When to tell firm?

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alumclerkquestion
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When to tell firm?

Postby alumclerkquestion » Thu Mar 12, 2015 11:19 am

2014 grad, clerking now at SSC, returning to firm in the fall. have secured 2016 clerkship. do I tell firm now, or wait til I get there?

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sundance95
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Re: When to tell firm?

Postby sundance95 » Thu Mar 12, 2015 1:00 pm

Is the firm biglaw?

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seizmaar
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Re: When to tell firm?

Postby seizmaar » Thu Mar 12, 2015 1:01 pm

the answer is always "now"

alumclerkquestion
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Re: When to tell firm?

Postby alumclerkquestion » Thu Mar 12, 2015 1:06 pm

sundance95 wrote:Is the firm biglaw?


yes

the answer is always "now"


why?

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sundance95
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Re: When to tell firm?

Postby sundance95 » Thu Mar 12, 2015 1:06 pm

seizmaar wrote:the answer is always "now"

Even if firm is a regional firm with few juniors that might decide that having someone around for just a year isn't worth the 170K?

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sundance95
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Re: When to tell firm?

Postby sundance95 » Thu Mar 12, 2015 1:08 pm

If biglaw, I think you're fine telling them now. They might not love the fact that your first three years are clerk-firm-clerk but unlikely they'll shitcan you.

That said, I can see a case for waiting until the clerkship bonus check clears.

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los blancos
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Re: When to tell firm?

Postby los blancos » Thu Mar 12, 2015 4:00 pm

sundance95 wrote:
seizmaar wrote:the answer is always "now"

Even if firm is a regional firm with few juniors that might decide that having someone around for just a year isn't worth the 170K?


Yeah I second this q. Some firms might shitcan you if they don't think you want to be there long term.

OP, I might ask your new judge what s/he thinks.

Anonymous User
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Re: When to tell firm?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Mar 12, 2015 4:30 pm

No experience here (I have yet to tell my firm about my 2016 clerkship) but can't imagine it's always a good idea for now. There are absolutely places that would/could can you--particularly if they are looking to cut associates, for whatever reason, the least amount of damage would someone who has already secured another position.

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rpupkin
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Re: When to tell firm?

Postby rpupkin » Thu Mar 12, 2015 6:13 pm

The legal world is small. It's not unlikely that your 2016 judge, or a current clerk of your 2016 judge, will end up at a conference or social event that is also attended by a lawyer or lawyers from your firm. Your name could easily come up in a conversation: "Oh, you're at Smith & Smith....one of your associates, Johnny McClerksalot, is clerking with me next year."

This kind of thing happens all the time. If you don't tell the firm yourself, there's a real risk that they'll find out from someone else.

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JohannDeMann
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Re: When to tell firm?

Postby JohannDeMann » Thu Mar 12, 2015 6:28 pm

there is no benefit to telling them now. if you tell them later, even if they can you, at least you got some experience.

the anser is actually always as late as possible. i wouldnt even consider this at least until this time 2016.

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rpupkin
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Re: When to tell firm?

Postby rpupkin » Thu Mar 12, 2015 6:35 pm

JohannDeMann wrote:there is no benefit to telling them now. if you tell them later, even if they can you, at least you got some experience.

the anser is actually always as late as possible. i wouldnt even consider this at least until this time 2016.

This is poor advice. Unless you're eager to completely close the door on returning to your firm, you should not wait until March of 2016 (or later) to tell the firm about a clerkship you've had in hand for over a year. You also run the risk of irking your judge if he or she finds out that you kept your clerkship from your firm.

You don't necessarily have to tell your firm right now, but I don't think it's a good idea to wait until a few months or weeks before you leave.

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los blancos
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Re: When to tell firm?

Postby los blancos » Thu Mar 12, 2015 9:06 pm

Can we all agree that if one wants/needs to keep the firm in the dark, the Judge should probably know about it?

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JohannDeMann
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Re: When to tell firm?

Postby JohannDeMann » Thu Mar 12, 2015 9:30 pm

I wouldn't agree with that either. I just don't think it's necessary. The thing is if it irks them that you're leaving to go back and do a clerkship, it's going to irk regardless of if yo ugive them 6 months notice or 1.5 years. The only difference is in one situation you give them a nice 6 month opportunity to replace you and the other it's easier for them to have you keep coming in every day than find someone else. So it basically guarantees you 1 year of private firm pracitce work which should be enough to bounce back and get a job if you get fired.
OP could be fucked if tells firm now and gets canned and then has trouble finding a job for a year because firms dont want to hire temp help. There is no good that can come from telling them now that won't come from telling them in one year time.

elipad
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Re: When to tell firm?

Postby elipad » Thu Mar 12, 2015 11:10 pm

JohannDeMann wrote:I wouldn't agree with that either. I just don't think it's necessary. The thing is if it irks them that you're leaving to go back and do a clerkship, it's going to irk regardless of if yo ugive them 6 months notice or 1.5 years. The only difference is in one situation you give them a nice 6 month opportunity to replace you and the other it's easier for them to have you keep coming in every day than find someone else. So it basically guarantees you 1 year of private firm pracitce work which should be enough to bounce back and get a job if you get fired.
OP could be fucked if tells firm now and gets canned and then has trouble finding a job for a year because firms dont want to hire temp help. There is no good that can come from telling them now that won't come from telling them in one year time.


I agree with this completely. I have clerked on the CoA and will clerk on D.Ct. level, and I have had to navigate this recently. In terms of self-interest, in most cases, there is no substantial benefit in notifying a Big Law firm with more than a year's notice. As JohannDeMann mentioned, the potential for negative consequences significantly outweigh the benefits (which, again, I'm not sure what that would be). Even if the firm is cool with it, you will risk getting staffed on more short-term, less substantive projects for the entire year. Instead, if you give them say 6 months' notice, then that's more than enough time for them to hire a new associate and ample time to phase you out on long-term projects (which will happen no matter when you notify them of your intent to leave).

Moreover, in what other context would this ever be okay? If you were lateraling to another firm or government service, it would be preposterous to tell them a year in advance that you were planning on leaving. Big Law firms are run by adults and they treat their associates as such (mostly). You don't "owe" them (contractually or otherwise) a year's notice.

Lastly, I actually don't think most Big Law firms would actually care that much. Mine encouraged me to pursue an additional clerkship. Nonetheless, I didn't tell them my specific plans so far in advance (in fact, my Hiring Manager said to just give us a few month's heads up). Moreover, you don't know what can happen in between that time (e.g., my co-worker's future judge suddenly resigned).

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rpupkin
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Re: When to tell firm?

Postby rpupkin » Thu Mar 12, 2015 11:30 pm

JohannDeMann wrote:OP could be fucked if tells firm now and gets canned and then has trouble finding a job for a year because firms dont want to hire temp help.

No big law firm wants the following conversation to occur:

2016 Clerk: Hey judge, sorry to bother you, but do you think you could you help me find a job for 2015-16?

Federal Judge: I thought you were working at Sidley in 2015. What happened?

2016 Clerk: Oh, when I told them I was going to clerk for you next year, they fired me.

The OP is not going to get "canned" because he is leaving in a year to clerk for a federal judge.

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rpupkin
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Re: When to tell firm?

Postby rpupkin » Thu Mar 12, 2015 11:37 pm

elipad wrote:I agree with this completely. I have clerked on the CoA and will clerk on D.Ct. level, and I have had to navigate this recently. In terms of self-interest, in most cases, there is no substantial benefit in notifying a Big Law firm with more than a year's notice.

I agree with you insofar as there is no affirmative "substantial benefit" in notifying the firm a year out. You're right that it can change the work you get and the matters you get staffed on. But this isn't about improving your temporary life at the firm; it's about avoiding an awkward situation that unnecessarily harms your reputation with both the firm and the judge.

I was a COA clerk as well. My judge socialized with many who worked in big law, and he often spoke at conferences and events. If I started working at a big law firm in the year before my clerkship without telling anyone at the firm about my clerkship, and if my judge found that out, he would wonder what the fuck I was thinking. It's just weird.

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Re: When to tell firm?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Mar 13, 2015 9:14 am

rpupkin wrote:
elipad wrote:I agree with this completely. I have clerked on the CoA and will clerk on D.Ct. level, and I have had to navigate this recently. In terms of self-interest, in most cases, there is no substantial benefit in notifying a Big Law firm with more than a year's notice.

I agree with you insofar as there is no affirmative "substantial benefit" in notifying the firm a year out. You're right that it can change the work you get and the matters you get staffed on. But this isn't about improving your temporary life at the firm; it's about avoiding an awkward situation that unnecessarily harms your reputation with both the firm and the judge.

I was a COA clerk as well. My judge socialized with many who worked in big law, and he often spoke at conferences and events. If I started working at a big law firm in the year before my clerkship without telling anyone at the firm about my clerkship, and if my judge found that out, he would wonder what the fuck I was thinking. It's just weird.


I suppose this is just as idiosyncratic as everything else then. Aside from this seeming like a really weird notion, one of the first things my judge asked me was if I was informing the firm. When I said I had yet to he noted it was probably a good idea to wait (I accepted 18 months out). Similarly, a partner who spoke to the judge for me asked if I had told people at the firm that I accepted and I said not yet. He also replied "I wouldn't. You'll likely have some staffing problems and when people are slow you'll be last in line."

I don't doubt the veracity of the above, but I think for 90%+ of the people this would bean extremely paranoid and strange thought. My department of my office isn't that big--more akin to a mid size firm--and to pretend that the partners know or even care what every associate is planning on would be to delude myself.

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rpupkin
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Re: When to tell firm?

Postby rpupkin » Fri Mar 13, 2015 11:16 am

Anonymous User wrote:I suppose this is just as idiosyncratic as everything else then. Aside from this seeming like a really weird notion, one of the first things my judge asked me was if I was informing the firm. When I said I had yet to he noted it was probably a good idea to wait (I accepted 18 months out). Similarly, a partner who spoke to the judge for me asked if I had told people at the firm that I accepted and I said not yet. He also replied "I wouldn't. You'll likely have some staffing problems and when people are slow you'll be last in line."

This story doesn't surprise me. But the thing is, you talked to your judge about it. And you talked to a partner at your firm about it. There's no issue here if the judge knows about (and is fine with) a "I'm not going to tell anyone till the last minute about my clerkship" approach.

alumclerkquestion
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Re: When to tell firm?

Postby alumclerkquestion » Fri Mar 13, 2015 12:27 pm

Wow thanks all for the great thoughts and discussion. I'm certainly not going to wait until the last minute. My thinking was that I don't really want to call attention to myself unnecessarily/give partners something else to think about/pretend they care what I'm doing with my life before I even arrive at the firm. A lot can change between now and then. I was thinking I'd let my firm know within the first couple months. But I'll probably talk to my judge and see what they think. Thanks guys.

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Re: When to tell firm?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Mar 24, 2015 4:41 pm

Slightly different but related question - What about when to tell your SA firm? Should I wait until I get there this summer, or email/ call now?

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rpupkin
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Re: When to tell firm?

Postby rpupkin » Tue Mar 24, 2015 5:08 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Slightly different but related question - What about when to tell your SA firm? Should I wait until I get there this summer, or email/ call now?

So you're summering in 2015 and then clerking in 2016-17? It's fine to wait until this summer.

run26.2
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Re: When to tell firm?

Postby run26.2 » Sun Apr 05, 2015 2:12 pm

Why are people expressing concern about someone being canned? Unless the firm will never appear in front of that judge, I think it is highly unlikely that they would fire the associate. The major concern is that the firm will not staff the clerk on longer term cases or may give the clerk menial tasks. But firing, I doubt it.

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Dafaq
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Re: When to tell firm?

Postby Dafaq » Sun Apr 05, 2015 3:16 pm

When we were offered the firm said that if we wanted to clerk, that was okay. They actually said it in such a way that I thought they were encouraging a clerkship. A few of the offered did go and clerk. So, best tell them asap.

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Re: When to tell firm?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Apr 06, 2015 11:13 am

elipad wrote:
JohannDeMann wrote:I wouldn't agree with that either. I just don't think it's necessary. The thing is if it irks them that you're leaving to go back and do a clerkship, it's going to irk regardless of if yo ugive them 6 months notice or 1.5 years. The only difference is in one situation you give them a nice 6 month opportunity to replace you and the other it's easier for them to have you keep coming in every day than find someone else. So it basically guarantees you 1 year of private firm pracitce work which should be enough to bounce back and get a job if you get fired.
OP could be fucked if tells firm now and gets canned and then has trouble finding a job for a year because firms dont want to hire temp help. There is no good that can come from telling them now that won't come from telling them in one year time.


I agree with this completely. I have clerked on the CoA and will clerk on D.Ct. level, and I have had to navigate this recently. In terms of self-interest, in most cases, there is no substantial benefit in notifying a Big Law firm with more than a year's notice. As JohannDeMann mentioned, the potential for negative consequences significantly outweigh the benefits (which, again, I'm not sure what that would be). Even if the firm is cool with it, you will risk getting staffed on more short-term, less substantive projects for the entire year. Instead, if you give them say 6 months' notice, then that's more than enough time for them to hire a new associate and ample time to phase you out on long-term projects (which will happen no matter when you notify them of your intent to leave).

Moreover, in what other context would this ever be okay? If you were lateraling to another firm or government service, it would be preposterous to tell them a year in advance that you were planning on leaving. Big Law firms are run by adults and they treat their associates as such (mostly). You don't "owe" them (contractually or otherwise) a year's notice.

Lastly, I actually don't think most Big Law firms would actually care that much. Mine encouraged me to pursue an additional clerkship. Nonetheless, I didn't tell them my specific plans so far in advance (in fact, my Hiring Manager said to just give us a few month's heads up). Moreover, you don't know what can happen in between that time (e.g., my co-worker's future judge suddenly resigned).

What, hold the phone, we're supposed to give a firm 6 months notice before we jump ship for another gig?? They can and do Latham us to the curb all the time, and at a moment's notice, with or without a severance package. My impression was that we owe the amoral biglaw machine absolutely no duty outside of maybe a two weeks notice--is that not true? Or is this advice solely geared at someone who's leaving the firm temporarily and is interested in returning to the grind after their temp gig is up.

CanadianWolf
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Re: When to tell firm?

Postby CanadianWolf » Mon Apr 06, 2015 12:13 pm

I think that it's important to be upfront & honest with your firm as soon as possible for a couple of reasons:

1) So you don't burn your future relationship with this firm in the future & get lukewarm or poor reference in the future &

2) To avoid being assigned work on a case that may appear before the judge for whom you'll be clerking & cause a conflict issue.




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