Richmond, Virginia - Quality of Life

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Richmond, Virginia - Quality of Life

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 03, 2017 11:36 am

So I'm in the process of lateraling out of NYC. Been here four years and think that is just about enough time here. Been looking at a lot of different markets, including Portland, Seattle, Denver, Maine, etc., and all seem to have pros and cons. Top choices are Portland and Denver, but both a small markets and very competitive. I've been looking at Richmond, Virginia as well since it seems like a smaller market with better QOL and still pays incredibly well for a secondary market. Was wondering if anyone works at some of the bigger firms there and can attest to the quality of life, hours, if people are nice, etc.?

I'm likely going to start to target this market since Portland and Denver aren't getting much leeway and Virginia seems like a great place, but interested in hearing from anyone that works at Hunton, McGuirewoods, Troutman, Williams Mullen, etc. to see if they like it down there and if the pace of life is good.

Thanks!

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Re: Richmond, Virginia - Quality of Life

Postby barkschool » Thu Aug 03, 2017 11:45 am

Just curious why you are picking markets with a dart?

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Re: Richmond, Virginia - Quality of Life

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Aug 03, 2017 12:42 pm

barkschool wrote:Just curious why you are picking markets with a dart?


We basically need to GTFO of NYC. Most of the non-California markets out west seem pretty similar and the types of people that move out to Seattle, Denver, Portland are as well. Denver and Portland are top choices for the long-term, but they are pretty hard to get a law firm job in without ties from my experience. Richmond is close to my SO's family, so that market makes sense for us in that way and cost of living is way cheaper and salary is still high, so debt payments and savings will be expedited there.

Basically, where we end up will change the circumstances for what we do. If its VA, we expect to pay off debt, save a lot of money and maybe go back to school at in-state prices or move out west and see what we can do. If its Denver/Portland, then think about staying longer term since those are two of the places we want to go anyways.

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Re: Richmond, Virginia - Quality of Life

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 04, 2017 12:35 pm

Bump - anyone on here work at a firm in Richmond, VA?

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Re: Richmond, Virginia - Quality of Life

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 04, 2017 6:31 pm

Just an FYI - McGuire Woods gets a ton of SCOTUS clerks, so take that with a grain of salt if you are looking to become a litigation partner. As far as quality of life, I think you are going to see a legitimate expectation of 2,000 hours at the other big shop (Hunton). The other firms you mentioned may not have as much of an expectation re: hours, but that is total speculation. When I interviewed at Hunton during OCI (which, granted, was the summer), associates seemed genuinely happy. I'm at a DC firm, so have no other input beyond the above, but good luck. I think that Richmond is an awesome city, and I am definitely thinking of making the move down there as well when the timing is right.

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Re: Richmond, Virginia - Quality of Life

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 04, 2017 7:29 pm

Richmond native here. Currently going through OCI myself so I can't give info about firm life but I do know that Richmond itself is very easy to live in. You'll be able to buy a nice house in the burbs and get to work in 20 minutes if that's what you're into. The partners I've spoken to at Richmond firms compare their worklife favorably to DC/NYC but I don't have specifics on billable expectations so I don't really know how much of that is just conjecture on their part

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Re: Richmond, Virginia - Quality of Life

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 07, 2017 4:40 pm

I work at McGuireWoods, albeit it not in Richmond. Firmwide the culture is pretty congenial and I like the people I work with. Billing requirement is to meet hours minimum (1950) but no real pressure to exceed that amount. Also seems like you can stick around indefinitely as long as you are liked. The main issue is associate pay, which is very off-market at this point. Associate morale has been quite low as a result. If you decide to proceed, negotiate heavily on compensation and except underwhelming raises thereafter.

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Re: Richmond, Virginia - Quality of Life

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Aug 08, 2017 3:40 pm

To above anon, how far off market is the pay for mid and senior associates?

Am currently at a major market firm and have been curious about the difference in pay difference if I decide to or can make a jump to Richmond.

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Re: Richmond, Virginia - Quality of Life

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Aug 08, 2017 4:41 pm

Anonymous User wrote:To above anon, how far off market is the pay for mid and senior associates?

Am currently at a major market firm and have been curious about the difference in pay difference if I decide to or can make a jump to Richmond.


Not in Richmond, but in a similar market. Expect to get paid like 100k or more less than a fifth year in NYC. The advantage at that point is more job security and low COL.

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Re: Richmond, Virginia - Quality of Life

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Aug 08, 2017 5:31 pm

Is that with factoring in bonus or without (I assume with). Also, is it typically a compressed lockstep or individualized comp?

Im curious to see if there is a major difference in how associates view partnership versus firms in say Chicago NYC or Atlanta.

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Re: Richmond, Virginia - Quality of Life

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Aug 08, 2017 5:39 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Is that with factoring in bonus or without (I assume with). Also, is it typically a compressed lockstep or individualized comp?

Im curious to see if there is a major difference in how associates view partnership versus firms in say Chicago NYC or Atlanta.


Factoring in bonus. My firm is compressed individualized comp within certain bands. Worst of both worlds. And most associates at my firm think they will make fix share partner and be able to stay until they make equity in their forties or early 50s.

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Re: Richmond, Virginia - Quality of Life

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Aug 08, 2017 6:04 pm

OP here - I'm a little confused on the comp. Hunton says it starts at 160K in Richmond, which seems to be pretty dam good even though its off market. I know they don't keep lockstep as well, but I figure a 4th year can negotiate a $170-180K salary, which goes a lot further than $235K in NYC.

EDIT: just wondering for people in the know, if you were to be a fifth year moving over to Hunton/McGwuire/Troutman (which seem to be top band for corp), what kind of salary would you expect to receive?
Last edited by Anonymous User on Tue Aug 08, 2017 6:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Richmond, Virginia - Quality of Life

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Aug 08, 2017 6:11 pm

Anonymous User wrote:OP here - I'm a little confused on the comp. Hunton says it starts at 160K in Richmond, which seems to be pretty dam good even though its off market. I know they don't keep lockstep as well, but I figure a 4th year can negotiate a $170-180K salary, which goes a lot further than $235K in NYC.

Their bonuses are also not going to be anywhere near NYC. Fourth year market bonus is what - 50kish? I'd be shocked if Richmond hit 20k for 4th years. So 55k in salary + 30k in bonus is 85k difference.

That's a lot of cheese. CoL differences probably balance out, but it's suddenly close when you factor it in.

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Re: Richmond, Virginia - Quality of Life

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Aug 08, 2017 6:16 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:OP here - I'm a little confused on the comp. Hunton says it starts at 160K in Richmond, which seems to be pretty dam good even though its off market. I know they don't keep lockstep as well, but I figure a 4th year can negotiate a $170-180K salary, which goes a lot further than $235K in NYC.

Their bonuses are also not going to be anywhere near NYC. Fourth year market bonus is what - 50kish? I'd be shocked if Richmond hit 20k for 4th years. So 55k in salary + 30k in bonus is 85k difference.

That's a lot of cheese. CoL differences probably balance out, but it's suddenly close when you factor it in.


Definitely a lot less money, but honestly, seems like you can really make $100K less and have similar buying power in Richmond to NYC. Rent alone is going to be about $18,000 a year less for us post-tax. Then factor in city tax and higher state tax rates, it evens out a little. Then add in cost of goods down there and makes it even closer. That isn't to say that you make more overall in VA than NYC, I wouldn't expect that. But it seems like for a better lifestyle and QOL, you still make a decent chunk of change.

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Re: Richmond, Virginia - Quality of Life

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Aug 08, 2017 6:36 pm

Anonymous User wrote:OP here - I'm a little confused on the comp. Hunton says it starts at 160K in Richmond, which seems to be pretty dam good even though its off market. I know they don't keep lockstep as well, but I figure a 4th year can negotiate a $170-180K salary, which goes a lot further than $235K in NYC.

EDIT: just wondering for people in the know, if you were to be a fifth year moving over to Hunton/McGwuire/Troutman (which seem to be top band for corp), what kind of salary would you expect to receive?


Yeah it may be a little closer than my market. Didn't know they started at 160. My firm starts at 145.

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Re: Richmond, Virginia - Quality of Life

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Aug 08, 2017 8:05 pm

Anonymous User wrote:EDIT: just wondering for people in the know, if you were to be a fifth year moving over to Hunton/McGwuire/Troutman (which seem to be top band for corp), what kind of salary would you expect to receive?


Likely somewhere between 190-200.

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Re: Richmond, Virginia - Quality of Life

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Aug 08, 2017 8:13 pm

Anonymous User wrote:To above anon, how far off market is the pay for mid and senior associates?

Am currently at a major market firm and have been curious about the difference in pay difference if I decide to or can make a jump to Richmond.


This is the anon at MW. starting pay at "major markets" is 175 (NYC, California, Texas). I think Richmond starting is 155k. I am in a market paying office, so we start at 175. If you make your hours each year, i think you can expect around 5-10k. maybe a little less, maybe a little more if you had a very good year. After the pay raise, the third years in my office now make 190k, so you if you were lateralling into a market paying office as a 5th year I would try and negotiate 220 or so, and settle for 210. As you are in Richmond, try and negotiate 200, but you probably will get less I'd think.

At MW, you get a 5k bonus at 2000, 2100, and 2200, maxing out at 15k (i believe, it's not exactly clear how this works).

Even after CoL adjustment.... market salary for a 5th year is 260 and bonus for a 5th year is 65k, for a total of 325k. assuming you get an offer for 190 and make a 15k bonus, you are still losing 120k. Up to you if that still justifies leaving NYC, but the firm is definitely having retention issues in marketing pay non-NY offices due to the difference.

if you have any more questions, make an account and I will PM you and we can discuss.

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Re: Richmond, Virginia - Quality of Life

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 09, 2017 11:20 am

That is admittedly a pretty huge gap, even accounting for cost of living (with say Chicago or Texas, I dont know about NYC).

I assume Hunton and Troutman are similar in Richmond (ie top out below 250 for senior associates). Anybody know if thats not the case?

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Re: Richmond, Virginia - Quality of Life

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 09, 2017 4:13 pm

Hunton has lockstep compensation based on the old $160K Cravath scale (e.g., 1st year makes $160k, 2nd year $170k, etc.). The 4th and 5th years in corporate I know make more than $200K a year.

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Re: Richmond, Virginia - Quality of Life

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 09, 2017 5:37 pm

Anyone know what the salary scale is for Troutman in Richmond? Looks like they start at $155K, but unsure where a 4th/5th year should be.



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