Which firm should I choose?

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Which firm should I choose?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Mar 15, 2017 11:45 am

I'm currently trying to decide between two very different firms in a major, west coast market. I like both of them a lot. I would be practicing the same type of law at either firm.

One firm is a mid-to-large national firm, with a wide variety of practices, AmLaw 200, about 20-30 minutes from where I live. It has a 2000 hour billable hour requirement, and would pay $160k starting. While the firm has about 50 attorneys in this market, the department I would be working in has 7-10 attorneys. I have several friends who work in the same area of town (though not at the same firm).

The other firm is very small (a "boutique"), with under 10 lawyers, about 1 min (seriously) from where I live. It has a 1850 billable hour requirement and is also $160k starting. I could walk to work, and they are very involved in the community I live in.

Both have similar benefits, vacation/sick/leave policies. The larger firm is working on larger projects, and would open more doors and opportunities down the line. It has a biglaw feel with nice, big law offices and resources. The smaller firm is working on smaller projects, but is more active in my community, seems a little more collegial, and is very close to where I live. My concern is that if for whatever reason I didn't love it at the small firm, coming from a small firm would make it harder to seek employment down the line.

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Re: Which firm should I choose?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Mar 15, 2017 11:49 am

Anonymous User wrote:I'm currently trying to decide between two very different firms in a major, west coast market. I like both of them a lot. I would be practicing the same type of law at either firm.

One firm is a mid-to-large national firm, with a wide variety of practices, AmLaw 200, about 20-30 minutes from where I live. It has a 2000 hour billable hour requirement, and would pay $160k starting. While the firm has about 50 attorneys in this market, the department I would be working in has 7-10 attorneys. I have several friends who work in the same area of town (though not at the same firm).

The other firm is very small (a "boutique"), with under 10 lawyers, about 1 min (seriously) from where I live. It has a 1850 billable hour requirement and is also $160k starting. I could walk to work, and they are very involved in the community I live in.

Both have similar benefits, vacation/sick/leave policies. The larger firm is working on larger projects, and would open more doors and opportunities down the line. It has a biglaw feel with nice, big law offices and resources. The smaller firm is working on smaller projects, but is more active in my community, seems a little more collegial, and is very close to where I live. My concern is that if for whatever reason I didn't love it at the small firm, coming from a small firm would make it harder to seek employment down the line.


Well, what do you do now? I think that would also impact your chances at lateraling later. Given the small firm's pay, my guess is they still do high end work, and that's something you can sell to a big firm later on (I've seen this done successfully).

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trebekismyhero

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Re: Which firm should I choose?

Postby trebekismyhero » Wed Mar 15, 2017 11:51 am

After the first year, do you know what the raises and bonuses are like at each firm?

I generally would argue going to the bigger firm because it is easier to lateral down than up, but if the smaller firm is more involved in your city and well known then that might not be an issue.

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Alt123

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Re: Which firm should I choose?

Postby Alt123 » Wed Mar 15, 2017 2:36 pm

You said west coast which makes me think California? If so... if you somehow obtained a magical unicorn job where you can go to work without spending half of your life in your car then I would consider that a miracle a huge QOL boost.

cll321

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Re: Which firm should I choose?

Postby cll321 » Thu Mar 16, 2017 4:15 pm

If you're looking to move relatively early in your career, the bigger firm/name will likely be much more helpful. But if you're thinking about staying put at the job for a while, that smaller firm sounds pretty damn nice. Plus, you'll get a lot more experience hands on early on. So that's not nothin'. If you're putting down roots and happy to stick around for while, definitely consider the smaller guy.

crit_racer

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Re: Which firm should I choose?

Postby crit_racer » Thu Mar 16, 2017 4:22 pm

Take the small firm, it sounds like that is what you want. TLS is infested with people who argue for taking the safe biglaw job but then come back a few years later talking about how miserable their lives are and asking for advice on how to get out. Don't be one of those people.

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Re: Which firm should I choose?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Mar 16, 2017 4:34 pm

Not-OP 2L, but it seems like the smaller firm, since it pays same and has less hours, is the way to go. Also, I'm sure the lawyers at the small firm have great connections in the city and therefore your exit ops (in-house for instance) are probably still very good at the smaller firm.

RaceJudicata

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Re: Which firm should I choose?

Postby RaceJudicata » Thu Mar 16, 2017 5:06 pm

8-10 lawyer firm making 160k sounds like an awesome gig. Will almost certainly get great experience.



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