Should I Lateral? Need advice

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Should I lateral?

Poll ended at Fri Dec 27, 2013 8:47 pm

Yes
7
54%
No
6
46%
 
Total votes: 13

Anonymous User
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Should I Lateral? Need advice

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Dec 07, 2013 8:47 pm

Hi all - need some help here. My situation is sort of strange so let me lay the groundwork:

I am technically a first year associate though I worked a great deal for my firm during 3L year (around 30 hrs a week). So basically, I'm at the 2 yr assoc. level in terms of learning-curve. I don't feel lost at all and I have received only positive reviews.

I currently work biglaw for a firm ranked in the V65-v80 range. I absolutely enjoy working with everyone in my group. I can't think of a single person that is mean or not a pleasure to work with. The hours, however, have been brutal. I'm billing 200/month easy.

This week, I was offered to lateral to a firm in the range of v40-v60. The pay increase would be about 30% more than what I make now and would be classified in a more senior position (2nd or 3rd year level).

Does the pay increase and more prestigious firm (marginally) warrant my lateral? I've never heard of someone lateraling that early in their career. I'm also worried that I would burn some bridges leaving my current firm. Also, lateraling can be a risk in the sense that I do not know how I'll get along with my coworkers. It's all a pretty big crapshoot - a mean partner can make your life miserable. that's a big unknown.

Your thoughts are appreciated. Thanks
Last edited by Anonymous User on Sat Dec 07, 2013 11:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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mr. wednesday
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Re: Should I Lateral? Need advice

Postby mr. wednesday » Sat Dec 07, 2013 9:26 pm

You should lateral if you want to. In this scenario there isn't a right or wrong answer. Maybe the new firm will be unpleasant--you could ask around and see if anyone with knowledge of that firm can give you more details. And it's unlikely that you'll get to work less hours at the new firm, unless there is something you are leaving out. But a 30% increase is pretty serious and I doubt an early lateral will hurt your career.

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thesealocust
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Re: Should I Lateral? Need advice

Postby thesealocust » Sat Dec 07, 2013 10:12 pm

The hours, however, have been brutal. I'm billing 200/month easy.


ahahahahahahahahahaahahahahaha

Good one OP.

Pobrecito.

Anonymous User
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Re: Should I Lateral? Need advice

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Dec 07, 2013 10:18 pm

Does the pay increase and more prestigious firm (marginally) warrant my lateral?


It could, but you also have to keep in mind that you will be lateraling into a year ahead of what you are. This is highly risky because you'll be painting a huge target on your back. More senior attorneys have higher expectations, and coming in with those high expectations doesn't really set you up for success. I have friends who were offered more senior positions and turned them down for that reason alone.

If you're lateraling into a third year level, your firm will be expecting stuff from you that you should be able to do. Failure to do any one of those things, no matter how small and how few, will paint a certain perception of you, rightly or wrongly. You will rightly say, "hey, I was just ahead of the curve because I worked on this shit my 3L year, but I'm no master." Your firm will rightly respond, "well I guess you weren't as good as advertised and we should be paying you less." Only the problem is that they won't dock your year, they'll most likely just fire you.

Also another thing to consider is giving up all the good will at your current firm, which you've poured a lot of blood, sweat and tears into.

Finally, I really like the "8 year" partnership track (if it can be called that). It gives you a pretty long and decent lifeline in which to work, assuming you put in the hours and produce decent work. By going in ahead of your year, you cut a year out of that lifeline. In that regard, I'd much rather go back a year than ahead a year--gives me an extra year in which to prove myself and a year in which I can be a superstar.

I think the crucial mistake made here is trying to come in a year ahead. It seems nice and good for your ego, but shit'll be looking bad when you're given a huge dump of work you don't have a good idea about how to do well, and you're left with no one to turn to for help because you can't confide in anyone at your new firm (and your problem would be fairly unique).

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2014
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Re: Should I Lateral? Need advice

Postby 2014 » Sat Dec 07, 2013 10:21 pm

Realistically you will only be at a firm for the next 3-5 years anyway. The prestige boost from V40 to V85 is really not a thing, but the 30% pay bump certainly is. You just have to ask whether you think the group you are in now is an outlier, or if you are just someone who gets along well with lawyer types, in which case you will likely be just as happy at the new firm. In your shoes I'd take the money.

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Old Gregg
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Re: Should I Lateral? Need advice

Postby Old Gregg » Sat Dec 07, 2013 10:48 pm

The prestige boost from V40 to V85 is really not a thing, but the 30% pay bump certainly is. You just have to ask whether you think the group you are in now is an outlier, or if you are just someone who gets along well with lawyer types, in which case you will likely be just as happy at the new firm. In your shoes I'd take the money.


I was under the impression that OP's pay bump was just by virtue of the increased seniority, not an actual difference in pay scales. I think that makes a difference.

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2014
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Re: Should I Lateral? Need advice

Postby 2014 » Sat Dec 07, 2013 10:56 pm

zweitbester wrote:
The prestige boost from V40 to V85 is really not a thing, but the 30% pay bump certainly is. You just have to ask whether you think the group you are in now is an outlier, or if you are just someone who gets along well with lawyer types, in which case you will likely be just as happy at the new firm. In your shoes I'd take the money.


I was under the impression that OP's pay bump was just by virtue of the increased seniority, not an actual difference in pay scales. I think that makes a difference.

Yeah good call, that would change things. The 160-->170/185 + bonus math just didn't add up so I assumed the new firm paid more. Probably a combination though.

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Old Gregg
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Re: Should I Lateral? Need advice

Postby Old Gregg » Sat Dec 07, 2013 11:05 pm

Exactly. If it's just a pay raise by seniority, then assuming OP doesn't make partner (a solid assumption), he will have a lost year of $160k+ earning because of the class bump.

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ExBiglawAssociate
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Re: Should I Lateral? Need advice

Postby ExBiglawAssociate » Sun Dec 08, 2013 12:12 am

Depending on the firms, it might actually be a prestige DROP from V85 to V40. It really depends on the practice group. Judging prestige based on Vault rankings is stupid.

That said, I think the salary increase definitely justifies it, assuming you're not losing a year in seniority (i.e., maybe your new firm will give you an extra year?).

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Re: Should I Lateral? Need advice

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Dec 08, 2013 12:30 am

Hi all - OP here.

Just to clarify, i'm not in NYC (think SF/DC) and both firms don't have a strict 8yr up-or-out partnership structure. It seems partnership is more realistic here, though still very hard to do. I would start mid-jan as a 2nd yr assoc. Like someone said, the salary bump is both b/c of seniority and a pay increase.

I understand the idea that vault rankings are not great measurements, just not sure how else to explain. Both firms are well known in my practice area.

Also, my current firm is a satellite office. The lateral firm is headquartered in my city. Does that make any difference?

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Re: Should I Lateral? Need advice

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Dec 08, 2013 1:16 pm

The only reason to stay at the lower-ranked / less prestigious firm would be lifestyle. But since it sounds like your lifestyle there is pretty crappy anyways, I would take the money.

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2014
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Re: Should I Lateral? Need advice

Postby 2014 » Sun Dec 08, 2013 1:55 pm

Yeah I'd probably make the switch then. If like 20% of the 30% raise is coming in the form of the new firm just paying it's associates more (also higher bonuses?), you will probably recoup your lost year by the time you are fired, and any extra time would just be extra at that point. I'm not experienced in what the effect of switching from a satellite to a main office is, but I'm inclined to think that will be beneficial more often than not.

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Re: Should I Lateral? Need advice

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Dec 08, 2013 2:11 pm

I posted above. Even with the pay increase and no definite timeline for partnership, I think coming in at a higher level creates a lot of high expectations that will be difficult to meet and will be career limiting if not met. That's just my opinion.

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Big Shrimpin
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Re: Should I Lateral? Need advice

Postby Big Shrimpin » Sun Dec 08, 2013 2:28 pm

thesealocust wrote:
The hours, however, have been brutal. I'm billing 200/month easy.


ahahahahahahahahahaahahahahaha

Good one OP.

Pobrecito.


Ran here to poast this.

Nut up, dooder. Welcome to the big leagues.

To answer the question - if they're offering you more $ and you don't feel bad about leaving, then GTFO.

Agent
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Re: Should I Lateral? Need advice

Postby Agent » Mon Dec 09, 2013 11:48 pm

+1. Sorry. Good luck.

Big Shrimpin wrote:
thesealocust wrote:
The hours, however, have been brutal. I'm billing 200/month easy.


ahahahahahahahahahaahahahahaha

Good one OP.

Pobrecito.


Ran here to poast this.

Nut up, dooder. Welcome to the big leagues.

To answer the question - if they're offering you more $ and you don't feel bad about leaving, then GTFO.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273331
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Should I Lateral? Need advice

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Dec 11, 2013 11:07 pm

Big Shrimpin wrote:
thesealocust wrote:
The hours, however, have been brutal. I'm billing 200/month easy.


ahahahahahahahahahaahahahahaha

Good one OP.

Pobrecito.


Ran here to poast this.

Nut up, dooder. Welcome to the big leagues.

To answer the question - if they're offering you more $ and you don't feel bad about leaving, then GTFO.


But I do feel bad about leaving.

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ggocat
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Re: Should I Lateral? Need advice

Postby ggocat » Wed Dec 11, 2013 11:23 pm

I work government, not a firm, but why not go to your closest partner and tell them the situation (without naming the other firm)? Explain you would really rather stay at the firm, but the 30% is a deal breaker (obvs). Ask them to match it or come close.

This will put the relationship in perspective. If they value you as much as you value them, they will match your offer. If they don't, you can just leave without feeling guilty about it. They lost you because of their own decision.

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Big Shrimpin
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Re: Should I Lateral? Need advice

Postby Big Shrimpin » Wed Dec 11, 2013 11:24 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Big Shrimpin wrote:
thesealocust wrote:
The hours, however, have been brutal. I'm billing 200/month easy.


ahahahahahahahahahaahahahahaha

Good one OP.

Pobrecito.


Ran here to poast this.

Nut up, dooder. Welcome to the big leagues.

To answer the question - if they're offering you more $ and you don't feel bad about leaving, then GTFO.


But I do feel bad about leaving.


Then you're not ready.

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

Re: Should I Lateral? Need advice

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Dec 12, 2013 6:11 pm

ggocat wrote:I work government, not a firm, but why not go to your closest partner and tell them the situation (without naming the other firm)? Explain you would really rather stay at the firm, but the 30% is a deal breaker (obvs). Ask them to match it or come close.

This will put the relationship in perspective. If they value you as much as you value them, they will match your offer. If they don't, you can just leave without feeling guilty about it. They lost you because of their own decision.


OP here - think this is a good idea. Anybody else have an opinion?




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