Choosing a Firm for a Split

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Anonymous User
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Choosing a Firm for a Split

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 10, 2017 1:30 pm

TLS, I can use your advice.

I split between two firms in a regional market during my 1L summer, and I received offers to return from both firms for my 2L summer. I accepted an offer at a larger firm at a major market in CA for 2L, and both of my 1L firms have now offered a "split" of two to four weeks which would occur after my summer associate position at the CA firm ends. One of these regional firms is a litigation boutique, while the other firm is more of a biglaw firm (albeit in a much smaller market). Although things may change, if I get an offer this summer from the CA firm, I would probably accept (the pay difference between the CA firm and the regional firms is substantial).

So at this point, my main goal is to be able to keep the option of lateraling back to the regional market on the table for down the road. Both regional firms give offers to almost 100% of summer associates and pay associates on the same scale. I've mentioned to both firms that I may want to spend a few years in a major market, and they seem amicable to the idea of taking on a lateral down the road. However, while the larger regional firm has a long history of taking laterals, the litigation boutique told me that it would very much depend on whether or not they had an open spot at the time (as to be expected at a smaller firm).

The problem is, I really like the people at the litigation boutique. The work seems interesting, and the people seem very happy. That being said, the regional "biglaw" firm has much more diverse practice groups and multiple locations, and as they hired many laterals even during the downturn, it seems like the regional "biglaw" firm may be a little more financially stable.

Should I accept the offer of (and focus on building my relationship with) the boutique or the "biglaw" firm? Does anyone have any experience with accepting a split with the primary goal of retaining an option of lateraling down the road? How difficult is it to lateral from a major market to a regional market and is it more difficult to lateral to a smaller firm?

Thanks to everyone in advance.

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Pneumonia
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Re: Choosing a Firm for a Split

Postby Pneumonia » Tue Oct 10, 2017 1:46 pm

Can you do all three? Like 12/2/2 weeks?

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Re: Choosing a Firm for a Split

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 10, 2017 1:49 pm

Pneumonia wrote:Can you do all three? Like 12/2/2 weeks?


Unfortunately not. I've looked into the timing and I don't think that's an option.

BigZuck
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Re: Choosing a Firm for a Split

Postby BigZuck » Tue Oct 10, 2017 5:00 pm

Seems like you want to have your cake and eat it too. I'm guessing you're going to need to choose between having cake or eating it. Go ahead and eat cake. If you want to count FAT STACKS OF 180K CASH $$$$$$$ at the California firm go do that. Worry about later when it gets closer to later. Honestly I think it's kind of silly for a 2L to hope/try to finagle a firm keeping a spot open for them once they're done counting their FAT STACKS. You know you're following the money, they know you're following the money, we all know you're following the money. Just go, do good work, count paper, and worry about later later.

If you're worried about your future prospects with these firms (especially the small firm) I think that trying to pull off some sort of weird split wherein you just inevitably follow the FAT STACKS anyway will do more harm than good. But I have zero experience with that so grain of salt, etc.

Right now I would just maximize your chances of getting a full time offer somewhere. Sounds like that's a split between the CA firm and the "regional big law" firm so personally that's what I would do.

YMMV though of course. Maybe these really are places that are willing to keep a spot open for you down the road no matter what you do.

Also how substantial is the pay increase at the CA firm after taxes and cost of living are factored in?

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Re: Choosing a Firm for a Split

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Oct 12, 2017 9:51 pm

BigZuck wrote:Seems like you want to have your cake and eat it too. I'm guessing you're going to need to choose between having cake or eating it. Go ahead and eat cake. If you want to count FAT STACKS OF 180K CASH $$$$$$$ at the California firm go do that. Worry about later when it gets closer to later. Honestly I think it's kind of silly for a 2L to hope/try to finagle a firm keeping a spot open for them once they're done counting their FAT STACKS. You know you're following the money, they know you're following the money, we all know you're following the money. Just go, do good work, count paper, and worry about later later.

If you're worried about your future prospects with these firms (especially the small firm) I think that trying to pull off some sort of weird split wherein you just inevitably follow the FAT STACKS anyway will do more harm than good. But I have zero experience with that so grain of salt, etc.

Right now I would just maximize your chances of getting a full time offer somewhere. Sounds like that's a split between the CA firm and the "regional big law" firm so personally that's what I would do.

YMMV though of course. Maybe these really are places that are willing to keep a spot open for you down the road no matter what you do.

Also how substantial is the pay increase at the CA firm after taxes and cost of living are factored in?


Thank you for the advice.

I'm not necessarily trying to convince either firm to keep a spot open for me -- it's more that I'm trying to build a relationship that I can leverage down the road. Given the "up or out" model that many firms follow, I would very much like to keep those options as open as possible. Neither firm has said they they would definitively keep a spot open, but both firms have volunteered that they are open to the hiring me as a lateral if they can make room at the time.

Using a cost of living calculator, the total difference between the CA firm and the smaller firms equates to around $40k as a firm year. Because the smaller firms are on a more compressed lockstep system, that difference increases by roughly $5-10k a year. So yeah, it's a pretty substantial difference.




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