Anonymous User wrote:To OP: As a 2L SA here, I am assuming you were once an SA. Now that you have experienced both roles (SA to Associate), do you have any thoughts you can share (other than work hard and do not screw up). Do you frequently come in contact with SAs? If so, how do SAs best meet expectations (or fail to)? Do you have any input on whether an SA is offered? If an SA partakes in OCI, what is the blowback, if any (or does it even matter)? How are SAs really viewed….
Being an SA is a joke, you get trickle-down projects and aren't given work at nearly the same volume or intensity as first years. Just be enthusiastic, but at most large law firms the offer if yours to lose and it's not an intense examination into your work capabilities. Be positive and happy and get shit done and you'll be fine.
That may be less true at smaller firms.
AssumptionRequired wrote:if you had strong ties to a secondary market (think TX) do you think it would be hard to lateral to a big firm there after being in NYC for 5-6 years? Do you think this would be an advantage over going straight to that market? (Corporate work)
Both can "work" - I highly doubt one is objectively superior to the other.
J90 wrote:What took the most adjusting to once you started work? Were certain things very difficult at the beginning?
How were the expectations of the senior associates/partners, upon your starting?
Outside of securities (as mentioned in an earlier post), what other practice areas tend to offer relatively early responsibility and substantive work?
The biggest adjustment was the fact that work could come out of nowhere and pile up to a huge degree. Just when I think I'm successfully digging my way out of work for Client A / Project A, something will come up for Client B / Project B, and/or I'll get asked to help on a brand new project for Client C / Project C.
Basically, I found it less difficult when I could keep my head down and focus on the task at hand, and more difficult when other matters distracted me from that or when I thought I had time to myself and the dreaded blackberry had other plans for me. I've had days start causally and end in absolute overwhelmed panic. When a day starts and I can already tell you why it will be busy, there's a chance it will develop into completely unreasonable.
It's also been tough to adjust to not being immediately good at the tasks you're doing. There's a learning curve in biglaw, and often you're given tasks with little guidance. There's an expectation that you learn by doing, but it can be quite uncomfortable. Now that I'm working on my second or third deal with similar transactions I can already feel myself being more sure of my work, more sure of the timetable that work has to be completed on, quicker, more accurate, etc. but it's tough to be a type-A perfectionist (like most lawyers and all first years at big firms) facing tasks that you can't polish to perfection because you lack the training / time / background / experience.
Happily, expectations start extremely low. We're expected to do basic tasks well and quickly (running blacklines, copying, email, researching, word processing, etc.) but nearly anything more advanced than that you either have your hand held or are expected to give it a try as a learning experience but the senior will "make it right."
For early responsibility on the lit side, probably going to a smaller/leaner firm. On the corporate side, sometimes the biggest/best actually do lean staffing and early responsibility and so aren't bad choices (the Cravath system infamously dumps a lot of responsibility onto very junior lawyers, for example).
Anonymous User wrote:Does your firm have a robust litigation department?
How have your first year friends in that department found the first year? Obviously, different personalities, but if there are any who you think are similarly constituted to you I'd be interested in hearing their stories.
There really aren't any law firms that don't have robust litigation departments, except for some extremely narrow boutiques doing things like patent law, ERISA work, estate planning, etc. All
of the best corporate biglaw firms have robust litigation departments.
First year litigators can have very different lifestyles. One friend is on an enormous doc review, and basically just bills as many hours per day on it as he can while staying sane. Very low stress, very manageable hours/deadlines/expectations. Extremely dissimilar to the world I've found myself in when we compare notes. Others are juggling multiple cases where they have more heavy involvement outside of doc review and have hours/stress that at least is comparable to what I've seen.
Anonymous User wrote:v10 first year here.
So it sounds like you see some people moving up the Vault rankings. Any views on what this kind of a move is like or how common it is? Thanks.
The vault rankings are close to meaningless after you start. What matters is practice area: I know there are practice areas my firm would love to pick up some laterals in right now, and not coincidentally other firms are too, so people currently in that field could jump ship very easily to other firms. Generally if you start at one of the best regarded firms in a certain practice area, you will have a very easy time moving to the other firms that need people in that practice area. One interesting example was somebody who started in the derivatives group of a big firm with a big derivatives practice, then lateraled to a firm where he was literally the only derivatives lawyers - but the firm wanted to have one on hand for consulting and one-off projects that came through, even though it had no need for a full department.
AssumptionRequired wrote:Interesting, you always hear its really hard to go in-house as a litigator.
Not quite "hard" and much more "less obvious/easy." About 1/3 of in-house lawyers used to be litigators and about 2/3 used to do corporate, but across the country the overwhelming majority of large firm lawyers are litigators.
Samara wrote:Are you married or have a SO? If not, do you think the hours you're working would be infeasible?
I am single, and really can't imagine this lifestyle otherwise. I know some people who are married; the young ones just grin and bear it and the older ones safe guard their time a bit more. It's the clients - we get our huge legal fees and reputation because we do what it takes for the clients, and if that happens to be completely incompatible with a normal human existence... so it goes.
Anonymous User wrote:How many of your peers do you think are gunning for partner? I know the attrition rates are huge, but there has got to be a really large percentage of incoming associates who have no interest in the partner track, right?
I literally know nobody gunning for partner. 0 people with even a whisp of it. You can tell though, that some people have that rare combination of self-loathing, social skills, obsession, drive, and under developed sense of self-preservation that might make them go for it.
Much more interesting are seeing the very senior associates hanging around that you just know won't
make partner. Brilliant and hard working aren't necessary or sufficient; there has to be an X-factor, and sometimes the grinders just won't let go...
sfhaze wrote:Also, typically, are those exiting doing so b/c they're sick of the grind or b/c their advancement within the firm becomes limited, i.e., they feel like they have to move on?
At my firm, sick of the grind. We very rarely need to counsel people out (though it's not unheard of) and exit options are typically robust.
NYstate wrote:This came up earlier in another thread. What are the actual exit options you see people getting from your firm? Where are people going? It doesn't just have to be from your group.
We want to get information on biglaw exit options people are taking now. Thanks
The easiest is probably another firm; head-hunters call all the time. It really depends on your practice area though... a lot of employers don't hire entry levels, they only hire those who have cut their teeth at a law firm, so the opportunities are out there. The best ones will always be tied to the work you do and the clients you do it for as opposed to posted on job fairs. People jump to banks in compliance/legal roles, people jump to banks on the business side (usually due to personal desire and effort, it's not something a few years at a corporate firm will get you on its own), people swap firms all the time, people flame out and travel/open cupcake shops/move into their parents bedrooms, people move to government positions, some go clerk or teach, etc.