Should I take the offer?

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lolwat7
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Should I take the offer?

Postby lolwat7 » Sun Apr 05, 2015 3:17 pm

I have recently been offered a lateral position and could use some guidance on how to proceed.

I graduated from a T20 in May 2013. Went to school in a mid-sized flyover market (let's call it City A) and thought that's where I'd end up long-term. Turns out my best job offer was at a secondary biglaw firm in City B and I headed there after law school.

I worked at the big firm in City B for about 15 months but moved firms due to a lack of work. I applied broadly during my search back in August/September, both in City A and City B.

In November I started a new job at my current firm. My current firm is still in City B and has about 40 attorneys. It was started as a boutique firm and is one of the best firms in the state for this kind of work, though it has grown to incorporate other practice areas as well. I really like the work, really like my co-workers, and I've gotten great feedback since I started. I feel secure here.

Out of the blue three weeks ago, a big firm back in City A called me up for an interview. This firm was my top choice firm during OCI in 2011 and I applied for this job opening in August 2014. I never heard back and just assumed it was a ding. I was in City A for a long weekend last week, so I said sure why not, no harm in talking to them.

The firm gave me a job offer last Friday, and I am torn straight down the middle. The new job is an objectively more "prestigious" law firm with bigger and better clients, would pay substantially more ($115k vs. $85k), and would probably be a better place for long term opportunities, either in the form of partnership or in-house. But I like my current firm a lot and feel like it's a secure place to be, I greatly prefer City B over City A, and I have a fairly serious significant other in City B. I also don't like the idea of going to my third firm in two years, especially if I'm sacrificing some decent stability and job security to do so.

Is there any benefit to explaining this situation to my current firm? I don't want to "shake them down" for more money, but money is literally the only reason I would take this other job. I would be willing to make less to stay at my current firm in City B, but $30,000 less? That's life-changing dough for me.

Any other thoughts on factors to weigh in this decision? I'm very fortunate to have a decision like this in front of me, but the stress is setting in. I appreciate any insight.

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Other25BeforeYou
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Re: Should I take the offer?

Postby Other25BeforeYou » Sun Apr 05, 2015 4:15 pm

I wouldn't talk to your current firm about it unless you're prepared for them to say "well, that sounds like a good opportunity for you. Where should we send your last check?" If you're comfortable with that and willing to leave if they don't want to play ball, then definitely raise it with them before accepting the other firm's offer, since they may be willing to bump you up to retain you. But if you think you might want to stay even if they aren't willing to negotiate on salary, it's dangerous territory to raise this just to try to get more money.

Are there differences in COL? Bonus structure? Billable hour requirements?

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sublime
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Re: Should I take the offer?

Postby sublime » Sun Apr 05, 2015 4:18 pm

..

lolwat7
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Re: Should I take the offer?

Postby lolwat7 » Sun Apr 05, 2015 4:32 pm

My firm's billable requirement is 1800. New firm would be 1850. Our bonus structure here is based primarily on hours and is sort of unique. I can get up to 15k in bonuses, which would require me to work somewhere in the neighborhood of 2040 hours.

Sublime, it depends on what you mean by professional development. I will say that in my five months here, I've grown more as a lawyer than I did in 15 months at the other shop. I get to do substantive work beyond what your typical first or second year at a big firm does, and I like that. I also think my odds of partnership are higher here. The other firm would look good on a resume in City A, but a lot of that added marketability may be undermined by how much jumping around I'm doing.

As for any potential conversation with my current firm, I would not frame it as "Give me more money or I walk." It would be more like, "Where can I realistically expect to be in 5-10 years if I stay here?" I view my career as a long-term endeavor. I want to stay here and I'll stay here so long as I feel like there are career and financial opportunities in the mid-to-long term. My concern is that 85k turns into 88k which turns into 92k which turns into 95k, which is barely a cost of living increase. If partnership here means making what an associate makes at the other firm, then what's the point of staying here?

CanadianWolf
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Re: Should I take the offer?

Postby CanadianWolf » Sun Apr 05, 2015 4:39 pm

If you're really willing to move, then be honest & straightforward with your current firm. Let them know that you want to be there long-term, but that you're living on a tight budget. Figure out a base salary dollar amount that would make you stay, but keep it to yourself unless asked. But, you have to be prepared to move.

P.S. Based on the info. shared, no one can really tell you whether or not you should accept. There is a lot of value in job security in this market.

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Other25BeforeYou
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Re: Should I take the offer?

Postby Other25BeforeYou » Sun Apr 05, 2015 4:56 pm

lolwat7 wrote:My firm's billable requirement is 1800. New firm would be 1850. Our bonus structure here is based primarily on hours and is sort of unique. I can get up to 15k in bonuses, which would require me to work somewhere in the neighborhood of 2040 hours.

Sublime, it depends on what you mean by professional development. I will say that in my five months here, I've grown more as a lawyer than I did in 15 months at the other shop. I get to do substantive work beyond what your typical first or second year at a big firm does, and I like that. I also think my odds of partnership are higher here. The other firm would look good on a resume in City A, but a lot of that added marketability may be undermined by how much jumping around I'm doing.

As for any potential conversation with my current firm, I would not frame it as "Give me more money or I walk." It would be more like, "Where can I realistically expect to be in 5-10 years if I stay here?" I view my career as a long-term endeavor. I want to stay here and I'll stay here so long as I feel like there are career and financial opportunities in the mid-to-long term. My concern is that 85k turns into 88k which turns into 92k which turns into 95k, which is barely a cost of living increase. If partnership here means making what an associate makes at the other firm, then what's the point of staying here?

All I'm saying is that if you mention that you have another offer at all, you have to be prepared for the possibility that they'll say "well, that seems like a good idea, you should take that offer" and show you the door even if you're not threatening to walk. It happens. Some firms get antsy about the disloyalty of even interviewing elsewhere.

What's the firm in City A's bonus structure? Is there a cost of living difference?

lolwat7
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Re: Should I take the offer?

Postby lolwat7 » Sun Apr 05, 2015 5:09 pm

Pretty minimal COL difference. Probably will pay around the same in rent. The other firm doesn't have a well articulated bonus structure.

Your point about loyalty is well taken and it's a concern I have as well. I want to be loyal to this firm and I wasn't actively seeking when I got called. I don't think they'll show me the door just for interviewing, but I don't want to create any negative feelings if I decide to stay. I'm hopeful they would appreciate my candor and strong desire to stay, but I could see it being taken differently too. I have no idea what to expect.

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Other25BeforeYou
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Re: Should I take the offer?

Postby Other25BeforeYou » Sun Apr 05, 2015 5:21 pm

lolwat7 wrote:Pretty minimal COL difference. Probably will pay around the same in rent. The other firm doesn't have a well articulated bonus structure.

Your point about loyalty is well taken and it's a concern I have as well. I want to be loyal to this firm and I wasn't actively seeking when I got called. I don't think they'll show me the door just for interviewing, but I don't want to create any negative feelings if I decide to stay. I'm hopeful they would appreciate my candor and strong desire to stay, but I could see it being taken differently too. I have no idea what to expect.

So, if you want to logic it to death (which is how I handle major life decisions), general wisdom is that any time you leave for a job at which you're content, you should get at least 20% more money to compensate for the risk you're taking. So since the 85k comes from a known quantity, it (hypothetically) has the same value as 102k at another job that isn't a known quantity in terms of how much you'll enjoy it.

Since the new firm is offering 115k, it comes down to whether not having to uproot your life or leave your significant other and better chances at partnership are worth the extra 13k/year (not taking account of bonuses) and future larger raises you'd apparently be foregoing by staying put.

Also you'd be jumping up a tax bracket, not sure if that makes a difference.

lolwat7
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Joined: Mon Mar 16, 2015 11:48 am

Re: Should I take the offer?

Postby lolwat7 » Mon Apr 06, 2015 8:07 am

Any other thoughts on this? I realize nobody can ultimately tell me whether to stay or go, but I'd love to hear some other thoughts on whether it even makes sense to bring this up with my current firm. Anybody ever been in a similar situation?

ravenousmaw
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Re: Should I take the offer?

Postby ravenousmaw » Tue Jun 02, 2015 7:08 pm

I am curious to know what you ended up doing here.

I would not expect your firm to match, and once you've brought it up, they'll know you are looking to leave. But based on what you said, it sounds like the $ was a significant factor and $30k is a lot to leave on the table. You are right that in 4 years, you'll likely be making meager jumps at the current firm, something like set 3-5% raises. There are plenty of factors, but if you like the new city, have friends there, and the firm has a good name, I'd take the job with more money. But it of course depends if you have loans or not. Due to taxes, it may not radically change your life to have $30k pre-tax. But then again, it might.




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