Gunning for BigLaw Satellite Offices in a small town - dumb?

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Gunning for BigLaw Satellite Offices in a small town - dumb?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Dec 06, 2013 8:23 pm

I'm from Tallahassee, which, despite being the state capital, is a tertiary legal market at best. I went to UG there, my SO is there, and we've got some roots. I'm currently at UVA, no grades yet. There are only three NALP (does that mean they're BigLaw?) firms that have satellite offices in Tally: Holland & Knight (22 attorneys, 90k salary), Akerman Senterfitt (20 attorneys, 95k salary), and Foley & Lardner (13 attorneys, 110k salary). None of these offices have hired 1Ls in the past three years. Only two have hired or expect to hire a 2L SA (one at AS in '12 and expected in '13; one at F&L in '12, none expected in '13). Only two have hired or expect to hire an Entry-Level Associate (one at AS in '11, non-former SA; one expected at F&L in '13). I have these questions:

1. Would it be insane to target these satellite offices?
2. Even if I got a job there, would it be a terrible career move and a waste of the trouble to go to UVA? Do they even make partners out of satellite people?
3. Is it better to uproot the family and go after DC or ATL like I probably should?
4. If you think it's a good idea, how should I go about hustling such tiny offices?

Goals are to work in litigation and, provided I don't suck at being a lawyer etc., eventually become a federal judge. Any and all advice is welcome.

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2014
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Re: Gunning for BigLaw Satellite Offices in a small town - dumb?

Postby 2014 » Fri Dec 06, 2013 9:34 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I'm from Tallahassee, which, despite being the state capital, is a tertiary legal market at best. I went to UG there, my SO is there, and we've got some roots. I'm currently at UVA, no grades yet. There are only three NALP (does that mean they're BigLaw?) firms that have satellite offices in Tally: Holland & Knight (22 attorneys, 90k salary), Akerman Senterfitt (20 attorneys, 95k salary), and Foley & Lardner (13 attorneys, 110k salary). None of these offices have hired 1Ls in the past three years. Only two have hired or expect to hire a 2L SA (one at AS in '12 and expected in '13; one at F&L in '12, none expected in '13). Only two have hired or expect to hire an Entry-Level Associate (one at AS in '11, non-former SA; one expected at F&L in '13). I have these questions:

1. Would it be insane to target these satellite offices?
2. Even if I got a job there, would it be a terrible career move and a waste of the trouble to go to UVA? Do they even make partners out of satellite people?
3. Is it better to uproot the family and go after DC or ATL like I probably should?
4. If you think it's a good idea, how should I go about hustling such tiny offices?

Goals are to work in litigation and, provided I don't suck at being a lawyer etc., eventually become a federal judge. Any and all advice is welcome.


NALP is a good proxy for Big Law but there are non-NALP firms that might pay well. All three you listed meet every definition of "Big Law" but search other resources too to make sure there aren't more who just opt out of nalpdirectory.

1. No, it also is not mutually exclusive with targeting other firms since some of those offices likely won't come to UVA's OCI and even if they all do, you have plenty of bids remaining.

2. Your partnership odds might be marginally less, but they are exceedingly low no matter where you go. If you have the skills to make partner in DC/ATL/wherever you probably are basically as likely to make partner in Tallahassee. Your goal going to law school is to get a paying job. Ending up with one of the ones you mentioned is effectively winning the law school lottery and no one could or should call that a waste of a degree.

3. Maybe, but you have to ask for what reasons. Your job security might be better in DC/ATL since there are more firms to lateral to in the market. However, if you ultimately know you are going to end up in Florida or Tallahassee specifically you have to ask yourself 1. Whether a firm in Florida is going to be likely to hire you out of DC/ATL (I don't know the answer to this, but my intuition is no they probably have plenty of competent laterals who stayed in Florida post grad itching to take the job) and 2. If a firm does take you, will any of your DC/ATL clients be likely to follow you? The answer is probably no. There will be exceptions to both of those even if the general rule is no though, I'm sure it's not impossible if you are a good lawyer. If you are flexible and just want to maximize your exit options, I think ATL/DC makes more sense but you have to truly be open to the idea that you might be cutting yourself off from Tallahassee or even Florida Big Law permanently.

There is a caveat to this though. Foley, Holland and Knight and Akerman all have offices in other markets (idk about DC/ATL specifically you can figure that out as well as I can) and it might be feasible to start somewhere they have a bigger summer program and ultimately switch offices down the road. Whether you are allowed to do so is obviously firm dependent, but it's another avenue should you fail to get in with the Tallahassee office from the get go.

4. Set up coffee or lunch with alums ideally. Since they are so small there might not be attorneys from UVA, so second would be from your undergrad. If not, just stalk bios for people who you can feign some commonality with. When they are only hiring like 1 SA, you will likely need someone pulling for you. It at the very least cannot hurt. Other than that get good grades.

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Re: Gunning for BigLaw Satellite Offices in a small town - dumb?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Dec 06, 2013 9:39 pm

You should study for contracts, and let the other things work themselves out. South Florida is generally tough to crack even for residents with high grades from UVA, but North Florida may be different.

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Re: Gunning for BigLaw Satellite Offices in a small town - dumb?

Postby hichvichwoh » Fri Dec 06, 2013 9:40 pm

by targeting, do you mean exclusively targeting? If so, I would definitely advise you to reconsider.

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Re: Gunning for BigLaw Satellite Offices in a small town - dumb?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Dec 07, 2013 9:02 pm

(1) Yes
(2) Yes
(3) Yes
(4) N/A

Big litigation is not conducted out of tiny cities like Tallahassee. Litigation is a heck of a lot more geographically diverse than corporate work, but that means that Miami is viable, or Tampa, not Tallahassee. There's no golden rule preventing you from going there - I had a close college friend who went back to Oklahoma City after LS and is probably going to make partner in the biggest local firm in OKC (but note: there's much more legal work in OKC than Tallahassee) and his life is OK. But he will happily tell you that he squandered about $200K getting an education at fine eastern schools because it was all worthless in OKC and he's basically a lazy bum who likes to bass fish and make $150K so heckwithit.

Long story short, if you want to piss away a great education, then your plan is golden. If not, suck it up and move you and your SO and your dog and fish and whatever to Atlanta, at least for a few years, like a grown-ass man.

Anonymous User wrote:I'm from Tallahassee, which, despite being the state capital, is a tertiary legal market at best. I went to UG there, my SO is there, and we've got some roots. I'm currently at UVA, no grades yet. There are only three NALP (does that mean they're BigLaw?) firms that have satellite offices in Tally: Holland & Knight (22 attorneys, 90k salary), Akerman Senterfitt (20 attorneys, 95k salary), and Foley & Lardner (13 attorneys, 110k salary). None of these offices have hired 1Ls in the past three years. Only two have hired or expect to hire a 2L SA (one at AS in '12 and expected in '13; one at F&L in '12, none expected in '13). Only two have hired or expect to hire an Entry-Level Associate (one at AS in '11, non-former SA; one expected at F&L in '13). I have these questions:

1. Would it be insane to target these satellite offices?
2. Even if I got a job there, would it be a terrible career move and a waste of the trouble to go to UVA? Do they even make partners out of satellite people?
3. Is it better to uproot the family and go after DC or ATL like I probably should?
4. If you think it's a good idea, how should I go about hustling such tiny offices?

Goals are to work in litigation and, provided I don't suck at being a lawyer etc., eventually become a federal judge. Any and all advice is welcome.

sprezz
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Re: Gunning for BigLaw Satellite Offices in a small town - dumb?

Postby sprezz » Mon Dec 09, 2013 3:37 pm

study for crim now, think through this over break. odds that you get 1L SA in tallahassee are functionally zero so time pressure for generic networking there is squarely in "it can wait til finals are over" ville.

you're going to be deciding this largely after next summer. your grades and interview skills will impact your outcomes more than your 1L summer job. treat [job hunt florida] and [job hunt ogi] as components of mission: get your ass a job. do not exclusively target tally. do not exclusively target not-tally. above poster's insights, even if 100% accurate, only matter in a world where you have an offer in both. odds are against that happening (not trying to be debbie downer, just keep in mind that odds are you're at median with average interview skills. that's a long bet for small class size markets). if you are in a position to choose between offers, then it's time to start worrying about market A vs market B.

hopefully SO knows mobility is as likely as staying put is. but if not...i think SO can wait for that chat until finals are over

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Re: Gunning for BigLaw Satellite Offices in a small town - dumb?

Postby Hutz_and_Goodman » Mon Dec 09, 2013 3:52 pm

1. Would it be insane to target these satellite offices?

I think yes. Not only will it be very difficult, but most people (including myself before recently) do not really know what its like to be in a satellite big law office. The difference between big law in a major market and my satellite market is huge. If you are going to pursue this route I think it would be smart, as soon as possible, to try and get more of an actual idea of what life at these firms is like.

2. Even if I got a job there, would it be a terrible career move and a waste of the trouble to go to UVA? Do they even make partners out of satellite people?

If my market is representative it is easier to make partner. In terms of the UVA degree the trouble you will have is that there are only going to be a few jobs and there will be top people from FL law schools competing with you along with other T14ers with FL roots.

3. Is it better to uproot the family and go after DC or ATL like I probably should?

Yes, I think it is a much better idea. You will have a much easier time. I had a 1L big law SA in a secondary market, and every 1L at my firm (several offices) went to school within the state.

4. If you think it's a good idea, how should I go about hustling such tiny offices?

Network, network, network.




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