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2 year class cut

Posted: Mon Aug 31, 2020 3:52 pm
by Anonymous User
I lateraled earlier this year to a new (but related) practice (during COVID, so I think I was justified in thinking I had little negotiating leverage) where I took a 2 year class cut, with the caveat that the hiring partner said it doesn't benefit the firm to keep me lower than what I "should" be.

After a few months at the new firm, I think I've proven to be beyond the level I am now. Any downside to asking for a year bump (so that I would be 1 year behind my law school year), at least for next year? The way I see it, the increase in my salary is less money than the increase in the money coming into the firm at the higher billing rate (assuming I bill 2000 hours, which is a safe assumption) so this is sort of a win-win, unless I'm missing something. Let's just assume that our clients are good about paying the bills and not having time written off.

For what it's worth, I'm at a V30 that did not cut salaries and is doing ok, not great, financially. I'm annualizing 2300 hours this year.

Re: 2 year class cut

Posted: Mon Aug 31, 2020 4:46 pm
by Anonymous User
The only long-term factor that comes to mind is by keeping your current class year you have a longer run way to running into the "partner or out" day. Given the economy, if I were you, I'd probably stay at the current year level and "progress" as is for another year before considering making that request (if you still want to). That way you have more pull and track record at this new firm and hopefully by then less job security concerns as COVID-19 will hopefully be under control by then.

Re: 2 year class cut

Posted: Mon Aug 31, 2020 11:31 pm
by Anonymous User
If you bill 2300 hours and are already working in the capacity of a person the class-year ahead of you, go for it. The work has definitely changed for me each class-year and even if I excelled the year before, in retrospect, it wasn't a guarantee I would excel the upcoming year in my new role, and often times there are growing pains.

If you bump up class-years, there will be a higher expectation of your role and your work product, and less of a leash for growing pains.

Re: 2 year class cut

Posted: Tue Sep 01, 2020 8:31 am
by objctnyrhnr
This comes down to three things, I think: how up or out is our firm and what happens to 9th/10th year associates typically, how important is that financial boost to you right now, and how long do you intend to stay in biglaw (related to #1).

Answer those 3 questions and the solution Re what to do (or not do) will become clear.

Re: 2 year class cut

Posted: Tue Sep 01, 2020 1:02 pm
by Anonymous User
objctnyrhnr wrote:
Tue Sep 01, 2020 8:31 am
This comes down to three things, I think: how up or out is our firm and what happens to 9th/10th year associates typically, how important is that financial boost to you right now, and how long do you intend to stay in biglaw (related to #1).

Answer those 3 questions and the solution Re what to do (or not do) will become clear.
Agree with this. A few people I know at my firm switched practice groups and took a class year cut. All seem to be performing above their class year. Some have asked to be boosted up by a year and they seem to get it (but that's after about a year of solid work with the new group).

From my perspective, I'd rather be over-performing for my class year than under-performing (or even meeting expectations) to get paid more. If that lets me last even just a year longer in biglaw overall, I think it is worth it both financially and from a long-term career perspective. Your next employer won't know you were technically being paid at a lower class year. They will just look at your total post law school experience.

And it probably won't make a difference in the work you actually receive. Most partners/senior associates don't seem to be super aware of class years and focus more on what role they can staff you for and how much they can delegate to you.