Working at a startup for the Summer over biglaw? 1L summer

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What should I do?

Biglaw SA
21
78%
Start up
6
22%
 
Total votes: 27

Anonymous User
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Working at a startup for the Summer over biglaw? 1L summer

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Feb 04, 2015 10:53 pm

1L at a t25 here. Top quarter. Graduating with under 20k in debt. I most likely will get an offer at an early- mid stage startup(decently well known name), doing a variety of things but primarily biz dev. I'll have some finance work and contract drafting(light legal issues). I also have a market paying biglaw SA offer.

Long term I don't have legal goals and I would love to make the non-legal jump before I leave law school. Next year I might skip biglaw recruitment since I am non-competitive for interesting biglaw, and instead focus on non-law internships, (since I couldn't in undergrad based on school/geep).

This will effectively be my first primary work experience and I am wondering what I can pitch better. I feel the start up experience I can pitch better than a biglaw SA especially to non-legal employers. Biglaw pays like 4x more though.

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BankruptMe
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Re: Working at a startup for the Summer over biglaw? 1L summer

Postby BankruptMe » Wed Feb 04, 2015 11:05 pm

Anonymous User wrote:1L at a t25 here. Top quarter. Graduating with under 20k in debt. I most likely will get an offer at an early- mid stage startup(decently well known name), doing a variety of things but primarily biz dev. I'll have some finance work and contract drafting(light legal issues). I also have a market paying biglaw SA offer.

Long term I don't have legal goals and I would love to make the non-legal jump before I leave law school. Next year I might skip biglaw recruitment since I am non-competitive for interesting biglaw, and instead focus on non-law internships, (since I couldn't in undergrad based on school/geep).

This will effectively be my first primary work experience and I am wondering what I can pitch better. I feel the start up experience I can pitch better than a biglaw SA especially to non-legal employers. Biglaw pays like 4x more though.


So if you do not want to be a lawyer, why are you in law school?

Business development is sales/relationship building, finance is finance and "contract drafting" is the only legal component of this internship.

Do the internship, get a full time offer, leave law school and save yourself the opportunity costs of 2 more years and get valuable experience

/thread
Last edited by BankruptMe on Wed Feb 04, 2015 11:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Avian
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Re: Working at a startup for the Summer over biglaw? 1L summer

Postby Avian » Wed Feb 04, 2015 11:14 pm

I second BankruptMe's confusion about why you are in law school if you want to do something other than practice law. If that's really the case and the startup internship might turn into a job offer, I'd go there. Is the startup going to pay you 30K though? What do you mean that you are "non-competitive for interesting biglaw"? Are you a diversity 1L SA? Do you not have the grades for biglaw or just not for the particular firms that you are interested in?

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unlicensedpotato
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Re: Working at a startup for the Summer over biglaw? 1L summer

Postby unlicensedpotato » Wed Feb 04, 2015 11:23 pm

I would ask if you can split. Probably ask the firm because they'll understand it more. I know so many people who received incredible accommodations in situations like this.

bdubs
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Re: Working at a startup for the Summer over biglaw? 1L summer

Postby bdubs » Wed Feb 04, 2015 11:42 pm

I love how you have this delusion that there is some magical thing called "interesting biglaw" which you are not qualified to get, but you do have a market paying biglaw gig that is clearly not interesting to you. Take the start up and immediately quit law school if it looks like there is a chance they will give you a full time position.

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Re: Working at a startup for the Summer over biglaw? 1L summer

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Feb 04, 2015 11:48 pm

Avian wrote:I second BankruptMe's confusion about why you are in law school if you want to do something other than practice law. If that's really the case and the startup internship might turn into a job offer, I'd go there. Is the startup going to pay you 30K though? What do you mean that you are "non-competitive for interesting biglaw"? Are you a diversity 1L SA? Do you not have the grades for biglaw or just not for the particular firms that you are interested in?


I'm in law school because I had a low undergrad geep and law school was the only school that I could go to for cheap and effectively trade up schools. I'm also not a diversity 1L SA. I got both options through alot of networking.

The low gpa I'm worried about if say the startup fails or downsizes in 6 months to a year, I'm kind of screwed because I didn't get enough experience to get some other startup to take a chance on me/get an MBA. f500s probably won't touch because too formalized/screened so I'm in a difficult position if the company goes down.

unlicensedpotato wrote:I would ask if you can split. Probably ask the firm because they'll understand it more. I know so many people who received incredible accommodations in situations like this.


Great idea! I might ask if I get this offer.

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Re: Working at a startup for the Summer over biglaw? 1L summer

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Feb 04, 2015 11:52 pm

bdubs wrote:I love how you have this delusion that there is some magical thing called "interesting biglaw" which you are not qualified to get, but you do have a market paying biglaw gig that is clearly not interesting to you. Take the start up and immediately quit law school if it looks like there is a chance they will give you a full time position.

It could also be being in his/her early twenties, and having the sense of adventure startups provide. If I were in their shoes, I'd think critically about the odds the startup leads to a f/t offer and why you want this over other options so badly. Either way, I can't imagine being able to say you have a big law offer in hand (aka weren't no offered), but are choosing to work for a startup could hurt your ability to work for a startup. I don't think it's a coincidence many in house counsel practiced in big law.

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Re: Working at a startup for the Summer over biglaw? 1L summer

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Feb 05, 2015 12:32 am

Anonymous User wrote:
bdubs wrote:I love how you have this delusion that there is some magical thing called "interesting biglaw" which you are not qualified to get, but you do have a market paying biglaw gig that is clearly not interesting to you. Take the start up and immediately quit law school if it looks like there is a chance they will give you a full time position.

It could also be being in his/her early twenties, and having the sense of adventure startups provide. If I were in their shoes, I'd think critically about the odds the startup leads to a f/t offer and why you want this over other options so badly. Either way, I can't imagine being able to say you have a big law offer in hand (aka weren't no offered), but are choosing to work for a startup could hurt your ability to work for a startup. I don't think it's a coincidence many in house counsel practiced in big law.


I just think the startup provides alot of experience from the get-go. I'm not sure that biglaw provides too much experience beyond doing more law. Since I went to law school without any desire to practice law, (very occasionally this might make sense), the options so I can do non-legal work look more interesting than the legal options.

Is big-law looked as good work experience for non-legal employers?

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fats provolone
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Re: Working at a startup for the Summer over biglaw? 1L summer

Postby fats provolone » Thu Feb 05, 2015 12:38 am

i left a startup to go to ls and still regret it

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Re: Working at a startup for the Summer over biglaw? 1L summer

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Feb 05, 2015 10:33 am

OP here: So I woke up to an offer this morning. I have around a week for both.

Pros biglaw:
-Could lead to post LS employment
-I'm at the outer edges of biglaw for my school, so could be the only chance I get at it
-Pays more

Cons biglaw
-I don't want to practice
-Doesn't develop non-law skills

Pros startup
-Non law skills
-Experience real quick
-I might be able to use this to pitch to firms since I'm borderline biglaw anyways if I decided to go
-Closer to my post-law school goals

Cons startup
-Shuts me out of law?
-Pays less

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Re: Working at a startup for the Summer over biglaw? 1L summer

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Feb 05, 2015 12:59 pm

I have worked extensively in start ups and with start ups, and it has been the best experience of my life. The great part of start ups is the energy everyone brings, and you will have to wear a lot of different hats. I'm now in a more traditional job, but I'm invested in and on the board for a couple of them and I miss that energy.

If I were you, I would drop out of law school, join the start up, and not look back.

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Avian
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Re: Working at a startup for the Summer over biglaw? 1L summer

Postby Avian » Thu Feb 05, 2015 2:17 pm

I suppose another question is what do you want to do at a startup? Are you interested in the law but only working for a startup (in-house) or just general business work for a startup. Biglaw on your resume will give you a much better shot at going in-house at a startup, but if you actually don't want to do anything legal I'm not sure. Did you consider a MBA program?

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Re: Working at a startup for the Summer over biglaw? 1L summer

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Feb 05, 2015 2:41 pm

I too did the start-up to law school thing (4 years at a startups).

Yes, it can be a lot of fun, but it can also be a roller coaster and can make long term stability/planning difficult.

Sounds like you're young and not too risk averse, so I understand why you are considering taking the shot.

Alternatively, get biglaw on the resume, then do the start-up thing. Lots of people have done it, and I don't think its fair to say that you only get law-experience from a big firm. If you have no real work experience, you'll learn a lot about corporate culture, professional working relationships, client development, and different industries (whatever you happen to be working on).

When you then try to get hired at a start-up, they'll be getting someone who they know can be clean/polished/professional and work long hours, but (assuming you get start-up experience now) also has had a long running interest in this jump. If you go this route, just be sure to keep a foot in the start up world the whole time.

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Re: Working at a startup for the Summer over biglaw? 1L summer

Postby kcdc1 » Thu Feb 05, 2015 2:46 pm

Biglaw is probably the safer play here. There's a good chance that practicing law will be your best feasible option upon graduation. You can't really bank on the summer work with this start-up turning into a permanent gig, and your best credential at the end of the day is going to be your JD with top 30% grades from a T25 school. You'll be qualified for high-paying law jobs, but it might be tough finding an equally good gig in the business world. You could go from law to business more easily than the other direction.

On the other hand, it sounds like you're quite strong on the soft skills and networking, so maybe it won't be a problem for you. I'd go for the risk-averse play, but if you had my risk tolerance, you probably wouldn't have buddies at mid-stage start-ups asking you to come on board.

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Re: Working at a startup for the Summer over biglaw? 1L summer

Postby Shaggier1 » Thu Feb 05, 2015 4:12 pm

Biglaw is probably the safer play here.


Safer economically, maybe. Way more risky in terms of personal happiness and fulfillment. The only way biglaw is tolerable is if you really like practicing law. If you do not want to be a lawyer, stay the hell away from big law firms.

Have the balls to do what you want to do. You don't get that many shots at this.

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Re: Working at a startup for the Summer over biglaw? 1L summer

Postby ruski » Thu Feb 05, 2015 4:51 pm

maybe I missed it but is this a summer internship at the start up or a full time gig? if there is no guarantee of full time employment I would not throw away biglaw for that. after your summer gig what will you do? you're not exactly competitive for a start job if all you have on ur resume is summer internship and no programming skills.

in all honestly your best course of action is go to biglaw, live super frugally, and open your own start up after 4-5 years with 200k startup capital that you saved. easier path to riches than working at other peoples start-ups your whole life with no real equity stake

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Re: Working at a startup for the Summer over biglaw? 1L summer

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Feb 08, 2015 11:13 pm

ruski wrote:maybe I missed it but is this a summer internship at the start up or a full time gig? if there is no guarantee of full time employment I would not throw away biglaw for that. after your summer gig what will you do? you're not exactly competitive for a start job if all you have on ur resume is summer internship and no programming skills.

in all honestly your best course of action is go to biglaw, live super frugally, and open your own start up after 4-5 years with 200k startup capital that you saved. easier path to riches than working at other peoples start-ups your whole life with no real equity stake


OP here. This is a Summer internship that could lead to a full time offer. I'm interested in the business/operations side of things rather than the programming side. I asked the biglaw firm if I could split but they said no.

So I guess for the startup I'm more interested in the experience since I'm interested in non-legal work. I'd be interested in a strategy type role in a tech company/startup/consulting firm next Summer. I feel a start up sets me up better for that rather than biglaw.

I've talked to a few people in real life about it and they are advocating biglaw but I think they are more risk averse than I.

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Re: Working at a startup for the Summer over biglaw? 1L summer

Postby bjsesq » Mon Feb 09, 2015 12:26 am

How old is this startup? What are its sources of funding? How diverse is that funding? What is its revenue model?

I'm hesitant to tell anyone to tie their future to a startup.

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Re: Working at a startup for the Summer over biglaw? 1L summer

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Feb 09, 2015 6:43 am

bjsesq wrote:How old is this startup? What are its sources of funding? How diverse is that funding? What is its revenue model?

I'm hesitant to tell anyone to tie their future to a startup.


Venture backed, tier one firm led the last(recent) funding series.

I mean it will survive long enough for me to apply to other summer employment next year.

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Re: Working at a startup for the Summer over biglaw? 1L summer

Postby Br3v » Mon Feb 09, 2015 10:03 am

Would they still hire you if you don't get a JD?

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bjsesq
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Re: Working at a startup for the Summer over biglaw? 1L summer

Postby bjsesq » Mon Feb 09, 2015 10:24 am

Anonymous User wrote:
bjsesq wrote:How old is this startup? What are its sources of funding? How diverse is that funding? What is its revenue model?

I'm hesitant to tell anyone to tie their future to a startup.


Venture backed, tier one firm led the last(recent) funding series.

I mean it will survive long enough for me to apply to other summer employment next year.

Experienced leadership? Commodity or service? It sounds like risk isn't as high as it could be, so you have that going for you.

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Re: Working at a startup for the Summer over biglaw? 1L summer

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 10, 2015 8:52 pm

OP here: So I turned down biglaw today. Who knows maybe a poor decision. I'm young, I can afford to make mistakes. However, maybe the overall TLS mentality is right: go to lawschool to become a lawyer. We'll see in the future However, I'm happy I didn't mention my offer to any of my actual classmates/CSO.

Reasons for my choice:
1: I can selectively highlight enough things that I did this Summer to put a legal spin on the startup if I chase legal.
2: I came to law school without the intention of practicing law. I don't want to change that specifically for monetary reasons.
3: I'm chasing unicorn, non-legal jobs, (consulting/corporate strategy/corporate dev/start up work). I think this will set me up more these types of jobs based on the work I will be doing since I can't put a finance/strategy spin on my legal work.
4: I'm contemplating trying to RA for a professor at a law school in my working locale for 10-15 hours a week (I have a high K's grade), effectively double dipping.
5: Most importantly, I think the options out of a startup will lead to a happier employment outcome in 28 months.

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Re: Working at a startup for the Summer over biglaw? 1L summer

Postby CanadianWolf » Tue Feb 10, 2015 9:18 pm

Obviously I'm a bit late to this thread. Curious as to how you know that the practice of law is not for you. Also, why attend law school if you knew this coming into your first year ? Seems like a summer associate experience would have been helpful in determining your career goals. Good luck.

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Re: Working at a startup for the Summer over biglaw? 1L summer

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Feb 11, 2015 1:19 am

CanadianWolf wrote:Obviously I'm a bit late to this thread. Curious as to how you know that the practice of law is not for you. Also, why attend law school if you knew this coming into your first year ? Seems like a summer associate experience would have been helpful in determining your career goals. Good luck.


OP here: I talked to attorneys in biglaw/government about what they did in the year or two before I graduated undergrad. Most of the transaction/corporate biglaw associates/partners I talked to wish they had done something else or were actively trying to lateral fields. I wasn't drawn to litigation, and based on my writing grade as-so far, I won't be practicing litigation anytime soon. I am interested also in business matters.

However, coming to graduation from a no-name school with a low g.p.a., options are pretty limited. Law school seemed like the best option academically and financially, even if I wasn't interested in practicing law due to a) propensity for accepting non-competitive gpas(I'm under a 2.7). b) I can rebrand by the law school I attend, c) law school gpas are all curved(good for me if I slacked), and d) possibly a slight salary bump. I was prepared to drop out after a year if I was below median or unemployable.

I figured if I did a shorter program, I was going to get bitten by my low gpa anyways.




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