Asking to split after accepting

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Asking to split after accepting

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Sep 11, 2019 10:48 pm


In a bit of a tough (but good) spot and want TLS' counsel.

I accepted an offer to join a V20 in the, say, Chicago market. Before I accepted, I was talking to a boutique firm in my hometown (midwestern city, around 600k pop.). However, pushed against a deadline with no word, I accepted my offer in Chicago -- excited to join it.

A wee later, I reached out to my contact (senior associate) at the boutique just to let him know I had accepted my Chicago offer but would love to stay in touch for future employment/3L OCI. He told me he would put me in touch with his partners, and asked if I would potentially be open to splitting my summer from his firm. I said sure. So now it seems that I will go in to interview at boutique in the near future and will likely receive an offer -- with the boutique understanding that I have accepted another offer which I will honor -- and they (boutique) know that I will honor it.

Question here is, what are my options, if any? My sense is that I cannot go to the V20 and ask for a split after the fact. Should I just ask V20 if they are okay with me going to another firm after their summer program is up (assuming boutique will take me for just 4 weeks...)..

Any thoughts appreciated. To be clear, this is not (and will not become) a renege on offer situation. I have been 100% upfront with boutique.

Thanks you for your wisdom and counsel.

PS: I know this is counting chickens before they hatch and I should wait to see if boutique actually offers me, but likely good to have a game plan beforehand.

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Re: Asking to split after accepting

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Sep 11, 2019 11:24 pm

OP here.

For more clairity, the boutique pays market and is top-notch for the type of work I want to do. This is also a practice group where it is on average ideal to start in the city you hope to end up in (don't ask; but I've done my research).

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Re: Asking to split after accepting

Post by t-14orbust » Wed Sep 11, 2019 11:32 pm

You don’t have to ask the V20 if they’re okay with you working elsewhere after their program is up. I wouldn’t ask to split at this point, but they have no say in what you do outside of their SA period.


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Re: Asking to split after accepting

Post by JHP » Thu Sep 12, 2019 12:38 pm

Hm. A couple initial issues that pop out to me.

1) Possible conflicts issues: unclear to me that there would be possible overlaps in clients or matters at the boutique v. the V20, but if you accept a full-time offer with the V20, prior to starting, you'd have to go through a conflicts check and possibly disclose matters/clients you spent time working on/for at the boutique. Probably not a problem, but just a consideration.

2) If folks at the V20 get wind that you're going to another firm afterwards, it may jeopardize your standing at the V20. While some folks at the firm may understand, others may feel quite miffed that you do not seem to have wholehearted (or at least 80%) commitment to the firm. This would be my greatest concern if you want a return offer to the V20.

I don't have much advice, since I like to follow the "open and honest" policy, but I don't think that will necessarily do you favors here.... Do you have a strong relationship with any partners at the V20?

I do know people who have done the split with a smaller firm + big firm because they had a particularly good relationship with the smaller firm, and that firm clearly wanted to do what they could for the associate to join their firm, but they also had good relationships with folks at the big firm to request the split.

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Re: Asking to split after accepting

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Sep 12, 2019 2:33 pm

I think your best bet would be to do the full summer program at the V20 and then see if the boutique will let you do 4 weeks. I think Susman's program is actually set up like that (i.e. they only let people do 4 weeks or something short like that at the end of the summer).

We had an SA at my firm that did the full summer program with us (10 weeks) and then a few weeks at a regional law firm. We don't allow splitting in the sense that we won't let you do a shorter program with us (e.g., 6 weeks) but if you can fit something in after 10 weeks with us, that seems to be fine.

We are a 100% offer firm so him having another summer gig didn't really matter for him receiving an offer. Most people didn't seem to care and if anything thought he was lucky to get few weeks of SA paychecks before going back to school. But I'm in Texas where splitting is more common so YMMV.

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