Lateraling after 1 year?

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Anonymous User
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Lateraling after 1 year?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jul 15, 2013 1:17 pm

This fall, after completing a clerkship, I will be starting in the NYC office of a biglaw firm but I will need to leave NYC about 1 year after starting because my SO (we are married) will be starting work in a different city. My family lives in this new city and my SO and I both prefer it to life in NYC. In any event, I am pretty nervous about having to leave a firm after 1 year or less. I would prefer to go to another biglaw firm in my new city (which is a major market, i.e., DC, SF, Boston) bc I need money (for debt).

Does anyone have any experience with or advice on lateraling after ~1 year? My firm does have an office in that other city, but it's much smaller and has a narrow focus that is different from what I prefer to do so I am not sure that transferring offices is a good option.

I really appreciate any advice on this. Thanks!

Cityman543
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Re: Lateraling after 1 year?

Postby Cityman543 » Mon Jul 15, 2013 6:20 pm

Depends on practice. I would think that transactional maybe, litigation probably not.

Anonymous User
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Re: Lateraling after 1 year?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jul 15, 2013 6:31 pm

Cityman543 wrote:Depends on practice. I would think that transactional maybe, litigation probably not.


(Not the OP):

Why would you say that? That seems switched.

OP clerked for a year and then will have most of a year in a lit practice. They can research, can probably write, and learning to do depositions and other similar things won't be too difficult in the first year.

To OP: if you had the stats to get an Art. III and biglaw (I'm making assumptions), I bet you'll be fine lateraling. You may not get your choice of firm, but I imagine you'll find a spot in another biglaw lit practice. Go to a headhunter, maybe try to network/mail, and if it comes down to it I'm sure you can go to people at your firm and let them know the situation (and affirm that you will work with them).

You're not changing your plans on a whim - you're married and you gotta do that, people generally understand. Plus, my understanding (from my SA and talking to associates) is that there is such high turnover in biglaw in the first few years that no one is going to blink when you let them know you're out after a year.

Anonymous User
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Re: Lateraling after 1 year?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 16, 2013 12:07 am

I think leaving this early is more common than we think. I came in thinking everyone stayed at least 2-3 years, but found that many in my starting class (in NYC) left before the 2-year mark, mostly to firms in other cities.

Work with a recruiter. Your best bet is to start looking next Fall and plan to leave in January, so that you get your bonus but also because lateral recruiting is most active in Oct/Nov-ish. Transactional moves seem to be much quicker, at least in the current market -- just a lot more openings -- so I would start talking to a recruiter by summer if you are a litigator.

Also, if you are a litigator and your target market is not DC, take the target state's bar in Feb. Firms seem to be okay with hiring transactional laterals who haven't taken the bar yet but want litigators to be admitted or to have at least passed the bar. If you are looking to move to DC, you may as well do the bar application ASAP (assuming you have already taken the NY bar exam) because it takes a ridiculously long time for them to process applications.

Anonymous User
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Re: Lateraling after 1 year?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 16, 2013 1:20 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Cityman543 wrote:Depends on practice. I would think that transactional maybe, litigation probably not.


(Not the OP):

Why would you say that? That seems switched.

OP clerked for a year and then will have most of a year in a lit practice. They can research, can probably write, and learning to do depositions and other similar things won't be too difficult in the first year.

To OP: if you had the stats to get an Art. III and biglaw (I'm making assumptions), I bet you'll be fine lateraling. You may not get your choice of firm, but I imagine you'll find a spot in another biglaw lit practice. Go to a headhunter, maybe try to network/mail, and if it comes down to it I'm sure you can go to people at your firm and let them know the situation (and affirm that you will work with them).

You're not changing your plans on a whim - you're married and you gotta do that, people generally understand. Plus, my understanding (from my SA and talking to associates) is that there is such high turnover in biglaw in the first few years that no one is going to blink when you let them know you're out after a year.


OP Here: So happy there are some actual lawyers (not just law students) here to answer questions!

Thanks for your thoughts everyone. I am actually going into corporate because I prefer the exit options. I just wasn't sure that headhunters would want to talk to a first year. Any advice on how to find good headhunters? I know people get calls, but how can you distinguish who is the real deal? Do they really call first years anyway? (I'm at a V20s - not a V5)

Thanks for thoughts on the bar too; thankfully, I've got that covered.

TooOld4This
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Re: Lateraling after 1 year?

Postby TooOld4This » Tue Jul 16, 2013 1:40 pm

Don't use a headhunter for firms. Do the legwork yourself. The info is pretty accessible. Firms are generally not too keen on placement fees and choosing between two resumes for junior positions, you don't want to be the one that has $$$ attached to it.

Anonymous User
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Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Lateraling after 1 year?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 16, 2013 3:05 pm

TooOld4This wrote:Don't use a headhunter for firms. Do the legwork yourself. The info is pretty accessible. Firms are generally not too keen on placement fees and choosing between two resumes for junior positions, you don't want to be the one that has $$$ attached to it.



OP: This makes a lot of sense. But I fear that sending my resume, transcript, etc. to an anonymous recruiting email won't get me far. I guess I can reach out to alums of my school or ask my OCS. Is it normal/acceptable to email partners (alums of school) or people somewhat out of blue? Can associates at firms help you?




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