In-House to Law Firm

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In-House to Law Firm

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 18, 2018 6:00 pm

Okay, checking to see if I'm crazy for making this move. Honest feedback greatly appreciated. 3rd year associate living in SF.

I'm currently Associate Counsel at a real estate development company in the Sf Bay Area (9-5, barely any vacation days, problematic company culture). I started looking for a new job because I did not see a future for myself at this company and honestly did not even want to get offered a partner position. Tired of the screaming and yelling, plus the long commute. Pay is above-average for an in-house position.

Snagged a new job at a small-medium size real estate law firm in SF (1850 billables, more vacation, better benefits). This firm is extremely well-regarded and I had wanted to work here since I graduated law school. I negotiated the same exact base salary as the in-house position (bonus kicks in once I go beyond 1850 billables).

I technically submitted my resignation last week, but the owner of the company is not taking no for an answer. They are ready to offer me just about anything to stay (more $, work from home, etc.), but I know it won't fix the screaming and yelling. I'm about 75% sure that I'll be leaving my job, but I wanted to get some feedback from a few people. Friends are saying I'm crazy to be going back to billing, but they don't know what I deal with at my current job. Thoughts?

lolwat

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Re: In-House to Law Firm

Postby lolwat » Thu Jan 18, 2018 6:16 pm

I think only you can really determine whether your current job's culture is bad enough for you to leave. From what you've described, yes, I think you should leave. There are worse places to go than the firm you described, and you'll probably have exit options from that firm if you don't like working there.

The hours at the firm don't seem that horrible, although obviously 1850 hours doesn't always mean 1850 hours at a firm. You get barely any vacation now, and I assume your commute is probably better since you mentioned the long commute as something you're tired of.

1styearlateral

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Re: In-House to Law Firm

Postby 1styearlateral » Thu Jan 18, 2018 7:45 pm

Why not look at other in-house gigs? TBH going to a firm won't guarantee that you'll be able to use any vacation days anyway. For example, I was just told yesterday I may have to cancel my one-week vacation next month that I had scheduled four months ago. I can't ever see that happening in-house.

w/r/t screamers, law firms are notorious for being breeding grounds for bullies.

mcmand

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Re: In-House to Law Firm

Postby mcmand » Thu Jan 18, 2018 8:04 pm

I second the idea of finding another in-house gig, but in the meantime, it sounds like you're in a toxic work environment. If the law firm is bad, you can always leave it, too.

The best advice I ever got about a bad job is one should always run toward the job one wants, not run from the job one hates. If you are "running toward" the firm because it's a job you want, great. If you're more on the side of running "from" this current gig, gut-check that the law firm is still something you want, or that it will enable you to get wherever you do want to be.
Last edited by mcmand on Mon Jan 29, 2018 2:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: In-House to Law Firm

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 18, 2018 8:09 pm

curious what "above average" is for an in-house lawyer in SF, as one myself :). what is it?

real estate is kind of a niche that I'd imagine doesn't necessarily follow the same general shittiness of firms that applies broadly. I don't really know, though. I've seen some good postings for real estate gigs in the city recently, so I bet you'd be able to find a good real estate inhouse gig if you looked for a while (perhaps while WFH at your current place) if the firm doesn't sound perfect to you. but the decision is up to you, not the internet.

lolwat

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Re: In-House to Law Firm

Postby lolwat » Thu Jan 18, 2018 8:52 pm

Well... OP is already in the middle of the decision--they already have an offer from the firm, and already technically gave notice. I would definitely NOT suggest that OP turn down the firm's offer to look for another possible in-house job.

More generally, though, not all firms are horrible, and not all in-house jobs are better than firm jobs. OP isn't headed to standard biglaw. So unless we know this "small-medium size real estate law firm" and someone has experience there, we can't tell OP for sure whether they're going to have a better time at the firm or in-house.

1styearlateral

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Re: In-House to Law Firm

Postby 1styearlateral » Fri Jan 19, 2018 2:04 am

If OP was truly already on their way out, I don’t think s/he would have made this thread since it’d be moot. If I were OP, I’d take the extra money to stay while I looked for a better in house gig.

lolwat

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Re: In-House to Law Firm

Postby lolwat » Fri Jan 19, 2018 2:26 pm

1styearlateral wrote:If OP was truly already on their way out, I don’t think s/he would have made this thread since it’d be moot. If I were OP, I’d take the extra money to stay while I looked for a better in house gig.


I don't think it's moot, but I read the OP as already having received an offer from the firm and already having given notice to the in-house employer. It's just that the in-house employer is countering with more money, vacation, etc. to try to get OP to turn down the firm's offer and stay. So basically, to do what you suggest, OP will be giving up that firm's offer for what OP knows is a toxic culture and without knowing if OP can in fact get a better in-house gig in the near future.

I'm not saying it's not a reasonable option, but personally it's not the option I would take if OP has vetted the firm and it seems like a good one to work for. Not every firm is a biglaw shithole that has screaming partners and overworks their associates. Besides, it's not like OP would be stuck at the firm forever. If OP doesn't like it, s/he can start looking for an in-house job from there, too.

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Re: In-House to Law Firm

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jan 19, 2018 6:27 pm

OP here. Thank you everyone for your feedback. At this point in my career (and life), while the in-house gig appears to have a typical 9-6 workday, I'd rather be in a happy working environment even if it means longer hours. I initially moved from boutique firm to in-house because of the subject matter, not because the work-life balance would be better. In fact, the firm I was initially working at had much better hours than my current in-house gig. As only 1 of two attorneys in my company, although my technical hours are 9-6, I am constantly on-call and answering emails at all hours of the morning/night from the owner. Also, it's pretty impossible to get out of the office early or come in late for a simple doctor appointment. It's not the kind of company I want to be working for when it's time to start a family.

Anyways, I think I've made up my mind to go back to the law firm life and start billing hours again. While it may have been a better decision to wait until an in-house real estate position popped up, I just had to get out. I was looking for a position for about 2-3 months before accepting the position at the law firm. Thanks all!



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