Completely lost on how to choose firm/job

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Completely lost on how to choose firm/job

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jun 11, 2017 1:44 pm

Long and unusual post ahead, but I would truly appreciate any advice people can give me. I am a rising 2L and in need of some serious help in determining how to choose a job. I honestly have essentially no preference over what I am actually doing. I have top grades (as in, talking about rank in X # of people rather than X %) from HYS. I have never cared about having a "career" and can really only see a job as a means to an end (the end being having enough money that I know I can comfortably support myself and my family for the rest of my life and then retiring as soon as possible). So my preferences over job characteristics, in order, are:
1. Money
2. Time spent working
3. Time spent away from home
4. Exit ops
(Very large gap)
5. Character of the work itself


For a while my plan was just to try for WLRK, even though the hours are god-awful and I hate NYC (and most big cities honestly, but I realize they are a necessary evil for the time being), because I thought the huge increase in compensation would ultimately be worth it in getting to retire earlier/exit to a job that would pay more than the exit ops I would get from other firms. Another thought behind this was trying to "cash in" on my grades now, since they will matter less and less the longer out I am.
However, my spouse recently was admitted to a PhD program in Boston where they will be attending for likely the next ~6 years. This, obviously makes WLRK a more difficult proposition, as my spouse would still need to be in Boston ~4 years when I would start. That brought me to the point of looking at Boston firms, but I really have no idea how to go about distinguishing among them, as I don't really care about any practice area (other than leaning corp/transactional over litigation, but even that is only for the exit ops). I realize that firms like Ropes/Wilmer/Goodwin are the "best" firms but I have no idea if that should be meaningful to me at all given that I just care about the highest compensation:hours worked ratio and, to a lesser extent, exit ops.

All this confusion has also led me to start considering consulting jobs as well. I graduated top of my class with an econ/finance degree from a top undergrad, and could almost certainly have gotten an MBB position out of undergrad. However, I am KJD and have heard that MBB care much less about LS grades than firms do, so I realize I do not have as good of a shot at these positions as at top firms. I had not previously considered consulting positions because of the travel; I am a home-body and also travel isn't great with a spouse. It always seemed to me that the added comp from a gig like WLRK, even with the terrible hours, would beat a consulting job having to travel monday-thursday. However, now that I am looking at firms that don't have consulting beat in compensation, the increased earning potential of consulting over biglaw after a few years of work + its better exit options might be worth having to travel.

All this info to say: I am completely lost. I would love advice over the choice between consulting/law as well as the choice among Boston-area law firms, keeping in mind my unusual (lack of) preferences. I have not completely nixed the idea of WLRK either; even though the time apart from my spouse would be tough, the huge increase in comp may be worth it in the long-run (getting to retire much earlier), so any advice/info regarding that would be helpful as well.
Thanks very much in advance.

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Re: Completely lost on how to choose firm/job

Postby runinthefront » Sun Jun 11, 2017 1:45 pm

I'm confused: Do you have an offer from WLRK yet? Either way, your decision should be driven largely by the state of your relationship with your spouse and how travel & long distance would affect that. If I were you, I'd go to Ropes/Wilmer/Goodwin and call it a day.
Last edited by runinthefront on Fri Jan 26, 2018 10:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Completely lost on how to choose firm/job

Postby dabigchina » Sun Jun 11, 2017 1:49 pm

You wouldn't see your spouse much if you worked at wachtel, regardless of whether she/he lived in Boston or New York.

I honestly don't know how much free time grad students have, but I would wager she/he will have
More of it than you do. Would she be opening to visiting on the weekends?

I think if you want wachtell then go for it.

Also Scotus clerkship? That's the fastest way to "cash in" imo.
Last edited by dabigchina on Sun Jun 11, 2017 1:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Completely lost on how to choose firm/job

Postby PeanutsNJam » Sun Jun 11, 2017 1:50 pm

Seems like you should go for a SCOTUS clerkship and be a law professor. Your clerking years might be rough, but as a law professor you'll make bank and have plenty of time to spend with family. Seems like a great gig for top 5 or top 10 people from HYS.

Just hit tenure, write some papers, teach the same shit every year, and enjoy life I guess.

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Re: Completely lost on how to choose firm/job

Postby runinthefront » Sun Jun 11, 2017 1:53 pm

Anonymous User wrote:So my preferences over job characteristics, in order, are:
1. Money
2. Time spent working
3. Time spent away from home
4. Exit ops
(Very large gap)
5. Character of the work itself



To elaborate on my previous comment, with your grades and background, #4 will be the same no matter where you go on the ladder. No one's going to turn away a Sears Prize winner because they decided to start their career at a top firm in Boston instead of WLRK or SullCrom or something. So you're really balancing 1, 2, 3, and 5.

2 and 3 lean heavily toward staying near your spouse. 1 leans toward WLRK and other above-market firms, though you'd get diminishing returns after awhile. #5 is probably a wash, as all the firms you mentioned do great work.
Last edited by runinthefront on Fri Jan 26, 2018 10:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Completely lost on how to choose firm/job

Postby ernie » Sun Jun 11, 2017 2:01 pm

PeanutsNJam wrote:Seems like you should go for a SCOTUS clerkship and be a law professor. Your clerking years might be rough, but as a law professor you'll make bank and have plenty of time to spend with family. Seems like a great gig for top 5 or top 10 people from HYS.

Just hit tenure, write some papers, teach the same shit every year, and enjoy life I guess.

Out of all of OP's available options, this is the route to the least amount of money, and money is OP's number one consideration.

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Re: Completely lost on how to choose firm/job

Postby PeanutsNJam » Sun Jun 11, 2017 2:07 pm

ernie wrote:
PeanutsNJam wrote:Seems like you should go for a SCOTUS clerkship and be a law professor. Your clerking years might be rough, but as a law professor you'll make bank and have plenty of time to spend with family. Seems like a great gig for top 5 or top 10 people from HYS.

Just hit tenure, write some papers, teach the same shit every year, and enjoy life I guess.

Out of all of OP's available options, this is the route to the least amount of money, and money is OP's number one consideration.


Ok, do a SCOTUS clerkship (pay low 6 figs I think?), hop to a firm for a year or so, eating that 300K+ clerkship bonus with class credit, then go be a law professor making 250k+ a year with 4 months of vacation every year and maybe 50 hour work weeks, except around finals time. Need I remind you free time and time with family are OP's 2 and 3 considerations, and he has no ambitions of becoming partner or some shit?

Just lol if you think law professors don't make boat loads of money. Not to mention job security. Unless OP is gunning for partner (which would eliminate 2 and 3 completely), he's gonna do what, biglaw for a few years, and then what? In-house? Then what?

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Re: Completely lost on how to choose firm/job

Postby Redfactor » Sun Jun 11, 2017 2:12 pm

Best of luck in your choice, and congratulations on the stellar grades.

I too think that SCOTUS clerk --> Prof route is highly appealing for its mixture of work-life balance during the school year, summers either off or greatly relaxed, terrific benefits and job security, and pay that will allow OP to retire in her/his 50's very comfortably.

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Re: Completely lost on how to choose firm/job

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sun Jun 11, 2017 2:14 pm

Since you mention you are K-JD - have you ever worked grinding hours at a job you don't care about in any way?

Also you need actually to be interested in/have ideas about law to be a law professor.

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Re: Completely lost on how to choose firm/job

Postby ernie » Sun Jun 11, 2017 2:16 pm

PeanutsNJam wrote:
ernie wrote:
PeanutsNJam wrote:Seems like you should go for a SCOTUS clerkship and be a law professor. Your clerking years might be rough, but as a law professor you'll make bank and have plenty of time to spend with family. Seems like a great gig for top 5 or top 10 people from HYS.

Just hit tenure, write some papers, teach the same shit every year, and enjoy life I guess.

Out of all of OP's available options, this is the route to the least amount of money, and money is OP's number one consideration.


Ok, do a SCOTUS clerkship (pay low 6 figs I think?), hop to a firm for a year or so, eating that 300K+ clerkship bonus with class credit, then go be a law professor making 250k+ a year with 4 months of vacation every year and maybe 50 hour work weeks, except around finals time. Need I remind you free time and time with family are OP's 2 and 3 considerations, and he has no ambitions of becoming partner or some shit?

Just lol if you think law professors don't make boat loads of money. Not to mention job security. Unless OP is gunning for partner (which would eliminate 2 and 3 completely), he's gonna do what, biglaw for a few years, and then what? In-house? Then what?

Dumb objection. That's not an average salary for new law profs, even tenure-track at top schools.

I'm not denying law profs make good money. But if OP is primarily concerned with making money and retiring as soon as possible, this course makes the least amount of sense.

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Re: Completely lost on how to choose firm/job

Postby SamuelDanforth » Sun Jun 11, 2017 2:25 pm

Also, the days of SCOTUS Clerkship --> TT law job are more or less over. Schools, particularly top schools, care far more about your publication record than they do if you clerked on the Supreme Court. If you don't believe me, look at the spreadsheet below for this year's hiring, and scroll over to look where people clerked. Which isn't to say that SCOTUS clerks can't get teaching jobs, it's just to say that what is getting them that job is a record of quality publications or a developed research agenda in another field, not their clerkship.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/ ... edit#gid=0

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Re: Completely lost on how to choose firm/job

Postby ernie » Sun Jun 11, 2017 2:28 pm

SamuelDanforth wrote:Also, the days of SCOTUS Clerkship --> TT law job are more or less over. Schools, particularly top schools, care far more about your publication record than they do if you clerked on the Supreme Court. If you don't believe me, look at the spreadsheet below for this year's hiring, and scroll over to look where people clerked. Which isn't to say that SCOTUS clerks can't get teaching jobs, it's just to say that what is getting them that job is a record of quality publications or a developed research agenda in another field, not their clerkship.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/ ... edit#gid=0

That spreadsheet is amazing, where'd you find?

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Re: Completely lost on how to choose firm/job

Postby SamuelDanforth » Sun Jun 11, 2017 2:34 pm

prawfsblog. They compile entry-level hiring each year (so you can find data on past years, and Leiter compiles lateral hiring.

http://prawfsblawg.blogs.com/prawfsblaw ... ation.html

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Re: Completely lost on how to choose firm/job

Postby PeanutsNJam » Sun Jun 11, 2017 2:34 pm

ernie wrote:Dumb objection. That's not an average salary for new law profs, even tenure-track at top schools.

I'm not denying law profs make good money. But if OP is primarily concerned with making money and retiring as soon as possible, this course makes the least amount of sense.


Given OP's post and "idc" attitude, you really think that he'd be willing to bill 2400+ hours/year at WLRK for more than like 2 months? At which point he just quits and goes in-house? He care about free time and spending time with his family too.

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Re: Completely lost on how to choose firm/job

Postby FSK » Sun Jun 11, 2017 2:59 pm

Do you want to practice law? You're in the spot where you can do cool things. You should at least determine if you might find them meaningful.
Last edited by FSK on Sat Jan 27, 2018 1:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Completely lost on how to choose firm/job

Postby jbagelboy » Sun Jun 11, 2017 3:26 pm

PeanutsNJam wrote:
ernie wrote:
PeanutsNJam wrote:Seems like you should go for a SCOTUS clerkship and be a law professor. Your clerking years might be rough, but as a law professor you'll make bank and have plenty of time to spend with family. Seems like a great gig for top 5 or top 10 people from HYS.

Just hit tenure, write some papers, teach the same shit every year, and enjoy life I guess.

Out of all of OP's available options, this is the route to the least amount of money, and money is OP's number one consideration.


Ok, do a SCOTUS clerkship (pay low 6 figs I think?), hop to a firm for a year or so, eating that 300K+ clerkship bonus with class credit, then go be a law professor making 250k+ a year with 4 months of vacation every year and maybe 50 hour work weeks, except around finals time. Need I remind you free time and time with family are OP's 2 and 3 considerations, and he has no ambitions of becoming partner or some shit?

Just lol if you think law professors don't make boat loads of money. Not to mention job security. Unless OP is gunning for partner (which would eliminate 2 and 3 completely), he's gonna do what, biglaw for a few years, and then what? In-house? Then what?


It doesn't really work this way

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Re: Completely lost on how to choose firm/job

Postby Redfactor » Sun Jun 11, 2017 3:54 pm

That spreadsheet is awesome. It appears that a PhD is the difference maker for a lot of entry positions.

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Re: Completely lost on how to choose firm/job

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sun Jun 11, 2017 3:59 pm

Yeah, academic stuff like publications and degrees are much more important than SCOTUS clerkship on its own. I think (based on just reading around NOT personal experience obviously) SCOTUS is much better for getting you into certain truly elite firms/gov positions involving federal appellate work.

This is all kind of moot because none of this sounds like anything the OP is at all interested in.

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Re: Completely lost on how to choose firm/job

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jun 11, 2017 5:53 pm

OP here.

Thanks to everyone so far for the helpful discussion. I looked into SCOTUS clerkships a fair amount after first semester grades came out, but had mostly ruled it out for a number of reasons. First, I talked to a couple clerks and they said that top grades/school are more of a necessary but not sufficient thing, and I have absolutely 0 connections (doubtful that any of my professors other than LRW could even match my face with name). Second, even if I could get one, it seems to me like the actual total compensation would be a wash, because the biglaw salary I would be foregoing during two years of clerking would offset the scotus clerkship bonus. Also I plan on going corporate/transactional so (from what I can tell) a clerkship would not benefit me as much as if I were wanting to do something like appellate litigation. Basically, it seems to me like other than the clerkship bonus, most of a scotus clerkship's benefits pay off in the long-term of someone's career, and I am hoping to peace out before reaching that "long-term" point. (I could be totally off about any or all of this, so please feel free to correct me)

Regarding being a professor, I really loathe academia. I have always hated school and especially research. If I just had to teach I could probably stand it, but researching and writing papers would kill me. As Nony noted, it seems like you need to be interested in/have ideas about the law to be a professor, and that for sure isn't me.

In response to FSK, I don't really "want" to practice law, there is just nothing else that I want to do (as a job) much more. I realize I am in a place where certain unusual/interesting doors are open to me, I just honestly have no clue what they are. I have essentially no exposure/connections to the "business world" (from a rural southern area, never knew anyone with an advanced degree before college). I am very open to things other than practicing law, but currently don't know of any of those things that I would actually want to do.

In response to Nony's question above, I have not worked grinding hours at a job I don't care about. But I have not been able to come up with a job that I would care about, so it seems to me that I would rather work grinding hours for X number of years at a job I don't care about that will pay a lot than work less-grinding hours for 2X years at a job that I equally don't care about that will pay much less. I understand if you think that is naive and/or misguided, or if you think there is a better option. I would love to hear any critique/advice you have.

*last addition as I was reading back through the previous posts*
Thanks to runinthefront for the elaboration in your second comment. I had always heard that employers don't care about grades after you are a few years out of school, but I guess it may be more of a general thing (ie, for people not in the top or bottom X%), whereas if someone has very top grades it will still help with exit ops/lateralling? Just wanted to make sure I wasn't misreading your post.


Thanks again to everyone for all the suggestions so far.

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Re: Completely lost on how to choose firm/job

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sun Jun 11, 2017 6:30 pm

Anonymous User wrote:In response to Nony's question above, I have not worked grinding hours at a job I don't care about. But I have not been able to come up with a job that I would care about, so it seems to me that I would rather work grinding hours for X number of years at a job I don't care about that will pay a lot than work less-grinding hours for 2X years at a job that I equally don't care about that will pay much less.

Just to follow up on this - I definitely don't think you have to live for your job or identify yourself by what you do. But I also think life goes much better if you can find work you enjoy or at least feel satisfaction doing, which it frankly doesn't sound like you have. So I guess my reaction to all this is that in the grand scheme of things you might be better off finding out more about jobs (and what you actually like to do, since as a K-JD you don't have a lot of data to work with)?

Though I get that doesn't help you with your immediate question, to which people who know Boston firms will be better at answering. I'd say, just pick a bunch of good firms to apply to and go to the one with the people you like best, as my understanding is that this makes the biggest difference day to day and I doubt they will result in radically different outcomes.

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Re: Completely lost on how to choose firm/job

Postby Night_L » Sun Jun 11, 2017 9:57 pm

OP: your last post is especially interesting and explains some things that I suspected with regard to your attitude about work: it seems like you were driven by your intelligence and works ethics rather any real interest in work, and you lack sufficient understanding or exposure to various practices (and even professions) to know what you want. And being a K-JD doesn't help.

I'd second the first advice you were given: join biglaw in Boston and figure it out from there. Your grades aren't going anywhere, and if it turns out that you'd rather aim for SCOTUS clerk, you can always give it a try after a couple of years.

Most importantly, your spouse will be in Boston. I think nothing except a SCOTUS clerkship is worth being away from him or her this early in your marriage (you are a K-JD, your marriage can't be older than a couple of years). He or she is your life, and everything else is secondary.

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Re: Completely lost on how to choose firm/job

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jun 11, 2017 10:24 pm

OP: i'm in the same bandwagon as you. coming from a southern rural state and not knowing people with advance degrees hits very close to home. i'll tell you this, it's been an uphill struggle and will continue being an uphill struggle for a few years, which is annoying and frustrating to say the least. as the above post says, you have the intelligence and work ethics but without someone to guide you on early on, you become confused at what you can do because you can kind of do anything that someone throws at you.

while i'm still struggling with this, and slowly it is getting better, i suggest you focus more on what you want out of life rather than letting some job define you. self worth and happiness should not be determined by some law firm's name or job title. even if a job pays less, will you be proud of your work? could you do it for free? would you want to be an expert in that area? if so, then go for it. if not, then work towards that biglaw position if that's what you want. there's more than one way to get to an end goal.

last advice is don't leave law for consulting yet. it will be difficult coming coming back. do law and in case you're not satisfied then work towards making the transition

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Re: Completely lost on how to choose firm/job

Postby runinthefront » Sun Jun 11, 2017 10:56 pm

Anonymous User wrote:

*last addition as I was reading back through the previous posts*
Thanks to runinthefront for the elaboration in your second comment. I had always heard that employers don't care about grades after you are a few years out of school, but I guess it may be more of a general thing (ie, for people not in the top or bottom X%), whereas if someone has very top grades it will still help with exit ops/lateralling? Just wanted to make sure I wasn't misreading your post.


You're not misreading my post. Good luck
Last edited by runinthefront on Fri Jan 26, 2018 10:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Completely lost on how to choose firm/job

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jun 12, 2017 12:06 am

OP here.

Thanks again for the replies. I see the theme from the new posts is to find out more about different jobs; does anyone have advice on how to go about doing this? It seems to me that all the potential fields that I research are either the same grinding kind of work (ibanking, consulting, biglaw) or things that I either have zero interest in or actively dislike (clerkships, academia, government work). I think a big part is that of all the things that I enjoy doing in life, I can't get paid to do any of them. This makes me skeptical that I would be able to find a job that would ever be more than a chore, a means to an end, although I am open to the possibility and would love to learn more about how to explore different options.

In response to most recent anon post, thank you for the empathy and advice. One reaction I had is that I don't think I am espousing a position of letting a job define me or getting caught up in a firm name/job title, much the opposite in fact. I would gladly take a job offer with the title of "Menial Laborer" at "NoName LLC" essentially without regard to what tasks it involved (as long it was not physically dangerous) if it had a sufficiently high compensation:hours worked ratio. Basically I think that there is nothing (that is compensable) that I "like" to do enough to make a job distinguishable. For example, I have felt essentially the same way about manual labor jobs that I had in high school, finance internships in college, and my SA position this summer (caveat that I have only been at it 4 weeks). In fact I may have enjoyed the manual labor jobs the most simply because they were active and outdoors, but a career in manual labor is obviously not conducive to retiring early and comfortably.

Thanks again for all the advice; I realize that I am coming off as fairly difficult and that I may have gotten all the advice that I can get at this point, but if anyone has suggestions on ways to go about exploring the possibilities of jobs that I may actually enjoy (given that it seems that I don't really have a passion for/enjoyment of anything compensable), as well as any other information/suggestions or further advice on how to "cash in" on my situation quickly/painlessly, I would love to hear them.

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Re: Completely lost on how to choose firm/job

Postby foregetaboutdre » Mon Jun 12, 2017 1:53 am

I kind've skimmed over your posts (sorry), but basically I'd have the following recommendation.

1. Live in Boston w/ your spouse. If you don't biglaw will be shitty as you'll never see them.

2. Consider finding a practice area that seems "fun" as you seem sick of law. To me, this is white collar/intl arbitrations. You have the grades to do it and to be selective about what you do instead of being a corp/lit vanilla machine (like me).

3. If you honestly regret not doing MBB, it is possible. Of course BCG goes without mentioning, but I've known people who decided to do MBB from law school and enjoy it.



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