Does midlaw exist?

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eric922

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Does midlaw exist?

Postby eric922 » Wed Jan 16, 2013 11:06 pm

I know a lot of people are biglaw or bust, but I was wondering do the major markets have any medium sized firms. I know biglaw pays a lot of money and gives you a lot of prestige, but on the other hand you are basically giving your life over to the firm for at least the first few years and everything I've read about the culture says its' horrible. I know most biglaw firms deal in cases worth millions so I was wondering are there any midlaw firms that still deal in same type of cases as biglaw, but on a smaller scale. Say in the range of 100 of thousands as opposed to millions. I know they wouldn't pay as much, but the trade off for a better life/work balance might be worth the pay cut. Anyway, I was just curious.

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Elston Gunn

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Re: Does midlaw exist?

Postby Elston Gunn » Wed Jan 16, 2013 11:09 pm

From top schools, biglaw is much easier to get than midlaw. Midlaw does exist, but they're often not hiring entry level, and there certainly isn't the kind of organized process there is for big law hiring. Don't go to law school planning on making $100K while working 50-60 hours a week.

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dingbat

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Re: Does midlaw exist?

Postby dingbat » Wed Jan 16, 2013 11:12 pm

eric922 wrote:I know a lot of people are biglaw or bust, but I was wondering do the major markets have any medium sized firms. I know biglaw pays a lot of money and gives you a lot of prestige, but on the other hand you are basically giving your life over to the firm for at least the first few years and everything I've read about the culture says its' horrible. I know most biglaw firms deal in cases worth millions so I was wondering are there any midlaw firms that still deal in same type of cases as biglaw, but on a smaller scale. Say in the range of 100 of thousands as opposed to millions. I know they wouldn't pay as much, but the trade off for a better life/work balance might be worth the pay cut. Anyway, I was just curious.

Yes there are, but the firms that I've looked at in major cities have billable hour requirements that are either on par with or only marginally better than biglaw (maybe 100 hours less per year). The difference as an associate is that instead of getting paid $160k, you're getting paid $100k, for maybe two hours less work per year

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Borg

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Re: Does midlaw exist?

Postby Borg » Wed Jan 16, 2013 11:27 pm

dingbat wrote:
eric922 wrote:I know a lot of people are biglaw or bust, but I was wondering do the major markets have any medium sized firms. I know biglaw pays a lot of money and gives you a lot of prestige, but on the other hand you are basically giving your life over to the firm for at least the first few years and everything I've read about the culture says its' horrible. I know most biglaw firms deal in cases worth millions so I was wondering are there any midlaw firms that still deal in same type of cases as biglaw, but on a smaller scale. Say in the range of 100 of thousands as opposed to millions. I know they wouldn't pay as much, but the trade off for a better life/work balance might be worth the pay cut. Anyway, I was just curious.

Yes there are, but the firms that I've looked at in major cities have billable hour requirements that are either on par with or only marginally better than biglaw (maybe 100 hours less per year). The difference as an associate is that instead of getting paid $160k, you're getting paid $100k, for maybe two hours less work per year


I agree. It looks to me like "midlaw" firms grind just as hard as biglaw firms, but have smaller clients and smaller paychecks. It seems that there are four basic lifestyles: biglaw/midlaw, government/pi, shitlaw, and then other more entrepreneurial practices like civil rights boutiques etc.

UtahPhi

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Re: Does midlaw exist?

Postby UtahPhi » Wed Jan 16, 2013 11:27 pm

I can't speak to medium-sized firms in major markets, but in secondary markets you can find "mid-law". Also, the hour difference is definitely noticeably. 100-120k per year and at many firms 60 hours/week is completely reasonable, and likely on the high end. I would agree that you shouldn't expect to make 100k working 50-60 hours per week, but I think it is incorrect to say that such a situation is not an option either. From a small sample size, I know 20-30 people who are working in the 100k 50-60 hour range, with only very rare instances of going 60+

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ndirish2010

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Re: Does midlaw exist?

Postby ndirish2010 » Thu Jan 17, 2013 12:56 pm

Those firms aren't "midlaw," they are "regional biglaw."

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h_jane_w

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Re: Does midlaw exist?

Postby h_jane_w » Thu Jan 17, 2013 1:01 pm

I'm staff at a firm of about 100 attorneys in NYC. Pay is about the same as biglaw and hours much much better.
Two things though.
All of the attorneys working here are extremely accomplished. Many have years of work experience in patent law. Many are PHD's, or have expensive experience in chemistry, biology or medicine. A few are doctors. There are a few entry level grads from T5, but they were summers last summer.
Another thing is, exit options are probably much more limited than exit options from biglaw. (although if you have no aspirations of going into government, etc. you might be happy staying)

cooldude87

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Re: Does midlaw exist?

Postby cooldude87 » Thu Jan 17, 2013 1:04 pm

ndirish2010 wrote:Those firms aren't "midlaw," they are "regional biglaw."


TITCR

LaBarrister

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Re: Does midlaw exist?

Postby LaBarrister » Thu Jan 17, 2013 1:22 pm

In my small-ish town of 80,000, many people that I know personally are in midlaw. The associates make 40-60k and the partners make between 100-200k, and though the associates work 50-60 hours per week, the partners probably work 40-50. Not a bad lifestyle, if you ask me. But I do know that most of the hiring goes on by just happening to know someone inside these midlaw firms, or somehow "fitting in," because they are more interested in the applicant's personality than grades.

Edit: Be sure that this is all anecdotal experience from my particular town. Try not to extrapolate too much from this.

jwinaz

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Re: Does midlaw exist?

Postby jwinaz » Thu Jan 17, 2013 6:33 pm

dingbat wrote:
eric922 wrote:I know a lot of people are biglaw or bust, but I was wondering do the major markets have any medium sized firms. I know biglaw pays a lot of money and gives you a lot of prestige, but on the other hand you are basically giving your life over to the firm for at least the first few years and everything I've read about the culture says its' horrible. I know most biglaw firms deal in cases worth millions so I was wondering are there any midlaw firms that still deal in same type of cases as biglaw, but on a smaller scale. Say in the range of 100 of thousands as opposed to millions. I know they wouldn't pay as much, but the trade off for a better life/work balance might be worth the pay cut. Anyway, I was just curious.

Yes there are, but the firms that I've looked at in major cities have billable hour requirements that are either on par with or only marginally better than biglaw (maybe 100 hours less per year). The difference as an associate is that instead of getting paid $160k, you're getting paid $100k, for maybe two hours less work per year



Is there the same pressure to perform or being moved out in midlaw?

jwinaz

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Re: Does midlaw exist?

Postby jwinaz » Thu Jan 17, 2013 6:37 pm

Elston Gunn wrote:From top schools, biglaw is much easier to get than midlaw. Midlaw does exist, but they're often not hiring entry level, and there certainly isn't the kind of organized process there is for big law hiring. Don't go to law school planning on making $100K while working 50-60 hours a week.



When you say there's no organized process of hiring, then would be be literally cold mailing these firms?

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Tom Joad

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Re: Does midlaw exist?

Postby Tom Joad » Thu Jan 17, 2013 6:48 pm

Most of the firms I am trying to get into might be considered midlaw and they seem to be hiring SAs and fresh grads as best as I have seen. I just think it depends on where you are looking.

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cinephile

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Re: Does midlaw exist?

Postby cinephile » Thu Jan 17, 2013 6:49 pm

ndirish2010 wrote:Those firms aren't "midlaw," they are "regional biglaw."


That's what I was thinking too.

jwinaz

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Re: Does midlaw exist?

Postby jwinaz » Thu Jan 17, 2013 6:50 pm

Tom Joad wrote:Most of the firms I am trying to get into might be considered midlaw and they seem to be hiring SAs and fresh grads as best as I have seen. I just think it depends on where you are looking.


Roughly where are you located if you don't mind sharing?

And is there any advantage to having a degree from an ls in that region? Do thigns like T14 or regionality matter in midlaw hiring?

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Tom Joad

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Re: Does midlaw exist?

Postby Tom Joad » Thu Jan 17, 2013 6:53 pm

jwinaz wrote:
Tom Joad wrote:Most of the firms I am trying to get into might be considered midlaw and they seem to be hiring SAs and fresh grads as best as I have seen. I just think it depends on where you are looking.


Roughly where are you located if you don't mind sharing?

And is there any advantage to having a degree from an ls in that region? Do thigns like T14 or regionality matter in midlaw hiring?

I have been applying mostly to midwestern cities too small to have professional sports teams. If you read the bios most of the attorneys were on law review at the local school or went to a T30.



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