Considering leaving my firm after bad experience.

(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: 329053
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Considering leaving my firm after bad experience.

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Feb 11, 2019 3:56 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:The "everyone gets the full bonus as long as their hours aren’t very low" system is only at the very top NYC firms (S&C, DPW, STB, etc). For the NYC firms that are not at the top, not in the same tier as firms like S&C, DPW, STB, etc, the lack of a clear bonus target is actually quite misleading. The system at such firms that are struggling but like to appear to be in the same tier as the very top firms is actually "we will give you a full bonus if we like you or if the firm's performance is such that we can give bonuses to everyone." Those firms have the ability to (often exercise this ability) not give out full bonuses to high-billing associates because they emphasize that the bonuses are discretionary. Unless I am at a top tier NYC firm, I would much prefer a clear target.


This is not true. My NYC V50 lacks a clear bonus target and falls in the "everyone gets the full bonus as long as their hours aren't very low" category, occasionally paying above market for exceptional associates.


Hahaha. No fucking way. At my NYC firm similar to yours, some people that worked their asses off and billed more than their peers couldn't get full bonuses, whereas some of the ones who had a relaxing year did get full bonuses. Every first year associate gets the full bonus. But for other associates in higher class years, the bonus is completely discretionary. Everything is completely black box such that even if you worked hard even at the expense of your health and most of the people you worked with seemed to like you, you just do not know whether you are in fact one of the favorite associates that are liked sufficiently to get the full bonus. To law students, I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to be at a strong, profitable firm. A clear bonus target (especially one that takes into account a limited hours of pro bono like at Skadden) is much better than a complete discretion, unless you are at a strong firm like STB, DPW, etc that can always dole out full bonuses to everyone except to few particularly slow associates.

Anonymous User
Posts: 329053
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Considering leaving my firm after bad experience.

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Feb 11, 2019 4:09 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
QContinuum wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
This is not true. My NYC V50 lacks a clear bonus target and falls in the "everyone gets the full bonus as long as their hours aren't very low" category, occasionally paying above market for exceptional associates.

I think the previous anon's point was that only a few select firms give everyone bonuses regardless of hours. That point is correct. The mine run of firms don't do that. Most of the few "generous" firms are firms in the V10, but as we all know on TLS, V does not precisely correspond to prestige. We all know that there are firms outside the V-whatever that are nevertheless more prestigious than firms within the V10 or V20 or whatever, and pay accordingly. Let's please not get back into the "but my firm's prestigious even though it's not V10!" debate again.


Same OP. I'm not even claiming my firm is prestigious. It's probably a 2nd or 3rd tier NYC biglaw shop these days. My point is that regardless of the V# that some firms have really strong bonus cultures and to claim that it only the most prestigious or highest ranking V firms is just not true.


Actually, it really is only the most prestigious or most profitable firms that can give everyone bonuses regardless of hours and without arbitrary discretion. That's how things work.

Anonymous User
Posts: 329053
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Considering leaving my firm after bad experience.

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Feb 11, 2019 8:58 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:The "everyone gets the full bonus as long as their hours aren’t very low" system is only at the very top NYC firms (S&C, DPW, STB, etc). For the NYC firms that are not at the top, not in the same tier as firms like S&C, DPW, STB, etc, the lack of a clear bonus target is actually quite misleading. The system at such firms that are struggling but like to appear to be in the same tier as the very top firms is actually "we will give you a full bonus if we like you or if the firm's performance is such that we can give bonuses to everyone." Those firms have the ability to (often exercise this ability) not give out full bonuses to high-billing associates because they emphasize that the bonuses are discretionary. Unless I am at a top tier NYC firm, I would much prefer a clear target.


This is not true. My NYC V50 lacks a clear bonus target and falls in the "everyone gets the full bonus as long as their hours aren't very low" category, occasionally paying above market for exceptional associates.


Hahaha. No fucking way. At my NYC firm similar to yours, some people that worked their asses off and billed more than their peers couldn't get full bonuses, whereas some of the ones who had a relaxing year did get full bonuses. Every first year associate gets the full bonus. But for other associates in higher class years, the bonus is completely discretionary. Everything is completely black box such that even if you worked hard even at the expense of your health and most of the people you worked with seemed to like you, you just do not know whether you are in fact one of the favorite associates that are liked sufficiently to get the full bonus. To law students, I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to be at a strong, profitable firm. A clear bonus target (especially one that takes into account a limited hours of pro bono like at Skadden) is much better than a complete discretion, unless you are at a strong firm like STB, DPW, etc that can always dole out full bonuses to everyone except to few particularly slow associates.


Dear frantically laughing OP,

My point was that you don't need to fall in some venerated set of V10/15 firms to have that kind of bonus culture. There are some older white shoe firms that go pretty far down the Vault rankings that will give full bonus regardless, save for a massive crisis like 2008/2009.

Anonymous User
Posts: 329053
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Considering leaving my firm after bad experience.

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Feb 11, 2019 9:30 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:The "everyone gets the full bonus as long as their hours aren’t very low" system is only at the very top NYC firms (S&C, DPW, STB, etc). For the NYC firms that are not at the top, not in the same tier as firms like S&C, DPW, STB, etc, the lack of a clear bonus target is actually quite misleading. The system at such firms that are struggling but like to appear to be in the same tier as the very top firms is actually "we will give you a full bonus if we like you or if the firm's performance is such that we can give bonuses to everyone." Those firms have the ability to (often exercise this ability) not give out full bonuses to high-billing associates because they emphasize that the bonuses are discretionary. Unless I am at a top tier NYC firm, I would much prefer a clear target.


This is not true. My NYC V50 lacks a clear bonus target and falls in the "everyone gets the full bonus as long as their hours aren't very low" category, occasionally paying above market for exceptional associates.


Hahaha. No fucking way. At my NYC firm similar to yours, some people that worked their asses off and billed more than their peers couldn't get full bonuses, whereas some of the ones who had a relaxing year did get full bonuses. Every first year associate gets the full bonus. But for other associates in higher class years, the bonus is completely discretionary. Everything is completely black box such that even if you worked hard even at the expense of your health and most of the people you worked with seemed to like you, you just do not know whether you are in fact one of the favorite associates that are liked sufficiently to get the full bonus. To law students, I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to be at a strong, profitable firm. A clear bonus target (especially one that takes into account a limited hours of pro bono like at Skadden) is much better than a complete discretion, unless you are at a strong firm like STB, DPW, etc that can always dole out full bonuses to everyone except to few particularly slow associates.


Dear frantically laughing OP,

My point was that you don't need to fall in some venerated set of V10/15 firms to have that kind of bonus culture. There are some older white shoe firms that go pretty far down the Vault rankings that will give full bonus regardless, save for a massive crisis like 2008/2009.


I.e. Cahill, Milbank..trying to think of others

ur_hero

Bronze
Posts: 204
Joined: Sat Nov 19, 2016 6:52 pm

Re: Considering leaving my firm after bad experience.

Postby ur_hero » Mon Feb 11, 2019 9:59 pm

It's one thing to generally assert that big firms are doing well and should share more of their profits with associates, but I don't think you've been uniquely wronged in a way that would alone be a good reason to leave. Most firms have limited thresholds for which non-billable work such as pro-bono may apply - and in fact, 300 hours is relatively generous in this respect. Bottom line, it all seems extremely transparent and straightforward to me in your case.

Personally, I think it will come across as immature and unprofessional to come back after-the-fact and argue "but you said it would take X time so I said nothing and assumed" . . . Maybe it's worth a shot, but the window in which you SHOULD have requested or confirmed was long before the billable year ended. This could just end up hurting how the Partners who are aware of your request view you.

You can always leave, but I'm guessing your won't find many firms that will retroactively apply non-billable hours in contradiction to the firm's policies where there wasn't a clear mistake made somewhere.

Anonymous User
Posts: 329053
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Considering leaving my firm after bad experience.

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 12, 2019 2:29 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:The "everyone gets the full bonus as long as their hours aren’t very low" system is only at the very top NYC firms (S&C, DPW, STB, etc). For the NYC firms that are not at the top, not in the same tier as firms like S&C, DPW, STB, etc, the lack of a clear bonus target is actually quite misleading. The system at such firms that are struggling but like to appear to be in the same tier as the very top firms is actually "we will give you a full bonus if we like you or if the firm's performance is such that we can give bonuses to everyone." Those firms have the ability to (often exercise this ability) not give out full bonuses to high-billing associates because they emphasize that the bonuses are discretionary. Unless I am at a top tier NYC firm, I would much prefer a clear target.


This is not true. My NYC V50 lacks a clear bonus target and falls in the "everyone gets the full bonus as long as their hours aren't very low" category, occasionally paying above market for exceptional associates.


Hahaha. No fucking way. At my NYC firm similar to yours, some people that worked their asses off and billed more than their peers couldn't get full bonuses, whereas some of the ones who had a relaxing year did get full bonuses. Every first year associate gets the full bonus. But for other associates in higher class years, the bonus is completely discretionary. Everything is completely black box such that even if you worked hard even at the expense of your health and most of the people you worked with seemed to like you, you just do not know whether you are in fact one of the favorite associates that are liked sufficiently to get the full bonus. To law students, I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to be at a strong, profitable firm. A clear bonus target (especially one that takes into account a limited hours of pro bono like at Skadden) is much better than a complete discretion, unless you are at a strong firm like STB, DPW, etc that can always dole out full bonuses to everyone except to few particularly slow associates.


Dear frantically laughing OP,

My point was that you don't need to fall in some venerated set of V10/15 firms to have that kind of bonus culture. There are some older white shoe firms that go pretty far down the Vault rankings that will give full bonus regardless, save for a massive crisis like 2008/2009.


I.e. Cahill, Milbank..trying to think of others


Just those two actually. Cahill and Milbank. Cahill is not "white shoe." White shoe has no relevance to prestige or profitability.

Anonymous User
Posts: 329053
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Considering leaving my firm after bad experience.

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 12, 2019 2:32 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:The "everyone gets the full bonus as long as their hours aren’t very low" system is only at the very top NYC firms (S&C, DPW, STB, etc). For the NYC firms that are not at the top, not in the same tier as firms like S&C, DPW, STB, etc, the lack of a clear bonus target is actually quite misleading. The system at such firms that are struggling but like to appear to be in the same tier as the very top firms is actually "we will give you a full bonus if we like you or if the firm's performance is such that we can give bonuses to everyone." Those firms have the ability to (often exercise this ability) not give out full bonuses to high-billing associates because they emphasize that the bonuses are discretionary. Unless I am at a top tier NYC firm, I would much prefer a clear target.


This is not true. My NYC V50 lacks a clear bonus target and falls in the "everyone gets the full bonus as long as their hours aren't very low" category, occasionally paying above market for exceptional associates.


Hahaha. No fucking way. At my NYC firm similar to yours, some people that worked their asses off and billed more than their peers couldn't get full bonuses, whereas some of the ones who had a relaxing year did get full bonuses. Every first year associate gets the full bonus. But for other associates in higher class years, the bonus is completely discretionary. Everything is completely black box such that even if you worked hard even at the expense of your health and most of the people you worked with seemed to like you, you just do not know whether you are in fact one of the favorite associates that are liked sufficiently to get the full bonus. To law students, I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to be at a strong, profitable firm. A clear bonus target (especially one that takes into account a limited hours of pro bono like at Skadden) is much better than a complete discretion, unless you are at a strong firm like STB, DPW, etc that can always dole out full bonuses to everyone except to few particularly slow associates.


Dear frantically laughing OP,

My point was that you don't need to fall in some venerated set of V10/15 firms to have that kind of bonus culture. There are some older white shoe firms that go pretty far down the Vault rankings that will give full bonus regardless, save for a massive crisis like 2008/2009.


I myself am regretting every second that I went to one of those firms you seem to be talking about.

Anonymous User
Posts: 329053
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Considering leaving my firm after bad experience.

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 12, 2019 5:23 am

Anonymous User wrote:
I myself am regretting every second that I went to one of those firms you seem to be talking about.


Given your attitude, you probably would have regretted landing up at any big firm. Sounds like you just regret law.

Anonymous User
Posts: 329053
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Considering leaving my firm after bad experience.

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 12, 2019 10:34 am

Anonymous User wrote:I myself am regretting every second that I went to one of those firms you seem to be talking about.


Care to explain why you regret going to one of these firms?

Anonymous User
Posts: 329053
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Considering leaving my firm after bad experience.

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 12, 2019 11:58 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
I myself am regretting every second that I went to one of those firms you seem to be talking about.


Given your attitude, you probably would have regretted landing up at any big firm. Sounds like you just regret law.


I regretted a little about being a corp associate generally too. But not so much. I in fact worked a ton and was liked by most of the people I worked with. To give context, I had to sleep in my office on many occasions and not sleep at all sometimes. Just like any junior, I did some interesting stuff and mostly mind-numbing work. The work itself is actually quite tolerable and it does get better as you get more senior.

Things were all working right up until my recent experiences. Work is alright and bearable, but I can't stand the culture of the firm I am at. That is true, because I have worked at the firm for few years and generally things were alright. Up until my recent experiences, my feeling was mostly that the work was tough but there was a good sense of camaraderie in my teams.

I would strongly advise against associating your own self-worth with the reputation or prestige of your firm. You may be working at a run-of-the-mill firm but that doesn't mean you are a run-of-the-mill lawyer.

There are better firms out there in terms of how they treat their associates. I clearly know that based on my communications with my friends and others.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Tue Feb 12, 2019 12:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Anonymous User
Posts: 329053
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Considering leaving my firm after bad experience.

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 12, 2019 11:59 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I myself am regretting every second that I went to one of those firms you seem to be talking about.


Care to explain why you regret going to one of these firms?


Discussed above

Anonymous User
Posts: 329053
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Considering leaving my firm after bad experience.

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 12, 2019 3:00 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I would strongly advise against associating your own self-worth with the reputation or prestige of your firm. You may be working at a run-of-the-mill firm but that doesn't mean you are a run-of-the-mill lawyer.


I think this is really the most important takeaway. I think people often conflate the Vault ranking of their firm with their self-worth as a lawyer, which is pretty bizarre when compared to business-side folks who don't shit on each other for only working at a Fortune 100 or 50 or whatever. Find a firm that treats you well, has interesting work, and you think you can have a real future at and give it your all. Maybe that's a NYC V10 or maybe that's a good regional firm back where you grew up. The important thing to remember is that both are real possibilities, even though they probably share very few characteristics as firms.

Anonymous User
Posts: 329053
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Considering leaving my firm after bad experience.

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 12, 2019 3:07 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
I.e. Cahill, Milbank..trying to think of others


From what I've heard, Shearman is in this bucket. Shearman has done some wonky stuff in the past few years as it has tried to stymie its decline, but that's pretty much been exclusively at the partner level and now it looks like they've settled in the 40ish area with growing profits.

Anonymous User
Posts: 329053
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Considering leaving my firm after bad experience.

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 12, 2019 4:06 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:The "everyone gets the full bonus as long as their hours aren’t very low" system is only at the very top NYC firms (S&C, DPW, STB, etc). For the NYC firms that are not at the top, not in the same tier as firms like S&C, DPW, STB, etc, the lack of a clear bonus target is actually quite misleading. The system at such firms that are struggling but like to appear to be in the same tier as the very top firms is actually "we will give you a full bonus if we like you or if the firm's performance is such that we can give bonuses to everyone." Those firms have the ability to (often exercise this ability) not give out full bonuses to high-billing associates because they emphasize that the bonuses are discretionary. Unless I am at a top tier NYC firm, I would much prefer a clear target.


This is not true. My NYC V50 lacks a clear bonus target and falls in the "everyone gets the full bonus as long as their hours aren't very low" category, occasionally paying above market for exceptional associates.


Hahaha. No fucking way. At my NYC firm similar to yours, some people that worked their asses off and billed more than their peers couldn't get full bonuses, whereas some of the ones who had a relaxing year did get full bonuses. Every first year associate gets the full bonus. But for other associates in higher class years, the bonus is completely discretionary. Everything is completely black box such that even if you worked hard even at the expense of your health and most of the people you worked with seemed to like you, you just do not know whether you are in fact one of the favorite associates that are liked sufficiently to get the full bonus. To law students, I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to be at a strong, profitable firm. A clear bonus target (especially one that takes into account a limited hours of pro bono like at Skadden) is much better than a complete discretion, unless you are at a strong firm like STB, DPW, etc that can always dole out full bonuses to everyone except to few particularly slow associates.


Dear frantically laughing OP,

My point was that you don't need to fall in some venerated set of V10/15 firms to have that kind of bonus culture. There are some older white shoe firms that go pretty far down the Vault rankings that will give full bonus regardless, save for a massive crisis like 2008/2009.


I.e. Cahill, Milbank..trying to think of others


Willkie Farr as well. They also give NY market bonus to DC and Houston associates.

I think Vault is not the best metric in terms of bonus comp policies. Amlaw PPP, RPL, PPL metrics are probably match up better with which firms have bigger bonuses or more tranditional bonus policies.

Anonymous User
Posts: 329053
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Considering leaving my firm after bad experience.

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 12, 2019 4:21 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:The "everyone gets the full bonus as long as their hours aren’t very low" system is only at the very top NYC firms (S&C, DPW, STB, etc). For the NYC firms that are not at the top, not in the same tier as firms like S&C, DPW, STB, etc, the lack of a clear bonus target is actually quite misleading. The system at such firms that are struggling but like to appear to be in the same tier as the very top firms is actually "we will give you a full bonus if we like you or if the firm's performance is such that we can give bonuses to everyone." Those firms have the ability to (often exercise this ability) not give out full bonuses to high-billing associates because they emphasize that the bonuses are discretionary. Unless I am at a top tier NYC firm, I would much prefer a clear target.


This is not true. My NYC V50 lacks a clear bonus target and falls in the "everyone gets the full bonus as long as their hours aren't very low" category, occasionally paying above market for exceptional associates.


Hahaha. No fucking way. At my NYC firm similar to yours, some people that worked their asses off and billed more than their peers couldn't get full bonuses, whereas some of the ones who had a relaxing year did get full bonuses. Every first year associate gets the full bonus. But for other associates in higher class years, the bonus is completely discretionary. Everything is completely black box such that even if you worked hard even at the expense of your health and most of the people you worked with seemed to like you, you just do not know whether you are in fact one of the favorite associates that are liked sufficiently to get the full bonus. To law students, I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to be at a strong, profitable firm. A clear bonus target (especially one that takes into account a limited hours of pro bono like at Skadden) is much better than a complete discretion, unless you are at a strong firm like STB, DPW, etc that can always dole out full bonuses to everyone except to few particularly slow associates.


Dear frantically laughing OP,

My point was that you don't need to fall in some venerated set of V10/15 firms to have that kind of bonus culture. There are some older white shoe firms that go pretty far down the Vault rankings that will give full bonus regardless, save for a massive crisis like 2008/2009.


I.e. Cahill, Milbank..trying to think of others


Willkie Farr as well. They also give NY market bonus to DC and Houston associates.

I think Vault is not the best metric in terms of bonus comp policies. Amlaw PPP, RPL, PPL metrics are probably match up better with which firms have bigger bonuses or more tranditional bonus policies.


Yes, indeed, the profitability metrics are the only tools useful for gauging whether your firm will give you a full market bonus if you worked hard. The most prestigious firms like S&C, STB, etc tend also to be the most profitable firms where nobody needs to worry about bonuses. Vault national rankings do not truly show prestige. The Vault NYC rankings are closer to a reflection of prestige in NYC. But even then people seeking to lateral or law students who know what they are going to do will look at chambers, not Vault.

Unless you are a second year or above, you just do not know whether those non-billable requirement firms actually do give out bonuses to everyone. There could be some associates that worked a lot, billed a lot, but didn't get a full bonus, because the firm didn't have enough money and hand-picked those they will give full bonuses to.



Return to “Legal Employment?

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.