AMA: Current Senior Associate NY BigLaw

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Re: AMA: Current Senior Associate NY BigLaw

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jun 01, 2013 10:18 pm

How did you and when did you get your biglaw job after being no-offered?
Any advice for 3Ls that will be looking for jerbs?

Lateral2013
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Re: AMA: Current Senior Associate NY BigLaw

Postby Lateral2013 » Sun Jun 02, 2013 8:57 am

Anonymous User wrote:How did you and when did you get your biglaw job after being no-offered?
Any advice for 3Ls that will be looking for jerbs?



One of my friends in law school summered at a firm that was hiring 3Ls. He put in a good word for me. I can't emphasize enough the importance of your law school ties. I then had a friend at another school (much lower ranked) who was no offered, I put in a good word for her and she also got hired. Knowing someone on the inside really makes a difference.


Another option people did that I have seen be successful was to clerk and then apply to firms. You may not get credit for the clerkship, but it allows you to gloss over the no offer, by saying that you decided to clerk after law school rather than go straight into a firm.

My advice to 3Ls is to do the impossible. I know it feels like your whole future will be ruined if you don't get that job or that you are somehow blackballed. But remember, you don't know the attorney interviewing you. He or she may have been laid off or no offered or fired sometime in their past. For example, I frequently do OCI at many schools and I've chronicled my list of screw ups in this and other threads. I'm not perfect and I know stuff happens. I personally wouldn't hold a no offer against a 3L and I think many people feel that way. What tanks 3L is their insecurity and getting defensive or stumbling when asked about what happened. We aren't asking to embarrass you or put you on the spot, it's a natural question that comes out of your resume and should be answered with as much confidence as a simple question like "why law school".

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math101
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Re: AMA: Current Senior Associate NY BigLaw

Postby math101 » Sun Jun 02, 2013 11:08 am

Lateral2013 wrote:The biggest thing I would tell myself is "grow the F***up!" I was a K-JD and was just totally immature and had no idea how to have an adult job. I would come in hungover on Wednesday mornings, leave everyday at 4:00 to workout and return in workout gear, and other just stupid things. I think I was more immature than most, with more balls than many so that advice probably won't help you much.


When is it/is it ever OK to leave the office to go to the gym? I wouldn't come back in workout gear, but I'd like to be able to dip out and get an hour long workout in as a junior associate. Is this going to be impossible at a V10 in NYC?

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Re: AMA: Current Senior Associate NY BigLaw

Postby Sheffield » Sun Jun 02, 2013 11:40 am

Lateral2013 wrote:I personally wouldn't hold a no offer against a 3L and I think many people feel that way. What tanks 3L is their insecurity and getting defensive or stumbling when asked about what happened. We aren't asking to embarrass you or put you on the spot, it's a natural question that comes out of your resume and should be answered with as much confidence as a simple question like "why law school".

I made the risky decision of bypassing a V-100 with a 100% offer rate for a boutique with a strong client list, handling major cases and paying at the BL level, plus associates tend to make partner inside of 6 years. The chancy part was that this boutique does not have a stellar 100% offer rate. If today was the day they announced their offers and I was no-offered, I could not explain why (other than they traditionally do not go the 100% route). In short, I would not know how else to satisfactorily answer the “no offered” question.

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Re: AMA: Current Senior Associate NY BigLaw

Postby Lateral2013 » Sun Jun 02, 2013 3:02 pm

math101 wrote:
Lateral2013 wrote:The biggest thing I would tell myself is "grow the F***up!" I was a K-JD and was just totally immature and had no idea how to have an adult job. I would come in hungover on Wednesday mornings, leave everyday at 4:00 to workout and return in workout gear, and other just stupid things. I think I was more immature than most, with more balls than many so that advice probably won't help you much.


When is it/is it ever OK to leave the office to go to the gym? I wouldn't come back in workout gear, but I'd like to be able to dip out and get an hour long workout in as a junior associate. Is this going to be impossible at a V10 in NYC?


I think it's actually easier in V10 to sneak out for awhile and go to the gym than in smaller firms. I would say in 95% of cases, this is perfectly fine. Some people go during lunch, some people leave for an hour at 3 or 4, some people do it before work, Some of the larger firms even have a gym in the office building. Obviously, it may not be every day, and client demands come first. But so long as there is no fire drill, conference call or anything like that scheduled, I would say go when it works for you. Take your blackberry, tell your admin and people you are working with directly where you will be (as you do when leaving for lunch) and go.

I will say though that although most partners/senior associates are cool with this. Some are not. They will let you know right off the bat though if this won't fly with them, and then you are just SOL while working with that person.

I'm sure that this goes without saying, but I'll say it anyway. The above DOES NOT apply when you are an SA. Please, in the name of all that is holy, DO NOT leave in the middle of the day to go work out. It won't end well for you.

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Re: AMA: Current Senior Associate NY BigLaw

Postby Lateral2013 » Sun Jun 02, 2013 3:08 pm

Sheffield wrote:
Lateral2013 wrote:I personally wouldn't hold a no offer against a 3L and I think many people feel that way. What tanks 3L is their insecurity and getting defensive or stumbling when asked about what happened. We aren't asking to embarrass you or put you on the spot, it's a natural question that comes out of your resume and should be answered with as much confidence as a simple question like "why law school".

I made the risky decision of bypassing a V-100 with a 100% offer rate for a boutique with a strong client list, handling major cases and paying at the BL level, plus associates tend to make partner inside of 6 years. The chancy part was that this boutique does not have a stellar 100% offer rate. If today was the day they announced their offers and I was no-offered, I could not explain why (other than they traditionally do not go the 100% route). In short, I would not know how else to satisfactorily answer the “no offered” question.


If it's a boutique, I'm going to assume they do one or two types of work. As a 3L, interview only with firms that have strong active practices in that area. Then when asked about the no offer, say that you are so committed to doing X type of work, that you wanted a firm where you could be sure you would get X type of work. You knew the risk going in and at the end of the day it was a numbers game, you didn't get an offer, but it wasn't because of your work product, there was just no space available for you and offer to give references (you really should make sure you have a solid reference from this place, and if they no offer you they will give you some reason why or tell you what you should tell employers). You were glad you took the risk because although you are now having to interview as a 3L, it solidified your interest in X practice. This will turn it into a positive. The only catch is that for that strategy to work the firm has to have a junior need for X practice. Your friends who summered at the firms you are interviewing with may be able to tell you this.

In your case however, you may be better off target mailing to practice group heads of X practice with a copy to the recruiting person, with the above explanation in your cover letter.

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Re: AMA: Current Senior Associate NY BigLaw

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jun 02, 2013 3:48 pm

1 - Best way to turn down work?

2 - Are there nights where you know (or reasonably certain) that you can sleep through night without being awoken by Blackberry/email/call? Or is every single night where you are likely to be needed on something?

3 - Biggest pet-peeve that junior associates do that bothers you and other senior/superivsors?

4 - I've heard advice on getting onto assignments/deals with the "intense/difficult" partner because it will make me better and I'll learn a lot. Is there truth to this?

5 - Worth it to get double-monitors at home office for doing work remotely?

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Re: AMA: Current Senior Associate NY BigLaw

Postby Lateral2013 » Sun Jun 02, 2013 4:12 pm

Anonymous User wrote:1 - Best way to turn down work?

2 - Are there nights where you know (or reasonably certain) that you can sleep through night without being awoken by Blackberry/email/call? Or is every single night where you are likely to be needed on something?

3 - Biggest pet-peeve that junior associates do that bothers you and other senior/superivsors?

4 - I've heard advice on getting onto assignments/deals with the "intense/difficult" partner because it will make me better and I'll learn a lot. Is there truth to this?

5 - Worth it to get double-monitors at home office for doing work remotely?


I'm going to assume that you are asking as a junior associate, because as a summer associate, you should never be turning down work. Before SA get work it goes through a central person, if someone is asking you to do something, it has been determined you have the time, so don't turn down the work.

1. The best way to turn down work as a junior associate is by not actually turning it down. When someone approaches you with an assignment, you should ask when they need it by and when the closing is (or whatever the litigation equivalent is). Then you say that you'd love to help out on it, you just want to let them know that you have X pending for Sally and Y for Jim. And then ask them whether their assignment comes first. If they say yes, you send an email to Jim and Sally letting them know that Partner has asked you to work on a matter and as s result, you might be delayed getting them their stuff. Copy Partner on the email. That will be enough to trigger the infighting that happens re: junior associates. As a general rule, the person with the most seniority trumps. As an associate, you should never be in the position of having to prioritize your work. Let the senior associates and partners fight amongst themselves for your availability. If you're turning down work because you don't want to work with that person. Don't turn down the work. Suck it up and deal with it, or make sure you are always running at 110% capacity, so that you don't have to deal with them ever.

2. I have never once been awoken by my blackberry other than by its alarm. If there is work to be done that is time sensitive, I'm not sleeping. If someone emails me something at 2am, it gets done first thing in the morning. This was the case even as a junior associate. You will either be pulling all nighters or not. When you aren't, you may get emails but they aren't of the must do it right away nature. Oh you didn't ask this, but another lesson I learned. If you get a substantive email and you are out drinking, don't respond. Or respond saying you are unavailable but will touch base tomorrow. No matter how witty you think your drunken response is, you will regret it in the morning.....

3. Having to have their hand held all the time. I will take the time with every junior I work with to explain what we are doing, the purpose of it and how to do it once. Then go do as much as you can and come bother me when you can't do anything more without talking to me. After you do something once, I expect for you to reasonably "get it". I don't want to have to tell you on the next deal that a closing checklist should be done, or that you should change signature blocks. It's not rocket science and if I'm having to hold your hand, I may as well do it myself, which doesn't make for a happy senior associate.

4. Terrible idea and the person who gave you that advice probably hates you. All that will do is make you hate your job and your life. There is only so much you can absorb at one time as an associate, and you can absorb it just as well with a humane partner/senior associate as you can with an a**hole. Also, generally, the a**hole partners aren't the worst at training, which is what matters when you are junior. Now, when you are 5 or 6 years in and have mastered everything else then maybe you could consider it, but I wouldn't, I don't want to learn that much. I value my sanity.

5. It is worth whatever it takes to make you comfortable and productive when working from home. As a first year and a second year, you may not do it as much as you like, but at some point you will. At that point, you won't want it to be a hassle to get things done. So if that means a double monitor, so be it. But before you go out and buy one, ask IT, they may have a policy of giving that type of stuff to associates for home offices.

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Re: AMA: Current Senior Associate NY BigLaw

Postby Sheffield » Sun Jun 02, 2013 4:53 pm

Lateral2013 wrote:....in your case however, you may be better off target mailing to practice group heads of X practice with a copy to the recruiting person, with the above explanation in your cover letter.

Many thanks. Couple of additional details.....

The V-100 firm that offered me called within 48 hours after I had accepted (somehow they missed my email about already have accepted with the boutique). We talked and they sent the offer anyway and said that if my SA didn’t work out, give them a call. In your experience, how does something like that usually play out…as far as I can tell they do not usually consider 3Ls?

Then there was the original V-100 I turned down (primarily because it meant relocating for the summer). Nothing much else to report here, it was pretty cut and dry. Nevertheless, they apparently once liked me, I suppose I can be hopeful that something could materialize.

Surprisingly, several weeks after I sent my email acceptance notice I received two other inquires. One would have been a second callback and the other firm offered to fly me to their attractive CA satellite office (would have been an initial interview). Laid out as best as I know to, these are the cards I would be holding if receive the dreaded no-offered.

(Also, what’s the real story on cold-offers?)

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Re: AMA: Current Senior Associate NY BigLaw

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jun 02, 2013 8:10 pm

In regards to the drunk e-mails, what happens when you aren't expecting work, decide to drink, then get an urgent email at 9 pm? Try to do your best while tipsy? Or be honest and tell supervisor you've been drinking and need a few hours (sleep?) to sober up?

Assuming both options are open, is it better to be a generalist in terms of corporate work or focus on specific types of deals/transactions?

If fellow associate has an upcoming wedding/vacation, is it possible to hop in and help them with work for a few days to cover for them? Or is that too difficult and/or frowned upon?

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Re: AMA: Current Senior Associate NY BigLaw

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jun 02, 2013 8:18 pm

Are the people talking about receiving emails at 9pm while drinking SAs or associates? I am assuming you are receiving these emails on your phone. Just wondering because my SA firm has not set up email on our phones.

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Re: AMA: Current Senior Associate NY BigLaw

Postby Bronte » Sun Jun 02, 2013 8:57 pm

There is a pretty pervasive belief on this site that making partner in big law involves "bringing in business" or "making it rain." But Vault-type firms have major businesses as clients. I would imagine the relevant point people are king-of-the-world general counsels and chief financial officers. Did some sixth year associate at Skadden land Anheuser-Busch InBev for the Grupo Modelo deal?

I would imagine that, to the extent partnership prospects turn on making it rain, they turn more on facilitating client relations than actually originating clients. What's your perception?

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Re: AMA: Current Senior Associate NY BigLaw

Postby anongoodnurse » Mon Jun 03, 2013 9:06 am

I would imagine that, to the extent partnership prospects turn on making it rain, they turn more on facilitating client relations than actually originating clients. What's your perception?


Not OP, but my $0.02 is that this is going to vary by firm, but except for the very largest firms with the largest institutional clients, this isn't exactly accurate. A big factor for most firms in the partnership analysis is whether you'll be able to take ownership of your own book of business at some point in the future. Now, there are two things to note about that. First, you can do it in a lot of ways. You can go out and get new clients (hard). You can inherit existing clients (much easier, but then you need to be in the right place at the right time). Or you can "cross sell" and generate new types of business from existing clients (maybe the most realistic option for a senior associate/junior partner).

Second, note that I said "at some point in the future." What that means is that you don't have to have a book when you're up for partner. You just have to look like you're on the way to assembling it. Maybe that means that you're an heir apparent to a rainmaker. Maybe you've developed a reputation as a go-to guy for a particular type of business that the firm can pitch to existing clients. Maybe you've developed a reputation as a superstar in a field and it's just a matter of time before the business finds you.

But the bottom line is that at least at the vast majority of firms, the days where they'll make someone a partner with the expectation that he or she will grind along and do work for other peoples' clients, and not produce new revenue sources, for the medium term are probably over (if they were ever really here).

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Re: AMA: Current Senior Associate NY BigLaw

Postby Bronte » Mon Jun 03, 2013 9:15 am

anongoodnurse wrote:Not OP, but my $0.02 is that this is going to vary by firm, but except for the very largest firms with the largest institutional clients, this isn't exactly accurate. A big factor for most firms in the partnership analysis is whether you'll be able to take ownership of your own book of business at some point in the future. Now, there are two things to note about that. First, you can do it in a lot of ways. You can go out and get new clients (hard). You can inherit existing clients (much easier, but then you need to be in the right place at the right time). Or you can "cross sell" and generate new types of business from existing clients (maybe the most realistic option for a senior associate/junior partner).

Second, note that I said "at some point in the future." What that means is that you don't have to have a book when you're up for partner. You just have to look like you're on the way to assembling it. Maybe that means that you're an heir apparent to a rainmaker. Maybe you've developed a reputation as a go-to guy for a particular type of business that the firm can pitch to existing clients. Maybe you've developed a reputation as a superstar in a field and it's just a matter of time before the business finds you.

But the bottom line is that at least at the vast majority of firms, the days where they'll make someone a partner with the expectation that he or she will grind along and do work for other peoples' clients, and not produce new revenue sources, for the medium term are probably over (if they were ever really here).


Thanks, this sounds much more realistic.

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Re: AMA: Current Senior Associate NY BigLaw

Postby Lateral2013 » Mon Jun 03, 2013 9:52 am

Sheffield wrote:
Lateral2013 wrote:....in your case however, you may be better off target mailing to practice group heads of X practice with a copy to the recruiting person, with the above explanation in your cover letter.

Many thanks. Couple of additional details.....

The V-100 firm that offered me called within 48 hours after I had accepted (somehow they missed my email about already have accepted with the boutique). We talked and they sent the offer anyway and said that if my SA didn’t work out, give them a call. In your experience, how does something like that usually play out…as far as I can tell they do not usually consider 3Ls?

Then there was the original V-100 I turned down (primarily because it meant relocating for the summer). Nothing much else to report here, it was pretty cut and dry. Nevertheless, they apparently once liked me, I suppose I can be hopeful that something could materialize.

Surprisingly, several weeks after I sent my email acceptance notice I received two other inquires. One would have been a second callback and the other firm offered to fly me to their attractive CA satellite office (would have been an initial interview). Laid out as best as I know to, these are the cards I would be holding if receive the dreaded no-offered.

(Also, what’s the real story on cold-offers?)


I'm assuming you were gracious in declining the offers. Keep in touch with the other firms. If you are no offered, update your resume with your new GPA and SA and send them an updated resume. Keep the email communication where they sent you the offer and when you send them the updated resume, send it as a reply to that, so they have the background.

With the second two, reapply as a 3L directly to the people you were speaking with. Your resume is obviously impressive enough to generate a significant amount of interest in a bad economy, that's not going to change just by getting no offered. Especially if the firm that no offers has a reputation for doing that based on numbers.

Also, I think I read somewhere that a few firms are getting rid of SA and hiring only 3L, so that could always be an option too.

Cold offers. At the end of the summer, you will get an evaluation of your work. When you sit down, they will tell you they are extending an offer, but that they don't think you are a good fit for the firm and would be happier somewhere else. Technically speaking you can accept their offer and start work, but I wouldn't suggest it. They'll just fire you a week later. A cold offer is the associate equivalent of being quietly asked to leave, while they allow the associate to keep appearances that they are still employed while looking for another job.

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Re: AMA: Current Senior Associate NY BigLaw

Postby Lateral2013 » Mon Jun 03, 2013 10:21 am

Anonymous User wrote:In regards to the drunk e-mails, what happens when you aren't expecting work, decide to drink, then get an urgent email at 9 pm? Try to do your best while tipsy? Or be honest and tell supervisor you've been drinking and need a few hours (sleep?) to sober up?

Assuming both options are open, is it better to be a generalist in terms of corporate work or focus on specific types of deals/transactions?

If fellow associate has an upcoming wedding/vacation, is it possible to hop in and help them with work for a few days to cover for them? Or is that too difficult and/or frowned upon?


I'm going to assume that the urgent email is out of the blue, and not part of a transaction you are working on that's currently hot. If you have a hot transaction, don't be getting fall down drunk on weeknights. If it's truly out of the blue, then take a step back and remember you are not a doctor or a surgeon, nobody's life is going to end if you aren't available. If the email is from a client, forward it to your senior associate (even if he or she is already copied on it) and say something like "I can work on this first thing in the morning, but I'm not available right now". and let the senior associate/partner deal with it. If it's from the senior associate/partner. "Will do. I'm not where I can get to a computer right now but I'll get it to you as soon as I can". Nobody expects you to have no life and sit around playing monopoly and having no fun just in case an email might come. But, if you have a deal thats hot (and as you get started in your career, you'll figure out when a deal is hot and when it's calmer) don't go out and get drunk. That's just irresponsible and a good way to make sure you're not staffed on a deal with that partner (or maybe any partner) again.

Much better to be specialized. A generalist is kinda good at a lot of things but not great at anything. When clients are paying big law fees, they expect every attorney they work with to be great. At many of the big NYC firms, your first year or so you are more of a generalist by default, not much you can do about that but as you get more senior you will find people you like working with and they like working with you and then you'll just wake up one day and realized you've done four 363 sales this year and not a single indenture and that you specialized without really thinking about it.


I'm going to get on my vacation soap box for a minute now. Please you guys, take care of yourselves and take vacations. Not short long weekend ones, but at least a week at a time. Without those vacations you will burn out and hate life. I personally keep track of the last time all my associates had a vacation and try to encourage one when it's been more than 9 months. It's just a necessity. I'd prefer one long vacation instead of multiple short ones, because anytime an associate is out it's a PITA, whether for two days or two weeks.

Back to your question, when you or another associate plans to be out of the office arrangements will be made at a pay scale higher than you. So if you were my associate, and I knew you were getting married in August, if I had a deal come in today set to close during that time I would do one of three things: 1) not staff you on it at all (if you already have enough work) or 2) staff you and another junior associate on it (if its a large deal) or 3) staff you on it, and then watch my own personal workload so that I can pick up your slack while you are gone. It's easier for me to just suck it up and do the work than it would be to explain to another associate the deal and what needs to be done. At a senior level, the partner makes similar choices. He or she will either not staff me on it, staff me on it but have a capable midlevel/junior to do some of the work and pick up the slack himself.

But don't take it upon yourself to help another associate out. Not because it's a bad thing to do, but because when I assign something to Joe and Sally brings me the assignment without talking to me first, I'm going to be pissed. There's probably a reason to begin with that Joe and not Sally is working on my deal.

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Re: AMA: Current Senior Associate NY BigLaw

Postby Lateral2013 » Mon Jun 03, 2013 10:23 am

Anonymous User wrote:Are the people talking about receiving emails at 9pm while drinking SAs or associates? I am assuming you are receiving these emails on your phone. Just wondering because my SA firm has not set up email on our phones.


Associates. Some SA get blackberries, some do not, it depends on the firm. As summers, if you are one of many copied on an email. Don't respond to all. You shouldn't really be emailing with clients unless specifically told to. If you feel the need to respond, respond only to the person directly supervising and ask if there is any way to help.

Lateral2013
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Re: AMA: Current Senior Associate NY BigLaw

Postby Lateral2013 » Mon Jun 03, 2013 10:24 am

anongoodnurse wrote:
I would imagine that, to the extent partnership prospects turn on making it rain, they turn more on facilitating client relations than actually originating clients. What's your perception?


Not OP, but my $0.02 is that this is going to vary by firm, but except for the very largest firms with the largest institutional clients, this isn't exactly accurate. A big factor for most firms in the partnership analysis is whether you'll be able to take ownership of your own book of business at some point in the future. Now, there are two things to note about that. First, you can do it in a lot of ways. You can go out and get new clients (hard). You can inherit existing clients (much easier, but then you need to be in the right place at the right time). Or you can "cross sell" and generate new types of business from existing clients (maybe the most realistic option for a senior associate/junior partner).

Second, note that I said "at some point in the future." What that means is that you don't have to have a book when you're up for partner. You just have to look like you're on the way to assembling it. Maybe that means that you're an heir apparent to a rainmaker. Maybe you've developed a reputation as a go-to guy for a particular type of business that the firm can pitch to existing clients. Maybe you've developed a reputation as a superstar in a field and it's just a matter of time before the business finds you.

But the bottom line is that at least at the vast majority of firms, the days where they'll make someone a partner with the expectation that he or she will grind along and do work for other peoples' clients, and not produce new revenue sources, for the medium term are probably over (if they were ever really here).


Exactly this. Nothing to add.




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