No Credit for My Clerkship

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No Credit for My Clerkship

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Aug 13, 2019 8:41 am

I’ve received two offers for big law employment after the completion of my two-year clerkship in federal district court.

Law Firm A will credit both years, allowing me to enter as a third-year associate. This firm has a nine-year partnership track.

Law Firm B will credit NO years, meaning I’ll enter as a first-year associate. This firm has a seven-year partnership track.

Both firms offer essentially the same salary for first-year associates.

Law Firm B has indicated that it won’t budge on its policies. However, I prefer to work at Law Firm B.

Can anyone lay out all the drawbacks of going with Law Firm B? Any tips on how to negotiate? Is it uncommon for a firm to offer no credit for district court clerkships?

Thanks!

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VirginiaFan

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Re: No Credit for My Clerkship

Postby VirginiaFan » Tue Aug 13, 2019 9:02 am

Anonymous User wrote:I’ve received two offers for big law employment after the completion of my two-year clerkship in federal district court.

Law Firm A will credit both years, allowing me to enter as a third-year associate. This firm has a nine-year partnership track.

Law Firm B will credit NO years, meaning I’ll enter as a first-year associate. This firm has a seven-year partnership track.

Both firms offer essentially the same salary for first-year associates.

Law Firm B has indicated that it won’t budge on its policies. However, I prefer to work at Law Firm B.

Can anyone lay out all the drawbacks of going with Law Firm B? Any tips on how to negotiate? Is it uncommon for a firm to offer no credit for district court clerkships?

Thanks!



I say go to work for law firm B. Sure, you'll take a haircut on pay, but you also may make it an extra year or two because there's less incentive to push you out. Plus, if you really do end up having a shot at partner, 2 extra years of making connections will be beneficial.
Last edited by QContinuum on Tue Aug 13, 2019 10:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Outed for anon abuse.

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Elston Gunn

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Re: No Credit for My Clerkship

Postby Elston Gunn » Tue Aug 13, 2019 10:31 am

I know these firms have roughly the same first year salary, but what about raises and bonuses? If Firm B has a policy of not offering clerkship credit then that also sounds like the kind of firm with heavily compressed raises. Raises + lower starting salary could add up to a huge difference in salary.

Barrred

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Re: No Credit for My Clerkship

Postby Barrred » Tue Aug 13, 2019 6:04 pm

Unless you're dead set on becoming partner, choose Firm A. If you only stay for three years, some back-of-the-napkin math shows that you'd be leaving $250,000 on the table by going to Firm B instead of Firm A, assuming that both firms pay market salary and bonuses. Unless you're set on making partner, your goal should be to maximize your earning potential during the years you are there so that you are well positioned financially to go do something else after biglaw. I'd therefore go with Firm A.

(You say that you prefer Firm B, so maybe there are a ton of soft factors that you haven't told us about that makes Firm B make more sense, but you had better at least consider whether those soft factors are worth $250,000 over 3 years.

wwwcol

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Re: No Credit for My Clerkship

Postby wwwcol » Wed Aug 14, 2019 10:28 pm

You’re leaving money on the table if you don’t go with Firm A. Maybe you’re an outlier, but you know the statistics. Vast majority of associates leave after 4-5 years. If you leave after 4 years, you’ve missed 30+50+55+45=180k just in base, before counting bonus.

Also, for what it’s worth, many partners don’t really know or care about fine gradations in class year. After the first couple months to a year at either firm, you’ll be viewed as class of 201X, not whatever class designation the firm’s hierarchy assigns you. So from a partership track perspective, going with firm B doesn’t help you. If anything, it unnecessarily prolongs partnership

QContinuum

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Re: No Credit for My Clerkship

Postby QContinuum » Thu Aug 15, 2019 12:37 am

wwwcol wrote:You’re leaving money on the table if you don’t go with Firm A. Maybe you’re an outlier, but you know the statistics. Vast majority of associates leave after 4-5 years. If you leave after 4 years, you’ve missed 30+50+55+45=180k just in base, before counting bonus.

Also, for what it’s worth, many partners don’t really know or care about fine gradations in class year. After the first couple months to a year at either firm, you’ll be viewed as class of 201X, not whatever class designation the firm’s hierarchy assigns you. So from a partership track perspective, going with firm B doesn’t help you. If anything, it unnecessarily prolongs partnership

OP would be equally far out from partnership at either firm. They'd enter Firm A as a third-year, but the firm has a 9-year partnership track, so they'd be 6 years out. They'd enter Firm B as a first-year, but the firm has a 7-year partnership track, so they'd still be 6 years out.

So in terms of partnership, the timeline's the same. The difference is that OP would be making more $ each year as an associate at Firm A. I also echo Elston's suspicion above that Firm B may practice salary compression. A firm that doesn't offer any class year credit for a federal district court clerkship doesn't sound like a firm that's committed to paying market.

OP, why exactly do you prefer B to A?



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