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Anonymous User
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To Biglaw, Non-Law and Back

Postby Anonymous User » Tue May 03, 2016 11:26 am

Was wondering if anyone has any experience or knows anyone that has been in a similar situation:

I worked in big law as a corporate associate for a year and a half in a major market before leaving to take a non-legal position in the same city. I'm about three months into my new job and I really don't like it. Career progression doesn't seem great, there were some empty promises made to me when I was being recruited, and the place doesn't have a good working environment. While big law wasn't the best job I've ever had, I actually think it is way better career-wise than my current job and I enjoyed who I worked with there and am thinking of trying to go back to my old firm or another firm.

Does anyone have any stories or advice for making the move back? Is this an insane thing to do or does it happen more often than people think? Just trying to see if I am being a crazy person or if this is not out of the ordinary.

Thanks.

Anonymous User
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Re: To Biglaw, Non-Law and Back

Postby Anonymous User » Tue May 03, 2016 11:35 am

I must have run into half a dozen midlevels who were biglaw -> not -> biglaw during the cb/screener process, so my impression is that it would not be terribly uncommon. Several of those were white collar bruhs getting lit experience as prosecutors, though.

Anonymous User
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Re: To Biglaw, Non-Law and Back

Postby Anonymous User » Tue May 03, 2016 12:07 pm

I'm a first year corporate in biglaw. I work with a senior associate who went biglaw -> in-house -> new biglaw firm. I guess the caveat here is that the senior associate was in a legal capacity at the in-house gig (it was not out of the law entirely).

if you don't mind sharing, what are some of the reasons you don't like the new non-law job? I think about leaving almost every day to escape the stress, billables, making such a big deal of stupid minor mistakes, and general mind-numbing aspect of my corporate experience. Did you have any of those same feelings when you left your biglaw job?

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Re: To Biglaw, Non-Law and Back

Postby Anonymous User » Tue May 03, 2016 5:22 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I'm a first year corporate in biglaw. I work with a senior associate who went biglaw -> in-house -> new biglaw firm. I guess the caveat here is that the senior associate was in a legal capacity at the in-house gig (it was not out of the law entirely).

if you don't mind sharing, what are some of the reasons you don't like the new non-law job? I think about leaving almost every day to escape the stress, billables, making such a big deal of stupid minor mistakes, and general mind-numbing aspect of my corporate experience. Did you have any of those same feelings when you left your biglaw job?


OP Here, for me, biglaw was pretty brutal as well and I definitely had those experiences. I could see the value in sticking it out a few years, lateraling to a location I wanted to be on a different coast, and then going in-house during years (4/5/6) to maximize my opportunities, but ultimately, I let the stress get to me and decided I wanted out regardless of career progression (if I could make similar money, for less hours, I was down to leave). I also thought my review would be bad because I had been slacking at work and making myself more of a priority (working out at 5:30 and coming back, working from home after 8:30 pm, telling people I was more busy than I actually was, etc.). But it turns out my review was still really good and people were genuinely surprised when I was leaving since apparently they liked working with me (which made me immediately think I might have been making a mistake).

The new job is just as mind numbing (they don't generally hire lawyers to do really cool shit .... ever), hours are definitely better on average, but it is cyclical and for months on end the hours can be worse than biglaw. Generally, its fine, but I find the work to be even more boring (at least what I do) and the ability to move locations, or lateral to different firms, jobs, careers is extremely limited. I had a bad experience when I first joined, and really don't get along well with my boss (thought I'd have a mentor but was wrong). It is my fault though, I wasn't 100% sold on coming and pretty much was just looking for an escape even though I had options I really wanted at other firms that may have been on the table if I waited a little longer. I just regret not holding out and making a more rational choice and think my only true option is to go back or continue to hate my job here.

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Re: To Biglaw, Non-Law and Back

Postby Anonymous User » Tue May 03, 2016 5:40 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Was wondering if anyone has any experience or knows anyone that has been in a similar situation:

I worked in big law as a corporate associate for a year and a half in a major market before leaving to take a non-legal position in the same city. I'm about three months into my new job and I really don't like it. Career progression doesn't seem great, there were some empty promises made to me when I was being recruited, and the place doesn't have a good working environment. While big law wasn't the best job I've ever had, I actually think it is way better career-wise than my current job and I enjoyed who I worked with there and am thinking of trying to go back to my old firm or another firm.

Does anyone have any stories or advice for making the move back? Is this an insane thing to do or does it happen more often than people think? Just trying to see if I am being a crazy person or if this is not out of the ordinary.

Thanks.


This happened to me, except it was BigLaw #1 --> BigLaw Firm #2 --> BigLaw Firm #1. I feel like I could have written the bolded parts. I think it depends on how good your relationships were at your first employer if they will let you simply come back. There is no harm in asking.

Anonymous User wrote:OP Here, for me, biglaw was pretty brutal as well and I definitely had those experiences. I could see the value in sticking it out a few years, lateraling to a location I wanted to be on a different coast, and then going in-house during years (4/5/6) to maximize my opportunities, but ultimately, I let the stress get to me and decided I wanted out regardless of career progression (if I could make similar money, for less hours, I was down to leave). I also thought my review would be bad because I had been slacking at work and making myself more of a priority (working out at 5:30 and coming back, working from home after 8:30 pm, telling people I was more busy than I actually was, etc.). But it turns out my review was still really good and people were genuinely surprised when I was leaving since apparently they liked working with me (which made me immediately think I might have been making a mistake).


Nah man, that just makes you human. Assuming you are hitting your hours requirement/expectation, that stuff is generally fine unless you have some absurd face time policy or are leaving in the middle of fire drills.

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zot1
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Re: To Biglaw, Non-Law and Back

Postby zot1 » Tue May 03, 2016 5:42 pm

If you had good relationships at your old firm, you should be able to get back.

I knew of a person who left biglaw for a CDO job then back to the same firm. Caveat: I think she had three years at the firm when she left.

WhiteCollarBlueShirt
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Re: To Biglaw, Non-Law and Back

Postby WhiteCollarBlueShirt » Tue May 03, 2016 5:55 pm

Personal, anecdotal experience. However, I know multiple people who quit (multiple no job sort of rage quit scenarios, "start-up," and other law firms & ranges from first year to senior associate) and returned to their old firm within a 0-1.5 year period.

Going to be very firm specific, so just call HR and ask--never hurts. From the people I know who did this, they all said HR was very accommodating. (I would guess tougher to "lateral," but who knows. Personal feeling is the old firm sort of gets that you'll be indebted to them, whereas you're just a flight risk elsewhere).

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Re: To Biglaw, Non-Law and Back

Postby Anonymous User » Tue May 03, 2016 6:37 pm

The only person I know who did this quit to join a trial consulting firm, then came back and made partner. That said they were more senior and had a lot of institutional support, I'm not sure that would apply to a 2nd year.

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Re: To Biglaw, Non-Law and Back

Postby Anonymous User » Tue May 03, 2016 7:06 pm

Less than 6 months into a new job tends to be the most difficult because the learning curve is the steepest. Would you mind indicating what field/industry this is in? That would help posters give you an idea as to your marketability/the experience you are getting.

As an aside - how did you find the job and did you have to take a pay cut?

shock259
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Re: To Biglaw, Non-Law and Back

Postby shock259 » Wed May 04, 2016 12:46 am

Your best bet is probably with your old firm. Did you have good relationships with the partners when you left? If so, you might try seeking them out. It might be awkward to come back begging, but it will probably be easier than convincing an unrelated firm to take you in.

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Re: To Biglaw, Non-Law and Back

Postby Anonymous User » Wed May 04, 2016 11:49 am

Thanks for the responses guys. I definitely agree that finding a new firm is going to be hard since I'll be a flight risk. Already had one interview where I was straight up told that by the partner and I didn't get a callback (not sure why I was brought in for an interview in the first place). I had very good relationships with people at my firm and think I was well regarded. I have spoken to a few people who think I would definitely be taken back in so that is good news to know.

As for questions about my job, it kind of came out of no where and I was recruited by a very senior person at a large financial services company. Pay is actually better than big law, but not by much, and I think after year 2 the pay end up being worse after bonuses.

Does anyone have advice on how to tell my new employer that I want out? I know that I should at least lock down my agreement to go back to my old firm or a new one first, but telling the new employer (especially the guy that recruited me) is going to be tough. You guys/gals have any situations ever come up like this? Also, do you think timing matters for going back (sooner the better or doesn't matter)?

Thanks again for all the responses, really appreciate it.

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Re: To Biglaw, Non-Law and Back

Postby Anonymous User » Wed May 04, 2016 1:22 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Thanks for the responses guys. I definitely agree that finding a new firm is going to be hard since I'll be a flight risk. Already had one interview where I was straight up told that by the partner and I didn't get a callback (not sure why I was brought in for an interview in the first place). I had very good relationships with people at my firm and think I was well regarded. I have spoken to a few people who think I would definitely be taken back in so that is good news to know.

As for questions about my job, it kind of came out of no where and I was recruited by a very senior person at a large financial services company. Pay is actually better than big law, but not by much, and I think after year 2 the pay end up being worse after bonuses.

Does anyone have advice on how to tell my new employer that I want out? I know that I should at least lock down my agreement to go back to my old firm or a new one first, but telling the new employer (especially the guy that recruited me) is going to be tough. You guys/gals have any situations ever come up like this? Also, do you think timing matters for going back (sooner the better or doesn't matter)?

Thanks again for all the responses, really appreciate it.


I am the person who boomeranged back to BigLaw Firm #1. Yes, definitely secure your position at the old firm first and clear conflicts and all that jazz.

I had a hard time telling my new boss I was leaving too, but you just have to suck it up and do it. In my case, I was really worried about it. And true to form, the partner who brought me in was NOT happy and was really unpleasant and insulting.

As for timing, if you are sure the new job isn't for you, and you liked the old place, I would go back ASAP. For me, I sort of knew that no one was going to hire me except maybe my old firm, so it was either go back there or tough it out for at least a year at the new place and try to lateral again. For me, the latter wasn't an option since my health was suffering due to absolutely insane levels insomnia that I can only imagine was stress-related (I have never had insomnia before and haven't had it since I decided to quit).

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Re: To Biglaw, Non-Law and Back

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Oct 23, 2017 2:28 pm

Resurrecting this thread because this is extremely similar to my situation, and I'm wondering what the minimum amount of time I should wait is before seeing if I can get re-hired at my old firm without looking like an idiot.

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SmokeytheBear
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Re: To Biglaw, Non-Law and Back

Postby SmokeytheBear » Mon Oct 23, 2017 2:35 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Resurrecting this thread because this is extremely similar to my situation, and I'm wondering what the minimum amount of time I should wait is before seeing if I can get re-hired at my old firm without looking like an idiot.


I don't think there's any rule of thumb here. Trying to go back soon sends one message and you can couch your reasoning (i.e. "there was a bait and switch and I don't like it"). Trying to go back later sends a different couchable message (i.e. "it wasn't for me and I realized that I had a good thing going with you guys").

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Re: To Biglaw, Non-Law and Back

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Oct 23, 2017 2:52 pm

Does anybody have any sense of timelines? Like if my plan was to couch it was "the role wasn't for me, I regret giving up being an associate here", at what point should I start putting out soft feelers?

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SmokeytheBear
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Re: To Biglaw, Non-Law and Back

Postby SmokeytheBear » Mon Oct 23, 2017 3:09 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Does anybody have any sense of timelines? Like if my plan was to couch it was "the role wasn't for me, I regret giving up being an associate here", at what point should I start putting out soft feelers?


Depends with whom you are going to raise the conversation and how good your relationship was with that person. But if that's your tact, I would say six months at least.

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Re: To Biglaw, Non-Law and Back

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Oct 27, 2017 1:47 pm

Thanks. I'm increasingly realizing that I made a huge mistake in leaving and am hoping and praying to every deity that they take me back. If anybody has any advice on how to handle, it would be greatly appreciated!

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smokeylarue
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Re: To Biglaw, Non-Law and Back

Postby smokeylarue » Fri Oct 27, 2017 3:46 pm

This all depends entirely on your relationship with your old firm. Did the partners like you? Are you especially close with any one or two partners? If so, I would first reach out to the partner you had a close relationship with as soon as possible. He or she will be able to get the word out to the section head/managing partner/whoever makes hiring decisions. The longer you wait, the more likely they will fill your old spot and/or figure out they don't have enough work to take on another associate.

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Re: To Biglaw, Non-Law and Back

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Oct 27, 2017 3:56 pm

It's been about a month (sadly, I took a couple weeks off, then am finishing my second week... orientation was mostly smoke and mirrors here, so I had a bad feeling, but didn't want to jump to any conclusions within a week of work, however, it has been longer than I would like). I emailed one of the partners today to see if she had time to get coffee (she had mentioned upon my departure that she hoped to continue an informal mentor-mentee relationship with me). Given the situation, should I have been more direct in my email?




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