Delay biglaw start date by a year

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Delay biglaw start date by a year

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jun 22, 2018 6:24 pm

Hi all,

I am in a bit of a strange situation. I am a recent graduate and I am expected to start working for a biglaw firm in NYC (V100) in October.

I am an international student, and the government of my home country has paid all my law school tuition. I am obligated to go back and work for them after I take the bar. If I don't, I'll have to pay them back all the monies they paid.

I was planning to stay and work in the U.S. However, I did not get my H1B visa through the lottery this year, and my firm will apply for me again next year in April. If I don't get my visa then, they likely would let me go (it's possible that they'd send me to one of their offices abroad, but it is unclear at this point). If they do let me go, I'll be fu**ed because I'll be out of a job and I'll also have to pay the government back.

What I want to do is to delay my start date for a year so I could go back home and work for the government till I know my visa situation next year. How do I go about asking my firm that I want to delay my start date by a year? Should I tell them about my financial obligation to my home country's government? I haven't told them about it, because if I had gotten my visa this year, I would have just stayed without any issue.

Thanks

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Re: Delay biglaw start date by a year

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jun 22, 2018 7:03 pm

It’s going to be difficult for you to convince your firm to apply for your visa when you’re not working for them at the time of application.

You probably should’ve mentioned this at the outset.

I know some firms allow for secondments to their clients, but that’s a little different.

Npret

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Re: Delay biglaw start date by a year

Postby Npret » Fri Jun 22, 2018 7:36 pm

What is the firm expecting you to do for this year? Saying you can go back to work for your government might be a help to them if they don’t have a job for you now. Or were you doing OPT?

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Re: Delay biglaw start date by a year

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jun 22, 2018 7:58 pm

Npret wrote:What is the firm expecting you to do for this year? Saying you can go back to work for your government might be a help to them if they don’t have a job for you now. Or were you doing OPT?


I would be working for the firm under OPT.

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Re: Delay biglaw start date by a year

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jun 23, 2018 2:36 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Npret wrote:What is the firm expecting you to do for this year? Saying you can go back to work for your government might be a help to them if they don’t have a job for you now. Or were you doing OPT?


I would be working for the firm under OPT.


This is actually not that big of a problem. Here's what I would do.

1. I would not tell them about your obligation to work for the government because it is technically not a hard obligation (you have the choice to pay it back). Also, it's your own business between you and your government, it's not something the firm needs to know. Giving them this information only provides them with more leverage to negotiate against you (should the economy suddenly tank and they need to withdraw offers).

2. I would propose delaying your start by a 1 year and offer to start as a first-year when you come back (ie. getting a first year's salary rather than a second-year's salary) while you get more government experience for a year. This would be a good deal for the firm because they would be getting a second year's experience but paying a first year's salary, and you can frame it this way: having that 1 year of government experience in your country will give you more government experience and build connections that may be useful to the firm. Also, doing an OPT may not be ideal because the OPT expires within a year, and it's possible that you may not get a H1B the second time around, so the firm would be wasting a year of training and investment on you if you can't get your H1B in your second year. Delaying your start until you have a H1B, and coming back as a first year but offering 2 years of experience (including government) would therefore be a win-win situation for both the firm and you.

3. That said, I would keep in mind that firms have the ability to withdraw a standing offer at any time (especially when the economy is bad), and you may not get your H1B the second time. Therefore, going back to your country does come with this risk as well.

Have you thought about negotiating with your country's government about postponing the time you have to go back? If you'll be doing litigation, you should understand that most biglaw litigators leave within 5 years and won't get to make the same amount of money for the rest of their career, so ideally, if you can get an extension from your government for even 2-3 years before you have to go back, that would also be a win-win situation for both you and your government. They'd be getting you back with much more experience, and you'd be getting free tuition + experience in the US + a ton of money from biglaw.

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Re: Delay biglaw start date by a year

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jun 23, 2018 3:22 pm

The above is very optimistic. I honestly can’t see a firm being okay shelling out $5000 for an associate that does not currently work at the firm. The firm probably wants you to use your OPT instead of paying for a visa pre-OPT and thinks that it’s perfectly fine if you have to leave at the end of it if you don’t get a visa.

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Re: Delay biglaw start date by a year

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jun 23, 2018 3:28 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Npret wrote:What is the firm expecting you to do for this year? Saying you can go back to work for your government might be a help to them if they don’t have a job for you now. Or were you doing OPT?


I would be working for the firm under OPT.


This is actually not that big of a problem. Here's what I would do.

1. I would not tell them about your obligation to work for the government because it is technically not a hard obligation (you have the choice to pay it back). Also, it's your own business between you and your government, it's not something the firm needs to know. Giving them this information only provides them with more leverage to negotiate against you (should the economy suddenly tank and they need to withdraw offers).

2. I would propose delaying your start by a 1 year and offer to start as a first-year when you come back (ie. getting a first year's salary rather than a second-year's salary) while you get more government experience for a year. This would be a good deal for the firm because they would be getting a second year's experience but paying a first year's salary, and you can frame it this way: having that 1 year of government experience in your country will give you more government experience and build connections that may be useful to the firm. Also, doing an OPT may not be ideal because the OPT expires within a year, and it's possible that you may not get a H1B the second time around, so the firm would be wasting a year of training and investment on you if you can't get your H1B in your second year. Delaying your start until you have a H1B, and coming back as a first year but offering 2 years of experience (including government) would therefore be a win-win situation for both the firm and you.

3. That said, I would keep in mind that firms have the ability to withdraw a standing offer at any time (especially when the economy is bad), and you may not get your H1B the second time. Therefore, going back to your country does come with this risk as well.

Have you thought about negotiating with your country's government about postponing the time you have to go back? If you'll be doing litigation, you should understand that most biglaw litigators leave within 5 years and won't get to make the same amount of money for the rest of their career, so ideally, if you can get an extension from your government for even 2-3 years before you have to go back, that would also be a win-win situation for both you and your government. They'd be getting you back with much more experience, and you'd be getting free tuition + experience in the US + a ton of money from biglaw.


This is very helpful. Thanks. I might actually do this. I doubt my experience there will be useful or transferable here; but I agree with you that I probably shouldn't bring up the financial obligation point.

As for delaying my start date with the government, this is not an option. It's a start-now or f**k off kinda relationship. I just hope the firm doesn't have this mentality/policy either.

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Re: Delay biglaw start date by a year

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jun 23, 2018 3:32 pm

Anonymous User wrote:The above is very optimistic. I honestly can’t see a firm being okay shelling out $5000 for an associate that does not currently work at the firm. The firm probably wants you to use your OPT instead of paying for a visa pre-OPT and thinks that it’s perfectly fine if you have to leave at the end of it if you don’t get a visa.


It it comes down to the visa fees, I could offer to pay those fees. But the above poster's point that I would be starting next year on a first-year associate salary does make it seem like the firm has nothing to lose (except maybe the administrative hassles of arranging this).

Anonymous User
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Re: Delay biglaw start date by a year

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jun 23, 2018 4:58 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:The above is very optimistic. I honestly can’t see a firm being okay shelling out $5000 for an associate that does not currently work at the firm. The firm probably wants you to use your OPT instead of paying for a visa pre-OPT and thinks that it’s perfectly fine if you have to leave at the end of it if you don’t get a visa.


It it comes down to the visa fees, I could offer to pay those fees. But the above poster's point that I would be starting next year on a first-year associate salary does make it seem like the firm has nothing to lose (except maybe the administrative hassles of arranging this).


Honestly, it’s going to depend on two things:

1) is your home country a country with a large or growing economy (think Brazil, India, China); and

2) does the firm like you enough to deal with this hassle.

Firms are busy right now and having one less first year means they have to hire someone they were expecting to start in September. It’s not a huge hurdle but it is a headache.

Anonymous User
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Re: Delay biglaw start date by a year

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jun 23, 2018 6:16 pm

Depends on practice area as well. I would consider floating the idea with a trusted partner/associate at the firm first. The goodwill of a partner will trump HR’s policy most of the time.

Not sure about firms being busy. I know litigation is very slow right now at my firm, and white collar work in general is almost dead because the government is not prosecuting as much businesses as before. And with the recent salary hike, associates are pushed out earlier and earlier. I suspect at least a couple of litigators at my firm that are being stealthed right now. You can tell because they stop coming to the office for weeks and have nothing to work on. I honestly feel bad for the first years that will be coming in because if this trend continues, many of them will be stealthed as well.

Anonymous User
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Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Delay biglaw start date by a year

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jun 23, 2018 6:34 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:The above is very optimistic. I honestly can’t see a firm being okay shelling out $5000 for an associate that does not currently work at the firm. The firm probably wants you to use your OPT instead of paying for a visa pre-OPT and thinks that it’s perfectly fine if you have to leave at the end of it if you don’t get a visa.


It it comes down to the visa fees, I could offer to pay those fees. But the above poster's point that I would be starting next year on a first-year associate salary does make it seem like the firm has nothing to lose (except maybe the administrative hassles of arranging this).


It also comes down to how you present your case and whether you can present your case to the right person. Firms let clerks defer their start date by a year, if you frame the government position correctly (and who’s to say firm will know that it’s not that great), you can make it just as appealing. They’d be saving a year’s worth of salary versus paying H1B fees that they would have had to pay in the first place.

Anonymous User
Posts: 316648
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Delay biglaw start date by a year

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jun 23, 2018 6:35 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:The above is very optimistic. I honestly can’t see a firm being okay shelling out $5000 for an associate that does not currently work at the firm. The firm probably wants you to use your OPT instead of paying for a visa pre-OPT and thinks that it’s perfectly fine if you have to leave at the end of it if you don’t get a visa.


It it comes down to the visa fees, I could offer to pay those fees. But the above poster's point that I would be starting next year on a first-year associate salary does make it seem like the firm has nothing to lose (except maybe the administrative hassles of arranging this).


It also comes down to how you present your case and whether you can present your case to the right person. Firms let clerks defer their start date by a year, if you frame the government position correctly (and who’s to say firm will know that it’s not that great), you can make it just as appealing. They’d be saving a year’s worth of salary versus paying H1B fees that they would have had to pay in the first place.


I think OP is hoping that the firm still pays the fees and applies while OP is away



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