Changing firms after 2L summer

(On Campus Interviews, Summer Associate positions, Firm Reviews, Tips, ...)
Forum rules
Anonymous Posting

Anonymous posting is only appropriate when you are revealing sensitive employment related information about a firm, job, etc. You may anonymously respond on topic to these threads. Unacceptable uses include: harassing another user, joking around, testing the feature, or other things that are more appropriate in the lounge.

Failure to follow these rules will get you outed, warned, or banned.
Anonymous User
Posts: 327307
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Changing firms after 2L summer

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 18, 2018 1:39 am

My 1L grades were good enough to get me into a V5-V10 firm, however, due to poor interviewing skills, bad luck, and whothehellknowswhatelse I ended up accepting a much lower ranked firm (still a V80). While my summer experience can obviously change the equation, my question is whether I should be doing anything now, as a 2L, to try and get a job in a better firm for after the bar. Basically, my question is twofold: (1) Is it worth putting in the effort to get a V30 firm over a V80; and (2) What can I be doing as a 2L towards this goal? Any advice is much appreciated.

Anonymous User
Posts: 327307
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Changing firms after 2L summer

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 18, 2018 2:34 am

Like you, I underperformed at OCI. And like you, I got stuck at some shitlaw v80. Even though like you, I knew I had v30 potential. It sucked, I won't sugar-coat it. You're in the ass end of the v100, and boy does it stink.You're gonna have friends who think less of you--you don't need them. You may even have faculty snicker and sneer at you behind your back--tune them out. The path that lies ahead of you is a bumpy one, indeed. But keep your head up, things will get better, slowly.

FWIW, I lateralled to Cravath during 3L OCI.

Anonymous User
Posts: 327307
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Changing firms after 2L summer

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 18, 2018 6:40 am

Anonymous User wrote:Like you, I underperformed at OCI. And like you, I got stuck at some shitlaw v80. Even though like you, I knew I had v30 potential. It sucked, I won't sugar-coat it. You're in the ass end of the v100, and boy does it stink.You're gonna have friends who think less of you--you don't need them. You may even have faculty snicker and sneer at you behind your back--tune them out. The path that lies ahead of you is a bumpy one, indeed. But keep your head up, things will get better, slowly.

FWIW, I lateralled to Cravath during 3L OCI.


OP here. Basically what I am getting from you is that it is worth the effort to try for a better firm. As far as I know, my school does not have a 3L OCI with any V50 firms. In other words, if I were to pursue a better opportunity it would need to be on my own. This brings me back to my second question: what can I be doing as a 2L (meaning, before my summer with the V80 firm) to get an opportunity elsewhere for after the bar?

nixy

Silver
Posts: 537
Joined: Fri Feb 16, 2018 8:58 am

Re: Changing firms after 2L summer

Postby nixy » Tue Sep 18, 2018 6:54 am

Anonymous User wrote:Like you, I underperformed at OCI. And like you, I got stuck at some shitlaw v80. Even though like you, I knew I had v30 potential. It sucked, I won't sugar-coat it. You're in the ass end of the v100, and boy does it stink.You're gonna have friends who think less of you--you don't need them. You may even have faculty snicker and sneer at you behind your back--tune them out. The path that lies ahead of you is a bumpy one, indeed. But keep your head up, things will get better, slowly.

FWIW, I lateralled to Cravath during 3L OCI.

(They're making fun of you, OP.)

Anonymous User
Posts: 327307
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Changing firms after 2L summer

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 18, 2018 7:23 am

nixy wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Like you, I underperformed at OCI. And like you, I got stuck at some shitlaw v80. Even though like you, I knew I had v30 potential. It sucked, I won't sugar-coat it. You're in the ass end of the v100, and boy does it stink.You're gonna have friends who think less of you--you don't need them. You may even have faculty snicker and sneer at you behind your back--tune them out. The path that lies ahead of you is a bumpy one, indeed. But keep your head up, things will get better, slowly.

FWIW, I lateralled to Cravath during 3L OCI.

(They're making fun of you, OP.)


OP here.
Oh, haha. Now that you point out the humorous nature of that comment, it is indeed remarkably funny.

Bubbles1012

Bronze
Posts: 105
Joined: Fri Sep 19, 2014 4:40 pm

Re: Changing firms after 2L summer

Postby Bubbles1012 » Tue Sep 18, 2018 9:03 am

I traded up during 3L. There is a lot of luck involved, but the you need to (1) keep your grades up or get them even higher (2) do a great job at your summer firm and secure a return offer as it makes searching a lot easier (3) mass mail start of Aug after your SA-until you find a job you accepted (4) network and (5) improve your interviewing.

You need to contact a firm while they know they are looking for more first years. There is a lot of luck re timing involved in this, but many (if not most) firms do hire first years. If you keep pounding the pavement something will work out. You might, however, end up loving your summer firm.

Anonymous User
Posts: 327307
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Changing firms after 2L summer

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 18, 2018 11:07 am

Bubbles1012 wrote:I traded up during 3L. There is a lot of luck involved, but the you need to (1) keep your grades up or get them even higher (2) do a great job at your summer firm and secure a return offer as it makes searching a lot easier (3) mass mail start of Aug after your SA-until you find a job you accepted (4) network and (5) improve your interviewing.

You need to contact a firm while they know they are looking for more first years. There is a lot of luck re timing involved in this, but many (if not most) firms do hire first years. If you keep pounding the pavement something will work out. You might, however, end up loving your summer firm.


Did you focus on any particular area of work during the summer in order to trade up? My understanding is that most of the top firms taking 3Ls tend to put them into corporate groups but I’m not sure if the summer work matters as much. Thanks!

QContinuum

Moderator
Posts: 885
Joined: Mon Aug 07, 2017 9:52 am

Re: Changing firms after 2L summer

Postby QContinuum » Tue Sep 18, 2018 11:36 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Bubbles1012 wrote:I traded up during 3L. There is a lot of luck involved, but the you need to (1) keep your grades up or get them even higher (2) do a great job at your summer firm and secure a return offer as it makes searching a lot easier (3) mass mail start of Aug after your SA-until you find a job you accepted (4) network and (5) improve your interviewing.

You need to contact a firm while they know they are looking for more first years. There is a lot of luck re timing involved in this, but many (if not most) firms do hire first years. If you keep pounding the pavement something will work out. You might, however, end up loving your summer firm.


Did you focus on any particular area of work during the summer in order to trade up? My understanding is that most of the top firms taking 3Ls tend to put them into corporate groups but I’m not sure if the summer work matters as much. Thanks!


IMO focusing on corporate during the summer would help in landing one of those 3L corporate spots. If you're interested in lit, you can and absolutely should still do lit over the summer. But if you really want to lateral up, you should try not to do 100% lit.

Anonymous User
Posts: 327307
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Changing firms after 2L summer

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 18, 2018 11:43 am

Bubbles1012 wrote:I traded up during 3L. There is a lot of luck involved, but the you need to (1) keep your grades up or get them even higher (2) do a great job at your summer firm and secure a return offer as it makes searching a lot easier (3) mass mail start of Aug after your SA-until you find a job you accepted (4) network and (5) improve your interviewing.

You need to contact a firm while they know they are looking for more first years. There is a lot of luck re timing involved in this, but many (if not most) firms do hire first years. If you keep pounding the pavement something will work out. You might, however, end up loving your summer firm.


OP here. Thanks for the information. To be clear, I ah ouldn’t start reaching out to firms until after I receive an offer (hopefully) from my SA? Wouldn’t that kind of put me in a very tight timeframe (since my SA firm will presumably be waiting for a response)? And, yes, I am hoping that I love the summer and decide to stay. I just don’t want to have any regrets in case that isn’t the case.

Anonymous User
Posts: 327307
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Changing firms after 2L summer

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 18, 2018 11:49 am

QContinuum wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Bubbles1012 wrote:I traded up during 3L. There is a lot of luck involved, but the you need to (1) keep your grades up or get them even higher (2) do a great job at your summer firm and secure a return offer as it makes searching a lot easier (3) mass mail start of Aug after your SA-until you find a job you accepted (4) network and (5) improve your interviewing.

You need to contact a firm while they know they are looking for more first years. There is a lot of luck re timing involved in this, but many (if not most) firms do hire first years. If you keep pounding the pavement something will work out. You might, however, end up loving your summer firm.


Did you focus on any particular area of work during the summer in order to trade up? My understanding is that most of the top firms taking 3Ls tend to put them into corporate groups but I’m not sure if the summer work matters as much. Thanks!


IMO focusing on corporate during the summer would help in landing one of those 3L corporate spots. If you're interested in lit, you can and absolutely should still do lit over the summer. But if you really want to lateral up, you should try not to do 100% lit.


Thank you so much for this. How far down the vault list do you think they will dig? Not OP but I also underperformed and ended up somewhere 40-50... my firm does have a large corporate group so I’ll take on as many corporate assignments as possible. Thanks again for your input.

QContinuum

Moderator
Posts: 885
Joined: Mon Aug 07, 2017 9:52 am

Re: Changing firms after 2L summer

Postby QContinuum » Tue Sep 18, 2018 12:43 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Thank you so much for this. How far down the vault list do you think they will dig? Not OP but I also underperformed and ended up somewhere 40-50... my firm does have a large corporate group so I’ll take on as many corporate assignments as possible. Thanks again for your input.


It depends on the firm's need. I don't have inside info on 3L hiring, but I don't think you'd be out of the running (assuming you keep up your 2L grades). I mean, there are even (rare) instances of 3Ls snagging a spot at a top firm without having done a 2L SA. So it's possible. But keep in mind: 1) 3L hiring is generally very tough, and 2) since 3L hiring is based on need, hiring tends to be into "less popular" practice groups (since the 2L SAs generally get to choose which group to join). "Less popular" sometimes (but not always) means the practice group is less highly ranked, has worse hours, or what have you.

Anonymous User
Posts: 327307
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Changing firms after 2L summer

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 19, 2018 12:26 pm

I will echo one poster above: keep your mind open because you might LOVE your 2L SA firm. My best friend was in a similar situation to you, but ended up loving the people and the work and the culture and their 2L firm. Then its a difficult decision of whether to trade up in ranking or actually be somewhere you like (while keeping in mind that you might HATE a higher ranked place). Just my opinion, but I think if you end up liking your 2L firm, that's pretty rare, and I would stick it out for at least a year or two before lateralling. V80 or so is a toss up between being just terrible oOR a little less prestigious work and reputation, but better hours, better people, and better training. It really can go either way.

But again, none of this applies if you end up NOT liking your 2L SA. In that case, network like crazy even with your friends at other firms over the summer, etc. I just think its better to go in not planning on hating it. You will perform better there and make better contacts either way.

Anonymous User
Posts: 327307
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Changing firms after 2L summer

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 19, 2018 2:36 pm

Any thoughts on options after a 2L SA with a Big 4? Wondering what my options might be if I don't like accounting firm life. (Will be in a M&A/SALT/ITP group.) Biglaw will be way too much of a stretch, but what about a regional mid-size firm?

Anonymous User
Posts: 327307
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Changing firms after 2L summer

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 19, 2018 3:42 pm

I went from a firm in the 50-70 range to a v10 as a 3L. I did 3L OCI and got a few call backs from it, but no offers. Then one of the mid-level associates I had networked with over my 1L summer and kept up with told me over an unrelated convo that her firm was looking for 3Ls. Applied through her, went in for interviews, and got an offer a month later. The timeframe can definitely feel tight since your deadline to answer your 2L firm is Oct 1st.

My advice..Network, even if it’s not with rainmaking partners. Any way inside is valuable. And secondly, prepare for interviews. They can be VERY different from SA interviews. I suspect that’s the reason I didn’t get offers from my 3L OCI call backs. By the time I got to my v10 interview I realized my mistake and did some significant interview prep.

Anonymous User
Posts: 327307
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Changing firms after 2L summer

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 19, 2018 3:57 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I went from a firm in the 50-70 range to a v10 as a 3L. I did 3L OCI and got a few call backs from it, but no offers. Then one of the mid-level associates I had networked with over my 1L summer and kept up with told me over an unrelated convo that her firm was looking for 3Ls. Applied through her, went in for interviews, and got an offer a month later. The timeframe can definitely feel tight since your deadline to answer your 2L firm is Oct 1st.

My advice..Network, even if it’s not with rainmaking partners. Any way inside is valuable. And secondly, prepare for interviews. They can be VERY different from SA interviews. I suspect that’s the reason I didn’t get offers from my 3L OCI call backs. By the time I got to my v10 interview I realized my mistake and did some significant interview prep.


Can you share how they were different? Also interested in trading up during 3L.

Anonymous User
Posts: 327307
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Changing firms after 2L summer

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 19, 2018 6:25 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I went from a firm in the 50-70 range to a v10 as a 3L. I did 3L OCI and got a few call backs from it, but no offers. Then one of the mid-level associates I had networked with over my 1L summer and kept up with told me over an unrelated convo that her firm was looking for 3Ls. Applied through her, went in for interviews, and got an offer a month later. The timeframe can definitely feel tight since your deadline to answer your 2L firm is Oct 1st.

My advice..Network, even if it’s not with rainmaking partners. Any way inside is valuable. And secondly, prepare for interviews. They can be VERY different from SA interviews. I suspect that’s the reason I didn’t get offers from my 3L OCI call backs. By the time I got to my v10 interview I realized my mistake and did some significant interview prep.


What did you realize you were doing wrong?

Anonymous User
Posts: 327307
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Changing firms after 2L summer

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 19, 2018 8:15 pm

Question. OCI is over and it seems like I have two options, neither of which I am happy with. The first is with a firm in my target market (major non-NYC) for the litigation group. The offer was very specific in saying that I will not have the option of doing any work outside of litigation. Problem is that I am really not interested in litigation and want to do transactional work. My second offer, which I just received this afternoon, is from a firm outside of my target market, which does not have an office in the market, and the offer is for a transaction group that I am very interested in. The transactional firm is definitely not the name brand that the litigation firm is, but I would be getting experience in basically the exact practice area I think I want. Assuming I am ultimately unhappy with the firm I choose, any thoughts on what would put me in a better spot to by some miracle change after this summer to a transactional firm in my target market? FWIW I plan on using the next 20 or so days I have before accepting to try and get the right practice in the right city!! Also, will go into this summer with an open mind, but given my family situation, it is somewhat unlikely that I will be able to make a career outside of my target market.

Anonymous User
Posts: 327307
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Changing firms after 2L summer

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 19, 2018 8:22 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Question. OCI is over and it seems like I have two options, neither of which I am happy with. The first is with a firm in my target market (major non-NYC) for the litigation group. The offer was very specific in saying that I will not have the option of doing any work outside of litigation. Problem is that I am really not interested in litigation and want to do transactional work. My second offer, which I just received this afternoon, is from a firm outside of my target market, which does not have an office in the market, and the offer is for a transaction group that I am very interested in. The transactional firm is definitely not the name brand that the litigation firm is, but I would be getting experience in basically the exact practice area I think I want. Assuming I am ultimately unhappy with the firm I choose, any thoughts on what would put me in a better spot to by some miracle change after this summer to a transactional firm in my target market? FWIW I plan on using the next 20 or so days I have before accepting to try and get the right practice in the right city!! Also, will go into this summer with an open mind, but given my family situation, it is somewhat unlikely that I will be able to make a career outside of my target market.



Should add that I am median at a T14, but showed significant improvement in my grades from first to second semester (bottom 25 to top 25), so I am fairly confident I can put myself into top 40/30ish this next year. Also, if I go with the lit. option, I have a nascent plan to try and snag a spot in my schools transactional entrepreneurship clinic in Spring semester to at least get some work on my resume.

QContinuum

Moderator
Posts: 885
Joined: Mon Aug 07, 2017 9:52 am

Re: Changing firms after 2L summer

Postby QContinuum » Wed Sep 19, 2018 11:03 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Question. OCI is over and it seems like I have two options, neither of which I am happy with. The first is with a firm in my target market (major non-NYC) for the litigation group. The offer was very specific in saying that I will not have the option of doing any work outside of litigation. Problem is that I am really not interested in litigation and want to do transactional work. My second offer, which I just received this afternoon, is from a firm outside of my target market, which does not have an office in the market, and the offer is for a transaction group that I am very interested in. The transactional firm is definitely not the name brand that the litigation firm is, but I would be getting experience in basically the exact practice area I think I want. Assuming I am ultimately unhappy with the firm I choose, any thoughts on what would put me in a better spot to by some miracle change after this summer to a transactional firm in my target market? FWIW I plan on using the next 20 or so days I have before accepting to try and get the right practice in the right city!! Also, will go into this summer with an open mind, but given my family situation, it is somewhat unlikely that I will be able to make a career outside of my target market.



Should add that I am median at a T14, but showed significant improvement in my grades from first to second semester (bottom 25 to top 25), so I am fairly confident I can put myself into top 40/30ish this next year. Also, if I go with the lit. option, I have a nascent plan to try and snag a spot in my schools transactional entrepreneurship clinic in Spring semester to at least get some work on my resume.


I'd recommend going to the transactional firm (assuming nothing else comes up in the next 20 days). You may actually like the firm and want to stay; even if not, you'll be better placed to snag a 3L transactional spot (which tend to be in specific transactional practice areas) with some transactional exposure under your belt. Switching markets during 3L should be easier (relatively speaking) than switching from lit to trans.

Bubbles1012

Bronze
Posts: 105
Joined: Fri Sep 19, 2014 4:40 pm

Re: Changing firms after 2L summer

Postby Bubbles1012 » Thu Sep 20, 2018 12:40 am

Just saw these replies. My two cents, having traded up significantly last fall (v70ish to v20s).

First- yes, the time line is short, but you can always accept you return offer and keep looking. Remember, you are an at-will employee, and if something went wrong on the firm’s end they would have no issues dropping you, reneging your offer, or Lathaming you. That might mean accepting your return offer and then telling them you’ve had a change of plans if you find something that suits you better. Remember, look out for yourself and your best interests because no one else will. You don’t have to tell law firms you’ve accepted post oct 1. You can just say you had a great summer experience and were grateful for your return offer but because you want to do transaction or have had a change in family circumstances that require you to be in another market you do not plan on returning. HR will likely only give a neutral reference (if an interviewing firm calls at all prior to an offer) and individual attorneys will not be aware or care about which SAs accepted their offers if someone reached out from an interviewing firm.

2- remember, you may end up really liking your summer firm. Unless there is some substantive reason you don’t want to go back (I.e. they don’t pay Market, you didn’t like the work, you didn’t like the people) don’t get caught up in a dumb prestige pissing contest based on vault. Vault rankings don’t really matter, and a lower ranked vault firm may have the best practice in a particular area that’s really cool and you might enjoy and get to work in. General Vault is only really based on NYC corporate. You don’t want to be in NY so it’s kind of silly you are putting so much stock in it. Also,the lower ranked firms often have better cultures and more humane hours. At the v70ish I worked at people were gone by 6pm.

3- I would recommend going for the firm in the practice area you are interested in. You will get experience that will make you marketable for 3L hiring, and needing to change markets is a perfect story for 3L hiring. It was my story for my desire to change.

4- IME no firm interviewing me gave two shits that my summer firm was in the lower half of the vault 100. Practicing lawyers rarely have the sort of prestige hang up you do. The consistent response I got, instead was, regarding my summer firm “that’s a great firm. I love working with them.” A well regarded Biglaw firm is a well regarded big law firm. An SA at a well regarded big law firm (if you go to the right school and have the right grades) will get you in the door with most firms that are looking.

5. I found that most firms instead of hiring the practice groups that were least popular were hiring the ones that were “hot.” I interviewed with a firm looking for an employment and class action associate because they were defending lots of high profile sex discrimination cases for instance. Given the firm, I know this was not an unpopular practice group. In this vein, keep up with the legal news to prepare for your interviews in your particular practice area. Doing so and being able to intelligently speak about it consistently impressed interviewers

6. If you underperformed your stats you need to not only be prepared for interviews but also work on being personable, likeable, and confident. Watch the TED talk about power poses and do the poses before your interview if you can do so discreetely. I swear it makes a giant difference for your confidence. People like confident people and want to hire them. Be careful coming across as douchey, I find those obsessed with vault rankings have a tendency to come across douchey. No one wants to hire douchey prestige whores, even in the V10.

Anonymous User
Posts: 327307
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Changing firms after 2L summer

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 20, 2018 12:54 am

Just saw another question that was asked of me. I did a bit of everything my 2L summer but ended up accepting an offer to join a practice group I had literally done no work in at the higher ranked firm 3L. Go figure. I just think there is a lot of luck involved in the process. Have a solid why story for the market and group, be prepared, confident, likeable, and hustle. Remember luck is when opportunity meets preparation.

Finally, you could start searching before your SA ends and you receive your return offer but I think that is foolish because you should be focusing on doing great work while at your SA to get your return offer, and most firms won’t know their needs for 3Ls until the summer program is over (if they even know that early). Networking would be a better use of your time before the end of your SA.



Return to “Legal Employment?

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.