Switching SA Firms

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Skye
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Switching SA Firms

Postby Skye » Sun Nov 18, 2012 3:43 pm

If you have gone through this experience, please advise.

After one year as an SA at a well-respected firm (around 60 attorneys), who I thoroughly enjoyed working for, I was planning to return this summer. However, an unexpected opportunity just presented itself where I can SA at a V-50 with offices in a number of attractive cities (which I guess could be a plus someday). They also pay $15K more, but that in itself is not the overriding factor. Has anyone here switched SA firms? What was it like and would you do it again? Were they any downsides? Thanks.

Aqualibrium
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Re: Switching SA Firms

Postby Aqualibrium » Sun Nov 18, 2012 4:11 pm

I switched from 1L to 2L. You're thinking about it way too much. It isn't a big deal. If you think the v50 is a better opportunity, do it. The people at your old firm will give you the obligatory "oh, well we were excited to have you back, sorry it couldn't work out, keep in touch," but none of that really means shit; half the people there won't even remember your name next summer anyway.

Also the firm I didn't go back to actually ended up making me a 3L offer because I had kept in touch with a few people there, including some of the HR folks. I ended up accepting a permanent offer and working for the firm that I went to instead of my 1L firm.

This is really not a big deal. Go with your gut on what you think is the best opportunity/best place for you.

005618502
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Re: Switching SA Firms

Postby 005618502 » Sun Nov 18, 2012 4:55 pm

Skye wrote:If you have gone through this experience, please advise.

After one year as an SA at a well-respected firm (around 60 attorneys), who I thoroughly enjoyed working for, I was planning to return this summer. However, an unexpected opportunity just presented itself where I can SA at a V-50 with offices in a number of attractive cities (which I guess could be a plus someday). They also pay $15K more, but that in itself is not the overriding factor. Has anyone here switched SA firms? What was it like and would you do it again? Were they any downsides? Thanks.


I worked at a firm with about this many attorneys for a while before going to law school. This happened both summers I was there, and there were never any hard feelings. You have to go with what you think is best because this is your career. You wont "burn any bridges" or anything, they will understand.

bdubs
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Re: Switching SA Firms

Postby bdubs » Sun Nov 18, 2012 5:05 pm

Have you already told your SA firm from last summer that you are going back? Did they reduce the number of 2Ls they hired because they thought you were going to be there? If there will be no hard feelings then I would take the V50 offer because having 2 options is better than 1 (assuming your firm from last summer is OK with a victory lap). If you are going to burn bridges by taking the V50 offer, you should be much more careful.

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Skye
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Re: Switching SA Firms

Postby Skye » Sun Nov 18, 2012 8:29 pm

Thanks to everyone for their input. Maybe it is not supposed to be, but to me this is a big deal, especially since I feel a tinge of disloyalty because the firm has been very helpful in my personal development. Everyone is friendly and supportive, they even invited me to their annual holiday party.

Has anyone here regretted departing their firm…did you leave a great working atmosphere only to find yourself working for a boss-hole?

005618502
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Re: Switching SA Firms

Postby 005618502 » Mon Nov 19, 2012 12:47 am

Skye wrote:Thanks to everyone for their input. Maybe it is not supposed to be, but to me this is a big deal, especially since I feel a tinge of disloyalty because the firm has been very helpful in my personal development. Everyone is friendly and supportive, they even invited me to their annual holiday party.

Has anyone here regretted departing their firm…did you leave a great working atmosphere only to find yourself working for a boss-hole?


What market are you talking about? (specific city would be best). I guess this could make a difference.

If the firm you are thinking about leaving is the only one you have worked at, I think those feelings are normal. But I think you will find there are many great firms out there. You should follow the best opportunity more than anything.

At least thats my 2 cents.

Anonymous User
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Re: Switching SA Firms

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Nov 21, 2012 4:02 pm

Those feelings are normal but you have to do what's best for you. You think your 1L firm would think twice about not making you a incoming offer if their work dried up? This is business, man. Be courteous but move forward. You're flattering yourself if you think your 1L firm will even care.

Me: switched 2L summer to incoming associate position.

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Skye
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Re: Switching SA Firms

Postby Skye » Thu Nov 22, 2012 1:48 am

The thing is, my experience here has been very enjoyable. The people are incredibly supportive, approachable and nurturing. They only employ 3 SAs every year and they have offered every SA over the last several years. The bigger firm hires a couple dozen SAs every year (just for this metropolitan satellite office that employs several hundred attorneys), so it probably will not have much of a family feel to it. I like that they have offices in a number of key markets and the extra $15K probably influences me more than I indicated earlier.

Whether my current SA firm would miss me or not is not particularly pertinent. What is relevant, will I regret leaving a firm that is nearly everything I could hope, for a bigger firm. That is why I was asking those who were faced with the same situation, what choice did they make, and how did it work out. So far the responses are that it is no big deal and no one has any horror stories (which surprises me).

TooOld4This
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Re: Switching SA Firms

Postby TooOld4This » Thu Nov 22, 2012 11:28 am

Why are you considering the V50? $15k is not worth it. Most people go to a V50 to preserve options until they can find the type of firm you already found.

Anonymous User
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Re: Switching SA Firms

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Nov 24, 2012 2:48 am

If you like the work you do and the people you work with, don't leave.

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Re: Switching SA Firms

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Nov 24, 2012 10:38 am

TooOld4This wrote:Why are you considering the V50? $15k is not worth it. Most people go to a V50 to preserve options until they can find the type of firm you already found.


This is not true. Most attorneys don't post on TLS.

OP - Do what you want to do. It's your career. No one will ever fault you for making a move that you think is in your best interest. They might be sad to see you go (probably not in this case since you were only there 1 summer), and you might be sad to leave, but it ends there.

If you're not sure you'd want to work at the V50 after the summer, consider trying to work out a split. Your 1L firm would probably be flexible in what weeks you worked there, letting you work around your other firm. That way you preserve that 1L firm as an option if you don't like the V50.

TooOld4This
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Re: Switching SA Firms

Postby TooOld4This » Sat Nov 24, 2012 11:46 am

Anonymous User wrote:
TooOld4This wrote:Why are you considering the V50? $15k is not worth it. Most people go to a V50 to preserve options until they can find the type of firm you already found.


This is not true. Most attorneys don't post on TLS.

OP - Do what you want to do. It's your career. No one will ever fault you for making a move that you think is in your best interest. They might be sad to see you go (probably not in this case since you were only there 1 summer), and you might be sad to leave, but it ends there.

If you're not sure you'd want to work at the V50 after the summer, consider trying to work out a split. Your 1L firm would probably be flexible in what weeks you worked there, letting you work around your other firm. That way you preserve that 1L firm as an option if you don't like the V50.


True. Most attorneys don't know about this place. I found it when a friend started thinking about going to law school "late in life" and was researching LSAT strategies. I still stand by my statement, but I guess I've been out of BigLaw longer than I realize. Maybe things have changed, but generally, very few incoming associates look at a V50 as an end. The majority of those that do are abused of such thoughts pretty quickly. Most are looking for experience that will get them to the next job. If OP has already found "the next job" there is no reason to go to a V50 for $15k.

If OP is not sure about the other firm, then going with the V50 does preserve more options, though probably not as many as the OP would like. Not all firms are interested in having associates move offices. If this is a selling point, then OP should look into it. Many firms' offices develop areas of expertise -- if you become and X associate and the office you want to transfer to really doesn't do X, chances are you aren't going to get to go. At larger firms, substantive experience is harder to come by, so if OP decides that the V50 was the wrong move, he/she may find that "downshifting" to a smaller firm is not as easy as expected.

Splitting in this economy is not a particularly good idea. If OP can truthfully say to V50 that his/her 1L firm would like a couple of weeks of the summer, then that is pretty low risk. But if 1L firm doesn't offer this cover, then OP gives 2L firm a reason to No Offer if the firm decides it can't make 100% offers. Then there is the issue of whether 1L firm would even have room for an additional associate. Small firms can't always absorb an extra associate. If they want 3 new associates per year, they may not be willing to risk getting 2 (by only taking 2 SAs on in hope that OP will choose them) or 4 (by making OP an offer in addition to the 3 SAs it hires). If OP wants to split, the first convo should be with the 1L firm to find out if they are interested and if there is a chance for a perm offer if OP splits.

OP, no one is going to hold either decision against you in some sort of vindictive way. However, your decision will have consequences to it. You need to assume that you shut the door to your 1L firm if you choose the V50 and that you shut the door to V50 if you choose the 1L firm. Small firms are generally much more exacting in their hiring. If they want 3 people, they want 3 -- not 2, not 4. If you say no, they aren't likely to hold your spot. If they have capacity in 2014, then they would probably consider hiring you if you decided you didn't like the V50, but I wouldn't count on it. Likewise, BigLaw has a hiring model. If you don't jump on the on-ramp now, your chances of finding your way back to one later is greatly diminished.

The question I would ask yourself is what was the 1L firm lacking (you say "nearly everything I could hope"). The next question is whether you think the V50 fills those holes without creating new (and worse) ones. Only you can answer those questions.




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