Bonuses, Lateraling to Gov., Timing Question,

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Bonuses, Lateraling to Gov., Timing Question,

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Oct 04, 2017 4:11 pm

Lateraling to Big Fed from big Law. Was given a start date of very early January 2018.

When should I give notice? I know 2 weeks is the standard .. but what's that 2 weeks like? I'm moving cities (with a small family) so the move itself will be a lot of work. Will I be able to move during the 2 weeks or should I give myself more time to move and quit earlier?

Also somewhat concerned about year end bonus but my firm is pretty inconsistent about the timing of the payout in past years (has been anywhere from 12/31 to spring of next year) so I'm not sure it's something I can plan around.

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SmokeytheBear

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Re: Bonuses, Lateraling to Gov., Timing Question,

Postby SmokeytheBear » Wed Oct 04, 2017 4:53 pm

What that two weeks looks like depends on the people in your group. I do corporate and when I lateralled it was a slow transition of my deal load to others such that by my last day, I was just saying goodbyes and doing shots of Cazadores with the mail clerks. I know others in corporate and in litigation who were slammed and dealing with shit until they had to hand over their blackberries. Point is that it depends and is not standard.

As for your bonus, it seems like you might need to be ready not to get it. Again, depending on your firm, you might need to simply be employed on the date the bonus is paid or "in good standing" or some other qualifier that they can use to screw you out of the bonus. The issue of when to give notice in an effort to get your bonus has been discussed on here before, with some like me saying give at least two weeks and keep those bridges in place, as that is worth far more than several grand, to others saying give notice at the last possible moment you can so you can get your bonus and start your job on time.

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Re: Bonuses, Lateraling to Gov., Timing Question,

Postby blahblewblah » Thu Oct 05, 2017 7:42 am

Lol at "several grand." If OP is a fourth or fifth year at a market-paying firm, that bonus is likely three quarters of his new yearly government salary. Whether it is worth burning bridges over is a really fact specific question, but it is not like we are talking about chump change.

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Re: Bonuses, Lateraling to Gov., Timing Question,

Postby turbotong » Thu Oct 05, 2017 12:08 pm

When I quit my engineering job to go to law school years ago, I gave more than a month's notice. My boss appreciated the time to hire/rearrange people to fill in my role. I had to pass down very technical knowledge. We still have a good relationship.

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Re: Bonuses, Lateraling to Gov., Timing Question,

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Oct 05, 2017 12:28 pm

SmokeytheBear wrote:What that two weeks looks like depends on the people in your group. I do corporate and when I lateralled it was a slow transition of my deal load to others such that by my last day, I was just saying goodbyes and doing shots of Cazadores with the mail clerks. I know others in corporate and in litigation who were slammed and dealing with shit until they had to hand over their blackberries. Point is that it depends and is not standard.

As for your bonus, it seems like you might need to be ready not to get it. Again, depending on your firm, you might need to simply be employed on the date the bonus is paid or "in good standing" or some other qualifier that they can use to screw you out of the bonus. The issue of when to give notice in an effort to get your bonus has been discussed on here before, with some like me saying give at least two weeks and keep those bridges in place, as that is worth far more than several grand, to others saying give notice at the last possible moment you can so you can get your bonus and start your job on time.


This was tremendously helpful. In my case, getting my bonus AND starting job on time would require a number of things to go right. Not only would the firm have to payout this year, but I'd also need my work flow to be low enough that I'd still have time to pack up my stuff/family and move it to the new city. Of course, it's hard to come to terms with the idea that I'm flushing that much money away.

blahblewblah wrote:Lol at "several grand." If OP is a fourth or fifth year at a market-paying firm, that bonus is likely three quarters of his new yearly government salary. Whether it is worth burning bridges over is a really fact specific question, but it is not like we are talking about chump change.


I am indeed midlevel, so you're right, its far more than several grand. However, (1) i didn't hit hours this year, though my firm usually pays out something regardless, it might be something like 50%-70% of market, (2) the firm also didn't have a great year (apparently slowest year since 2010), and (3) I might not even get a bonus at all if the payout isnt until after I start new job. I'd be concerned here about staying to the last minute, leaving with short notice, and then not even getting paid for it.

I guess the biggest consideration for me is whether burning the bridges is worth the mere possibility of a sizeable (but not huge) bonus.

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Re: Bonuses, Lateraling to Gov., Timing Question,

Postby lolwat » Thu Oct 05, 2017 1:28 pm

Depends.

Going into government to me is a little different than lateraling to another biglaw firm. The government hands you all the business you need so it actually matters SLIGHTLY less if you burn bridges--as long as you don't think you'll try to go back into private practice anytime soon.

I'd still give two weeks notice given the circumstances. It's a sizeable bonus and a chunk of change, but in the (very) long run it's pennies and you never know if you will need those bridges that might be burned.

By the way, why don't you start planning and packing now? It's probably tougher with kids who don't understand what's going on but most of the time there's a bunch of crap sitting around that can go into boxes early in the moving process. You don't have to compress it all within the last 2 week period.

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Re: Bonuses, Lateraling to Gov., Timing Question,

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Oct 06, 2017 1:05 pm

lolwat wrote:Depends.

Going into government to me is a little different than lateraling to another biglaw firm. The government hands you all the business you need so it actually matters SLIGHTLY less if you burn bridges--as long as you don't think you'll try to go back into private practice anytime soon.

I'd still give two weeks notice given the circumstances. It's a sizeable bonus and a chunk of change, but in the (very) long run it's pennies and you never know if you will need those bridges that might be burned.

By the way, why don't you start planning and packing now? It's probably tougher with kids who don't understand what's going on but most of the time there's a bunch of crap sitting around that can go into boxes early in the moving process. You don't have to compress it all within the last 2 week period.


Thanks, I do think that private practice is still on the horizon but you're right: probably not for at least 5+ years. You're also right re long time and that's the way that I like to think too. I dont have a particular need for the money (no loans or major debt), its just nice to have.

Re: planning/packing, I do intend start early but I'll moving to another city fairly far away (non drivable) -- meaning that there's a fair amount of stuff that I don't think I can pack because we'll need it (pots/pans, etc) in the meantime and can't stick it in storage anywhere. Also, I imagine that I'll need some time to get all the little things worked out: daycare/school logistics, move out/move in, figure out commute, buy furniture, find a sublease tenant, etc.

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Re: Bonuses, Lateraling to Gov., Timing Question,

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Oct 09, 2017 10:14 am

Not OP but also interested in this. Does anyone know whether NYC biglaw firms typically pay out bonuses to those who are still employed when bonus hits in late December but who the firm knows are transitioning to a government job in early January? Assuming no issues with hours. My understanding was yes but some posts in this thread make it sound less certain.



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