V10 NYC Lit Midlevel Associate Taking Questions

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Extremelyonlinelaw

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V10 NYC Lit Midlevel Associate Taking Questions

Postby Extremelyonlinelaw » Fri Aug 03, 2018 1:38 am

Ask away.

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realsonnyp

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Re: V10 NYC Lit Midlevel Associate Taking Questions

Postby realsonnyp » Sat Aug 04, 2018 10:36 am

How many hours do you work a day, and how many do you bill?

What department do you work in and how do you like it?

How bad are the 'office politics'? Is becoming partner as shoulder rubbing as it sounds?

How do you manage your work life balance, with getting off as late as you do? Do you manage to have a partner?

At what point do associates get their own office at your firm?

benbenny

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Re: V10 NYC Lit Midlevel Associate Taking Questions

Postby benbenny » Sat Aug 04, 2018 1:39 pm

Looking at the type of hours and treatment 1st year associates are going through at big law I have no desire to go through that, not even for a couple of years. I'd be willing to earn significantly less than the current starting salaries of $190k if that meant I can leave the office at 6pm and be master of (at least most) of my weekends. Is this a realistic outlook? Can I trade income for work-life balance in this way in the private sector? For example, could I find a $150k starting salary firm with this type of work-life balance?

Thank you!!
Ben

Extremelyonlinelaw

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Re: V10 NYC Lit Midlevel Associate Taking Questions

Postby Extremelyonlinelaw » Sat Aug 04, 2018 5:07 pm

Hours: depends on the workflow. My lowest billed month is around 25 hours. My highest is around 400 - preparing for / attending trial. Last few years I’ve billed ~2,200 pure billable.

Department: Litigation.

Office politics: becoming partner at my firm is almost impossible. You need to be brilliant, hardworking, connected and, yes, known (positively) throughout the partnership.

Work/life balance: Honestly what’s really helped is having a significant other who is understanding and sympathetic of how grueling the work can be at times, while also appreciating that there might be weeks (or months) where I’m not working at all. To me, the hardest part of the job is letting others down. The work itself will be handled. I can push myself to do it. It’s the strain on your relationships that makes it difficult at times. But if your friends and close ones are more empathetic about your situation than angry or resentful, it definitely helps you carry on. As far as “managing partners” goes, you can always gauge to see when they need something by and at least try to get stuff to them as far out as possible, but it doesn’t always work. You generally always have to do what the partner tells you to do. As you get more senior at the firm, also, you can try to delegate some of the work on your plate to other people.

Own office: at my firm, you generally share an office your first year, get your own interior, window-less office your second year, and then an exterior office your third year.

Hope that helps.

tlsthrowaway1

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Re: V10 NYC Lit Midlevel Associate Taking Questions

Postby tlsthrowaway1 » Sat Aug 04, 2018 5:40 pm

Do you like your job?

Extremelyonlinelaw

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Re: V10 NYC Lit Midlevel Associate Taking Questions

Postby Extremelyonlinelaw » Mon Aug 06, 2018 3:02 am

benbenny wrote:Looking at the type of hours and treatment 1st year associates are going through at big law I have no desire to go through that, not even for a couple of years. I'd be willing to earn significantly less than the current starting salaries of $190k if that meant I can leave the office at 6pm and be master of (at least most) of my weekends. Is this a realistic outlook? Can I trade income for work-life balance in this way in the private sector? For example, could I find a $150k starting salary firm with this type of work-life balance?

Thank you!!
Ben


Hey Ben,

I think the answer largely depends on where you live. BigLaw does tend to be its own beast, particularly in Manhattan, and you really are expected to be available (and not just during your first year, sadly) when times get busy. And I’d say you’re partially right that there certainly some stretches of time during the year where I have to work through the weekend. But I wouldn’t say I have to work most, or even half, of the weekends. And even during the weekend I would say that I open up my laptop for 2-3 hours, max, which I could do from my own apartment. The only exception is in preparation for trial - then you’re fucked. All day, all night, every day, every weekend. That’s my experience with trial. Thankfully not too many cases get to trial.

As to making less for working less - I tend to think the answer is perhaps, there are a few firms that can give you a relatively good lifestyle for fairly good pay (though I don’t think if it’s like 150k necessarily), but only a few. Entry-level law firm salaries (at least in NYC) tend to be bi-modal, meaning either really high (big law) or significantly lower (60-90k for gov’t or small/mid sized firms). The firms that offer lower but still very good salary rates (like 140-160k), and here I’m thinking of Pryor Cashman or Olshan Frome or Moses & Singer, will probably give you more free weekends than my firm, but probably not many more.

That’s my thinking on the matter. Hope it helps.

Extremelyonlinelaw

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Re: V10 NYC Lit Midlevel Associate Taking Questions

Postby Extremelyonlinelaw » Mon Aug 06, 2018 3:45 am

tlsthrowaway1 wrote:Do you like your job?


I’ll put it this way: I genuinely like my job 50% of the time, I feel meh about it 35% of the time, and I actively despise it 15% of the time. That’s my rough, but I think honest, assessment. The 15% probably coincides with either a bonkers crazy case or difficult colleagues (or both). The people on the case always make or break the case.

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realsonnyp

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Re: V10 NYC Lit Midlevel Associate Taking Questions

Postby realsonnyp » Tue Aug 07, 2018 4:17 am

What's biglaw litigation actually like? I imagine most cases don't ever actually go to trial, so I can see the range of billable hours a week. I've heard that it's v easy to get a lot of them in actual trial season since you can bill everything, but do you find it difficult outside of it?

Is the work you do relatively interesting? I'm more familiar with fields like M&A and Private Equity, which I imagine are substantially different. Do you work with antitrust or something like compliance when you're not in trial? Sorry if it's way off, I'm just totally unfamiliar with that side of the law.

What do you think you'll do when you're finished with your stint in Biglaw if making partner is that difficult? V10 should have pretty good exit opportunities, but in house doesn't sound to be the paradise it's described, i.e. working 40-50 hours a week instead of 70-80 for 120k instead of the 250k you make as a 5 year associate. Any thoughts on this?

Also the obligatory what school/gpa there

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Br3v

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Re: V10 NYC Lit Midlevel Associate Taking Questions

Postby Br3v » Tue Aug 07, 2018 11:16 am

Would you say your hours/quality of life are better or worse than your corporate counterparts? What about exit options?

Extremelyonlinelaw

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Re: V10 NYC Lit Midlevel Associate Taking Questions

Postby Extremelyonlinelaw » Tue Aug 07, 2018 4:14 pm

realsonnyp wrote:What's biglaw litigation actually like? I imagine most cases don't ever actually go to trial, so I can see the range of billable hours a week. I've heard that it's v easy to get a lot of them in actual trial season since you can bill everything, but do you find it difficult outside of it?

Is the work you do relatively interesting? I'm more familiar with fields like M&A and Private Equity, which I imagine are substantially different. Do you work with antitrust or something like compliance when you're not in trial? Sorry if it's way off, I'm just totally unfamiliar with that side of the law.

What do you think you'll do when you're finished with your stint in Biglaw if making partner is that difficult? V10 should have pretty good exit opportunities, but in house doesn't sound to be the paradise it's described, i.e. working 40-50 hours a week instead of 70-80 for 120k instead of the 250k you make as a 5 year associate. Any thoughts on this?

Also the obligatory what school/gpa there


1. Most cases absolutely do not go to trial, but some do, and you never know when they’ll settle. They could settle on the eve of trial (in which case you prepare for the case as if it’s going to trial anyway). They could settle after opening arguments. They could settle right before closing arguments. You just don’t know. Sometimes the parties hate each other so fucking much that they will go to trial (and through the appeal) at any and all costs (I just had the “pleasure” of litigating just such a case). At my firm, and I imagine at our peer V10 firms, there’s rarely a struggle to “find” billable hours. That’s both the honor and curse of being a successful corporate firm. The work is ever-present.

2. The good news is that I have found the work I’ve done very interesting and even rewarding. My firm gives its junior associates a lot of responsibility. I’ve taken multiple witness interviews for an investigation and have second chaired two fairly sizable depositions for the above-mentioned litigation, which was indeed an M&A litigation (merger gone wrong). We also do litigation work for Private Equity clients. The type of work we do is wide-ranging and typical of a NYC V10 firm. Yes, antitrust, regulatory (including financial compliance), complex commercial lit, securities lit, products, white collar, FCPA, etc. Both investigations and litigation/defense. Pretty much everything. On the corporate side, we do M&A, Private Funds, Financing/Credit, and Securities.

3. Making partner at my firm is daunting to say the least. I imagine it’s similar at other V10s. Firms just can’t be that profitable at the partner level and make that many people partner. The math doesn’t work. As to in-house work, it depends on where you work. If you work at a major bank, your salary will be good, but maybe not your hours. If you work at a smaller company, your hours will probably be good, but not your salary. All about balancing what you want at any given point in time. If, after roughing it out in biglaw, you crave stability, you’ll take the pay cut. If you need to support your family, you’ll keep toughing it out. I’m not sure I know of many in-house legal departments that both screw you over on the salary front and make you work crazy hours. But maybe I just don’t have much insight on this.

Extremelyonlinelaw

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Re: V10 NYC Lit Midlevel Associate Taking Questions

Postby Extremelyonlinelaw » Tue Aug 07, 2018 4:28 pm

Br3v wrote:Would you say your hours/quality of life are better or worse than your corporate counterparts? What about exit options?


What’s “better” or “worse” depends on the person, but I’d generally say that corporate lawyers tend work on a schedule that’s more unpredictable than litigators. When you’re on a litigation, there is likely a court-approved schedule that spells out certain deadlines. No such thing for corporate. You’re totally at the whim of your client. If your client (or the other side) wants to sign ASAP, you will do so. I’d say that my corporate friends work pretty bad hours one or two months, and then do almost nothing the following month. Litigators, on the other hands, tend to work more consistently. That’s not to say I haven’t had seesaw months of my own (I have), but it happens much more frequently on the other side, I feel. And whether that’s “good” or “bad” depends on your personality and interests.

As to exit options, that also depends on what you want to do. If your dream is to work in-house, I’d say corporate is a good way to go, just because there are more in-house opportunities there, but even then I’d say that you better LIKE doing corporate/transactional work because that’s what you’ll be doing there. I wouldn’t mind working in-house, but I’d probably value doing something I actually like doing over working at a place that I admire and seems cool. So, as a litigator, I might think working for Google would be cool, but if it’s in their transactions group, I probably wouldn’t like that job very much after all. Now, in terms of in-house options as a litigator, yes, then there are fewer spots available than for transactional lawyers. But, coming from a V10, with decent connections to some very large companies, I tend to think I’d be at least competitive for opportunities at those companies, as they arise.

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4LTsPointingNorth

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Re: V10 NYC Lit Midlevel Associate Taking Questions

Postby 4LTsPointingNorth » Wed Aug 08, 2018 11:25 pm

Do you have any sort of insight as to speed of attrition for your litigation peers versus your transactional peers (i.e., by year 3 have more from one group left before the other)? Within that data set, any rough judgments of "quality" of landing spots for those associates?

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Wild Card

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Re: V10 NYC Lit Midlevel Associate Taking Questions

Postby Wild Card » Wed Aug 08, 2018 11:48 pm

What's your GPA cutoff for Columbia and NYU?

Veil of Ignorance

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Re: V10 NYC Lit Midlevel Associate Taking Questions

Postby Veil of Ignorance » Thu Aug 09, 2018 1:45 am

How many years do you think you'd have to work in litigation at your firm before moving to a prosecutor's office in a desirable, coastal area? Specifically AUSA positions.

Extremelyonlinelaw

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Re: V10 NYC Lit Midlevel Associate Taking Questions

Postby Extremelyonlinelaw » Thu Aug 09, 2018 1:06 pm

4LTsPointingNorth wrote:Do you have any sort of insight as to speed of attrition for your litigation peers versus your transactional peers (i.e., by year 3 have more from one group left before the other)? Within that data set, any rough judgments of "quality" of landing spots for those associates?


My sense is that corporate attorneys leave a bit sooner because they have more in-house options earlier (as early as 2+ yrs out). That said, litigators leave more frequently (if that makes sense) to clerk, but most return to the firm anyway. I’d say litigators, on average, stay a bit longer, but it’s all just conjecture. As to the “quality” of the future role, it all depends on what you want. I’d say a good portion of the corporate moves to in-house are to SP500 companies, but I don’t know for sure. Sometimes (though not frequently) litigators at year 3 will leave for more mid-sized firms where they have a better lifestyle and/or chance to make partner. One thing that’s true is that our partnership, knowing the daunting prospects of actually making partner, goes out of its way to use its wide connections to help its associates in any way it can, whether gov’t, in-house legal or whatever. That’s litigation or corporate. So the network really is tremendously helpful, either for lit or corp.

Extremelyonlinelaw

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Re: V10 NYC Lit Midlevel Associate Taking Questions

Postby Extremelyonlinelaw » Thu Aug 09, 2018 1:09 pm

Wild Card wrote:What's your GPA cutoff for Columbia and NYU?


Don’t know the exact cutoff. There is one, though. My sense is 1/3, but there are always exceptions (i.e., connections to the firm/partnership, practice area needs, science background, etc.)

Extremelyonlinelaw

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Re: V10 NYC Lit Midlevel Associate Taking Questions

Postby Extremelyonlinelaw » Thu Aug 09, 2018 1:21 pm

Veil of Ignorance wrote:How many years do you think you'd have to work in litigation at your firm before moving to a prosecutor's office in a desirable, coastal area? Specifically AUSA positions.


I’d say that largely depends on the wants of whatever USAO you’re applying to. If SDNY, associates typically clerk and spend anywhere from 2-4 years at the firm. Note that SDNY typically does not place a big premium on prior trial experience and will actively hire from biglaw and then train rookie prosecutors in trial advocacy, etc. Other USAOs may differ in their approach to hiring.

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Re: V10 NYC Lit Midlevel Associate Taking Questions

Postby ratperfect » Mon Aug 13, 2018 11:40 am

Hi there, thanks so much for creating this thread! I'm a 0L interested in going into litigation and potentially ending up at biglaw after school.

I've read a lot of posts by junior associates in biglaw describing their day and the horrendous hours/work load/etc. I understand that the work commitment is enormous and unpredictable. I was wondering if you could describe in more specific detail what exactly the work you do is like. Could you provide me in as much detail as possible some specific examples of tasks that end up on your desk and what you need to do to accomplish them? I understand that often the work for junior associates can be tedious and mindnumbing - is this always the case? As a junior, did you ever come across work that was challenging where you might not know what to do, and what do you do to approach that situation? Can you give me examples where you apply your legal training to accomplish a goal?

I'm trying to get a sense of the nature of the actual work at a biglaw job, so I can get a better picture of what will be consuming my life for 80 hours/week.



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