BigLaw longevity in NYC Finance? Forum

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BigLaw longevity in NYC Finance?

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Nov 24, 2022 4:32 am

Assuming you never build up a book and make real partner, how possible is it to just continue in perpetuity as a senior in NYC finance biglaw (as a counsel, NEP, etc.)? Can you just bounce from firm to firm as needed for a couple decades?

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Monochromatic Oeuvre

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Re: BigLaw longevity in NYC Finance?

Post by Monochromatic Oeuvre » Thu Nov 24, 2022 11:43 am

Perma-counseling is a thing these days across most practice groups in most major areas. At many firms, someone who is well liked and hits their hours could do it forever without ever bringing in a client.

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Re: BigLaw longevity in NYC Finance?

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Nov 24, 2022 12:04 pm

Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:
Thu Nov 24, 2022 11:43 am
Perma-counseling is a thing these days across most practice groups in most major areas. At many firms, someone who is well liked and hits their hours could do it forever without ever bringing in a client.
Adjacent question, but how does this (and just generally, partnership) look at firms with heavily institutionalized client bases, where it seems like there is more relationship maintenance than client development

Sackboy

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Re: BigLaw longevity in NYC Finance?

Post by Sackboy » Thu Nov 24, 2022 3:15 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Thu Nov 24, 2022 12:04 pm
Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:
Thu Nov 24, 2022 11:43 am
Perma-counseling is a thing these days across most practice groups in most major areas. At many firms, someone who is well liked and hits their hours could do it forever without ever bringing in a client.
Adjacent question, but how does this (and just generally, partnership) look at firms with heavily institutionalized client bases, where it seems like there is more relationship maintenance than client development
Nobody is bringing in clients to make equity partner at a V10. You're making yourself indispensable to one or more institutional clients, and their work with the firm continues to grow to the point where it can make sense to elevate you to equity.

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Re: BigLaw longevity in NYC Finance?

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Nov 24, 2022 3:43 pm

Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:
Thu Nov 24, 2022 11:43 am
Perma-counseling is a thing these days across most practice groups in most major areas. At many firms, someone who is well liked and hits their hours could do it forever without ever bringing in a client.
Is perma-counseling a good gig from a financial standpoint, or would you be better off taking equity in a company as in-house?

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LittleRedCorvette

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Re: BigLaw longevity in NYC Finance?

Post by LittleRedCorvette » Fri Nov 25, 2022 12:54 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Thu Nov 24, 2022 3:43 pm
Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:
Thu Nov 24, 2022 11:43 am
Perma-counseling is a thing these days across most practice groups in most major areas. At many firms, someone who is well liked and hits their hours could do it forever without ever bringing in a client.
Is perma-counseling a good gig from a financial standpoint, or would you be better off taking equity in a company as in-house?
Pretty hard to answer this question. Perma-counsel is making ~600k (or maybe more) a year forever, which is pretty sweet. Equity could be worthless in-house or could make you a multi-millionaire.

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Re: BigLaw longevity in NYC Finance?

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Nov 25, 2022 2:39 pm

LittleRedCorvette wrote:
Fri Nov 25, 2022 12:54 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Thu Nov 24, 2022 3:43 pm
Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:
Thu Nov 24, 2022 11:43 am
Perma-counseling is a thing these days across most practice groups in most major areas. At many firms, someone who is well liked and hits their hours could do it forever without ever bringing in a client.
Is perma-counseling a good gig from a financial standpoint, or would you be better off taking equity in a company as in-house?
Pretty hard to answer this question. Perma-counsel is making ~600k (or maybe more) a year forever, which is pretty sweet. Equity could be worthless in-house or could make you a multi-millionaire.
Most permacounsel don't consider their job "sweet". They are grinding out 2k hours a year of boring legal work effectively as employees of people in their class year (or younger), who are making 2-10x+ comp. It's a pretty sad default job you end up with if you can't get promoted to (or are unwilling/unable to handle the lifestyle demands of) making partner, but are too risk averse to leave the law firm world and give up your guaranteed $500k/year.

It's difficult to compare to in-house because a lot of permacounsel don't have the personality fit for the high risk/reward in-house gigs, and if they went in-house would end up in some bank or large corporate gig that feels a lot like being in a law firm.

Basically, from what I see, the people who end up as permacounsel are there because they don't have anything better to do, not because they see it as a particularly exciting job.

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Re: BigLaw longevity in NYC Finance?

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Nov 25, 2022 3:36 pm

That’s such a pessimistic view. Earning $600k a year is a top 1% salary in the US, let alone globally, and up there with what many medical specialists are paid.

A lot of the downsides you provide are egocentric, like who cares what someone else is earning…even if you’re a partner at Wachtell, you can always find executives who out-earn you many times over. Do NFL players refuse to ply their craft because a teammate is earning much more?

Also, a lot of counsel have reduced hour requirements to allow them to complete business development (but with large bonus kickers if they hit high billable targets).

Counsel roles are also often (not always) lower pressure, especially at V50 firms with higher leverage ratios where partners are supervising multiple matters being run by a number of associates. I’m a senior associate and my life is pretty chill, whereas I know ppl who got made up are having a rough time of it.

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Re: BigLaw longevity in NYC Finance?

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Nov 25, 2022 4:25 pm

If you’re a perma counsel and get laid off/pushed out at some point, are you dead in the water? Or is it easy enough to hop over to some other firm as a perma counsel?

I’d be worried you’d be too senior to do that, since getting a perma counsel gig at one firm is so heavily based on your internal reputation (which isn’t really portable to other firms). But maybe that’s a misunderstanding

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Anonymous User
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Re: BigLaw longevity in NYC Finance?

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Nov 25, 2022 5:03 pm

So long as you’re decent at your job (which at counsel level you should be), (1) you’re unlikely to be let go and (2) there will always be someone in biglaw who can benefit from your expertise.

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Re: BigLaw longevity in NYC Finance?

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Nov 25, 2022 5:03 pm

Double post.

fire_ice

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Re: BigLaw longevity in NYC Finance?

Post by fire_ice » Fri Nov 25, 2022 8:23 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Nov 25, 2022 2:39 pm
LittleRedCorvette wrote:
Fri Nov 25, 2022 12:54 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Thu Nov 24, 2022 3:43 pm
Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:
Thu Nov 24, 2022 11:43 am
Perma-counseling is a thing these days across most practice groups in most major areas. At many firms, someone who is well liked and hits their hours could do it forever without ever bringing in a client.
Is perma-counseling a good gig from a financial standpoint, or would you be better off taking equity in a company as in-house?
Pretty hard to answer this question. Perma-counsel is making ~600k (or maybe more) a year forever, which is pretty sweet. Equity could be worthless in-house or could make you a multi-millionaire.
Most permacounsel don't consider their job "sweet". They are grinding out 2k hours a year of boring legal work effectively as employees of people in their class year (or younger), who are making 2-10x+ comp. It's a pretty sad default job you end up with if you can't get promoted to (or are unwilling/unable to handle the lifestyle demands of) making partner, but are too risk averse to leave the law firm world and give up your guaranteed $500k/year.

It's difficult to compare to in-house because a lot of permacounsel don't have the personality fit for the high risk/reward in-house gigs, and if they went in-house would end up in some bank or large corporate gig that feels a lot like being in a law firm.

Basically, from what I see, the people who end up as permacounsel are there because they don't have anything better to do, not because they see it as a particularly exciting job.
Bro why is it sad when another alternative is you get pushed out/let go. Also why did you pick legal career if you are looking for high risk/reward gig?

Anonymous User
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Re: BigLaw longevity in NYC Finance?

Post by Anonymous User » Fri Nov 25, 2022 10:09 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Fri Nov 25, 2022 2:39 pm
LittleRedCorvette wrote:
Fri Nov 25, 2022 12:54 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Thu Nov 24, 2022 3:43 pm
Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:
Thu Nov 24, 2022 11:43 am
Perma-counseling is a thing these days across most practice groups in most major areas. At many firms, someone who is well liked and hits their hours could do it forever without ever bringing in a client.
Is perma-counseling a good gig from a financial standpoint, or would you be better off taking equity in a company as in-house?
Pretty hard to answer this question. Perma-counsel is making ~600k (or maybe more) a year forever, which is pretty sweet. Equity could be worthless in-house or could make you a multi-millionaire.
Most permacounsel don't consider their job "sweet". They are grinding out 2k hours a year of boring legal work effectively as employees of people in their class year (or younger), who are making 2-10x+ comp. It's a pretty sad default job you end up with if you can't get promoted to (or are unwilling/unable to handle the lifestyle demands of) making partner, but are too risk averse to leave the law firm world and give up your guaranteed $500k/year.

It's difficult to compare to in-house because a lot of permacounsel don't have the personality fit for the high risk/reward in-house gigs, and if they went in-house would end up in some bank or large corporate gig that feels a lot like being in a law firm.

Basically, from what I see, the people who end up as permacounsel are there because they don't have anything better to do, not because they see it as a particularly exciting job.
There are many many people who would consider making 600k a year forever an incredible, life changing position to be in, and they would certainly not describe it as a "a sad a default job." Also, I can't imagine many permacounsel would say they don't want to leave because they have nothing better to do; they may just be risk-averse and comfortable making half a million dollars annually.

Anonymous User
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Re: BigLaw longevity in NYC Finance?

Post by Anonymous User » Thu Dec 01, 2022 12:45 am

$600k isn’t very much in high cost areas, which is likely where you’ll be as a permacounsel—especially if you have a family. You’re also treated as a workhorse for someone making at least 3x more than you (and possibly younger than you). Why not become a partner and make that 3x yourself (or get on the path towards it). You’ll be working just as much. I’m at this crossroad myself at the moment.

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