Going back to biglaw after exiting

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Going back to biglaw after exiting

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 17, 2018 1:05 pm

Has anyone exited biglaw to something nontraditional and then decided to go back to biglaw? What was your experience interviewing to go back? Any tips/ideas?

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Re: Going back to biglaw after exiting

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 18, 2018 10:06 am

From my experience, really fucking shitty. I left after a year and I've been trying to go back. It feels like it's even harder to go back to biglaw than it is to start out non-traditional and break in.

Npret

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Re: Going back to biglaw after exiting

Postby Npret » Wed Jul 18, 2018 10:12 am

You’re going to have a very hard time convincing anyone you really want to work in biglaw and aren’t just chasing salary since the raises.

You need to think very hard about selling your value to the firm. Create a solid explanation of why you left and why you’ve realized that biglaw is truly where you belong.

It’s not easy to convince anyone of your interest in biglaw after you left for something non traditional. I can’t think of any good examples in my experience, though it may be possible.

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Re: Going back to biglaw after exiting

Postby minnbills » Wed Jul 18, 2018 10:51 am

The people I've seen who succeeded at this clerked then went back to biglaw

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Re: Going back to biglaw after exiting

Postby SomewhatLearnedHand » Wed Jul 18, 2018 11:01 am

I've seen people jump back and forth between big law, government (including state AG), and in house. Granted those people were all extremely well qualified. Those that I know of graduated from a T10, worked at V20s and then the one was GC at a prominent BB bank.

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Re: Going back to biglaw after exiting

Postby Npret » Wed Jul 18, 2018 11:27 am

SomewhatLearnedHand wrote:I've seen people jump back and forth between big law, government (including state AG), and in house. Granted those people were all extremely well qualified. Those that I know of graduated from a T10, worked at V20s and then the one was GC at a prominent BB bank.


I didn’t think of government as non traditional. If that is what OP meant, then it’s a different story.

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Re: Going back to biglaw after exiting

Postby SomewhatLearnedHand » Wed Jul 18, 2018 11:35 am

Npret wrote:
SomewhatLearnedHand wrote:I've seen people jump back and forth between big law, government (including state AG), and in house. Granted those people were all extremely well qualified. Those that I know of graduated from a T10, worked at V20s and then the one was GC at a prominent BB bank.


I didn’t think of government as non traditional. If that is what OP meant, then it’s a different story.


Kind of glazed over the first post and went off the thread title. You're probably right in that he didn't mean government.

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Re: Going back to biglaw after exiting

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 18, 2018 11:58 am

I left biglaw after 2.5 years - jumped for a non-practicing job for about a month - realized i had made a huge mistake - then decided to go back into biglaw, which I successfully did after a few months of interviewing. Long story short it was kind of a pain to get back in - you just need to have a very good explanation / spin a good story and hopefully the ability to demonstrate you gained really solid experience during your first biglaw stint.

It will really come down to how badly the firm needs associates for the particular practice area you're going back into and how well you sell your story.

I'll note that it's not insanely uncommon to see people go from biglaw to in-house and then back to biglaw (at least in NYC). I've seen this a few times. But they almost all had a rather significant first stint in biglaw before making the first jump in-house.

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Re: Going back to biglaw after exiting

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 18, 2018 5:26 pm

Not to state the obvious, but I think it's much easier if you leave the door open at your old firm. I quit for ~half a year basically to do fun stuff, then returned to my old firm without any real trouble. I assume this is partly because, unlike other firms, they didn't have any reason to think that I'd been been forced out of biglaw. I was just burned out from some tough periods with both personal and work difficulties, and they knew that because I told them as much when I quit. But if you're looking at other firms, especially in the same market, I think that raises a pretty big flag that maybe you got fired/laid off as an undesirable - because otherwise you'd be back at the same firm (not that there may not be good excuses - interim downsizing, they hired new ppl, etc).

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Re: Going back to biglaw after exiting

Postby Lukash » Thu Jul 19, 2018 10:07 am

Anonymous User wrote:Not to state the obvious, but I think it's much easier if you leave the door open at your old firm. I quit for ~half a year basically to do fun stuff, then returned to my old firm without any real trouble. I assume this is partly because, unlike other firms, they didn't have any reason to think that I'd been been forced out of biglaw. I was just burned out from some tough periods with both personal and work difficulties, and they knew that because I told them as much when I quit. But if you're looking at other firms, especially in the same market, I think that raises a pretty big flag that maybe you got fired/laid off as an undesirable - because otherwise you'd be back at the same firm (not that there may not be good excuses - interim downsizing, they hired new ppl, etc).


What do mean by leave the door open? Tell them you'll probably be back?

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Re: Going back to biglaw after exiting

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jul 19, 2018 12:53 pm

I left my big law firm after 1.5 years to go to a quasi legal/business role. I absolutely hated the place and within three months was looking to leave. Had multiple offers and partners at my old firm wanted me to come back (if I made a loose commitment to stay for two years). It wasn't too hard, but my firm was highly ranked so other lower ranked firms were happy to throw me offers (signing bonus/full bonus/class year bump), but other highly ranked firms were very hesitant since they wondered why i wouldn't just go back to my first firm (other than Kirkland, they don't give two shits).

I still despise biglaw, but it made me realize that just getting out of a law firm isn't the answer, you need to move towards something rather than try to escape. I ended up leaving New York and moving to a lower-paying market where I still do sophisticated work, but leave work by 7 every day and get paid a good chunk.

Think its very possible to jump back to biglaw, just make sure you have a good reason/story and make sure you dig into your past firm experience and really understand what you did so you can speak confidently about your experiences.

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Re: Going back to biglaw after exiting

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jul 19, 2018 2:30 pm

This may be firm and department dependent, but I know of several corporate associates that went to work for clients (mostly big banks and funds) and came back to our firm (v10). I also know one that hates working for a particular hedge fund client, despite a sweeeeeet salary in his unicorn position there, and the firm is open to taking him back. But they all had stellar reputations and relationships with folks here. They also just ended up being in positions where they were still working with the firm on their side of the deals. Its important to note that they also weren't gone for too long, i.e. less than 2 years. Complete conjecture here but it seems like they made sure the firm would be receptive to their return if things didn't work out.

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Re: Going back to biglaw after exiting

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jul 19, 2018 2:41 pm

As others have said, trying to go back to the same firm is prob the easiest route. I know someone who quit a big firm because he was burned out and sat on his couch for three months. He then came back to the same firm and has been there for years now. I think if you leave somewhere on good terms, there is a chance they will take you back.

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Re: Going back to biglaw after exiting

Postby Npret » Thu Jul 19, 2018 3:45 pm

OP - can you explain what you mean by non-traditional?

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Re: Going back to biglaw after exiting

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jul 19, 2018 4:07 pm

Npret wrote:OP - can you explain what you mean by non-traditional?


OP here.

Obviously can't get too specific without outing myself, but I work in quite a niche area of the law and am now working in a different, non-legal position that still deals with that area of the law. I'm very up to date on developments in this area of the law, but haven't been employed in a client advisory role. My background is generally good (T-14, V20 law firm), but I don't particularly want to go back to my old law firm because it wasn't a great cultural fit for me (didn't leave on bad terms or anything, just want something a little different).

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Re: Going back to biglaw after exiting

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jul 19, 2018 4:12 pm

OP again - I would note that I'm thinking about going through a recruiter but not sure if this will be a good or bad method to get back into the market.

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Re: Going back to biglaw after exiting

Postby Hutz_and_Goodman » Thu Jul 19, 2018 8:10 pm

I know two midlevels at my big law firm who went in-house, decided it was a mistake, and came back within a year.

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Re: Going back to biglaw after exiting

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jul 20, 2018 11:27 am

Yeah, it seems much easier for people to go back if they went in-house to a position within the same practice that they did in biglaw.

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Re: Going back to biglaw after exiting

Postby beautyistruth » Fri Jul 20, 2018 12:08 pm

Anonymous User wrote:OP again - I would note that I'm thinking about going through a recruiter but not sure if this will be a good or bad method to get back into the market.


Bad approach. I'm sort of in the same position and you have to understand that recruiters will put your interests second to their more promising (i.e. traditional) candidates. I worked with a recruiter and she was very eager to work with me when it looked like the firm I summered at was interested in taking me. She dropped me like a hot potato when they passed on me (citing commitment concerns).

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Re: Going back to biglaw after exiting

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jul 20, 2018 9:17 pm

Lukash wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Not to state the obvious, but I think it's much easier if you leave the door open at your old firm. I quit for ~half a year basically to do fun stuff, then returned to my old firm without any real trouble. I assume this is partly because, unlike other firms, they didn't have any reason to think that I'd been been forced out of biglaw. I was just burned out from some tough periods with both personal and work difficulties, and they knew that because I told them as much when I quit. But if you're looking at other firms, especially in the same market, I think that raises a pretty big flag that maybe you got fired/laid off as an undesirable - because otherwise you'd be back at the same firm (not that there may not be good excuses - interim downsizing, they hired new ppl, etc).


What do mean by leave the door open? Tell them you'll probably be back?


Basically what others have said - leave on good terms and with a good reputation. Don't tell people that you're leaving because you hate the job, your bosses, etc. It's really not much different from the idea of staying positive while you interview, although obviously you'll have an actual track record when leaving.

Lukash

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Re: Going back to biglaw after exiting

Postby Lukash » Thu Jul 26, 2018 9:09 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Lukash wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Not to state the obvious, but I think it's much easier if you leave the door open at your old firm. I quit for ~half a year basically to do fun stuff, then returned to my old firm without any real trouble. I assume this is partly because, unlike other firms, they didn't have any reason to think that I'd been been forced out of biglaw. I was just burned out from some tough periods with both personal and work difficulties, and they knew that because I told them as much when I quit. But if you're looking at other firms, especially in the same market, I think that raises a pretty big flag that maybe you got fired/laid off as an undesirable - because otherwise you'd be back at the same firm (not that there may not be good excuses - interim downsizing, they hired new ppl, etc).


What do mean by leave the door open? Tell them you'll probably be back?


Basically what others have said - leave on good terms and with a good reputation. Don't tell people that you're leaving because you hate the job, your bosses, etc. It's really not much different from the idea of staying positive while you interview, although obviously you'll have an actual track record when leaving.


Got it - thanks.



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