Is the grass greener (should I try to move) Forum

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Is the grass greener (should I try to move)

Post by Anonymous User » Mon Nov 21, 2022 11:30 pm

So I moved home to tertiary market (think Cleveland, Minneapolis, etc) hometown from v5 nyc firm for family reasons. Chose to go to a hometown firm (200ish lawyers) instead of trying to go to a local branch of big law firm with a small office in my hometown (there are a couple amlaw 50s that are close to cravath scale. . My two big factors were a good shot at long-term success at the firm and work-life balance. I placed high value on opportunity to make equity. My family is here and I'm very happy I made the move.

The hometown firm is paying me ~300k all in including bonus(6th year) so it’s a decent sized pay cut, but senior partners are telling me I have a great chance at equity and they are backing up that proposal by getting me in with clients and providing me the tools to get to equity. All my work is with the head of my group who is a rainmaker. The matters are definitely smaller but I find the work interesting enough and I don’t have to work weekends and pretty much am done by 530 every night and get to spend lots of time with family. Equity partners make 500-700k+

The question now is whether I should try instead to switch to a local office of a more national firm to make more money Making equity at a biglaw firm seems impossible enough and adding in being in a satellite office…seems a fools errand. I would then have to figure out else out in the next 4-6 years anyways.

I guess my question is: do you guys think I should try for equity here, or try to jump to local big law branch for a few years to increase near-term earnings.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Tue Nov 22, 2022 9:40 am, edited 1 time in total.

Lawman1865

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Re: Is the grass greener (should I try to move)

Post by Lawman1865 » Tue Nov 22, 2022 9:39 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Nov 21, 2022 11:30 pm
So I moved home to tertiary market (think Cleveland, Minneapolis, etc) hometown from v5 nyc firm to be near family and to get to spend time with my new baby. Chose to go to a hometown firm (200ish lawyers) instead of trying to go to a biglaw firm with a small office in hometown. My two big factors were good shot at longterm success at the firm and work life balance. I placed high value on opportunity to make equity. Family is here and very happy I made the move.

The hometown firm is paying me ~300k all in including bonus(6th year) so it’s a decent sized pay cut, but senior attorneys are telling me I have a great chance at equity and they are backing up that proposal by getting me in with clients and providing me the tools to get to equity. All my work is with the head of my group who is a rainmaker. The matters are definitely smaller but I find the work interesting enough and I don’t have to work weekends and pretty much am done by530 every night and get to spend lots of time with family. Equity partners make 500-700k+

The question now is whether I should try instead to switch to a local office of a more national firm to make more money (a couple firms are close to but not quite at cravath) Money is really the only driving factor here. If I can even get in at a firm, a local biglaw definitely offers more short term money, but I’m worried about my chances at equity/job security and then I’m a super senior counsel in a tertiary market and I may have to switch to a hometown firm like where I’m at now anyways. Making equity at a biglaw firm seems impossivle enough and adding in being in a satellite office…seems a fools errand. Then I would have to take the paycut anyways and it would be more drastic.
I would assume I would also have to work a lot more in one of these local offices and be top of the heap if cuts occur.

I know this is rambling I am just so on the fence of whether to make a run at equity here or just try another big law and don’t know what to do. Does it become harder to jump back into big law the longer I am at hometown firm or would they still take me as a 5th year or something.
I think you need to sit down and really think about what your goals are. You make reference to short term or long term money, and I think from that perspective, I think your conclusion is probably right. While I don't think your prospects would be terrible after you've spent a few years at a local biglaw satellite, you have to decide if its worth it for those years to then come back to a firm like the one you are currently at, and also to be working potentially significantly more hours. Also considering the local market, be aware of your reputation if you leave this new job soon after joining.

But putting aside the direct money comparison, what other goals do you look at. There is the long-term career aspect and also the work-life balance. I know plenty of people who would be extraordinarily happy for a 300k job with equity prospects that finishes 5:30 PM. Do the partners also finish early/not work weekends? Are you in "need" of extra cash or just not wanting to leave money on the table if you can get it? Do you enjoy the work and would be happy doing it for an indefinite period of time?

Anyway, assuming the compensation will go up and you hit your bonus, it sounds like something I would be happy with (and something I am currently aiming towards) once I "exit" from biglaw, but it is up to you to look at your goals and decide what is best for you.

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papermateflair

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Re: Is the grass greener (should I try to move)

Post by papermateflair » Tue Nov 22, 2022 11:24 am

Lawman1865 wrote:
Tue Nov 22, 2022 9:39 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Nov 21, 2022 11:30 pm
So I moved home to tertiary market (think Cleveland, Minneapolis, etc) hometown from v5 nyc firm to be near family and to get to spend time with my new baby. Chose to go to a hometown firm (200ish lawyers) instead of trying to go to a biglaw firm with a small office in hometown. My two big factors were good shot at longterm success at the firm and work life balance. I placed high value on opportunity to make equity. Family is here and very happy I made the move.

The hometown firm is paying me ~300k all in including bonus(6th year) so it’s a decent sized pay cut, but senior attorneys are telling me I have a great chance at equity and they are backing up that proposal by getting me in with clients and providing me the tools to get to equity. All my work is with the head of my group who is a rainmaker. The matters are definitely smaller but I find the work interesting enough and I don’t have to work weekends and pretty much am done by530 every night and get to spend lots of time with family. Equity partners make 500-700k+

The question now is whether I should try instead to switch to a local office of a more national firm to make more money (a couple firms are close to but not quite at cravath) Money is really the only driving factor here. If I can even get in at a firm, a local biglaw definitely offers more short term money, but I’m worried about my chances at equity/job security and then I’m a super senior counsel in a tertiary market and I may have to switch to a hometown firm like where I’m at now anyways. Making equity at a biglaw firm seems impossivle enough and adding in being in a satellite office…seems a fools errand. Then I would have to take the paycut anyways and it would be more drastic.
I would assume I would also have to work a lot more in one of these local offices and be top of the heap if cuts occur.

I know this is rambling I am just so on the fence of whether to make a run at equity here or just try another big law and don’t know what to do. Does it become harder to jump back into big law the longer I am at hometown firm or would they still take me as a 5th year or something.
I think you need to sit down and really think about what your goals are. You make reference to short term or long term money, and I think from that perspective, I think your conclusion is probably right. While I don't think your prospects would be terrible after you've spent a few years at a local biglaw satellite, you have to decide if its worth it for those years to then come back to a firm like the one you are currently at, and also to be working potentially significantly more hours. Also considering the local market, be aware of your reputation if you leave this new job soon after joining.

But putting aside the direct money comparison, what other goals do you look at. There is the long-term career aspect and also the work-life balance. I know plenty of people who would be extraordinarily happy for a 300k job with equity prospects that finishes 5:30 PM. Do the partners also finish early/not work weekends? Are you in "need" of extra cash or just not wanting to leave money on the table if you can get it? Do you enjoy the work and would be happy doing it for an indefinite period of time?

Anyway, assuming the compensation will go up and you hit your bonus, it sounds like something I would be happy with (and something I am currently aiming towards) once I "exit" from biglaw, but it is up to you to look at your goals and decide what is best for you.
Agree with this. What are your goals? If it's to maximize money in the short term, that's one thing. If it's to maximize your income long term, is the extra $200k/year over the next 3-5 years worth it? Are you willing to take a risk that you're locked out of equity partnership if things don't work out in biglaw and you can't land a role back in midlaw? $200k a year is a big difference over the next few years, but I think you need to think about it on a longer time horizon - what do you need to stay steady in your job for years?

This is really about what kind of life you and your family want to live. Do you want to be home for dinner, or do you want/need the extra money? Can you be satisfied with a job where you work hard and do your best but don't maximize your best case financial scenario? Are you trying to retire early, so more money now is preferable? Does your family have additional financial needs (aging parents, a child with an expensive medical situation) that the extra funds in the short term could help relieve some of the burden on?

Personally, leaving at 5:30 every day for $300k/year and on a path to equity partnership in the next few years where you'll make $500k-$700k sounds amazing. I would take that job in a heartbeat. Not sure what your local biglaw options pay to non-equity partners, but in a tertiary market I assume they'll be in the $500k-$800k range anyway even if you can swing a promotion to partner in biglaw.

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Re: Is the grass greener (should I try to move)

Post by Wubbles » Tue Nov 22, 2022 11:34 am

You already have the dream job many are looking for, I wouldn't give it up.

TigerIsBack

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Re: Is the grass greener (should I try to move)

Post by TigerIsBack » Tue Nov 22, 2022 11:39 am

I'd add that I'm guessing if the biglaw firm is one with offices in the cities you mentioned, they almost certainly have a massive footprint (think DLA, Dentons, Morgan Lewis), and almost certainly have a 2 tier partnership where equity will be very, very hard to come by so realistically, if you even make partner there, you'd probably be making $500k-$700k the rest of your career (and maybe less given the market sounds like it's below Cravath), and working significantly more.

But the firm you're at gives you a realistic shot at that same pay, but where you're the equity partner (i.e., you're in charge of the deals/cases and can direct busy work down the chain) and get to go home at a reasonable time without weekends? Take that gig and run...

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Re: Is the grass greener (should I try to move)

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Nov 22, 2022 7:35 pm

Lawman1865 wrote:
Tue Nov 22, 2022 9:39 am
Anonymous User wrote:
Mon Nov 21, 2022 11:30 pm
So I moved home to tertiary market (think Cleveland, Minneapolis, etc) hometown from v5 nyc firm to be near family and to get to spend time with my new baby. Chose to go to a hometown firm (200ish lawyers) instead of trying to go to a biglaw firm with a small office in hometown. My two big factors were good shot at longterm success at the firm and work life balance. I placed high value on opportunity to make equity. Family is here and very happy I made the move.

But putting aside the direct money comparison, what other goals do you look at. There is the long-term career aspect and also the work-life balance. I know plenty of people who would be extraordinarily happy for a 300k job with equity prospects that finishes 5:30 PM. Do the partners also finish early/not work weekends? Are you in "need" of extra cash or just not wanting to leave money on the table if you can get it? Do you enjoy the work and would be happy doing it for an indefinite period of time?

I generally enjoy the work and could see myself doing it long term (not the most exciting, but fulfilling enough given hours/pay). Yeah, the partners (occasionally to my frustration) often time sign off at 6 or earlier and are just unavailable after that. I don't really take my phone with me on the weekend unless there is an active deal which has only happened like two weekends this year.

I mostly just don't want to leave cash on the table. I wouldn't say I NEED cash right now. I will need more cash as I get more senior.

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Re: Is the grass greener (should I try to move)

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Nov 22, 2022 7:49 pm

papermateflair wrote:
Tue Nov 22, 2022 11:24 am


Agree with this. What are your goals? If it's to maximize money in the short term, that's one thing. If it's to maximize your income long term, is the extra $200k/year over the next 3-5 years worth it? Are you willing to take a risk that you're locked out of equity partnership if things don't work out in biglaw and you can't land a role back in midlaw? $200k a year is a big difference over the next few years, but I think you need to think about it on a longer time horizon - what do you need to stay steady in your job for years?

This is really about what kind of life you and your family want to live. Do you want to be home for dinner, or do you want/need the extra money? Can you be satisfied with a job where you work hard and do your best but don't maximize your best case financial scenario? Are you trying to retire early, so more money now is preferable? Does your family have additional financial needs (aging parents, a child with an expensive medical situation) that the extra funds in the short term could help relieve some of the burden on?

Personally, leaving at 5:30 every day for $300k/year and on a path to equity partnership in the next few years where you'll make $500k-$700k sounds amazing. I would take that job in a heartbeat. Not sure what your local biglaw options pay to non-equity partners, but in a tertiary market I assume they'll be in the $500k-$800k range anyway even if you can swing a promotion to partner in biglaw.
Goal is to maximize money long term I think. I knew id be taking a short money hit, but I just hate taking such a cut its a weird thing our profession does where almost everyone's income goes down at some point.

Being home for dinner is critical. Covid WFH has spoiled me and I don't think I could go back to being away from my family that much. I am not really trying to retire early. Sure I'd love to, but I don't think it is the end all be all for me like it is for some people. Big law seems like the higher risk slightly higher reward, and this seems like the lower risk but lower reward. That is why I am getting hung up. It seems like I've goudn a pretty good setup, I just honestly have time where I'm like, it would be nice to have an extra 5k this month for toys/savings etc. and I realize that if I wanted to I could technically have that.

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Re: Is the grass greener (should I try to move)

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Nov 22, 2022 8:12 pm

TigerIsBack wrote:
Tue Nov 22, 2022 11:39 am
I'd add that I'm guessing if the biglaw firm is one with offices in the cities you mentioned, they almost certainly have a massive footprint (think DLA, Dentons, Morgan Lewis), and almost certainly have a 2 tier partnership where equity will be very, very hard to come by so realistically, if you even make partner there, you'd probably be making $500k-$700k the rest of your career (and maybe less given the market sounds like it's below Cravath), and working significantly more.

But the firm you're at gives you a realistic shot at that same pay, but where you're the equity partner (i.e., you're in charge of the deals/cases and can direct busy work down the chain) and get to go home at a reasonable time without weekends? Take that gig and run...
Is the $500-700k figure you provide based on hard evidence? It’s good to know if so. I’m a recently lateraled senior associate at a peer of one of those firms. My life is awesome right now. Seems like I’m better off not gunning for partner and all the associated responsibilities? I doubt they’ll fire me.

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Re: Is the grass greener (should I try to move)

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Nov 22, 2022 10:27 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Nov 22, 2022 8:12 pm
TigerIsBack wrote:
Tue Nov 22, 2022 11:39 am
I'd add that I'm guessing if the biglaw firm is one with offices in the cities you mentioned, they almost certainly have a massive footprint (think DLA, Dentons, Morgan Lewis), and almost certainly have a 2 tier partnership where equity will be very, very hard to come by so realistically, if you even make partner there, you'd probably be making $500k-$700k the rest of your career (and maybe less given the market sounds like it's below Cravath), and working significantly more.

But the firm you're at gives you a realistic shot at that same pay, but where you're the equity partner (i.e., you're in charge of the deals/cases and can direct busy work down the chain) and get to go home at a reasonable time without weekends? Take that gig and run...
Is the $500-700k figure you provide based on hard evidence? It’s good to know if so. I’m a recently lateraled senior associate at a peer of one of those firms. My life is awesome right now. Seems like I’m better off not gunning for partner and all the associated responsibilities? I doubt they’ll fire me.
Not OP, but as someone that worked at one of these peer firms, I can say that income partners were either at $450k, $500k or $550k, with additional kickers for certain metrics like high hours, but those were hard to hit and amorphous, with the higher target amounts typically correlating at least in my office to people that had been income partners for longer, some 20+ years with no realistic shot at equity ever. But that was back when an 8th year made $415k all in with bonus, so probably a bit higher than that now with seniors making $550k all in, but that was in a major market too so probably also adjust back down for Minneapolis, etc.

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