Prosecutor job ($55k) vs mid-size law firm ($80k+)

(On Campus Interviews, Summer Associate positions, Firm Reviews, Tips, ...)
Forum rules
Anonymous Posting

Anonymous posting is only appropriate when you are revealing sensitive employment related information about a firm, job, etc. You may anonymously respond on topic to these threads. Unacceptable uses include: harassing another user, joking around, testing the feature, or other things that are more appropriate in the lounge.

Failure to follow these rules will get you outed, warned, or banned.

Which road would you choose?

Poll ended at Sat Jun 24, 2017 4:01 pm

Stay with your current job dude.
3
60%
jump ship baby!
2
40%
 
Total votes: 5

Anonymous User
Posts: 327366
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Prosecutor job ($55k) vs mid-size law firm ($80k+)

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jun 23, 2017 3:56 pm

I am currently working as a prosecutor and have been offered to move to a mid size law firm practicing civil law. I am really not sure what to do...I really enjoy my current job, I like my boss, I like going to trial, and my work life balance is great. But I don't know if I want to be a prosecutor my entire life. And I don't know if I will have many opportunities to jump ship to civil law. As a civil attorney, I'd be able to make a lot more money (somewhere around $90k-$150k after bonuses), but the cost of living for where I'd be moving is much more. This law firm is also a boutique law firm in an expensive beach side city, where as my current location is in the freaking desert.

Another factor is that I just bought a house, a really nice at that, and if I took my new job, I'd have to move, find someone to rent it and all that. In the alternative, if I moved for the civil job, I'd be close to my family and could see myself there for the rest of my life, happily.

User avatar
deadpanic

Silver
Posts: 1285
Joined: Sat Oct 03, 2009 5:09 pm

Re: Prosecutor job ($55k) vs mid-size law firm ($80k+)

Postby deadpanic » Fri Jun 23, 2017 4:09 pm

This is hard to answer. A lot of sounds more personal to me that only you can decide.

What would the hours be like at the law firm? What are the minimum billable hours?

How long have you been working as a prosecutor? There is probably a ceiling staying as a state prosecutor as far as salary goes whereas you likely have a much higher one at the law firm, but just speculation right now.

User avatar
kellyfrost

Platinum
Posts: 6362
Joined: Mon Nov 09, 2015 3:58 pm

Re: Prosecutor job ($55k) vs mid-size law firm ($80k+)

Postby kellyfrost » Fri Jun 23, 2017 4:16 pm

You could sell your house.
Last edited by kellyfrost on Sat Jan 27, 2018 1:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Anonymous User
Posts: 327366
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Prosecutor job ($55k) vs mid-size law firm ($80k+)

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jun 23, 2017 4:18 pm

deadpanic wrote:This is hard to answer. A lot of sounds more personal to me that only you can decide.

What would the hours be like at the law firm? What are the minimum billable hours?

How long have you been working as a prosecutor? There is probably a ceiling staying as a state prosecutor as far as salary goes whereas you likely have a much higher one at the law firm, but just speculation right now.


The billable hours are 1750, and I have been a prosecutor for almost a year, so it's very early in my legal career. If I continue on the track of prosecution, I don't know If i'd be able to make the jump, at that point I'd have a specialized knowledge of criminal law, and I don't see myself doing criminal defense work.

User avatar
quiver

Silver
Posts: 977
Joined: Fri Feb 11, 2011 6:46 pm

Re: Prosecutor job ($55k) vs mid-size law firm ($80k+)

Postby quiver » Fri Jun 23, 2017 4:33 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
deadpanic wrote:This is hard to answer. A lot of sounds more personal to me that only you can decide.

What would the hours be like at the law firm? What are the minimum billable hours?

How long have you been working as a prosecutor? There is probably a ceiling staying as a state prosecutor as far as salary goes whereas you likely have a much higher one at the law firm, but just speculation right now.


The billable hours are 1750, and I have been a prosecutor for almost a year, so it's very early in my legal career. If I continue on the track of prosecution, I don't know If i'd be able to make the jump, at that point I'd have a specialized knowledge of criminal law, and I don't see myself doing criminal defense work.
Prosecutors "make the jump" all the time after their first year. In fact, I'd wager that only a small minority of prosecutors leave within their first year. What you're saying is that you don't think you'll want to move to the civil side later in your career. That's not the same as not being able to do so, and I think it's a pretty silly reason to put so much weight on making this decision right now.

In the end, this is going to come down to how you weigh the personal factors you laid out. But don't go to the firm just because you're worried about becoming "specialized"; it would be extremely odd if you couldn't make a similar move down the line. You might even have better opportunities once you have more prosecutorial experience.

Anonymous User
Posts: 327366
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Prosecutor job ($55k) vs mid-size law firm ($80k+)

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jun 26, 2017 2:03 am

quiver wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
deadpanic wrote:This is hard to answer. A lot of sounds more personal to me that only you can decide.

What would the hours be like at the law firm? What are the minimum billable hours?

How long have you been working as a prosecutor? There is probably a ceiling staying as a state prosecutor as far as salary goes whereas you likely have a much higher one at the law firm, but just speculation right now.


The billable hours are 1750, and I have been a prosecutor for almost a year, so it's very early in my legal career. If I continue on the track of prosecution, I don't know If i'd be able to make the jump, at that point I'd have a specialized knowledge of criminal law, and I don't see myself doing criminal defense work.
Prosecutors "make the jump" all the time after their first year. In fact, I'd wager that only a small minority of prosecutors leave within their first year. What you're saying is that you don't think you'll want to move to the civil side later in your career. That's not the same as not being able to do so, and I think it's a pretty silly reason to put so much weight on making this decision right now.

In the end, this is going to come down to how you weigh the personal factors you laid out. But don't go to the firm just because you're worried about becoming "specialized"; it would be extremely odd if you couldn't make a similar move down the line. You might even have better opportunities once you have more prosecutorial experience.


That is good to know. I was worried that if I continued the prosecutor route, the only viable option I'd have outside of government would be criminal defense, which I don't really want to do. I just assumed that if I jumped into a civil role now or later, I'd still be a considered to be a 1st year associate regardless. I am not sure how much my trial experience is applicable when the partner I am working with told me he doesn't care about trials, since I wouldn't be getting that much in civil.

jarofsoup

Gold
Posts: 2001
Joined: Tue Jul 01, 2008 2:41 am

Re: Prosecutor job ($55k) vs mid-size law firm ($80k+)

Postby jarofsoup » Mon Jun 26, 2017 7:42 am

If the new job is where you see yourself living make the move. Getting back to where you want to be is hard and only gets harder when you get more senior.

lolwat

Silver
Posts: 1216
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 2:30 pm

Re: Prosecutor job ($55k) vs mid-size law firm ($80k+)

Postby lolwat » Mon Jun 26, 2017 1:51 pm

Anonymous User wrote:That is good to know. I was worried that if I continued the prosecutor route, the only viable option I'd have outside of government would be criminal defense, which I don't really want to do. I just assumed that if I jumped into a civil role now or later, I'd still be a considered to be a 1st year associate regardless. I am not sure how much my trial experience is applicable when the partner I am working with told me he doesn't care about trials, since I wouldn't be getting that much in civil.


It's a risk, I think. Basically the longer you're a prosecutor the more your skills become specialized. So later on, you could jump into a civil role if you find a firm (generally smaller firms--lit boutiques, not biglaw) that's really needing to hire a real trial lawyer. But you're not going to get into a biglaw firm (or any other firm) where 99% of the work is litigation and not trial, because they don't need the skills you have. I'm a little biased because I happen to be at a firm where trial experience is seen as extremely valuable, in large part because we expect a fair chunk of our cases to go to trial, and because a good trial lawyer looking to make the jump from DA/USAO/PD/FPD's offices to civil is way harder to find than a good civil litigator looking to jump ship from biglaw.

User avatar
Rowinguy2009

Bronze
Posts: 364
Joined: Mon Oct 12, 2009 7:37 pm

Re: Prosecutor job ($55k) vs mid-size law firm ($80k+)

Postby Rowinguy2009 » Mon Jun 26, 2017 2:26 pm

Just one thing to keep in mind - doing civil litigation for a firm is a lot more paper intensive than it sounds like your current job is. You will spend a lot more time in front of a computer screen than you do now. Once you gain seniority you will spend some time in court arguing motions, plus doing things like depositions, but it'll probably be nothing like your current job.

Anonymous User
Posts: 327366
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Prosecutor job ($55k) vs mid-size law firm ($80k+)

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jun 26, 2017 3:01 pm

Rowinguy2009 wrote:Just one thing to keep in mind - doing civil litigation for a firm is a lot more paper intensive than it sounds like your current job is. You will spend a lot more time in front of a computer screen than you do now. Once you gain seniority you will spend some time in court arguing motions, plus doing things like depositions, but it'll probably be nothing like your current job.


Right and I and excited and nervous about that. Excited because as a prosecutor you don't do much research, maybe here or there, but the motions are so generic that all you do is copy and paste and and insert your facts. I am excited to do something a bit more intellectual and utilize the research skills I practiced in law school. But I know I am going to miss trials, going to court, and giving it to defense attorneys.

It's a grind, but that's just because of the amount of police reports I file, otherwise the job is cool. The question is how much more of a grind is civil over criminal. And how much am I going to enjoy working with my collegeues because that's pretty important for job satisfaction too. Not having a salary cap is cool, but is a law firm job as stable as a govt. job?

lolwat

Silver
Posts: 1216
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 2:30 pm

Re: Prosecutor job ($55k) vs mid-size law firm ($80k+)

Postby lolwat » Mon Jun 26, 2017 6:01 pm

Anonymous User wrote:The question is how much more of a grind is civil over criminal. And how much am I going to enjoy working with my collegeues because that's pretty important for job satisfaction too. Not having a salary cap is cool, but is a law firm job as stable as a govt. job?


Civil is a huge fucking grind, especially on bigger cases (in fact, the bigger the case is, the bigger the grind is), and law firm jobs are very unstable.

User avatar
bruinfan10

Silver
Posts: 634
Joined: Fri Apr 29, 2011 12:25 am

Re: Prosecutor job ($55k) vs mid-size law firm ($80k+)

Postby bruinfan10 » Mon Jun 26, 2017 9:07 pm

.
Last edited by bruinfan10 on Tue Jun 27, 2017 1:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Anonymous User
Posts: 327366
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Prosecutor job ($55k) vs mid-size law firm ($80k+)

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jun 26, 2017 10:10 pm

I'm a younger associate at a fairly large civil firm. One of the other associates here was a prosecutor for like 12 years in a large city and joined the firm probably about 2-3 years before me.

I remember she had said really misses being a prosecutor and enjoyed it a lot more. Mainly because she was in court, and not sitting at a desk all day. However, she said because of her kids it got to a point where she needed to start making a larger salary.

If I were you, I would stick it out for a few more years. Using her as an example, and a bunch of other people I know, it seems like you can jump ship to a civil firm later down the line.

gregfootball2001

Bronze
Posts: 458
Joined: Tue Oct 25, 2011 8:35 am

Re: Prosecutor job ($55k) vs mid-size law firm ($80k+)

Postby gregfootball2001 » Tue Jun 27, 2017 10:41 am

Anonymous User wrote: But I don't know if I want to be a prosecutor my entire life.


Anonymous User wrote:This law firm is also a boutique law firm in an expensive beach side city, where as my current location is in the freaking desert.


Anonymous User wrote:if I moved for the civil job, I'd be close to my family and could see myself there for the rest of my life, happily.

To me these facts say a lot. You'd be happy living there for the rest of your life, and you can get relatively well-paying job there now with not bad hours (1750 isn't bad at all) - I'd say take it and congrats.

Anonymous User
Posts: 327366
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Prosecutor job ($55k) vs mid-size law firm ($80k+)

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jul 31, 2017 12:39 am

OP here. Just to update, I ended up taking the law firm job. It's funny because I loved my prosecutor job, but as soon as I got the offer from the firm, the rose colored glasses were off. I found my colleagues to be vindicative trying to go up DA ladder and too high strung about court (why be a trial lawyer if you can't handle stress?). I realized that my job just isn't intellectually stimulating, all I do is read police reports and determine if I have the elements and if it can't be proven in trial with the evidence at hand, go to court to hear the other side drag out cases, and then come back and just do paperwork or delete documents for discovery or write arrest warrants that just require facts and elements, law school 101. Within a year, I've gotten half a dozen jury trials. The most exciting thing about a prosecutor only happens 6 times, and that's a good year.

I realize I am ranting here, but I've just gotten push back from DA friends thinking I am going to be bored sitting in an office, when I realize all I do is sit an in office and do paperwork all day anyway. And yes I go to court a lot, but taking docket notes on continuances or guilty pleas doesn't require a law degree. At least at a law firm I could do actual legal research and writing.

Bach-City

Bronze
Posts: 156
Joined: Mon Dec 28, 2015 6:00 pm

Re: Prosecutor job ($55k) vs mid-size law firm ($80k+)

Postby Bach-City » Mon Jul 31, 2017 12:49 am

.



Return to “Legal Employment�

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.