"Old" taking questions

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Re: "Old" taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jan 25, 2014 7:58 pm

How tough would you say it is to lateral from a "biglaw" firm in a regional market to a biglaw firm in a bigger city? I'm doing my 2L summer in a mid-atlantic firm with over 100 attorneys but would like to eventually move to NY/DC/DE/Philly. Is it possible to go from an Amlaw 350 to a Vault 100?

Thanks!

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Re: "Old" taking questions

Postby patogordo » Sat Jan 25, 2014 8:02 pm

What was your practice area in biglaw?

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Re: "Old" taking questions

Postby nouseforaname123 » Sat Jan 25, 2014 9:44 pm

TooOld4This wrote:I'm guessing part of the previous poster's question is whether I've gotten shown the door anywhere. The answer is no. All of my moves have been voluntary. :D

As I mentioned previously, I'm married to someone who shares a similar level of ambition to me. That requires both of us to be flexible. Also, I am not a patient person. I was able to accumulate a lot more substantive experience a lot faster by moving around than if I had stayed put.

Longevity has never been something I've sought out. If it happens, that's fine. But I'm not afraid to take jobs where I think the shelf life might only be 3 years.

This is definitely a risky way to build a career. It's part of why I said I don't recommend someone plan on taking this path. But it has worked for me and I'm happy with what I do, the experiences I have had and my future prospects.


Didn't mean to imply you had been shown the door. I was really more curious about jumping around to so many different types of employers. Working for big fed is different from in house is different from big law etc... ETA: In my experience, as professionals age and mature they become more specialized. Do you feel like you are constantly having to learn new cultures and workplace dynamics?

Can you describe the greater substantive experience you gained by hopping around (if it won't out you)? Again, not meant as an attack. I just happen to take the exact opposite approach. I want to master an area or business, and I think I can only do that with time. I would rather be 100% proficient at a handful of skills than 90% proficient at a dozen. Does that make sense?

None of this is meant to attack you or suggest that my way is better. This is all based on personal preference.

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Re: "Old" taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jan 25, 2014 10:27 pm

Is it really difficult to date as a junior associate? Would it be a more valuable investment of my time to focus on my work and demonstrate my potential than to worry about finding someone?

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Re: "Old" taking questions

Postby TooOld4This » Sat Jan 25, 2014 11:45 pm

Anonymous User wrote:How tough would you say it is to lateral from a "biglaw" firm in a regional market to a biglaw firm in a bigger city? I'm doing my 2L summer in a mid-atlantic firm with over 100 attorneys but would like to eventually move to NY/DC/DE/Philly. Is it possible to go from an Amlaw 350 to a Vault 100?

Thanks!


Highly unlikely, I'm afraid. Your best bet is to get a good clerkship and reapply at the end of it. Network as much as possible now. If this is something you really want to do, you need to be talking to people in these markets and firms now and asking them for advice. After the summer is over, start mass mailing and working any connections you have.

Unfortunately, most slots get filled with 2L OCI. There is a bit of musical chairs 3L, but mostly swapping like firms for like firms. Concentrate on getting an offer where you are.

On the upside, you may look back in 3 years and be very grateful that you didn't go the BigLaw route.
Last edited by TooOld4This on Sun Jan 26, 2014 12:17 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: "Old" taking questions

Postby TooOld4This » Sat Jan 25, 2014 11:46 pm

patogordo wrote:What was your practice area in biglaw?


I've seen more practice areas than most people, but since I have such a quirky resume, I won't say which.

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Re: "Old" taking questions

Postby patogordo » Sat Jan 25, 2014 11:48 pm

TooOld4This wrote:
patogordo wrote:What was your practice area in biglaw?


I've seen more practice areas than most people, but since I have such a quirky resume, I won't say which.

Fair enough.

Since biglaw is a limited-time deal for most of us, how do you maximize your time at a firm to set you up for the future? What did you get out of biglaw that propelled you through your other career stops?

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Re: "Old" taking questions

Postby TooOld4This » Sat Jan 25, 2014 11:49 pm

nouseforaname123 wrote:
Didn't mean to imply you had been shown the door. I was really more curious about jumping around to so many different types of employers. Working for big fed is different from in house is different from big law etc... ETA: In my experience, as professionals age and mature they become more specialized. Do you feel like you are constantly having to learn new cultures and workplace dynamics?

Can you describe the greater substantive experience you gained by hopping around (if it won't out you)? Again, not meant as an attack. I just happen to take the exact opposite approach. I want to master an area or business, and I think I can only do that with time. I would rather be 100% proficient at a handful of skills than 90% proficient at a dozen. Does that make sense?

None of this is meant to attack you or suggest that my way is better. This is all based on personal preference.


Yup. Different strokes. Some people like having knowledge an inch wide and a mile deep, some prefer the opposite.

I will say in house, however, it is much harder to advance if you don't hop around. Legal departments get very small at the top and waiting around for someone to retire/move on can be a very slow process.

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Re: "Old" taking questions

Postby TooOld4This » Sat Jan 25, 2014 11:58 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Is it really difficult to date as a junior associate? Would it be a more valuable investment of my time to focus on my work and demonstrate my potential than to worry about finding someone?


I wouldn't know. I was married as junior associate.

That said, I wouldn't "plan" anything. Try to keep as much of a life outside the firm as possible. Being known as the highest biller is not a particular compliment. There are ways to succeed at a firm without constantly living there.

At some point you will probably have to figure out what is more important to you in life -- relationships (not just romantic ones) or work. Either choice doesn't necessarily spell disaster for the other, but it will shape what types of opportunities you are really looking for, both personally and professionally.

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Re: "Old" taking questions

Postby TooOld4This » Sun Jan 26, 2014 12:11 am

patogordo wrote:
TooOld4This wrote:
patogordo wrote:What was your practice area in biglaw?


I've seen more practice areas than most people, but since I have such a quirky resume, I won't say which.

Fair enough.

Since biglaw is a limited-time deal for most of us, how do you maximize your time at a firm to set you up for the future? What did you get out of biglaw that propelled you through your other career stops?


I collected experiences. I worked hard not to be the [whatever] person. I wanted to be the person partners would go to if they had something interesting that didn't quite fit the mold. (I did this within whichever practice group I was in at the time, and if I was looking to move groups, I offered to take on whatever projects the target group was willing to give me -- including non-billable work). I talked to people as much as could -- including partners. I found out what they did and tried to figure out what made them tick. I sought out mentors. I analyzed what made good managers and bad managers. I tried to apply these things to projects I was leading.

Now all of this made sense for my goals. If you know that you want to be a specialist in [whatever], you really want to figure out what skills are prized in your ideal next job (or even the job after that). Seek out work that gives you the opportunity to develop those skills or exposure to that industry. Don't go through firm life focused on trying to make your billables. Be mentally writing your resume as you go along.

Unfortunately, it is far to easy to let BigLaw sweep you up and carry you away. If you aren't careful, you can be 4 or 5 years in and realize you are no closer to what you really want to be doing than the day you started. Sometimes this can't be helped and you just need to be glad you've got a job. But don't let opportunities pass you by because you forgot to look for them.

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Re: "Old" taking questions

Postby beepboopbeep » Sun Jan 26, 2014 1:12 am

Great thread - thanks for all the thoughtful replies, OP (and questions, all)!

Your comment about advancement in in-house work necessitating some hopping around was quite surprising to me - it makes sense, but is not what I would have expected as a 1L with slight pre-LS work experience. Is the system/food chain much the same in BigGov? Or do people mostly stick with one office for a longer period, if they're looking to stay in the public sector?

Also, if I can ask - what are some negatives of in-house/big gov that might have influenced your decision to switch sectors? We current students hear about the torturous life of the junior associate ad nauseum, but it's much rarer to hear about anyone unhappy with in-house/gov work.

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Re: "Old" taking questions

Postby bdubs » Sun Jan 26, 2014 7:08 pm

How did employers assess your experience as you moved between positions?
Did the firm name(s) on your resume carry most of the weight?
What kinds of questions/comments did you get about your school and grades?
Was there a more substantive interview process where you spoke more about your qualifications?
Did they ask for samples of work product? (I guess only applies if you worked in litigation or other publicly available type of practice).

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Re: "Old" taking questions

Postby TooOld4This » Sat Feb 08, 2014 10:21 am

beepboopbeep wrote:Great thread - thanks for all the thoughtful replies, OP (and questions, all)!

Your comment about advancement in in-house work necessitating some hopping around was quite surprising to me - it makes sense, but is not what I would have expected as a 1L with slight pre-LS work experience. Is the system/food chain much the same in BigGov? Or do people mostly stick with one office for a longer period, if they're looking to stay in the public sector?

Also, if I can ask - what are some negatives of in-house/big gov that might have influenced your decision to switch sectors? We current students hear about the torturous life of the junior associate ad nauseum, but it's much rarer to hear about anyone unhappy with in-house/gov work.


Government differs by agency. In my experience there isn't a ton of hopping between agencies, but for people that have long term careers, there is some movement within the agency. Again, the federal government is, well, big, so I can't speak for all agencies, but my experience was that the structure for attorneys was rather flat. One could be a staff attorney for decades and still have very interesting work.

Negatives for government: resources would be my number one. Everything from support staff, to office space, to technology pales in comparison to firms. (In house varies, so you can't make broad comparisons.). Second is that there is such a thing as government time. The lack of resources can slow things down. Also, when you get to certain decision making points there can be processes that grind things to a halt.

Negatives for in house: lately, staffing is a big one. Legal departments are cost centers, not profit centers. There has been a squeeze in two ways in this economy -- first downsizing, so less people. But on the flip side there is more work, since companies are fighting fights they might have let slide in the past. Compensation can be tied to company performance. It has been the norm that my actual salary is not where I want it to be, but I have layers of bonus opportunities or stock. The value of stock is obviously tied to company performance. Bonuses can be as well. It can be frustrating to have a personally killer year, but the company performance wasn't up to expectations. Finally, having one client all the time can be challenging.

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Re: "Old" taking questions

Postby TooOld4This » Sat Feb 08, 2014 10:37 am

bdubs wrote:How did employers assess your experience as you moved between positions?
Did the firm name(s) on your resume carry most of the weight?
What kinds of questions/comments did you get about your school and grades?
Was there a more substantive interview process where you spoke more about your qualifications?
Did they ask for samples of work product? (I guess only applies if you worked in litigation or other publicly available type of practice).


I've had to explain my moves. It has been a hurdle, but I have a pretty good story and now have a breadth of experience such that employers are willing to take the risk that I might not be a long term (5+ years) hire. (Hopefully I didn't just jinx myself :D )

My early jobs were all "brand name," which helped. The ridiculous lengths people go in ranking firms/govt/companies on TLS is way off the mark, though. Having meaningful experience is equally, if not more important than the name of your employer. (Not to mention, the rankings vary widely by practice area.)

I don't recall ever having a question about grades after graduation (other than needing to provide them once or twice). I don't get asked about my school, but I know that it has gotten me past the initial resume sort. It has been necessary, but never sufficient. Now it is just part of the overall package I present. I don't think it is necessary anymore, but it doesn't stand out.

I'm confused by the next question. There has never not been a substantive interview process. The stuff on the resume is just the stuff you need to get the interview. Once you have that, you need to sell your experience and qualifications.

I needed a writing sample for an early job or two. Some career paths probably require one for longer.

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Re: "Old" taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jun 09, 2014 9:10 pm

TooOld4This wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:

Additionally, I'd be interested in your thoughts on what makes a good in-house job. You said to be picky, but it's hard to know what constitutes a good job, having no exposure to in-house before.


Just realized I never answered this. Not an easy question, because there are so many different types of opportunities. Start talking to in house people to get a sense of the types of jobs that are out there and what the p,uses and minuses are. Then come up with what your priorities are. Substantively, do you want to be more of a specialist or generalist? How important is it to have upward mobility? How much upward mobility (if you want to be GC of a publicly traded company, you need a different path than if you would be happy being a senior counsel)? Are regular hours important? Is flexibility in your hours/teleworking important? (In house positions are generally less flexible than firms -- they don't own your soul the same way, so they do expect you to be at your desk during normal business hours. They also tend to be much stricter about vacation time policies.)

When you go in house you really need to figure out what makes a "good job" for you.


Thank you again for answering and for this thread. This was very helpful. Put another way, what do you think is a bad in-house job?

At a firm, I feel like M&A is one of the best department for versatility, sophisticated work and career options if you want to go in-house. Is there an equivalent for in-house? It seems that some corporate in-house positions are solely focused on commercial agreements, others involve commercial agreements and M&A, while others are a broad range that involve reviewing corporate policies, preparing Board minutes, etc. Firms don't typically handle much drafting of commercial agreements so it is difficult for me to appreciate whether this would be interesting or whether it would be cranking out the same stuff day after day. If the latter, I imagine it wouldn't development one as an attorney and might limit upward mobility and career options. Thoughts?

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Re: "Old" taking questions

Postby smallfirmassociate » Tue Jun 10, 2014 3:58 pm

Which of the jobs that you have held--or that you've come across and witnessed--would you say are the most fit for part-time / semi-retirement practice, if any? I mean 15-20 hours per week or fewer?

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Re: "Old" taking questions

Postby TooOld4This » Tue Jun 10, 2014 9:43 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
TooOld4This wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:

Additionally, I'd be interested in your thoughts on what makes a good in-house job. You said to be picky, but it's hard to know what constitutes a good job, having no exposure to in-house before.


Just realized I never answered this. Not an easy question, because there are so many different types of opportunities. Start talking to in house people to get a sense of the types of jobs that are out there and what the p,uses and minuses are. Then come up with what your priorities are. Substantively, do you want to be more of a specialist or generalist? How important is it to have upward mobility? How much upward mobility (if you want to be GC of a publicly traded company, you need a different path than if you would be happy being a senior counsel)? Are regular hours important? Is flexibility in your hours/teleworking important? (In house positions are generally less flexible than firms -- they don't own your soul the same way, so they do expect you to be at your desk during normal business hours. They also tend to be much stricter about vacation time policies.)

When you go in house you really need to figure out what makes a "good job" for you.


Thank you again for answering and for this thread. This was very helpful. Put another way, what do you think is a bad in-house job?

At a firm, I feel like M&A is one of the best department for versatility, sophisticated work and career options if you want to go in-house. Is there an equivalent for in-house? It seems that some corporate in-house positions are solely focused on commercial agreements, others involve commercial agreements and M&A, while others are a broad range that involve reviewing corporate policies, preparing Board minutes, etc. Firms don't typically handle much drafting of commercial agreements so it is difficult for me to appreciate whether this would be interesting or whether it would be cranking out the same stuff day after day. If the latter, I imagine it wouldn't development one as an attorney and might limit upward mobility and career options. Thoughts?


The best in house jobs are the ones where you have a good degree of control of what work is kept in house and what is sent out. Lots of in house jobs are dead end or have a definite ceiling. The jobs with the best future and upward mobility tend to be the ones that give you insight into the business itself. Cranking out commercial contracts can be rubber stamping and tweaking everything from the office supply contracts, to negotiating mission critical contracts to develop new lines of business. Someone hired to dot Is and cross Ts on every piece of paper crossing the company is unlikely to be brought into the room on the good stuff. You want your in house job description to include functions that aren't easily outsourced to firms -- not ones that aren't worth outsourcing to firms.

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Re: "Old" taking questions

Postby TooOld4This » Tue Jun 10, 2014 9:46 pm

smallfirmassociate wrote:Which of the jobs that you have held--or that you've come across and witnessed--would you say are the most fit for part-time / semi-retirement practice, if any? I mean 15-20 hours per week or fewer?


None. Law is a service industry.

You might be able to carve out something that averages 15-20 over a year, but it will come in as feast or famine.

Unless you want to do doc review or some rather monotonous legal task where you are really just a cog and can be substituted in and out on a whim.

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Re: "Old" taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jun 10, 2014 9:52 pm

TooOld4This wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
TooOld4This wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:

Additionally, I'd be interested in your thoughts on what makes a good in-house job. You said to be picky, but it's hard to know what constitutes a good job, having no exposure to in-house before.


Just realized I never answered this. Not an easy question, because there are so many different types of opportunities. Start talking to in house people to get a sense of the types of jobs that are out there and what the p,uses and minuses are. Then come up with what your priorities are. Substantively, do you want to be more of a specialist or generalist? How important is it to have upward mobility? How much upward mobility (if you want to be GC of a publicly traded company, you need a different path than if you would be happy being a senior counsel)? Are regular hours important? Is flexibility in your hours/teleworking important? (In house positions are generally less flexible than firms -- they don't own your soul the same way, so they do expect you to be at your desk during normal business hours. They also tend to be much stricter about vacation time policies.)

When you go in house you really need to figure out what makes a "good job" for you.


Thank you again for answering and for this thread. This was very helpful. Put another way, what do you think is a bad in-house job?

At a firm, I feel like M&A is one of the best department for versatility, sophisticated work and career options if you want to go in-house. Is there an equivalent for in-house? It seems that some corporate in-house positions are solely focused on commercial agreements, others involve commercial agreements and M&A, while others are a broad range that involve reviewing corporate policies, preparing Board minutes, etc. Firms don't typically handle much drafting of commercial agreements so it is difficult for me to appreciate whether this would be interesting or whether it would be cranking out the same stuff day after day. If the latter, I imagine it wouldn't development one as an attorney and might limit upward mobility and career options. Thoughts?


The best in house jobs are the ones where you have a good degree of control of what work is kept in house and what is sent out. Lots of in house jobs are dead end or have a definite ceiling. The jobs with the best future and upward mobility tend to be the ones that give you insight into the business itself. Cranking out commercial contracts can be rubber stamping and tweaking everything from the office supply contracts, to negotiating mission critical contracts to develop new lines of business. Someone hired to dot Is and cross Ts on every piece of paper crossing the company is unlikely to be brought into the room on the good stuff. You want your in house job description to include functions that aren't easily outsourced to firms -- not ones that aren't worth outsourcing to firms.

Thanks again for the insight and taking the time to share your experience with us. How can one assess this based upon job postings for someone with a corporate background? Is this even possible to analyze based upon a job posting? What questions might I ask during an interview to try to tease this out? I want to understand how I can separate the "good" positions from the "bad" ones. I have solid experience from my firm but I am concerned that I won't know that I accepted a "bad" in-house gig until I am working there and that this one "bad" in-house gig could derail my career.

At a law firm, I think it's a little easier to tease out...you can ask about staffing deals and look at partner/associate ratios

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Re: "Old" taking questions

Postby TooOld4This » Tue Jun 10, 2014 10:12 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
TooOld4This wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Thank you again for answering and for this thread. This was very helpful. Put another way, what do you think is a bad in-house job?

At a firm, I feel like M&A is one of the best department for versatility, sophisticated work and career options if you want to go in-house. Is there an equivalent for in-house? It seems that some corporate in-house positions are solely focused on commercial agreements, others involve commercial agreements and M&A, while others are a broad range that involve reviewing corporate policies, preparing Board minutes, etc. Firms don't typically handle much drafting of commercial agreements so it is difficult for me to appreciate whether this would be interesting or whether it would be cranking out the same stuff day after day. If the latter, I imagine it wouldn't development one as an attorney and might limit upward mobility and career options. Thoughts?


The best in house jobs are the ones where you have a good degree of control of what work is kept in house and what is sent out. Lots of in house jobs are dead end or have a definite ceiling. The jobs with the best future and upward mobility tend to be the ones that give you insight into the business itself. Cranking out commercial contracts can be rubber stamping and tweaking everything from the office supply contracts, to negotiating mission critical contracts to develop new lines of business. Someone hired to dot Is and cross Ts on every piece of paper crossing the company is unlikely to be brought into the room on the good stuff. You want your in house job description to include functions that aren't easily outsourced to firms -- not ones that aren't worth outsourcing to firms.

Thanks again for the insight and taking the time to share your experience with us. How can one assess this based upon job postings for someone with a corporate background? Is this even possible to analyze based upon a job posting? What questions might I ask during an interview to try to tease this out? I want to understand how I can separate the "good" positions from the "bad" ones. I have solid experience from my firm but I am concerned that I won't know that I accepted a "bad" in-house gig until I am working there and that this one "bad" in-house gig could derail my career.

At a law firm, I think it's a little easier to tease out...you can ask about staffing deals and look at partner/associate ratios


Start talking to people. Your firm probably has an alumni network. Tap into that as well as law and UG networks. Firm life is very civilized. In house is an entirely different beast and you need to really need to tap into your network to play the game right. It's not just the job you need to be selective about, it is the company. Law firms are largely fungible. Their differences lie in narrow areas because the business model doesn't vary a whole lot. Companies are a whole other animal and what they do and how they are structured can have an enormous impact on your work, your job satisfaction, your compensation, and your stability.

Job descriptions are largely a joke. In one company associate general counsel will be near entry level, in another it will be a high ranking position (associate and assistant have different meanings, but which is higher is not always the same company to company). You will want to get an idea of the size if the legal team and the reporting structure -- both within legal and how legal reports in to the rest of the company.

You will want to know about the business itself. If you aren't already, read the business daily/weekly for your market.

Good jobs are sometimes never advertised (or aren't advertised until later in the process, or get flooded with resumes), so you want to tap into your network.

Start listening to where might be interesting places to work. Unless you are in a dead end position, you can't hide from the GC or the head of the legal division you are in. Whether that person is great or a nightmare will have a huge impact on your QOL and opportunities.

Really, there is not shortcut to pounding the pavement and talking to people. You can jump and hope to get lucky, but the more info you have, the better.

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Re: "Old" taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jun 10, 2014 10:43 pm

TooOld4This wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
TooOld4This wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Thank you again for answering and for this thread. This was very helpful. Put another way, what do you think is a bad in-house job?

At a firm, I feel like M&A is one of the best department for versatility, sophisticated work and career options if you want to go in-house. Is there an equivalent for in-house? It seems that some corporate in-house positions are solely focused on commercial agreements, others involve commercial agreements and M&A, while others are a broad range that involve reviewing corporate policies, preparing Board minutes, etc. Firms don't typically handle much drafting of commercial agreements so it is difficult for me to appreciate whether this would be interesting or whether it would be cranking out the same stuff day after day. If the latter, I imagine it wouldn't development one as an attorney and might limit upward mobility and career options. Thoughts?


The best in house jobs are the ones where you have a good degree of control of what work is kept in house and what is sent out. Lots of in house jobs are dead end or have a definite ceiling. The jobs with the best future and upward mobility tend to be the ones that give you insight into the business itself. Cranking out commercial contracts can be rubber stamping and tweaking everything from the office supply contracts, to negotiating mission critical contracts to develop new lines of business. Someone hired to dot Is and cross Ts on every piece of paper crossing the company is unlikely to be brought into the room on the good stuff. You want your in house job description to include functions that aren't easily outsourced to firms -- not ones that aren't worth outsourcing to firms.

Thanks again for the insight and taking the time to share your experience with us. How can one assess this based upon job postings for someone with a corporate background? Is this even possible to analyze based upon a job posting? What questions might I ask during an interview to try to tease this out? I want to understand how I can separate the "good" positions from the "bad" ones. I have solid experience from my firm but I am concerned that I won't know that I accepted a "bad" in-house gig until I am working there and that this one "bad" in-house gig could derail my career.

At a law firm, I think it's a little easier to tease out...you can ask about staffing deals and look at partner/associate ratios


Start talking to people. Your firm probably has an alumni network. Tap into that as well as law and UG networks. Firm life is very civilized. In house is an entirely different beast and you need to really need to tap into your network to play the game right. It's not just the job you need to be selective about, it is the company. Law firms are largely fungible. Their differences lie in narrow areas because the business model doesn't vary a whole lot. Companies are a whole other animal and what they do and how they are structured can have an enormous impact on your work, your job satisfaction, your compensation, and your stability.

Job descriptions are largely a joke. In one company associate general counsel will be near entry level, in another it will be a high ranking position (associate and assistant have different meanings, but which is higher is not always the same company to company). You will want to get an idea of the size if the legal team and the reporting structure -- both within legal and how legal reports in to the rest of the company.

You will want to know about the business itself. If you aren't already, read the business daily/weekly for your market.

Good jobs are sometimes never advertised (or aren't advertised until later in the process, or get flooded with resumes), so you want to tap into your network.

Start listening to where might be interesting places to work. Unless you are in a dead end position, you can't hide from the GC or the head of the legal division you are in. Whether that person is great or a nightmare will have a huge impact on your QOL and opportunities.

Really, there is not shortcut to pounding the pavement and talking to people. You can jump and hope to get lucky, but the more info you have, the better.

Makes sense. I have started to do this, but it seems to be making more sense to not jump into a random company. One of my former colleagues floated the idea of going to a partner that I work with a lot in my department, let him know that firm life isn't for me long term and ask for his advice/help in finding an in-house gig. This seems like a good way to find oneself very short on work and possibly let go...but maybe I am paranoid. I do like the guy and think I could trust him for the most part, but it just seems like a dicey proposal. What are your thoughts on this approach (in addition to reaching out to others)? Of course, there's also the risk that he might talk up a position to solidify a client relationship rather than look out for me. As I said, I like the guy, so I don't think he'd screw me, but I imagine these biases could easily creep in.

Anonymous User
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Re: "Old" taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jun 10, 2014 11:30 pm

As a former UG English major wanting to work in big law, how important is math ability and what would you recommend doing to build business skills?

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Dafaq
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Re: "Old" taking questions

Postby Dafaq » Wed Jun 11, 2014 12:41 am

I am starting at a boutique (under 60 attorneys) in a large secondary top 10 market. The firm has a couple fortune clients and is well respected (for over 20-some years). Pay is close to the BL level. There are associates who have been at the firm for over 8 years while others have moved into partnership in around 5 years. The market is in my home state, so at the moment a long term relationship looks like a good plan A.

Not sure why some associates make it to partnership in a few years and others not. I am assuming the partnership road is about securing well-to-do clients and about doing good work. Any suggestions you may have on my situation and my thinking is appreciated.

smallfirmassociate
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Re: "Old" taking questions

Postby smallfirmassociate » Wed Jun 11, 2014 1:06 am

TooOld4This wrote:
smallfirmassociate wrote:Which of the jobs that you have held--or that you've come across and witnessed--would you say are the most fit for part-time / semi-retirement practice, if any? I mean 15-20 hours per week or fewer?


None. Law is a service industry.

You might be able to carve out something that averages 15-20 over a year, but it will come in as feast or famine.

Unless you want to do doc review or some rather monotonous legal task where you are really just a cog and can be substituted in and out on a whim.


Well, in my neck of the woods, we have "of counsel" designations. It's a way for old attorneys to keep their book of business, come in to the office and pretend to be a lawyer, do some probate and shit, and earn $40k to $70k per year. The firm is held hostage in that it doesn't want the old attorney to break off on his own for his final years and take all of his clients, but it benefits in that it somewhat naturally transfers the attorney's clients to younger attorneys through a goodwill process. If I ever left this type of practice, I'd like to keep that kind of option available for later in life.

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Re: "Old" taking questions

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 06, 2014 3:36 pm

TooOld4This wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:How tough would you say it is to lateral from a "biglaw" firm in a regional market to a biglaw firm in a bigger city? I'm doing my 2L summer in a mid-atlantic firm with over 100 attorneys but would like to eventually move to NY/DC/DE/Philly. Is it possible to go from an Amlaw 350 to a Vault 100?

Thanks!


Highly unlikely, I'm afraid. Your best bet is to get a good clerkship and reapply at the end of it. Network as much as possible now. If this is something you really want to do, you need to be talking to people in these markets and firms now and asking them for advice. After the summer is over, start mass mailing and working any connections you have.

Unfortunately, most slots get filled with 2L OCI. There is a bit of musical chairs 3L, but mostly swapping like firms for like firms. Concentrate on getting an offer where you are.

On the upside, you may look back in 3 years and be very grateful that you didn't go the BigLaw route.


I respectfully disagree.

Believe it or not, your grades and LS name still matter especially if you lateral in your first 2-3 years. I've had multiple friends with good grades and pedigree lateral from NLJ250 firms (or firms right outside the nlj250) to V100 firms. Right now M&A and other transactional fields are really hot. I'm from a NLJ250 firm 2nd year corp associate with top 25% grades from a T25 school and I've only applied to 3 firms and have 2 offers, one from a firm just outside the V100 and a firm that is a ~V50. This is true of many of my law school friends as well.

I'd say if you are in a T25 school with latin honors, you stand a great chance of moving to a major market.




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