How to lateral early from biglaw to tertiary market?

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How to lateral early from biglaw to tertiary market?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jan 29, 2017 10:19 pm

Background: graduated in 2016 from a T20, top 10% with LR. Currenlty a first year litigation associate at a V20 in a major market. My plan was to stick it out for a couple years in this market and then move back to the city where my wife and I are from. I wouldn't even describe it as a secondary market - there are no biglaw firms there. The largest law offices aren't much more than ~100 attorneys. The model is pretty much the opposite of biglaw - 5-8 partners per associate, low attrition, hours are humane, pay is dog shit. I'm barred in the state that the tertiary market is in.

Situation: My wife is miserable here and wants to move back home. I like my job and this city fine, but I'm not opposed to moving back whenever. I just have no idea if it's feasible to lateral even at the one-year mark. A lot of the firms seem light for my class year, but it's hard to tell. Financials aren't really a consideration - the biglaw money is nice, but we're liquid enough that the move won't break us.

Does anyone have any experience in this? Or just with midlaw firm economics generally as to whether there is much of a lateral market for junior associates? Any advice as to how to approach this? Maybe not even moving in the next few months, but sowing the seeds to ensure I can lateral as soon as possible. I realize this is super-specific and the answer is "it depends..." but I thought I'd give it a shot.

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Re: How to lateral early from biglaw to tertiary market?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jan 30, 2017 8:39 am

Anyone?

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Re: How to lateral early from biglaw to tertiary market?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jan 30, 2017 10:12 am

V-10 Mid-Level here. The short answer is yes, you won't have a problem lateraling if you work at your current firm for at least a year. Seen many people switch firms between year 1 and 2, some even before year 1 is done (don't recommend that). Finances are the obvious flag here, but that doesn't seem to be a concern. Just understand that if you do this move, it will be hard (although not impossible) to reverse if you change your mind and don't like the mid-law firm you land at.

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Re: How to lateral early from biglaw to tertiary market?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jan 30, 2017 10:18 am

Did a similar lateral myself in much <1 year of practice (except I was not barred in the tertiary market state)... not that i necessarily recommend the move, but hiring in the lateral market is largely need based, so timing is more a matter of circumstance than compared to in-house hiring, where it is much more a matter of must have 1, 2, 4, 6 years of practice etc.

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Re: How to lateral early from biglaw to tertiary market?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jan 30, 2017 1:33 pm

Wanted to second the need based nature of smaller firms. I too come from a very small market, and intend to go back home at some point. My city only has 2 law firms with more than 50 attorneys. I made connections at both firms and said I would be willing to come back home.

This past summer I got a call from a partner at one of the firms who told me they had an opening in my practice area. He told me it was mine if I wanted it, but if not, they were going to have to find someone else. He proceeded to explain that if they hired a lateral they likely would not have a need again for a couple years (unless someone left). I did not take the offer as the salary was under $70,000 and I still have too much in loans to pay back.



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