Help on Decision to Go In-House

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Help on Decision to Go In-House

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 15, 2016 3:01 pm

Hi all,

I have a tough decision to make soon. I am (as of this month) a second year corporate associate at a primary market (NYC/DC/Chi/LA) midlaw firm that pays around 115-135k to first years. It's bearable. The hours aren't insane, but the firm, like many others, encourages you to "check you emails often." Meaning, the culture is that no hour is ever fully your time. What really pissed me off recently was needing to do work almost right after a surgery procedure, even though the partner was fully aware of the procedure because we had a conversation about it before I took leave.

I'm sick of the culture of working at a law firm. I've been applying to in house positions for almost the entire time I've worked here because I've hated it from the beginning.

I finally had a breakthrough recently and got an offer from a small company for an in house role. The position only pays 80-90k. I would be doing similar work to what I'm doing now. It's a true 9-5 role, there's a 401k match, and I can't know for sure, but I just get the feeling that people are friendly and happy there.

The literal only thing holding me back is the pay. I have a long term SO who I plan on proposing to at some point in the next year or so. That means a ring, a wedding, a house, etc. I could live on 80k, but there'd be very little savings at the end of the day. My debt is about $105k now.

Would I be crazy to take the job? It checks every single box for me except pay. If anyone has been in a similar position, please feel free to share. Thanks!

FSK

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Re: Help on Decision to Go In-House

Postby FSK » Thu Sep 15, 2016 3:09 pm

Go. Live your life.
Last edited by FSK on Sat Jan 27, 2018 2:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Help on Decision to Go In-House

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 15, 2016 3:42 pm

in house bro here. I left after 3 years at a v10. I'd hold out for better. Seems like a VERY low-paying job. Big-/Mid-law sucks, always and forever, but you've got to do better for yourself (especially if this is NYC). I promise you there are inhouse jobs out there that will pay $150k+ but you gotta wait (and maybe consider lateralling to a better firm).

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star fox

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Re: Help on Decision to Go In-House

Postby star fox » Thu Sep 15, 2016 3:54 pm

Is the company offering some equity option on top?

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Re: Help on Decision to Go In-House

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 15, 2016 4:22 pm

OP here: No equity.

To the anon above, when you say better, do you mean less shitty culture, or do you mean higher ranked/more prestige or whatever? Because I'm pretty done with the latter unless there's some tangible reason I should subject myself to even worse working conditions.

The company has two other attorneys, the GC and another very young attorney (<2 years legal experience), so I am worried about opportunities for growth too.

legends159

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Re: Help on Decision to Go In-House

Postby legends159 » Thu Sep 15, 2016 5:08 pm

Hold out for more pay. That's very low pay for a primary market. Once you go in-house your pay increases are smaller and less frequent and if you hop around to different companies they'll peg you to what you earned previously.

Money isn't everything but if you could start at $125-140K it will make a world of difference for your career.

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Re: Help on Decision to Go In-House

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 15, 2016 6:09 pm

You sound like me couple years ago. I was in a regional biglaw firm (corporate associate) in a secondary city making around 100-120. I was desperate to leave as soon as possible. The firm I was at was pretty rough to associates.

I ended up waiting until I had about 2.5 years experience and I ended up getting an offer to go inhouse for $130~k + 25% bonus.

I started looking after around 1 year and I started to get interviews after 1.5 years. The first offer I got was actually for 80k a year. I nearly took that offer (now looking back, I am glad I didn't). I had an older mentor at a different firm that told me to stay for a better offer. Unless this is a tech startup (which it doesn't sound like it is) I woudln't take this job and I would either wait it out for another year or two or move to a bigger firm.

I never had a problem moving to a bigger firm. I started getting biglaw interviews after about 2 years experience and had two offers at V100 firms.

Bottom line is that I would either wait another 1-2 years at your firm or I would try to move up to a better firm.
If you want to position yourself for an early inhouse exit, you should see if you can more tech transactions work. Tech trans practice is basically what people do inhouse.

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Re: Help on Decision to Go In-House

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 16, 2016 5:38 pm

Thanks, I really appreciate everyone's input so far. Just wanted to see if anyone else had any further input before letting this thread die of natural causes?

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Re: Help on Decision to Go In-House

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 18, 2016 3:50 pm

I would definitely wait. Pay is low, opportunity for growth seems low and doesn't seem like it will be a big launching point for your career. In addition, it's hard to get a lot of training/feedback/mentoring in-house because people are too busy. Staying at a firm for a few years will let you save money, better develop your skills and let you land a better in-house gig.

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Re: Help on Decision to Go In-House

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 26, 2016 10:02 am

Thanks everyone. It was tough but I turned down their offer :( Here's to the next thing!

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nealric

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Re: Help on Decision to Go In-House

Postby nealric » Mon Sep 26, 2016 10:46 am

Anonymous User wrote:Thanks everyone. It was tough but I turned down their offer :( Here's to the next thing!


In house guy here:

I think the most important thing about going in-house is going to a company that is poised to do well. The smaller or less established the company, the bigger the risk you are taking, although you could also be looking at a high reward. A F500 company is going to be most like biglaw (and recruit from biglaw), small and mid-cap public companies will be like mid-law, smaller non-public companies (tech startups potentially excluded) are going to be more like working at a small firm.

When evaluating an in-house offer, pay is obviously going to be important, but you should understand the reason why the position pays what it does. Is that just market rate in your area? Is the company struggling? Is it an industry that tends not to pay well? Are you being put in a low-end role (i.e. low-level compliance or defending trip-and-fall type cases)? Also, keep in mind that pay is negotiable in-house- companies aren't lock step like most firms.

It's also important to look at benefits. In-house positions tend not to pay as much up front, but they are more likely to offer things like pensions, equity (not necessarily at signing), 401k matches, better health insurance, etc.



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