Up or Out - Still a thing? Forum

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Up or Out - Still a thing?

Post by Anonymous User » Sun Sep 02, 2018 12:08 pm

My first question is whether you think the "up or out" model is still the operative model in most biglaw firms. If so, at what year do you think associates should look to move (if they'd like to avoid waiting until they're asked to leave)?

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Re: Up or Out - Still a thing?

Post by Anonymous User » Sun Sep 02, 2018 12:18 pm

Of course. The total number of associates in biglaw is not going up and hasn't gone up for decades, but they hire thousands of new associates each year. To make room, they force out a certain number of associates each year. Biglaw also has forced promotions, which is an incredibly odd thing if you think about it (the idea that you have to get promoted to a higher level of compensation, competence and responsibility, whether you deserve it or not). If you can't bill enough hours at your new high rate, they have to get rid of you.

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Re: Up or Out - Still a thing?

Post by QContinuum » Sun Sep 02, 2018 12:32 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Biglaw also has forced promotions, which is an incredibly odd thing if you think about it (the idea that you have to get promoted to a higher level of compensation, competence and responsibility, whether you deserve it or not).
Not all biglaw firms do this - there are some that will hold you back from the rest of your class year if you don't hit your billables.

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Re: Up or Out - Still a thing?

Post by legalace » Sun Sep 02, 2018 8:59 pm

My first question is whether you think the "up or out" model is still the operative model in most biglaw firms.
Increasingly common is the up and then out.

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Re: Up or Out - Still a thing?

Post by Anonymous User » Sun Sep 02, 2018 9:49 pm

legalace wrote:
My first question is whether you think the "up or out" model is still the operative model in most biglaw firms.
Increasingly common is the up and then out.
Unfortunately this is arguably the case with every salary increase.

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Re: Up or Out - Still a thing?

Post by Anonymous User » Sun Sep 02, 2018 10:33 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Biglaw also has forced promotions, which is an incredibly odd thing if you think about it (the idea that you have to get promoted to a higher level of compensation, competence and responsibility, whether you deserve it or not).
Not all biglaw firms do this - there are some that will hold you back from the rest of your class year if you don't hit your billables.
That just sounds like the precursor to being forced out

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Re: Up or Out - Still a thing?

Post by Anonymous User » Sun Sep 02, 2018 10:42 pm

My V70 (lmao) has a senior associate who graduated in 1998 in a smaller office.

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Re: Up or Out - Still a thing?

Post by malibustacy » Sun Sep 02, 2018 11:13 pm

Anonymous User wrote:My V70 (lmao) has a senior associate who graduated in 1998 in a smaller office.

Frankly if their "billing > cost", and that person is content working there, it's not a bad business model to keep them on forever. Usually at that point, firms just call them Counsel or whatever though.

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Re: Up or Out - Still a thing?

Post by Anonymous User » Sun Sep 02, 2018 11:57 pm

legalace wrote:
My first question is whether you think the "up or out" model is still the operative model in most biglaw firms.
Increasingly common is the up and then out.
Not sure what you mean by this. I’ve taken the up or out model to mean that either you move up (to partnership) or you are forced out. So, someone unlikely to make partner would be forced out at some point.

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Re: Up or Out - Still a thing?

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Sep 03, 2018 1:17 am

I think the up and out model is becoming less common as summer associate classes become smaller.

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Re: Up or Out - Still a thing?

Post by barkschool » Mon Sep 03, 2018 2:20 am

malibustacy wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:My V70 (lmao) has a senior associate who graduated in 1998 in a smaller office.

Frankly if their "billing > cost", and that person is content working there, it's not a bad business model to keep them on forever. Usually at that point, firms just call them Counsel or whatever though.
A few of these at my firm. Happens a lot but no one talks about it. I think they’re usually happy to walk people back a few class years pay them less and let them keep running

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Re: Up or Out - Still a thing?

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Sep 03, 2018 5:18 am

barkschool wrote:
malibustacy wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:My V70 (lmao) has a senior associate who graduated in 1998 in a smaller office.

Frankly if their "billing > cost", and that person is content working there, it's not a bad business model to keep them on forever. Usually at that point, firms just call them Counsel or whatever though.
A few of these at my firm. Happens a lot but no one talks about it. I think they’re usually happy to walk people back a few class years pay them less and let them keep running
I wouldn't rely on this, if you're using it for comfort ("oh if I don't make partner I can just be a lifelong 8th year associate making $350,000 a year"). It's very rare.

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Re: Up or Out - Still a thing?

Post by barkschool » Thu Sep 06, 2018 9:36 pm

:P
Anonymous User wrote:
barkschool wrote:
malibustacy wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:My V70 (lmao) has a senior associate who graduated in 1998 in a smaller office.

Frankly if their "billing > cost", and that person is content working there, it's not a bad business model to keep them on forever. Usually at that point, firms just call them Counsel or whatever though.
A few of these at my firm. Happens a lot but no one talks about it. I think they’re usually happy to walk people back a few class years pay them less and let them keep running
I wouldn't rely on this, if you're using it for comfort ("oh if I don't make partner I can just be a lifelong 8th year associate making $350,000 a year"). It's very rare.
Surely shouldn’t rely on that. All the types of things that weed out associates are still in play. If anything it should draw attention to how difficult pship is

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Re: Up or Out - Still a thing?

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Sep 07, 2018 9:29 am

If anything, I think firms are moving away for up or out and keeping around productive senior associates longer. I don't know why folks would say you can't stick around as a senior associate in perpetuity making $350K+/year. If you're hitting your hours, then you're profitable for the firm. The fact that you're a 5-time repeat "8th year" senior associate has no bearing on that calculus.

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Re: Up or Out - Still a thing?

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Sep 07, 2018 12:01 pm

Anonymous User wrote:If anything, I think firms are moving away for up or out and keeping around productive senior associates longer. I don't know why folks would say you can't stick around as a senior associate in perpetuity making $350K+/year. If you're hitting your hours, then you're profitable for the firm. The fact that you're a 5-time repeat "8th year" senior associate has no bearing on that calculus.
But historically, people were pushed out despite it making no business sense given their profitability. What makes you think firms have changed?

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Re: Up or Out - Still a thing?

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Sep 07, 2018 12:15 pm

Because many of the permanent senior associates are people who would have been permanent service partners back in the day, and they can get away with paying them less.

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Re: Up or Out - Still a thing?

Post by totesTheGoat » Fri Sep 07, 2018 12:21 pm

Anonymous User wrote:If anything, I think firms are moving away for up or out and keeping around productive senior associates longer. I don't know why folks would say you can't stick around as a senior associate in perpetuity making $350K+/year. If you're hitting your hours, then you're profitable for the firm. The fact that you're a 5-time repeat "8th year" senior associate has no bearing on that calculus.
To be honest, I haven't seen any evidence of this. Not saying you're wrong, just that I don't see it.

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Re: Up or Out - Still a thing?

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Sep 07, 2018 12:31 pm

My firm has recently moved to an explicit up or out policy, with senior associates being told in July whether they would be put up for partner, and if not, they would be given roughly 90 days to leave. The firm policy also says that attorneys will not be put up for partner more than two times. Along with the new policy, the firm pushed out super senior associates and most of counsel attorneys.

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Re: Up or Out - Still a thing?

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Sep 07, 2018 12:38 pm

Anonymous User wrote:My firm has recently moved to an explicit up or out policy, with senior associates being told in July whether they would be put up for partner, and if not, they would be given roughly 90 days to leave. The firm policy also says that attorneys will not be put up for partner more than two times. Along with the new policy, the firm pushed out super senior associates and most of counsel attorneys.
What year does this start? At what point would it be wise to look elsewhere if you already know you won’t make partner (without anyone having to tell you)?

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Re: Up or Out - Still a thing?

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Sep 07, 2018 1:01 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:My firm has recently moved to an explicit up or out policy, with senior associates being told in July whether they would be put up for partner, and if not, they would be given roughly 90 days to leave. The firm policy also says that attorneys will not be put up for partner more than two times. Along with the new policy, the firm pushed out super senior associates and most of counsel attorneys.
What year does this start? At what point would it be wise to look elsewhere if you already know you won’t make partner (without anyone having to tell you)?
The policy starts at 8th year, but people can get pushed out before then, obviously. Our evaluations don't have any real teeth until you're a midlevel.

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Re: Up or Out - Still a thing?

Post by alawyer2018 » Fri Sep 07, 2018 1:33 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:My firm has recently moved to an explicit up or out policy, with senior associates being told in July whether they would be put up for partner, and if not, they would be given roughly 90 days to leave. The firm policy also says that attorneys will not be put up for partner more than two times. Along with the new policy, the firm pushed out super senior associates and most of counsel attorneys.
What year does this start? At what point would it be wise to look elsewhere if you already know you won’t make partner (without anyone having to tell you)?
The policy starts at 8th year, but people can get pushed out before then, obviously. Our evaluations don't have any real teeth until you're a midlevel.
Interesting, it's unclear to me why a firm would actively push out "super senior associates" if they're hitting hours (and are projected to continue to do so for the foreseeable future). That seems like a terrible move for the firm. It also means more senior associates have even less job security than at other firms that don't follow this hard and fast rule. Why in the world would any senior associate stick around in that situation unless you were fairly confident you'd make partner?

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Re: Up or Out - Still a thing?

Post by legalace » Fri Sep 07, 2018 1:33 pm

Not sure what you mean by ... [Increasingly common is the up and then out]. I’ve taken the up or out model to mean that either you move up (to partnership) or you are forced out. So, someone unlikely to make partner would be forced out at some point.
Now what happens, is that you move "up" in pay during your associate years and then you are forced "out" rather than becoming a partner. So, you get the up and then the out.

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Re: Up or Out - Still a thing?

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Sep 07, 2018 2:31 pm

At my old firm, it could even be "up and out" in the sense that it was fairly easy to make income partner, but practically impossible to make equity partner. In my group, in the past fifteen years, at least ten people made income partner. One of those people made equity partner.

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Re: Up or Out - Still a thing?

Post by Elston Gunn » Fri Sep 07, 2018 2:37 pm

Anonymous User wrote:My firm has recently moved to an explicit up or out policy, with senior associates being told in July whether they would be put up for partner, and if not, they would be given roughly 90 days to leave. The firm policy also says that attorneys will not be put up for partner more than two times. Along with the new policy, the firm pushed out super senior associates and most of counsel attorneys.
Yikes. Obviously pushing out associates as they move up happens everywhere, but this doesn’t sound normal.

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Re: Up or Out - Still a thing?

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Sep 07, 2018 2:45 pm

My firm has had an explosion of NSP recently. We used to have around a 2 to 1 ratio between share partners and NSP. Now there are more NSP than share. And it’s not like a waiting game for equity anymore. These people are stuck there with high hours requirements until they can no longer do work at their increased rates

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