Salary After Big Law

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Salary After Big Law

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Mar 02, 2018 12:56 am

I know this is a very very broad question because there are many routes to go after working in Big Law. My question is this: after working for 3-4 years in Big Law if you moved either in house, or to a smaller law firm or just into a general business role outside the V100 what do you think the average salary is going to be? I'm trying to build a life budget that accounts for a few years in Big Law with a heavy emphasis on savings in the case that I find the hours too unbearable. I'm just curious how big the cut in salary after Big Law is and what is the rate of growth in salary after you leave? Any insight is appreciated. I'm also not really talking about coming from a V25 firm. Just general big law with general big law exit opportunities.

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Nagster5

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Re: Salary After Big Law

Postby Nagster5 » Fri Mar 02, 2018 3:37 am

Anonymous User wrote:I know this is a very very broad question because there are many routes to go after working in Big Law. My question is this: after working for 3-4 years in Big Law if you moved either in house, or to a smaller law firm or just into a general business role outside the V100 what do you think the average salary is going to be? I'm trying to build a life budget that accounts for a few years in Big Law with a heavy emphasis on savings in the case that I find the hours too unbearable. I'm just curious how big the cut in salary after Big Law is and what is the rate of growth in salary after you leave? Any insight is appreciated. I'm also not really talking about coming from a V25 firm. Just general big law with general big law exit opportunities.


Really hard to say with as vague as this is, but a good estimate would be low six figures.

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Re: Salary After Big Law

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Mar 04, 2018 9:50 am

There are too many possibilities to give a meaningful range. Examples are:

State administrative agency work: 40-90k
Federal administrative agency work: 80-120k
Tech startup with ground floor stock options: 40k with possibility of it maybe being tens of millions
Blue chip publicly traded company: 150-300k
Opening your own plaintiff’s shop: 0-1,000,000
Of counsel at small established firm: 60-250k
Partner at small established form: 80-400k
Senior associate at small established firm: 40-100k
Judge (stay magistrate/small claims): 50kish
Judge (state superior court): 120-140k
Doc review contract attorney: 12-25/hr

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nealric

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Re: Salary After Big Law

Postby nealric » Mon Mar 05, 2018 11:06 am

"Average" salaries aren't particularly meaningful to any individual's path. Your practice group and desired post-biglaw career will make a huge difference.

For what it's worth, I made a bit more my first year in-house than I did my previous year as an associate (after taking into account bonuses, stock compensation, and benefits). I'd have been up for partner if I were still in biglaw, so it's hard to say where I'd be had I stayed there.

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Re: Salary After Big Law

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Mar 05, 2018 12:38 pm

Figured I’d share my salary after biglaw stint:

Graduated in 2013.
Biglaw in secondary market.
Life after biglaw: federal government making $120k in (different) secondary market.

sparty99

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Re: Salary After Big Law

Postby sparty99 » Mon Mar 05, 2018 3:34 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Figured I’d share my salary after biglaw stint:

Graduated in 2013.
Biglaw in secondary market.
Life after biglaw: federal government making $120k in (different) secondary market.


How did you get the federal government job? Did your big law experience help? How long did you do big law? I would love to make $120,000 and have no billables.

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Re: Salary After Big Law

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Mar 05, 2018 8:39 pm

Will add another data point:

3 years Biglaw experience in major market (LA/NY/SF)
Life after biglaw: in-house in financial services company making about $180k all-in.

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Re: Salary After Big Law

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Mar 05, 2018 10:01 pm

Anonymous User wrote:There are too many possibilities to give a meaningful range. Examples are:

State administrative agency work: 40-90k
Federal administrative agency work: 80-120k
Tech startup with ground floor stock options: 40k with possibility of it maybe being tens of millions
Blue chip publicly traded company: 150-300k
Opening your own plaintiff’s shop: 0-1,000,000
Of counsel at small established firm: 60-250k
Partner at small established form: 80-400k
Senior associate at small established firm: 40-100k
Judge (stay magistrate/small claims): 50kish
Judge (state superior court): 120-140k
Doc review contract attorney: 12-25/hr


Mid-6 figures for Fed attorneys, and up to 160k if you are a supervisor attorney (GS-15; can't make more than that under the law). Federal ALJs make $170k.

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Re: Salary After Big Law

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Mar 06, 2018 10:35 am

sparty99 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Figured I’d share my salary after biglaw stint:

Graduated in 2013.
Biglaw in secondary market.
Life after biglaw: federal government making $120k in (different) secondary market.


How did you get the federal government job? Did your big law experience help? How long did you do big law? I would love to make $120,000 and have no billables.


Short, short stint in biglaw. I was an ADA before moving to a small firm with a specialized practice and stayed there one year. I spent 10 months in biglaw and left. I hated the billable hour. I wouldn’t have landed my fed job without the big firm, though. FWIW I’m not DOJ, and my understanding is DOJ attorneys with my level of experience (especially AUSAs) make significantly less money than I do and work significantly more.

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Re: Salary After Big Law

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Mar 06, 2018 11:45 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:There are too many possibilities to give a meaningful range. Examples are:

State administrative agency work: 40-90k
Federal administrative agency work: 80-120k
Tech startup with ground floor stock options: 40k with possibility of it maybe being tens of millions
Blue chip publicly traded company: 150-300k
Opening your own plaintiff’s shop: 0-1,000,000
Of counsel at small established firm: 60-250k
Partner at small established form: 80-400k
Senior associate at small established firm: 40-100k
Judge (stay magistrate/small claims): 50kish
Judge (state superior court): 120-140k
Doc review contract attorney: 12-25/hr


Mid-6 figures for Fed attorneys, and up to 160k if you are a supervisor attorney (GS-15; can't make more than that under the law). Federal ALJs make $170k.


Not necessarily true. If you work at one of the Federal agencies that is off the GS scale (SEC, OCC, etc) you will make over $200k as a supervisor attorney. Non-supervisor attorneys make around $150k with a few years' experience.

sparty99

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Re: Salary After Big Law

Postby sparty99 » Tue Mar 06, 2018 4:20 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
sparty99 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Figured I’d share my salary after biglaw stint:

Graduated in 2013.
Biglaw in secondary market.
Life after biglaw: federal government making $120k in (different) secondary market.


How did you get the federal government job? Did your big law experience help? How long did you do big law? I would love to make $120,000 and have no billables.


Short, short stint in biglaw. I was an ADA before moving to a small firm with a specialized practice and stayed there one year. I spent 10 months in biglaw and left. I hated the billable hour. I wouldn’t have landed my fed job without the big firm, though. FWIW I’m not DOJ, and my understanding is DOJ attorneys with my level of experience (especially AUSAs) make significantly less money than I do and work significantly more.


I always wanted DOJ, but I have come to realize they don't make a lot compared to other federal agencies. WHy be a DOJ attorney when you can GS-14 somewhere.

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Re: Salary After Big Law

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Mar 07, 2018 10:36 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:There are too many possibilities to give a meaningful range. Examples are:

State administrative agency work: 40-90k
Federal administrative agency work: 80-120k
Tech startup with ground floor stock options: 40k with possibility of it maybe being tens of millions
Blue chip publicly traded company: 150-300k
Opening your own plaintiff’s shop: 0-1,000,000
Of counsel at small established firm: 60-250k
Partner at small established form: 80-400k
Senior associate at small established firm: 40-100k
Judge (stay magistrate/small claims): 50kish
Judge (state superior court): 120-140k
Doc review contract attorney: 12-25/hr


Mid-6 figures for Fed attorneys, and up to 160k if you are a supervisor attorney (GS-15; can't make more than that under the law). Federal ALJs make $170k.


Not necessarily true. If you work at one of the Federal agencies that is off the GS scale (SEC, OCC, etc) you will make over $200k as a supervisor attorney. Non-supervisor attorneys make around $150k with a few years' experience.


In some of the other pay scales you can make more. SEC and whatever the CFPB is on comes to mind. DOJ for example follows the AD pay scale which starts you out lower than GS-11 and its a longer journey to mid six-figures than a lot of GS-designated attorney positions, which put you at around $120k after 5 years in DC. Also realize that most attorneys in the federal government are either on GS, AD, or one of the defense pay scales that is tacked to GS. SEC and the relatively small finance-oriented agencies are exceptions.

TEIAM

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Re: Salary After Big Law

Postby TEIAM » Thu Mar 08, 2018 12:59 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:There are too many possibilities to give a meaningful range. Examples are:

State administrative agency work: 40-90k
Federal administrative agency work: 80-120k
Tech startup with ground floor stock options: 40k with possibility of it maybe being tens of millions
Blue chip publicly traded company: 150-300k
Opening your own plaintiff’s shop: 0-1,000,000
Of counsel at small established firm: 60-250k
Partner at small established form: 80-400k
Senior associate at small established firm: 40-100k
Judge (stay magistrate/small claims): 50kish
Judge (state superior court): 120-140k
Doc review contract attorney: 12-25/hr


Mid-6 figures for Fed attorneys, and up to 160k if you are a supervisor attorney (GS-15; can't make more than that under the law). Federal ALJs make $170k.


Not necessarily true. If you work at one of the Federal agencies that is off the GS scale (SEC, OCC, etc) you will make over $200k as a supervisor attorney. Non-supervisor attorneys make around $150k with a few years' experience.


In some of the other pay scales you can make more. SEC and whatever the CFPB is on comes to mind. DOJ for example follows the AD pay scale which starts you out lower than GS-11 and its a longer journey to mid six-figures than a lot of GS-designated attorney positions, which put you at around $120k after 5 years in DC. Also realize that most attorneys in the federal government are either on GS, AD, or one of the defense pay scales that is tacked to GS. SEC and the relatively small finance-oriented agencies are exceptions.

I'm not sure where you're getting your info but DOJ is on the GS scale and start at GS-11. It is true, however, AUSAs are on the AD scale.

ballouttacontrol

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Re: Salary After Big Law

Postby ballouttacontrol » Sat Mar 10, 2018 7:52 am

most ppl that I know that went in-house stayed around the same comp or made a little or even a lot more.

benefits like stock options and shit help a lot

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Re: Salary After Big Law

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Mar 10, 2018 5:29 pm

ballouttacontrol wrote:most ppl that I know that went in-house stayed around the same comp or made a little or even a lot more.

benefits like stock options and shit help a lot


Curious about this. I've heard that said too but in my recent experience applying to jobs they are often asking me to take about a $40K cut on base comp ($170K is something I've been quoted a couple places). I've been dropped from consideration for asking for $180K base.

When people say that comp gets close to the same in-house as in BL do you think they mean, including stock plus bonus, you get around your base comp in BL? Because that math adds up to me but I'm not seeing close to the same base comp, let alone close to BL bonus.

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nealric

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Re: Salary After Big Law

Postby nealric » Sat Mar 10, 2018 11:24 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
ballouttacontrol wrote:most ppl that I know that went in-house stayed around the same comp or made a little or even a lot more.

benefits like stock options and shit help a lot


Curious about this. I've heard that said too but in my recent experience applying to jobs they are often asking me to take about a $40K cut on base comp ($170K is something I've been quoted a couple places). I've been dropped from consideration for asking for $180K base.

When people say that comp gets close to the same in-house as in BL do you think they mean, including stock plus bonus, you get around your base comp in BL? Because that math adds up to me but I'm not seeing close to the same base comp, let alone close to BL bonus.


Hard to compare bonus vs bonus as it varies by company and what “market” bonus is in a given year. My comp also had a pension contribution (has a cash value I could take if I left the company) and 401k match - neither of which exist in biglaw. By year 10 it’s impossible to compare as you would have been up for partnership. No matter how you slice it, I make more per hour than I did as a biglaw associate.

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Posts: 312857
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Re: Salary After Big Law

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Mar 11, 2018 3:22 am

TEIAM wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:There are too many possibilities to give a meaningful range. Examples are:

State administrative agency work: 40-90k
Federal administrative agency work: 80-120k
Tech startup with ground floor stock options: 40k with possibility of it maybe being tens of millions
Blue chip publicly traded company: 150-300k
Opening your own plaintiff’s shop: 0-1,000,000
Of counsel at small established firm: 60-250k
Partner at small established form: 80-400k
Senior associate at small established firm: 40-100k
Judge (stay magistrate/small claims): 50kish
Judge (state superior court): 120-140k
Doc review contract attorney: 12-25/hr


Mid-6 figures for Fed attorneys, and up to 160k if you are a supervisor attorney (GS-15; can't make more than that under the law). Federal ALJs make $170k.


Not necessarily true. If you work at one of the Federal agencies that is off the GS scale (SEC, OCC, etc) you will make over $200k as a supervisor attorney. Non-supervisor attorneys make around $150k with a few years' experience.


In some of the other pay scales you can make more. SEC and whatever the CFPB is on comes to mind. DOJ for example follows the AD pay scale which starts you out lower than GS-11 and its a longer journey to mid six-figures than a lot of GS-designated attorney positions, which put you at around $120k after 5 years in DC. Also realize that most attorneys in the federal government are either on GS, AD, or one of the defense pay scales that is tacked to GS. SEC and the relatively small finance-oriented agencies are exceptions.

I'm not sure where you're getting your info but DOJ is on the GS scale and start at GS-11. It is true, however, AUSAs are on the AD scale.


I was refereing to AUSAs, sorry.

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Posts: 312857
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Salary After Big Law

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Mar 11, 2018 4:18 am

nealric wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
ballouttacontrol wrote:most ppl that I know that went in-house stayed around the same comp or made a little or even a lot more.

benefits like stock options and shit help a lot


Curious about this. I've heard that said too but in my recent experience applying to jobs they are often asking me to take about a $40K cut on base comp ($170K is something I've been quoted a couple places). I've been dropped from consideration for asking for $180K base.

When people say that comp gets close to the same in-house as in BL do you think they mean, including stock plus bonus, you get around your base comp in BL? Because that math adds up to me but I'm not seeing close to the same base comp, let alone close to BL bonus.


Hard to compare bonus vs bonus as it varies by company and what “market” bonus is in a given year. My comp also had a pension contribution (has a cash value I could take if I left the company) and 401k match - neither of which exist in biglaw. By year 10 it’s impossible to compare as you would have been up for partnership. No matter how you slice it, I make more per hour than I did as a biglaw associate.


Thanks for responding. No doubt. That makes sense that you gotta draw a line at some point re class year when comparing to BL. I always assumed people meant more like "I make about as much as I would as a fourth/fifth year in biglaw as I do in-house." But now if you're talking even just fourth year that's $240K + 50K bonus. Is that what you think people 5-10 years in in-house are making in SF/NYC?

Any idea, generally, what you think may be a standard and a good benchmark for a fourth year applying to in-house jobs at good, growing tech/blue chip/financial services companies in SF/NYC?

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Re: Salary After Big Law

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Mar 20, 2018 1:03 am

Apologies for being intentionally vague, would be midlevel if I had stayed at my big law firm (left a couple years ago after ~three years). Was very lucky to end up at a relatively small, stable tech company with deep pockets.

Annual cash comp with bonus (not including signing/retention, which expired) is 200-220. All in with equity (from public hold co, so real value is there, though not going to have some incredible exit) 401k match, etc. range is more like 215-235. Incredible place to work, love what I do, regularly am directly approached (not by recruiters) for other positions, see no reason to leave, as I am on a great development/promotion path here, but great to have flexibility. Prolly work 35 to 60 hours depending on week, with 50 pretty typical, almost no fire drills. May eventually throw my hat in the ring at the right startup for a GC c-suite position, where I’ll have to probably take an overall haircut with potential for huge upside.

Regularly pinch myself, but there is a surprising number of similar roles out there, and relatively few attorneys with relevant tech transaction experience and a very business-focused skill set.

Anonymous User
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Re: Salary After Big Law

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Mar 20, 2018 12:42 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Apologies for being intentionally vague, would be midlevel if I had stayed at my big law firm (left a couple years ago after ~three years). Was very lucky to end up at a relatively small, stable tech company with deep pockets.

Annual cash comp with bonus (not including signing/retention, which expired) is 200-220. All in with equity (from public hold co, so real value is there, though not going to have some incredible exit) 401k match, etc. range is more like 215-235. Incredible place to work, love what I do, regularly am directly approached (not by recruiters) for other positions, see no reason to leave, as I am on a great development/promotion path here, but great to have flexibility. Prolly work 35 to 60 hours depending on week, with 50 pretty typical, almost no fire drills. May eventually throw my hat in the ring at the right startup for a GC c-suite position, where I’ll have to probably take an overall haircut with potential for huge upside.

Regularly pinch myself, but there is a surprising number of similar roles out there, and relatively few attorneys with relevant tech transaction experience and a very business-focused skill set.


Sounds nice. Do you mind saying roughly what the cash component was, as base and bonus, when you first got the job? Was it the same as described above? How much negotiation was involved? Was it sort of take it or leave it? Thanks!



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