Bay Area Firms With Good Labor & Employment Teams?

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Whatislaw

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Bay Area Firms With Good Labor & Employment Teams?

Postby Whatislaw » Sun Feb 02, 2020 12:28 am

Asking for a friend: Can people please provide some recommendations on good Bay Area (i.e., San Francisco, East Bay, or Palo Alto) law firms to work for that have a good labor and employment practice? Any insight on why you recommend any given firm is greatly appreciated! Some things my friend is looking for (aside from high salary and preferably reasonable/lower billable aka work life balance) are ability to work remotely, flexibility, and good culture (i.e. good camaraderie, not stuffy aka not suit and tie all day, and not traditional Partners lashing out at Associates for no good reason).

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Re: Bay Area Firms With Good Labor & Employment Teams?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 04, 2020 3:41 pm

There’s full service firms that has good L&E teams and there’s L&E only shops.

I don’t think the full-service firms (big law) is what your friend is looking for... since it’s not work life balance. But that’s subjective. IMO working 7-7 M-f and 7-2 on Saturday is work life balance. These include Sheppard mullin, Morgan Lewis, jones day (?), Gibson Dunn, etc. I don’t think any of these firms are casual attire firms.

L&E only shops pays less but is a bit more work life balance (160k-260k, 8-6 M-F). Littler, Ogletree, Jackson Lewis, Fisher Phillips, Constangy, etc. I think these are all casual attire firms (jeans) in SF.

SF in general is pretty lax about working remotely.

Whatislaw

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Re: Bay Area Firms With Good Labor & Employment Teams?

Postby Whatislaw » Tue Feb 04, 2020 9:26 pm

Thank you! That is very helpful. And wow those are some long hours for the full-service big law firms. Kudos to you for being able to handle those hours. For L&E only shops, are they an "up or out" system as well? Meaning you either rise to Partner or you're canned in your 8th year or so?

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Re: Bay Area Firms With Good Labor & Employment Teams?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Feb 05, 2020 1:34 pm

Whatislaw wrote:Thank you! That is very helpful. And wow those are some long hours for the full-service big law firms. Kudos to you for being able to handle those hours. For L&E only shops, are they an "up or out" system as well? Meaning you either rise to Partner or you're canned in your 8th year or so?


Definitely not. For these firms, once you hit your 8th year, you’ll be evaluated on whether you have the required amount of book of business and hit your yearly billable to be considered a partner. If not, you’ll be a non-equity partner (which isn’t too bad last i checked). You’ll earn anywhere between 300k-400k, have the responsibilities of partner, and you still get to go home early.

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Raiden

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Re: Bay Area Firms With Good Labor & Employment Teams?

Postby Raiden » Wed Feb 05, 2020 10:58 pm

Anonymous User wrote:There’s full service firms that has good L&E teams and there’s L&E only shops.

I don’t think the full-service firms (big law) is what your friend is looking for... since it’s not work life balance. But that’s subjective. IMO working 7-7 M-f and 7-2 on Saturday is work life balance. These include Sheppard mullin, Morgan Lewis, jones day (?), Gibson Dunn, etc. I don’t think any of these firms are casual attire firms.

L&E only shops pays less but is a bit more work life balance (160k-260k, 8-6 M-F). Littler, Ogletree, Jackson Lewis, Fisher Phillips, Constangy, etc. I think these are all casual attire firms (jeans) in SF.

SF in general is pretty lax about working remotely.


Would you include Epstein Becker in the list of L&E boutique shops you referenced? Though they seem to do more than just L&E.

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Re: Bay Area Firms With Good Labor & Employment Teams?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Feb 09, 2020 5:35 pm

Anonymous User wrote:There’s full service firms that has good L&E teams and there’s L&E only shops.

I don’t think the full-service firms (big law) is what your friend is looking for... since it’s not work life balance. But that’s subjective. IMO working 7-7 M-f and 7-2 on Saturday is work life balance. These include Sheppard mullin, Morgan Lewis, jones day (?), Gibson Dunn, etc. I don’t think any of these firms are casual attire firms.

L&E only shops pays less but is a bit more work life balance (160k-260k, 8-6 M-F). Littler, Ogletree, Jackson Lewis, Fisher Phillips, Constangy, etc. I think these are all casual attire firms (jeans) in SF.

SF in general is pretty lax about working remotely.


I worked at one of those L&E only shops. Although the hours overall are better than traditional big law firms, plenty of associates work 2000-2200 hours. It all depends on the typical factors, one of which is if you're put on a matter that goes to trial, which is much more common in L&E than other areas. And of course there are nightmare partners like every other firm who grind associates.

The pay is SIGNIFICANTLY less btw. You're not making much more than $200k unless you're an 8-10th year and hit 2000-2100 hours.

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Re: Bay Area Firms With Good Labor & Employment Teams?

Postby beepboopbeep » Sun Feb 09, 2020 7:05 pm

Anonymous User wrote:one of which is if you're put on a matter that goes to trial, which is much more common in L&E than other areas


This is probably going to vary a fair bit depending on precise sub-area within L&E, and even then perhaps by client, size of case, etc. -- my prior firm's (defense side) L&E department almost never went to trial, primarily because the cases were either small enough that it never made sense to do that at our rates or big enough that clients didn't want the risk, but rarely in-between. Very occasionally we'd have an arbitration. I got the sense from chatting with opposing counsel that the p-side firms were going much more often than we were, and of course they'd have to be going against someone, so maybe it was more against shops like these.

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Re: Bay Area Firms With Good Labor & Employment Teams?

Postby Whatislaw » Mon Feb 10, 2020 1:58 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:There’s full service firms that has good L&E teams and there’s L&E only shops.

I don’t think the full-service firms (big law) is what your friend is looking for... since it’s not work life balance. But that’s subjective. IMO working 7-7 M-f and 7-2 on Saturday is work life balance. These include Sheppard mullin, Morgan Lewis, jones day (?), Gibson Dunn, etc. I don’t think any of these firms are casual attire firms.

L&E only shops pays less but is a bit more work life balance (160k-260k, 8-6 M-F). Littler, Ogletree, Jackson Lewis, Fisher Phillips, Constangy, etc. I think these are all casual attire firms (jeans) in SF.

SF in general is pretty lax about working remotely.


I worked at one of those L&E only shops. Although the hours overall are better than traditional big law firms, plenty of associates work 2000-2200 hours. It all depends on the typical factors, one of which is if you're put on a matter that goes to trial, which is much more common in L&E than other areas. And of course there are nightmare partners like every other firm who grind associates.

The pay is SIGNIFICANTLY less btw. You're not making much more than $200k unless you're an 8-10th year and hit 2000-2100 hours.


Thank you for the insight! Would you be willing to share some insight into what salary expectations can be for a 2nd year and onwards as well as bonus structure?

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Re: Bay Area Firms With Good Labor & Employment Teams?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Feb 10, 2020 11:36 am

5h year at L&E boutique in Bay Area. Comp is in high 200s. I bill around 1900-1975. 9-6 MF schedule is typical. High marketability with other firms or in-house gigs. Definitely not a bad living. Have turned down many opportunities with the bigger general practice firms in the Bay Area because I value the quality of life I have.

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Re: Bay Area Firms With Good Labor & Employment Teams?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Feb 11, 2020 3:20 am

Anonymous User wrote:5h year at L&E boutique in Bay Area. Comp is in high 200s. I bill around 1900-1975. 9-6 MF schedule is typical. High marketability with other firms or in-house gigs. Definitely not a bad living. Have turned down many opportunities with the bigger general practice firms in the Bay Area because I value the quality of life I have.


That sounds fantastic. My friend is really a fan of work life balance and that 9-6 MF schedule sounds pretty amazing. Can you recommend some L&E boutiques in the Bay Area (maybe even sharing your firm as one of many names you are willing to share :D )? My friend is considering SF and East Bay currently, but I'll bring them anything you all recommend!

Whatislaw

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Re: Bay Area Firms With Good Labor & Employment Teams?

Postby Whatislaw » Tue Feb 11, 2020 3:20 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:5h year at L&E boutique in Bay Area. Comp is in high 200s. I bill around 1900-1975. 9-6 MF schedule is typical. High marketability with other firms or in-house gigs. Definitely not a bad living. Have turned down many opportunities with the bigger general practice firms in the Bay Area because I value the quality of life I have.


That sounds fantastic. My friend is really a fan of work life balance and that 9-6 MF schedule sounds pretty amazing. Can you recommend some L&E boutiques in the Bay Area (maybe even sharing your firm as one of many names you are willing to share :D )? My friend is considering SF and East Bay currently, but I'll bring them anything you all recommend!


Sorry that last post was me. Hit the wrong "quote" button.

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Re: Bay Area Firms With Good Labor & Employment Teams?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Feb 12, 2020 3:22 am

Anonymous User wrote:5h year at L&E boutique in Bay Area. Comp is in high 200s. I bill around 1900-1975. 9-6 MF schedule is typical. High marketability with other firms or in-house gigs. Definitely not a bad living. Have turned down many opportunities with the bigger general practice firms in the Bay Area because I value the quality of life I have.


I'm the above anon. I'm shocked at your salary. By "boutique" you must not mean one of the national L&E firms.

I second the high marketability. Every associate at my firm had opportunities to go in-house after 5 or so years and there seems to always be a high demand for L&E attorneys.

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Re: Bay Area Firms With Good Labor & Employment Teams?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Feb 12, 2020 11:42 am

No, I do mean boutique. High 200s was not a reference to my salary, but my total comp, including bonus. Not sure when you worked at a boutique, but comp for associates has increased pretty significantly over the past few years as the boutiques (at least mine) have tried to stay as close as possible to the Cravath scale firms. I don't think L&E boutiques will ever be able to be particularly close to Cravath scale when you factor in salary and bonus, but they can still offer lucrative/good livings.

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Re: Bay Area Firms With Good Labor & Employment Teams?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Feb 12, 2020 2:09 pm

Third year L&E associate in SF at a big law firm. Generally, how many years of experience do L&E boutiques look for? Not looking at a Littler if it means same hours less pay.

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Re: Bay Area Firms With Good Labor & Employment Teams?

Postby Raiden » Tue Feb 18, 2020 7:15 pm

Anonymous User wrote:5h year at L&E boutique in Bay Area. Comp is in high 200s. I bill around 1900-1975. 9-6 MF schedule is typical. High marketability with other firms or in-house gigs. Definitely not a bad living. Have turned down many opportunities with the bigger general practice firms in the Bay Area because I value the quality of life I have.


Could you shoot me a DM if you see this. I am considering an offer from an L&E boutique that you may be at and could use some help.

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