place, great.

But I thought midlaw SA and first year associate positions were as rare as unicorns.

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Re: Opting for Mid-Law over Big-Law

Postby Veyron » Sun Sep 23, 2012 6:53 pm

nevdash wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:not OP, but have a similar question.

In a secondary market is it preferable to work at the main office of a NLJ250 or a satellite office of a V50? Salary is roughly identical.

Better exit options out of the V50, but that only matters if you're trying to for something like an AUSA position down the road. If your exit plan is midlaw, might as well just begin in midlaw.


Not necessarily. Exit options depend more on the relative regard in which the firms are held in a given market, chambers band (if moving into a relevant field), closeness with which you worked with clients (if going in-house since a large % of the time, lawyers go in-house for clients that they've done work for at their firms) and what you actually did (i.e. if you get more substantive work experience at the NLJ 250 that might be better for you in the long run). V ranking only matters for a limit subset of exits like M&A to banking.

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Re: Opting for Mid-Law over Big-Law

Postby Gorki » Sun Sep 23, 2012 6:55 pm

Anonymous User wrote:not OP, but have a similar question.

In a secondary market is it preferable to work at the main office of a NLJ250 or a satellite office of a V50? Salary is roughly identical.


Depends on what you want to do. If you want to work in that area, the main office may have better name recognition... Where I am there are a few firms ranked higher than any native big laws, but their offices consist of 10-15 people + support staff, and they almost never hire a summer.

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Re: Opting for Mid-Law over Big-Law

Postby Lasers » Mon Sep 24, 2012 12:22 am

i feel mid law is a myth, at least for us looking to summer.

almost all don't seem to have a summer associate program, and the few that do will hire only 1-2 students.

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Re: Opting for Mid-Law over Big-Law

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 24, 2012 1:30 am

I chose a smaller firm over big firms. My firm has much less than 50 attorneys!

The firm requires a minimum 1500 hours, no up or out, and compensation is just based on how much you want to work. A first year only billing 1500 hours gets $125k. Lots of the people are former partners from other firms or people who just have no interest in partnership. A lot of the people seem like they only work 2-3 days/week.

I think that it just depends on the field of law. I imagine many specialized fields are like this.

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Re: Opting for Mid-Law over Big-Law

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 24, 2012 11:43 am

Veyron wrote:
nevdash wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:not OP, but have a similar question.

In a secondary market is it preferable to work at the main office of a NLJ250 or a satellite office of a V50? Salary is roughly identical.

Better exit options out of the V50, but that only matters if you're trying to for something like an AUSA position down the road. If your exit plan is midlaw, might as well just begin in midlaw.


Not necessarily. Exit options depend more on the relative regard in which the firms are held in a given market, chambers band (if moving into a relevant field), closeness with which you worked with clients (if going in-house since a large % of the time, lawyers go in-house for clients that they've done work for at their firms) and what you actually did (i.e. if you get more substantive work experience at the NLJ 250 that might be better for you in the long run). V ranking only matters for a limit subset of exits like M&A to banking.


on exit options, it seems like movement from mid-law to big-law is minimal. confirm?

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Re: Opting for Mid-Law over Big-Law

Postby RickyDnwhyc » Mon Sep 24, 2012 12:59 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I chose a smaller firm over big firms. My firm has much less than 50 attorneys!

The firm requires a minimum 1500 hours, no up or out, and compensation is just based on how much you want to work. A first year only billing 1500 hours gets $125k. Lots of the people are former partners from other firms or people who just have no interest in partnership. A lot of the people seem like they only work 2-3 days/week.

I think that it just depends on the field of law. I imagine many specialized fields are like this.


Firms like this exist? :shock:

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Re: Opting for Mid-Law over Big-Law

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 24, 2012 1:15 pm

Thoughts on $95,000 in mid-law for 1,750 hours versus biglaw for $125,000 at 1,900 hours? Seems similar to DF's statement above, but I have offers from both types of firms and would love to hear thoughts.

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Re: Opting for Mid-Law over Big-Law

Postby 09042014 » Mon Sep 24, 2012 1:19 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Thoughts on $95,000 in mid-law for 1,750 hours versus biglaw for $125,000 at 1,900 hours? Seems similar to DF's statement above, but I have offers from both types of firms and would love to hear thoughts.


Take 125. That 1750 could be totally bullshit. Big law only requires 2000, but that's bullshit too.

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Re: Opting for Mid-Law over Big-Law

Postby thelawyler » Mon Sep 24, 2012 1:20 pm

RickyDnwhyc wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I chose a smaller firm over big firms. My firm has much less than 50 attorneys!

The firm requires a minimum 1500 hours, no up or out, and compensation is just based on how much you want to work. A first year only billing 1500 hours gets $125k. Lots of the people are former partners from other firms or people who just have no interest in partnership. A lot of the people seem like they only work 2-3 days/week.

I think that it just depends on the field of law. I imagine many specialized fields are like this.


Firms like this exist? :shock:


Rare as unicorns from what I hear.

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Re: Opting for Mid-Law over Big-Law

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 24, 2012 1:35 pm

FYI: hours minimums are very, very different from hours expectations. Most New York biglaw firms have official hours requirements in the 1900-2000 range, and even then usually the only explicit negative repercussion is that you don't get your year-end bonus (which have been pretty paltry the last few years anyways). Realistically, however, you'll have partners constantly pushing work at you, and while it's possible to regularly turn down work and settle in at/near the minimum, that level of effort puts you in a very precarious position with regards to job security, especially ITE. I'd say most New York associates in good standing average around 2200 billables a year (including pro bono), which is a far cry from the 1950 or 2000 or whatever they're pushing on the website/Chambers/etc.

That said, I imagine similar dynamics are at play with the midlaw firm-- I would ask around and see how reliable those hours estimates really are. It's very possible that you might only bill 1500 hours but are expected to put in a lot of hours in business development, administrative hours, etc. which pushes the end result closer to biglaw hours.

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Re: Opting for Mid-Law over Big-Law

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 24, 2012 4:28 pm

Just accepted a bit over $100K/yr for mid-law in a desirable secondary market. So happy right now.

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Re: Opting for Mid-Law over Big-Law

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 24, 2012 4:39 pm

I think if one of your main goals is to see how little you have to bill then biglaw is clearly not the best place for you and you're probably being smart by focusing on midlaw. Just be careful that the hours are less, there's a lot of midlaw that's the same hours just less pay, less interesting work and less opportunities. Try to find a "lifestyle" firm, if such a thing truly exists...




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