Transferring Big Law Offices

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Transferring Big Law Offices

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Nov 11, 2013 2:21 pm

I accepted an offer at the D.C. office of a NYC-based firm. I deferred that offer to clerk for a year. Now, things in my personal life have developed such that requesting a transfer to the NYC office is a real consideration. The practice group I would be working in exists in both offices. The two groups collaborate with some frequency.

How would this request be viewed? Would it be a terrible career move? What should I be thinking about that I may not be? (I realize that the answer to these questions are often firm-specific, but I assume some general advice applies.)

Finally, I have received conflicting views on whether having the NYC bar would be a prerequisite. A lot of the work I would be doing would be in the federal courts across the country.

Any thoughts would be appreciated.

fxb
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Re: Transferring Big Law Offices

Postby fxb » Mon Nov 11, 2013 2:52 pm

I realize that the answer to these questions are often firm-specific, but I assume some general advice applies
Last edited by fxb on Thu May 08, 2014 1:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Transferring Big Law Offices

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Nov 11, 2013 6:23 pm

fxb: not the OP, but have also accepted an offer from Office A of my firm and interested in seeking a transfer to Office B for personal reasons. Your comments are really helpful, so thanks.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Transferring Big Law Offices

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Mon Nov 11, 2013 6:26 pm

fxb wrote:Finally, I don't know why you have received conflicting views about whether the NY bar is a prerequisite. There are no conflicting views; it is absolutely a prerequisite. The fact that you would be doing work around the country is irrelevant. You must be a bar of the member of the state in which you principally practice -- which is where your office is. (I'm not in NY so I guess there could be a different NY rule about this, but given the NY bar's stringent rules on attorney advertising I highly doubt it.) And it almost goes without saying that if you think you might be putting in for a transfer, you should be registering and taking the NY bar as soon as possible. Like, in February if you still can. Don't make that the firm's problem, and it will be easier for them to help you.

Is this always true? I met a woman who practices exclusively bankruptcy law, and she's not barred in the state where she practices, because her practice is exclusively in federal court, and she was admitted to the local federal district based on her admission in some other state than the one where's she's now located. (Which isn't to say that OP wouldn't be better off taking the NY bar right away, I was just curious.)

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Re: Transferring Big Law Offices

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Nov 11, 2013 8:03 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
fxb wrote:Finally, I don't know why you have received conflicting views about whether the NY bar is a prerequisite. There are no conflicting views; it is absolutely a prerequisite. The fact that you would be doing work around the country is irrelevant. You must be a bar of the member of the state in which you principally practice -- which is where your office is. (I'm not in NY so I guess there could be a different NY rule about this, but given the NY bar's stringent rules on attorney advertising I highly doubt it.) And it almost goes without saying that if you think you might be putting in for a transfer, you should be registering and taking the NY bar as soon as possible. Like, in February if you still can. Don't make that the firm's problem, and it will be easier for them to help you.

Is this always true? I met a woman who practices exclusively bankruptcy law, and she's not barred in the state where she practices, because her practice is exclusively in federal court, and she was admitted to the local federal district based on her admission in some other state than the one where's she's now located. (Which isn't to say that OP wouldn't be better off taking the NY bar right away, I was just curious.)


Well there would not be one overarching federal rule about it, so I guess that's possible depending on the state bar's rules. I would have thought (and this is at least true in my jurisdiction) that you run the risk of practicing without a license in that case. Typically statues about practicing without a license prevent you from holding yourself out as a lawyer in that state unless you are a member of that state's bar. And to appear on your firm's website with the address of a particular office below your name is to hold yourself out as practicing there. I suppose if your acquaintance's work is almost all in State A but if you look at her firm's website is says she is affiliated with the office in State B, and she is admitted in State B, she's ok. She isn't holding herself out as a State A lawyer, even though as a practical matter she may live in and only do BK work in State A.

But that's an arrangement that won't apply to Biglaw associates. Even if there are quirks in the state rules, every biglaw firm that I can imagine would consider it a total nonstarter to have you not be barred in the state in which you actually have your office.

By the way, there are a number of federal district courts -- but by no means all, perhaps not even most -- which require you to be a member of the bar of that state in order to get admitted to the district court. And some which allow you to become a member only if your own jurisdiction offers reciprocal privileges.

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Re: Transferring Big Law Offices

Postby fxb » Mon Nov 11, 2013 9:17 pm

Oops, accidental anon. Previous post was from me.

What the f.supp?
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Re: Transferring Big Law Offices

Postby What the f.supp? » Thu Nov 14, 2013 4:11 pm

fxb wrote:
I realize that the answer to these questions are often firm-specific, but I assume some general advice applies


Finally, I don't know why you have received conflicting views about whether the NY bar is a prerequisite. There are no conflicting views; it is absolutely a prerequisite. The fact that you would be doing work around the country is irrelevant. You must be a bar of the member of the state in which you principally practice -- which is where your office is. (I'm not in NY so I guess there could be a different NY rule about this, but given the NY bar's stringent rules on attorney advertising I highly doubt it.) And it almost goes without saying that if you think you might be putting in for a transfer, you should be registering and taking the NY bar as soon as possible. Like, in February if you still can. Don't make that the firm's problem, and it will be easier for them to help you."


Aren't there those supervisory rules in every state, or is that just DC? I'm at a DC firm and can name dozens of new attorneys who are barred in other states across the country but are still practicing law in DC "under the supervision" (whatever that means) of DC-barred attorneys. I think you have to be titled a "law clerk" (not associate) until you are barred in your office's state, but the firm still bills for your practice of law.

So yes, you need to eventually apply to be a member of the state bar, but I'm not sure you have to worry about it right away. Just email someone at the office where you want to work and ask them. Or email HR there. You'll get a correct answer and maybe build some rapport. It's not like you would seriously rely on random forum advice for somthing like this anyways.

fxb
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Re: Transferring Big Law Offices

Postby fxb » Thu Nov 14, 2013 5:33 pm

What the f.supp? wrote:
fxb wrote:
I realize that the answer to these questions are often firm-specific, but I assume some general advice applies


Finally, I don't know why you have received conflicting views about whether the NY bar is a prerequisite. There are no conflicting views; it is absolutely a prerequisite. The fact that you would be doing work around the country is irrelevant. You must be a bar of the member of the state in which you principally practice -- which is where your office is. (I'm not in NY so I guess there could be a different NY rule about this, but given the NY bar's stringent rules on attorney advertising I highly doubt it.) And it almost goes without saying that if you think you might be putting in for a transfer, you should be registering and taking the NY bar as soon as possible. Like, in February if you still can. Don't make that the firm's problem, and it will be easier for them to help you."


Aren't there those supervisory rules in every state, or is that just DC? I'm at a DC firm and can name dozens of new attorneys who are barred in other states across the country but are still practicing law in DC "under the supervision" (whatever that means) of DC-barred attorneys. I think you have to be titled a "law clerk" (not associate) until you are barred in your office's state, but the firm still bills for your practice of law.

So yes, you need to eventually apply to be a member of the state bar, but I'm not sure you have to worry about it right away. Just email someone at the office where you want to work and ask them. Or email HR there. You'll get a correct answer and maybe build some rapport. It's not like you would seriously rely on random forum advice for somthing like this anyways.


Oh, sure. Firms in every state hire people who haven't been sworn in yet, and DC has it in spades because of the waive-in -- even when you get admitted to whatever state, it takes another year to waive in. But I thought OP was saying he thought he could move without ever taking the bar in the new state (the stuff about how his practice is in federal courts anyway).

Even if he doesn't have to do it right away, I still advise at least registering for the soonest bar possible. (1) It builds up your bona fides about wanting/needing to be in NYC, and (2) it shows respect for the firm's time and their accommodation in that you aren't effectively saying, "I want to start work in the new office, and get paid, but basically only work for half time for six weeks because I'll be studying for the bar that I haven't even registered for yet."

09042014
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Re: Transferring Big Law Offices

Postby 09042014 » Thu Nov 14, 2013 9:42 pm

What the f.supp? wrote:
fxb wrote:
I realize that the answer to these questions are often firm-specific, but I assume some general advice applies


Finally, I don't know why you have received conflicting views about whether the NY bar is a prerequisite. There are no conflicting views; it is absolutely a prerequisite. The fact that you would be doing work around the country is irrelevant. You must be a bar of the member of the state in which you principally practice -- which is where your office is. (I'm not in NY so I guess there could be a different NY rule about this, but given the NY bar's stringent rules on attorney advertising I highly doubt it.) And it almost goes without saying that if you think you might be putting in for a transfer, you should be registering and taking the NY bar as soon as possible. Like, in February if you still can. Don't make that the firm's problem, and it will be easier for them to help you."


Aren't there those supervisory rules in every state, or is that just DC? I'm at a DC firm and can name dozens of new attorneys who are barred in other states across the country but are still practicing law in DC "under the supervision" (whatever that means) of DC-barred attorneys. I think you have to be titled a "law clerk" (not associate) until you are barred in your office's state, but the firm still bills for your practice of law.

So yes, you need to eventually apply to be a member of the state bar, but I'm not sure you have to worry about it right away. Just email someone at the office where you want to work and ask them. Or email HR there. You'll get a correct answer and maybe build some rapport. It's not like you would seriously rely on random forum advice for somthing like this anyways.


They don't even have to say "law clerk." They can still call you an associate.

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Re: Transferring Big Law Offices

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Nov 15, 2013 4:29 am

Someone above said that this is a firm specific question, so does anyone happen to know about S&C? I'll be at one of their satellite offices in my home market this summer. If I receive an offer to return and want to head out to NY, could I do so (perhaps after a few years)?




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