Midsized Law Firm Exit Options

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Midsized Law Firm Exit Options

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Aug 30, 2017 9:19 am

Two of my friends from law school have recently started employment at law firms (in a non-NYC east coast metropolitan market) and I was curious to hear thoughts on their exit options 2-10 years down the line. Firm A has 100 attorneys total working in four offices in the northeast, Firm B has 300 attorneys total working in eight offices along the east coast). I've heard of one person lateraling from Firm B to a biglaw firm in the same city, but don't know much about Firm A.

Both firms are primarily litigation oriented, and both friends are in litigation (however, friend from Firm B is considering trying to switch over to corporate). They were hired through mass mailing after passing the bar last year, in part due to having ties to the city from having gone to law school there. Both were top 1/3 at the same T2 school. The school places pretty well in the region. Both friends are optimists and view their five year plan as "lateral to biglaw in 1-2 years, work in biglaw for a few years, then go in house." Both friends want to remain in this city/region, but would consider moving to NYC.

I'm trying to get an understanding of what realistic exit options from similar law firms actually are. I'm guessing simply lateraling to biglaw after 1-2 years would require tremendous hustle, credentials, and luck, among other things. Outside of that, are lawyers from midsized firms going in-house? If so, what are realistic in-house positions to look for? Curious about litigation (as both friends are likely to remain in litigation), but corporate as well. I've heard a lot on TLS about biglaw exit options, but don't have a clear picture of options for lawyers coming from smaller firms (or "shit law," whatever that is, for that matter).

I can provide more info to help the discussion, if needed.

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Re: Midsized Law Firm Exit Options

Postby smokeylarue » Wed Aug 30, 2017 11:56 am

Jumping from midsize to biglaw will be difficult but not impossible, I've seen it happen. Anecdotally, it seems to be easier for litigation or specialty transaction people to lateral up to BigLaw than general corporate folks but I could be wrong about that. I'm guessing the person from the 300 person firm will have an easier time since that's a pretty huge midsize firm, so it probably has a better name (not necessarily though)

Litigation to in-house is even more unlikely though, in-house for litigation folks is just not common. Vast majority of in-house positions are for transactional and IP lawyers.

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