Secondment as a senior lit associate? Forum

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Is it a bad sign I’m being allowed to go on secondment?

Yes
1
11%
No
8
89%
 
Total votes: 9

Anonymous User
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Secondment as a senior lit associate?

Post by Anonymous User » Wed May 22, 2024 1:47 am

I’m a senior litigation associate at a big law firm, and was asked to go on secondment with a big institutional firm client. I was told the client specifically asked for me to fill an in house role for a few months. I said yes, because I didn’t think it would look good to say no. Now I’m beginning to wonder if this is going to hurt my chances for partnership, and/or if the partners agreed to let me go as an indirect way to show me the door. I’m eligible to apply for partner quite soon, and the secondment opportunity has been framed to me as both a good opportunity to go in house if I want it and good for client relations for when/if I’m a partner one day. Should I be concerned I’m being allowed to go on this secondment? A part of me feels paranoid, that if I were truly valued the partners would try to send someone else instead.

Anonymous User
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Re: Secondment as a senior lit associate?

Post by Anonymous User » Wed May 22, 2024 8:16 am

I think how it’s been sold to you - good for going in-house, good for client relations as a partner - is pretty reasonable. So I don’t think in a vacuum, going on a secondment means they’re trying to get rid of you. If they want you to stick around long term, it makes sense that they’d want you to have that inside view of the client perspective. And being able to get along without you for a few months isn’t a sign that you’re not truly valued - that’s not a long time, it’s comparable to if you took parental leave.

Plus, if it’s a valued client, it also makes sense that they’d 1) want to do as the client asks, and 2) want to send someone who is competent and will represent the firm well. I know the client asked for you specifically (or at least that’s how it’s being described), but the firm wouldn’t agree to that if they thought you’d make a bad impression.

That said, I don’t know your firm, its practice around this kind of thing (have other partners gone on secondments? Have other associates who’ve gone on secondments been eased out of the firm?), or your track record there. So I can’t say for certain what’s going on in your particular case.

Nonetheless, I don’t think there’s any point in worrying that saying yes has hurt your chances for partnership - if they want you to go b/c they don’t want to make you a partner, you saying no isn’t going to change that. I realize that’s not very reassuring to your concerns about what the secondment means, but I don’t think you should second-guess your decision. Even if this is a way to ease you out the door, I think saying yes and getting experience with that client is still valuable.

Anonymous User
Posts: 429426
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Secondment as a senior lit associate?

Post by Anonymous User » Wed May 22, 2024 11:33 am

If they want to push you out, then saying no to the secondment won't change that. If anything, it might just make things worse. If that's what the partners wanna do, then they're trying to find you a good landing spot with this.

If they don't want to push you out, then this sounds positive and they may see this as a chance to develop you into a key relationship person with the client.

I don't really see a downside of doing this, and the "Maybe this means they don't like me" worry is just not very productive. (Not to say I wouldn't be thinking it in your shoes.)

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