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Big Law or In-House in mid-30s

Posted: Wed Oct 17, 2018 1:15 am
by modernoblomov
Assuming I graduate when I’m 34, how is older age looked on at big firms and/or those practicing in-house?

My sense is that a firm won’t expect a mid-30 year old to be putting in 70-90 hr weeks...Maybe in-house is different?

And for those who are in this position, what are the dynamics like? Since you’re likely working with associates in their 20s, how has it been navigating?

Re: Big Law or In-House in mid-30s

Posted: Wed Oct 17, 2018 9:19 am
by totesTheGoat
It's very difficult to go in-house directly from law school. Probably not a good idea to hang your hat on that plan.

Biglaw isn't going to care too much about a person being in their mid-30s. You're still going to be expected to put in the hours and start from the bottom rung of the ladder. If you have trouble taking instruction from people 5 years younger than you, you should probably think twice about things. If you don't mind that dynamic, nobody else will either.

Companies don't care about a person being in their mid-30s either. Most of my coworkers are in their mid-30s, and they're expected to have skills and experience commensurate with a 5 year biglaw veteran. Would we take a mid-30s entry level hire if we were looking for an entry level candidate? Sure! Just like in every other situation, it's about whether you can contribute and whether you're a good fit to the culture. Your age doesn't really factor in.

Re: Big Law or In-House in mid-30s

Posted: Wed Oct 17, 2018 10:18 am
by QContinuum
You wouldn't stand out at all (either positively/negatively) so long as you don't make it an issue yourself. Plenty of folks graduate law school in their late 20s; 34 is several years older than usual, true, but it's not so far apart that people would take one look at you and do a double-take. I don't think I could reliably distinguish, say, a 29-year-old from a 34-year-old at a glance, and I'd venture to guess most people can't do that either.

Assuming your school is one that places well into BigLaw, you should expect to start in BigLaw and work there for at least a few years before going in-house. It is possible to start in-house, but it is still fairly uncommon and not something you should count on.