BigLaw: transfer to different office (esp. SV --> SF)

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BigLaw: transfer to different office (esp. SV --> SF)

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Feb 05, 2014 3:12 am

I'm an associate at the SV office of a firm with both SF and SV offices, and I'm a lifelong resident of San Francisco who is not looking to move to SV. My practice group is well-represented at my firm in both SV and SF. The commute is 90-120 minutes a day roundtrip, which obviously is a brutal addition to BigLaw hours/lifestyle. Setting aside my own feelings about the wasted time, it's difficult to see any way *the firm* benefits from me spending this amount of time commuting, when that time could be used as billable instead. Even if only a small fraction of the time were used as billable, the extra revenue/year for the firm would be in the five figures. And I'd frankly be willing to commit to 2 solidly billable hours/day extra (easily a six-figure increase in revenue/year at my seniority level, even after accounting for writeoffs, etc.) in exchange for a transfer that would let me stop wasting time on commuting. This is a conversation I'll need to have with TPTB at some point, but in the meantime, I wanted to ask whether anyone here has personal experience with intra-firm transfers - ideally there'd be some BigLaw attorneys here familiar with Bay Area dynamics on this topic, but I also welcome thoughts from:

- BigLaw attorneys elsewhere who are familiar with intra-region transfers (maybe NoVa/DC? Or Tri-State Area/Manhattan? LA suburbs-OC/LA proper?); and
- law students who have personally encountered a transfer related issue, whether approved/denied, or whether the request was made at the law student or associate level

If anyone has this experience - or knows others who have had within-region transfers - I'm particularly interested in what factors OTHER than the desired city of residence played into the transfer conversation(s). Significant other in the city to which you're seeking transfer? Other professional or quasi-professional opportunities that were greater in the city of transfer (e.g., related to networking, bar associations, work-related "volunteer" commitments, board service, etc.)? A straightforward discussion of the ability to bill more with shorter/no commute? Etc. Interested in any anecdotes I can get, whether the transfer was ultimately allowed or not.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273386
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: BigLaw: transfer to different office (esp. SV --> SF)

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Feb 06, 2014 11:53 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I'm an associate at the SV office of a firm with both SF and SV offices, and I'm a lifelong resident of San Francisco who is not looking to move to SV. My practice group is well-represented at my firm in both SV and SF. The commute is 90-120 minutes a day roundtrip, which obviously is a brutal addition to BigLaw hours/lifestyle. Setting aside my own feelings about the wasted time, it's difficult to see any way *the firm* benefits from me spending this amount of time commuting, when that time could be used as billable instead. Even if only a small fraction of the time were used as billable, the extra revenue/year for the firm would be in the five figures. And I'd frankly be willing to commit to 2 solidly billable hours/day extra (easily a six-figure increase in revenue/year at my seniority level, even after accounting for writeoffs, etc.) in exchange for a transfer that would let me stop wasting time on commuting. This is a conversation I'll need to have with TPTB at some point, but in the meantime, I wanted to ask whether anyone here has personal experience with intra-firm transfers - ideally there'd be some BigLaw attorneys here familiar with Bay Area dynamics on this topic, but I also welcome thoughts from:

- BigLaw attorneys elsewhere who are familiar with intra-region transfers (maybe NoVa/DC? Or Tri-State Area/Manhattan? LA suburbs-OC/LA proper?); and
- law students who have personally encountered a transfer related issue, whether approved/denied, or whether the request was made at the law student or associate level

If anyone has this experience - or knows others who have had within-region transfers - I'm particularly interested in what factors OTHER than the desired city of residence played into the transfer conversation(s). Significant other in the city to which you're seeking transfer? Other professional or quasi-professional opportunities that were greater in the city of transfer (e.g., related to networking, bar associations, work-related "volunteer" commitments, board service, etc.)? A straightforward discussion of the ability to bill more with shorter/no commute? Etc. Interested in any anecdotes I can get, whether the transfer was ultimately allowed or not.


I summered with someone who requested a transfer from SV to Chicago. His request was approved but he only asked for a 1 year term over there. His SO was completing law-school and would finish a year after him. A classmate also requested to be at the same office as her SO at the end of the summer. They were both transferred to DC.

My mentor has a split schedule: M/T/Wed at SV and Th/F at SF. They requested this during lateral hiring. He/she is a senior associate. The firm has partners in both offices that deal with the same practice area and he/she works with all of them.




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