Typical In-House Salary Package for Junior Lawyer?

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

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 19, 2017 10:45 am

Did people get these jobs through client contact, personal contacts, cold-applying?

I'm a first year NYC corporate associate and dislike being in a big firm (who doesn't). Really dreading having to put in 5 years here. Considering whether to try to leave altogether, switch to litigation (maybe after a clerkship) and just shoot for midlaw/government, or stick it out. That said, I know I definitely have the tolerance for another year of this so maybe I should hold my horses before jumping ship and try to learn as much as I can here first.

My chief concerns are
-Nobody in my firm seems to leave before Year 5, at least, granted I've only been here a year. I've tried to probe midlevel associates, but their responses were all that they felt that they were way too junior to leave and hoped to stay until Year 7/8 at least. I will say my firm does seem to be better than the rest about promoting partnership from within and keeping people around as counsel. (That said, the thought of being here for 8 years makes me queasy).

-We do a lot of private equity work. A lot of our clients are large funds. I haven't been staffed on a public M&A deal yet. I've had to step in as cover/an extra set of hands on some, but we don't seem to do a whole lot in general. How screwed am I?

-My firm is a V30 but I'm not sure if that prestige/strength of connections rubs off on our corporate group, aside from the fact that we'd fit the "experience at a top firm" requirement in most in-house postings I see.

Aside from that, juniors in my group float between the different corporate areas, so I could talk about M&A, debt finance, capital markets (though a little thin on that), corporate governance and periodic filings with the SEC, as well as some restructuring with some level of fluency in an interview.

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

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 19, 2017 12:26 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Did people get these jobs through client contact, personal contacts, cold-applying?

I'm a first year NYC corporate associate and dislike being in a big firm (who doesn't). Really dreading having to put in 5 years here. Considering whether to try to leave altogether, switch to litigation (maybe after a clerkship) and just shoot for midlaw/government, or stick it out. That said, I know I definitely have the tolerance for another year of this so maybe I should hold my horses before jumping ship and try to learn as much as I can here first.

My chief concerns are
-Nobody in my firm seems to leave before Year 5, at least, granted I've only been here a year. I've tried to probe midlevel associates, but their responses were all that they felt that they were way too junior to leave and hoped to stay until Year 7/8 at least. I will say my firm does seem to be better than the rest about promoting partnership from within and keeping people around as counsel. (That said, the thought of being here for 8 years makes me queasy).

-We do a lot of private equity work. A lot of our clients are large funds. I haven't been staffed on a public M&A deal yet. I've had to step in as cover/an extra set of hands on some, but we don't seem to do a whole lot in general. How screwed am I?

-My firm is a V30 but I'm not sure if that prestige/strength of connections rubs off on our corporate group, aside from the fact that we'd fit the "experience at a top firm" requirement in most in-house postings I see.

Aside from that, juniors in my group float between the different corporate areas, so I could talk about M&A, debt finance, capital markets (though a little thin on that), corporate governance and periodic filings with the SEC, as well as some restructuring with some level of fluency in an interview.


I was the west coast associate who left before 3rd year on page 1. I'll take your concerns in sequence:

- No one needs to stay 5 years to go in house. I've had friends in areas that aren't considered hot to go in house (real estate, litigation, etc.) make the transition by year 3, not to mention a bunch of corporate associates. I don't get why any mid level would claim that you would need to stay until years 7 or 8. If anything, it is harder to make the jump then since many companies would consider you too senior. Yes it is harder to transition at a junior but there are definitely opportunities available. Like lateraling to another firm, years 4-6 is probably a sweet spot for going in house.

- Hard to say. Try to get more diversified corporate experience (especially any commercial agreement or tech trans work) if possible.

- Prestige helps to a certain extent, but you are V30 so you're fine. Your ability to impress at an interview and a written assessment (which I had to do) is way more important. Most junior associates I think overemphasis the importance of prestige. If anything it only gives you a minimal initial bump when someone looks at your CV. Nothing more. Firm connections have helped one of my friends go in house, i.e., partner recommended her to a client. General connections always help, as with anything.

- If you went through a rotation, that's great. Being exposed to more areas of the law definitely helps in house.

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

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 19, 2017 4:12 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Did people get these jobs through client contact, personal contacts, cold-applying?

I'm a first year NYC corporate associate and dislike being in a big firm (who doesn't). Really dreading having to put in 5 years here. Considering whether to try to leave altogether, switch to litigation (maybe after a clerkship) and just shoot for midlaw/government, or stick it out. That said, I know I definitely have the tolerance for another year of this so maybe I should hold my horses before jumping ship and try to learn as much as I can here first.

My chief concerns are
-Nobody in my firm seems to leave before Year 5, at least, granted I've only been here a year. I've tried to probe midlevel associates, but their responses were all that they felt that they were way too junior to leave and hoped to stay until Year 7/8 at least. I will say my firm does seem to be better than the rest about promoting partnership from within and keeping people around as counsel. (That said, the thought of being here for 8 years makes me queasy).

-We do a lot of private equity work. A lot of our clients are large funds. I haven't been staffed on a public M&A deal yet. I've had to step in as cover/an extra set of hands on some, but we don't seem to do a whole lot in general. How screwed am I?

-My firm is a V30 but I'm not sure if that prestige/strength of connections rubs off on our corporate group, aside from the fact that we'd fit the "experience at a top firm" requirement in most in-house postings I see.

Aside from that, juniors in my group float between the different corporate areas, so I could talk about M&A, debt finance, capital markets (though a little thin on that), corporate governance and periodic filings with the SEC, as well as some restructuring with some level of fluency in an interview.


I'm the anon poster from the last page who went in-house after a year and a half in big law. I got my gig through straight cold applying on websites. I checked goinhouse.com, Zip Recruiter, and LinkedIn every day for about six months. I got interviews at a dozen or so companies.

As far as your first concern goes: I also was concerned I didn't "know enough" to go in-house. That said, I wasn't confident I'd be ready after, say, another 2 years at the firm. In my new gig, the other attorneys here have been incredibly helpful to help train me, and I can honestly say I've learned more about negotiating contracts, data privacy laws, and other areas relevant to being an in-house counsel in two months than I would have learned in 3 more years of big law.

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

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 19, 2017 4:28 pm

Wow, thank you for the advice, everybody. This thread is the happiest place in TLS so far!

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

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 19, 2017 7:54 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:OP here -- offer did end up coming through (hallelujah!), so thought it'd be helpful to include this as an additional data point since this position is not in CA/NYC.

$150k base
$37.5k bonus (variable; pegged to performance of the company)
$30k in RSUs and options
$20k sign-on bonus
6% 401k match


Congrats OP! Will you take it? When I made the jump (I'm the West Coast anon from 1st page who moved in house before 3rd year), it was a pretty easy decision due to QOL reasons but that may not rank as high for some...

Thanks, and yes, planning on accepting. Initially was planning on jumping off after 3rd/4th year, but the combination of the overall comp package/equity upside and improved QOL made this worth the BigLaw salary/bonus I'll miss out on. Also happy to PM others about my experience.

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

Postby omar.comin » Wed Jul 19, 2017 7:58 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:OP here -- offer did end up coming through (hallelujah!), so thought it'd be helpful to include this as an additional data point since this position is not in CA/NYC.

$150k base
$37.5k bonus (variable; pegged to performance of the company)
$30k in RSUs and options
$20k sign-on bonus
6% 401k match


Congrats OP! Will you take it? When I made the jump (I'm the West Coast anon from 1st page who moved in house before 3rd year), it was a pretty easy decision due to QOL reasons but that may not rank as high for some...

Thanks, and yes, planning on accepting. Initially was planning on jumping off after 3rd/4th year, but the combination of the overall comp package/equity upside and improved QOL made this worth the BigLaw salary/bonus I'll miss out on. Also happy to PM others about my experience.


Yes, congrats!! Would you mind PM'ing me? I'll be a junior corp associate this fall. I'd love to be able to position myself to get to your position

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

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 19, 2017 10:16 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Did people get these jobs through client contact, personal contacts, cold-applying?

I'm a first year NYC corporate associate and dislike being in a big firm (who doesn't). Really dreading having to put in 5 years here. Considering whether to try to leave altogether, switch to litigation (maybe after a clerkship) and just shoot for midlaw/government, or stick it out. That said, I know I definitely have the tolerance for another year of this so maybe I should hold my horses before jumping ship and try to learn as much as I can here first.

My chief concerns are
-Nobody in my firm seems to leave before Year 5, at least, granted I've only been here a year. I've tried to probe midlevel associates, but their responses were all that they felt that they were way too junior to leave and hoped to stay until Year 7/8 at least. I will say my firm does seem to be better than the rest about promoting partnership from within and keeping people around as counsel. (That said, the thought of being here for 8 years makes me queasy).

-We do a lot of private equity work. A lot of our clients are large funds. I haven't been staffed on a public M&A deal yet. I've had to step in as cover/an extra set of hands on some, but we don't seem to do a whole lot in general. How screwed am I?

-My firm is a V30 but I'm not sure if that prestige/strength of connections rubs off on our corporate group, aside from the fact that we'd fit the "experience at a top firm" requirement in most in-house postings I see.

Aside from that, juniors in my group float between the different corporate areas, so I could talk about M&A, debt finance, capital markets (though a little thin on that), corporate governance and periodic filings with the SEC, as well as some restructuring with some level of fluency in an interview.


I'm the anon poster from the last page who went in-house after a year and a half in big law. I got my gig through straight cold applying on websites. I checked goinhouse.com, Zip Recruiter, and LinkedIn every day for about six months. I got interviews at a dozen or so companies.

As far as your first concern goes: I also was concerned I didn't "know enough" to go in-house. That said, I wasn't confident I'd be ready after, say, another 2 years at the firm. In my new gig, the other attorneys here have been incredibly helpful to help train me, and I can honestly say I've learned more about negotiating contracts, data privacy laws, and other areas relevant to being an in-house counsel in two months than I would have learned in 3 more years of big law.


When you were cold applying and getting interviews, what experience levels were the companies asking for? Did you have any success getting interviews for jobs asking for more years of experience than you had?

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

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 19, 2017 10:50 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
When you were cold applying and getting interviews, what experience levels were the companies asking for? Did you have any success getting interviews for jobs asking for more years of experience than you had?

OP here - I only applied to positions where I was within one year of the desired years of experience (e.g., if it required 4+ years, I'd only recommend applying if you were a third-year associate). Only exceptions to this rule were if I knew someone at the company or someone I work/have worked with recommended me to someone at the company. I used my firm's alumni portal and LinkedIn to identify companies that had previously hired people that I was connected with through school or work or through close mutual connections.

I will caveat this by saying that at some firms associates can make up ground in experience (I billed several hundred hours over my firm's billable pace as a junior and was on track for similar pace this year, and that led to me having a robust deal sheet, a wide variety of experience, and plenty of deals to reference/discuss in interviews). It was certainly mentioned several times how I was more junior than other candidates they were considering for the position, but the one upside of working a shit ton on all those deals for the past couple years was the company valued that over my competitor's numerical level of years of experience.

Most positions I saw were for 4-6 years minimum experience, but there were a handful of positions that required less, so those are the ones I focused on. I started this process of applying in Q1 and didn't hear back from several companies for 1-3 months after applying as they just aggregated resumes during that time. I've heard anecdotally and personally that resumes can total well into the hundreds for some positions, so it helps to be at a more well-renowned firm or firms that do business with the company or are in the same market, just to help make it through the initial sorting.

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

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

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jul 20, 2017 10:11 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Did people get these jobs through client contact, personal contacts, cold-applying?

I'm a first year NYC corporate associate and dislike being in a big firm (who doesn't). Really dreading having to put in 5 years here. Considering whether to try to leave altogether, switch to litigation (maybe after a clerkship) and just shoot for midlaw/government, or stick it out. That said, I know I definitely have the tolerance for another year of this so maybe I should hold my horses before jumping ship and try to learn as much as I can here first.

My chief concerns are
-Nobody in my firm seems to leave before Year 5, at least, granted I've only been here a year. I've tried to probe midlevel associates, but their responses were all that they felt that they were way too junior to leave and hoped to stay until Year 7/8 at least. I will say my firm does seem to be better than the rest about promoting partnership from within and keeping people around as counsel. (That said, the thought of being here for 8 years makes me queasy).

-We do a lot of private equity work. A lot of our clients are large funds. I haven't been staffed on a public M&A deal yet. I've had to step in as cover/an extra set of hands on some, but we don't seem to do a whole lot in general. How screwed am I?

-My firm is a V30 but I'm not sure if that prestige/strength of connections rubs off on our corporate group, aside from the fact that we'd fit the "experience at a top firm" requirement in most in-house postings I see.

Aside from that, juniors in my group float between the different corporate areas, so I could talk about M&A, debt finance, capital markets (though a little thin on that), corporate governance and periodic filings with the SEC, as well as some restructuring with some level of fluency in an interview.


I'm the anon poster from the last page who went in-house after a year and a half in big law. I got my gig through straight cold applying on websites. I checked goinhouse.com, Zip Recruiter, and LinkedIn every day for about six months. I got interviews at a dozen or so companies.

As far as your first concern goes: I also was concerned I didn't "know enough" to go in-house. That said, I wasn't confident I'd be ready after, say, another 2 years at the firm. In my new gig, the other attorneys here have been incredibly helpful to help train me, and I can honestly say I've learned more about negotiating contracts, data privacy laws, and other areas relevant to being an in-house counsel in two months than I would have learned in 3 more years of big law.


When you were cold applying and getting interviews, what experience levels were the companies asking for? Did you have any success getting interviews for jobs asking for more years of experience than you had?


Most of the postings I saw explicitly asked for 4 or more years of experience. A minority asked for 1-2 years, and I applied to all of those. I didn't apply for anything that asked for five or more years, but I did apply to a good number of postings that asked for 4 years, and I had a handful of interviews for those positions. What I often found was that an alumnus of my firm worked there and wanted to interview me, and other times, HR or the attorneys wanted to interview me because of my firm despite me not having four years of experience.

Long story short, if you have the time, apply to anything that asks for 4 or fewer years of experience.

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LaLiLuLeLo

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

Postby LaLiLuLeLo » Fri Jun 15, 2018 11:10 am

Curious to hear how negotiations went. Presumably just through the HR contact?

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

Postby worklifewhat » Fri Jun 15, 2018 4:30 pm

lolwat wrote:this thread makes me wish i went into corp and not lit


SAME!! :(



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