Is it possible to intra-office transfer to a new city while retaining current office status?

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Is it possible to intra-office transfer to a new city while retaining current office status?

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Oct 15, 2020 5:10 pm

I'm pretty sure the normal answer to this is no, but under current COVID conditions I'm wondering if there's some lee-way. Say I wanted to transfer from an office on NY salary-scale and 2,000 hours requirement to an office with less hours and salary. Could I continue to work with the same partners, keep the same hours/salary, and practice the same jurisdiction's law with that bar admission semi-permanently?
I'm basically doing this now while working out of the office in a different city but looking for a semblance of stability in future planning. I don't want to transfer and take a pay cut while doing the same job, but it seems since remote work is the status quo and those adjustments have been made, this could be feasible.

12YrsAnAssociate

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Re: Is it possible to intra-office transfer to a new city while retaining current office status?

Post by 12YrsAnAssociate » Thu Oct 15, 2020 6:02 pm

I'd probably just keep doing what you're doing. Chances are, you'll have cover to stay away from the office for at least another year, and if you really protested, even longer. If/when COVID ends, you could point to your year-long track record of successfully working away from the office and make your case. I worked at only one firm that had some offices that were below Cravath scale, but that firm would regularly ding the salaries of people trying to switch offices to the lower of the two offices' rates. The reason they did this--and did it in the direction that always hurt the associate's compensation--was because they could.

2013

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Re: Is it possible to intra-office transfer to a new city while retaining current office status?

Post by 2013 » Thu Oct 15, 2020 6:53 pm

I know someone who did this. They got to keep their market salary for a year, then at review time, partnership decided to change course and moved them to the lower scale. At the end of the day, partners care about their pay. If they are paying you more unnecessarily, they will fix that.

smorgasbord

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Re: Is it possible to intra-office transfer to a new city while retaining current office status?

Post by smorgasbord » Fri Oct 16, 2020 9:05 am

I personally haven't done this, but aware of others who have, and salary has always become a sticking point. Anecdotally, I have heard of folks staying on the major market scale for one or two years and then transitioning down to whatever the applicable secondary market scale is.

In terms of work assignments, if you have good relationships with the partners you're currently working with, you will likely continue to get work from them. I think pre-COVID it would have been harder to gin up work from other partners who you were not close to or did not see by virtue of having moved to another office, but that may be changing as people get used to working remotely. I would however still expect some challenges as it will be a little harder to get to know the folks at the new office if people are still generally remote and that may create gaps in workflow and impact your hours.

If you do move to another office permanently, you should expect the firm will ask you to join that state's bar. They do not want to get dinged with any liability for potentially practicing law in another jurisdiction without a license so I would expect they will give you a year to become barred in that state.

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