Non-NYC Markets

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Non-NYC Markets

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Aug 18, 2020 3:39 pm

Miserable, and I mean miserable, 4th year corporate associate at a NYC v10. I need to get out. Does anyone have reliable insight into how NYC hours compare to big law firms in NJ (if any), Philly, DE or Baltimore? What are hours like at midsized firms?

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Re: Non-NYC Markets

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Aug 18, 2020 4:43 pm

What are you billing? I don't think hours are consistent among the same firm much less other NYC firms. Would also be curious about the portion of each hour spent in office being billable in other markets.

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Re: Non-NYC Markets

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Aug 19, 2020 2:05 pm

I lateraled from a NYC V10 to one of the markets you mentioned. Things are definitely more relaxed on the margins, but deals are deals and when things are heavy or its signing/closing closing time, it is no different than it was at my NYC firm.

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nealric

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Re: Non-NYC Markets

Post by nealric » Wed Aug 19, 2020 2:57 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Aug 18, 2020 3:39 pm
Miserable, and I mean miserable, 4th year corporate associate at a NYC v10. I need to get out. Does anyone have reliable insight into how NYC hours compare to big law firms in NJ (if any), Philly, DE or Baltimore? What are hours like at midsized firms?
Do you have ties to any of these places or are you just looking to slow down a bit? Just changing locations won't necessarily fix your problem. There are sweatshoppy biglaw situations anywhere there is biglaw.

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Re: Non-NYC Markets

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Aug 19, 2020 3:34 pm

I moved to a smaller market and honestly bill more than I did in NY. Deals suck everywhere and at least in NY all my specialists were legit. Maybe try a smaller firm that isn't big law so the clients aren't as crazy.

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Re: Non-NYC Markets

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Aug 20, 2020 11:02 am

OP here. Appreciate the replies. My billing isn’t way over the top for our line of work, like 2300 right now. I will say I’ve never been scared of hard work and some very sick part of me somewhat likes the work, so it’s not so much the 10-12 hour days day in day out, and more the constant weekend work (every single weekend) and very demanding clients that take a toll. Really begins to impact personal life and relationships.

I have very strong ties to one of those markets in particular - born, raised and went to college there. So that is a motivating factor. If I’m going to bill, at least I’ll have family and friends closer and not pay $3k+ in rent for a shoebox in what right now and for the foreseeable future is a shell of the city it once was.

Definitely was thinking signing/closing times would be the same since it’s just the nature of the job, but the specialists is a very good point. How do you think that part has impacted your job? Are you trusted with items that in NY would be a specialist item? Or do you mean they generally just aren’t as good, which I guess I’d kind of expect (not sure if that would be a product of region or quality of the firm).

For those that have made a similar switch, can you talk about how you feel as a lateral in those markets? Like do you feel like an outsider in your group, do you get staffed on shitty deals or anything? Probably very firm specific but would be interested to hear first hand experience

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Re: Non-NYC Markets

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Aug 20, 2020 11:13 am

Was an associate in a biglaw office in one of those markets. Our office averaged the highest billable hours in the firm. That said, we also had one of the biggest amounts of flexibility and understanding for WFH (pre-pandemic) and a very family forward attitude. So tradeoffs.

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Re: Non-NYC Markets

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Aug 20, 2020 1:39 pm

One of the anons that posted above. I was around your class level when I lateraled.

I think your question as to the lateral experience is more about firm and group culture than it is the market, but who knows. I don't think that I am staffed differently than any of the homegrown associates. At first I would take longer doing routine docs/tasks for people knowing that I was making a first impression and didn't have any goodwill in the bank, but that faded pretty quickly as I ramped up. I imagine that is a common lateral experience though.

Other than that there is some adjustment in getting used to how the group does things. In my case the difference between firms was that at my new firm partners and senior associates are a lot more involved in all aspects of the deals and tend to take a lot more active role in the docs, corresponding with the client, third parties and specialists, and just process stuff. I like it in the sense that it relieves a lot of the anxiety that comes with the job by knowing that they are paying attention, are probably going to respond to the email that just came in, etc. On the other hand sometimes it feels like a step down (but I am not gunner enough to worry about this much).

The best part of lateralling was wiping the slate clean of all of the random crap that pops up, outside of active deals, that you are informally assigned to related to old deals, matters, etc.

All in all, I will caution that while lateralling can give some reprieve from the pain of biglaw because you get some time off and time to ramp up, I would not hold out hope on biglaw suddenly being way better just because you are in a non-NYC market. I still have to work on weekends when needed and wouldn't dare make a weeknight plan and feel confident that I could make it.

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Re: Non-NYC Markets

Post by EzraFitz » Thu Aug 20, 2020 3:18 pm

Delaware attorney here, feel free to PM for details.

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Re: Non-NYC Markets

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Aug 20, 2020 4:28 pm

I'm the poster that talked about specialists. When I was in NY, I could just throw stuff at specialists and they would get it done fast and do it well and were very used to M&A deals. At my current firm its more hit or miss as to who is commercially viable as a specialist on an M&A deal and we draft everything in the deal because specialists have burned us too many times on timing of getting documents drafted, including employment agreements, license agreements, etc.

At least I can leave the office at 6:30 pm everyday, but I don't find the hours all that much better and in NY, every vacation I had complete coverage, whereas here, we run pretty lean and I've found myself multiple times working through vacation. I lasted way longer in my new market than I was lasting in NY so that is a testament to something since I really don't like the job. I think big firms anywhere are going to suck for deals though, maybe try to go to a smaller firm with small clients that don't understand the deal space as well.

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Re: Non-NYC Markets

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Aug 20, 2020 5:11 pm

I can't speak to the markets you're looking at, but I'm at biglaw in a secondary market and I agree with a few of the posters that smaller markets are not a panacea from biglaw hours. I'm in lit, but M&A folks in my office routinely bill 300+ hours months, all-nighters, weekends, etc.

But, there is no expectation that associates stay in the office until a certain time. And in my own biased view, your quality of life is markedly improved when you can finish your work at night at your house in the suburbs instead of a tiny apartment.

If I were you, I'd choose the market I want to be in long term, slog out another couple years in a firm, and then since you're in corporate, look in house.

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