2nd Yr Biglaw Lit. Assoc., YLS Grad, TLS Alum

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alexb240
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Re: 2nd Yr Biglaw Lit. Assoc., YLS Grad, TLS Alum

Postby alexb240 » Fri Aug 16, 2013 2:57 pm

legends159 wrote:Not to thread-jack but...1st year (been here almost 11 months now) V5 corporate associate - happy to answer questions from the other end of the spectrum.

Can also answer interview related questions, as I've interviewed about 8 candidates so far (albeit lunch portion, so not sure whether my review actually matters).


Get your own thread! :evil:

J/k ;-)

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sinfiery
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Re: 2nd Yr Biglaw Lit. Assoc., YLS Grad, TLS Alum

Postby sinfiery » Fri Aug 16, 2013 3:00 pm

alexb240 wrote:I had a vague sense I wanted to go into litigation before I started as a summer associate. Law school orients you toward litigation both in subject matter and in teaching style (i.e., the case method). Folks who were corporate-oriented at that stage were more business-y, be it from past work experience or what-have-you. I think the summer is a great time to explore various practice areas. In my experience, and having observed this phenomenon a few times, most everyone will have a sense of what they want to practice by the end of the summer -- I definitely did. It's almost a left-brain/right-brain thing -- people are naturally drawn to certain groups based on the type of work done. Very few people are unable to decide at the end of the summer, and even fewer people switch once they start.


That sounds pretty ideal! Thanks for the answer.

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Unoriginalist
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Re: 2nd Yr Biglaw Lit. Assoc., YLS Grad, TLS Alum

Postby Unoriginalist » Fri Aug 16, 2013 3:00 pm

alexb240 wrote:
ExAnt3 wrote:What have your hours been like?


They vary, obviously. I think it's generally agreed that litigation associates have more stable hours than corporate associates (for reasons I'd be happy to go into)



Mind expanding on this?

Thanks for this!

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alexb240
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Re: 2nd Yr Biglaw Lit. Assoc., YLS Grad, TLS Alum

Postby alexb240 » Fri Aug 16, 2013 3:01 pm

Mce252 wrote:
alexb240 wrote:
Humbert Humbert wrote:Do you have significant student loan debt? If so, how much does it affect your QoL?



I have around $85,000. It doesn't affect me in any material way. It's kind of like taxes that are taken out of our paycheck -- I never think about it. Obviously, I'd feel differently if I were to find myself suddenly unemployed...



How does it feel to think that if you went to a Texas firm you would be paying at least half of your current COL, with no state income taxes? During your first year, did it really feel like you had that much disposable income?


Hah. I mean, yeah, people joke about that and there's definitely truth to it. I wouldn't have wanted to go to Texas because I have no connection there and my SO is here, but I understand the appeal. I will say this, which you may not fully appreciate until you start working: if you want to do top-notch, cream of the crop work in anything that relates to finance -- be it securities litigation, M&A, whatever -- there's no sense going anywhere besides NY. And the name of a NY firm will carry you if you ever decide to relocate. I can't say for sure, but I doubt, that the same is true of even the top TX firms. But yeah, if all else were truly equal, more money is more better.

As to your second q, I've never felt limited in what I can do/afford in my personal life. Granted I'm not the type of guy going out for bottle service every weekend... but, I make more than enough money to be plenty happy.

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Re: 2nd Yr Biglaw Lit. Assoc., YLS Grad, TLS Alum

Postby BigLawer » Fri Aug 16, 2013 3:04 pm

alexb240 wrote:
Mce252 wrote:
alexb240 wrote:
Humbert Humbert wrote:Do you have significant student loan debt? If so, how much does it affect your QoL?



I have around $85,000. It doesn't affect me in any material way. It's kind of like taxes that are taken out of our paycheck -- I never think about it. Obviously, I'd feel differently if I were to find myself suddenly unemployed...



How does it feel to think that if you went to a Texas firm you would be paying at least half of your current COL, with no state income taxes? During your first year, did it really feel like you had that much disposable income?


Hah. I mean, yeah, people joke about that and there's definitely truth to it. I wouldn't have wanted to go to Texas because I have no connection there and my SO is here, but I understand the appeal. I will say this, which you may not fully appreciate until you start working: if you want to do top-notch, cream of the crop work in anything that relates to finance -- be it securities litigation, M&A, whatever -- there's no sense going anywhere besides NY. And the name of a NY firm will carry you if you ever decide to relocate. I can't say for sure, but I doubt, that the same is true of even the top TX firms. But yeah, if all else were truly equal, more money is more better.

As to your second q, I've never felt limited in what I can do/afford in my personal life. Granted I'm not the type of guy going out for bottle service every weekend... but, I make more than enough money to be plenty happy.



Do you think it would be easy for someone at a V10 firm to lateral to a top Texas firm when they were looking to leave? The Texas firms have always said they like to promote from within, but at each Texas firm I notice multiple partners who worked at either Cravath or Skadden in the beginning of their career. Trying to decide between starting in Texas or NYC and really struggling.... $ is definitely part of that struggle.

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Re: 2nd Yr Biglaw Lit. Assoc., YLS Grad, TLS Alum

Postby sinfiery » Fri Aug 16, 2013 3:05 pm

alexb240 wrote:Hah. I mean, yeah, people joke about that and there's definitely truth to it. I wouldn't have wanted to go to Texas because I have no connection there and my SO is here, but I understand the appeal. I will say this, which you may not fully appreciate until you start working: if you want to do top-notch, cream of the crop work in anything that relates to finance -- be it securities litigation, M&A, whatever -- there's no sense going anywhere besides NY. And the name of a NY firm will carry you if you ever decide to relocate. I can't say for sure, but I doubt, that the same is true of even the top TX firms. But yeah, if all else were truly equal, more money is more better.

Haha, as someone from TX going to school in NY, this exactly answered what was going to be my next question. Awesome thread.

How would you throw in the mix Chi (I hear better hours) and CA? I know this is just going off of anecdotes and your own perception but it's still nice to have a base.

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alexb240
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Re: 2nd Yr Biglaw Lit. Assoc., YLS Grad, TLS Alum

Postby alexb240 » Fri Aug 16, 2013 3:06 pm

Unoriginalist wrote:
alexb240 wrote:
ExAnt3 wrote:What have your hours been like?


They vary, obviously. I think it's generally agreed that litigation associates have more stable hours than corporate associates (for reasons I'd be happy to go into)



Mind expanding on this?

Thanks for this!



Corporate work, particularly deal (read: M&A) work (which most people equate to corporate work), operates on very tight schedule. There's usually a set closing date and it's a bit of a mad rush (as I understand it) to finish by the time the deal closes/is announced. In litigation, court dates are set further in advance and everyone knows them. So there's less 4-am'ers. (I, for one, have never pulled an all-nighter in my life and have no intention of starting). There are exceptions to every rule, but generally litigation--while plenty busy--doesn't have extremely hectic, everyone up all night fire drills followed by fallow periods post-closing. Litigation drags on and on. And on. So it's more regularized. Perhaps the corporate associate can add some color, but that's my view on it.

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Re: 2nd Yr Biglaw Lit. Assoc., YLS Grad, TLS Alum

Postby Yukos » Fri Aug 16, 2013 3:07 pm

How many hours would you say you work (not bill) in a normal (ie not crazy busy) week? Do you think working that much is sustainable long term?

ETA: And thanks for doing this! Probably the most useful thread on this subforum :)

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Re: 2nd Yr Biglaw Lit. Assoc., YLS Grad, TLS Alum

Postby BigLawer » Fri Aug 16, 2013 3:08 pm

legends159 wrote:Not to thread-jack but...1st year (been here almost 11 months now) V5 corporate associate - happy to answer questions from the other end of the spectrum.

Can also answer interview related questions, as I've interviewed about 8 candidates so far (albeit lunch portion, so not sure whether my review actually matters).


What have you seen are the top exit options for someone in your department after 4-5 years in corporate? I know there would be a difference between Wachtell/Cravath and SullCrom/Skadden, but in general...

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alexb240
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Re: 2nd Yr Biglaw Lit. Assoc., YLS Grad, TLS Alum

Postby alexb240 » Fri Aug 16, 2013 3:11 pm

Do you think it would be easy for someone at a V10 firm to lateral to a top Texas firm when they were looking to leave? The Texas firms have always said they like to promote from within, but at each Texas firm I notice multiple partners who worked at either Cravath or Skadden in the beginning of their career. Trying to decide between starting in Texas or NYC and really struggling.... $ is definitely part of that struggle.


Well, look, I've never lateraled anywhere. Everything depends on circumstance -- if you're a labor lawyer at Proskauer Rose, I don't think oil & gas firm X in Houston is going to be interested in you. But if you're a commodities/derivatives lawyer with expertise in the energy space, you'll be fighting off recruiters with a stick. There will always be opportunities to lateral -- once your name is on the firm website, expect more than one call/email a week (and g-d forbid you have a slow day and actually chat with one of these people to kill the time, they'll never leave you alone). But whether you'll get the exact opportunity you want is going to depend on a whole slew of factors.

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Re: 2nd Yr Biglaw Lit. Assoc., YLS Grad, TLS Alum

Postby alexb240 » Fri Aug 16, 2013 3:14 pm

How would you throw in the mix Chi (I hear better hours) and CA? I know this is just going off of anecdotes and your own perception but it's still nice to have a base.


Pretty much everywhere will have, on the average, saner hours than NYC. That's just the way it is, and that's not law-specific. The reason to come to NYC is you will work for the absolute top-dog firms doing genuinely interesting and impactful work, and you'll have a slew of exit options when the time comes (and, of course, you get to live in NYC). Now, if you are working at a top firm in CA or Chicago, you're still going to have interesting work and great options and a great life. You just may not be quite as global in your options, your work may be more specialized, etc. Truth be told, this is mainly speculation, but that's my take.

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Re: 2nd Yr Biglaw Lit. Assoc., YLS Grad, TLS Alum

Postby alexb240 » Fri Aug 16, 2013 3:18 pm

Yukos wrote:How many hours would you say you work (not bill) in a normal (ie not crazy busy) week? Do you think working that much is sustainable long term?

ETA: And thanks for doing this! Probably the most useful thread on this subforum :)


I tend to come in and be at my desk by 9:45 am, then leave the office at 9ish. A lot of times I'll leave a little earlier -- 8ish. I try to hit the gym after work, and then at night I can answer emails on BB or hop online and do work if needed (rare). Weekends I will usually try to log in and do four-five hours of work, just catching up on stuff (e.g., filling out timesheets... ugh). Sustainable long term? Yes, definitely -- plenty of people do it just fine. I think the big decision is whether you'll do it once you want to start a family -- that's where the sacrifice is, imo.

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Re: 2nd Yr Biglaw Lit. Assoc., YLS Grad, TLS Alum

Postby AllTheLawz » Fri Aug 16, 2013 3:20 pm

Sooo.. just to be clear. An average 2nd year associate at your firm bills around 2600 hours a year?? Meaning there is a significant "above average" portion billing 2900+?

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Re: 2nd Yr Biglaw Lit. Assoc., YLS Grad, TLS Alum

Postby alexb240 » Fri Aug 16, 2013 3:25 pm

AllTheLawz wrote:Sooo.. just to be clear. An average 2nd year associate at your firm bills around 2600 hours a year?? Meaning there is a significant "above average" portion billing 2900+?


Yep. Look, the lifestyle is not for everyone. You work a lot. Full stop. Sometimes it's exhausting/overwhelming/etc. But I don't think anyone hides the ball on that. And, to be frank, you'd be surprised that it's not as disruptive as you might think. You're not going to thirsty Thursday happy hours, but you'll live a rich life with plenty of time for an SO, friends, a sports league, obsessive fantasy football, whatever.

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Re: 2nd Yr Biglaw Lit. Assoc., YLS Grad, TLS Alum

Postby legends159 » Fri Aug 16, 2013 3:30 pm

BigLawer wrote:
legends159 wrote:Not to thread-jack but...1st year (been here almost 11 months now) V5 corporate associate - happy to answer questions from the other end of the spectrum.

Can also answer interview related questions, as I've interviewed about 8 candidates so far (albeit lunch portion, so not sure whether my review actually matters).


What have you seen are the top exit options for someone in your department after 4-5 years in corporate? I know there would be a difference between Wachtell/Cravath and SullCrom/Skadden, but in general...


It's varied - most people end up going in-house at a company or a bank. I see lots of emails around the first quarter of the new year of people moving and they usually leave for non-law firm positions. I don't really think there's a difference between the top firms in terms of exit opportunities. I compare it to law schools - you can go to HYS or a non T14 and end up at the same firm - it's more about what you do and what you want then the one liner on your resume.

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Re: 2nd Yr Biglaw Lit. Assoc., YLS Grad, TLS Alum

Postby AllTheLawz » Fri Aug 16, 2013 3:31 pm

alexb240 wrote:
AllTheLawz wrote:Sooo.. just to be clear. An average 2nd year associate at your firm bills around 2600 hours a year?? Meaning there is a significant "above average" portion billing 2900+?


Yep. Look, the lifestyle is not for everyone. You work a lot. Full stop. Sometimes it's exhausting/overwhelming/etc. But I don't think anyone hides the ball on that. And, to be frank, you'd be surprised that it's not as disruptive as you might think. You're not going to thirsty Thursday happy hours, but you'll live a rich life with plenty of time for an SO, friends, a sports league, obsessive fantasy football, whatever.


Oh I know its a lifestyle choice, I am at a top firm in another market (think Boston/Chicago/SF) and just shocked at the disparity. From my information gleaned from unbiased sources, average at the top 2 firms in the market is usually considered around 2100 or so.

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Re: 2nd Yr Biglaw Lit. Assoc., YLS Grad, TLS Alum

Postby sinfiery » Fri Aug 16, 2013 3:32 pm

legends159 wrote:Not to thread-jack but...1st year (been here almost 11 months now) V5 corporate associate - happy to answer questions from the other end of the spectrum.

Can also answer interview related questions, as I've interviewed about 8 candidates so far (albeit lunch portion, so not sure whether my review actually matters).

What do you look for when you are interviewing someone?

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Re: 2nd Yr Biglaw Lit. Assoc., YLS Grad, TLS Alum

Postby legends159 » Fri Aug 16, 2013 3:32 pm

alexb240 wrote:
AllTheLawz wrote:Sooo.. just to be clear. An average 2nd year associate at your firm bills around 2600 hours a year?? Meaning there is a significant "above average" portion billing 2900+?


Yep. Look, the lifestyle is not for everyone. You work a lot. Full stop. Sometimes it's exhausting/overwhelming/etc. But I don't think anyone hides the ball on that. And, to be frank, you'd be surprised that it's not as disruptive as you might think. You're not going to thirsty Thursday happy hours, but you'll live a rich life with plenty of time for an SO, friends, a sports league, obsessive fantasy football, whatever.


The lifestyle is very similar for litigation folks at my firm (we might be in the same firm...). In corporate it's very varied. I've had months where I bill 80 hours and months where I bill 350. It really depends on what deals you are on from time to time. The summer is usually very slow for corporate as most of the bankers and their institutional clients are on vacation. I had a hectic June but in July and August I have not worked a single weekend. I still think I'm on pace to bill 2200...and I expect to be slammed after labor day when all the bankers come back well rested and ready to make their bonuses.

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Re: 2nd Yr Biglaw Lit. Assoc., YLS Grad, TLS Alum

Postby legends159 » Fri Aug 16, 2013 3:34 pm

sinfiery wrote:
legends159 wrote:Not to thread-jack but...1st year (been here almost 11 months now) V5 corporate associate - happy to answer questions from the other end of the spectrum.

Can also answer interview related questions, as I've interviewed about 8 candidates so far (albeit lunch portion, so not sure whether my review actually matters).

What do you look for when you are interviewing someone?


It sounds cliche but I want someone who has a lot of energy and enthusiasm. The best interviews are ones where the person comes across as a normal person. Also talking about something you're interested in or passionate about - which also shows your intelligence, analytical skills or interpersonal skills is good as that allows me to write a review tailored to that specific interest.

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alexb240
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Re: 2nd Yr Biglaw Lit. Assoc., YLS Grad, TLS Alum

Postby alexb240 » Fri Aug 16, 2013 3:36 pm

legends159 wrote:
alexb240 wrote:
AllTheLawz wrote:Sooo.. just to be clear. An average 2nd year associate at your firm bills around 2600 hours a year?? Meaning there is a significant "above average" portion billing 2900+?


Yep. Look, the lifestyle is not for everyone. You work a lot. Full stop. Sometimes it's exhausting/overwhelming/etc. But I don't think anyone hides the ball on that. And, to be frank, you'd be surprised that it's not as disruptive as you might think. You're not going to thirsty Thursday happy hours, but you'll live a rich life with plenty of time for an SO, friends, a sports league, obsessive fantasy football, whatever.


The lifestyle is very similar for litigation folks at my firm (we might be in the same firm...). In corporate it's very varied. I've had months where I bill 80 hours and months where I bill 350. It really depends on what deals you are on from time to time. The summer is usually very slow for corporate as most of the bankers and their institutional clients are on vacation. I had a hectic June but in July and August I have not worked a single weekend. I still think I'm on pace to bill 2200...and I expect to be slammed after labor day when all the bankers come back well rested and ready to make their bonuses.


Tempted to ask, but I feel like that'd lead to trouble. :-) I think corporate people bill less based on the nature of the work, although they are still in the office just as much...

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Re: 2nd Yr Biglaw Lit. Assoc., YLS Grad, TLS Alum

Postby legends159 » Fri Aug 16, 2013 3:39 pm

alexb240 wrote:
legends159 wrote:
alexb240 wrote:
AllTheLawz wrote:Sooo.. just to be clear. An average 2nd year associate at your firm bills around 2600 hours a year?? Meaning there is a significant "above average" portion billing 2900+?


Yep. Look, the lifestyle is not for everyone. You work a lot. Full stop. Sometimes it's exhausting/overwhelming/etc. But I don't think anyone hides the ball on that. And, to be frank, you'd be surprised that it's not as disruptive as you might think. You're not going to thirsty Thursday happy hours, but you'll live a rich life with plenty of time for an SO, friends, a sports league, obsessive fantasy football, whatever.


The lifestyle is very similar for litigation folks at my firm (we might be in the same firm...). In corporate it's very varied. I've had months where I bill 80 hours and months where I bill 350. It really depends on what deals you are on from time to time. The summer is usually very slow for corporate as most of the bankers and their institutional clients are on vacation. I had a hectic June but in July and August I have not worked a single weekend. I still think I'm on pace to bill 2200...and I expect to be slammed after labor day when all the bankers come back well rested and ready to make their bonuses.


Tempted to ask, but I feel like that'd lead to trouble. :-) I think corporate people bill less based on the nature of the work, although they are still in the office just as much...


I agree, but I try to bill efficiently, and since there's no facetime requirement I'm typically not in the office unless i'm busy. For example I closed a deal this morning and am at home right now posting.

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alexb240
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Re: 2nd Yr Biglaw Lit. Assoc., YLS Grad, TLS Alum

Postby alexb240 » Fri Aug 16, 2013 3:41 pm


I agree, but I try to bill efficiently, and since there's no facetime requirement I'm typically not in the office unless i'm busy. For example I closed a deal this morning and am at home right now posting.



Nice!

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Re: 2nd Yr Biglaw Lit. Assoc., YLS Grad, TLS Alum

Postby BullShitWithBravado » Fri Aug 16, 2013 3:42 pm

As a litigator, how important is it to specialize? Do you think that attorneys who specialize in a specific field, especially one tied to a particular industry, have better job security and/or exit options that attorneys who are generalists?

Thanks!

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Re: 2nd Yr Biglaw Lit. Assoc., YLS Grad, TLS Alum

Postby tirakon » Fri Aug 16, 2013 3:53 pm

Since you've that mentioned you're a YLS grad, I feel like it's fair game to ask:

Any advice or recommendations for an incoming YLS 1L? Did you find during FIP that there were grade cut-offs or that firms used extra-transcript proxies to assess your competence/ability?

Why did you decide not to clerk? Do you feel that you've missed out or been disadvantaged in any way?

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alexb240
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Re: 2nd Yr Biglaw Lit. Assoc., YLS Grad, TLS Alum

Postby alexb240 » Fri Aug 16, 2013 4:00 pm

BullShitWithBravado wrote:As a litigator, how important is it to specialize? Do you think that attorneys who specialize in a specific field, especially one tied to a particular industry, have better job security and/or exit options that attorneys who are generalists?

Thanks!



It's not important to specialize at my stage in my career. In fact, specialization is nary impossible. If the assigning partner called me to staff me to a CDO case, what am I going to say? "No thanks, I'm more of a white collar defense lawyer." Cue the laughing. I think specialization happens more at the mid- to senior level, and it happens naturally -- by being on a major matter that lasts more than a year, and developing a fluency with the issues at hand there. Again, job security is not an issue, unless this Q&A goes off the rails. For exit options? Yeah, I can see why specialization would matter. As mentioned, if all you've done is ERISA law than I don't think Fulbright is going to hire you to head up their Oil & Gas group. But it's more about whether you only want to do a specific type of law -- if that's the case, then you're obviously going to turn down opportunities that people who are more flexible will pick up.




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