Why did you leave biglaw when you did?

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worklifewhat

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Why did you leave biglaw when you did?

Postby worklifewhat » Tue Jun 12, 2018 8:58 pm

I've been thinking a lot about leaving my firm for something else. I don't even know what exactly I am looking for, only that I'm not happy. For those of you who've left biglaw, what prompted that move/how did you know it was time? What year were you? What is your new position? Are you happy with your decision? Is there anything you would have done differently before/after leaving?

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Re: Why did you leave biglaw when you did?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jun 12, 2018 10:17 pm

Someone once told me that when I'd be ready to leave I'd know it, they were 100% right. For me it was a combination of things.

I had generally excellent reviews and probably could have made a run for partner but I always considered that a long shot even if my work product remained stellar and I kept my hours up, and as I observed the junior partners more I realized that their lives seemed even worse than mine for various reasons (and from what I can tell their comp is not worth the extra hassle either), and there is always a chance of spending your career as a straight service partner which would be pretty terrible IMO. I was never fully committed to my practice group choice, and am not someone who sees myself doing that type of practice for 40 years. I also got completely burned out after a particularly tough year, never fully recovered, and got the impression that there were other people in the department who had consistently skated by billing fewer hours, taking externships, etc. Maybe if that had been my strategy going in I would have lasted longer, but for whatever reason it wasn't how I approached working at the firm. It got to the point where I could not even make it through a day of work without thinking of ragequitting at the smallest provocation, even when I was on comparatively "easy" matters with people who have great reputations. The amount of completely pointless, time-sucking work also gnawed at me.

I am still on good terms with my firm, and am planning to leave for something that pays less base but where the comp is more bonus/contingent, which better fits with my personality. Yeah, I will probably make more money over the next few years if I stayed in biglaw but I sat down and sketched out what salary/terms I need to stay and they were way above even the new Cravath scale (which my firm will match).

worklifewhat

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Re: Why did you leave biglaw when you did?

Postby worklifewhat » Tue Jun 12, 2018 10:31 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Someone once told me that when I'd be ready to leave I'd know it, they were 100% right. For me it was a combination of things.

I had generally excellent reviews and probably could have made a run for partner but I always considered that a long shot even if my work product remained stellar and I kept my hours up, and as I observed the junior partners more I realized that their lives seemed even worse than mine for various reasons (and from what I can tell their comp is not worth the extra hassle either), and there is always a chance of spending your career as a straight service partner which would be pretty terrible IMO. I was never fully committed to my practice group choice, and am not someone who sees myself doing that type of practice for 40 years. I also got completely burned out after a particularly tough year, never fully recovered, and got the impression that there were other people in the department who had consistently skated by billing fewer hours, taking externships, etc. Maybe if that had been my strategy going in I would have lasted longer, but for whatever reason it wasn't how I approached working at the firm. It got to the point where I could not even make it through a day of work without thinking of ragequitting at the smallest provocation, even when I was on comparatively "easy" matters with people who have great reputations. The amount of completely pointless, time-sucking work also gnawed at me.

I am still on good terms with my firm, and am planning to leave for something that pays less base but where the comp is more bonus/contingent, which better fits with my personality. Yeah, I will probably make more money over the next few years if I stayed in biglaw but I sat down and sketched out what salary/terms I need to stay and they were way above even the new Cravath scale (which my firm will match).

So you have not yet left? What year are you? What approach are you taking to figure out where you'd be happier? I worry about making a "bad" move where the things that drew me to the place turn out to be empty promises.

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Re: Why did you leave biglaw when you did?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jun 13, 2018 7:24 am

worklifewhat wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Someone once told me that when I'd be ready to leave I'd know it, they were 100% right. For me it was a combination of things.

I had generally excellent reviews and probably could have made a run for partner but I always considered that a long shot even if my work product remained stellar and I kept my hours up, and as I observed the junior partners more I realized that their lives seemed even worse than mine for various reasons (and from what I can tell their comp is not worth the extra hassle either), and there is always a chance of spending your career as a straight service partner which would be pretty terrible IMO. I was never fully committed to my practice group choice, and am not someone who sees myself doing that type of practice for 40 years. I also got completely burned out after a particularly tough year, never fully recovered, and got the impression that there were other people in the department who had consistently skated by billing fewer hours, taking externships, etc. Maybe if that had been my strategy going in I would have lasted longer, but for whatever reason it wasn't how I approached working at the firm. It got to the point where I could not even make it through a day of work without thinking of ragequitting at the smallest provocation, even when I was on comparatively "easy" matters with people who have great reputations. The amount of completely pointless, time-sucking work also gnawed at me.

I am still on good terms with my firm, and am planning to leave for something that pays less base but where the comp is more bonus/contingent, which better fits with my personality. Yeah, I will probably make more money over the next few years if I stayed in biglaw but I sat down and sketched out what salary/terms I need to stay and they were way above even the new Cravath scale (which my firm will match).

So you have not yet left? What year are you? What approach are you taking to figure out where you'd be happier? I worry about making a "bad" move where the things that drew me to the place turn out to be empty promises.


Senior associate. My approach was basically to decide that I did not want to do biglaw, identify what about biglaw specifically I did not like, then sit down and look at a range of jobs from all sources (recruiters, job boards/linkedin, trade publications) and figure out what would interest me given what I didn't like about biglaw. I also went back over my finances and mapped out a salary I would find acceptable, which turned out to be a lot lower than my biglaw salary (two income household helps a lot).

I wouldn't worry about making a bad move. At the end of the day you need to decide if trying to be a partner is for you or it isn't. If it isn't, that's all there is to it, and you should get on with your life. No use staying around, being miserable, working long hours, and then getting shown the door if your motivation and work product suffers.

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Re: Why did you leave biglaw when you did?

Postby nealric » Wed Jun 13, 2018 8:41 am

As a 4th year, I needed to relocate for personal reasons and ended up interviewing at both firms and in-house. Long story short, the in-house offer was better than the competing biglaw offers. All-in comp was close enough to be a wash, and in-house offered the promise of being free of late nights and the billable hour.

I've now been in-house longer than I was at the firm. Frankly, it would be a tough transition if I ever had to work for a firm again.

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Re: Why did you leave biglaw when you did?

Postby worklifewhat » Wed Jun 13, 2018 9:04 am

nealric wrote:As a 4th year, I needed to relocate for personal reasons and ended up interviewing at both firms and in-house. Long story short, the in-house offer was better than the competing biglaw offers. All-in comp was close enough to be a wash, and in-house offered the promise of being free of late nights and the billable hour.

I've now been in-house longer than I was at the firm. Frankly, it would be a tough transition if I ever had to work for a firm again.


This sounds like a dream. I'm going to guess your on the transactions side of things. I feel like litigation has severely limited my options and now I'm regretting having gone that route. I know, I know...what's done is done but it sucks so bad when almost every in-house role is for a transactions associate. ((sigh)).

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Re: Why did you leave biglaw when you did?

Postby nealric » Wed Jun 13, 2018 9:10 am

worklifewhat wrote:
nealric wrote:As a 4th year, I needed to relocate for personal reasons and ended up interviewing at both firms and in-house. Long story short, the in-house offer was better than the competing biglaw offers. All-in comp was close enough to be a wash, and in-house offered the promise of being free of late nights and the billable hour.

I've now been in-house longer than I was at the firm. Frankly, it would be a tough transition if I ever had to work for a firm again.


This sounds like a dream. I'm going to guess your on the transactions side of things. I feel like litigation has severely limited my options and now I'm regretting having gone that route. I know, I know...what's done is done but it sucks so bad when almost every in-house role is for a transactions associate. ((sigh)).


More or less. I'm in tax. There are some good in-house litigation positions, but you are correct that they are less common. One thing litigators can do that is much tougher for transactional types is to start a small firm. Attracting corporate work to a one or two attorney shop is a lot tougher than figuring out a litigation specialty that can attract individual clients yet remain profitable.

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Re: Why did you leave biglaw when you did?

Postby worklifewhat » Wed Jun 13, 2018 9:11 am

Anonymous User wrote:
worklifewhat wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Someone once told me that when I'd be ready to leave I'd know it, they were 100% right. For me it was a combination of things.

I had generally excellent reviews and probably could have made a run for partner but I always considered that a long shot even if my work product remained stellar and I kept my hours up, and as I observed the junior partners more I realized that their lives seemed even worse than mine for various reasons (and from what I can tell their comp is not worth the extra hassle either), and there is always a chance of spending your career as a straight service partner which would be pretty terrible IMO. I was never fully committed to my practice group choice, and am not someone who sees myself doing that type of practice for 40 years. I also got completely burned out after a particularly tough year, never fully recovered, and got the impression that there were other people in the department who had consistently skated by billing fewer hours, taking externships, etc. Maybe if that had been my strategy going in I would have lasted longer, but for whatever reason it wasn't how I approached working at the firm. It got to the point where I could not even make it through a day of work without thinking of ragequitting at the smallest provocation, even when I was on comparatively "easy" matters with people who have great reputations. The amount of completely pointless, time-sucking work also gnawed at me.

I am still on good terms with my firm, and am planning to leave for something that pays less base but where the comp is more bonus/contingent, which better fits with my personality. Yeah, I will probably make more money over the next few years if I stayed in biglaw but I sat down and sketched out what salary/terms I need to stay and they were way above even the new Cravath scale (which my firm will match).

So you have not yet left? What year are you? What approach are you taking to figure out where you'd be happier? I worry about making a "bad" move where the things that drew me to the place turn out to be empty promises.


Senior associate. My approach was basically to decide that I did not want to do biglaw, identify what about biglaw specifically I did not like, then sit down and look at a range of jobs from all sources (recruiters, job boards/linkedin, trade publications) and figure out what would interest me given what I didn't like about biglaw. I also went back over my finances and mapped out a salary I would find acceptable, which turned out to be a lot lower than my biglaw salary (two income household helps a lot).

I wouldn't worry about making a bad move. At the end of the day you need to decide if trying to be a partner is for you or it isn't. If it isn't, that's all there is to it, and you should get on with your life. No use staying around, being miserable, working long hours, and then getting shown the door if your motivation and work product suffers.


It sounds like you're being very purposeful and methodical about the process. I feel like there are so few opportunities for litigators at my level and, beyond that, the opportunities that do exist are woefully lacking in the salary department. Because my spouse works in a commission based field, we cannot rely on any income other than mine. So, it has been difficult to find something that I could even consider that doesn't look an awful lot like where I'm already at.

worklifewhat

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Re: Why did you leave biglaw when you did?

Postby worklifewhat » Wed Jun 13, 2018 9:16 am

nealric wrote:
worklifewhat wrote:
nealric wrote:As a 4th year, I needed to relocate for personal reasons and ended up interviewing at both firms and in-house. Long story short, the in-house offer was better than the competing biglaw offers. All-in comp was close enough to be a wash, and in-house offered the promise of being free of late nights and the billable hour.

I've now been in-house longer than I was at the firm. Frankly, it would be a tough transition if I ever had to work for a firm again.


This sounds like a dream. I'm going to guess your on the transactions side of things. I feel like litigation has severely limited my options and now I'm regretting having gone that route. I know, I know...what's done is done but it sucks so bad when almost every in-house role is for a transactions associate. ((sigh)).


More or less. I'm in tax. There are some good in-house litigation positions, but you are correct that they are less common. One thing litigators can do that is much tougher for transactional types is to start a small firm. Attracting corporate work to a one or two attorney shop is a lot tougher than figuring out a litigation specialty that can attract individual clients yet remain profitable.


With a family to support, I don't feel like I am in a position to take risk; otherwise, starting my own firm would be a dream worth going for. Right now, I just want to make a reliable salary to ensure that all of our needs are met and we can save for the future. How did you come across the in-house position you're in? And has it proven to be what was sold to you?

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Re: Why did you leave biglaw when you did?

Postby nealric » Wed Jun 13, 2018 9:20 am

worklifewhat wrote:
nealric wrote:
worklifewhat wrote:
nealric wrote:As a 4th year, I needed to relocate for personal reasons and ended up interviewing at both firms and in-house. Long story short, the in-house offer was better than the competing biglaw offers. All-in comp was close enough to be a wash, and in-house offered the promise of being free of late nights and the billable hour.

I've now been in-house longer than I was at the firm. Frankly, it would be a tough transition if I ever had to work for a firm again.


This sounds like a dream. I'm going to guess your on the transactions side of things. I feel like litigation has severely limited my options and now I'm regretting having gone that route. I know, I know...what's done is done but it sucks so bad when almost every in-house role is for a transactions associate. ((sigh)).


More or less. I'm in tax. There are some good in-house litigation positions, but you are correct that they are less common. One thing litigators can do that is much tougher for transactional types is to start a small firm. Attracting corporate work to a one or two attorney shop is a lot tougher than figuring out a litigation specialty that can attract individual clients yet remain profitable.


With a family to support, I don't feel like I am in a position to take risk; otherwise, starting my own firm would be a dream worth going for. Right now, I just want to make a reliable salary to ensure that all of our needs are met and we can save for the future. How did you come across the in-house position you're in? And has it proven to be what was sold to you?


It was literally just posted on the company website. I made a list of F500 companies with headquarters in-town and looked at each company's online job listings. However, once I saw there was an opening, I mined my social network for a connection (which I eventually found). The position has been everything that was sold to me and more. It's a very rare blend of good pay, excellent work/live balance, and very interesting work.

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Re: Why did you leave biglaw when you did?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jun 13, 2018 9:51 am

left v5 after 2 years for a midlaw shop. realized one day there is no point of working at v5 because I can get to close to the same pay at a more normal place. have been at this place for 5 years. its great. of course my brethren at the v5 are now getting way more than me (disparity increases with seniority) but I wouldn't have lasted that long there anyways.

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Re: Why did you leave biglaw when you did?

Postby worklifewhat » Wed Jun 13, 2018 10:18 am

nealric wrote:
worklifewhat wrote:
nealric wrote:
worklifewhat wrote:
nealric wrote:As a 4th year, I needed to relocate for personal reasons and ended up interviewing at both firms and in-house. Long story short, the in-house offer was better than the competing biglaw offers. All-in comp was close enough to be a wash, and in-house offered the promise of being free of late nights and the billable hour.

I've now been in-house longer than I was at the firm. Frankly, it would be a tough transition if I ever had to work for a firm again.


This sounds like a dream. I'm going to guess your on the transactions side of things. I feel like litigation has severely limited my options and now I'm regretting having gone that route. I know, I know...what's done is done but it sucks so bad when almost every in-house role is for a transactions associate. ((sigh)).


More or less. I'm in tax. There are some good in-house litigation positions, but you are correct that they are less common. One thing litigators can do that is much tougher for transactional types is to start a small firm. Attracting corporate work to a one or two attorney shop is a lot tougher than figuring out a litigation specialty that can attract individual clients yet remain profitable.


With a family to support, I don't feel like I am in a position to take risk; otherwise, starting my own firm would be a dream worth going for. Right now, I just want to make a reliable salary to ensure that all of our needs are met and we can save for the future. How did you come across the in-house position you're in? And has it proven to be what was sold to you?


It was literally just posted on the company website. I made a list of F500 companies with headquarters in-town and looked at each company's online job listings. However, once I saw there was an opening, I mined my social network for a connection (which I eventually found). The position has been everything that was sold to me and more. It's a very rare blend of good pay, excellent work/live balance, and very interesting work.


That sounds phenomenal. I can’t even imagine having all of those things.

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Re: Why did you leave biglaw when you did?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jun 13, 2018 11:54 am

worklifewhat wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
worklifewhat wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Someone once told me that when I'd be ready to leave I'd know it, they were 100% right. For me it was a combination of things.

I had generally excellent reviews and probably could have made a run for partner but I always considered that a long shot even if my work product remained stellar and I kept my hours up, and as I observed the junior partners more I realized that their lives seemed even worse than mine for various reasons (and from what I can tell their comp is not worth the extra hassle either), and there is always a chance of spending your career as a straight service partner which would be pretty terrible IMO. I was never fully committed to my practice group choice, and am not someone who sees myself doing that type of practice for 40 years. I also got completely burned out after a particularly tough year, never fully recovered, and got the impression that there were other people in the department who had consistently skated by billing fewer hours, taking externships, etc. Maybe if that had been my strategy going in I would have lasted longer, but for whatever reason it wasn't how I approached working at the firm. It got to the point where I could not even make it through a day of work without thinking of ragequitting at the smallest provocation, even when I was on comparatively "easy" matters with people who have great reputations. The amount of completely pointless, time-sucking work also gnawed at me.

I am still on good terms with my firm, and am planning to leave for something that pays less base but where the comp is more bonus/contingent, which better fits with my personality. Yeah, I will probably make more money over the next few years if I stayed in biglaw but I sat down and sketched out what salary/terms I need to stay and they were way above even the new Cravath scale (which my firm will match).

So you have not yet left? What year are you? What approach are you taking to figure out where you'd be happier? I worry about making a "bad" move where the things that drew me to the place turn out to be empty promises.


Senior associate. My approach was basically to decide that I did not want to do biglaw, identify what about biglaw specifically I did not like, then sit down and look at a range of jobs from all sources (recruiters, job boards/linkedin, trade publications) and figure out what would interest me given what I didn't like about biglaw. I also went back over my finances and mapped out a salary I would find acceptable, which turned out to be a lot lower than my biglaw salary (two income household helps a lot).

I wouldn't worry about making a bad move. At the end of the day you need to decide if trying to be a partner is for you or it isn't. If it isn't, that's all there is to it, and you should get on with your life. No use staying around, being miserable, working long hours, and then getting shown the door if your motivation and work product suffers.


It sounds like you're being very purposeful and methodical about the process. I feel like there are so few opportunities for litigators at my level and, beyond that, the opportunities that do exist are woefully lacking in the salary department. Because my spouse works in a commission based field, we cannot rely on any income other than mine. So, it has been difficult to find something that I could even consider that doesn't look an awful lot like where I'm already at.


I’d look at midlaw firms, government agencies, and in-house opportunities. There are plenty out there for litigators and at a lot of these places salary/benefits are more negotiable than in biglaw. Also look at compliance or investigations jobs which typically will consider litigators and usually pay six-figures. You might also consider an ethics/conflicts role at a big firm.

I can’t give you advice on your finances. I live in NYC, pretty expensive COL and lifestyle, and when I really sat down and looked at what I was spending, what I could cut, and what I wanted to be doing with my time, I realized that on an hourly basis biglaw made little sense. Unfortunately, you will likely take a paycut (probably on the order of 33%) for the transition, but even 150K is pretty good money (plus whatever your wife brings in).

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Re: Why did you leave biglaw when you did?

Postby worklifewhat » Wed Jun 13, 2018 12:27 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
worklifewhat wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
worklifewhat wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Someone once told me that when I'd be ready to leave I'd know it, they were 100% right. For me it was a combination of things.

I had generally excellent reviews and probably could have made a run for partner but I always considered that a long shot even if my work product remained stellar and I kept my hours up, and as I observed the junior partners more I realized that their lives seemed even worse than mine for various reasons (and from what I can tell their comp is not worth the extra hassle either), and there is always a chance of spending your career as a straight service partner which would be pretty terrible IMO. I was never fully committed to my practice group choice, and am not someone who sees myself doing that type of practice for 40 years. I also got completely burned out after a particularly tough year, never fully recovered, and got the impression that there were other people in the department who had consistently skated by billing fewer hours, taking externships, etc. Maybe if that had been my strategy going in I would have lasted longer, but for whatever reason it wasn't how I approached working at the firm. It got to the point where I could not even make it through a day of work without thinking of ragequitting at the smallest provocation, even when I was on comparatively "easy" matters with people who have great reputations. The amount of completely pointless, time-sucking work also gnawed at me.

I am still on good terms with my firm, and am planning to leave for something that pays less base but where the comp is more bonus/contingent, which better fits with my personality. Yeah, I will probably make more money over the next few years if I stayed in biglaw but I sat down and sketched out what salary/terms I need to stay and they were way above even the new Cravath scale (which my firm will match).

So you have not yet left? What year are you? What approach are you taking to figure out where you'd be happier? I worry about making a "bad" move where the things that drew me to the place turn out to be empty promises.


Senior associate. My approach was basically to decide that I did not want to do biglaw, identify what about biglaw specifically I did not like, then sit down and look at a range of jobs from all sources (recruiters, job boards/linkedin, trade publications) and figure out what would interest me given what I didn't like about biglaw. I also went back over my finances and mapped out a salary I would find acceptable, which turned out to be a lot lower than my biglaw salary (two income household helps a lot).

I wouldn't worry about making a bad move. At the end of the day you need to decide if trying to be a partner is for you or it isn't. If it isn't, that's all there is to it, and you should get on with your life. No use staying around, being miserable, working long hours, and then getting shown the door if your motivation and work product suffers.


It sounds like you're being very purposeful and methodical about the process. I feel like there are so few opportunities for litigators at my level and, beyond that, the opportunities that do exist are woefully lacking in the salary department. Because my spouse works in a commission based field, we cannot rely on any income other than mine. So, it has been difficult to find something that I could even consider that doesn't look an awful lot like where I'm already at.


I’d look at midlaw firms, government agencies, and in-house opportunities. There are plenty out there for litigators and at a lot of these places salary/benefits are more negotiable than in biglaw. Also look at compliance or investigations jobs which typically will consider litigators and usually pay six-figures. You might also consider an ethics/conflicts role at a big firm.

I can’t give you advice on your finances. I live in NYC, pretty expensive COL and lifestyle, and when I really sat down and looked at what I was spending, what I could cut, and what I wanted to be doing with my time, I realized that on an hourly basis biglaw made little sense. Unfortunately, you will likely take a paycut (probably on the order of 33%) for the transition, but even 150K is pretty good money (plus whatever your wife brings in).


I'm the wife ;) Any idea as to how I might find these investigation/compliance jobs. I've been scouring LinkedIn jobs, AttorneyJobsInUSA, and even Indeed. I've considered taking a role with billables that are ridiculously low (think 1400-1500) but I realize that it might be career suicide. I just don't know how much I should care about that given just how unhappy I am lately. It's seriously a total mind f*ck to accept the unknown when it comes at such a huge cost (i.e. paycut).

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Re: Why did you leave biglaw when you did?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jun 13, 2018 1:00 pm

worklifewhat wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
worklifewhat wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
worklifewhat wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Someone once told me that when I'd be ready to leave I'd know it, they were 100% right. For me it was a combination of things.

I had generally excellent reviews and probably could have made a run for partner but I always considered that a long shot even if my work product remained stellar and I kept my hours up, and as I observed the junior partners more I realized that their lives seemed even worse than mine for various reasons (and from what I can tell their comp is not worth the extra hassle either), and there is always a chance of spending your career as a straight service partner which would be pretty terrible IMO. I was never fully committed to my practice group choice, and am not someone who sees myself doing that type of practice for 40 years. I also got completely burned out after a particularly tough year, never fully recovered, and got the impression that there were other people in the department who had consistently skated by billing fewer hours, taking externships, etc. Maybe if that had been my strategy going in I would have lasted longer, but for whatever reason it wasn't how I approached working at the firm. It got to the point where I could not even make it through a day of work without thinking of ragequitting at the smallest provocation, even when I was on comparatively "easy" matters with people who have great reputations. The amount of completely pointless, time-sucking work also gnawed at me.

I am still on good terms with my firm, and am planning to leave for something that pays less base but where the comp is more bonus/contingent, which better fits with my personality. Yeah, I will probably make more money over the next few years if I stayed in biglaw but I sat down and sketched out what salary/terms I need to stay and they were way above even the new Cravath scale (which my firm will match).

So you have not yet left? What year are you? What approach are you taking to figure out where you'd be happier? I worry about making a "bad" move where the things that drew me to the place turn out to be empty promises.


Senior associate. My approach was basically to decide that I did not want to do biglaw, identify what about biglaw specifically I did not like, then sit down and look at a range of jobs from all sources (recruiters, job boards/linkedin, trade publications) and figure out what would interest me given what I didn't like about biglaw. I also went back over my finances and mapped out a salary I would find acceptable, which turned out to be a lot lower than my biglaw salary (two income household helps a lot).

I wouldn't worry about making a bad move. At the end of the day you need to decide if trying to be a partner is for you or it isn't. If it isn't, that's all there is to it, and you should get on with your life. No use staying around, being miserable, working long hours, and then getting shown the door if your motivation and work product suffers.


It sounds like you're being very purposeful and methodical about the process. I feel like there are so few opportunities for litigators at my level and, beyond that, the opportunities that do exist are woefully lacking in the salary department. Because my spouse works in a commission based field, we cannot rely on any income other than mine. So, it has been difficult to find something that I could even consider that doesn't look an awful lot like where I'm already at.


I’d look at midlaw firms, government agencies, and in-house opportunities. There are plenty out there for litigators and at a lot of these places salary/benefits are more negotiable than in biglaw. Also look at compliance or investigations jobs which typically will consider litigators and usually pay six-figures. You might also consider an ethics/conflicts role at a big firm.

I can’t give you advice on your finances. I live in NYC, pretty expensive COL and lifestyle, and when I really sat down and looked at what I was spending, what I could cut, and what I wanted to be doing with my time, I realized that on an hourly basis biglaw made little sense. Unfortunately, you will likely take a paycut (probably on the order of 33%) for the transition, but even 150K is pretty good money (plus whatever your wife brings in).


I'm the wife ;) Any idea as to how I might find these investigation/compliance jobs. I've been scouring LinkedIn jobs, AttorneyJobsInUSA, and even Indeed. I've considered taking a role with billables that are ridiculously low (think 1400-1500) but I realize that it might be career suicide. I just don't know how much I should care about that given just how unhappy I am lately. It's seriously a total mind f*ck to accept the unknown when it comes at such a huge cost (i.e. paycut).


Sorry about that!

Linkedin is a good resource. I’ve also found just going directly to the website of the companies and searching compliance/legal/risk management department is helpful. Focus on companies that overlap with the type of clients/matters you have handled. (What sort of practice do you have?).

What do you mean career suicide? Simply working a lot of hours doesn’t necessarily mean that you are having a productive career (for example, if you are working for a firm that relies on contingency or alternative fee arrangements). In fact it can even be counterproductive to the extent that it gets in the way of marketing or business development efforts or if you like to work on side projects that are business-focused.

worklifewhat

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Re: Why did you leave biglaw when you did?

Postby worklifewhat » Wed Jun 13, 2018 2:29 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
worklifewhat wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
worklifewhat wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
worklifewhat wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Someone once told me that when I'd be ready to leave I'd know it, they were 100% right. For me it was a combination of things.

I had generally excellent reviews and probably could have made a run for partner but I always considered that a long shot even if my work product remained stellar and I kept my hours up, and as I observed the junior partners more I realized that their lives seemed even worse than mine for various reasons (and from what I can tell their comp is not worth the extra hassle either), and there is always a chance of spending your career as a straight service partner which would be pretty terrible IMO. I was never fully committed to my practice group choice, and am not someone who sees myself doing that type of practice for 40 years. I also got completely burned out after a particularly tough year, never fully recovered, and got the impression that there were other people in the department who had consistently skated by billing fewer hours, taking externships, etc. Maybe if that had been my strategy going in I would have lasted longer, but for whatever reason it wasn't how I approached working at the firm. It got to the point where I could not even make it through a day of work without thinking of ragequitting at the smallest provocation, even when I was on comparatively "easy" matters with people who have great reputations. The amount of completely pointless, time-sucking work also gnawed at me.

I am still on good terms with my firm, and am planning to leave for something that pays less base but where the comp is more bonus/contingent, which better fits with my personality. Yeah, I will probably make more money over the next few years if I stayed in biglaw but I sat down and sketched out what salary/terms I need to stay and they were way above even the new Cravath scale (which my firm will match).

So you have not yet left? What year are you? What approach are you taking to figure out where you'd be happier? I worry about making a "bad" move where the things that drew me to the place turn out to be empty promises.


Senior associate. My approach was basically to decide that I did not want to do biglaw, identify what about biglaw specifically I did not like, then sit down and look at a range of jobs from all sources (recruiters, job boards/linkedin, trade publications) and figure out what would interest me given what I didn't like about biglaw. I also went back over my finances and mapped out a salary I would find acceptable, which turned out to be a lot lower than my biglaw salary (two income household helps a lot).

I wouldn't worry about making a bad move. At the end of the day you need to decide if trying to be a partner is for you or it isn't. If it isn't, that's all there is to it, and you should get on with your life. No use staying around, being miserable, working long hours, and then getting shown the door if your motivation and work product suffers.


It sounds like you're being very purposeful and methodical about the process. I feel like there are so few opportunities for litigators at my level and, beyond that, the opportunities that do exist are woefully lacking in the salary department. Because my spouse works in a commission based field, we cannot rely on any income other than mine. So, it has been difficult to find something that I could even consider that doesn't look an awful lot like where I'm already at.


I’d look at midlaw firms, government agencies, and in-house opportunities. There are plenty out there for litigators and at a lot of these places salary/benefits are more negotiable than in biglaw. Also look at compliance or investigations jobs which typically will consider litigators and usually pay six-figures. You might also consider an ethics/conflicts role at a big firm.

I can’t give you advice on your finances. I live in NYC, pretty expensive COL and lifestyle, and when I really sat down and looked at what I was spending, what I could cut, and what I wanted to be doing with my time, I realized that on an hourly basis biglaw made little sense. Unfortunately, you will likely take a paycut (probably on the order of 33%) for the transition, but even 150K is pretty good money (plus whatever your wife brings in).


I'm the wife ;) Any idea as to how I might find these investigation/compliance jobs. I've been scouring LinkedIn jobs, AttorneyJobsInUSA, and even Indeed. I've considered taking a role with billables that are ridiculously low (think 1400-1500) but I realize that it might be career suicide. I just don't know how much I should care about that given just how unhappy I am lately. It's seriously a total mind f*ck to accept the unknown when it comes at such a huge cost (i.e. paycut).


Sorry about that!

Linkedin is a good resource. I’ve also found just going directly to the website of the companies and searching compliance/legal/risk management department is helpful. Focus on companies that overlap with the type of clients/matters you have handled. (What sort of practice do you have?).

What do you mean career suicide? Simply working a lot of hours doesn’t necessarily mean that you are having a productive career (for example, if you are working for a firm that relies on contingency or alternative fee arrangements). In fact it can even be counterproductive to the extent that it gets in the way of marketing or business development efforts or if you like to work on side projects that are business-focused.


Well, I went to a T3 school and now work at a v25 firm. So, I guess I mean that I'm afraid that taking a certain kind of job will close certain doors that would have otherwise been open to me. I don't come from a wealthy family, or an even remotely successful one for that matter, so I almost feel compelled to make choices based on money instead of happiness. It doesn't make a ton of sense and it is most certainly emotional/mental but I am just so conflicted about what to do given I've worked so hard to position myself well. I have two little ones and I so want more time with them but I also want the ability to give them experiences that I never had. ((sigh)).



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