Latteralling—Possible to drop a class year?

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Frayed Knot

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Latteralling—Possible to drop a class year?

Postby Frayed Knot » Wed May 06, 2015 6:22 pm

A lot of posts on here describe how it gets harder to lateral from NY BigLaw as you get more senior (especially for litigation associates) because you're expected to have had really substantive experience that it can be hard to get in NY.

Is it ever an option to drop one or more class years so that you face lower expectations? For example, could you finish up your 5th year somewhere and then start somewhere else as a 4th year? Or would firms not be interested in that/view it as an admission of weakness?

I'm particularly interested in how that would work going from NY to a secondary market, where the expectations for early experience might be higher. But I'd also be interested in anyone who'd seen something like that even if no market change was involved.

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Re: Latteralling—Possible to drop a class year?

Postby Johann » Wed May 06, 2015 11:02 pm

this happens a lot.

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Re: Latteralling—Possible to drop a class year?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu May 07, 2015 3:26 am

I'm a lateral who dropped class years when I joined my current firm, for a different reason than you're giving in this thread. What I found, through working with a recruiter and speaking to a lot of different firms, is this:

- Some firms are completely open to hiring associates with a designated year different than their year of law school graduation
- Others are completely not open to it - you stay with your class year or you're out
- Others are open to it only in some circumstances (e.g., if they agree to let you switch practice groups entirely)

For the firms who are not open to it, here are some of the reasons they are not:
- Some firms are concerned that clients will draw adverse inferences re: competence if someone who is listed as Class of 2007 is actually designated Class of 2010 (for instance);
- Some firms view anyone who needs a drop in class year as a less desirable candidate because it's essentially an admission that you have less relevant experience than others who graduated at the same time as you did.

The firms that are open to it tend to think outside the box and may see it as a way of getting talent at a "discount" relative to the class year. This is at once true and not. Typically, people who need a class year cut are going to be people who come with costs to the firm re: ramp up time, but some firms are willing to accept this.

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