Lateral Move Advice

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Lateral Move Advice

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Nov 10, 2018 12:05 pm

I’m a third year associate in a large satellite office of a big firm (upper end of the V100). Current firm pays market for the first few years, but bonuses are under market with base salaries under market after the first few years. Looking to leave my current firm for another firm that has more long term partnership potential. Also, the office I’m in now is a satellite office in every sense of the word—nearly all of the work I do is brought in by other offices (and usually the main office) and the partners I work for have very little say in my future.

I’ve interviewed at two firms and got offers from both. One of the firms is a V30 that pays market salaries and bonuses through partnership. It’s a small satellite office but nearly all of the work is originated in that office, so I’d be working for the same clients on a regular basis. While the office is small, it originates a significant amount of work. The type of work would be similar to what I’m doing now. My sense is partnership is a possibility (probably a lot better prospects than my current firm where they just don’t make any partners in my office), but it’s still probably a long path.

The other firm is a more regional firm (still in the AMLAW 200) with a few offices (I’d be in the firm’s second biggest office) all in the area of the country I’m in. Base salaries are less than my current firm, but with bonus I’d be making close to what I’m making now at my current firm. The work is a little more specialized than what I’m doing now, so one of my concerns is whether I’m going to enjoy the type of work at this firm. I’d be working a lot with one partner in my office and some work for partners in other offices. The firm has a good history of promoting associates to partner and my sense is that they want whoever they hire for this position to stay long-term and hopefully make partner.

I could see myself working at either firm and being happy. In a perfect world, I’d prefer not to make another move after this one, but that’s usually not the case these days. Culturally, I think the more regional firm is a better fit (office culture seemed very similar to my current firm, which I like). However, I really liked the people I’d be working with if I went to the big firm. Hours would be similar at both firms, so that’s not really an issue. Obviously compensation is better at the big firm, but I’m willing to trade some earning potential in the short term if it means a better long term chance of being a partner. My biggest concern with the big firm is that I’ll be looking for exactly the kind of offer I have now in a few years. Anyone have any thoughts or made similar decisions in the past?

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