Anonymous User wrote:I would stay away from satellite offices as much as possible
My experience has been great at a satellite office OP, but there are pluses and minuses to be considered.
Anonymous User wrote:They are satellite offices for a reason - most satellite offices, if smaller than say 150 associates, will tend to have high attrition rates - meaning a lot of second/third years will be asked to let go.
I'm sorry, but what?! This is the most out of touch thing I have read in months. Nobody in their right mind would consider an office with 150 attorneys and all the staff making their work possible as either small, a satellite, or full of expendible
people as you have let on.
OP, I'm a litigation junior at an actual satellite office (~10 attorneys, a city similarly sized to Denver/Seattle/St. Louis/Las Vegas/Atlanta) for a large firm that has more than 1,000 attorneys spread between 1 and 2 dozen offices, and I am receiving far more substantive experience than my peers at the larger offices. I am one of the only juniors here, but am treated more like a midlevel - lots of motion drafting, discovery strategy, and depo support. Sure, there's some doc review, but it's rarely needle in a haystack stuff or mindless click-and-tags. It's usually connected to higher-level discovery strategy, depo prep, and narrowing down the viable issues in a case. If an attorney here wants the lower-level work done, they'll farm it out to an associate at one of the larger offices because those offices have the numbers to support that type of work and they would rather me be involved substantively as their local support.
The personal relationships everyone has here are second to none firmwide due to the small size of the local team. If the firm tried to cut anyone at this office, the local partners would fight tooth-and-nail to keep them. What is an easier sell: cutting one junior associate out of a pool of 150 juniors at the big office, or cutting one junior associate out of the pool of 2 juniors at a satellite? Satellite offices hire because they have an actual substantive need for an associate. Main offices hire to meet projections.
That being said, if you are looking to hide/coast for a couple/few years and get out, you might want a large office. You can't really hide or coast at a satellite office because there's nowhere to
hide. But if you want an opportunity to stand out and get great experience, it might be one of your best options. Also keep in mind that interviews at satellite offices are more of a two-way interview than interviews at a large office because of the small group size. Make sure you will get along with the people you interview with, because you don't have 100 or more additional people to choose from!
And finally, the partnership and client issues already mentioned are definitely real concerns that you should put some serious thought into. Most clients we take cases for are not local, so it will be difficult to build a book of business that isn't handed down to you. Depending on the size of the city, it can be hard to find clients that are willing to pay the biglaw billing rates. You will also travel more for cases, depos, client meetings, secure rooms, etc. because the clients are elsewhere and the cases/courts are elsewhere.
As I said, lots of pluses and minuses to be considered. If I had the chance to join a much larger local office of a firm here locally, whether biglaw or regional, I wouldn't take it. But your decision may very well be different.