Small law to biglaw?

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hous
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Small law to biglaw?

Postby hous » Wed Jan 14, 2015 9:04 pm

I have a pretty decent gig that I have been doing since I passed the bar. I actually like the job, the work, the bosses, and the co-workers. Been practicing here for 4 months now. Overall its pretty chill but I work long hours. Its a small firm and the pay is pretty decent for my area. I have done some pretty interesting work and have been in court many times. However, I still want to do biglaw. Has that boat sailed? For what its worth, I went to a T1 and graduated in the top 1/3 of my class. My biggest concern is that I get the impression that this is a solid gig with people that will look out for you, but that there is a short ceiling. I get to do a little bit of everything but there is no chance at building a book of business as all of our work originates from the three partners. While they are great guys and they take care of us, it seems like sticking around offers only diminishing returns unless you are content with your current situation. This is also a niche market. So, biglaw, yay or nay?

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fats provolone
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Re: Small law to biglaw?

Postby fats provolone » Wed Jan 14, 2015 9:31 pm

seems unlikely just out of ls I think? more likely if you had years of experience / some specialty. but going to biglaw bc you want to be a partner and build a book of business seems crazy to me

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baal hadad
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Re: Small law to biglaw?

Postby baal hadad » Wed Jan 14, 2015 9:40 pm

Maybe if you were in an area that big law firms do or had a book bight right now, no

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Lacepiece23
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Re: Small law to biglaw?

Postby Lacepiece23 » Wed Jan 14, 2015 9:54 pm

hous wrote:I have a pretty decent gig that I have been doing since I passed the bar. I actually like the job, the work, the bosses, and the co-workers. Been practicing here for 4 months now. Overall its pretty chill but I work long hours. Its a small firm and the pay is pretty decent for my area. I have done some pretty interesting work and have been in court many times. However, I still want to do biglaw. Has that boat sailed? For what its worth, I went to a T1 and graduated in the top 1/3 of my class. My biggest concern is that I get the impression that this is a solid gig with people that will look out for you, but that there is a short ceiling. I get to do a little bit of everything but there is no chance at building a book of business as all of our work originates from the three partners. While they are great guys and they take care of us, it seems like sticking around offers only diminishing returns unless you are content with your current situation. This is also a niche market. So, biglaw, yay or nay?


I'm a little confused why you couldn't build a book at the place you are at right now. Do the partners make associates give them all their clients? Just speculation, but it always seemed like it would be easier to build a book at a smaller place where rates are lower and you can undercut some of the big firms.

smallfirmassociate
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Re: Small law to biglaw?

Postby smallfirmassociate » Wed Jan 14, 2015 10:24 pm

hous wrote:I have a pretty decent gig that I have been doing since I passed the bar. I actually like the job, the work, the bosses, and the co-workers. Been practicing here for 4 months now. Overall its pretty chill but I work long hours. Its a small firm and the pay is pretty decent for my area. I have done some pretty interesting work and have been in court many times. However, I still want to do biglaw. Has that boat sailed? For what its worth, I went to a T1 and graduated in the top 1/3 of my class. My biggest concern is that I get the impression that this is a solid gig with people that will look out for you, but that there is a short ceiling. I get to do a little bit of everything but there is no chance at building a book of business as all of our work originates from the three partners. While they are great guys and they take care of us, it seems like sticking around offers only diminishing returns unless you are content with your current situation. This is also a niche market. So, biglaw, yay or nay?


I'm a partner (contradicting the username) at a small law firm, and it sounds like we have similar backgrounds. My firm has some high academic achievers, with everyone being from T30 law schools and several attorneys graduating from T-14's. That separates us from other firms in the area. Based on your credentials, maybe your firm is similar? In my case, my appellate experience along with things like municipal and civil lit experience mean I could go to the bench, in-house, midlaw, or biglaw, as past lawyers here have done all of those, but the bigger question is: Why? You say you have a solid gig with people who look out for you. That's gold, Jerry, gold! I have that, and I made a somewhat modest yet comfortable $220k per year my first year as partner, which in my low COLA area is worth, I don't know, half a mil in NYC. Why dafuq would you want to go from that to biglaw? Is that the ceiling at your place? I mean, even if I could top out at "just" $110k, I don't imagine being in a hurry to leave for biglaw. Biglaw really, really sucks. The people here who left for mid- and biglaw only did it because they followed spousal career moves and intended to semi-retire in short order.

Maybe the crux of this issue is that, like a previous poster, I question whether you "can't" build a book of business. If you can talk to people, if you can network, then you can virtually ALWAYS build a book, unless you have a niche practice. The revenue may go to the firm for now, but you can have a latent network of connections who would use you as an attorney if you ever left. I don't envision a situation where a firm could prevent that. Perhaps you could provide more details on the limitations you feel with respect to building your book? Is the nature of the practice so niche that a few big clients provide almost all the revenue or something?

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hous
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Re: Small law to biglaw?

Postby hous » Wed Jan 14, 2015 11:09 pm

Without trying to completely out myself, I think the ceiling would be more like 125k. I'm currently getting 60-75k. I think its impossible to build a book of business because my firm represents a handful of large national corporations in a niche field. Each partner has had their one client for the past decade and they do like all the work for their client in this state. My communications with said clients are like with their inhouse counsel's assistants.

I feel like the experience I'm getting is about as good as one can ask for out of law school, but I feel the ceiling bearing down on me. I've already been thrown to the wolves (which I actually appreciate), repeatedly, and I don't think the work will get any more novel. If I'm going to be getting into a routine, might as well get paid for it. I don't hate working, never have, and I think I would have more room to grow from biglaw.




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