Seeking Advice re: Lateral Negotiating

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Seeking Advice re: Lateral Negotiating

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jul 14, 2016 1:40 am

Hi all,

It's been a few years since I've been on TLS, but I'm back seeking advice from people who have experience with making a lateral move. I'm currently working as an associate with a regional firm (NLJ250) in a secondary market but looking to make a move back to my home market (secondary/tertiary). I've been fortunate enough to get an offer from one of the bigger firms in town (AMLAW200) and I'm pretty confident that I'm going to take the offer. But I came here to see if anyone would be kind enough to impart wisdom regarding negotiating compensation (offer is close to market but not quite market) and relocation expenses. I imagine the latter is probably par for the course for most V100 firms but keep in mind this is a smaller market (think Indy, Cleveland, etc.), so I'm not quite sure. Is there a tactful way to discuss both? Would this be a conversation with the practice group leader or the recruiting coordinator?

Thanks for the help.

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Toni V

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Re: Seeking Advice re: Lateral Negotiating

Postby Toni V » Thu Jul 14, 2016 2:26 am

My experience has been that they have it all written up before you actually meet; they pay your bar and Barbri, moving, and then outline the salary based on you being an “x” year. (Of course, it is not an official offer until the conflict process is concluded).

I never have been in a face-to-face negotiation where someone actually asked how much I wanted, but if others have, I too would love to hear about it.

Magic Hat

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Re: Seeking Advice re: Lateral Negotiating

Postby Magic Hat » Thu Jul 14, 2016 5:02 am

I would take it up with the recruiting contact. It might just be me but I do not like to take up the nitty gritty details that might rub people the wrong way with my prospective boss. Of course the partner in charge of the group will hear about it and ultimately make the call but it avoids the awkward situation of him/her saying no to one of your requests before you've even started. Ultimately it will come down to a decision of some combination of the managing partner of the firm, the hiring partner/associate compensation partner and your practice group leader. Putting an administrative drone between you is a smart move so the people you will eventually work for and report to won't feel awkward/view you as an entitled asshole. I could be wrong but when I was in a similar situation I negotiated my salary with my practice group leader and all of the other benefits/perks with the HR department.

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Re: Seeking Advice re: Lateral Negotiating

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jul 14, 2016 11:12 am

(Not OP)

Can I piggy back on this and ask whether anyone knows whether it is on the table or standard for a new firm to pay a full class-year bonus at the end of the year to laterals who joined mid-year? Or is it commonly accepted that taking a pro-ration is just how it works?

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Toni V

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Re: Seeking Advice re: Lateral Negotiating

Postby Toni V » Thu Jul 14, 2016 1:21 pm

Anecdotal from a Recent lateral. Bonus will be prorated at the new firm with zero bonus expectation from the old firm even with 1000 hours of billing (from the first half of the year).

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Re: Seeking Advice re: Lateral Negotiating

Postby WhiteCollarBlueShirt » Thu Jul 14, 2016 1:32 pm

Anonymous User wrote:(Not OP)

Can I piggy back on this and ask whether anyone knows whether it is on the table or standard for a new firm to pay a full class-year bonus at the end of the year to laterals who joined mid-year? Or is it commonly accepted that taking a pro-ration is just how it works?


It's a mixed bag, plenty of Am Law 100 firms will guarantee a full class-year bonus. I lateraled from a firm that does that to a regional Am Law 200 that will pay a signing bonus, but no year end bonus without hours (but open to negotiation, so I would not be surprised if it's different for different people).

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Re: Seeking Advice re: Lateral Negotiating

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jul 14, 2016 1:41 pm

Also would like to piggyback if possible: if a national firm (also AmLaw 200) that generally offers the salaries to all associates depending on class year asks you for your current salary during interview process, is there a chance they might be trying to adjust their normal salary downwards when giving an offer? In this situation, lets assume the potential lateral is making significantly less than the firm's usual salary for associate (think transitioning from small law to biglaw).

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Re: Seeking Advice re: Lateral Negotiating

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jul 14, 2016 11:03 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Also would like to piggyback if possible: if a national firm (also AmLaw 200) that generally offers the salaries to all associates depending on class year asks you for your current salary during interview process, is there a chance they might be trying to adjust their normal salary downwards when giving an offer? In this situation, lets assume the potential lateral is making significantly less than the firm's usual salary for associate (think transitioning from small law to biglaw).


I've seen firms request that you drop 1-2 class years of your current comp is much lower than theirs for that class year.

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Re: Seeking Advice re: Lateral Negotiating

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jul 15, 2016 11:05 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Also would like to piggyback if possible: if a national firm (also AmLaw 200) that generally offers the salaries to all associates depending on class year asks you for your current salary during interview process, is there a chance they might be trying to adjust their normal salary downwards when giving an offer? In this situation, lets assume the potential lateral is making significantly less than the firm's usual salary for associate (think transitioning from small law to biglaw).


I've seen firms request that you drop 1-2 class years of your current comp is much lower than theirs for that class year.


Other than dropping you a class year or two, have you heard of any firms offering below their normal market for an "x year" associate?

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Re: Seeking Advice re: Lateral Negotiating

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jul 15, 2016 11:12 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Also would like to piggyback if possible: if a national firm (also AmLaw 200) that generally offers the salaries to all associates depending on class year asks you for your current salary during interview process, is there a chance they might be trying to adjust their normal salary downwards when giving an offer? In this situation, lets assume the potential lateral is making significantly less than the firm's usual salary for associate (think transitioning from small law to biglaw).


I've seen firms request that you drop 1-2 class years of your current comp is much lower than theirs for that class year.


Other than dropping you a class year or two, have you heard of any firms offering below their normal market for an "x year" associate?


No, but I'm in NYC so that could be market specific. Not all that rare to be dropped a class year or two if you switch practice groups or go from small/mid law to biglaw though.



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