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Should I jump ship?

Posted: Tue Mar 13, 2018 2:12 pm
by Tyler_Durden
I'm currently at a mid-sized firm that primarily represents secured and unsecured lenders in financing and restructuring matters. Pay for a second year is close to market at $175k (market rate for a second year is $190k), but it's below market on bonuses. I've been getting heavily recruited by headhunters and one of them convinced me to meet with an AmLaw 50 firm. The AmLaw 50 firm wants me to come back for a second round, but I'm not even sure if I want to leave my current firm, because it's very comfortable. Your insights and opinions would be appreciated.
Considerations for staying:
- current firm is comfortable- easy hours, partners are flexible and understanding. New firm would be more pressure and harder hours.
- work is interesting- Some of the work that I'm currently doing is exactly what I want to be doing.
- Money is near market- sure, I would make $15k + bonus extra somewhere else, but if we divide by the number of hours that I'm actually working, it's a negligible difference. Future compensation is uncertain because my current firm is a black box- they don't publish or talk about their compensation step-ups. I think it's determined on an individual basis.

Considerations for leaving:
- moving up to a larger platform- bigger clients, more well-known attorneys, more challenging work.
- Money- more of it.

Possible options:
- Tell the new firm that I'm genuinely interested in their firm and would strongly consider accepting an offer- puts me in a position where if they do extend an offer, if I reject their offer, I will have burned bridges.
- Tell new firm that I'm happy where I am currently, and I will contact them in the future if I think that a lateral move is the best decision- hopefully this won't burn any bridges.

Thoughts?!

Re: Should I jump ship?

Posted: Tue Mar 13, 2018 2:29 pm
by misterjames
Or option 3, continue interviewing and showing some interest (and it does seem like you have some), get the offer, then go back to your current firm and see if they'll match and/or up your pay? This will really depend on your relationship with partners at the current firm, and also comes with the understanding that if they take it poorly and personally, you might have to jump ship to avoid issues.

Re: Should I jump ship?

Posted: Tue Mar 13, 2018 2:59 pm
by Tyler_Durden
misterjames wrote:Or option 3, continue interviewing and showing some interest (and it does seem like you have some), get the offer, then go back to your current firm and see if they'll match and/or up your pay? This will really depend on your relationship with partners at the current firm, and also comes with the understanding that if they take it poorly and personally, you might have to jump ship to avoid issues.


Knowing the partners at my current firm, I think that they might take this offensively. They know that they pay slightly under market, but they also know that required hourly billing is also much lower than it is for AmLaw firms.

Re: Should I jump ship?

Posted: Tue Mar 13, 2018 3:04 pm
by Anonymous User
For what it's worth many of us would take a bit less money for better hours.

Re: Should I jump ship?

Posted: Tue Mar 13, 2018 3:22 pm
by Tyler_Durden
Anonymous User wrote:For what it's worth many of us would take a bit less money for better hours.


"Many of us" meaning associates at AmLaw 100 firms? Is this the consensus among your peers in large law firms?

Re: Should I jump ship?

Posted: Tue Mar 13, 2018 3:22 pm
by thecatgoesmeow
If I were in a situation where I enjoyed the work, had more flexible hours, and actually really liked the people I worked with, there is no chance I would lateral to another firm where I knew the working conditions would be worse. The difference in pay does not seem substantial enough to walk into a situation that most likely will have a negative impact on your emotional health.

Re: Should I jump ship?

Posted: Tue Mar 13, 2018 3:43 pm
by Anonymous User
thecatgoesmeow wrote:If I were in a situation where I enjoyed the work, had more flexible hours, and actually really liked the people I worked with, there is no chance I would lateral to another firm where I knew the working conditions would be worse. The difference in pay does not seem substantial enough to walk into a situation that most likely will have a negative impact on your emotional health.


Agree with this. Hell, I would take a paycut to be where you're at. V100 corporate associate here.

It's hard to overestimate the benefits of working with good partners. If you get to plan weekends more than 1 day in advance then that's even more of a reason to stay.

Re: Should I jump ship?

Posted: Tue Mar 13, 2018 4:01 pm
by Tyler_Durden
Anonymous User wrote:
thecatgoesmeow wrote:If I were in a situation where I enjoyed the work, had more flexible hours, and actually really liked the people I worked with, there is no chance I would lateral to another firm where I knew the working conditions would be worse. The difference in pay does not seem substantial enough to walk into a situation that most likely will have a negative impact on your emotional health.


Agree with this. Hell, I would take a paycut to be where you're at. V100 corporate associate here.

It's hard to overestimate the benefits of working with good partners. If you get to plan weekends more than 1 day in advance then that's even more of a reason to stay.


I get to plan weekends in advance and even take some days off. BUT, at the AmLaw100 firm, I would have bigger clients, more significant work, and the pay difference would grow every year. My current firm is a black box regarding salary step-ups, but recruiters say that even though my current firm is near market for junior associates, it's vastly below market for mid-level associates.

Re: Should I jump ship?

Posted: Tue Mar 13, 2018 4:31 pm
by jd20132013
this thread is baffling. I guess people really will mess up a good thing if you let them

Re: Should I jump ship?

Posted: Tue Mar 13, 2018 4:40 pm
by Tyler_Durden
jd20132013 wrote:this thread is baffling. I guess people really will mess up a good thing if you let them


Small clients and below market pay VS. Large important clients and market pay

Is it really that easy of a decision? The common sentiment seems to be to stick with the former, does anyone think otherwise?

Re: Should I jump ship?

Posted: Tue Mar 13, 2018 4:44 pm
by smokeylarue
What is your goal in the end? If you like what you do and you envision yourself at a law firm long term and maybe partner some day, I would just stay, you can't beat the lifestyle of these midlaw/regional biglaw shops when the alternative is Biglaw.

If you want to jump to in-house, you should seriously consider lateraling up to Biglaw. I don't know if your firm sends people in-house a lot, if that's the case, then even more reason to stay.

Re: Should I jump ship?

Posted: Tue Mar 13, 2018 5:17 pm
by thecatgoesmeow
Tyler_Durden wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
thecatgoesmeow wrote:If I were in a situation where I enjoyed the work, had more flexible hours, and actually really liked the people I worked with, there is no chance I would lateral to another firm where I knew the working conditions would be worse. The difference in pay does not seem substantial enough to walk into a situation that most likely will have a negative impact on your emotional health.


Agree with this. Hell, I would take a paycut to be where you're at. V100 corporate associate here.

It's hard to overestimate the benefits of working with good partners. If you get to plan weekends more than 1 day in advance then that's even more of a reason to stay.


I get to plan weekends in advance and even take some days off. BUT, at the AmLaw100 firm, I would have bigger clients, more significant work, and the pay difference would grow every year. My current firm is a black box regarding salary step-ups, but recruiters say that even though my current firm is near market for junior associates, it's vastly below market for mid-level associates.


There is a reason you get paid more at V100 firms. They exercise far more control over your life. If money is your goal, then of course going to a V100 makes sense. However, also think about the prospect of bigger clients. These clients tend to be extremely demanding and any increase in your salary will be met with more hours, responsibility, and pressure. I can't emphasize enough how I would take a pay cut if I could take days off, had fewer hours, got to spend more time with my SO. It all comes down to what you prioritize. It sounds like the money and prestige is a big factor for you (and it is for many...no judgment) but you should really consider everything that comes with that and what you would be giving up.

Re: Should I jump ship?

Posted: Tue Mar 13, 2018 5:33 pm
by sparty99
jd20132013 wrote:this thread is baffling. I guess people really will mess up a good thing if you let them


I know right this kid is annoying. Dude, you are an adult and make a lot of money and actually have a life. If you want to chase the money just so you can work more hours, no one cares. You act like you are making $60,000 and will be going to a firm that pays $200k.

Re: Should I jump ship?

Posted: Tue Mar 13, 2018 6:12 pm
by Tyler_Durden
smokeylarue wrote:What is your goal in the end? If you like what you do and you envision yourself at a law firm long term and maybe partner some day, I would just stay, you can't beat the lifestyle of these midlaw/regional biglaw shops when the alternative is Biglaw.

If you want to jump to in-house, you should seriously consider lateraling up to Biglaw. I don't know if your firm sends people in-house a lot, if that's the case, then even more reason to stay.


My priorities (in order of importance):
1. Emotional/Mental health- lack of debilitating stress.
2. Prospect of making partner at a law firm
3. Money

Thanks to all for the advice. I told the recruiter that I'm not interested in moving right now.

Re: Should I jump ship?

Posted: Tue Mar 13, 2018 6:15 pm
by Tyler_Durden
sparty99 wrote:
jd20132013 wrote:this thread is baffling. I guess people really will mess up a good thing if you let them


I know right this kid is annoying. Dude, you are an adult and make a lot of money and actually have a life. If you want to chase the money just so you can work more hours, no one cares. You act like you are making $60,000 and will be going to a firm that pays $200k.


As I formerly stated, the decision is not based entirely on money, money is only one factor. The money gap grows every year. Some people here have been very helpful, your comment was not helpful.

Re: Should I jump ship?

Posted: Tue Mar 13, 2018 6:23 pm
by minnbills
I think you'd be crazy to jump ship on such a good deal to make just a bit more money.

Re: Should I jump ship?

Posted: Tue Mar 13, 2018 6:29 pm
by unlicensedpotato
The only reason to me that makes sense to leave is if you think you only have a few years left at this relative salary level and need to get as much as you can during those years.

Re: Should I jump ship?

Posted: Tue Mar 13, 2018 7:14 pm
by Anonymous User
I think you made a good choice. I work at a regional biglaw firm and my salary is similar to yours. I know that after a few years I’ll be making over 100k less than market associates. But:

1) chances of partnership are fairly good at my firm (non-equity partners make a decent amount), and, more importantly,

2) what are the chances I survive until year 8 at a biglaw firm (very unlikely).

We all think about that senior associate salary + bonus, but reality is that most of Won’t even make it that far.

Re: Should I jump ship?

Posted: Tue Mar 13, 2018 7:33 pm
by Anonymous User
Tyler_Durden wrote:
smokeylarue wrote:What is your goal in the end? If you like what you do and you envision yourself at a law firm long term and maybe partner some day, I would just stay, you can't beat the lifestyle of these midlaw/regional biglaw shops when the alternative is Biglaw.

If you want to jump to in-house, you should seriously consider lateraling up to Biglaw. I don't know if your firm sends people in-house a lot, if that's the case, then even more reason to stay.


My priorities (in order of importance):
1. Emotional/Mental health- lack of debilitating stress.
2. Prospect of making partner at a law firm
3. Money

Thanks to all for the advice. I told the recruiter that I'm not interested in moving right now.


Good choice. There is no guarantee to how long you will stay at a BigLaw firm, and then you'd be looking for a place like the one you're currently at anyway...

Re: Should I jump ship?

Posted: Tue Mar 13, 2018 7:38 pm
by Anonymous User
would you guys agree/give the same advice for a firm in a major market paying 3/4 market and smallish bonuses?

Re: Should I jump ship?

Posted: Wed Mar 14, 2018 10:44 am
by AVBucks4239
Tyler_Durden wrote:Considerations for staying:
- current firm is comfortable- easy hours, partners are flexible and understanding. New firm would be more pressure and harder hours.
- work is interesting- Some of the work that I'm currently doing is exactly what I want to be doing.
- Money is near market- sure, I would make $15k + bonus extra somewhere else, but if we divide by the number of hours that I'm actually working, it's a negligible difference. Future compensation is uncertain because my current firm is a black box- they don't publish or talk about their compensation step-ups. I think it's determined on an individual basis.

Considerations for leaving:
- moving up to a larger platform- bigger clients, more well-known attorneys, more challenging work.
- Money- more of it.

You have to be quite the masochist to even consider leaving your current situation.

Re: Should I jump ship?

Posted: Wed Mar 14, 2018 2:52 pm
by 1styearlateral
Not really sure what you mean by "working with bigger clients." Plenty of Fortune 500 companies hire mid-law, since they get the biglaw quality work for lower rates. The extra $15-20k/year is not worth your sanity.

Re: Should I jump ship?

Posted: Wed Mar 14, 2018 3:01 pm
by Anonymous User
AVBucks4239 wrote:
Tyler_Durden wrote:Considerations for staying:
- current firm is comfortable- easy hours, partners are flexible and understanding. New firm would be more pressure and harder hours.
- work is interesting- Some of the work that I'm currently doing is exactly what I want to be doing.
- Money is near market- sure, I would make $15k + bonus extra somewhere else, but if we divide by the number of hours that I'm actually working, it's a negligible difference. Future compensation is uncertain because my current firm is a black box- they don't publish or talk about their compensation step-ups. I think it's determined on an individual basis.

Considerations for leaving:
- moving up to a larger platform- bigger clients, more well-known attorneys, more challenging work.
- Money- more of it.

You have to be quite the masochist to even consider leaving your current situation.


Agree. Stay.

It sounds to me OP you're likely underestimating how much worse your life will get for the pay bump. (Not necessarily always. The biglaw firm "might," sometimes, be totally OK, say for a day, or a week, or a month, but when it rains it pours, and it's windy, and you forgot your umbrella, and you'll be wishing you could just crawl into a warm bed and sleep. That can also happen for a day, or a week, or a month, or 6 months, or 2 years. You "could" get lucky, consistently, for three years, and there are some who sort of do, but your number will likely be called.) If your QOL is as advertised, and you find that feature of the job to be even moderately important, I'd stick where you are without question. (Ignoring certain ambitious career goals you might have like certain in house or gov jobs, but be wary about letting ambition make you think that biglaw is "cool" because of the clients, the stakes, etc...those are at bottom also the bad-making features of biglaw)