In-House to Biglaw?, and a question about paying sticker

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slsplease
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In-House to Biglaw?, and a question about paying sticker

Postby slsplease » Wed Dec 28, 2011 4:02 am

So I'm faced with a good possibility of attending a top 14 school, and I would like some input about what I should expect if I have to pay sticker price to do so.

Obviously BigLaw is ideal and I'll work towards it, but I am specifically interested in energy - be it fossil generation or alternatives. There is good reason for me to believe that I have a good opportunity to get an in-house position at a Fortune 200 electric utility. If I were to go in-house immediately after LS can anyone tell me what my forward career options would be? Is it possible, if not easy, to transition from in-house to BigLaw? I was reading an article that claimed there has been much more emphasize on hiring attorneys with specific expertise, and working in-house at a major utility seems like a good way to get that. Is this assumption naive to the way BigLaw works?

If I pay sticker price for a T14 and go in-house after graduating, will 70-90k starting be enough to live comfortably single or dating? I expect my salary will get significantly higher once I make the jump into Big or Mid-Law, but would as much as 8 years be spent living in squalor paying off a $200,000 loan?

LawIdiot86
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Re: In-House to Biglaw?, and a question about paying sticker

Postby LawIdiot86 » Wed Dec 28, 2011 4:11 am

slsplease wrote:So I'm faced with a good possibility of attending a top 14 school, and I would like some input about what I should expect if I have to pay sticker price to do so.

Obviously BigLaw is ideal and I'll work towards it, but I am specifically interested in energy - be it fossil generation or alternatives. There is good reason for me to believe that I have a good opportunity to get an in-house position at a Fortune 200 electric utility. If I were to go in-house immediately after LS can anyone tell me what my forward career options would be? Is it possible, if not easy, to transition from in-house to BigLaw? I was reading an article that claimed there has been much more emphasize on hiring attorneys with specific expertise, and working in-house at a major utility seems like a good way to get that. Is this assumption naive to the way BigLaw works?

If I pay sticker price for a T14 and go in-house after graduating, will 70-90k starting be enough to live comfortably single or dating? I expect my salary will get significantly higher once I make the jump into Big or Mid-Law, but would as much as 8 years be spent living in squalor paying off a $200,000 loan?

Outside of tax or employment law or something unrelated to energy, it is very implausible to jump from a T14 to even a regional utility. I just finished an energy regulation clinic at my T14 and that sort of career path was not even mentioned as an option. Generally those in-house positions are filled by people from biglaw firms a couple years out. By special expertise, I imagine that article meant "has an environmental engineering degree" and no that isn't the way biglaw generally works. It's either in as a 2L or in 6-9 years down the road after going into government.

Anonymous User
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Re: In-House to Biglaw?, and a question about paying sticker

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Dec 28, 2011 9:17 am

Sounds like you have a nice connection. That being said, I was in a similar position, and my in house connection told me that most in house lawyers do firm work and then go in house. He also said that in house lawyers prefer to hire lawyers that have such experience. Also, he said that its very difficult to go from in house into private firms. Thus, you may want to rethink your "good reason to believe" that you have an in house job waiting for you, and your chance of going in house -> BL. HTH, sorry to be the bearer of bad news.

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Shaggier1
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Re: In-House to Biglaw?, and a question about paying sticker

Postby Shaggier1 » Wed Dec 28, 2011 11:13 am

Go BigLaw first if you can. Makes more sense financially and will give you a wider range of in-house options later. Look for firms with strong energy practices.

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Grizz
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Re: In-House to Biglaw?, and a question about paying sticker

Postby Grizz » Wed Dec 28, 2011 11:34 am

0L;dr

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Campagnolo
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Re: In-House to Biglaw?, and a question about paying sticker

Postby Campagnolo » Wed Dec 28, 2011 11:39 am

slsplease wrote:So I'm faced with a good possibility of attending a top 14 school, and I would like some input about what I should expect if I have to pay sticker price to do so.

Obviously BigLaw is ideal and I'll work towards it, but I am specifically interested in energy - be it fossil generation or alternatives. There is good reason for me to believe that I have a good opportunity to get an in-house position at a Fortune 200 electric utility. If I were to go in-house immediately after LS can anyone tell me what my forward career options would be? Is it possible, if not easy, to transition from in-house to BigLaw? I was reading an article that claimed there has been much more emphasize on hiring attorneys with specific expertise, and working in-house at a major utility seems like a good way to get that. Is this assumption naive to the way BigLaw works?

If I pay sticker price for a T14 and go in-house after graduating, will 70-90k starting be enough to live comfortably single or dating? I expect my salary will get significantly higher once I make the jump into Big or Mid-Law, but would as much as 8 years be spent living in squalor paying off a $200,000 loan?


$200k in debt, a staggering number, comes out to payments of $2,322.17 per month (assuming a 7% interest rate and a 10 year period). If you spread the loan out over 30 years, the payment is $1,330.60. Assume you make 70k a year (a very big assumption, as you'll likely make close to $50k if not in BigLaw). Take out a third to taxes (it's probably even more than that, but just for the sake of argument) and you are left with ~ $47k; divide by 12 and you'll be making about $3,900 a month after tax. Subtract $1,000 a month for rent for $2,900. Subtract $500 for food for $2,400.

That 10-year loan payment of $2,322.17 becomes impossible to pay. Now you're looking at making a $1,220.60 payment every month for the next 30 years of your life. How will you save? How will you get a house? How will you retire?

No, it's BigLaw or bust, as even basic back of the envelope calculations show.

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YourCaptain
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Re: In-House to Biglaw?, and a question about paying sticker

Postby YourCaptain » Wed Dec 28, 2011 12:10 pm

Grizz wrote:0L;dr


Seriously. Your hoaps and prayers may not come true friend and you need to be ready for that

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starchinkilt
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Re: In-House to Biglaw?, and a question about paying sticker

Postby starchinkilt » Wed Dec 28, 2011 2:23 pm

Campagnolo wrote:
slsplease wrote:So I'm faced with a good possibility of attending a top 14 school, and I would like some input about what I should expect if I have to pay sticker price to do so.

Obviously BigLaw is ideal and I'll work towards it, but I am specifically interested in energy - be it fossil generation or alternatives. There is good reason for me to believe that I have a good opportunity to get an in-house position at a Fortune 200 electric utility. If I were to go in-house immediately after LS can anyone tell me what my forward career options would be? Is it possible, if not easy, to transition from in-house to BigLaw? I was reading an article that claimed there has been much more emphasize on hiring attorneys with specific expertise, and working in-house at a major utility seems like a good way to get that. Is this assumption naive to the way BigLaw works?

If I pay sticker price for a T14 and go in-house after graduating, will 70-90k starting be enough to live comfortably single or dating? I expect my salary will get significantly higher once I make the jump into Big or Mid-Law, but would as much as 8 years be spent living in squalor paying off a $200,000 loan?


$200k in debt, a staggering number, comes out to payments of $2,322.17 per month (assuming a 7% interest rate and a 10 year period). If you spread the loan out over 30 years, the payment is $1,330.60. Assume you make 70k a year (a very big assumption, as you'll likely make close to $50k if not in BigLaw). Take out a third to taxes (it's probably even more than that, but just for the sake of argument) and you are left with ~ $47k; divide by 12 and you'll be making about $3,900 a month after tax. Subtract $1,000 a month for rent for $2,900. Subtract $500 for food for $2,400.

That 10-year loan payment of $2,322.17 becomes impossible to pay. Now you're looking at making a $1,220.60 payment every month for the next 30 years of your life. How will you save? How will you get a house? How will you retire?

No, it's BigLaw or bust, as even basic back of the envelope calculations show.


I'm not saying it's a viable option most of the time, but if you're going to be that dramatic with all your bolding and rhetorical questions you can't ignore IBR. They wouldn't be making that 1,220.60 monthly payment with that salary.

Anonymous User
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Re: In-House to Biglaw?, and a question about paying sticker

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Dec 28, 2011 2:28 pm

Its possible. I work in an energy group and two of the partners worked elsewhere before coming to the firm, one was in-house and the other was in government. Gov --> biglaw seems more common, but that might be because people aren't looking to leave in-house gigs.

desertlaw
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Re: In-House to Biglaw?, and a question about paying sticker

Postby desertlaw » Thu Dec 29, 2011 1:10 am

When you saying "single or dating," what type of significant other are you hoping to pull in? Certainly won't be as attractive as if you were making BigLaw models-n-bottles cash.

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Campagnolo
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Re: In-House to Biglaw?, and a question about paying sticker

Postby Campagnolo » Thu Dec 29, 2011 10:03 am

starchinkilt wrote:
Campagnolo wrote:
slsplease wrote:So I'm faced with a good possibility of attending a top 14 school, and I would like some input about what I should expect if I have to pay sticker price to do so.

Obviously BigLaw is ideal and I'll work towards it, but I am specifically interested in energy - be it fossil generation or alternatives. There is good reason for me to believe that I have a good opportunity to get an in-house position at a Fortune 200 electric utility. If I were to go in-house immediately after LS can anyone tell me what my forward career options would be? Is it possible, if not easy, to transition from in-house to BigLaw? I was reading an article that claimed there has been much more emphasize on hiring attorneys with specific expertise, and working in-house at a major utility seems like a good way to get that. Is this assumption naive to the way BigLaw works?

If I pay sticker price for a T14 and go in-house after graduating, will 70-90k starting be enough to live comfortably single or dating? I expect my salary will get significantly higher once I make the jump into Big or Mid-Law, but would as much as 8 years be spent living in squalor paying off a $200,000 loan?


$200k in debt, a staggering number, comes out to payments of $2,322.17 per month (assuming a 7% interest rate and a 10 year period). If you spread the loan out over 30 years, the payment is $1,330.60. Assume you make 70k a year (a very big assumption, as you'll likely make close to $50k if not in BigLaw). Take out a third to taxes (it's probably even more than that, but just for the sake of argument) and you are left with ~ $47k; divide by 12 and you'll be making about $3,900 a month after tax. Subtract $1,000 a month for rent for $2,900. Subtract $500 for food for $2,400.

That 10-year loan payment of $2,322.17 becomes impossible to pay. Now you're looking at making a $1,220.60 payment every month for the next 30 years of your life. How will you save? How will you get a house? How will you retire?

No, it's BigLaw or bust, as even basic back of the envelope calculations show.


I'm not saying it's a viable option most of the time, but if you're going to be that dramatic with all your bolding and rhetorical questions you can't ignore IBR. They wouldn't be making that 1,220.60 monthly payment with that salary.


IBR is a government program, and therefore liable to be undermined, underfunded, or otherwise screwed up by the idiots in Congress. What if the Euro tanks? What if we stay in this crazy recession and the deficit keeps skyrocketing? Can we rely on IBR? Will it always be there?

slsplease
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Re: In-House to Biglaw?, and a question about paying sticker

Postby slsplease » Fri Dec 30, 2011 12:32 am

I appreciate that it is normally difficult to get a position in-house without previous big-law experience. Frankly, I would much prefer going the BigLaw route. I'm just skeptical that, unless a graduate is making 150k+, he will be living in poverty. If you start in-house at 90-100k, you should expect your income to increase so even if at first your loan is projected to take 30 years to pay off, I think it would be rational to assume a steadily increasing monthly payment every other year or so....

TooOld4This
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Re: In-House to Biglaw?, and a question about paying sticker

Postby TooOld4This » Fri Dec 30, 2011 8:35 pm

slsplease wrote:I appreciate that it is normally difficult to get a position in-house without previous big-law experience. Frankly, I would much prefer going the BigLaw route. I'm just skeptical that, unless a graduate is making 150k+, he will be living in poverty. If you start in-house at 90-100k, you should expect your income to increase so even if at first your loan is projected to take 30 years to pay off, I think it would be rational to assume a steadily increasing monthly payment every other year or so....


You'd be significantly overestimating the amount someone who goes directly in house makes and what their upside potential is. Except for the rare exception of big companies that actually recruit elite law school candidates, an entry level in house position usually starts around $50k, has COL raises, and very often is dead-end. Lawyers are cost centers in companies, not profit generators. Most companies keep their legal departments lean, and only staff attorneys to the degree that they are more cost effective than outsourcing to firms. This means that most in house attorneys have either been trained by law firms for several years, or are the in house equivalent of doc reviewers. Insurance companies are one example -- they will hire a lot of entry level attorneys for insurance defense work. However, this is not generally a path that will lead to career advancement within the company. You are trained to do a very specific task and not exposed to broader legal work within the company. For the Senior Counsel, AGC, and C-level positions, the company will generally hire outside, scooping associates from firms that the company works for or casting a wide net.

Yes, it is possible to advance. But you would need to choose your in house position carefully and have a degree of luck that supervisors pick up on the fact that you have a skill set beyond what you were hired for. It's not animus, it is just the way corporations are structured -- its cheaper to let someone else train their attorneys for the sophisticated work and cheaper to keep the low-level work in house and control the burn of the outsourcing budget.

slsplease
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Re: In-House to Biglaw?, and a question about paying sticker

Postby slsplease » Thu Jan 05, 2012 4:56 pm

TooOld4This wrote:You'd be significantly overestimating the amount someone who goes directly in house makes and what their upside potential is. Except for the rare exception of big companies that actually recruit elite law school candidates, an entry level in house position usually starts around $50k, has COL raises, and very often is dead-end. Lawyers are cost centers in companies, not profit generators. Most companies keep their legal departments lean, and only staff attorneys to the degree that they are more cost effective than outsourcing to firms. This means that most in house attorneys have either been trained by law firms for several years, or are the in house equivalent of doc reviewers. Insurance companies are one example -- they will hire a lot of entry level attorneys for insurance defense work. However, this is not generally a path that will lead to career advancement within the company. You are trained to do a very specific task and not exposed to broader legal work within the company. For the Senior Counsel, AGC, and C-level positions, the company will generally hire outside, scooping associates from firms that the company works for or casting a wide net.


This advice sounds solid, but the nature of a regulated electric utility makes legal expertise much more important in business decision-making. This company that I am referring to, for example, has several executive officers including CEO and VP that came directly from Legal. Meetings with members of the legal team expressed this much, and there was a lot of emphasis on the importance that said company places on legal talent. The attorneys did acknowledge, though, that most companies ignore their legal counsel somewhat.




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