Lower ranked firm -- important to lateral early?

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Anonymous User
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Lower ranked firm -- important to lateral early?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Mar 19, 2013 12:36 pm

There is already a thread on the front page about how difficult 3L hiring is, so I won't ask about trading up. However, I'm going to a lower V100 in NY (that still has some strong chambers rankings in certain practice areas), and I'm curious about whether it's important for exit options/not being screwed in 2-3 years to try to lateral early? Still in LS right now. My grades have been dipping, which I know is not good for this. And I have no special qualifications (IP, etc.) otherwise that would make me more marketable than your average BigLawyer (aside from T14 if that even counts).

However, I've noticed from LinkedIn that quite a few people from my firm, even some seemingly without any special qualifications, lateraled to higher ranked firms within their first two years. Obviously there are countless explanations for why/how this could've happened, but it was interesting for me to see this, since I thought this was something that usually happened later. Also, any info about how difficult this is relative to say, trading up as a 3L, is appreciated. I don't want to make partner or stay in BigLaw forever -- I'm just wondering whether this is something I should consider for career security.

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patrickd139
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Re: Lower ranked firm -- important to lateral early?

Postby patrickd139 » Tue Mar 19, 2013 12:50 pm

Anonymous User wrote:There is already a thread on the front page about how difficult 3L hiring is, so I won't ask about trading up. However, I'm going to a lower V100 in NY (that still has some strong chambers rankings in certain practice areas), and I'm curious about whether it's important for exit options/not being screwed in 2-3 years to try to lateral early? Still in LS right now. My grades have been dipping, which I know is not good for this. And I have no special qualifications (IP, etc.) otherwise that would make me more marketable than your average BigLawyer (aside from T14 if that even counts).

However, I've noticed from LinkedIn that quite a few people from my firm, even some seemingly without any special qualifications, lateraled to higher ranked firms within their first two years. Obviously there are countless explanations for why/how this could've happened, but it was interesting for me to see this, since I thought this was something that usually happened later. Also, any info about how difficult this is relative to say, trading up as a 3L, is appreciated.
I don't want to make partner or stay in BigLaw forever -- I'm just wondering whether this is something I should consider for career security.

I'm not sure how to answer the part I struck out, because it would really be pulling it out of my ass. I do, however, know that the term "Latham'd" was coined after a V10 (-ish, depending on the year) firm, so I'm not sure "moving up in the law firm rankings" is going to increase job security in any measurable way.

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Re: Lower ranked firm -- important to lateral early?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Mar 19, 2013 12:54 pm

Good god man, you are why people hate law students. I wouldn't be on your case if you'd expressed some reason, however facile, for wanting to lateral. "My dream is to do M&A and I need to be at WLRK." "I want to do litigation and I know the best work is at Quinn." I don't care what, just something. Anything. Other than "I am pathologically obsessed with rankings and I'm afraid people won't be impressed enough with me even though I'm working for a large law firm in NYC making $160,000."

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patrickd139
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Re: Lower ranked firm -- important to lateral early?

Postby patrickd139 » Tue Mar 19, 2013 12:55 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Good god man, you are why people hate law students. I wouldn't be on your case if you'd expressed some reason, however facile, for wanting to lateral. "My dream is to do M&A and I need to be at WLRK." "I want to do litigation and I know the best work is at Quinn." I don't care what, just something. Anything. Other than "I am pathologically obsessed with rankings and I'm afraid people won't be impressed enough with me even though I'm working for a large law firm in NYC making $160,000."

Also gonna go ahead and +1 this.

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Re: Lower ranked firm -- important to lateral early?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Mar 19, 2013 12:57 pm

Patrick: That's true. I don't necessarily mean hanging around longer at a firm -- I guess I'm thinking more in terms of exit options, which are discussed a lot less frequently on places like this board re: this level of firm than with the V10/20. I'm already aiming to work in practice areas that are better for this at my firm, so I guess maybe that's the best I can do.

Above anon: I thought "wanting to have a job I can feed myself with in 2-3 years" was "some reason." I don't care about prestige (as I said I don't want to make partner). I just thought it was understood that in markets like NY, prestige can affect career options in the future. If you guys are telling me that even a lawyer at a firm like this will have decent options, then fine, I will accept that. But there is still a chance I get no offered or fired early or who knows what else, and like I said, I have nothing special to distinguish myself. Thought this was a modest statement, not an arrogant one.

-OP
Last edited by Anonymous User on Tue Mar 19, 2013 12:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

silenttimer
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Re: Lower ranked firm -- important to lateral early?

Postby silenttimer » Tue Mar 19, 2013 12:58 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Good god man, you are why people hate law students. I wouldn't be on your case if you'd expressed some reason, however facile, for wanting to lateral. "My dream is to do M&A and I need to be at WLRK." "I want to do litigation and I know the best work is at Quinn." I don't care what, just something. Anything. Other than "I am pathologically obsessed with rankings and I'm afraid people won't be impressed enough with me even though I'm working for a large law firm in NYC making $160,000."


This.

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Re: Lower ranked firm -- important to lateral early?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Mar 19, 2013 1:01 pm

I'm sorry I gave off this impression. It has nothing to do with other people's impressions of me. All I am concerned with is being able to make a decent living after BigLaw. I just saw that some people left my firm early in their careers, thought this was unusual, and wondered whether there was some career stability reason behind it exclusive of prestige. I thought I had seen enough people on this board lambast firms like the one I am going to to have a legitimate concern, but perhaps those people fall into the category you're all talking about.

-OP
Last edited by Anonymous User on Tue Mar 19, 2013 1:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Lower ranked firm -- important to lateral early?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Mar 19, 2013 1:02 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Patrick: That's true. I don't necessarily mean hanging around longer at a firm -- I guess I'm thinking more in terms of exit options, which are discussed a lot less frequently on places like this board re: this level of firm than with the V10/20. I'm already aiming to work in practice areas that are better for this at my firm, so I guess maybe that's the best I can do.

Above anon: I thought "wanting to have a job I can feed myself with in 2-3 years" was "some reason." I don't care about prestige (as I said I don't want to make partner). I just thought it was understood that in markets like NY, prestige can affect career options in the future. If you guys are telling me that even a lawyer at a firm like this will have decent options, then fine, I will accept that. But there is still a chance I get no offered or fired early or who knows what else, and like I said, I have nothing special to distinguish myself. Thought this was a modest statement, not an arrogant one.

-OP

You're at a large law firm in New York making the market rate. I don't think that feeding yourself in 2-3 years is going to be a concern.

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Re: Lower ranked firm -- important to lateral early?

Postby silenttimer » Tue Mar 19, 2013 1:13 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I'm sorry I gave off this impression. It has nothing to do with other people's impressions of me. All I am concerned with is being able to make a decent living after BigLaw. I just saw that some people left my firm early in their careers, thought this was unusual, and wondered whether there was some career stability reason behind it exclusive of prestige. I thought I had seen enough people on this board lambast firms like the one I am going to to have a legitimate concern, but perhaps those people fall into the category you're all talking about.

-OP


You're putting the cart before the horse. Why don't you calm down, enjoy your last year of law school, pass the bar, go to work (and be glad you have a job), do great work for senior associates, do great work for partners, impress clients, and then figure out an "exit option." Asking for this information now is useless, and kinda annoying. Anything that anyone could ever post in reply to you WILL NOT change what is seemingly a predetermined path for you.

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Uncle.Joe
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Re: Lower ranked firm -- important to lateral early?

Postby Uncle.Joe » Tue Mar 19, 2013 1:21 pm

I don't think its fair to absolutely murder OP. Obviously thinking a few years down the road may be premature, but the consideration of exit options is constantly cited on this forum for a reason to choose firm A over firm B.

I don't see there being an important distinction between that and what OP is asking about. Obviously it could have been phrased better.

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Re: Lower ranked firm -- important to lateral early?

Postby DwightSchruteFarms » Tue Mar 19, 2013 1:23 pm

patrickd139 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Good god man, you are why people hate law students. I wouldn't be on your case if you'd expressed some reason, however facile, for wanting to lateral. "My dream is to do M&A and I need to be at WLRK." "I want to do litigation and I know the best work is at Quinn." I don't care what, just something. Anything. Other than "I am pathologically obsessed with rankings and I'm afraid people won't be impressed enough with me even though I'm working for a large law firm in NYC making $160,000."

Also gonna go ahead and +1 this.

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somewhatwayward
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Re: Lower ranked firm -- important to lateral early?

Postby somewhatwayward » Tue Mar 19, 2013 5:03 pm

Eh, I agree that wanting to "trade up" with no apparent specific purpose is silly law student neurosis, but the idea that better vault ranking = better exit options is a popular TLS meme, so I can see how someone could reach that conclusion, especially since OP appears to be a 2L who hasn't even summered yet. He seems more misinformed or underinformed rather than 'I AM BORN AND BRED FOR SUCCESS AND THEREFORE MUST BE AT A V10 FIRM.'

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ExBiglawAssociate
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Re: Lower ranked firm -- important to lateral early?

Postby ExBiglawAssociate » Tue Mar 19, 2013 7:26 pm

Anonymous User wrote:There is already a thread on the front page about how difficult 3L hiring is, so I won't ask about trading up. However, I'm going to a lower V100 in NY (that still has some strong chambers rankings in certain practice areas), and I'm curious about whether it's important for exit options/not being screwed in 2-3 years to try to lateral early? Still in LS right now. My grades have been dipping, which I know is not good for this. And I have no special qualifications (IP, etc.) otherwise that would make me more marketable than your average BigLawyer (aside from T14 if that even counts).

However, I've noticed from LinkedIn that quite a few people from my firm, even some seemingly without any special qualifications, lateraled to higher ranked firms within their first two years. Obviously there are countless explanations for why/how this could've happened, but it was interesting for me to see this, since I thought this was something that usually happened later. Also, any info about how difficult this is relative to say, trading up as a 3L, is appreciated. I don't want to make partner or stay in BigLaw forever -- I'm just wondering whether this is something I should consider for career security.


Before you start caring about any of this, and before anyone can meaningfully answer your questions, you need to commit either to litigation or transactional work.

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Re: Lower ranked firm -- important to lateral early?

Postby thesealocust » Tue Mar 19, 2013 7:34 pm

patrickd139 wrote:I'm not sure how to answer the part I struck out, because it would really be pulling it out of my ass. I do, however, know that the term "Latham'd" was coined after a V10 (-ish, depending on the year) firm, so I'm not sure "moving up in the law firm rankings" is going to increase job security in any measurable way.


Wooooooooooah there nelly.

Firms have very different financial situations - while vault isn't a perfect proxy for anything, much less firm financial health, the reputation of a firm DOES correlate with its ability to keep going.

You can't point to Latham, call it a V10, note that it conducted layoffs, then toss up your hands and say nobody is safe. Latham was a non-New York law firm which had just expanded aggressively into NYC. It invested heavily into a practice area that went south, (nearly) destroyed the economy, and immediately dried up.

Other firms conducted layoffs at least as severe as Lathams - by and large less prestigious/less well established firms. On the flip side, the traditionally best known firms remained very stable. Vault ranking actually wasn't an awful proxy for your likelihood of getting the axe as a junior associate during the financial crisis.

Latham was the exception for some very specific reasons, and not the rule.

There are differences amongst firms. Vault does not accurately or completely portray them, but "rankings" aren't irrelevant and neither are differences in firm/practice area quality/stability.

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patrickd139
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Re: Lower ranked firm -- important to lateral early?

Postby patrickd139 » Tue Mar 19, 2013 7:49 pm

I can very much point to Latham as an example that you're not safe just because you're working at a prestigious firm. OP implied that moving up in the Vault rankings increased job securities. I disproved the absolute notion by offering an anecdote. Unless you're prepared to refute that people got Latham'd, that is.

Sorry I attacked your firm, bro.

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Re: Lower ranked firm -- important to lateral early?

Postby bk1 » Tue Mar 19, 2013 7:51 pm

patrickd139 wrote:I can very much point to Latham as an example that you're not safe just because you're working at a prestigious firm. OP implied that moving up in the Vault rankings increased job securities. I disproved the absolute notion by offering an anecdote. Unless you're prepared to refute that people got Latham'd, that is.

Sorry I attacked your firm, bro.

what is this i dont even

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Re: Lower ranked firm -- important to lateral early?

Postby thesealocust » Tue Mar 19, 2013 7:51 pm

patrickd139 wrote:I can very much point to Latham as an example that you're not safe just because you're working at a prestigious firm. OP implied that moving up in the Vault rankings increased job securities. I disproved the absolute notion by offering an anecdote. Unless you're prepared to refute that people got Latham'd, that is.

Sorry I attacked your firm, bro.


Dude, the data is well compiled and obvious - V10ish firms were far, far safer than "lesser ranked" firms -

http://lawshucks.com/layoff-tracker/lay ... lists/#law

Look up deferrals and summer class sizes and you'll see more of the same. Obviously any given firm could be risky, but firm quality/prestige/whatever definitely played - and plays - an important role in stability.

patrickd139 wrote: I disproved the absolute notion by offering an anecdote.


I... I don't even.

NYstate
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Re: Lower ranked firm -- important to lateral early?

Postby NYstate » Tue Mar 19, 2013 7:59 pm

Why don't you just contact those associates who left and ask them about their career path. Have coffee or a drink with them. We don't know why they left and it would be speculative to simply try to guess.

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Re: Lower ranked firm -- important to lateral early?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Mar 19, 2013 11:47 pm

NYstate wrote:Why don't you just contact those associates who left and ask them about their career path. Have coffee or a drink with them. We don't know why they left and it would be speculative to simply try to guess.

Not OP: I am considering doing the same with someone who recently left a mid-size firm I am going to. This guy, a senior associate, was apparently well-loved and probably on his way to partnership. His recent departure was amicable and the partners were still raving about him when I interviewed. But because of his excellent relationship with his old firm, I worry that he might relay some of my concerns back to them out of some residual loyalty - especially because my questions have to do with the realities of the firm's unusual compensation scheme.

But I can't have a candid conversation with him, then that defeats the purpose of talking to someone who no longer works there. What to do.




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