First Year Offer

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Anonymous User
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First Year Offer

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Dec 10, 2013 8:30 pm

Graduated from a TTTT in Texas (yes I know, should have retaken the LSAT) in the top 1/3, had some journal experience and published a few articles (not law review), and I worked my entire 2L and 3L year (commercial litigation and business transactions clerk). I passed the Texas Bar and was licensed on Nov. 1 of this year. I did a mass mailing and applied for any job I was semi-qualified for on Symplicity, Indeed, Craigslist, etc.

I've had about 5 interviews, ranging from solos looking to expand to a couple of 25+ attorney firms. I have since received an offer from a 3 attorney real estate firm (mostly litigation) in Houston. The salary is $55,000 with the expectation to bill 2,000 hours, 2 weeks paid vacation, and all of my CLEs and occupation taxes paid.

Does anyone think it would be unwise to turn down this offer? First, I'm not sure if I want to do litigation. I have enjoyed doing business transactions (contracts, etc.). I also think this salary is a little low. I was expecting somewhere around $65,000-$75,000. Am I delusional? My fear is that I turn this down and will be stuck out of work for another 2-3 months, and maybe a better offer never comes.

I've been thinking this over since Friday, and I have until tomorrow to respond. Any suggestions or advice would be appreciated.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Wed Dec 11, 2013 12:11 am, edited 2 times in total.

DwightSchruteFarms
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Re: First Year Offer - I Don't Like It

Postby DwightSchruteFarms » Tue Dec 10, 2013 8:37 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Graduated from a TTTT in Texas (yes I know, should have retaken the LSAT) in the top 1/3, had some journal experience and published a few articles (not law review), and I worked my entire 2L and 3L year (commercial litigation and business transactions clerk). I passed the Texas Bar and was licensed on Nov. 1 of this year. I did a mass mailing and applied for any job I was semi-qualified for on Symplicity, Indeed, Craigslist, etc.

I've had about 5 interviews, ranging from solos looking to expand to a couple of 25+ attorney firms. I have since received an offer from a 3 attorney real estate firm (mostly litigation) in Houston. The salary is $55,000 with the expectation to bill 2,000 hours, 2 weeks paid vacation, and all of my CLEs and occupation taxes paid.

Does anyone think it would be unwise to turn down this offer? First, I don't want to do litigation. I applied for the job only because I need to make some money. I would really like to do business transactions (contracts, etc.). I also think this salary is a little low. I was expecting somewhere around $65,000-$75,000. Am I delusional? My fear is that I turn this down and will be stuck out of work for another 2-3 months, and maybe a better offer never comes.

I've been thinking this over since Friday, and I have until tomorrow to respond. Any suggestions or advice would be appreciated.



Damn 55k for 2,000 hours? That's brutal. As a point of reference, I'm required to bill 1950 for a total of $120,000. Most biglaw firms here in CA requires 1900-2000 and pay close to 160k for that. But, you may not get another offer with those credentials so if I were you, I would take it unless you really know you dont like litigation.

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Lwoods
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Re: First Year Offer - I Don't Like It

Postby Lwoods » Tue Dec 10, 2013 8:44 pm

Try to negotiate a higher salary. I typically recommend the Robert Half Legal Salary guide for smaller firms as an objective negotiation tool. Smaller firms in particular, where the attorneys are more involved in support-staff hiring, tend to be familiar with it because it includes secretary and paralegal salary info as well as attorney salary info.

Don't get locked into a contract; take it but keep searching.

Also you said "mostly litigation," which makes it sound as though there could be some transactional work. Make your interest in transactional known, and maybe you could become the go-to guy whenever that work comes in.

thegrayman
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Re: First Year Offer - I Don't Like It

Postby thegrayman » Tue Dec 10, 2013 9:11 pm

I don't think you're crazy at all. $55K for 2000 hours is a hard sell.

target
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Re: First Year Offer - I Don't Like It

Postby target » Tue Dec 10, 2013 9:14 pm

Lwoods wrote:
Don't get locked into a contract; take it but keep searching.


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ggocat
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Re: First Year Offer - I Don't Like It

Postby ggocat » Tue Dec 10, 2013 9:23 pm

$55K is fine for a 0-year attorney in Houston. Take the job. You might not find another that is better. Do good work. Look elsewhere if you must during the first year, and don't worry about leaving if you get a better offer. If you make it a year, and do good work, then negotiate a higher salary ($65K at least if you meet your billables in a competent fashion the first year, maybe more).

Good luck.
Last edited by ggocat on Tue Dec 10, 2013 9:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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patrickd139
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Re: First Year Offer - I Don't Like It

Postby patrickd139 » Tue Dec 10, 2013 9:23 pm

Take it if you don't have anything else. Because loans and shit. $55k can go a long way in Houston.

But keep looking. Definitely keep looking.

Anonymous User
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Re: First Year Offer

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Dec 11, 2013 12:15 am

OP here.

Thanks to everyone who responded. I am going to try to negotiate the salary a bit before I accept. I am aware that the market is pretty bad (especially for TTT and TTTT) right now, so I will probably accept the offer and see where a year or two of hard work gets me. I was poor for 3 years in law school, so a few more won't hurt ; )

Anonymous User
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Re: First Year Offer

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Dec 11, 2013 12:16 pm

Anonymous User wrote:OP here.

Thanks to everyone who responded. I am going to try to negotiate the salary a bit before I accept. I am aware that the market is pretty bad (especially for TTT and TTTT) right now, so I will probably accept the offer and see where a year or two of hard work gets me. I was poor for 3 years in law school, so a few more won't hurt ; )


OP would you keep us posted? I am interested in this I am expecting to be in a similar situation and I have been considering to try and negotiate at least up to 60K. I would like to hear how it goes. Thanks!

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vanwinkle
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Re: First Year Offer - I Don't Like It

Postby vanwinkle » Wed Dec 11, 2013 12:25 pm

patrickd139 wrote:Take it if you don't have anything else. Because loans and shit. $55k can go a long way in Houston.

But keep looking. Definitely keep looking.

This... and you can look while you're working.

This is an actual, salaried position. You know what's far worse on a resume than a young lawyer from a TTTT with a salaried position? A young lawyer from a TTTT who either 1) has only worked on-contract or 2) has not worked in law at all. Take the job, get some experience that will make you more marketable anyway, keep looking for something better, and at least have a job for now. The first step to climbing out of a hole is to stop digging.

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JuTMSY4
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Re: First Year Offer - I Don't Like It

Postby JuTMSY4 » Wed Dec 11, 2013 12:27 pm

ggocat wrote:$55K is fine for a 0-year attorney in Houston. Take the job. You might not find another. Do good work. Look elsewhere if you must during the first year, and don't worry about leaving if you get a better offer. If you make it a year, and do good work, then negotiate a higher salary ($65K at least if you meet your billables in a competent fashion the first year, maybe more).

Good luck.


ftfy

Anonymous User
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Re: First Year Offer

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Dec 11, 2013 3:22 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:OP here.

Thanks to everyone who responded. I am going to try to negotiate the salary a bit before I accept. I am aware that the market is pretty bad (especially for TTT and TTTT) right now, so I will probably accept the offer and see where a year or two of hard work gets me. I was poor for 3 years in law school, so a few more won't hurt ; )


OP would you keep us posted? I am interested in this I am expecting to be in a similar situation and I have been considering to try and negotiate at least up to 60K. I would like to hear how it goes. Thanks!


OP back with an update.

Just as some background, on every single interview I went to, I was asked what I was "looking for" in a salary. This is a hard question to answer. You don't want to ask too high and lose your chance of receiving an offer, but you obviously don't want to leave anything on the table. I picked a number before I started and used it for every interview I went on...$75,000. I was aware that the employer would probably try to negotiate this down a bit so in reality I was hoping for $65,000 - $70,000.

In this particular circumstance, I followed up the interview with a pretty standard thank you e-mail. I received a response a few days later that said something along the lines of "I enjoyed speaking with you as well, and I would like to bring you back for a second interview. However, I will be honest and let you know that I cannot offer the $75,000 you are looking for." I responded back and said I was open to negotiating the salary and we met again. He was pretty blunt and asked me my bottom line. I said $65,000. He thought for a second and responded with something like "I was really looking to pay about $50,000, but I will offer you $55,000." I was very polite and asked for a few days to think about it and speak with my wife. I finally muscled up enough nerve to call him and tell him I would accept the position for $60,000. It went something like this - "I really like your firm. I have had some time to do some household budgeting, and I would really feel more comfortable with my ability to be able to pay my law school loans, rent, bills, etc. if you were able to bump the salary to $60,000. It would really give me a peace of mind." He thought for about 10 seconds and said he would give me the $60,000 and was excited to have me on board.

Long story short, I got about $5,000 less than what I was realistically expecting, but also $10,000 more than his original bargaining point. Honestly, I am happy to have a job in this market with my "lower end" education. As many have said above, it's not great, but it's a salaried job in a tough market. There is always room for growth.

Good luck to anyone else in my situation. My main advice would be to stay motivated and not get discouraged. I looked literally every day after I took the Bar in late July and found this four and half months later. I did notice that I received absolutely zero interest until I received my Bar results in early November and added "Licensed attorney in good standing with the State Bar of Texas" to my resume...go figure. So it took me about a month and a half after being licensed.

And for anyone who is still in school and might be worried about their job prospects when they graduate, do something that will set you APART from others on your resume. I have friends with with similar grades as me and can't even get an interview. I honestly think it's because I did a few extracurriculars while I was in school - wrote on journal, participated in trial advocacy programs (similar to mock trial), got a "transactional certificate" the school offered (this wasn't even hard...just took a few classes that I would have taken anyway for Bar prep...and I got credit for the classes), and WORKED while I was in school. Most firms will let you work whatever schedule you want and give you time off for finals. I worked on average about 10-15 hours a week, but my resume still shows I was employed my entire 2L-3L year.

Good luck again to everyone and cheers.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Wed Dec 11, 2013 3:42 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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vanwinkle
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Re: First Year Offer

Postby vanwinkle » Wed Dec 11, 2013 3:39 pm

Congrats, OP, and well done.

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patrickd139
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Re: First Year Offer

Postby patrickd139 » Wed Dec 11, 2013 8:14 pm

vanwinkle wrote:Congrats, OP, and well done.

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mehiguess
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Re: First Year Offer

Postby mehiguess » Wed Dec 11, 2013 8:35 pm

I'm awaiting my lsat score but wherever I end up this gives me hope. Congrats OP.

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PepperJack
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Re: First Year Offer

Postby PepperJack » Wed Dec 11, 2013 8:47 pm

Definitely the smart move. In the event you had nothing else for 6 months, you might have been done. Now you have a job, and can keep looking while you get experience.

Anonymous User
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Re: First Year Offer

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Dec 11, 2013 10:00 pm

Thanks everyone.

-OP

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wbrother
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Re: First Year Offer

Postby wbrother » Wed Dec 11, 2013 10:10 pm

Congrats OP! I'm happy for you!

mehiguess wrote:I'm awaiting my lsat score but wherever I end up this gives me hope. Congrats OP.

I don't think this is the message you should be taking away from this thread.

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samcro_op
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Re: First Year Offer

Postby samcro_op » Thu Dec 12, 2013 4:06 pm

wbrother wrote:Congrats OP! I'm happy for you!

mehiguess wrote:I'm awaiting my lsat score but wherever I end up this gives me hope. Congrats OP.

I don't think this is the message you should be taking away from this thread.

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hephaestus
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Re: First Year Offer

Postby hephaestus » Thu Dec 12, 2013 4:16 pm

patrickd139 wrote:
vanwinkle wrote:Congrats, OP, and well done.

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chrisbru
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Re: First Year Offer

Postby chrisbru » Fri Dec 13, 2013 12:23 pm

Thanks for sharing, OP. I'm in a similar situation and looking to negotiate my salary offer, and this success story is a nice confidence booster going into the conversation.




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