Current Job w/ Benefits vs. Potential Job w/ No Benefits

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Stay or Go

Stay at Current Job
3
33%
Go to New Job
6
67%
 
Total votes: 9

Anonymous User
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Current Job w/ Benefits vs. Potential Job w/ No Benefits

Postby Anonymous User » Thu May 18, 2017 3:19 pm

I'm in my third year as an associate in a mid-market town. I make about $57k per year and have full benefits (401k, health insurance, HSA, etc.). I get along well with the attorneys here (firm has about 15-20 lawyers), but I am constantly engaged in so many practice areas that I feel that my head might fall off. Just this week I'm doing domestic relations, workers' comp defense, criminal defense, and other random civil litigation. In all honesty, I'm pretty tired with this job and don't see a long term future here.

Another job has come up with a very reputable solo attorney who has a successful PI and criminal defense practice. He's looking to bring me on to run his PI practice and bring in my own civil clients.

Starting salary would be about $60k, but there's two big differences: no benefits (other than an IRA), BUT I'd bring home about 10-12% of receipts. I think this has he chance to be a huge raise.

I should also note that my long term goal is to solo, and I think going to this smaller firm will be a master's course in how to run my own firm.

Part of me is excited to narrow down to one practice area, and I actually enjoy tort law. My big concern is whether not having benefits is a killer, and further, whether I'm leaving just because I don't like my job.

lolwat
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Re: Current Job w/ Benefits vs. Potential Job w/ No Benefits

Postby lolwat » Thu May 18, 2017 4:02 pm

Well, I would figure out how much those benefits are worth / how much you'd be paying if you had to pay for whatever you needed yourself.

Also, how does the 10-12% of receipts work? If you bill and collect 500k from clients for your hours, you get $50-60k of that?

Barrred
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Re: Current Job w/ Benefits vs. Potential Job w/ No Benefits

Postby Barrred » Thu May 18, 2017 4:15 pm

New job seems like it materially moves your career forward. Plus, the additional money (from the raise, as well as the potential for getting a cut of the billings) means you can probably afford to purchase those same benefits you got at your last firm.

As the previous poster said, try to quantify the benefits, and see how much extra it will cost for you to purchase them yourself. Then compare that to your potential raise + what you think you are likely to bring in in terms of getting a % (how you calculate this will depend on your risk aversion). Then make a decision. If they are pretty much equal, I would go with the new firm because it advances your career goals.

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deadpanic
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Re: Current Job w/ Benefits vs. Potential Job w/ No Benefits

Postby deadpanic » Thu May 18, 2017 4:27 pm

I would stick with your current job, but depends on your willingness to take risks. The potential job would teach you more of running your own solo practice, so that's nice if you want to eventually do that, but I don't think you will make much more money there. You'll also probably have to get your own malpractice insurance, so keep that in mind.

One, the benefits at the current job are surely more than 3k when you factor in 401(K), health insurance, etc. Someone help me out on health insurance premiums but I remember back in the day paying around $400-$500/month when I was a young, single, healthy dude in my early 20s. What are your hours like? It doesn't sound so bad. Pretty good benefits considering the pay. It sounds like you just may not like practicing law in general, or maybe just burnt out, or maybe just need a change, all of which are normal.

Two, I don't think you are going to make that much off of bringing in business as you might think. The good personal injury cases are few and far between. You are going to be wasting a ton of time on people that come in with claims where the statute of limitations have expired, there is no cause of action, they bug you 20 times a day for the status of your case. The majority are going to be nuisance cases like slip n falls and minor fender benders. The big ones go to the huge advertisers for the most part. You have to take the PI cases on a contingency basis. That could result in absolutely brutal hours (since you are so lean staffed) when the insurance defense lawyers drop 70 pages of form discovery on you. And if you are going to run your own cases, you have to own up to get it done. So, could be working a lot more hours for less money/benefits, chasing the payday, but that's part of the game. You could also luck out and hit the lottery on a case, I suppose.

TLDR; if you truly want to open up your own solo shop down the line, maybe make the jump, but it's far from a guarantee of making more money. I think you will end up working more and making less (when you include benefits).

lolwat
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Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 2:30 pm

Re: Current Job w/ Benefits vs. Potential Job w/ No Benefits

Postby lolwat » Thu May 18, 2017 5:10 pm

deadpanic wrote:One, the benefits at the current job are surely more than 3k when you factor in 401(K), health insurance, etc. Someone help me out on health insurance premiums but I remember back in the day paying around $400-$500/month when I was a young, single, healthy dude in my early 20s. What are your hours like? It doesn't sound so bad. Pretty good benefits considering the pay. It sounds like you just may not like practicing law in general, or maybe just burnt out, or maybe just need a change, all of which are normal.


I pay somewhere around $500/mo for my gf's. Maybe high 500s but we're not in our 20s anymore sadly... I agree that the benefits are almost certainly going to be more than $3k. But how much more is part of the equation here. If it's like $65k versus $60k then you try to determine if that $5k cut is worth it.

Two, I don't think you are going to make that much off of bringing in business as you might think.


I think this is why I was wondering how the 10-12% worked... Bringing in business is hell, but OP said he would be hired to (1) run the solo attorney's PI practice AND (2) bring in his own clients. Does part of the % he get come from what he earns from the PI practice -- i.e., the business that the currently solo attorney brings in?

Anonymous User
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Re: Current Job w/ Benefits vs. Potential Job w/ No Benefits

Postby Anonymous User » Thu May 18, 2017 7:19 pm

OP here.

I think the difference in healthcare would be about $310/month, or about $3,700 for the year. The 401k is almost irrelevant since the new guy offers a SIMPLE IRA, my wife has a 401k, and we can thus put $30k+ in retirement accounts.

As for the amount on receipts, this job was referred by a friend who worked for him but is moving. She said her "receipt" bonus ranged anywhere from $300-$1,000 per pay doing just the criminal work, and that she thought the PI receipt bonus would be bigger.

All in all she guesses that I would make a minimum of about $75,000 with the potential to do way better if there are big files.

lolwat
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Re: Current Job w/ Benefits vs. Potential Job w/ No Benefits

Postby lolwat » Thu May 18, 2017 7:34 pm

Anonymous User wrote:OP here.

I think the difference in healthcare would be about $310/month, or about $3,700 for the year. The 401k is almost irrelevant since the new guy offers a SIMPLE IRA, my wife has a 401k, and we can thus put $30k+ in retirement accounts.

As for the amount on receipts, this job was referred by a friend who worked for him but is moving. She said her "receipt" bonus ranged anywhere from $300-$1,000 per pay doing just the criminal work, and that she thought the PI receipt bonus would be bigger.

All in all she guesses that I would make a minimum of about $75,000 with the potential to do way better if there are big files.


I would say if you feel pretty confident the solo attorney is a good person to work with/for then make the jump. That's the only outstanding concern remaining I think.

gaddockteeg
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Re: Current Job w/ Benefits vs. Potential Job w/ No Benefits

Postby gaddockteeg » Fri May 19, 2017 5:41 pm

lolwat wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:OP here.

I think the difference in healthcare would be about $310/month, or about $3,700 for the year. The 401k is almost irrelevant since the new guy offers a SIMPLE IRA, my wife has a 401k, and we can thus put $30k+ in retirement accounts.

As for the amount on receipts, this job was referred by a friend who worked for him but is moving. She said her "receipt" bonus ranged anywhere from $300-$1,000 per pay doing just the criminal work, and that she thought the PI receipt bonus would be bigger.

All in all she guesses that I would make a minimum of about $75,000 with the potential to do way better if there are big files.


I would say if you feel pretty confident the solo attorney is a good person to work with/for then make the jump. That's the only outstanding concern remaining I think.


I agree with this.

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Mickfromgm
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Re: Current Job w/ Benefits vs. Potential Job w/ No Benefits

Postby Mickfromgm » Sun May 21, 2017 10:07 pm

OP, you said you don't see a long-term future at the current firm. I think that's your answer.

If you want to be a PI solo, this is a great opportunity to learn, network in that world, cultivate your reputation (pick a jingle and moniker), so on.

Health insurance is expensive, but you will always have to pay half of the premiums anyway. The productivity bonus would pay for it many times over, I am sure.




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