3L w/ In-House vs. Big Law Opportunity- Help Plz!

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foregetaboutdre

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Re: 3L w/ In-House vs. Big Law Opportunity- Help Plz!

Postby foregetaboutdre » Thu Dec 21, 2017 3:27 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Hi! I'm a graduating 3L in NYC. I currently have two opportunties that I'd love some input on.

I had an in-house summer associate position through which I received a long term offer. However, during the summer I found the work unfufilling and the lifestyle to be boring. Fast track to 3L OCI, I was able to land a big law position.

While I believe that the partner track is best for me and I would gain great experience, I'd still like to know if I'd be missing out on something by not going in-house. The numbers are as follows:

In-House:
$140K, hefty signing bonus, end of year bonus $20K
9-5 hours, 30 vacation days, 401K & health insurance
Edit: incremental increase in salary & position (AVP --> VP --> MD --> ED)

Big Law:
$175K, no signing bonus, but Bar fees paid for, 1st year bonus likely $15K
big law hours, 21 vacation days, 401K & health insurance
Edit: normal big law ladder


As someone who is going into private practice....you are insane if you turn down the in-house job IMO.

Law firm work (even this is debatable) may be more fun, but it wreaks havoc on your personal life (as far as I can tell). I've heard stories of having to cancel vacations, having difficulty dating/having to cancel dates, not being able to exercise, and not being able to have any meaningful hobbies.

That in-house gig comes with some serious cash as well...

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Yugihoe

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Re: 3L w/ In-House vs. Big Law Opportunity- Help Plz!

Postby Yugihoe » Thu Dec 21, 2017 3:29 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Where the hell are these positions and where do I find them? :D

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Re: 3L w/ In-House vs. Big Law Opportunity- Help Plz!

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Dec 22, 2017 12:08 am

Anonymous User wrote:Finishing up stub year now and if I had the chance I would jump on that job and not look back. Don’t underestimate the value of your free time.


This.

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Re: 3L w/ In-House vs. Big Law Opportunity- Help Plz!

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Apr 24, 2018 7:28 pm

Just wanted to let y'all know- I went with the law firm. Thank you for all of the advice. While the consensus was vehemently for in-house, I realized I just would not be happy there. I'd also rather be "in the money" than be a "cost center".

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Re: 3L w/ In-House vs. Big Law Opportunity- Help Plz!

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Apr 24, 2018 8:59 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Just wanted to let y'all know- I went with the law firm. Thank you for all of the advice. While the consensus was vehemently for in-house, I realized I just would not be happy there. I'd also rather be "in the money" than be a "cost center".


OP, did you have a background in finance or some type of background related to capital markets before law school or while in law school? If you don't mind me asking, how did you find your original in-house job (which you moved away from) in the first place?

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Re: 3L w/ In-House vs. Big Law Opportunity- Help Plz!

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Apr 24, 2018 9:11 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Just wanted to let y'all know- I went with the law firm. Thank you for all of the advice. While the consensus was vehemently for in-house, I realized I just would not be happy there. I'd also rather be "in the money" than be a "cost center".

Lol. I hope this works out for you, I really do, but just lol. I know current 4th years who would gladly take a 1/3 paycut (and maybe more) to get this gig, but you’d rather be “in the money”.

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Re: 3L w/ In-House vs. Big Law Opportunity- Help Plz!

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Apr 25, 2018 12:12 am

Anonymous User wrote:Just wanted to let y'all know- I went with the law firm. Thank you for all of the advice. While the consensus was vehemently for in-house, I realized I just would not be happy there. I'd also rather be "in the money" than be a "cost center".


Please check back in a year or so into practice as I’m interested to hear what you think and it may be instructive for others who come across this thread in the future.

I wasn’t one of the posters back when this thread was active, and it doesn’t matter now, but I want to echo the general sentiment that passing up that in house opportunity likely is incredibly misguided. It’s *possible* you’ll be a person who doesn’t hate biglaw, or who would at least like biglaw more than in house. Those people do exist. But it’s very unlikely. I say this as someone who spent a couple of years and biglaw and now works in an in-house role. The difference in lifestyle is quite stark, and you simply can’t appreciate it when you’ve not been in it.

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LaLiLuLeLo

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Re: 3L w/ In-House vs. Big Law Opportunity- Help Plz!

Postby LaLiLuLeLo » Wed Apr 25, 2018 12:19 am

Yeah, I love being in the money and working 100 hour weeks. It’s great :roll:

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Re: 3L w/ In-House vs. Big Law Opportunity- Help Plz!

Postby mace » Wed Apr 25, 2018 1:01 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Just wanted to let y'all know- I went with the law firm. Thank you for all of the advice. While the consensus was vehemently for in-house, I realized I just would not be happy there. I'd also rather be "in the money" than be a "cost center".


OP, did you have a background in finance or some type of background related to capital markets before law school or while in law school? If you don't mind me asking, how did you find your original in-house job (which you moved away from) in the first place?


Interested in this as well. Do you mind PMing me details? Also considering whether I should strive for in-house out of the gate or go biglaw first if I had both options on the table, and would like to know how you found the original in-house job considering how difficult it is apparently to get in-house right out of law school. Would really appreciate it and good luck with your biglaw career!

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Re: 3L w/ In-House vs. Big Law Opportunity- Help Plz!

Postby smokeylarue » Wed Apr 25, 2018 1:39 am

Anonymous User wrote:Just wanted to let y'all know- I went with the law firm. Thank you for all of the advice. While the consensus was vehemently for in-house, I realized I just would not be happy there. I'd also rather be "in the money" than be a "cost center".


LOL not sure if this entire thread was a troll post.

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Re: 3L w/ In-House vs. Big Law Opportunity- Help Plz!

Postby BeeTeeZ » Wed Apr 25, 2018 2:22 am

Anonymous User wrote:Just wanted to let y'all know- I went with the law firm. Thank you for all of the advice. While the consensus was vehemently for in-house, I realized I just would not be happy there. I'd also rather be "in the money" than be a "cost center".


I can't blame you. I don't understand why someone would go to law school with the hope they end up in-house. I understand the burnout factor, but as a goal fresh out of school? If someone wants to make six figures pushing paper at Microsoft, Google, Amazon, etc., going to law school is a very inefficient way of getting there.

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Re: 3L w/ In-House vs. Big Law Opportunity- Help Plz!

Postby ruski » Wed Apr 25, 2018 9:35 am

Only someone who has worked in biglaw could appreciate a slow and tedious in house job. everyone else would find it boing and miserable

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Re: 3L w/ In-House vs. Big Law Opportunity- Help Plz!

Postby oblig.lawl.ref » Wed Apr 25, 2018 12:38 pm

I wouldn't underestimate how going to biglaw may actually hurt your ability to go in-house down the road. Assuming we're talking corporate work here but I'd rather have no biglaw experience and in-house on my resume than biglaw lit and no in-house when looking for a in-house job. Also if it's a very middling firm, or one that is not a player in the place you're looking to work, it may not really open a ton of doors IMO.

If the goal is to go in-house, I'd say most of the time, in-house is the best training for that. Postings that say they require 3 years biglaw experience are often a flame, I think. If you have the experience, they'll talk.

If you want a stressful in-house job you can find it. As I'm looking for in-house jobs my fear is definitely not that I will be bored. It's that it won't be much better than biglaw. But sure, you'll never get to do the big transactions and from the outside looking in I can see how that may concern one, but I would take in-house and never look back in this scenario nine times out of ten. Biglaw is painful, often even for those that think they can hack it.

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Re: 3L w/ In-House vs. Big Law Opportunity- Help Plz!

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Apr 25, 2018 12:54 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Just wanted to let y'all know- I went with the law firm. Thank you for all of the advice. While the consensus was vehemently for in-house, I realized I just would not be happy there. I'd also rather be "in the money" than be a "cost center".


Please check back in a year or so into practice as I’m interested to hear what you think and it may be instructive for others who come across this thread in the future.

I wasn’t one of the posters back when this thread was active, and it doesn’t matter now, but I want to echo the general sentiment that passing up that in house opportunity likely is incredibly misguided. It’s *possible* you’ll be a person who doesn’t hate biglaw, or who would at least like biglaw more than in house. Those people do exist. But it’s very unlikely. I say this as someone who spent a couple of years and biglaw and now works in an in-house role. The difference in lifestyle is quite stark, and you simply can’t appreciate it when you’ve not been in it.


I think people are making this decision sound far too one-sided. I would probably do the same thing OP did (and I am a midlevel in biglaw). You can always find an in-house gig (and I have received offers with better comp than this already) after working in biglaw for a couple years. The problem with going in-house with NO biglaw experience is advancement opportunity. Even with 2-3 years experience, you might be able to find a senior counsel or Assistant GC role and then be more able to move up the ranks as the years progress (or lateral to better title in-house positions). I think getting at least a couple years at a firm is a good move, and let's be honest, 160k all in is not that great of pay for someone with a law degree.

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Re: 3L w/ In-House vs. Big Law Opportunity- Help Plz!

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Apr 25, 2018 1:21 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Just wanted to let y'all know- I went with the law firm. Thank you for all of the advice. While the consensus was vehemently for in-house, I realized I just would not be happy there. I'd also rather be "in the money" than be a "cost center".


Please check back in a year or so into practice as I’m interested to hear what you think and it may be instructive for others who come across this thread in the future.

I wasn’t one of the posters back when this thread was active, and it doesn’t matter now, but I want to echo the general sentiment that passing up that in house opportunity likely is incredibly misguided. It’s *possible* you’ll be a person who doesn’t hate biglaw, or who would at least like biglaw more than in house. Those people do exist. But it’s very unlikely. I say this as someone who spent a couple of years and biglaw and now works in an in-house role. The difference in lifestyle is quite stark, and you simply can’t appreciate it when you’ve not been in it.


I think people are making this decision sound far too one-sided. I would probably do the same thing OP did (and I am a midlevel in biglaw). You can always find an in-house gig (and I have received offers with better comp than this already) after working in biglaw for a couple years. The problem with going in-house with NO biglaw experience is advancement opportunity. Even with 2-3 years experience, you might be able to find a senior counsel or Assistant GC role and then be more able to move up the ranks as the years progress (or lateral to better title in-house positions). I think getting at least a couple years at a firm is a good move, and let's be honest, 160k all in is not that great of pay for someone with a law degree.


“You can always find an in-house gig.”

First off - no; it depends what your practice area is. Even if it’s an area well suited to moving to in-house, you can’t simply jump in house until you’re at least a few years in. Will you find one eventually if you’re looking hard enough? Sure. But it likely will take experience (time). If OP is like the vast, vast majority of big law associates, she/he will dislike it. Why would you do 2-4 years of something you will probably dislike when, best case, your exit options are comparable or marginally better to where you’d be with 2-4 years in house experience?

Second, the idea that 160k all in is not that great for someone with a law degree is just truly absurd. The average MID CAREER pay for a TOP TEN graduate is about 200k. OP can start at 80% of that with 0 experience and in a role far more palatable to most people than other jobs paying comparable numbers.

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Re: 3L w/ In-House vs. Big Law Opportunity- Help Plz!

Postby Florence Night » Wed Apr 25, 2018 1:42 pm

BeeTeeZ wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Just wanted to let y'all know- I went with the law firm. Thank you for all of the advice. While the consensus was vehemently for in-house, I realized I just would not be happy there. I'd also rather be "in the money" than be a "cost center".


I can't blame you. I don't understand why someone would go to law school with the hope they end up in-house. I understand the burnout factor, but as a goal fresh out of school? If someone wants to make six figures pushing paper at Microsoft, Google, Amazon, etc., going to law school is a very inefficient way of getting there.

If you’re 21 years old, 3 years into a liberal arts degree, and you have hobbies and friends, what is the more efficient way to 150k in 4-5 years and not hate yourself?

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Re: 3L w/ In-House vs. Big Law Opportunity- Help Plz!

Postby nixy » Wed Apr 25, 2018 1:55 pm

Anonymous User wrote:let's be honest, 160k all in is not that great of pay for someone with a law degree.

Lollllll

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Re: 3L w/ In-House vs. Big Law Opportunity- Help Plz!

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Apr 25, 2018 1:56 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Just wanted to let y'all know- I went with the law firm. Thank you for all of the advice. While the consensus was vehemently for in-house, I realized I just would not be happy there. I'd also rather be "in the money" than be a "cost center".


Please check back in a year or so into practice as I’m interested to hear what you think and it may be instructive for others who come across this thread in the future.

I wasn’t one of the posters back when this thread was active, and it doesn’t matter now, but I want to echo the general sentiment that passing up that in house opportunity likely is incredibly misguided. It’s *possible* you’ll be a person who doesn’t hate biglaw, or who would at least like biglaw more than in house. Those people do exist. But it’s very unlikely. I say this as someone who spent a couple of years and biglaw and now works in an in-house role. The difference in lifestyle is quite stark, and you simply can’t appreciate it when you’ve not been in it.


I think people are making this decision sound far too one-sided. I would probably do the same thing OP did (and I am a midlevel in biglaw). You can always find an in-house gig (and I have received offers with better comp than this already) after working in biglaw for a couple years. The problem with going in-house with NO biglaw experience is advancement opportunity. Even with 2-3 years experience, you might be able to find a senior counsel or Assistant GC role and then be more able to move up the ranks as the years progress (or lateral to better title in-house positions). I think getting at least a couple years at a firm is a good move, and let's be honest, 160k all in is not that great of pay for someone with a law degree.


“You can always find an in-house gig.”

First off - no; it depends what your practice area is. Even if it’s an area well suited to moving to in-house, you can’t simply jump in house until you’re at least a few years in. Will you find one eventually if you’re looking hard enough? Sure. But it likely will take experience (time). If OP is like the vast, vast majority of big law associates, she/he will dislike it. Why would you do 2-4 years of something you will probably dislike when, best case, your exit options are comparable or marginally better to where you’d be with 2-4 years in house experience?

Second, the idea that 160k all in is not that great for someone with a law degree is just truly absurd. The average MID CAREER pay for a TOP TEN graduate is about 200k. OP can start at 80% of that with 0 experience and in a role far more palatable to most people than other jobs paying comparable numbers.


Are you in biglaw? I will admit, I am a corporate associate, so my view may be skewed, but I see people leave all the time for better paying gigs than this in years 3-4. That may be the average for a top ten graduate when you include people who go into positions other than biglaw, but I rarely see anyone leave for less than 200 all in (including equity pieces that vest over time). Could it take a year of searching on top of all that? Sure, but I wouldn't expect the right opportunity to be easy to find.

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Re: 3L w/ In-House vs. Big Law Opportunity- Help Plz!

Postby Pomeranian » Wed Apr 25, 2018 2:08 pm

If you're like the vast majority of big law associates, you'll probably having serious buyer's remorse for turning down that in-house gig.

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Re: 3L w/ In-House vs. Big Law Opportunity- Help Plz!

Postby albanach » Wed Apr 25, 2018 2:23 pm

BeeTeeZ wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Just wanted to let y'all know- I went with the law firm. Thank you for all of the advice. While the consensus was vehemently for in-house, I realized I just would not be happy there. I'd also rather be "in the money" than be a "cost center".


I can't blame you. I don't understand why someone would go to law school with the hope they end up in-house. I understand the burnout factor, but as a goal fresh out of school? If someone wants to make six figures pushing paper at Microsoft, Google, Amazon, etc., going to law school is a very inefficient way of getting there.

  • Client contact
  • Lead attorney on substantial transactions, early in your career
  • Free time to spend with family
  • no burnout
  • Don't track your hours

You can make six figures elsewhere, but that doesn't help you if you want to be a lawyer. Being in house might be a different experience, but the very substantive work you can undertake early in your career, combined with the ability to go home at dinner time has a lot going for it.

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Re: 3L w/ In-House vs. Big Law Opportunity- Help Plz!

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Apr 25, 2018 2:30 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Just wanted to let y'all know- I went with the law firm. Thank you for all of the advice. While the consensus was vehemently for in-house, I realized I just would not be happy there. I'd also rather be "in the money" than be a "cost center".


Please check back in a year or so into practice as I’m interested to hear what you think and it may be instructive for others who come across this thread in the future.

I wasn’t one of the posters back when this thread was active, and it doesn’t matter now, but I want to echo the general sentiment that passing up that in house opportunity likely is incredibly misguided. It’s *possible* you’ll be a person who doesn’t hate biglaw, or who would at least like biglaw more than in house. Those people do exist. But it’s very unlikely. I say this as someone who spent a couple of years and biglaw and now works in an in-house role. The difference in lifestyle is quite stark, and you simply can’t appreciate it when you’ve not been in it.


I think people are making this decision sound far too one-sided. I would probably do the same thing OP did (and I am a midlevel in biglaw). You can always find an in-house gig (and I have received offers with better comp than this already) after working in biglaw for a couple years. The problem with going in-house with NO biglaw experience is advancement opportunity. Even with 2-3 years experience, you might be able to find a senior counsel or Assistant GC role and then be more able to move up the ranks as the years progress (or lateral to better title in-house positions). I think getting at least a couple years at a firm is a good move, and let's be honest, 160k all in is not that great of pay for someone with a law degree.


“You can always find an in-house gig.”

First off - no; it depends what your practice area is. Even if it’s an area well suited to moving to in-house, you can’t simply jump in house until you’re at least a few years in. Will you find one eventually if you’re looking hard enough? Sure. But it likely will take experience (time). If OP is like the vast, vast majority of big law associates, she/he will dislike it. Why would you do 2-4 years of something you will probably dislike when, best case, your exit options are comparable or marginally better to where you’d be with 2-4 years in house experience?

Second, the idea that 160k all in is not that great for someone with a law degree is just truly absurd. The average MID CAREER pay for a TOP TEN graduate is about 200k. OP can start at 80% of that with 0 experience and in a role far more palatable to most people than other jobs paying comparable numbers.


Are you in biglaw? I will admit, I am a corporate associate, so my view may be skewed, but I see people leave all the time for better paying gigs than this in years 3-4. That may be the average for a top ten graduate when you include people who go into positions other than biglaw, but I rarely see anyone leave for less than 200 all in (including equity pieces that vest over time). Could it take a year of searching on top of all that? Sure, but I wouldn't expect the right opportunity to be easy to find.


I was, I’m not any more. IF you are corporate and IF you are in NYC/SF (maybe Chicago ?), I believe this - that’s why I said it can happen after a few years. But if you are in just about any other practice or just about any other market, 200k in 3.5 years likely isn’t happening. And again, as you said (and I said), even with the perfect combo of NY+corporate group, this is only the case after 3-4 years.

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Re: 3L w/ In-House vs. Big Law Opportunity- Help Plz!

Postby LaLiLuLeLo » Wed Apr 25, 2018 2:31 pm

“Am I wrong? No! It is all the commenters with biglaw experience who are wrong!”

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Re: 3L w/ In-House vs. Big Law Opportunity- Help Plz!

Postby BeeTeeZ » Wed Apr 25, 2018 3:09 pm

Florence Night wrote:
BeeTeeZ wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Just wanted to let y'all know- I went with the law firm. Thank you for all of the advice. While the consensus was vehemently for in-house, I realized I just would not be happy there. I'd also rather be "in the money" than be a "cost center".


I can't blame you. I don't understand why someone would go to law school with the hope they end up in-house. I understand the burnout factor, but as a goal fresh out of school? If someone wants to make six figures pushing paper at Microsoft, Google, Amazon, etc., going to law school is a very inefficient way of getting there.

If you’re 21 years old, 3 years into a liberal arts degree, and you have hobbies and friends, what is the more efficient way to 150k in 4-5 years and not hate yourself?


Even if you just secured your liberal arts degree, in 4-5 years you could work your way into a project management role, pulling $120k+ for no more than 50 hours of "work" (emails, phone calls, supervising/coordinating, watching YouTube, checking Facebook) per week. The work project managers do is far less demanding than legal work. If you have a 4 year liberal arts degree and are reasonably proficient with Excel, you can be a project manager.

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Re: 3L w/ In-House vs. Big Law Opportunity- Help Plz!

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Apr 25, 2018 3:20 pm

former nyc v5 corporate associate in nyc. I think people are overestimating how easy it is find a nice in house gig for 200k+ even in nyc. copetition if fierce for those jobs - remember its not like law firm hiring, there is only ONE available position and you are competing basically against everyth other corporate lawyer in nyc desperate to leave a big law firm. also part of it is that certain practice groups are easier than others. in my experience, derivatives lawyers in nyc could leave to a large bank at the drop of a hat and get a decent salary. same with the funds associate (although i hear this is less true nowadays). m&a from a v5 also opened up doors, but many won't start you out at much above 200k. then there are finance associates who at my firm had extreme difficulty finding decently paid in house gigs.

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Re: 3L w/ In-House vs. Big Law Opportunity- Help Plz!

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Apr 25, 2018 4:00 pm

Anonymous User wrote:former nyc v5 corporate associate in nyc. I think people are overestimating how easy it is find a nice in house gig for 200k+ even in nyc. copetition if fierce for those jobs - remember its not like law firm hiring, there is only ONE available position and you are competing basically against every other corporate lawyer in nyc desperate to leave a big law firm. also part of it is that certain practice groups are easier than others. in my experience, derivatives lawyers in nyc could leave to a large bank at the drop of a hat and get a decent salary. same with the funds associate (although i hear this is less true nowadays). m&a from a v5 also opened up doors, but many won't start you out at much above 200k. then there are finance associates who at my firm had extreme difficulty finding decently paid in house gigs.

do these 200K+ in-house jobs have a 9-5 type work schedule? I think I've read somewhere that in-house doesn't necessarily mean great hours but I forgot.



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