Is lateralling easier than OCI?

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Is lateralling easier than OCI?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Dec 01, 2014 8:49 pm

I'm a 3L at a T14, going to a V100 in a major market next year.

Both 2L and 3L OCI were very difficult for me. Over both years I probably applied to ~750 places (V5 --> shitlaw) and got a total of 3 callbacks --> 1 offer. I'm extremely lucky to have anything. However, I really hated the firm I was at 2L summer. I tried desperately to get out via 3L OCI but got nothing. Besides hating it, I have other reasons for wanting to change firms as soon as possible. (I'm not going to elaborate, may out me).

I have been speaking to a lot of practicing lawyers, partners and associates, all of whom have told me that it will be significantly easier for me to move once I start working, and that if I want to go to a different firm I should wait until I start working and then immediately start looking elsewhere.

Is it true that the lateral market is that much better than law school hiring? I have been told that the reason this makes sense is that the pool of law students looking for biglaw jobs is practically infinitely greater than the pool of biglaw lawyers looking to lateral, and that it is this latter pool that firms are laterally hiring from, so therefore I will be in a much smaller pond once I start working.

But I still don't understand how I can look any different credential-wise merely by starting work. I'm going to graduate with somewhere between a 3.4 and a 3.5, so very close to the bottom of my class, and I have a terrible track record with biglaw hiring, so I find it really hard to believe that all of a sudden I will be a more desirable candidate merely by stepping foot inside a law firm.

Can anybody speak to the credibility of what these lawyers have told me? How similar/different is lateral hiring 1-2 years out?

Also, any advice for lateralling/switching firms as soon as possible?

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ballcaps
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Re: Is lateralling easier than OCI?

Postby ballcaps » Mon Dec 01, 2014 8:57 pm

far from an expert here, but it stands to reason that the hiring firm would prefer someone who's already been hired over someone straight out of law school because the former has already been vetted, to some degree, by the other firm.

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Re: Is lateralling easier than OCI?

Postby JusticeJackson » Mon Dec 01, 2014 9:09 pm

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Last edited by JusticeJackson on Tue Nov 10, 2015 2:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Is lateralling easier than OCI?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Dec 01, 2014 9:12 pm

Its far easier just by virtue of less competition. I applied as a lateral to a position in my home state (a secondary market) in a practice area I was hoping to break into. This was a big name brand firm and they said they had only gotten a few inquiries for a job that had been available for 3 months. Sure, this was particulaly low competition due to the insular nature of the secondary market and the specificity of the practice group, but it was still pretty crazy to hear.

Yet on the other hand its not so crazy. People who have jobs arent necessarily clamoring for that open lateral position (whereas an entry level job is like throwing a piece of meat to a pack of rabid dogs). Also, it will be limited based on specific practice areas and interests. In some markets, lateral positions likely are more competitive than in others, but for the most part, its nothing like the insan competiton for.entry level jobs.

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Re: Is lateralling easier than OCI?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Dec 02, 2014 11:43 am

OP here.

This is encouraging. So is it fair to say that my credentials will get me farther than they have in the past once I start working? How important are grades in the lateral process? Are there grade cutoffs or am I being compared against others from my school still somehow?

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Re: Is lateralling easier than OCI?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Dec 02, 2014 12:26 pm

There are so many factors that go into lateral hiring that it is really hard to generalize. If you want to lateral as a junior people are going to be looking heavily at grades, firm/practice group rankings (yes, for as much as people say vault rankings don't matter they do roughly correspond to how well known a firm is), and personality. I am a second year associate at a V-10 looking to lateral to a different market and I have found the process to be very similar to OCI. Contrary to what some may say on this site, I have been really successful at landing offers in the markets I have been looking at even as a junior.

As you grow more senior I hear that the process gets more focused on substantive experience. Brand is still important, but being able to clearly articulate what you bring to the table is more important than having good killer grades and the best personality.

From my perspective, whether lateralling is easier or harder than OCI depends on timing and which of the above are more suited to your interviewing strengths. For me, the biggest advantage in the lateral process is that I have no fear of unemployment, so I am not nervous at all in my interviews. Whether or not that applies to you depends on why you thought OCI was difficult.

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ExBiglawAssociate
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Re: Is lateralling easier than OCI?

Postby ExBiglawAssociate » Tue Dec 02, 2014 2:25 pm

Hell no. OCI was a walk in the park for me. Offers fell into my lap. Lateraling is way harder.

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Re: Is lateralling easier than OCI?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Dec 02, 2014 8:59 pm

How similarly do grades come into play during lateraling? If you were able to get a handful of offers at median, will that be the case when lateraling, or will that be more of a detriment?

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ExBiglawAssociate
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Re: Is lateralling easier than OCI?

Postby ExBiglawAssociate » Tue Dec 02, 2014 10:26 pm

Anonymous User wrote:How similarly do grades come into play during lateraling? If you were able to get a handful of offers at median, will that be the case when lateraling, or will that be more of a detriment?


Grades do not matter nearly as much after you have a year or two of experience, but they still matter. It depends on the firm as to how much they matter. Some firms have hard grade cutoffs, even for senior associate and partner lateral candidates. Other firms do not care at all.

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Re: Is lateralling easier than OCI?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Dec 03, 2014 9:19 pm

Would this somewhat be a laxer version of the grade cutoffs based on school/firm that we had for OCI? I.e.if firms XYZs were happy to take median students from T6 schools, are these going to be the firms that will be happy to look at laterals who kept their grades at median, or slightly below median? (Given, of course, good work at original firm, interviewing,and other things)? Or are the cut-offs, selectivity and metrics completely different.

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Re: Is lateralling easier than OCI?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Dec 03, 2014 10:31 pm

Biglaw_Associate_V20 wrote: Some firms have hard grade cutoffs, even for senior associates and partner lateral candidates.


I hate the legal industry.

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fats provolone
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Re: Is lateralling easier than OCI?

Postby fats provolone » Wed Dec 03, 2014 11:13 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Biglaw_Associate_V20 wrote: Some firms have hard grade cutoffs, even for senior associates and partner lateral candidates.


I hate the legal industry.

at west point when you come back as a professor your housing choices depend on your GPA

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Re: Is lateralling easier than OCI?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Dec 03, 2014 11:41 pm

Where do you go to school that 3.5 is near the bottom of your class? At my school that is top 1/3.

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Re: Is lateralling easier than OCI?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Dec 04, 2014 12:34 am

Anonymous User wrote:Where do you go to school that 3.5 is near the bottom of your class? At my school that is top 1/3.


OP here. Not sure about 3.5 but 3.4 is definitely at the very least bottom quartile. I go to a T14, I think thats pretty common. I'm not sure how much the ranking changes as you get closer to 3.5 but its definitely below median.

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wiz
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Re: Is lateralling easier than OCI?

Postby wiz » Thu Dec 04, 2014 4:57 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Where do you go to school that 3.5 is near the bottom of your class? At my school that is top 1/3.


OP here. Not sure about 3.5 but 3.4 is definitely at the very least bottom quartile. I go to a T14, I think thats pretty common. I'm not sure how much the ranking changes as you get closer to 3.5 but its definitely below median.


I think this is only true for Cornell. And Northwestern, but they curve to a 4.02, so I'm not sure that counts.

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Re: Is lateralling easier than OCI?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Dec 04, 2014 3:55 pm

Related to the question of how much grades matter - Does class selection matter at all? Will firms look at you negatively during the lateral process if you took a bunch of bullshit "law and X" courses during 2L and 3L to pad your GPA?




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