Pros of Mid-Law

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Pros of Mid-Law

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 18, 2018 2:45 pm

What are the benefits of practicing at a smaller firm (compared to biglaw)? Are the standards less exacting? I don’t mean that in a “shitty work is okay” kind of way but striving for perfection when good is sufficient can be soul-sucking. This is especially true when you work at a firm that is quick to criticize and hesitant to praise.

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Re: Pros of Mid-Law

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 18, 2018 3:47 pm

Anonymous User wrote:What are the benefits of practicing at a smaller firm (compared to biglaw)? Are the standards less exacting? I don’t mean that in a “shitty work is okay” kind of way but striving for perfection when good is sufficient can be soul-sucking. This is especially true when you work at a firm that is quick to criticize and hesitant to praise.


A smaller firm will probably have better hours than biglaw, but if you end up at a more "toxic" firm (and trust me, there are a LOT of awful smaller firms), you can't escape by finding another partner/switching practice groups/moving offices, and your exit options are not nearly as good as they would be from biglaw. And depending on the small firm, you may struggle to get good work, and senior attorneys may not have the time or inclination to train you.

gregfootball2001

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Re: Pros of Mid-Law

Postby gregfootball2001 » Wed Jul 18, 2018 4:01 pm

Recently moved from midlaw to biglaw. At my midlaw firm, my hours were a good bit better. People apologized if I had to do work over the weekend (which was rare). The prestige, and corresponding exit options, were less. On the other hand, the chances of making partner were much higher. Further, I received much more responsibility than I would have in biglaw. The salary was lower. The work was less sophisticated and was regarding smaller amounts of money. I've received roughly equal amounts of training at both firms. Everything is firm dependent, but I enjoyed my midlaw time, and am fine with biglaw life so far.

tier4_partner

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Re: Pros of Mid-Law

Postby tier4_partner » Wed Jul 18, 2018 4:26 pm

I’m a newish partner at a mid sized firm (150 to 200 attorneys). I never worked in biglaw (Thanks 4th tier law school).

I have a few friends in biglaw. Midlaw has certain benefits. The obvious being time and work life balance. Some other positives - ability to gain substantive experiences a bit quicker. I am out about 10 years. I’ve second chaired a half dozen trials. I’ve taken and defended countless deps. I’ve briefed and argued at least 10 appeals (and recently changed the law in a circuit on a federal appeal). I’ve also been able to attract mid-market clients (ie smaller clients that are easier to find and can afford our more reasonable rate structure). Finally, while I work with plenty of T14 and T20 grads - I don’t feel like an idiot because I graduated from the equivalent of a community college for law schools.

There are definitely some real benefits. That’s said, if I had ever had the choice to work in a biglaw firm and then trade down to a midlaw - I would have jumped at the opportunity. For sure.

Downsides - pay. There are senior associates at biglaw firms earning more than I do as a young partner.

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Re: Pros of Mid-Law

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jul 19, 2018 11:16 am

tier4_partner wrote:I’m a newish partner at a mid sized firm (150 to 200 attorneys). I never worked in biglaw (Thanks 4th tier law school).

I have a few friends in biglaw. Midlaw has certain benefits. The obvious being time and work life balance. Some other positives - ability to gain substantive experiences a bit quicker. I am out about 10 years. I’ve second chaired a half dozen trials. I’ve taken and defended countless deps. I’ve briefed and argued at least 10 appeals (and recently changed the law in a circuit on a federal appeal). I’ve also been able to attract mid-market clients (ie smaller clients that are easier to find and can afford our more reasonable rate structure). Finally, while I work with plenty of T14 and T20 grads - I don’t feel like an idiot because I graduated from the equivalent of a community college for law schools.

There are definitely some real benefits. That’s said, if I had ever had the choice to work in a biglaw firm and then trade down to a midlaw - I would have jumped at the opportunity. For sure.

Downsides - pay. There are senior associates at biglaw firms earning more than I do as a young partner.


This is all very helpful. Are you in a major market?

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Re: Pros of Mid-Law

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jul 19, 2018 11:18 am

gregfootball2001 wrote:Recently moved from midlaw to biglaw. At my midlaw firm, my hours were a good bit better. People apologized if I had to do work over the weekend (which was rare). The prestige, and corresponding exit options, were less. On the other hand, the chances of making partner were much higher. Further, I received much more responsibility than I would have in biglaw. The salary was lower. The work was less sophisticated and was regarding smaller amounts of money. I've received roughly equal amounts of training at both firms. Everything is firm dependent, but I enjoyed my midlaw time, and am fine with biglaw life so far.


How would you say the standards in work product quality compare? At my biglaw firm, we agonize over stylistic and organizational things in briefs even though our time could be better spent elsewhere.

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Re: Pros of Mid-Law

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jul 19, 2018 1:59 pm

SA at a midlaw firm in a secondary market.

To reiterate what most others have said ITT, the benefits are pretty much exactly what you expect. Better hours (people generally work 9-6:30 on normal days here), better substantive experience early on (you will attend depos, be second chair on trials, etc early on as an associate), and better partner prospects (if you are good, committed, and can bring in some business, you will make equity partner).

Negatives are also obvious, lower quality work (my firm does med mal primarily, which I think is pretty high quality, but also defends slip and fall and other BS cases) and pay. My firm pays about 90k first year

I will not be coming back after this year to do biglaw, but might lateral back at some point later on.

tier4_partner

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Re: Pros of Mid-Law

Postby tier4_partner » Fri Jul 20, 2018 1:09 am

Anonymous User wrote:
tier4_partner wrote:I’m a newish partner at a mid sized firm (150 to 200 attorneys). I never worked in biglaw (Thanks 4th tier law school).

I have a few friends in biglaw. Midlaw has certain benefits. The obvious being time and work life balance. Some other positives - ability to gain substantive experiences a bit quicker. I am out about 10 years. I’ve second chaired a half dozen trials. I’ve taken and defended countless deps. I’ve briefed and argued at least 10 appeals (and recently changed the law in a circuit on a federal appeal). I’ve also been able to attract mid-market clients (ie smaller clients that are easier to find and can afford our more reasonable rate structure). Finally, while I work with plenty of T14 and T20 grads - I don’t feel like an idiot because I graduated from the equivalent of a community college for law schools.

There are definitely some real benefits. That’s said, if I had ever had the choice to work in a biglaw firm and then trade down to a midlaw - I would have jumped at the opportunity. For sure.

Downsides - pay. There are senior associates at biglaw firms earning more than I do as a young partner.


This is all very helpful. Are you in a major market?


Yes. Major market.

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Re: Pros of Mid-Law

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jul 20, 2018 11:22 am

I’m fourth year at a regional big/mid law firm doing lit in a secondary market. Pay is market for this city (but definitely short of the big law scale which includes some satellites here).

The hours really are better. I’m usually out by 5 to 6, only have weekend work or evening work if there’s a filing deadline or emergency or I overbooked myself and several fires happen at once. I’ve friends at big offices who bill weekends, holidays, and are definitely feeling it.

On smaller cases I’m essentially in charge and it’s just me and a partner—deps, interviews, motions, etc.—I have five oral arguments scheduled in the next few months. On bigger cases where there is a team of associates and several partners my work is a bit more routine—legal research, drafting minor motions or sections of important motions, some doc review.

The experience is better here, I think. A lot of talented associates become service partners. We have people leave for gov, in house, all the time.

The money is pretty low compared to what recruiters dangle in front of me though and is the major drawback. There’s a lot of salary compression. I’m a DINK and we’re pretty comfortable though, so that is an individual choice.

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Re: Pros of Mid-Law

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jul 22, 2018 8:34 pm

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Re: Pros of Mid-Law

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jul 22, 2018 10:03 pm

What do people really consider midlaw? I personally would consider a 150-200 attorney firm to be a big law firm unless those attorneys are spread between a few offices

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Re: Pros of Mid-Law

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jul 22, 2018 10:11 pm

Anonymous User wrote:What do people really consider midlaw? I personally would consider a 150-200 attorney firm to be a big law firm unless those attorneys are spread between a few offices


I think of it more in terms of pay/prestige than I do number of attorneys.



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