First year at a big firm; brutal hours; like the job. AMA.

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Re: First year at a big firm; brutal hours; like the job. AMA.

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Mar 09, 2013 11:39 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:v10 first year here.

ive seen several departure emails over my ~5 months here. none have been anything noteworthy. Majority go to other firms. Most on the vault scale but a decent number that are not (and one wachtell). second most often i would say in-house at some fortune500. its not clear how good the in house jobs are because they always have some weird title. like "VP legal counsel in north america division" or something like that. other people have left to just travel (these are always single people). thats pretty much it for exit options. haven't seen anything crazy or out of the ordinary like people moving into business or something else non-law.

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.


i dont know. i didn't know them personally. just statistically most people will move down as its a v10, and most people aren't going to go from, say skadden to simpson thacher, unless there is a really compelling reason.

a bunch of people left ny. some went to LA, others to chicago, others back to hometowns. others stayed at the firm but went to other offices. it was pretty common so i dont expect there is a huge problem if you want to move to another state.

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Re: First year at a big firm; brutal hours; like the job. AMA.

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Mar 09, 2013 11:58 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:v10 first year here.

ive seen several departure emails over my ~5 months here. none have been anything noteworthy. Majority go to other firms. Most on the vault scale but a decent number that are not (and one wachtell). second most often i would say in-house at some fortune500. its not clear how good the in house jobs are because they always have some weird title. like "VP legal counsel in north america division" or something like that. other people have left to just travel (these are always single people). thats pretty much it for exit options. haven't seen anything crazy or out of the ordinary like people moving into business or something else non-law.

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.


i dont know. i didn't know them personally. just statistically most people will move down as its a v10, and most people aren't going to go from, say skadden to simpson thacher, unless there is a really compelling reason.

a bunch of people left ny. some went to LA, others to chicago, others back to hometowns. others stayed at the firm but went to other offices. it was pretty common so i dont expect there is a huge problem if you want to move to another state.


V20 lit associate from the previous page.

I think the bolded is more true for corp than it is for lit. Corporate people do the same shit no matter where they live. The deals are just bigger and more important in NYC which makes the exit options abnormally awesome for NYC corporate types. The VAST, VAST majority of lit headhunters who have contacted me were local to my area and represented employers looking only at people who had passed the CA bar.

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Re: First year at a big firm; brutal hours; like the job. AMA.

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Mar 09, 2013 11:59 pm

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.

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Re: First year at a big firm; brutal hours; like the job. AMA.

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Mar 10, 2013 12:25 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:v10 first year here.

ive seen several departure emails over my ~5 months here. none have been anything noteworthy. Majority go to other firms. Most on the vault scale but a decent number that are not (and one wachtell). second most often i would say in-house at some fortune500. its not clear how good the in house jobs are because they always have some weird title. like "VP legal counsel in north america division" or something like that. other people have left to just travel (these are always single people). thats pretty much it for exit options. haven't seen anything crazy or out of the ordinary like people moving into business or something else non-law.

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.


i dont know. i didn't know them personally. just statistically most people will move down as its a v10, and most people aren't going to go from, say skadden to simpson thacher, unless there is a really compelling reason.

a bunch of people left ny. some went to LA, others to chicago, others back to hometowns. others stayed at the firm but went to other offices. it was pretty common so i dont expect there is a huge problem if you want to move to another state.


V20 lit associate from the previous page.

I think the bolded is more true for corp than it is for lit. Corporate people do the same shit no matter where they live. The deals are just bigger and more important in NYC which makes the exit options abnormally awesome for NYC corporate types. The VAST, VAST majority of lit headhunters who have contacted me were local to my area and represented employers looking only at people who had passed the CA bar.


What sort of salaries are you looking at for lit exit options?

Edit: sorry didn't mean for this to be anon
Last edited by Anonymous User on Sun Mar 10, 2013 12:38 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: First year at a big firm; brutal hours; like the job. AMA.

Postby J90 » Sun Mar 10, 2013 12:37 am

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?

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Re: First year at a big firm; brutal hours; like the job. AMA.

Postby toothbrush » Sun Mar 10, 2013 12:50 am

Thanks for this. And to the other v10 who chimed in.

tagging

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Re: First year at a big firm; brutal hours; like the job. AMA.

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Mar 10, 2013 2:16 am

Anonymous User wrote:v10 first year here.

ive seen several departure emails over my ~5 months here. none have been anything noteworthy. Majority go to other firms. Most on the vault scale but a decent number that are not (and one wachtell). second most often i would say in-house at some fortune500. its not clear how good the in house jobs are because they always have some weird title. like "VP legal counsel in north america division" or something like that. other people have left to just travel (these are always single people). thats pretty much it for exit options. haven't seen anything crazy or out of the ordinary like people moving into business or something else non-law.

I'm also a first year, and we're at the same firm. My experience/observations have been very similar to yours, fwiw.

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Re: First year at a big firm; brutal hours; like the job. AMA.

Postby Objection » Sun Mar 10, 2013 2:25 am

No answer to the SO/family/anything or anyone to love question? Hobbies outside of work?

Curious.

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Re: First year at a big firm; brutal hours; like the job. AMA.

Postby 005618502 » Sun Mar 10, 2013 2:33 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:v10 first year here.

ive seen several departure emails over my ~5 months here. none have been anything noteworthy. Majority go to other firms. Most on the vault scale but a decent number that are not (and one wachtell). second most often i would say in-house at some fortune500. its not clear how good the in house jobs are because they always have some weird title. like "VP legal counsel in north america division" or something like that. other people have left to just travel (these are always single people). thats pretty much it for exit options. haven't seen anything crazy or out of the ordinary like people moving into business or something else non-law.

I'm also a first year, and we're at the same firm. My experience/observations have been very similar to yours, fwiw.


Thats crazy, how do you know same firm? Because of the description? Anyways, I asked this in another thread and would be interested to hear what you guys had to say, 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)

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Re: First year at a big firm; brutal hours; like the job. AMA.

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Mar 10, 2013 2:43 am

AssumptionRequired wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:v10 first year here.

ive seen several departure emails over my ~5 months here. none have been anything noteworthy. Majority go to other firms. Most on the vault scale but a decent number that are not (and one wachtell). second most often i would say in-house at some fortune500. its not clear how good the in house jobs are because they always have some weird title. like "VP legal counsel in north america division" or something like that. other people have left to just travel (these are always single people). thats pretty much it for exit options. haven't seen anything crazy or out of the ordinary like people moving into business or something else non-law.

I'm also a first year, and we're at the same firm. My experience/observations have been very similar to yours, fwiw.


Thats crazy, how do you know same firm? Because of the description? Anyways, I asked this in another thread and would be interested to hear what you guys had to say, 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)

NYC first year V10 #2 here.

Yes, because of the description. A couple of the items are specific enough that I know the people (s)he is referring to.

I don't have any experience with moving to Texas (or other secondary) markets, so I can't comment on that type of transition specifically. But if that's the market you're interested in long-term and you have options available to you at good firms in that market, I would personally recommend taking that route from the outset. From what I've briefly seen of attorneys who work out of other cities (except HK/London, and possibly a few other exceptions), there is a meaningful difference in the time commitment you make when working in NYC, and the cost of living in a secondary market vs. NYC is a real factor. If you know where you want to be and don't need the flexibility that might come from the NYC "prestige" (and I use that term very loosely), I don't see much of a benefit to starting in NYC unless there's a specific practice that can only be done from here.

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Re: First year at a big firm; brutal hours; like the job. AMA.

Postby 005618502 » Sun Mar 10, 2013 2:52 am

Anonymous User wrote:
AssumptionRequired wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:v10 first year here.

ive seen several departure emails over my ~5 months here. none have been anything noteworthy. Majority go to other firms. Most on the vault scale but a decent number that are not (and one wachtell). second most often i would say in-house at some fortune500. its not clear how good the in house jobs are because they always have some weird title. like "VP legal counsel in north america division" or something like that. other people have left to just travel (these are always single people). thats pretty much it for exit options. haven't seen anything crazy or out of the ordinary like people moving into business or something else non-law.

I'm also a first year, and we're at the same firm. My experience/observations have been very similar to yours, fwiw.


Thats crazy, how do you know same firm? Because of the description? Anyways, I asked this in another thread and would be interested to hear what you guys had to say, 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)

NYC first year V10 #2 here.

Yes, because of the description. A couple of the items are specific enough that I know the people (s)he is referring to.

I don't have any experience with moving to Texas (or other secondary) markets, so I can't comment on that type of transition specifically. But if that's the market you're interested in long-term and you have options available to you at good firms in that market, I would personally recommend taking that route from the outset. From what I've briefly seen of attorneys who work out of other cities (except HK/London, and possibly a few other exceptions), there is a meaningful difference in the time commitment you make when working in NYC, and the cost of living in a secondary market vs. NYC is a real factor. If you know where you want to be and don't need the flexibility that might come from the NYC "prestige" (and I use that term very loosely), I don't see much of a benefit to starting in NYC unless there's a specific practice that can only be done from here.


I guess my thinking was that no matter what firm you go to first, the chance of making partner is incredibly low. So if you started at a top firm in an area like M&A or Securities and then 5-6 years later you wanted to leave/got pushed out you would be even more marketable to other firms. So then you could go into another big firm with this 5-6 years of high end work under your belt and be more likely to get partner, or at the very least have another shot at it. This thinking could be totally wrong, and I agree that I would be giving up a lot of money by going to NYC (though, the TX pay scale does not rise as fast as NY)

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Re: First year at a big firm; brutal hours; like the job. AMA.

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Mar 10, 2013 3:10 am

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….

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Re: First year at a big firm; brutal hours; like the job. AMA.

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Mar 10, 2013 10:35 am

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.

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Re: First year at a big firm; brutal hours; like the job. AMA.

Postby hume85 » Sun Mar 10, 2013 10:43 am

Thank you all for the very helpful thread. Tagged.

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Re: First year at a big firm; brutal hours; like the job. AMA.

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Mar 10, 2013 11:35 am

Considering grades/school, I probably have a shot at a V10, but I want to be somewhere where I can eventually make partner. Considering almost no one at your firm is even trying, it doesn't seem like it would be a reasonable goal there. Would you suggest starting at a weaker firm with better prospects, or lateraling down after a few years?

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Re: First year at a big firm; brutal hours; like the job. AMA.

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Mar 10, 2013 11:40 am

Anonymous User wrote:Considering grades/school, I probably have a shot at a V10, but I want to be somewhere where I can eventually make partner. Considering almost no one at your firm is even trying, it doesn't seem like it would be a reasonable goal there. Would you suggest starting at a weaker firm with better prospects, or lateraling down after a few years?


Lateraling.

If you read carefully into various firm career surveys, you'll see that while some firms have insane partnership odds, others have a perception that the firm doesn't make many partners from "home grown" associates at all but instead tend to elevate laterals. You'll also see people leaving a top firm and going straight into partnership or "partnership" (for multi-tiered firms) at other firms.

The "best" big firms make almost 100% partners from people they hired as first years, hire very few lateral associates, and have large entering classes + large turnover. Turnover is probably constant across big firms, but the firms that aren't at the top tend to replace a lot of the losses with laterals rather than gigantic entering classes.

You shouldn't ever forsake a real reason to go to a "lesser" firm over a V10 (practice area, geography, whatever) but it would be foolish to think your career prospects would somehow be better just by starting lower on the food chain. Every year something like 0-10% of a given class at a V10 firm will make partner, but 20%+ of the graduates of top schools make partner somewhere. It is very common to find partners outside of the V10ish firms with a V10ish firm name on their resume.

People are way snobby in this industry, and for a lot of firms and clients the small group of unambiguously elite firms (which isn't quite coextensive with the V10, but probably at least includes all of the firms in the V10) are filled with attractive potential hires.

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Re: First year at a big firm; brutal hours; like the job. AMA.

Postby Objection » Sun Mar 10, 2013 11:51 am

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.


Thanks

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Re: First year at a big firm; brutal hours; like the job. AMA.

Postby Objection » Sun Mar 10, 2013 11:56 am

What are your non-work hobbies? Have you had to mostly give them up or do you find sufficient time for them?

Do you have any pets?

What about family? How often do you get to see them or talk to them (parents, siblings, etc)?

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Re: First year at a big firm; brutal hours; like the job. AMA.

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Mar 10, 2013 12:15 pm

Objection wrote:What are your non-work hobbies? Have you had to mostly give them up or do you find sufficient time for them?

Do you have any pets?

What about family? How often do you get to see them or talk to them (parents, siblings, etc)?


I don't know what any of those words you wrote mean anymore.

In all seriousness, my non-work time is much more limited, but I still manage to keep my life up mostly as I did before work. I go out with friends, do some artsy stuff in the city I live in, etc. I play the same video games I used to, just less regularly, watch tv shows and make it to the gym, just not as religiously, etc.

As for family, I definitely get to see and talk to them, but it takes more effort.

Generally you can keep your life together working insane biglaw hours, but it requires a fuckload of flexibility and willpower. People burnout not because biglaw is 100% incompatible with life, but because it takes a huge amount of effort and will never be wholly on your terms.

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Re: First year at a big firm; brutal hours; like the job. AMA.

Postby AllDangle » Sun Mar 10, 2013 12:24 pm

Thanks for the info. What was your education/major and work experience heading into transactional? Did you join the firm with the intention of doing transactional work? If so, did you mention this interest when interviewing? Thanks again.

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Re: First year at a big firm; brutal hours; like the job. AMA.

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Mar 10, 2013 12:30 pm

AllDangle wrote:Thanks for the info. What was your education/major and work experience heading into transactional? Did you join the firm with the intention of doing transactional work? If so, did you mention this interest when interviewing? Thanks again.


I had an arts background + no work experience. The big firms are keen on training you from the ground up, so relevant experience wouldn't hurt you but neither will a lack of it, and they clearly aren't giving a major bump to those with a finance background because the classes I know at V10 type firms are very eclectic.

My sales pitch for transactional was a health mix of "sounds exciting" and "fuck litigation." This was a very successful strategy, since that's basically why everyone first dipped a toe into the pond of transactional law. We often gripe about the fact that 1L year gives 0 exposure to transactional law, which means many students don't even think to look into it for interviews. Many firms won't even make you decide until after the summer, which is cool.

I learned everything I now know about finance through the wall street journal, wikipedia, and a smattering of books (A Random Walk Down Wall Street, Barbarians at the Gate, and a few about the financial crisis). That amount of knowledge puts me ahead of the curve in a general sense, but realistically the job of a junior associate is far enough divorced from the economics of the transactions that a complete lack of financial literacy won't hurt you. You'll want to brush up on accounting basics so that financial statements don't make your head spin, but even for that the firm will all but certainly offer training sessions on when you start.

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Re: First year at a big firm; brutal hours; like the job. AMA.

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Mar 10, 2013 12:42 pm

Anonymous User wrote:v10 first year here.

ive seen several departure emails over my ~5 months here. none have been anything noteworthy. Majority go to other firms. Most on the vault scale but a decent number that are not (and one wachtell). second most often i would say in-house at some fortune500. its not clear how good the in house jobs are because they always have some weird title. like "VP legal counsel in north america division" or something like that. other people have left to just travel (these are always single people). thats pretty much it for exit options. haven't seen anything crazy or out of the ordinary like people moving into business or something else non-law.


The person that went to Wachtell - what was his deal? I've heard it's impossible to lateral period.

Note: from v10 (being vague as to whether V3, V5, V10) too, so this isn't a totally ridiculous question hopefully.

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Re: First year at a big firm; brutal hours; like the job. AMA.

Postby 005618502 » Sun Mar 10, 2013 12:46 pm

Does city of firm matter for exit options?

Example, do the lawyers at Skadden NYC and Los Angeles have the same exit options? (I know they have different clients, but would one have an easier time lateraling to a different firm, going in house for a major corporation, etc.)

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Re: First year at a big firm; brutal hours; like the job. AMA.

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Mar 10, 2013 12:47 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:v10 first year here.

ive seen several departure emails over my ~5 months here. none have been anything noteworthy. Majority go to other firms. Most on the vault scale but a decent number that are not (and one wachtell). second most often i would say in-house at some fortune500. its not clear how good the in house jobs are because they always have some weird title. like "VP legal counsel in north america division" or something like that. other people have left to just travel (these are always single people). thats pretty much it for exit options. haven't seen anything crazy or out of the ordinary like people moving into business or something else non-law.


The person that went to Wachtell - what was his deal? I've heard it's impossible to lateral period.

Note: from v10 (being vague as to whether V3, V5, V10) too, so this isn't a totally ridiculous question hopefully.


OP here: Even the firms that "never hire laterals" actually do hire laterals when they have to. Shit, Cravath hired a lateral partner not too long ago.

While I don't know the specifics, I'm sure I know the general case: Wachtell had more work in unit X than people to do the work, so they hired somebody else. Maybe it was a niche tax/benefits group, maybe they needed somebody with litigation experience in a certain jurisdiction, maybe just maybe they needed another body in M&A to keep going.

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Re: First year at a big firm; brutal hours; like the job. AMA.

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Mar 10, 2013 12:53 pm

AssumptionRequired wrote:Does city of firm matter for exit options?

Example, do the lawyers at Skadden NYC and Los Angeles have the same exit options? (I know they have different clients, but would one have an easier time lateraling to a different firm, going in house for a major corporation, etc.)


No, they would not have the same exit options.

Hiring is all about connections, and once you start your career the totality of your circumstances will dictate your trajectory. You can get a sense for the general paths possible, but it's not like anybody with a pulse and a skadden resume line item is qualified for X, Y and Z jobs.

Let me try and tell a specific exit option story to illustrate:

Guy works at firm. Does a smattering of work for a smattering of clients and eventually winds up 6 blocks away in the compliance department of a major firm client. It wouldn't have even been on the radar for the same guy at a different firm in the same city, at the same firm in a different city, or even in a different practice area in the same firm.

On the other hand, if you just want to get the hell out and go to a new firm, you'll be in headhunter land and - while somewhat at the whims of market needs - probably able to swap firms without nearly as much focus on the intricacies of your background.

This is an awesome, but biased, resource: http://www.bcgsearch.com/article/archives.php?utype=609

They've got lots of articles on market trends. Recently it has been good to be a lawyer in investment management / hedge fund practices, because lots of different places wanted to hire you. Surely it was less good to be in M&A during the crash when M&A all but dried up.

Exit options are extremely, extremely narrow and fact specific and individual. Choose the best practice you can with an awareness of the trajectories careers CAN take from there, then buy the ticket and take the ride. You can't pin these things down in advance.




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