Lateral From Midwest to Texas/Charlotte

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Lateral From Midwest to Texas/Charlotte

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jun 12, 2016 1:45 pm

I'm a third year associate at an Amlaw 100 firm in a Midwest non-Chicago city. I think my comp next year, including my bonus for hitting 2k hours, will be $170k. I've had a lot of recruiters reach out regarding lateral options in other markets (as we all do) and have mostly blown them off because we have pretty strong ties to our current market. With the new salary scale spreading to TX and, in some firms, to Charlotte (all locations about which I've had recruiters call), the all in salary + bonus at a potential lateral target would be 300k. That's a pretty big jump and my S/O seems open to selling our new house, leaving our family, and trying something new.

I really like the people at my firm and I don't work a ton -- Nothing like NYC hours. I've always hit 2,000 hours and have gone as high as 2280, but I don't want to do that again. I had a tinge of burnout related doldrums this year and might fall short of 2,000, actually and, frankly, it's been great to not work too hard. I don't want to move unless I am comfortable that I won't be asked to bill significantly more than I do at my current firm. My practice area is finance/real estate with some M&A.

The other consideration is that I don't particularly like working in Biglaw (who does, though, right?) and I don't see myself at a firm in 5 years. I think I'll likely end up in-house somewhere, preferably back in our current market, but there aren't a ton of in house jobs here, either.

Anyway, I'm not totally sure what to do. I like my job well enough for now, but the prospect of basically doubling my salary is alluring. Is it worth considering a move? What would you do?

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los blancos

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Re: Lateral From Midwest to Texas/Charlotte

Postby los blancos » Mon Jun 13, 2016 3:02 am

I'm not an expert on this, but my impression is that most if not all of the places in CLT where you would get NYC payscale are biglaw satellite sweatshops.

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Re: Lateral From Midwest to Texas/Charlotte

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jun 13, 2016 8:40 am

los blancos wrote:I'm not an expert on this, but my impression is that most if not all of the places in CLT where you would get NYC payscale are biglaw satellite sweatshops.


Yeah, I think it's just Winston in CLT. That sounds about like what I'd expect.

Anyone know about Texas firms or NYC outpost offices?

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Re: Lateral From Midwest to Texas/Charlotte

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jun 13, 2016 12:41 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Yeah, I think it's just Winston in CLT. That sounds about like what I'd expect.

Anyone know about Texas firms or NYC outpost offices?


First off, what 3rd year is going to be making $300k? Maybe closer to senior associate, but not a 3rd year.

The market paying (now $180k) firms in Texas are all going to be working 2000+ hours. Some are satellite offices, some are big Texas, but all have heavy hour requirements, especially if you are planning on staying with the firm longer then a few years. Not uncommon at all to see 2300-2400 hours (assuming not a down year with work). Also note that not very many firms in TX follow the NY bonus scale. Pay is still phenomenal compared with COL differences, but it's usually not a 1:1 scale with NY. I think V&E follows it (may even go beyond it), but you are going to be doing 2300+ easy there.

There isn't a magic dreamland in Texas where you can make $250k+ and not be billing crazy hours (more than you have been).

Personally I wouldn't try to make any move. You are totally comfortable where you are and making a pretty good amount of money. $170k comp in Midwest probably gets you very far with COL. Completely uprooting your life + probably even heavier hours will not be good for your life. Money isn't everything.

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Re: Lateral From Midwest to Texas/Charlotte

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jun 13, 2016 12:55 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Yeah, I think it's just Winston in CLT. That sounds about like what I'd expect.

Anyone know about Texas firms or NYC outpost offices?


First off, what 3rd year is going to be making $300k? Maybe closer to senior associate, but not a 3rd year.

The market paying (now $180k) firms in Texas are all going to be working 2000+ hours. Some are satellite offices, some are big Texas, but all have heavy hour requirements, especially if you are planning on staying with the firm longer then a few years. Not uncommon at all to see 2300-2400 hours (assuming not a down year with work). Also note that not very many firms in TX follow the NY bonus scale. Pay is still phenomenal compared with COL differences, but it's usually not a 1:1 scale with NY. I think V&E follows it (may even go beyond it), but you are going to be doing 2300+ easy there.

There isn't a magic dreamland in Texas where you can make $250k+ and not be billing crazy hours (more than you have been).

Personally I wouldn't try to make any move. You are totally comfortable where you are and making a pretty good amount of money. $170k comp in Midwest probably gets you very far with COL. Completely uprooting your life + probably even heavier hours will not be good for your life. Money isn't everything.


Not OP, but 4th year at BB/V&E will be around (and maybe over) $300k all-in comp after this base raise. You don't sound like you work at one of the market paying firms. OP is clearly talking about lateraling to firms in TX paying NY Market and Bonus. Plenty of people at those firms will be billing 2300+ but plenty of people won't. Plenty of people at NY V5s aren't billing over 2000 (as shown by the consternation Skadden caused by raising its bonus minimum).

Still, I probably wouldn't lateral to a new market as a third year with the goal of going in house after 2-3 more years. That said, if OP could do 4-5 more, I assume in house salaries in TX will be significantly higher than where OP is living now.

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Re: Lateral From Midwest to Texas/Charlotte

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jun 13, 2016 1:28 pm

also note that you in all likelihood will make less than the Cravath scale at Baker Botts because of their TTT levels system. And significantly smaller bonuses. Sure they SAY you can be advanced for being a rockstar or wtv that means, but in reality you get stuck at one fucking pay level for 3 years etc. Not sure if V&E does this

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Re: Lateral From Midwest to Texas/Charlotte

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jun 13, 2016 2:38 pm

[quote="Anonymous User
Not OP, but 4th year at BB/V&E will be around (and maybe over) $300k all-in comp after this base raise. You don't sound like you work at one of the market paying firms. OP is clearly talking about lateraling to firms in TX paying NY Market and Bonus. Plenty of people at those firms will be billing 2300+ but plenty of people won't. Plenty of people at NY V5s aren't billing over 2000 (as shown by the consternation Skadden caused by raising its bonus minimum).

Still, I probably wouldn't lateral to a new market as a third year with the goal of going in house after 2-3 more years. That said, if OP could do 4-5 more, I assume in house salaries in TX will be significantly higher than where OP is living now.[/quote]

quoted Anon from above. True, I'm not at market paying firm so maybe I'm missing out on some of the recent #'s. 4th year base is what, 235k now? So I guess market paying bonuses could get you to $300k+ for 4th year.

What's the bonus scale at V&E/BB now? I've read some above the law threads about mixed reactions

See http://abovethelaw.com/2016/01/associat ... t-bonuses/

and http://abovethelaw.com/2016/01/associat ... -in-texas/. Particularly quotes like "This was another year of very consistent banding: no bonus for under 2000 hours (unless you are a stub or first-year), one-third Cravath for 2000-2150, half Cravath for 2150-2300, and Cravath or Cravath-plus above 2300. This applies almost without exception. Many many associates missed target tiers, and many got no bonus at all. I’m a senior associate and got half-Cravath for 2200." in regards to V&E.

Obviously splitting hairs here because you'll still be making a ton (certainly more than the $170k all in that OP is making now). I just think it's a factor for OP to consider that hours and bonus aren't cut and dry here.

But I agree with your overall point too, probably shouldn't move if goal is to leave for in house in under 4 years.

Edit: Didn't see the response above mine until after post, so yes I agree with that.

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Re: Lateral From Midwest to Texas/Charlotte

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jun 13, 2016 5:24 pm

Anonymous User wrote:[quote="Anonymous User]
Not OP, but 4th year at BB/V&E will be around (and maybe over) $300k all-in comp after this base raise. You don't sound like you work at one of the market paying firms. OP is clearly talking about lateraling to firms in TX paying NY Market and Bonus. Plenty of people at those firms will be billing 2300+ but plenty of people won't. Plenty of people at NY V5s aren't billing over 2000 (as shown by the consternation Skadden caused by raising its bonus minimum).

Still, I probably wouldn't lateral to a new market as a third year with the goal of going in house after 2-3 more years. That said, if OP could do 4-5 more, I assume in house salaries in TX will be significantly higher than where OP is living now.[/quote]

quoted Anon from above. True, I'm not at market paying firm so maybe I'm missing out on some of the recent #'s. 4th year base is what, 235k now? So I guess market paying bonuses could get you to $300k+ for 4th year.

What's the bonus scale at V&E/BB now? I've read some above the law threads about mixed reactions

See http://abovethelaw.com/2016/01/associat ... t-bonuses/

and http://abovethelaw.com/2016/01/associat ... -in-texas/. Particularly quotes like "This was another year of very consistent banding: no bonus for under 2000 hours (unless you are a stub or first-year), one-third Cravath for 2000-2150, half Cravath for 2150-2300, and Cravath or Cravath-plus above 2300. This applies almost without exception. Many many associates missed target tiers, and many got no bonus at all. I’m a senior associate and got half-Cravath for 2200." in regards to V&E.

Obviously splitting hairs here because you'll still be making a ton (certainly more than the $170k all in that OP is making now). I just think it's a factor for OP to consider that hours and bonus aren't cut and dry here.

But I agree with your overall point too, probably shouldn't move if goal is to leave for in house in under 4 years.

Edit: Didn't see the response above mine until after post, so yes I agree with that.[/quote]


Quoted anon above: I think you need to clear 2300 at BB/V&E to get NY market bonus but around there and you'll be fine. If you're hitting 2100 as a fourth year though you'll get a heck of a lot more than 170k at either of those though (and I assume full market at all of the satellites). Even if OP gets no bonus at all they would still make a lot more than they do now. If you're at one of the TX satellites I would think you'll get market with 1900+ at least for a year or two. I didn't mean to come off critically. I think you make a good point that the bonuses aren't as guaranteed and OP might live in a lower COL location now (hidden cost in TX I would watch for is private school tuition). I just see this view on hours a lot among tx law students/associates - CSM associates routinely bill 2500+. Therefore, all associates at any NY v20, any v20 satellite, and all BB/V&E offices have to be billing 2300-2500 too. I don't think that this really the case. The year-over-year hours thread may be helpful for OP to gauge where the typical associate is hours wise at these types of firms.

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Re: Lateral From Midwest to Texas/Charlotte

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jun 14, 2016 10:53 am

Is 2,000 - 2,100 at the NYC satellites possible?



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