Firm Enforcement of Clawbacks Forum

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Firm Enforcement of Clawbacks

Post by Anonymous User » Sat Nov 13, 2021 2:55 pm

Which firms are known to enforce provisions requiring associates to pay the firm for certain benefits (e.g., moving expenses, bar costs) when leaving before the required time period? Would like to switch firms but paying all that back would essentially make lateralling a net loss unless I could get a good signing bonus and my practice area isn’t one of the “hot” ones right now.

Anonymous User
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Re: Firm Enforcement of Clawbacks

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Nov 15, 2021 4:24 pm

Lateraled from K&E before end of first-year -- no clawback enforcement as yet.

enibs

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Re: Firm Enforcement of Clawbacks

Post by enibs » Mon Nov 15, 2021 11:27 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Nov 13, 2021 2:55 pm
Which firms are known to enforce provisions requiring associates to pay the firm for certain benefits (e.g., moving expenses, bar costs) when leaving before the required time period? Would like to switch firms but paying all that back would essentially make lateralling a net loss unless I could get a good signing bonus and my practice area isn’t one of the “hot” ones right now.
Am I the only one bothered by the attitude of “what can I get away with”? If you received benefits as a quid pro quo to your agreement to specified obligations, what causes you to believe you’re entitled to keep the benefits when you don’t fulfill your obligations? A firm can’t require you to work for them if you don’t want to, but any benefits you received in exchange for a commitment to stay for a specified time period should be returned if you don’t hold up your end of the bargain.

Lesion of Doom

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Re: Firm Enforcement of Clawbacks

Post by Lesion of Doom » Tue Nov 16, 2021 12:29 am

enibs wrote:
Mon Nov 15, 2021 11:27 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Nov 13, 2021 2:55 pm
Which firms are known to enforce provisions requiring associates to pay the firm for certain benefits (e.g., moving expenses, bar costs) when leaving before the required time period? Would like to switch firms but paying all that back would essentially make lateralling a net loss unless I could get a good signing bonus and my practice area isn’t one of the “hot” ones right now.
Am I the only one bothered by the attitude of “what can I get away with”? If you received benefits as a quid pro quo to your agreement to specified obligations, what causes you to believe you’re entitled to keep the benefits when you don’t fulfill your obligations? A firm can’t require you to work for them if you don’t want to, but any benefits you received in exchange for a commitment to stay for a specified time period should be returned if you don’t hold up your end of the bargain.
If you want to talk about ethics, let's consider the obfuscating that firms do during the hiring process and the willful and chronic mistreatment of employees.

Also, can't speak for the OP, but both clawback provisions I've received were written as "reserves the right to" so it's not like the employee owes anything. It's up to the firm whether to pursue, and OP was asking simply which firms are more or less likely to do so.

Anonymous User
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Re: Firm Enforcement of Clawbacks

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Nov 16, 2021 12:53 am

There's a difference between taking a signing bonus and quitting the next day, and using a moving subsidy but then moving on after 10 months instead of a full year.

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Anonymous User
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Re: Firm Enforcement of Clawbacks

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Nov 16, 2021 11:54 am

enibs wrote:
Mon Nov 15, 2021 11:27 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Nov 13, 2021 2:55 pm
Which firms are known to enforce provisions requiring associates to pay the firm for certain benefits (e.g., moving expenses, bar costs) when leaving before the required time period? Would like to switch firms but paying all that back would essentially make lateralling a net loss unless I could get a good signing bonus and my practice area isn’t one of the “hot” ones right now.
Am I the only one bothered by the attitude of “what can I get away with”? If you received benefits as a quid pro quo to your agreement to specified obligations, what causes you to believe you’re entitled to keep the benefits when you don’t fulfill your obligations? A firm can’t require you to work for them if you don’t want to, but any benefits you received in exchange for a commitment to stay for a specified time period should be returned if you don’t hold up your end of the bargain.
Absolutely nothing in OP's post suggests "What can I get away with" or "entitl[ment]." This is a very fair question, since some (many?) firms will not enforce a clawback to an associate who leaves on good terms.

Anonymous User
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Re: Firm Enforcement of Clawbacks

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Nov 16, 2021 12:01 pm

Also interested in this question. I am a first year and have realized that I don't want to have anything to do with the legal profession whatsoever. I've found something else I am more interested in and will be leaving to pursue that. I am wondering if a firm would be more understanding given that I want to leave for a total career change rather than to go to some other law job. Also I won't have another job to go to when I leave because I'll need to re-train, which is another reason I'm hoping they might be willing to let it go.

Anonymous User
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Re: Firm Enforcement of Clawbacks

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Nov 16, 2021 1:20 pm

enibs wrote:
Mon Nov 15, 2021 11:27 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Sat Nov 13, 2021 2:55 pm
Which firms are known to enforce provisions requiring associates to pay the firm for certain benefits (e.g., moving expenses, bar costs) when leaving before the required time period? Would like to switch firms but paying all that back would essentially make lateralling a net loss unless I could get a good signing bonus and my practice area isn’t one of the “hot” ones right now.
Am I the only one bothered by the attitude of “what can I get away with”? If you received benefits as a quid pro quo to your agreement to specified obligations, what causes you to believe you’re entitled to keep the benefits when you don’t fulfill your obligations? A firm can’t require you to work for them if you don’t want to, but any benefits you received in exchange for a commitment to stay for a specified time period should be returned if you don’t hold up your end of the bargain.
Valid point, I think anyone who leaves early should have the reserves ready to pay it back. Hopefully the firm doesn’t ask but you should be ready to write the check.

Anonymous User
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Re: Firm Enforcement of Clawbacks

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Nov 16, 2021 2:16 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Nov 16, 2021 12:01 pm
Also interested in this question. I am a first year and have realized that I don't want to have anything to do with the legal profession whatsoever. I've found something else I am more interested in and will be leaving to pursue that. I am wondering if a firm would be more understanding given that I want to leave for a total career change rather than to go to some other law job. Also I won't have another job to go to when I leave because I'll need to re-train, which is another reason I'm hoping they might be willing to let it go.
Who knows, but I doubt a firm would care enough for it to impact their response one way or another. I also don't know how forthcoming I would be about future plans generally with my employer, but maybe I am paranoid. I would proceed on a need-to-know basis and I don't think anyone will press, especially if you have hardly been at the firm at all.

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Anonymous User
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Re: Firm Enforcement of Clawbacks

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Nov 16, 2021 6:54 pm

STB enforces clawbacks

Anonymous User
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Re: Firm Enforcement of Clawbacks

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Nov 16, 2021 11:44 pm

OP here. I’m fully prepared to pay the firm back for the expenses if I leave early and they ask me to do so. That said, the additional expenses are a factor I’d need to consider before making the jump. I’m hoping to gather more information so I can make an informed decision if/when the time comes.

Anyone have other firms that have/haven’t required associates leaving to repay expenses? Hoping we can get a solid list going so that people considering leaving firms can have all the facts before deciding to leave and/or when negotiating with prospective employers.

Anonymous User
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Re: Firm Enforcement of Clawbacks

Post by Anonymous User » Wed Nov 17, 2021 11:16 pm

Anyone know about Hogan Lovells?

hdr

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Re: Firm Enforcement of Clawbacks

Post by hdr » Thu Nov 18, 2021 11:29 am

No firm is going to take you to court. I know multiple departing associates who were told to return their clerkship bonus and refused. The partners gave some spiel about the commitment they made, their reputation in the profession, etc., but ultimately did nothing.

Anonymous User
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Re: Firm Enforcement of Clawbacks

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Jan 25, 2022 7:55 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Nov 16, 2021 6:54 pm
STB enforces clawbacks
Bump on firms enforcing clawbacks. Does it matter how close you are to the cliff?

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