Time to Lateral????

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Lateral or Stay???

Lateral
11
61%
Stay
7
39%
 
Total votes: 18

Anonymous User
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Time to Lateral????

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Apr 25, 2013 11:54 pm

I know there are a few other young lawyers still trolling, but I'd invite anyone's input

I'm a second year associate at a midsize firm (40 lawyers). About six months ago I got a great opportunity to slightly switch practice areas within my firm and work with a partner who is about to retire (also the same lawyer and family friend who got me hired) - essentially, I committed to staying with the firm longterm, learning his niche and gradually take over his clients so that, starting this fall, he can go half-time and then retire fully within two years. So far, that's what I've been doing...

Fast forward to now - I don't particularly love the new practice area, and I got an offer to lateral and make about 30% more at another firm where I have several good friends. Me quitting would crush the partner I work for and almost certainly burn bridges with several others. That said, I've determined that the only reason I have for staying is that leaving would piss people off and I would basically walk away from the commitment I made.

I should lateral, right? My career and happiness > hurt feelings?


Let me know what other info you think would be relevant to this decision.

desertlaw
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Re: Time to Lateral????

Postby desertlaw » Fri Apr 26, 2013 12:06 am

Burning bridges is never good, right? But if it's lateraling into a different market, it seems like a no-brainer to leave to more pay + more bros. If it's same market, and you don't think you'll have much professional/social interaction with former firm, then still seems like good choice to move. But if it's across the street while you work against former firm on cases/deals, then maybe that is too awkward for you and not worth more $ + fun.

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thesealocust
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Re: Time to Lateral????

Postby thesealocust » Fri Apr 26, 2013 12:44 am

Switching jobs is never intrinsically burning bridges, and nobody (at least at this level) is indispensable.

Anonymous User
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Re: Time to Lateral????

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Apr 26, 2013 12:54 am

How secured is your career if you change firms? What are the possibilities of you making partner at your current firm? How much does a partner at your current firm makes? how does that compare with your future at that other firm? if seems like you are on partner track at your current firm if you're taking over the old partner's clients.

I wouldn't put too much weight on people's feeling.

09042014
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Re: Time to Lateral????

Postby 09042014 » Fri Apr 26, 2013 1:14 am

You shouldn't worry about someone else being sad you didn't take up their mantle.

But you didn't really comment much on what happens to this retiring partners business when you take over. Sounds like he is handing his clients to you within two years. Assuming this book of business isn't tiny this seems like a great importunity.

When that happens can't you go to your partners and say "I want partnership or I'm going solo."?

Also, asking them to match is an option, especially if you are been groomed.

/3L so I don't know shit

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Cavalier
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Re: Time to Lateral????

Postby Cavalier » Fri Apr 26, 2013 7:31 am

No one likes seeing good associates leave, but I think everyone understands that sometimes it's the right move. You won't burn any bridges unless you conduct your exit foolishly (e.g., don't just give your two weeks notice to HR and let the partners find out from them--tell the partners you're close to in person).

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reasonable_man
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Re: Time to Lateral????

Postby reasonable_man » Fri Apr 26, 2013 7:56 am

Desert Fox wrote:You shouldn't worry about someone else being sad you didn't take up their mantle.

But you didn't really comment much on what happens to this retiring partners business when you take over. Sounds like he is handing his clients to you within two years. Assuming this book of business isn't tiny this seems like a great importunity.

When that happens can't you go to your partners and say "I want partnership or I'm going solo."?

Also, asking them to match is an option, especially if you are been groomed.

/3L so I don't know shit


If the retiring partner's book of business is enough to sustain you (and even perhaps another associate down the line), leaving for more money know is a foolish decision. If you control the book of business, you, in theory, control where it goes. Meaning you have value and likely partnership potential. Do not throw that away lightly - it is a rare asset for a young associate. More money now is not always the key decision making point.

FWIW - I'm a 2008 grad and have turned down opportunities to go to "bigger and better" firms because I believe that my chance at partnership is greatest in my current position. However, I also left a mid-lawfirm earlier in my career knowing that I was walking out of a place I would be partner in 8 or so years...

Anonymous User
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Re: Time to Lateral????

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Apr 26, 2013 1:41 pm

OP here. Thanks for the input and questions


I intentionally didn't discuss the long-term prospects because my main concern is burning bridges and not sticking to a commitment. As to some of your questions, the firms are in the same market, but I likely won't working with or against my current firm very often if I lateral.

As to longterm prospects:

At my current firm, I am basically guaranteed good, steady work for the rest of my career (barring an unforeseen screw-up); when the retiring partner goes half-time, he will only be attending initial client conferences some meetings to execute documents, if necessary (with me in tow for both). I will do all legal work and all other communication with clients. He will slowly, be less and less in the picture. Being partner is all but guaranteed within 2-3 years. This is unusual for my firm, and I will have leap-frogged several other associates (I already am paid more than our 3rd year associates). From what I've gathered, partners at my firm bring home 300k-600k. My earnings will likely be somewhere in the middle.

The downside: I don't enjoy the work - it's tedious, repetitive and does not require much critical thinking. I also don't enjoy the clients: most are older, unsophisticated, and assholes. I loathe going to work, whereas I very much enjoyed my old practice area. I actually still have a few clients in that area and those matters are the highlight of my week.

If I lateral, I will be back in my original practice area at a larger firm. I loved my original practice area and I excelled at it. I'll go from about 90k/year to 120k + bonus. I'll work with several bro's of mine and the partners I will be working for have personalities and interests very similar to mine. Basically, work will be enjoyable and I'll get paid more (at least as an associate). Partner earnings will be comparable.

The downside: I'll probably be 4-5 years out from making partner. I have clients that will follow me, but I won't have it "made." This downside does not concern me for many reasons; I'm happy to be on salary and will make plenty. Also, making partner is fairly well assured, just further away.

dixiecupdrinking
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Re: Time to Lateral????

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Fri Apr 26, 2013 2:01 pm

I'd take the new job. Life is too short to let someone else's feelings (who isn't a family member or friend) get in the way of something that will likely make you happier. Maybe you'd pass up a little security and a few extra years of partnership but who wants to make partner doing something they hate?

Anonymous User
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Re: Time to Lateral????

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Apr 26, 2013 6:59 pm

I would look out for yourself and your interests. If someone wanted to lay you off, they wouldn't think twice about it. And let's say you did take over... does that mean you could never leave because you haven't trained anyone?

Anonymous User
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Re: Time to Lateral????

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Apr 28, 2013 10:26 am

I wonder about the possibility of unpredicted politics tanking your plan at the current firm.

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holdencaulfield
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Re: Time to Lateral????

Postby holdencaulfield » Tue Apr 30, 2013 1:01 am

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Last edited by holdencaulfield on Fri May 10, 2013 5:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Anonymous User
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Re: Time to Lateral????

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Apr 30, 2013 1:03 am

OP here - I'm jumping ship. Telling my boss tomorrow. Mods, please delete or lock thread. Thanks for the help everyone.




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