Typical In-House Salary Package for Junior Lawyer?

(Discuss Advantages vs Disadvantages, Making the Switch From Private Practice to In-House, Compensation & Hours, Work-Life balance, In-House Reviews & Experiences)
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Re: Typical In-House Salary Package for Junior Lawyer?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jun 25, 2019 10:30 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
nealric wrote:
shock259 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:These packages are all super high. I have 3-4 years experience and I just went in house in a small market (think Richmond, Charleston, Asheville) and I'm making 165k with a 50k bonus target, 6% matching 401k and some other perks. I calculated total comp at $220-230k.


Agree that the packages in this thread seem to be skewing high. I know a lot are in the big markets, but even taking that into account, this all seems a little high.


There's always going to be a bit of selection bias in a public thread like this. People who are underpaid aren't as likely to volunteer salary as people who are happy with their comp package.

RE equity: I think it's helpful to note structure when providing a datapoint. Once you've been at the company for 3-4 years (whatever the structure is), you generally have an amount vest every year equal to the equity award, so I can see including it as part of the package. The valuation of that equity depends so much on the company. A blue chip stock that is not very volatile has to be treated differently from startup stock in your mental evaluation. That's one reason why comparing in-house packages is not always apples to apples.


I'm one of the anonymous posters who happened to land a job @ $300 k+ after 3 years of biglaw. There was a huge luck factor. When I was searching, most of the other lifestyle (vs. bank jobs) or interesting positions that considered someone with my experience landed at around 60% of my current comp. And I wasn't rolling in offers from those. Another discounting factor is that my "high comp" is attached to the NYC area and its great CoL.


Does this include equity and if so how are you calculating that in the $300K+ number? If I count my full equity grant, which vests over 4 years, I would say my package was $340K all-in. But if you include only equity vesting annually it is only $235K all-in. Obviously a lot of daylight between those two numbers.

I'm also not counting any kind of health benefits, 401(k) matching here, fringe benefits, etc., which would push that a little higher. I just think those are hard to value and best left out. Sometimes the ambiguity of these reported figures (i.e., how they are composed) makes this thread of dubious value to lurkers.


I am the Anon in the 250-300k range, do you get that full equity grant each year? So in 4 years you will be at $340k/year depending on stock price? That is crazy if so, congrats. I am in the 250-300 range counting my full annual equity even though it vests over 4 years since I get a grant each year.

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Re: Typical In-House Salary Package for Junior Lawyer?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jun 25, 2019 11:06 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
nealric wrote:
shock259 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:These packages are all super high. I have 3-4 years experience and I just went in house in a small market (think Richmond, Charleston, Asheville) and I'm making 165k with a 50k bonus target, 6% matching 401k and some other perks. I calculated total comp at $220-230k.


Agree that the packages in this thread seem to be skewing high. I know a lot are in the big markets, but even taking that into account, this all seems a little high.


There's always going to be a bit of selection bias in a public thread like this. People who are underpaid aren't as likely to volunteer salary as people who are happy with their comp package.

RE equity: I think it's helpful to note structure when providing a datapoint. Once you've been at the company for 3-4 years (whatever the structure is), you generally have an amount vest every year equal to the equity award, so I can see including it as part of the package. The valuation of that equity depends so much on the company. A blue chip stock that is not very volatile has to be treated differently from startup stock in your mental evaluation. That's one reason why comparing in-house packages is not always apples to apples.


I'm one of the anonymous posters who happened to land a job @ $300 k+ after 3 years of biglaw. There was a huge luck factor. When I was searching, most of the other lifestyle (vs. bank jobs) or interesting positions that considered someone with my experience landed at around 60% of my current comp. And I wasn't rolling in offers from those. Another discounting factor is that my "high comp" is attached to the NYC area and its great CoL.


Does this include equity and if so how are you calculating that in the $300K+ number? If I count my full equity grant, which vests over 4 years, I would say my package was $340K all-in. But if you include only equity vesting annually it is only $235K all-in. Obviously a lot of daylight between those two numbers.

I'm also not counting any kind of health benefits, 401(k) matching here, fringe benefits, etc., which would push that a little higher. I just think those are hard to value and best left out. Sometimes the ambiguity of these reported figures (i.e., how they are composed) makes this thread of dubious value to lurkers.

Anon from above. That's actually not including any equity, which I didn't start getting until after my second review since coming in-house. It's just a fairly high base, a bonus (based on personal/company/group performance, not hours) that consistently comes in way over the target, and I think an above market 401(k) match @ 10%. There are also some other small things like company HSA funding and daycare subsidies that help a bit.
I'll iterate my earlier point, though, and point out that these numbers were considerably higher than the other comp offers I was seeing during my search. I definitely lucked out.

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Re: Typical In-House Salary Package for Junior Lawyer?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jun 25, 2019 1:22 pm

are there any true 9-5 in house positions? Granted, I'm very junior (1-2 years) and in the bay area, but everything i've seen have been positions that require law firm-esque hours.

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Re: Typical In-House Salary Package for Junior Lawyer?

Postby oblig.lawl.ref » Tue Jun 25, 2019 5:12 pm

Anonymous User wrote:are there any true 9-5 in house positions? Granted, I'm very junior (1-2 years) and in the bay area, but everything i've seen have been positions that require law firm-esque hours.


Not sure but that has not been my experience in the bay area. I wouldn't conflate "nights and weekends as needed" requirements to mean big law hours. I think it's best to get a sense of hours during the interview process (though I would let them bring it up) and after receiving an offer if you don't get details before that.

I think most in-house jobs entail substantially less hours than your typical big law firm on average, though there may be periods where that is not strictly true. Most in-house positions, at least at growing tech companies in the bay area, are also not strictly 9-5 as a hard rule but aim to get you close to that. There are a minority of companies that will expect more than 40 hour weeks generally. Those may be a good transition to in house for 2-3 years but I think there are enough that are looking for more like 40-45 hour weeks such that you shouldn't stay at a place like that long unless you love it.

Once you go in-house the hour expectations, like comp, are much more all over the place. But I would guess 40-50 hour weeks, as a general rule, is more or less the standard in-house in the bay area.

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Re: Typical In-House Salary Package for Junior Lawyer?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jun 25, 2019 5:51 pm

oblig.lawl.ref wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:are there any true 9-5 in house positions? Granted, I'm very junior (1-2 years) and in the bay area, but everything i've seen have been positions that require law firm-esque hours.


Not sure but that has not been my experience in the bay area. I wouldn't conflate "nights and weekends as needed" requirements to mean big law hours. I think it's best to get a sense of hours during the interview process (though I would let them bring it up) and after receiving an offer if you don't get details before that.

I think most in-house jobs entail substantially less hours than your typical big law firm on average, though there may be periods where that is not strictly true. Most in-house positions, at least at growing tech companies in the bay area, are also not strictly 9-5 as a hard rule but aim to get you close to that. There are a minority of companies that will expect more than 40 hour weeks generally. Those may be a good transition to in house for 2-3 years but I think there are enough that are looking for more like 40-45 hour weeks such that you shouldn't stay at a place like that long unless you love it.

Once you go in-house the hour expectations, like comp, are much more all over the place. But I would guess 40-50 hour weeks, as a general rule, is more or less the standard in-house in the bay area.

I'm the anon above. I've been interviewing at tech companies that just went public (think Lyft, Slack) and interviewers typically come right out and tell me that it's significantly more than 40 hours, generally.

The only real exceptions i've heard of are people who went in house as TTG. They seem to have great work life balance.

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Re: Typical In-House Salary Package for Junior Lawyer?

Postby oblig.lawl.ref » Tue Jun 25, 2019 7:30 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
oblig.lawl.ref wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:are there any true 9-5 in house positions? Granted, I'm very junior (1-2 years) and in the bay area, but everything i've seen have been positions that require law firm-esque hours.


Not sure but that has not been my experience in the bay area. I wouldn't conflate "nights and weekends as needed" requirements to mean big law hours. I think it's best to get a sense of hours during the interview process (though I would let them bring it up) and after receiving an offer if you don't get details before that.

I think most in-house jobs entail substantially less hours than your typical big law firm on average, though there may be periods where that is not strictly true. Most in-house positions, at least at growing tech companies in the bay area, are also not strictly 9-5 as a hard rule but aim to get you close to that. There are a minority of companies that will expect more than 40 hour weeks generally. Those may be a good transition to in house for 2-3 years but I think there are enough that are looking for more like 40-45 hour weeks such that you shouldn't stay at a place like that long unless you love it.

Once you go in-house the hour expectations, like comp, are much more all over the place. But I would guess 40-50 hour weeks, as a general rule, is more or less the standard in-house in the bay area.

I'm the anon above. I've been interviewing at tech companies that just went public (think Lyft, Slack) and interviewers typically come right out and tell me that it's significantly more than 40 hours, generally.

The only real exceptions i've heard of are people who went in house as TTG. They seem to have great work life balance.


I work very closely with the in-house teams at those types of companies and most of my network, if they are not in firms servicing those types of companies, are in-house at those type of companies, including literally the two you mention. And that is... not how I've heard them described. I could certainly see someone saying *occasionally* it will be significantly more than 40 hours a week but I am pretty confident the two you mentioned do not generally work their corporate and securities team anywhere near to big law outside of the IPO.

Also query what significantly more than 40 hours looks like to them, as opposed to a BL partner. I can tell you my experience is that it is very different.

I'm not trying to paint too rosy of a picture here because it will certainly not be strictly 9-5 but the hours that the firms that service companies like Lyft and Slack work versus what the in-house teams work are generally *very* different. Most of my colleagues in their first six months in-house at those exact type of companies seem to think its much better than BL.

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Re: Typical In-House Salary Package for Junior Lawyer?

Postby RedGiant » Wed Jun 26, 2019 2:08 am

Anonymous User wrote:Something weird has to be going on here. Current third year, about to be fourth year, and I've interviewed extensively in both CA and TX markets and nothing has even come close to $200k all in.

Corporate at a v100.


I left before the end of my third year. Corporate working in tech as sole counsel (but not fully GC--they'll bring one in above me before we IPO). 200K base and options are worth min $150K (as they trade in secondary markets) per year, and possibly as much a $1.5MM (yes, really) per year. I have a lot of other experience (Ivy-League MBA, previous banking experience, longtime paralegal). Did I luck out? Maybe. The key in tech is finding a company that is late-enough stage that they have money to pay you.

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Re: Typical In-House Salary Package for Junior Lawyer?

Postby RedGiant » Wed Jun 26, 2019 2:12 am

oblig.lawl.ref wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
oblig.lawl.ref wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:are there any true 9-5 in house positions? Granted, I'm very junior (1-2 years) and in the bay area, but everything i've seen have been positions that require law firm-esque hours.


Not sure but that has not been my experience in the bay area. I wouldn't conflate "nights and weekends as needed" requirements to mean big law hours. I think it's best to get a sense of hours during the interview process (though I would let them bring it up) and after receiving an offer if you don't get details before that.

I think most in-house jobs entail substantially less hours than your typical big law firm on average, though there may be periods where that is not strictly true. Most in-house positions, at least at growing tech companies in the bay area, are also not strictly 9-5 as a hard rule but aim to get you close to that. There are a minority of companies that will expect more than 40 hour weeks generally. Those may be a good transition to in house for 2-3 years but I think there are enough that are looking for more like 40-45 hour weeks such that you shouldn't stay at a place like that long unless you love it.

Once you go in-house the hour expectations, like comp, are much more all over the place. But I would guess 40-50 hour weeks, as a general rule, is more or less the standard in-house in the bay area.

I'm the anon above. I've been interviewing at tech companies that just went public (think Lyft, Slack) and interviewers typically come right out and tell me that it's significantly more than 40 hours, generally.

The only real exceptions i've heard of are people who went in house as TTG. They seem to have great work life balance.


I work very closely with the in-house teams at those types of companies and most of my network, if they are not in firms servicing those types of companies, are in-house at those type of companies, including literally the two you mention. And that is... not how I've heard them described. I could certainly see someone saying *occasionally* it will be significantly more than 40 hours a week but I am pretty confident the two you mentioned do not generally work their corporate and securities team anywhere near to big law outside of the IPO.

Also query what significantly more than 40 hours looks like to them, as opposed to a BL partner. I can tell you my experience is that it is very different.

I'm not trying to paint too rosy of a picture here because it will certainly not be strictly 9-5 but the hours that the firms that service companies like Lyft and Slack work versus what the in-house teams work are generally *very* different. Most of my colleagues in their first six months in-house at those exact type of companies seem to think its much better than BL.


I think that this really depends on the stage of the Tech company and the size of the in-house team. I work biglaw-esque hours, but my tech company also has a digital blackout from Friday night until Sunday night. So I might work, but generally the expectation is that you will not send emails. If we have deals going on, that's out the windown. I work during the week about 830 - 730, on Friday my company is done at 5:15PM.

My job is _extremely_ stressful as I am sole counsel at a mid-late tech company and have been understaffed for months. It's worse than biglaw because there's no help. None. And depending...we don't always have budget to use outside counsel.

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Re: Typical In-House Salary Package for Junior Lawyer?

Postby totesTheGoat » Wed Jun 26, 2019 11:23 am

Anonymous User wrote:are there any true 9-5 in house positions? Granted, I'm very junior (1-2 years) and in the bay area, but everything i've seen have been positions that require law firm-esque hours.


42-45 hours is our baseline expectation, with 50 happening on occasion. I can't think of a week that I spent more than 55 hours working, except for during business travel.

I'll say that while the hours are nice, but they're not necessarily a perfect measure of quality of life. There's a nexus between pay, hours expectations, and workload that contribute to QoL. A job that pays for 40 hours, expects 45 hours, and has workload for 55 hours is a very different job than one that pays for 45 hours, expects 45 hours, and has 45 hours of workload.

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Re: Typical In-House Salary Package for Junior Lawyer?

Postby oblig.lawl.ref » Wed Jun 26, 2019 1:20 pm

RedGiant wrote:I think that this really depends on the stage of the Tech company and the size of the in-house team. I work biglaw-esque hours, but my tech company also has a digital blackout from Friday night until Sunday night. So I might work, but generally the expectation is that you will not send emails. If we have deals going on, that's out the windown. I work during the week about 830 - 730, on Friday my company is done at 5:15PM.

My job is _extremely_ stressful as I am sole counsel at a mid-late tech company and have been understaffed for months. It's worse than biglaw because there's no help. None. And depending...we don't always have budget to use outside counsel.


This makes sense. If you're the only lawyer, or one of two or three, at a growing tech company, it's generally going to be a lot more work than a company with 12-25 lawyers, which companies like Lyft and Slack have. Even then, I know of at least two large tech companies that have 25+ lawyers and work their teams close to BL. And this is not the big one in Seattle you hear about here. One of them also pays terrible. Bottomline, expectations are not consistent in-house.

Also I'd note that hours have been way up lately at Cooley / Fenwick / WSGR, etc. So I think a lot of the higher end hours ITT are still better than what many associates have been doing in these firms over the last year or two.

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Re: Typical In-House Salary Package for Junior Lawyer?

Postby nealric » Wed Jun 26, 2019 2:03 pm

Anonymous User wrote:are there any true 9-5 in house positions? Granted, I'm very junior (1-2 years) and in the bay area, but everything i've seen have been positions that require law firm-esque hours.


My job is probably as close as it gets (Texas F500 Energy). We do a "9/80" workweek, where you work 9 hours a day but get a day off every other week (can also be used for half day Fridays if you prefer). I've had to work a night or weekend once in a blue moon, but it's a rare occurrence. I will check emails from time to time in the evenings or weekends, but the vast majority of time, It does not require more than a quick reply. I have had some stressful longer weeks when traveling on business (which can occasionally happen last minute), but that's a handful of times a year. Overall, it's nowhere near biglaw workloads.

I think in general, tech or finance is probably going to be a bit more stressful just by virtue of company culture. You tend to keep the cadence of your internal clients. If they are hard charging, you need to match.

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Re: Typical In-House Salary Package for Junior Lawyer?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jun 26, 2019 2:26 pm

nealric wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:are there any true 9-5 in house positions? Granted, I'm very junior (1-2 years) and in the bay area, but everything i've seen have been positions that require law firm-esque hours.


My job is probably as close as it gets (Texas F500 Energy). We do a "9/80" workweek, where you work 9 hours a day but get a day off every other week (can also be used for half day Fridays if you prefer). I've had to work a night or weekend once in a blue moon, but it's a rare occurrence. I will check emails from time to time in the evenings or weekends, but the vast majority of time, It does not require more than a quick reply. I have had some stressful longer weeks when traveling on business (which can occasionally happen last minute), but that's a handful of times a year. Overall, it's nowhere near biglaw workloads.

I think in general, tech or finance is probably going to be a bit more stressful just by virtue of company culture. You tend to keep the cadence of your internal clients. If they are hard charging, you need to match.

I'm definitely enjoying a 9-5 experience (M-F). I came over from a V5 and still remember the shock when I turned an agreement after dinner during my first week and my boss told me not to do that. "Save it for the work day." There are some exceptions when we have calls at odd times with people across the globe, but no one expects immediate turns of documents after those.
There are definitely teams at the company that work outside of civilian business hours. It probably comes down to both company culture and team culture within a company.
I also have convenient access to the dad scam. Colleagues are very understanding when I say that I can't make some 5:30 call because I have to pick up my son from daycare. It's harder for my wife to do the same.

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Re: Typical In-House Salary Package for Junior Lawyer?

Postby totesTheGoat » Wed Jun 26, 2019 3:45 pm

nealric wrote:I think in general, tech or finance is probably going to be a bit more stressful just by virtue of company culture.


This caught my eye. At least in my tech company, the culture in legal is substantially worse than in the company as a whole. I chalk it up to 1) lawyers generally being less pleasant company than engineers; and 2) cultural bleedover from the places we hire lawyers from (e.g. Biglaw)

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Re: Typical In-House Salary Package for Junior Lawyer?

Postby nealric » Wed Jun 26, 2019 4:31 pm

totesTheGoat wrote:
nealric wrote:I think in general, tech or finance is probably going to be a bit more stressful just by virtue of company culture.


This caught my eye. At least in my tech company, the culture in legal is substantially worse than in the company as a whole. I chalk it up to 1) lawyers generally being less pleasant company than engineers; and 2) cultural bleedover from the places we hire lawyers from (e.g. Biglaw)


Lawyers can be a competitive bunch. Almost every in-house lawyer thinks they could be a great general counsel. Most accountants don't really have designs on becoming CFO. At the same time, company culture can reign in the legal department to a degree. My perception may be a bit skewed because I am not technically in the legal department.

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Re: Typical In-House Salary Package for Junior Lawyer?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jun 26, 2019 4:38 pm

oblig.lawl.ref wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
oblig.lawl.ref wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:are there any true 9-5 in house positions? Granted, I'm very junior (1-2 years) and in the bay area, but everything i've seen have been positions that require law firm-esque hours.


Not sure but that has not been my experience in the bay area. I wouldn't conflate "nights and weekends as needed" requirements to mean big law hours. I think it's best to get a sense of hours during the interview process (though I would let them bring it up) and after receiving an offer if you don't get details before that.

I think most in-house jobs entail substantially less hours than your typical big law firm on average, though there may be periods where that is not strictly true. Most in-house positions, at least at growing tech companies in the bay area, are also not strictly 9-5 as a hard rule but aim to get you close to that. There are a minority of companies that will expect more than 40 hour weeks generally. Those may be a good transition to in house for 2-3 years but I think there are enough that are looking for more like 40-45 hour weeks such that you shouldn't stay at a place like that long unless you love it.

Once you go in-house the hour expectations, like comp, are much more all over the place. But I would guess 40-50 hour weeks, as a general rule, is more or less the standard in-house in the bay area.

I'm the anon above. I've been interviewing at tech companies that just went public (think Lyft, Slack) and interviewers typically come right out and tell me that it's significantly more than 40 hours, generally.

The only real exceptions i've heard of are people who went in house as TTG. They seem to have great work life balance.


I work very closely with the in-house teams at those types of companies and most of my network, if they are not in firms servicing those types of companies, are in-house at those type of companies, including literally the two you mention. And that is... not how I've heard them described. I could certainly see someone saying *occasionally* it will be significantly more than 40 hours a week but I am pretty confident the two you mentioned do not generally work their corporate and securities team anywhere near to big law outside of the IPO.

Also query what significantly more than 40 hours looks like to them, as opposed to a BL partner. I can tell you my experience is that it is very different.

I'm not trying to paint too rosy of a picture here because it will certainly not be strictly 9-5 but the hours that the firms that service companies like Lyft and Slack work versus what the in-house teams work are generally *very* different. Most of my colleagues in their first six months in-house at those exact type of companies seem to think its much better than BL.


I didn't interview at those specific companies, but similarly situated companies. I was told 50+ hours on average, 65-70 hours a week when there's a transaction going on, and they do 2-5 deals a year.

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Re: Typical In-House Salary Package for Junior Lawyer?

Postby totesTheGoat » Wed Jun 26, 2019 5:17 pm

nealric wrote:Lawyers can be a competitive bunch. Almost every in-house lawyer thinks they could be a great general counsel.


There's definitely that type. I'd say they're the biggest drag on the legal department culture compared to the company culture. Gunners and strivers in law school are gunners and strivers in the real world, too. It just so happens that they trail ribbons of red tape as they excitedly bounce off the walls looking for a new manager butthole to affix their nose to. It's also just plain not fun to work with people who expend a lot of effort on being the stereotype of a bad coworker.

I think the more impactful difference between legal and the company at large is the stagnant, hierarchical crap that permeates the legal industry. It leads to crappy management and hopelessly inefficient systems. "Oh no, we can't just roll that change out, we need to have 10 hours of planning meetings before setting up a committee to decide on a final draft, but then we would need to get 25 attorneys to agree to it, and that would be too hard!" or "It's not a good use of your time to automate (insert thing that 30 attorneys do on a weekly basis) when we could just hire a programmer to do it (but never will)" :roll:

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Re: Typical In-House Salary Package for Junior Lawyer?

Postby nealric » Wed Jun 26, 2019 5:25 pm

totesTheGoat wrote:
nealric wrote:Lawyers can be a competitive bunch. Almost every in-house lawyer thinks they could be a great general counsel.


I think the more impactful difference between legal and the company at large is the stagnant, hierarchical crap that permeates the legal industry. It leads to crappy management and hopelessly inefficient systems. "Oh no, we can't just roll that change out, we need to have 10 hours of planning meetings before setting up a committee to decide on a final draft, but then we would need to get 25 attorneys to agree to it, and that would be too hard!" or "It's not a good use of your time to automate (insert thing that 30 attorneys do on a weekly basis) when we could just hire a programmer to do it (but never will)" :roll:


Yikes. Fortunately, I have not had to deal with that sort of attitude.

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Re: Typical In-House Salary Package for Junior Lawyer?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jul 11, 2019 12:05 pm

Anon because I have a unique legal background easily identified by my posts. I am currently still seeking employment in the tech industry, where my background makes me stick out like a sore thumb. Please do not de-anon me.

I've been interviewing for a few in-house positions at tech companies. I want to add a concrete data point for others:

Twitter - SF - $170k-$210k, 20% target bonus. I can't recall RSUs or signing bonus. They stated a signing bonus was generally whatever it cost to move to SF but in my experience, that's unlikely. Signing bonuses are the most flexible.

I'll continue to add more data as I receive it. It would be excellent if others continued to add their insight.

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Re: Typical In-House Salary Package for Junior Lawyer?

Postby LaLiLuLeLo » Thu Jul 11, 2019 12:52 pm

without knowing your class year that’s not a horrible base salary but I’d definitely try to bump it up to the higher end given you’re in the bay.

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Re: Typical In-House Salary Package for Junior Lawyer?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jul 12, 2019 12:16 am

I work in a specialty area in-house tech west coast. Lateraled from another tech company in 2018 and came in at senior counsel (9 years out of law school). I make $515K with 10% options annually. Company essentially gives you one number for comp and you can elect how much of that you want in cash v. options, with the caveat that depending on seniority, you get a certain % of your comp in options on top of that one number. I chose all cash (and based on my seniority, get the 10% on top of that).

For those negotiating their first in-house gig, do not discount the value of equity (depending on the company). I left biglaw after 1.5 years to go in-house. The comp structure was (1) base, (2) bonus) and (3) equity. I took a pretty big cut on base/bonus coming from biglaw - I think my starting base was like $100K with %15 bonus. The company was not willing to budge on those numbers, but they were willing to give me more RSUs. I essentially wanted to match what I would have made at biglaw had I stayed, so I calculated out the salary scale for years 3-7 of biglaw, then assumed 5% bumps in base and bonus, and then tried my best to negotiate the differential into my vesting schedule. Turned out to be something like $300K-ish over 4 years at the 2012 stock price. In the 6 years that I was at the company, the stock split twice (meaning that I got 4x the RSU's from my original vesting) and now trades at about 6x the 2012 price. This is obviously an outlier example, but not crazy for tech.

So, while my current comp is probably less than my contemporaries at biglaw who are young partners, I'm guessing that my net worth well exceeds most of them because I was willing to take more risk earlier on in my career.

jagpaw

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Re: Typical In-House Salary Package for Junior Lawyer?

Postby jagpaw » Fri Jul 12, 2019 12:57 am

Anonymous User wrote:I work in a specialty area in-house tech west coast. Lateraled from another tech company in 2018 and came in at senior counsel (9 years out of law school). I make $515K with 10% options annually. Company essentially gives you one number for comp and you can elect how much of that you want in cash v. options, with the caveat that depending on seniority, you get a certain % of your comp in options on top of that one number. I chose all cash (and based on my seniority, get the 10% on top of that).

For those negotiating their first in-house gig, do not discount the value of equity (depending on the company). I left biglaw after 1.5 years to go in-house. The comp structure was (1) base, (2) bonus) and (3) equity. I took a pretty big cut on base/bonus coming from biglaw - I think my starting base was like $100K with %15 bonus. The company was not willing to budge on those numbers, but they were willing to give me more RSUs. I essentially wanted to match what I would have made at biglaw had I stayed, so I calculated out the salary scale for years 3-7 of biglaw, then assumed 5% bumps in base and bonus, and then tried my best to negotiate the differential into my vesting schedule. Turned out to be something like $300K-ish over 4 years at the 2012 stock price. In the 6 years that I was at the company, the stock split twice (meaning that I got 4x the RSU's from my original vesting) and now trades at about 6x the 2012 price. This is obviously an outlier example, but not crazy for tech.

So, while my current comp is probably less than my contemporaries at biglaw who are young partners, I'm guessing that my net worth well exceeds most of them because I was willing to take more risk earlier on in my career.


Sounds like you made some very smart moves. Any vague indicator of your general area of practice would be very helpful to know for juniors trying to make similar strategic career bets.

oblig.lawl.ref

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Re: Typical In-House Salary Package for Junior Lawyer?

Postby oblig.lawl.ref » Fri Jul 12, 2019 2:06 am

jagpaw wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I work in a specialty area in-house tech west coast. Lateraled from another tech company in 2018 and came in at senior counsel (9 years out of law school). I make $515K with 10% options annually. Company essentially gives you one number for comp and you can elect how much of that you want in cash v. options, with the caveat that depending on seniority, you get a certain % of your comp in options on top of that one number. I chose all cash (and based on my seniority, get the 10% on top of that).

For those negotiating their first in-house gig, do not discount the value of equity (depending on the company). I left biglaw after 1.5 years to go in-house. The comp structure was (1) base, (2) bonus) and (3) equity. I took a pretty big cut on base/bonus coming from biglaw - I think my starting base was like $100K with %15 bonus. The company was not willing to budge on those numbers, but they were willing to give me more RSUs. I essentially wanted to match what I would have made at biglaw had I stayed, so I calculated out the salary scale for years 3-7 of biglaw, then assumed 5% bumps in base and bonus, and then tried my best to negotiate the differential into my vesting schedule. Turned out to be something like $300K-ish over 4 years at the 2012 stock price. In the 6 years that I was at the company, the stock split twice (meaning that I got 4x the RSU's from my original vesting) and now trades at about 6x the 2012 price. This is obviously an outlier example, but not crazy for tech.

So, while my current comp is probably less than my contemporaries at biglaw who are young partners, I'm guessing that my net worth well exceeds most of them because I was willing to take more risk earlier on in my career.


Sounds like you made some very smart moves. Any vague indicator of your general area of practice would be very helpful to know for juniors trying to make similar strategic career bets.


What kind of tech company comps like that in cash AND grants options? That comp structure is pretty unusual in most tech companies I'm pretty sure.

Also, I would note that even by this poster's own admission this is a pretty lucky outcome, not necessarily smart moves. IMO stories like these are indicative of SV's success bias. I had plenty of hot startup clients that disappeared into nothing (and their equity with them). That's the reason I think everyone should discount equity. Plenty of tech companies pay good cash and have a good equity outlook. If you're giving up cash for equity upside you're giving up one bird in the hand for two in the bush.

We're in a tech bull run. All the same, I would take a look at the dozens of tech companies that have gone public in the last 3-5 years and see what their stock is valued at now versus at IPO. Homeruns are pretty rare. Lots go not too much of anywhere. Sure there's some money there but many do not turn into homeruns.

I think if you want to practice in-house, go in-house. If you want to make a lot of money stay in a firm (if you can). If you want to place a bet gamble on equity. Not even the top venture funds invest in one single company for their entire returns but you do if you go in house for the equity.

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Re: Typical In-House Salary Package for Junior Lawyer?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jul 12, 2019 2:59 am

Sounds like you made some very smart moves. Any vague indicator of your general area of practice would be very helpful to know for juniors trying to make similar strategic career bets.


It's a bit of a mix of tax/transactional that is specific to tech.

What kind of tech company comps like that in cash AND grants options? That comp structure is pretty unusual in most tech companies I'm pretty sure.
Also, I would note that even by this poster's own admission this is a pretty lucky outcome, not necessarily smart moves.


Yes, it's a weird comp structure, but I don't hate it. I think the rationale behind it is that the company leaves it up to you as to how much risk you're willing to take, i.e. cash in hand v. options. For me, I took all cash for a number of reasons. Mostly because at the end of the day, I am a bit risk averse, and I plan to buy a new house this year (lenders obv prefer cash certainty over options). Also, the risks I took earlier on in my career allow me to err on the conservative side now. I would say that my outcome was a combination of luck and calculated risks. Luck primarily in that I joined tech towards the beginning of the current run up...most people that joined around then and had a good percentage of comp in equity did well. But a lot of people at the firm told me I was making the wrong decision. Ultimately, I didn't do it for the money, but rather for the quality of life as I didn't foresee myself ever gunning for partner. It just ended up being the right move financially...most of which was out of my control.

jagpaw

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Re: Typical In-House Salary Package for Junior Lawyer?

Postby jagpaw » Fri Jul 12, 2019 9:26 am

Can you PM me please? I’m in a tax/transactional hybrid position right now so it would be great to hear more about your path.

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Re: Typical In-House Salary Package for Junior Lawyer?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jul 19, 2019 3:44 pm

I am entertaining an offer for a regional NE financial services firm with an AUM between $40 - $60 billion. I am a 2018 graduate, bar certified, with a little less than a year of practice under me, and I am currently working in - house for another financial services firm.

The new job is offering me a 90 - 95K base with a bonus ranging from 20 - 25% of base salary. The new company salary is a minor increase on the base and a larger potential bonus. The hours are about 40 a week and I will be doing similar transnational work at this new company.

Their have been several posters who have made the move in house after 1 - 2+ years in Big Law and their salaries are at least starting in the six figure range.

I am going to negotiate a higher base salary, 100K - 105K, but if the new company is insistent on the base of 90 - 95K, is this a fair offer?



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