Fired 2nd Year BigLaw Associate - Help

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Fired 2nd Year BigLaw Associate - Help

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Apr 06, 2017 10:42 am

So I was fired from a v10 and given severance (I have about 2 months left).

My resume is strong, but I am very junior and I am having trouble finding an offer after about a month of looking. I am targeting both NYC and CA markets.

I haven't used a recruiter yet, though I have spoken with a few. Do I resort to using one now? Do I tell them I have been fired or does that make me untouchable?

I realize lateral hiring, especially at this level, comes down to timing more than anything else so I am considering asking my firm for more website time beyond my severance period.

Any help is appreciated.

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Re: Fired 2nd Year BigLaw Associate - Help

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Apr 06, 2017 10:56 am

Anonymous User wrote:So I was fired from a v10 and given severance (I have about 2 months left).

My resume is strong, but I am very junior and I am having trouble finding an offer after about a month of looking. I am targeting both NYC and CA markets.

I haven't used a recruiter yet, though I have spoken with a few. Do I resort to using one now? Do I tell them I have been fired or does that make me untouchable?

I realize lateral hiring, especially at this level, comes down to timing more than anything else so I am considering asking my firm for more website time beyond my severance period.

Any help is appreciated.


I think the thread with the v10 hiring partner addressed this issue at some point. If you were laid off for economic reasons (were you? I don't know), it's best to be forthright about this at interviews. Which means, it's best to be forthright about this to a recruiter as well since anything you say at an interview could get back to your recruiter.

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Re: Fired 2nd Year BigLaw Associate - Help

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Apr 06, 2017 10:57 am

Anonymous User wrote:So I was fired from a v10 and given severance (I have about 2 months left).

My resume is strong, but I am very junior and I am having trouble finding an offer after about a month of looking. I am targeting both NYC and CA markets.

I haven't used a recruiter yet, though I have spoken with a few. Do I resort to using one now? Do I tell them I have been fired or does that make me untouchable?

I realize lateral hiring, especially at this level, comes down to timing more than anything else so I am considering asking my firm for more website time beyond my severance period.

Any help is appreciated.


This is what I would do:

1. Come up with a great story as to why you are leaving your firm. For firms in different markets, the reason can be simple ("I want to move"). For firms in the same market, it will be harder, but try to figure out if there are other practice groups you would like or if there is something different about the firm (a good one is that V10s use juniors to do very menial work, you may want more responsibility). Just make it sound plausible and sell it well.

2. Hit up friends at firms in every market you are targeting and get them to refer you to the group you want to join.

3. Get a recruiter now and have them start applying to firms for you. Make sure you get to give the "go ahead" for each firm that they apply to for you, that way there is no overlap between referrals and recruiter apps.

4. Network - meet with partners/associates at firms in markets you are looking at over coffee and lunch.

Just keep hustling, you'll be fine. Also, may want to look at smaller./mid-sized firms and sell it as you want a different experience. You may make less money, but could end up with better QOL and more substantive responsibility.

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Re: Fired 2nd Year BigLaw Associate - Help

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Apr 06, 2017 11:05 am

I would say don't overlook small to medium sized firms. The problem with your situation now is that to lateral into another biglaw firm, it could take forever (interviews, callbacks, conflicts checks, background checks). It's likely to take more than 2 months to be honest with you. However, there's much less bureaucracy in a small firm, which could make your transition faster... you wouldn't have to deal with a gap in your resume/risk being unemployed. I believe recruiters don't work with people who are unemployed, but someone correct me if I'm wrong.

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Re: Fired 2nd Year BigLaw Associate - Help

Postby umichman » Thu Apr 06, 2017 11:49 am

Which group?

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smokeylarue
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Re: Fired 2nd Year BigLaw Associate - Help

Postby smokeylarue » Thu Apr 06, 2017 12:04 pm

Being let go this early is really rare.... what was the reason if you don't mind answering?

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Re: Fired 2nd Year BigLaw Associate - Help

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Apr 06, 2017 12:18 pm

smokeylarue wrote:Being let go this early is really rare.... what was the reason if you don't mind answering?


OP here - can't say I was really given a real reason. Combination of work to go around and mediocre reviews.

Can anyone confirm the above post about working with recruiters + unemployment?

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Re: Fired 2nd Year BigLaw Associate - Help

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Apr 06, 2017 12:18 pm

smokeylarue wrote:Being let go this early is really rare.... what was the reason if you don't mind answering?


It gets repeated a lot around here that you can make it to year 3 or 4 without much scrutiny, but it isn't close to being universally true. Some biglaw firms put people on the chopping block as early as the end of their first year.

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Re: Fired 2nd Year BigLaw Associate - Help

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Apr 06, 2017 12:39 pm

This happened to me too recently! I recommend talking to your law school career counselor; mine has been very helpful.

JackofLit
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Re: Fired 2nd Year BigLaw Associate - Help

Postby JackofLit » Thu Apr 06, 2017 1:03 pm

Hard to see this now, but it is a bit of an advantage for you that this happened early in your career. The key is to break your fall. Doesn't really matter where or how. Small firm, mid-sized firm, local government, state government, whatever. Find a niche and build a reputation for excellence. The rest will come and in 5-10 years this will be a humorous story.

Get the best thing you can, but get something. You can always trade up in a year or two.

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Re: Fired 2nd Year BigLaw Associate - Help

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Apr 06, 2017 2:14 pm

JackofLit wrote:Hard to see this now, but it is a bit of an advantage for you that this happened early in your career. The key is to break your fall. Doesn't really matter where or how. Small firm, mid-sized firm, local government, state government, whatever. Find a niche and build a reputation for excellence. The rest will come and in 5-10 years this will be a humorous story.

Get the best thing you can, but get something. You can always trade up in a year or two.


Thanks, I was unhappy with my practice group at my firm so I am OK with starting over in a new group/at a new firm...just have to find something before I am unemployed.

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Re: Fired 2nd Year BigLaw Associate - Help

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Apr 06, 2017 2:36 pm

I have a couple buddies that lateraled to another NYC Biglaw firms at the end of their first year (end of 2016), so it's definitely possible. They both did Finance work for what it's worth.

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Re: Fired 2nd Year BigLaw Associate - Help

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Apr 06, 2017 3:26 pm

Can anyone speak to the earlier question re: informing recruiters of my employment status?

My intention is to switch practice groups, but as the clock ticks I would have to consider staying in my current group just to land on my feet at another job.

Curious how to approach this with a recruiter

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Re: Fired 2nd Year BigLaw Associate - Help

Postby rpupkin » Thu Apr 06, 2017 3:35 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
smokeylarue wrote:Being let go this early is really rare.... what was the reason if you don't mind answering?


It gets repeated a lot around here that you can make it to year 3 or 4 without much scrutiny, but it isn't close to being universally true. Some biglaw firms put people on the chopping block as early as the end of their first year.

This is correct. Also, associates get fired all the time without other associates realizing that the associate was fired. In general, it's in the interest of the partnership and the associate not to disclose that the associate was asked to leave. When you hear that a junior associate is lateraling to another firm because they wanted to change practice groups/geographic location/whatever, there's always a decent chance that the firm "encouraged" the associate to explore other opportunities. That's generally how firings happen in big law.

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Re: Fired 2nd Year BigLaw Associate - Help

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Apr 06, 2017 3:35 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Can anyone speak to the earlier question re: informing recruiters of my employment status?

My intention is to switch practice groups, but as the clock ticks I would have to consider staying in my current group just to land on my feet at another job.

Curious how to approach this with a recruiter


If your goal is switching practice groups, you'll have a hard time doing that through a recruiter.

A recruiter gets a commission of ~25% of your salary once they place you. As a 1st/2nd yr associate, that's $180k*0.25 = $45k at least. A firm will only pay that kind of money for a lateral candidate with a skill set they need (that's why you're most marketable around years 3-5: you've got good skill sets, and you're not senior enough that you're deeply entrenched in another firm's ways or are too too expensive). It's very unlikely imo for a firm to pay a $45k+ recruiter fee for someone without the skills they're looking for.

Honestly, with the time ticking the way it is, I'd try everything: recruiter, direct applying, and networking. With a recruiter though, be very clear they cannot send your resume anywhere without your authorization. Once they send your resume somewhere, you're "locked in" through them for 6 months (meaning, even if you approach them yourself 3 months later, the recruiter is still entitled to their commission). Thus, they could quickly shut many doors for you if they're the kind of unscrupulous recruiter that just wallpapers your resume across town.

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Re: Fired 2nd Year BigLaw Associate - Help

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Apr 06, 2017 7:32 pm

Junior associate here in a similar situation. OP, your TOP priority is to get that website presence for as long as possible. Offer to take an unpaid leave of absence or do whatever it takes. Be nice to your firm's transition manager.

The most efficient way to get interviews in my experience is to ask alumni to pass along your resume. I kept in touch with a few recruiters just to get updated on open positions, but their information was not always accurate.

Your credential will get you multiple interviews with big firms. But keep in mind that you are also competing with candidates from different class years who might have more relevant experience. I once interviewed with a big firm, group co-head loved me and turned our informational interview into a call-back. Unfortunately, they hired someone with 1 more year experience. Later I reached out for feedback, the co-head partner simply said if it was up to him, it might have been a different result. This partner also told me the call-back to offer ratio is roughly 4:1 for mid-level laterals, and 8:1 for juniors.

Less prestigious firms (regional firms, amlaw100, etc.) with burned out V10 partners seem to be easier targets for vault firm associates, so don't ignore this segment. Most of these firms have the old Cravath salary with lower billable requirement, which I think could be a good option if you don't hate practicing law.

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Re: Fired 2nd Year BigLaw Associate - Help

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Apr 06, 2017 8:30 pm

I lateraled after my second year. I think it depends in regards to how long the interview process took. The range in how long it takes to lateral varies greatly. I ended up getting two offers. Both offers took less than 3 weeks after application (phone interview, callback and then job offer). I think the reason why was because there was an immediate need. Keep in mind both firms were just outside the V100. My friend had a different experience, his lateral process took 3 months from application to offer. I think the moral of the story is that it really varies. The good news is that the job market is still pretty decent and unemployment is relatively low.

I don't know if I would actually use a recruiter. I've actually had the most luck by just applying online. Think about it, why would someone hire someone with 1 year experience and pay 30-40k?

I agree with the above poster. You should ask for another 3 months on your firm's website. That is much more important than any "severance money." I would give up severance money for another 3 extra months of firm profile time.

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Re: Fired 2nd Year BigLaw Associate - Help

Postby proleteriate » Thu Apr 06, 2017 8:35 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I lateraled after my second year. I think it depends in regards to how long the interview process took. The range in how long it takes to lateral varies greatly. I ended up getting two offers. Both offers took less than 3 weeks after application (phone interview, callback and then job offer). I think the reason why was because there was an immediate need. Keep in mind both firms were just outside the V100. My friend had a different experience, his lateral process took 3 months from application to offer. I think the moral of the story is that it really varies. The good news is that the job market is still pretty decent and unemployment is relatively low.

I don't know if I would actually use a recruiter. I've actually had the most luck by just applying online. Think about it, why would someone hire someone with 1 year experience and pay 30-40k?

I agree with the above poster. You should ask for another 3 months on your firm's website. That is much more important than any "severance money." I would give up severance money for another 3 extra months of firm profile time.


how did you hear of these openings? mass email or someone in your network?

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Re: Fired 2nd Year BigLaw Associate - Help

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Apr 12, 2017 7:11 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Junior associate here in a similar situation. OP, your TOP priority is to get that website presence for as long as possible. Offer to take an unpaid leave of absence or do whatever it takes. Be nice to your firm's transition manager.

The most efficient way to get interviews in my experience is to ask alumni to pass along your resume. I kept in touch with a few recruiters just to get updated on open positions, but their information was not always accurate.

Your credential will get you multiple interviews with big firms. But keep in mind that you are also competing with candidates from different class years who might have more relevant experience. I once interviewed with a big firm, group co-head loved me and turned our informational interview into a call-back. Unfortunately, they hired someone with 1 more year experience. Later I reached out for feedback, the co-head partner simply said if it was up to him, it might have been a different result. This partner also told me the call-back to offer ratio is roughly 4:1 for mid-level laterals, and 8:1 for juniors.

Less prestigious firms (regional firms, amlaw100, etc.) with burned out V10 partners seem to be easier targets for vault firm associates, so don't ignore this segment. Most of these firms have the old Cravath salary with lower billable requirement, which I think could be a good option if you don't hate practicing law.


To provide an update on my suggestions here. OP if you apply through networking/referral and don't get an interview/offer, it'll be harder to follow up in the future when the firms have new openings. One upside of using good recruiters is they don't necessarily need to identify you in the process, so you get as few rejections as possible. As a result, it's easier to follow up on firms when new/better openings come up. Some seasoned recruiters also seem to be able to work behind the doors to "dig" openings for you. Just something to think about.

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Re: Fired 2nd Year BigLaw Associate - Help

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Apr 13, 2017 9:42 am

proleteriate wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I lateraled after my second year. I think it depends in regards to how long the interview process took. The range in how long it takes to lateral varies greatly. I ended up getting two offers. Both offers took less than 3 weeks after application (phone interview, callback and then job offer). I think the reason why was because there was an immediate need. Keep in mind both firms were just outside the V100. My friend had a different experience, his lateral process took 3 months from application to offer. I think the moral of the story is that it really varies. The good news is that the job market is still pretty decent and unemployment is relatively low.

I don't know if I would actually use a recruiter. I've actually had the most luck by just applying online. Think about it, why would someone hire someone with 1 year experience and pay 30-40k?

I agree with the above poster. You should ask for another 3 months on your firm's website. That is much more important than any "severance money." I would give up severance money for another 3 extra months of firm profile time.


how did you hear of these openings? mass email or someone in your network?


I looked online on linkedin and other job sources.

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Re: Fired 2nd Year BigLaw Associate - Help

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Apr 15, 2017 12:34 pm

I'm in the same boat as you. Unfortunately, I only got one month of website time. I'm not sure how to handle it.

LurkerTurnedMember
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Re: Fired 2nd Year BigLaw Associate - Help

Postby LurkerTurnedMember » Sat Apr 15, 2017 9:03 pm

rpupkin wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
smokeylarue wrote:Being let go this early is really rare.... what was the reason if you don't mind answering?


It gets repeated a lot around here that you can make it to year 3 or 4 without much scrutiny, but it isn't close to being universally true. Some biglaw firms put people on the chopping block as early as the end of their first year.

This is correct. Also, associates get fired all the time without other associates realizing that the associate was fired. In general, it's in the interest of the partnership and the associate not to disclose that the associate was asked to leave. When you hear that a junior associate is lateraling to another firm because they wanted to change practice groups/geographic location/whatever, there's always a decent chance that the firm "encouraged" the associate to explore other opportunities. That's generally how firings happen in big law.


I remember way back when I summered for a big firm and a lawyer in my group just disappeared. When I didn't see him in over 2 weeks I asked what happened and was just told he's no longer coming in. It was scary.

Anonymous User
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Re: Fired 2nd Year BigLaw Associate - Help

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Apr 15, 2017 10:15 pm

LurkerTurnedMember wrote:
rpupkin wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
smokeylarue wrote:Being let go this early is really rare.... what was the reason if you don't mind answering?


It gets repeated a lot around here that you can make it to year 3 or 4 without much scrutiny, but it isn't close to being universally true. Some biglaw firms put people on the chopping block as early as the end of their first year.

This is correct. Also, associates get fired all the time without other associates realizing that the associate was fired. In general, it's in the interest of the partnership and the associate not to disclose that the associate was asked to leave. When you hear that a junior associate is lateraling to another firm because they wanted to change practice groups/geographic location/whatever, there's always a decent chance that the firm "encouraged" the associate to explore other opportunities. That's generally how firings happen in big law.


I remember way back when I summered for a big firm and a lawyer in my group just disappeared. When I didn't see him in over 2 weeks I asked what happened and was just told he's no longer coming in. It was scary.


Something like this happened at my firm too. I was on vacation for a week. After my vacation two weeks went by and I didn't see this person in the office at all. I still didn't think much of it and at a happy hour event I casually asked if this person was on vacation and they said she is no longer coming in. I heard from unofficial sources that the firm gave this person up to 6 months of website time to find a new job.

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Re: Fired 2nd Year BigLaw Associate - Help

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Apr 18, 2017 4:31 pm

OP here with an update.

I chose to target a different practice group (still transactional, but different group) in my search for a job.

I have targeted both my current market (NYC) and another major market.

I have received 1 CB in NY (this firm requires 3 rounds of interviews) and 0 CBs in the non-NY market.

I have about 6 weeks of severance left. I have scheduled a call to ask for additional website time in the event I am unable to secure a job before the 6 weeks is up.

Any advice or insight is welcomed.

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Re: Fired 2nd Year BigLaw Associate - Help

Postby gaddockteeg » Tue Apr 18, 2017 5:35 pm

Anonymous User wrote:OP here with an update.

I chose to target a different practice group (still transactional, but different group) in my search for a job.

I have targeted both my current market (NYC) and another major market.

I have received 1 CB in NY (this firm requires 3 rounds of interviews) and 0 CBs in the non-NY market.

I have about 6 weeks of severance left. I have scheduled a call to ask for additional website time in the event I am unable to secure a job before the 6 weeks is up.

Any advice or insight is welcomed.


I'd find a recruiter if you can. I'm a junior too and it feels like I get calls about openings every other day. I think the positions are out there... you might justneed some help tracking them down.




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