BIGLAW with no intention of staying?

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Anonymous User
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BIGLAW with no intention of staying?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Dec 14, 2009 9:18 pm

Do you think it's fairly common to enter biglaw with no intention of staying for the long haul and making partner? Given one graduates from a top school with tons of debt, and has a biglaw offer, is it unheard of to work as an associate for only one or two years to pay off your debt and then leave? Is anyone else considering this, or does anyone know anyone who has done this?

ziggysmarley
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Re: BIGLAW with no intention of staying?

Postby ziggysmarley » Mon Dec 14, 2009 9:37 pm

It is completely unheard of.

holborn
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Re: BIGLAW with no intention of staying?

Postby holborn » Mon Dec 14, 2009 9:40 pm

I've heard of it, but not for 1 or 2 years. More like 10 and then you do what you really want. A few of my friends parents took that track. But it was also 30 years ago so who knows if its a good idea (or feasible) today.

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underachiever
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Re: BIGLAW with no intention of staying?

Postby underachiever » Mon Dec 14, 2009 9:40 pm

A TON of people do this, the turn over in BIGLAW is very high...only like .5% make it from first year to partner in 7-8yrs...so ya, most people get the $ waster their lives work 90hrs a week and then leave or are asked to leave

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Anastasia Dee Dualla
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Re: BIGLAW with no intention of staying?

Postby Anastasia Dee Dualla » Mon Dec 14, 2009 10:50 pm

.
Last edited by Anastasia Dee Dualla on Sat May 02, 2015 10:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Pearalegal
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Re: BIGLAW with no intention of staying?

Postby Pearalegal » Mon Dec 14, 2009 10:53 pm

This is extremely common, and why connections to an area, previous (very demanding) work experience and a clear desire for biglaw are so important in this economy.

As firms cut back on hiring, they wanted the ones who were most likely to stick with it.

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Re: BIGLAW with no intention of staying?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Dec 14, 2009 10:55 pm

Staying for 1-3 years is pretty common. For those who are planning on taking that route, the key is in not making it immediately apparent. If you show no real interest in biglaw, halfass it as a SA, and generally act like firm work isn't your gig, you won't even get in the door in the first place (or will be no-offered after your SA program ends). Personally, I intend to stay a while at my firm, so this hasn't been an issue, but I know of classmates who are planning to do what OP is mentioning.

Renzo
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Re: BIGLAW with no intention of staying?

Postby Renzo » Mon Dec 14, 2009 10:56 pm

Pearalegal wrote:As firms cut back on hiring, they wanted the ones who were most likely to stick with it for 5-7 years so the firm can be sure to suck every last bit of useful life out of them before showing them the door.

Fixed

bahama
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Re: BIGLAW with no intention of staying?

Postby bahama » Mon Dec 14, 2009 11:05 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Do you think it's fairly common to enter biglaw with no intention of staying for the long haul and making partner? Given one graduates from a top school with tons of debt, and has a biglaw offer, is it unheard of to work as an associate for only one or two years to pay off your debt and then leave? Is anyone else considering this, or does anyone know anyone who has done this?


I don't have the link but about 2/3 of Associates leave BigLaw within 5 years. So yeah, it's pretty common. From what I have heard, it is hard to get a good second job without at least 2 or 3 yrs experience. So that is probably a more realitic planning time frame. Of course it is pretty hard to get any job right now, hence the problem of forced layoffs to simulate normal attrition...

Pearalegal
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Re: BIGLAW with no intention of staying?

Postby Pearalegal » Mon Dec 14, 2009 11:06 pm

Renzo wrote:
Pearalegal wrote:As firms cut back on hiring, they wanted the ones who were most likely to stick with it for 5-7 years so the firm can be sure to suck every last bit of useful life out of them before showing them the door.

Fixed


haha. fair enough.

bigben
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Re: BIGLAW with no intention of staying?

Postby bigben » Tue Dec 15, 2009 12:16 am

The vast majority of people entering biglaw have no intention of staying. As for the minority that would like to stay, the vast majority of them will not be able to.

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SteelReserve
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Re: BIGLAW with no intention of staying?

Postby SteelReserve » Tue Dec 15, 2009 1:48 pm

It's extraordinarily common. Also, perhaps someone can explain this, but employers are always looking for people with 2-5 years experience. It seems that after 5 or more years in the grind you become less marketable then when you had three years experience.

As an aside, your original post is also indicative of something worth thinking about: Even if you "win" in the law game by going 150-200k in debt at a T14, you still "lose" because you end up taking a miserable job in order to pay back the loans. Before you know it, you wake up and you're 30 and wondering what happened to your 20s.

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AlanShore
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Re: BIGLAW with no intention of staying?

Postby AlanShore » Tue Dec 15, 2009 1:54 pm

bigben wrote:The vast majority of people entering biglaw have no intention of staying. As for the minority that would like to stay, the vast majority of them will not be able to.

+1

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Re: BIGLAW with no intention of staying?

Postby bahama » Tue Dec 15, 2009 4:32 pm

SteelReserve wrote:It's extraordinarily common. Also, perhaps someone can explain this, but employers are always looking for people with 2-5 years experience. It seems that after 5 or more years in the grind you become less marketable then when you had three years experience.

As an aside, your original post is also indicative of something worth thinking about: Even if you "win" in the law game by going 150-200k in debt at a T14, you still "lose" because you end up taking a miserable job in order to pay back the loans. Before you know it, you wake up and you're 30 and wondering what happened to your 20s.


My guess is not that you are less marketable after 5 years, it is more that you are too expensive. Also, the more senior you get the more jobs are likely to be found through connections and less through other means.

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thesealocust
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Re: BIGLAW with no intention of staying?

Postby thesealocust » Sat Dec 19, 2009 1:18 pm

I don't think they really 'look' for people who want to stay, because the business model is built around people not staying. One big reason for layoffs was that when exit options tightened, they had a lot more people staying on then they otherwise would have in normal times.

Sure, they aren't going to want people who won't even put in the work for 2-4 years, but they also don't want a class full of people who can stick around for 10 years, since that would be terrible for business.

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Re: BIGLAW with no intention of staying?

Postby ISquareJudd » Sat Dec 19, 2009 1:23 pm

I don't think they really 'look' for people who want to stay, because the business model is built around people not staying.


I'd say that's in the past, except for a handful of firms. It seems that with the reduced size of incoming summer classes, firms genuinely tried to recruit people they could envision would stay for at least 4 to 5 years. Hence, the emphasis on fit was that much greater.

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Space_Cowboy
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Re: BIGLAW with no intention of staying?

Postby Space_Cowboy » Sat Dec 19, 2009 1:27 pm

thesealocust wrote:I don't think they really 'look' for people who want to stay, because the business model is built around people not staying. One big reason for layoffs was that when exit options tightened, they had a lot more people staying on then they otherwise would have in normal times.

Sure, they aren't going to want people who won't even put in the work for 2-4 years, but they also don't want a class full of people who can stick around for 10 years, since that would be terrible for business.


QFT.

Read Adam Smith Esq. on this. The fact that associate leverage at firms is higher than 1:1 is pretty clear indication that attrition is a key element of the Big Law model.

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Matthies
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Re: BIGLAW with no intention of staying?

Postby Matthies » Sat Dec 19, 2009 1:30 pm

bahama wrote:
SteelReserve wrote:It's extraordinarily common. Also, perhaps someone can explain this, but employers are always looking for people with 2-5 years experience. It seems that after 5 or more years in the grind you become less marketable then when you had three years experience.

As an aside, your original post is also indicative of something worth thinking about: Even if you "win" in the law game by going 150-200k in debt at a T14, you still "lose" because you end up taking a miserable job in order to pay back the loans. Before you know it, you wake up and you're 30 and wondering what happened to your 20s.


My guess is not that you are less marketable after 5 years, it is more that you are too expensive. Also, the more senior you get the more jobs are likely to be found through connections and less through other means.


This and if your year five leaving a big firm it’s pretty much for two reasons: either you are being forced out or you did not get accepted for partner track. Most people won’t leave after year five to a lateral frim if they have partner track status at their current firm, since you won’t get that at the new firm. Other firms know this, so your damaged goods if you will if you’re trying to lateral at year five. Unless you have a decent book of business, and if you do, many people find it more profitable just go out on their own or start a small firm with some other folks.

I know a ton of lawyers from being involved in the Inns of Court and the bar association for 4 years, and the vast majority of them that started at big frims left to start their own firms. I only know a handful that stayed at big firms. According to the ABA 80% of lawyers work in firms of 50 people or less, and this has been what I have seen as well, you can make great money on your own if you know what your doing, and by year five, if your a good lawyer you do, and if partner is out, why share your profits as "of counsel" when you can keep 100% of what you make on your own.

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ggocat
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Re: BIGLAW with no intention of staying?

Postby ggocat » Sat Dec 19, 2009 1:50 pm

thesealocust wrote:I don't think they really 'look' for people who want to stay, because the business model is built around people not staying. One big reason for layoffs was that when exit options tightened, they had a lot more people staying on then they otherwise would have in normal times.

They look for people who want to stay because the people who want to stay are more likely to go the extra mile when it comes to billable hours. I think someone who knows he/she doesn't want partnership is less likely to bill those extra 200 hours per year (which, using the national average billing rate of $287/hour, is over $57K/year--http://blog.larrybodine.com/2009/12/articles/current-affairs/four-law-firms-report-partner-billing-rates-reaching-1000-or-more/).

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Re: BIGLAW with no intention of staying?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Dec 19, 2009 3:22 pm

OP here -- Thanks for all the replies. I'm not overly concerned with exit options, necessarily. I'd love to start my own shop one day. I know many people view that as TTT law, but it's a dream of mine to start a small solo operation and hopefully grow it. I still want to attend a top school, though. So I like the idea of working in a big firm for 2 years to pay off my debt, gain some experience in a specific area, and save some start up capital. The when the time is right, I'd hopefully go solo.




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