NC vs DC

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NC vs DC

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 12, 2017 3:57 pm

Top 5% at MVPD (guess which one...) with offers at two of the top NC shops. Bidding essentially all DC and one more NC place at OCI. Would like to long term stay at a firm. Is it worth it to chase the big firm prestige / potential / city life / big cases? Give me some debate here. It is a tough choice especially since I am married and we wouldn't mind starting to have kids relatively soon (next 4-5 years). If it matters I will have roughly 30-40k in debt at graduation, could be zero to 15k if I went to a big dc firm for the summer. Have lived in NC for five years, but not from NC. If you had to ask me where I would want to live if job availability/ type of work etc were not an issue I would probably say North Carolina, but I'm not fully tied to the state; neither spouse nor myself are from NC. Also worth mentioning I guess is that the DC firms would pay 180-200 per year and NC is 135-150ish (although salary is much more secretive at these types of nc firms so I don't have exact numbers).

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Re: NC vs DC

Postby blahblewblah » Wed Jul 12, 2017 4:54 pm

Lit or corporate?

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Re: NC vs DC

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 12, 2017 4:56 pm

Op here. Lit. Would like to try my hand at shareholder and securities, complex commercial, and/or financial government investigation type work

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Re: NC vs DC

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 12, 2017 5:18 pm

I can speak to living in DC with a family and all that.
First it depends on the age of your kid(s). Childcare in DC is awful - wait lists for years and nannies are expensive because most pay above board (as they should). Most people do nanny shares if they don't luck out on day care.

That said, downtown D.C.'s. neighborhoods are full of young families. Lived in Logan Circle for 5 years and the number of people pushing strollers is unreal vs 15 years ago. People used to move to the burbs as soon as hey found out they were having kids. Not now. And DC has free universal preK 3.

But public schopla are generally awful depending on where you live. The burbs have very good schools (fairfax and bethesda). But you have to rely on increasingly im unreliable metro for commuting. My husband biked to work and loved it. I went three metro stops.

There's tons of open space for kids. But sometimes those spaces are full of second hand pot smoke because it's basically legal there.

Housing: ludicrously expensive. But also a good investment. A house in the District can easily start at 800k.

Sooo there's good and bad. These days it's not as upbeat and happy (making America great again?). But people work hard and have interesting jobs and are generally very smart. You don't find the intellectual capacity that Dc has in many other places. Conversations are rarely dull.

Hope that helps in that aspect.

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Re: NC vs DC

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 12, 2017 5:49 pm

Similar background. Coif at T14. Not from NC, but did undergrad in NC and thought about returning post-law school. Ended up choosing a bigger market to summer in. Clerked, then ultimately a different big market afterwards at a top tier lit shop. Still here.

It was a tough decision for me to make. Ultimately very happy with how it turned out. I think there is something to be said for keeping options open, and I have certainly done that. And gotten to live in some really cool places. I now am not sure whether I want to return to NC or another secondary market once my time here is up. So I haven't looked at lateral opportunities, but I imagine it would be fairly doable. Not sure how much of the work you are interested in is available in NC (and honestly, from interviewing and researching heavily I don't necessarily know what I would call the "top NC shops"--depends on CLT vs. Triangle I guess).

With regard to salary, keep in mind likely a huge difference in bonuses. That makes the salary differential much larger. For me, working in a bigger market for 3-5 years before lateraling to a secondary market makes a lot of sense professionally and financially. But I also understand the desire to be settled immediately and not move constantly.

Have you considered clerking?

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Re: NC vs DC

Postby zbv4 » Wed Jul 12, 2017 5:55 pm

I was in an identical position a few years ago (top 5% MVPD, bidding NC and DC). I ended up choosing a big firm in DC. I don't regret it, but I am planning to move to a smaller market in the next few years. Obviously I don't think there's a right or wrong choice, and both have pros and cons (I'll outline a few below). That said, if you're truly on the fence, one thing to consider is that you shouldn't have much problem moving from DC back to a firm in NC a few years down the road. The opposite move -- NC to DC -- will be much tougher.

DC:

- Bigger, higher profile, more "cutting-edge" cases. Depending on what firm you're at, there's a good chance that you will be routinely working on cases that get covered in the Wall Street Journal, etc. That can be cool. Working at a big firm in DC, you definitely feel like you are in the center of the action of the legal world.

- Overall, smarter colleagues. That's not to say that you won't come across some very smart lawyers in NC, but the concentration in DC of T14/LR type people is going to be much higher. It's fun to work with and learn from really smart colleagues and bosses. At some of the bigger firms, you may even brush shoulders (or actually get to work closely) with some "legal celebrities" -- think people like Eric Holder, Ted Olson, Jamie Gorelick, Brendan Sullivan, etc. I'd be lying if I said that isn't kind of cool.

- DC-centric work. DC is going to have certain kinds of work that NC just won't have. For example, all kinds of regulatory work, government contracts, etc. I know you said you're interested in litigation -- to the extent that includes white-collar/investigations, DC is going to have much more of that, at a much higher level, than NC will. Some kinds of big-ticket investigations work (think cross-border FCPA, etc. investigations, Main Justice investigations, major SEC investigations) may be essentially non-existent in NC. If any of that interests you, you'll more or less be giving it up if you go to NC, where most of the lit work is going to be more traditional civil litigation. Of course, plenty of people actually prefer the traditional civil lit! Different strokes.

- Big-city life. Setting aside the work piece, living in a big city--even if just for a few years--can be a good experience, especially if you haven't had it before.

- You'll make more money. NC is obviously cheaper, but I'm the cost-of-living won't make up for the salary/bonus difference, especially as you get more senior at a DC firm.

NC:

- More autonomy and substantive work, sooner. All of the DC firms will tell you about their lean staffing, how you'll get substantive work, won't do doc review, etc. That kind of thing varies by firm, and will be better at some places vs. others. But with maybe a few exceptions, almost any NC firm is going to be better on that score than almost any big DC firm. It's just a different business model. In NC, I'd be surprised if you aren't quickly getting to take deps, draft dispositive motions, and essentially run your own cases very quickly. Good chance you'll be staffed on lots of matters where you're the only associate or maybe 1 of 2 associates. You may get those kinds of opportunities here and there at big DC firms, but by and large they will be much rarer. DC firms may try to convince you otherwise, but based on the experience of 95% of the people I know at big DC firms, I wouldn't believe them.

- Better partnership opportunities. Most big DC firms are transient places for associates. People stay for a few years and then leave; almost no one stays and makes partner. That can be true to some extent at NC firms as well, but generally, your partnership odds are going to be significantly better. If that matters to you.

- Better hours. Chances are, you will work less in NC than in DC. But you'll also make less money, so it's a trade-off.

- Fewer lawyers. Lawyers are everywhere in DC. At times it might feel like everyone you know is a lawyer. Even the people who aren't lawyers will love talking about the news, politics, etc. constantly. If not lawyers, people will seem to have similar jobs (consultants, policy types, hill staffers, etc.). You probably will have a lot in common with those kinds of people, which can be fun. It can also get old. The people you know in NC may generally have more diverse interests, jobs, etc.

- Easier to stand out. Similar to the last point, but on the career side. Associates from T6 schools with LR, CoA clerkships, etc. are a dime a dozen in DC. The flip-side of having lots of smart colleagues is that it will also be much harder to distinguish yourself in DC. In NC, there won't be many other junior associates with credentials as good as yours. That will help you stand out in a good way. I've heard that Justice Scalia used to routinely advise his clerks to move back to their hometowns to start their careers rather than stay in DC -- presumably for this reason.

- Lifestyle. NC will be more livable, especially with kids.

That's my two cents. Feel free to PM me if you want.

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los blancos

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Re: NC vs DC

Postby los blancos » Wed Jul 12, 2017 6:55 pm

zbv4 wrote: The opposite move -- NC to DC -- will be much tougher.


I left NC and this is credited.

If there's any chance you don't want to spend the rest of your life there, start out somewhere else and then lateral back. Also know that business development is a thing that you get started on pretty early in your career at a lot of NC firms. I'm not white or southern or fratty and I've never touched a golf club so it just wasn't my scene.

Note that unless we're talking one of the few NC firms that pay NYC market, the salary disparity typically starts out pretty small (adjusting for COL) but gets pretty big when you're a midlevel -> senior.

But there are awesome things about NC and working in NC. I really really really liked the people I worked with. And you can take depos as a 1st year.

I would probably start out in DC, do a couple of years, then clerk and figure out what comes next.

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Re: NC vs DC

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 12, 2017 7:01 pm

I can +1 to all the above. Many are able to move DC -> NC eventually if they ever want to. The move from NC -> DC is much more difficult.

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los blancos

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Re: NC vs DC

Postby los blancos » Wed Jul 12, 2017 7:05 pm

Even if it is easier, though -- you can't really count on it. It's just a much smaller market --> much fewer vacancies and much smaller hiring capacity. You'll be sought after but the seekers may not actually be in a position to hire.

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Re: NC vs DC

Postby bruinfan10 » Wed Jul 12, 2017 7:52 pm

which NC firms pay NY market?

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Re: NC vs DC

Postby zbv4 » Wed Jul 12, 2017 8:14 pm

bruinfan10 wrote:which NC firms pay NY market?


I could be wrong, but I think it's just a couple of national firms with satellite offices in CLT. Cadwalader is the one that comes to mind. Again, I could be wrong, but I think the firms that are generally considered the "best" for litigation actually don't pay NY market (e.g., RBH, Brooks Pierce, MVA, McGuire, Smith Anderson, Womble).

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Re: NC vs DC

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 12, 2017 8:17 pm

zbv4 wrote:
bruinfan10 wrote:which NC firms pay NY market?


I could be wrong, but I think it's just a couple of national firms with satellite offices in CLT. Cadwalader is the one that comes to mind. Again, I could be wrong, but I think the firms that are generally considered the "best" for litigation actually don't pay NY market (e.g., RBH, Brooks Pierce, MVA, McGuire, Smith Anderson, Womble).

NALP says Cadwalader, Dechert & Winston

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Re: NC vs DC

Postby devilblue » Wed Jul 12, 2017 9:14 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
zbv4 wrote:
bruinfan10 wrote:which NC firms pay NY market?


I could be wrong, but I think it's just a couple of national firms with satellite offices in CLT. Cadwalader is the one that comes to mind. Again, I could be wrong, but I think the firms that are generally considered the "best" for litigation actually don't pay NY market (e.g., RBH, Brooks Pierce, MVA, McGuire, Smith Anderson, Womble).

NALP says Cadwalader, Dechert & Winston


That is correct. And the above poster's firms in quotation marks are the top nc firms I was talking about (plus wyrick robbins) and they all pay between 135-155, womble is 155, RBH is 150.

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Re: NC vs DC

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 12, 2017 9:15 pm

Do you want to be in NC? Big fish small pond and cheaper to live in terms of building a family and stability. Dc is great but young and transient.

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Re: NC vs DC

Postby devilblue » Wed Jul 12, 2017 9:15 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Similar background. Coif at T14. Not from NC, but did undergrad in NC and thought about returning post-law school. Ended up choosing a bigger market to summer in. Clerked, then ultimately a different big market afterwards at a top tier lit shop. Still here.

It was a tough decision for me to make. Ultimately very happy with how it turned out. I think there is something to be said for keeping options open, and I have certainly done that. And gotten to live in some really cool places. I now am not sure whether I want to return to NC or another secondary market once my time here is up. So I haven't looked at lateral opportunities, but I imagine it would be fairly doable. Not sure how much of the work you are interested in is available in NC (and honestly, from interviewing and researching heavily I don't necessarily know what I would call the "top NC shops"--depends on CLT vs. Triangle I guess).

With regard to salary, keep in mind likely a huge difference in bonuses. That makes the salary differential much larger. For me, working in a bigger market for 3-5 years before lateraling to a secondary market makes a lot of sense professionally and financially. But I also understand the desire to be settled immediately and not move constantly.

Have you considered clerking?


I have considered it and am kind of ambivalent about it. Have any advice / reasons to sway me?

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Re: NC vs DC

Postby devilblue » Wed Jul 12, 2017 9:17 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Do you want to be in NC? Big fish small pond and cheaper to live in terms of building a family and stability. Dc is great but young and transient.


I do location wise but they don't do much of the work I think I want to do, and there are certain exit options that become foreclosed when you work at for example Robinson Bradshaw instead of Williams and Connolly or Wilmer

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Re: NC vs DC

Postby zbv4 » Wed Jul 12, 2017 9:34 pm

devilblue wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Do you want to be in NC? Big fish small pond and cheaper to live in terms of building a family and stability. Dc is great but young and transient.


I do location wise but they don't do much of the work I think I want to do, and there are certain exit options that become foreclosed when you work at for example Robinson Bradshaw instead of Williams and Connolly or Wilmer


Yeah, if you think you might eventually want to be an AUSA somewhere, for example, you should absolutely start in DC.

At this stage, I wouldn't assume too much about what kind of work you want to do, though. I know plenty of people who thought they wanted to do investigations at a big DC firm but then quickly tired of being buried in documents and being a go-fer for DOJ in constant cooperation mode. I know I've discovered that I like normal civil lit a lot more -- it's adversarial, you get to write stuff, there's actual law involved. And many big DC firms actually do surprisingly little of that.

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Re: NC vs DC

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 12, 2017 11:08 pm

devilblue wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Similar background. Coif at T14. Not from NC, but did undergrad in NC and thought about returning post-law school. Ended up choosing a bigger market to summer in. Clerked, then ultimately a different big market afterwards at a top tier lit shop. Still here.

It was a tough decision for me to make. Ultimately very happy with how it turned out. I think there is something to be said for keeping options open, and I have certainly done that. And gotten to live in some really cool places. I now am not sure whether I want to return to NC or another secondary market once my time here is up. So I haven't looked at lateral opportunities, but I imagine it would be fairly doable. Not sure how much of the work you are interested in is available in NC (and honestly, from interviewing and researching heavily I don't necessarily know what I would call the "top NC shops"--depends on CLT vs. Triangle I guess).

With regard to salary, keep in mind likely a huge difference in bonuses. That makes the salary differential much larger. For me, working in a bigger market for 3-5 years before lateraling to a secondary market makes a lot of sense professionally and financially. But I also understand the desire to be settled immediately and not move constantly.

Have you considered clerking?


I have considered it and am kind of ambivalent about it. Have any advice / reasons to sway me?


It beats the hell out of private practice and makes you more marketable everywhere. I mean 4th Cir clerkship is a great gig and plays well in both of your target markets. Not a given w your stats but certainly possible.



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