Staff attorney at biglaw?

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Staff attorney at biglaw?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jan 24, 2018 4:29 pm

How bad are these positions in terms of paycut and job security? Do they get looked down upon in the firm like a second class associates? In particular, Id like to know about Jones Day and Blank Rome in Los Angeles market. Thank you.

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Re: Staff attorney at biglaw?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jan 24, 2018 5:07 pm

I think Ropes and Gray had one posted a while ago, and salary was 85k.

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trebekismyhero

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Re: Staff attorney at biglaw?

Postby trebekismyhero » Wed Jan 24, 2018 5:12 pm

Yeah, I think typical salary is half what a first year associate would make with much smaller raises than associates get. Although at my firm they have pretty generous overtime payouts plus bonuses so you can easily make over 100k. With that said, yes it is a different class of attorneys than associates. You are not on partner track obviously and bill and get paid less. And you won't have the same opportunities that associates do in the firm or for exit options. But if you don't have other options, you can do a lot worse than staff atty at big law

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Re: Staff attorney at biglaw?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jan 24, 2018 5:32 pm

I'm looking to apply to send out a few apps to firms inquiring about staff attorney positions... do those positions fall under entry-level or experienced att.?

Thanks if anyone knows of any law firms currently seeking staff attorneys, can you post here?

gaddockteeg

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Re: Staff attorney at biglaw?

Postby gaddockteeg » Wed Jan 24, 2018 5:49 pm

my old firm used to pay them 120k plus around 10-20k in bonuses. not bad at all.

I wouldn't consider them second class at all but they are certainly not associates and do not have the same opportunities for advancement. In fact, I think the salary and duties were completely stagnant year after year.

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Re: Staff attorney at biglaw?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jan 24, 2018 6:09 pm

Was recently a staff attorney at a V70. These jobs are highly firm dependent. At some firms, staff attorneys do much lower level work (doc review), their duties/amount of responsibility is pretty stagnant, and they have no shot at being "promoted" to associate and getting on the partnership track. At other firms, staff attorneys do the exact same work as associates (and receive all the same training) but have a lower billable hour requirement/lower compensation and can actually work their way up to associate. Fortunately my firm was the latter. Two of the partners I worked with started at the firm as staff attorneys back in the day. Salary was (stagnant) at 100k base and then a good bonus depending on hours billed beyond 1600. Could earn up to 160k.

At my old firm, they label you as an associate on the firm website even though you are a staff attorney, and tell you that you can write "associate" on your resume as well. As a result, you dont carry the stigma of having been a staff attorney and have good exit options as far as lateraling into an associate role at another firm. It worked out for me personally, I was able to use the staff attorney role as a stepping stone into an associate role at another large firm within 18 months.

I say do what you are doing here and try and find out as much as you can about the role of staff attorney's at the firms you are looking at. See if there is any way for you to get in touch with former staff attorneys from the firm. You can certainly do alot worse out there than a staff attorney role in big law! for some, these positions are a dead end as far as biglaw aspirations, but I think its a great opportunity and it is what you make of it. Good luck!

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Re: Staff attorney at biglaw?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jan 24, 2018 6:11 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I'm looking to apply to send out a few apps to firms inquiring about staff attorney positions... do those positions fall under entry-level or experienced att.?


Both. I've seen staff attorney roles for people with 0-3 years and people with 3-5. It really depends

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Re: Staff attorney at biglaw?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jan 24, 2018 7:31 pm

Stuff I've observed about the staff attorneys at the Vault 100 firm I worked at:

1. They usually did what people on TLS would consider lower level work: document review, discovery, conflicts checks

2. There is career growth within the staff attorney designation. I think it goes they're from hourly document reviewers with possibility of raises, to salaried document reviewers, to project management. I've heard that the more senior staff attorneys that do document review get about $85,000, with full medical/dental, but they have stayed quite a few years which is testament to their endurance for such rote work. They have different titles but they mainly do the same thing. I've heard the ones that get into project management make $115,000+

3. I'd estimate based on what I've heard from people within the firm and on LinkedIn, that about 1-2% of these staff attorneys doing rote legal work get promoted to associate. I've heard of 1 being promoted to Counsel, which is a partnership track position for those with a certain # of years of experience. No clue how they decide who gets to go from a staff attorney doing doc review to an associate or counsel.

4. Hours are pretty chill. They're required to bill 40 hours a week with OT on stuff like document review. For the salaried staff attorneys, they have to bill the same but no OT. Don't think any of them are allowed to work from home until they reach management level, even though it looks like 90% of the work could be done from home.

Anyways, $85,000 salary plus full medical/dental, or $100,000+ to manage document review sounds pretty chill. If I had kids or a wife that worked, I'd totally do it. Hours are flexible, you don't really have to bring your work home with you. The work is just rote and boring.

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Re: Staff attorney at biglaw?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 25, 2018 12:27 am

gosh these staff attorney positions sound terrible and depressing. i work at a shitty large insurance defense firm but even we get paid 95K to 110K as associates. I don't even know if staff attorney at biglaw is even a step up if you don't at least get the associate label on the website for future lateral opportunities.

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Re: Staff attorney at biglaw?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 25, 2018 12:48 am

At my NYC V20 they largely do first level doc review, help with productions, and other shit that it is not “worth” an associate’s time.

Eta: no idea about comp.

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Re: Staff attorney at biglaw?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 25, 2018 11:27 am

Would sending a resume to, let's say, every V100 firm and inquiring about staff attorney positions be a good a idea?

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Re: Staff attorney at biglaw?

Postby CanadianWolf » Thu Jan 25, 2018 11:51 am

$85,000 per year in DC, San Francisco or NYC may be a challenge if you have substantial student loan debt. Nevertheless, if you don't have any other reasonable options, then it's better to work in a law firm then to leave the field. I don't know, and it may vary by firm, but I suspect that relocation costs may not be reimbursed for this type of position.

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Re: Staff attorney at biglaw?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 25, 2018 5:23 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Would sending a resume to, let's say, every V100 firm and inquiring about staff attorney positions be a good a idea?


What would you have to lose? It's a free bet. Worse they could say is not reply or tell you no, in which case you're just back where you started as not a staff attorney.

CanadianWolf wrote:$85,000 per year in DC, San Francisco or NYC may be a challenge if you have substantial student loan debt. Nevertheless, if you don't have any other reasonable options, then it's better to work in a law firm then to leave the field. I don't know, and it may vary by firm, but I suspect that relocation costs may not be reimbursed for this type of position.


There are a lot of people living with less than $85,000 in DC, San Francisco or NYC with student loans. Even at $160,000+ with loans you're far from balling enough to make the trade worthwhile anyways. Especially in the Bay Area where millionaires are common, you're looking at a lifestyle difference of living in a crappy apartment by yourself or with a roommate. Either way you're still waiting for the Google shuttle bus to get out of the way so you can hop the peasant bus for your 45 minute commute. If you want lots of cash and to deal with your loans efficiently, apply to be a bottle service girl at Empire Nuj or Infusion :roll: .

I'll take the roommate if it means not taking my work home with me, far easier hours, and easier work. You can spend the 10-20 hours you save a week doing something more interesting. Some Staff Attorney gigs require doing rote work where they monitor your performance metrics tightly. Those are definitely not worth the tradeoff and should be avoided especially if not salaried.

Anonymous User wrote:gosh these staff attorney positions sound terrible and depressing. i work at a shitty large insurance defense firm but even we get paid 95K to 110K as associates. I don't even know if staff attorney at biglaw is even a step up if you don't at least get the associate label on the website for future lateral opportunities.


You sound terrible and depressing.

spha12

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Re: Staff attorney at biglaw?

Postby spha12 » Sat Jan 27, 2018 4:13 am

Anonymous User wrote:How bad are these positions in terms of paycut and job security? Do they get looked down upon in the firm like a second class associates? In particular, Id like to know about Jones Day and Blank Rome in Los Angeles market. Thank you.


I've seen these positions as doc review for one department in my firm and essentially reviewing terms of private equity funds for investors in another corporate group. totally depends on the firm/group. i think they are kind of second class citizens though, especially if the firm you are looking at gives them interior offices. that said, it's a job..

sparty99

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Re: Staff attorney at biglaw?

Postby sparty99 » Thu Feb 01, 2018 10:22 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Was recently a staff attorney at a V70. These jobs are highly firm dependent. At some firms, staff attorneys do much lower level work (doc review), their duties/amount of responsibility is pretty stagnant, and they have no shot at being "promoted" to associate and getting on the partnership track. At other firms, staff attorneys do the exact same work as associates (and receive all the same training) but have a lower billable hour requirement/lower compensation and can actually work their way up to associate. Fortunately my firm was the latter. Two of the partners I worked with started at the firm as staff attorneys back in the day. Salary was (stagnant) at 100k base and then a good bonus depending on hours billed beyond 1600. Could earn up to 160k.

At my old firm, they label you as an associate on the firm website even though you are a staff attorney, and tell you that you can write "associate" on your resume as well. As a result, you dont carry the stigma of having been a staff attorney and have good exit options as far as lateraling into an associate role at another firm. It worked out for me personally, I was able to use the staff attorney role as a stepping stone into an associate role at another large firm within 18 months.

I say do what you are doing here and try and find out as much as you can about the role of staff attorney's at the firms you are looking at. See if there is any way for you to get in touch with former staff attorneys from the firm. You can certainly do alot worse out there than a staff attorney role in big law! for some, these positions are a dead end as far as biglaw aspirations, but I think its a great opportunity and it is what you make of it. Good luck!


When you interviewed for the position how did you sell the firm on your eagnerness to be a staff attorney instead of an Associate? Also, did you go to court, take depositions, or argue motions as a staff attorney?



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