Staff attorney position w/ large firm

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Staff attorney position w/ large firm

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Aug 09, 2016 5:21 pm

I am 2016 grad and I have an upcoming interview for a staff attorney position with a large firm. I do not know any details on salary yet, other than it is a permanent attorney position with benefits. Cost of living is not high, so I am not worried too much about salary anyway. I am more curious as to what the potential options would be down the road. I know it is highly unlikely to be converted from staff attorney to associate, however I was wondering if it is a good way to get a few years experience and try to then transfer somewhere else. The work would be in the practice area which I want to be in, and as a recent grad without a job, I do not feel I can afford to be too picky. Any insight as to prospects down the road would be appreciated.

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kalvano

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Re: Staff attorney position w/ large firm

Postby kalvano » Wed Aug 10, 2016 12:14 am

I did this. It definitely wasn't bad, and it did lead to an associate position for the other person that started with me (I left for a different job). You can PM me details if you want, but it's very firm-dependent on what you'll do and how it goes. At the firm I was at, you were basically treated like any other associate, you just worked solely for one partner instead of a particular department. Salary was less, but not bad, and hours requirements were much more nebulous.

Really, the main drawback is that you're much more expendable than an associate if the work dries up. However, if this is the only thing you've got, I certainly wouldn't turn it down. You'll want to keep looking a bit so you don't get stuck in a rut or spend too long as a staff attorney, but it's certainly not a bad option to have.

gaddockteeg

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Re: Staff attorney position w/ large firm

Postby gaddockteeg » Wed Aug 10, 2016 10:17 am

Not a bad gig at all. My v20 firm pays our staff attorneys between 100k and 135k. Don't want to out the firm so giving a range.

Staff attorneys get promoted to associate often enough (maybe 1/3 of them) and we regularly lose staff attorneys to other v100 firms who make them associates. One staff attorney of 2 years just left to a v100 and was started as a third year associate.

the key is specialize if you can. It's hard to be picky about the type of doc review you get to do - but try. also do pro bono as an opportunity to get better experience and to develop closer relationships with higher ups.

omar1

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Re: Staff attorney position w/ large firm

Postby omar1 » Wed Aug 10, 2016 10:24 am

Question- how does one come upon such positions? Mass mailing? Ads? Networking? Curious. How does the pay compare to an associate's pay? I know it's less, but how much less? Thanks

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kalvano

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Re: Staff attorney position w/ large firm

Postby kalvano » Wed Aug 10, 2016 10:36 am

omar1 wrote:Question- how does one come upon such positions? Mass mailing? Ads? Networking? Curious. How does the pay compare to an associate's pay? I know it's less, but how much less? Thanks


My position was listed on my school's Symplicty site. The pay varies by firm - what my firm paid won't be what another firm pays, because the whole purpose of a "staff attorney" is to have a sort of grey-area attorney position that can mean whatever they want it to mean.

1styearlateral

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Re: Staff attorney position w/ large firm

Postby 1styearlateral » Wed Aug 10, 2016 1:55 pm

Out of curiosity, for someone applying for an associate position, is it worth mentioning (in a cover letter or initial contact) that you would be willing to consider a staff attorney/discovery attorney in the alternative? What about reduced salary (i.e., straight-up reduced or giving up a class year or two)? Are these common tactics to get into a firm or do they just come off as desperate?

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Re: Staff attorney position w/ large firm

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 10, 2016 3:55 pm

at my v10, I was close to a bunch of the staff attorneys. none were ever promoted to associate and one was laid off last year. I know they have been gunning to be an associate at my firm and others, but no luck. based on my limited sample, I would be the odds are way less than 1/3.

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Re: Staff attorney position w/ large firm

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 10, 2016 4:24 pm

I am in a similar situation. Also have an interview coming up for a staff atty position. I really like the practice group, but I am very concerned about being able to get "promoted" to an associate level. My situation is pretty dire, so I can't be picky. I have heard very mixed information about staff attorneys. Some people say that there is no way you get "promoted" to an associate at this firm, and there are some people who say otherwise. Really interested in hearing other people's opinions/thoughts on that.

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kalvano

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Re: Staff attorney position w/ large firm

Postby kalvano » Wed Aug 10, 2016 4:32 pm

The reason you hear different things is because what happens at one firm is completely irrelevant to what happens at another. Firms treat staff attorneys differently on a firm by firm basis and you can't compare what happens at V10 to what happens at V11.



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