160k exit options v. 140k practice area

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FattyMcFatFat
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160k exit options v. 140k practice area

Postby FattyMcFatFat » Fri Nov 02, 2012 10:16 pm

I think the thread title is pretty straightforward. I accepted an SA opportunity with a small firm in my preferred location that specializes in, among other related things, the practice area I am most interested in. I declined an opportunity to make 20k more, in an acceptable practice area, in a less desirable location. I wouldn't necessarily say I'm experiencing any regret. I'm just thinking through whether I made the right decision and am curious about what other people think.

All else equal, would you have done the same thing under these circumstances? Am I risking potential exit opportunities by specializing right away in a firm that is the best at what it does, but is less well known? Do the opportunities for partnership, given that this is a smaller firm (< 200 attorneys), outweigh those costs? Are there other costs / benefits either way?

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FattyMcFatFat
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Re: 160k exit options v. 140k practice area

Postby FattyMcFatFat » Fri Nov 02, 2012 10:35 pm

No thoughts?

Anonymous User
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Re: 160k exit options v. 140k practice area

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Nov 02, 2012 10:56 pm

no thoughts because 1) the decision is already made and 3L hiring is a joke, and 2) this is a personal decision and no one from TLS can push their glasses higher up on the bridge of their nose and tell you, well actually you are objectively 7% more likely to be happier making 160k a year.

with this much info no one knows COL, partnership chances for you at this firm, whether you'll even like it after your summer or whether you'd have liked the other place, what the unspecified practice area exit options are from two unspecified firms. no one can give you an answer and you can't change anything at this point so just try to not fuck up this summer.

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FattyMcFatFat
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Re: 160k exit options v. 140k practice area

Postby FattyMcFatFat » Fri Nov 02, 2012 11:06 pm

The firms are in two different primary markets (basically). I guess that is about what I should have expected though. I'm just bored and my mind keeps dwelling on this. Thanks for the response.

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crazycanuck
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Re: 160k exit options v. 140k practice area

Postby crazycanuck » Sat Nov 03, 2012 1:34 am

I would have done the same thing. You will never enjoy your job if you start day 1 knowing that you want to leave the firm.

BeenDidThat
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Re: 160k exit options v. 140k practice area

Postby BeenDidThat » Sat Nov 03, 2012 8:12 am

FattyMcFatFat wrote:I think the thread title is pretty straightforward. I accepted an SA opportunity with a small firm in my preferred location that specializes in, among other related things, the practice area I am most interested in. I declined an opportunity to make 20k more, in an acceptable practice area, in a less desirable location. I wouldn't necessarily say I'm experiencing any regret. I'm just thinking through whether I made the right decision and am curious about what other people think.

All else equal, would you have done the same thing under these circumstances? Am I risking potential exit opportunities by specializing right away in a firm that is the best at what it does, but is less well known? Do the opportunities for partnership, given that this is a smaller firm (< 200 attorneys), outweigh those costs? Are there other costs / benefits either way?


Regardless of firm, the exit opportunities you might be "risking" are a long shot anyway. You'll be valuable to other entities that require attorneys who can practice in your area of specialization. And you'll be happy at work.

Seems pretty damn reasonable to me to take a 20k hit from 160 to 140 in return for working in the practice area you enjoy. Even if that earnings gap persists throughout your career (which is unlikely, given the other factors that play into earnings down the road), I don't see how anyone could reasonably criticize someone for taking a job they enjoy and that puts them in the top tax bracket.

TooOld4This
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Re: 160k exit options v. 140k practice area

Postby TooOld4This » Sat Nov 03, 2012 10:10 am

Trust your gut. There is more to life than money. It sounds like you made this decision for the right reasons. You prefer the location and you prefer the practice area. Both of those things make it more likely that you will stick around longer at this job than the other. Very few people like BigLaw. Some tolerate it. Many stay for only as long as they feel they are financially compelled to or until they decide that getting their lives back is worth making serious financial sacrifices. If you stay at the job you chose even a year longer than the one you gave up, you could come out financially ahead in the deal.

Hindsight is always 20/20, but give yourself credit for thinking things through in a way that made sense.

bdubs
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Re: 160k exit options v. 140k practice area

Postby bdubs » Sat Nov 03, 2012 12:30 pm

Depends on the practice, if you don't want to mention it then no one will have a great deal of info for you.

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ph14
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Re: 160k exit options v. 140k practice area

Postby ph14 » Sat Nov 03, 2012 1:00 pm

I might have made the opposite decision because of how common it is for attorneys to come in thinking they want to work in a particular practice area, then completely changing their minds. But since the decision is already made, don't sweat it.

Actually, because you are ending up in your preferred location, I think you made the right choice. If you end up hating the practice area, you could always try and lateral anyways (or possibly clerk and get hired at another firm).

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FattyMcFatFat
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Re: 160k exit options v. 140k practice area

Postby FattyMcFatFat » Sat Nov 03, 2012 11:07 pm

Thanks everyone for the feedback. I'm actually splitting the summer with another employer in a different market. That will also involve a specific practice area, so I'll basically have a choice between two very different practice areas (assuming I get offers). One of the two places that I'll be working specializes in gov't Ks/real estate/construction type stuff.

What type of doors does that sort of work open down the road, assuming you don't make partner? I'm thinking that government work seems like a realistic possibility. Also, in some ways it seems like this type of work is better for moving in-house than corporate work, given the type of work that I understand that in-house attorneys typically do (on the litigation side anyway). Does my perception seem reasonable?

TooOld4This
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Re: 160k exit options v. 140k practice area

Postby TooOld4This » Sun Nov 04, 2012 9:08 am

Gov't K work will open a lot of in-house opportunities, but none of them are glamorous. It is solid work, though. Since you said real estate/construction, I'm assuming you mean dirt law and not finance side. Again, there are a good number of in house positions that this will open up, but again generally not in the upper levels of a company. Basically, these areas are good specialist areas that companies actually do hire attorneys to cover in house. They are rather focused areas, though, so they don't lend themselves to the higher level legal positions in house, which tend to go to corporate generalists.




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