Choosing a start date as a first year associate

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Anonymous User
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Choosing a start date as a first year associate

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Mar 04, 2013 8:33 am

My biglaw firm has given me various start dates to start as a first year associate. Will it look bad to choose a later date than an earlier one?

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Re: Choosing a start date as a first year associate

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Mar 04, 2013 8:43 am

I doubt it will look bad, but if you have a large incoming class that is entering your practice group and the work flow is free market, I strongly recommend the earliest start date so you can begin to establish relationships early on. You do not be the last one to the dance as it may lead to an ugly date. If work flow is through an assignment coordinator I wod be less concerned. Likewise, if your practice group is extremely busy and they really need the incoming class to absorb some work.

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holdencaulfield
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Re: Choosing a start date as a first year associate

Postby holdencaulfield » Mon Mar 04, 2013 10:11 am

The chances of anyone caring are slim to none.

exitoptions
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Re: Choosing a start date as a first year associate

Postby exitoptions » Mon Mar 04, 2013 10:29 am

Most people won't remember whether you started in September or November when your reviews come up over a year later. There are really only a few reasons to start early: 1) your practice group suggests you do it because they need the help (unless you have a a really good reason for not starting), 2) it sounds like work is slowing and you're worried the other first years will get the good assignments by starting earlier, and 3) you need more of the pro rata stub bonus.

Anonymous User
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Re: Choosing a start date as a first year associate

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Mar 04, 2013 10:29 am

Find out when your firm's billable year starts/ends, and what happens to new associates' hours accumulated before that happens.

My firm's billable year started November 1. They neglected (seemingly purposely) to tell anyone this, and offered Sept, Oct, and Nov start dates. I chose earlier, got staffed on a huge case and billed around 300 hours in roughly 6 weeks...and then "oh, those hours disappear."

So, find out when that happens for you, how it's dealt with, and if they just disappear, choose a date after the billable year resets.

BeenDidThat
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Re: Choosing a start date as a first year associate

Postby BeenDidThat » Mon Mar 04, 2013 10:44 am

Anonymous User wrote:I doubt it will look bad, but if you have a large incoming class that is entering your practice group and the work flow is free market, I strongly recommend the earliest start date so you can begin to establish relationships early on. You do not be the last one to the dance as it may lead to an ugly date. If work flow is through an assignment coordinator I wod be less concerned. Likewise, if your practice group is extremely busy and they really need the incoming class to absorb some work.


^^^ TCR

No one will consciously care, but familiarity goes a long way. Better to get your coworkers familiar with you more quickly.

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Re: Choosing a start date as a first year associate

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Mar 04, 2013 5:32 pm

In regards to getting good assignments, how big of a difference would it make if the later date is simply a month later?

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holdencaulfield
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Re: Choosing a start date as a first year associate

Postby holdencaulfield » Mon Mar 04, 2013 7:28 pm

Anonymous User wrote:In regards to getting good assignments, how big of a difference would it make if the later date is simply a month later?



It will likely make no difference at all.

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Re: Choosing a start date as a first year associate

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Mar 04, 2013 7:38 pm

It won't matter. It's not as though there's some secret committee of partners observing every decision the junior associates make. The partners don't have time to do that (or if they do, it probably means there's no work and you'll soon be laid off regardless). Start whenever you feel like.

Keep in mind that choosing a later start date means giving up a huge amount of money, especially since you'll be taxed at a lower rate during your stub year. On the other hand, the period between the bar and when you start could likely be the last time you have several weeks off until you retire. Decisions, decisions...

imchuckbass58
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Re: Choosing a start date as a first year associate

Postby imchuckbass58 » Mon Mar 04, 2013 7:58 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Keep in mind that choosing a later start date means giving up a huge amount of money, especially since you'll be taxed at a lower rate during your stub year. On the other hand, the period between the bar and when you start could likely be the last time you have several weeks off until you retire. Decisions, decisions...


Yeah, this would be the most important factor for me. Do you value money or time more? For me, I'd start early, since you'll have August off no matter what, and you've been in school for the last 3 years, which isn't exactly the most stressful way to spend your time.

There is theoretically a situation (slow practice group) where starting late is a disadvantage, but I think that's an unlikely / unique situation. Also, the firm may adjust your start date based on business needs (this year some NY firms asked litigation associates to start early because they were swamped).

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thesealocust
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Re: Choosing a start date as a first year associate

Postby thesealocust » Mon Mar 04, 2013 8:28 pm

No one cares when you start, and it's completely impossible to predict what staffing/workflow differences will be made until you're on the ground. Even the partners don't know what they'll be working on when the assign the new fish.

Never forget, though, that once you set foot on the treadmill it might be a very long time until you get off...




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