Clerkships and biglaw lifespan?

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Clerkships and biglaw lifespan?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 25, 2016 10:20 pm

I recently graduated law school and am doing two clerkships. I have a good (not sticker/crazy) amount of debt and am hoping to work in biglaw for a few years afterwards. I have heard people say that the best time to move on from your biglaw gig is between your third year and your fifth year. This might be a stupid question but does that mean that, for people who clerk 2 years and enter with 2 years' class credit, you really only have between 1 and 3 years to work in biglaw before doors start closing? Just trying to figure out how long I can safely assume I have to get my financial house in order.

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rpupkin

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Re: Clerkships and biglaw lifespan?

Postby rpupkin » Sun Sep 25, 2016 10:27 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I recently graduated law school and am doing two clerkships. I have a good (not sticker/crazy) amount of debt and am hoping to work in biglaw for a few years afterwards. I have heard people say that the best time to move on from your biglaw gig is between your third year and your fifth year.

Are you sure you're hearing people correctly? I think the conventional wisdom is that the best time to lateral to another big law firm is between your third and fifth year. But if you're thinking of other exit options (e.g., government, in-house lit, small firms), I don't think the "third to fifth year" thing really applies.

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Re: Clerkships and biglaw lifespan?

Postby sublime » Sun Sep 25, 2016 10:42 pm

rpupkin wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I recently graduated law school and am doing two clerkships. I have a good (not sticker/crazy) amount of debt and am hoping to work in biglaw for a few years afterwards. I have heard people say that the best time to move on from your biglaw gig is between your third year and your fifth year.

Are you sure you're hearing people correctly? I think the conventional wisdom is that the best time to lateral to another big law firm is between your third and fifth year. But if you're thinking of other exit options (e.g., government, in-house lit, small firms), I don't think the "third to fifth year" thing really applies.



In your experience have you seen a sweet spot for those or Is more experience typically better?

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rpupkin

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Re: Clerkships and biglaw lifespan?

Postby rpupkin » Sun Sep 25, 2016 10:48 pm

sublime wrote:
rpupkin wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I recently graduated law school and am doing two clerkships. I have a good (not sticker/crazy) amount of debt and am hoping to work in biglaw for a few years afterwards. I have heard people say that the best time to move on from your biglaw gig is between your third year and your fifth year.

Are you sure you're hearing people correctly? I think the conventional wisdom is that the best time to lateral to another big law firm is between your third and fifth year. But if you're thinking of other exit options (e.g., government, in-house lit, small firms), I don't think the "third to fifth year" thing really applies.



In your experience have you seen a sweet spot for those or Is more experience typically better?

For in-house lit, more experience is definitely better. For government, it probably depends on the agency and what they're looking for, but I'd say that generally more experience is better. For small firms, it can vary based on need—occasionally, a firm will look specifically for someone more junior who they can pay less—but, overall, more experience is better.

Big law is unique because of its "up and out" model. It doesn't make much sense to hire a seventh-year associate who the firm will force out after 12-to-18 months. But most other legal employers don't function like that, so more experience is typically better.
Last edited by rpupkin on Sun Sep 25, 2016 10:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Clerkships and biglaw lifespan?

Postby WhiskeyAndCupcakes » Sun Sep 25, 2016 10:48 pm

.
Last edited by WhiskeyAndCupcakes on Wed Jan 11, 2017 2:14 am, edited 1 time in total.

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sublime

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Re: Clerkships and biglaw lifespan?

Postby sublime » Sun Sep 25, 2016 10:51 pm

rpupkin wrote:
sublime wrote:
rpupkin wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I recently graduated law school and am doing two clerkships. I have a good (not sticker/crazy) amount of debt and am hoping to work in biglaw for a few years afterwards. I have heard people say that the best time to move on from your biglaw gig is between your third year and your fifth year.

Are you sure you're hearing people correctly? I think the conventional wisdom is that the best time to lateral to another big law firm is between your third and fifth year. But if you're thinking of other exit options (e.g., government, in-house lit, small firms), I don't think the "third to fifth year" thing really applies.



In your experience have you seen a sweet spot for those or Is more experience typically better?

For in-house lit, more experience is definitely better. For government, it probably depends on the agency and what they're looking for, but I'd say that generally more experience is better. For small firms, it can vary based on need—occasionally, a firm will look specifically for someone more junior who they can pay less—but, overall, more experience is better.

Big law is unique because of its "up and out" model. It doesn't make much sense to hire a seventh-year associate who the firm will force out after 12-to-18 months. But most other legal employers don't function like that, so more experience is typically better.


Thanks for the info, as always man.

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Re: Clerkships and biglaw lifespan?

Postby rpupkin » Sun Sep 25, 2016 10:54 pm

WhiskeyAndCupcakes wrote:Tag.

I've heard the same time-frame (3-5 years) as a good exiting point for fedgov, but I think that assumes people want to take the revolving door back into biglaw after a few years in the government.

And there's another factor at play here: the more senior you are in big law, the bigger the relative pay cut when you go into government. If, as a big law associate, you've settled into a lifestyle that depends on your big law salary, it's more painful to lateral into a low-six-figure government salary as a seventh-year (who is making around $400k in base + bonus) than as a third-year (who is making around $250K).

But would a government agency actually punish an otherwise interested candidate just because he or she has seven years (versus three years) of experience? I don't think so—in general, I think the additional experience would help—but I encourage government attorneys to weigh in here.

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A. Nony Mouse

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Re: Clerkships and biglaw lifespan?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sun Sep 25, 2016 11:10 pm

Yeah, I don't think you age out of government work the way you do out of biglaw work, for the reason rpup gave - there's no up-or-out artificially shortening your time in government. I also think (though this may vary by agency/role) that in many agencies the hierarchy is relatively flat, in that you don't have juniors/midlevels/sr associates/partners, and class year is irrelevant - it's your experience that matters.

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sublime

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Re: Clerkships and biglaw lifespan?

Postby sublime » Sun Sep 25, 2016 11:19 pm

Cool, thanks Nony.

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Re: Clerkships and biglaw lifespan?

Postby WhiskeyAndCupcakes » Mon Sep 26, 2016 12:49 pm

.



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