OCI as a 3L to "trade up" to top firms?

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OCI as a 3L to "trade up" to top firms?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jul 12, 2013 8:31 pm

Haven't found a similar thread on here discussing this topic, but I was wondering if anyone out there could provide any recommendations or experience for my situation.

The situation is: I'm with a pretty solid Vault-ranked firm this summer, but I have concerns about there being a lack of substantial work in the practice area that I am focused on (corporate/M&A) once (knock on wood) I begin working for them full-time a year from now. They have a good reputation in this area, but unfortunately they're just not at the top of the pile and the size of deals they work on is more middle-market than large, public deals.

In a perfect world, I'd make the jump to one of the household names in corporate practice (Simpson, Skadden, Latham, Cravath, etc.), but at the same time I feel a sense of loyalty to the people in this office, and of course don't want to jeopardize what I have going with them. Is it common practice to ever consider "trading up" once a law student's been with a firm for their summer associate gig? If so, how do people typically go about approaching other firms? Is it wise or un-wise to disclose that you've already worked somewhere else for a summer and the name of the firm? Is jumping to one of the big players a better idea once I have a couple years as an associate under my belt? Would love your guys' thoughts.

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Bronte
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Re: OCI as a 3L to "trade up" to top firms?

Postby Bronte » Fri Jul 12, 2013 8:37 pm

Mmm, it happens but usually with a better reason than simply wanting to trade up. Usually the reason is geographic. I know one person that moved to a marque big law firm from a mid-law firm. The prior firm was very pissed. Very pissed.

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Re: OCI as a 3L to "trade up" to top firms?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jul 12, 2013 8:54 pm

Did they move firms prior to accepting an offer for full-time employment or afterwards? To clarify, it's not that I just want to "trade up" for the sake of having a prestigious name on my business card, I just really want to ensure that I have the opportunity to get solid experience working on deals. The softness in the PE market concerns me a bit, and the firm I'm at definitely targets that segment of the transactional market.

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Re: OCI as a 3L to "trade up" to top firms?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jul 12, 2013 10:56 pm

I traded up to one of the firms mentioned by OP to begin work this fall, and I did not graduate from a T-14 school. I sent them a resume, got an interview and a job. I was also at a reputable vault firm before, but no one even bothered to ask why I wanted to trade up. They kind of assume that everyone wants to be there. I also received another offer from a different firm via networking. So yes, it can be done, and it is not rare for 3Ls to try.

As to your question about disclosing your summer firm, if you don't tell them you have had a SA position, what firm it was, and whether you got an offer then you won't get an interview. If you tell them you were no offered then you will not get an offer, except in rare situations.

If your prior firm is angry, who cares? If you want to leave you have no reason to think about their feelings. Show loyalty by giving an honest explanation and sincere thanks. The only exception would be if you already accepted an offer. Then you have no business interviewing elsewhere. Your prior firm will hate you and your future firm will not look kindly on reneging on an offer.

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Re: OCI as a 3L to "trade up" to top firms?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jul 12, 2013 11:03 pm

Great insight. So in your opinion would you say the route to take would be to directly contact the recruiting departments of these firms? Or go through the OCI channels? Only a couple of the firms I mentioned are allowing 3Ls to interview with them at my school's OCI the end of the summer. Do you think for the ones who are not interested in interviewing 3Ls at OCI that this indicates they aren't interested in them for full-time offers, period?

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Re: OCI as a 3L to "trade up" to top firms?

Postby run26.2 » Fri Jul 12, 2013 11:34 pm

You should reach out to firms beyond those that do OCI. Firms have people that get clerkships, do something else after having accepted their 2L offer, or anticipate or have more work than they have reasonable bandwidth. Some firms do not have such a high need as to justify doing 3L OCI. But the need to have additional junior associates that have not summered at the firm is not that high.

In other words,you should not assume that they have no need for a first year. They may need 1 or 2. You should reach out to the firms directly, e.g. through an alum, to express interest.

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Re: OCI as a 3L to "trade up" to top firms?

Postby FSCU25 » Sat Jul 13, 2013 12:16 am

When you reach out to an alum, is that always someone who you have already networked with and know?

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Re: OCI as a 3L to "trade up" to top firms?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jul 13, 2013 1:55 am

In all likelihood, I will find out if I get an offer from my firm after 3L OCI. In this situation, 3L OCI is always credited, right?

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Re: OCI as a 3L to "trade up" to top firms?

Postby Bronte » Sat Jul 13, 2013 11:07 am

Anonymous User wrote:Did they move firms prior to accepting an offer for full-time employment or afterwards? To clarify, it's not that I just want to "trade up" for the sake of having a prestigious name on my business card, I just really want to ensure that I have the opportunity to get solid experience working on deals. The softness in the PE market concerns me a bit, and the firm I'm at definitely targets that segment of the transactional market.


Now that I think of it, the person did accept the offer at the prior firm before transferring. So that undoubtedly contributed to the ill will.

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Re: OCI as a 3L to "trade up" to top firms?

Postby run26.2 » Sat Jul 13, 2013 1:45 pm

FSCU25 wrote:When you reach out to an alum, is that always someone who you have already networked with and know?

It does not have to be. I had success reaching out to an alum that I had never previously met.

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Re: OCI as a 3L to "trade up" to top firms?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jul 13, 2013 2:20 pm

I was thinking about this too, but I'm not sure I would really want to work at any of the V 10 firms over the firm I'm at now and while I might be motivated enough by money to work for Boies Schiller etc, I don't think I can get that as a 3L due to my grades...

In terms of experience, will there really be a difference between a well regarded V30 with a good reputation and high end deals vs V10?

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Re: OCI as a 3L to "trade up" to top firms?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jul 13, 2013 2:27 pm

Who do you think gets squeezed out of the market first when transaction volume slows down? That's my primary concern.

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Re: OCI as a 3L to "trade up" to top firms?

Postby Hutz_and_Goodman » Sun Jul 14, 2013 9:48 am

Anonymous User wrote:I was thinking about this too, but I'm not sure I would really want to work at any of the V 10 firms over the firm I'm at now and while I might be motivated enough by money to work for Boies Schiller etc, I don't think I can get that as a 3L due to my grades...

In terms of experience, will there really be a difference between a well regarded V30 with a good reputation and high end deals vs V10?


No, and the amount of experience you will get will depend on the firm, the office, and the practice area. Probably my top consideration for picking a firm is how quickly I will get experience since this is crucial for so many things including exit options.

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Re: OCI as a 3L to "trade up" to top firms?

Postby fanlinxun » Sun Jul 14, 2013 10:39 am

Hutz_and_Goodman wrote:No, and the amount of experience you will get will depend on the firm, the office, and the practice area. Probably my top consideration for picking a firm is how quickly I will get experience since this is crucial for so many things including exit options.



V-10 may not give you better substantive experience, but it will probably still give you better exit options. At the V-30, you will be competing against everybody else in the V-100 trying to argue that your experience is better than theirs. At the V-10 (maybe V-5) your first firm will give you an automatic leg up. This is not to say that the end result from a V-10 is always better. The prestige factor is kind of illusory, but those at a V-10 probably get a bump similar to those seeking their first job from a T-14 law school.




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