Lateral into Mid/BigLaw

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Lateral into Mid/BigLaw

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Mar 03, 2017 12:03 pm

T6 graduate, first year at an NYC boutique for a couple of months doing corporate (and a little bit of finance) work.
- Pros: good environment, good relationship with partners, substantive work trusted on me (drafting, communications), good hours, direct client contact
- Cons: pays well below market (although partner promised to renegotiate in April), no benefits, no systematic training

Reasons why want to lateral: 1) salary, 2) want mid/big law on my resume for future career development, 3) want bigger deal size

Questions:
- Some people told me that jumping ship within a year looks bad on the resume. When is a good time to start actively seeking opportunities?
- How valuable will this experience be viewed by mid/big law?
- What's the best strategy to lateral?

Appreciate your thoughts. Thanks a ton.

Anonymous User
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Re: Lateral into Mid/BigLaw

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Mar 03, 2017 12:14 pm

I honestly don't think its bad to start looking if you want to move. Sure, it doesn't look good on a resume to ever stay some where less than a year, but if someone is willing to hire you, then who cares? I would reach out to friends at firms you are targeting and see if they can refer you, if you went to a top school, you must have lots of friends working in NYC biglaw. Also, your experience is good and will be a great talking point in interviews so don't worth about that.

Lastly, how below market are you? You say you get no benefits, does that include no 401K or health insurance? Just asking because if you have a good thing going and like it there, then maybe its not worth lateraling over where your hours will be significantly worse just for a prestige and pay bump. What are your goals? In-house? If in-house then the biglaw name can help, but if you get a lot of client contact at your current firm, that could even be more beneficial.

RaceJudicata

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Re: Lateral into Mid/BigLaw

Postby RaceJudicata » Fri Mar 03, 2017 12:15 pm

To be fair, it sounds like you are getting infinitely more valuable experience at the boutique than you would at a large firm. Large deal size = less substantive responsibility.

I get the pay gap and "prestige" issues, but it sounds like you have a pretty solid gig. If I may, what is the gap b/w your salary and the market?

Anonymous User
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Re: Lateral into Mid/BigLaw

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Mar 03, 2017 3:57 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I honestly don't think its bad to start looking if you want to move. Sure, it doesn't look good on a resume to ever stay some where less than a year, but if someone is willing to hire you, then who cares? I would reach out to friends at firms you are targeting and see if they can refer you, if you went to a top school, you must have lots of friends working in NYC biglaw. Also, your experience is good and will be a great talking point in interviews so don't worth about that.

Lastly, how below market are you? You say you get no benefits, does that include no 401K or health insurance? Just asking because if you have a good thing going and like it there, then maybe its not worth lateraling over where your hours will be significantly worse just for a prestige and pay bump. What are your goals? In-house? If in-house then the biglaw name can help, but if you get a lot of client contact at your current firm, that could even be more beneficial.


OP here. Thanks for the opinion.

No 401K, no firm contribution to health insurance. Don't wanna disclose too much re salary so lets just say by NYC standard, I barely break even every month (no loan). If I really try, I can probably save a couple hundred bucks.

Goal is mid/big law --> in-house. I agree, and this is why (plus money, family needs it) I am thinking about lateraling.

1styearlateral

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Re: Lateral into Mid/BigLaw

Postby 1styearlateral » Fri Mar 03, 2017 5:44 pm

Anonymous User wrote:by NYC standard, I barely break even every month (no loan). If I really try, I can probably save a couple hundred bucks.

Damn, that really does suck. Are you living in the city?

Anyway, IME it's hard to lateral to midlaw from something smaller than midlaw,* mainly because the 3-4 year biglaw attorneys are jumping ship for those openings. Plus, midlaw firms are looking for biglaw experience (and hours) at lower salaries. Even though on paper (via resume) you are a fantastic candidate, your non-biglaw experience will be looked down upon here in the city. You'd probably be better off with shitty grades but already in biglaw than with stellar grades but no biglaw experience. Sucks, but that's the reality. Maybe someone else will chime in and say otherwise, but that's the feeling I have from being in a similar position as you.

I think the play is to stay at your boutique, get as much substantive experience as possible, network every chance you get, and really just blow your area of the law out of the water. When you work long enough with the same players and get your name on enough signature pages, you'll have enough clout to get an offer from a colleague at another firm when an opening pops up.

I'm subscribing to this thread because I'm in a similar (if not worse) situation than OP.

*or boutique experience in a niche area.

Anonymous User
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Re: Lateral into Mid/BigLaw

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Mar 04, 2017 7:03 am

I was in a similar position recently but received a substantial raise and decided to stay. It's hard to know because these positions seem to be rare and there isn't much TLS chatter, but it wouldn't surprise me if our salary growth is much higher than average our first year or two. Small firms can't absorb the cost of juniors as well so they want us to prove ourselves, etc. would be the thinking.

April isn't far away. Hoping it brings you good news!

RaceJudicata

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Re: Lateral into Mid/BigLaw

Postby RaceJudicata » Sat Mar 04, 2017 10:20 am

Anonymous User wrote:I was in a similar position recently but received a substantial raise and decided to stay. It's hard to know because these positions seem to be rare and there isn't much TLS chatter, but it wouldn't surprise me if our salary growth is much higher than average our first year or two. Small firms can't absorb the cost of juniors as well so they want us to prove ourselves, etc. would be the thinking.

April isn't far away. Hoping it brings you good news!


Adding to this post -- I'd definitely hold out until April to see if the increase is substantial (or enough to justify staying).



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