Big Law Lit. or In-House

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Big Law Lit. or In-House

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jun 11, 2019 3:59 pm

I am coming off a D. Ct. clerkship in a mid-market and am moving along in the application process for two positions: one is for a litigation associate at a V50, the other is for an entry-level in-house job at a tech company. Both are in the same city. I have not received either offer, and I am absolutely not trying to be presumptuous, but am supposed to hear about whether I receive an offer in the lit position next week and I have no idea how much time I will have to accept or not.

I am split on which I would choose were I lucky enough to get both offers. The in-house position would be between 80-90k, 5% bonus, benefits, good culture, 40ish hours a week supporting a sales team with contract negotiations. I'm unsure of comp for the lit position, I would guess between 145-165k and it's a target of 1800 hours.

I have liked my time clerking and in litigation; I am most driven when I have interesting research projects and really enjoy writing--I'm not dying to get into court, but I'm definitely not against it. I have done some minimal contract work and I've found it generally interesting as well.

I am a relatively new lawyer (a few months of mostly litigation experience before I got the clerkship on an off-cycle). My wife and I plan to start a family soon, so the work/life balance of in-house is great, but so would be the extra money that big law would bring (especially with the not-insane hour requirement). Like I said, I have neither offer, so maybe this will be moot, but any advice on what you all think the best move would be is appreciated. Thanks!

phonylawyer2017

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Re: Big Law Lit. or In-House

Postby phonylawyer2017 » Tue Jun 11, 2019 6:27 pm

This is an easy choice...take the V50 if you get it.
Last edited by QContinuum on Wed Jun 12, 2019 2:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Outed for anon abuse.

dabigchina

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Re: Big Law Lit. or In-House

Postby dabigchina » Tue Jun 11, 2019 8:29 pm

Speaking from an outsider's perspective, I'd say take the in house position if (1) you don't have crazy loans and (2) the jobs are in in a low CoL market (which I think you are, but the OP was not super clear on).

I'm at a market paying firm, and I'd personally jump at something paying 100k all-in for a true 9-5 in a market with reasonable cost of living. There's more to life than making a shitload of money (like spending time with your family in the evening).

LawAndBehold

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Re: Big Law Lit. or In-House

Postby LawAndBehold » Wed Jun 12, 2019 3:44 am

I am leaning towards BigLaw for two reasons: (A) you mentioned you are most driven by research and writing, as am I, and I really missed that when I went in-house (I am moving back to BigLaw btw). Most in-house jobs, certainly at entry-level, will require mostly contract review, managing transactions, responding to queries from the business etc. Actual legal research happens of course but to a much lesser extent and in way less detail than at BigLaw. As an in-house lawyer you have a lot of queries and things on your to-do list, most of them small but meaning that you simply don’t have the time (or the resources, mind you, I was told to “just use Google” for legal research) to delve into issues in the same amount of detail as you would in BigLaw, where you could be working on 1 major litigation case, which allows or actually, requires, you to go into great amounts of detail (B) if you decide you don’t like BigLaw, you can still move to an in-house position after a few years od BigLaw under your belt. The other way around is not impossible but def more difficult. And in the meantime you get to save up some cash. Just my two cents. No wrong choice here either way I think. Good luck!

justanotherlurker

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Re: Big Law Lit. or In-House

Postby justanotherlurker » Wed Jun 12, 2019 9:43 am

One important consideration: what's the progression/promotion outlook for the in-house job? It sounds like a great gig, but if there's no room for growth in that position, it might not be a great place to start your legal career. You won't be developing as many skills and it may limit the kinds of work you can do in the future. Will they have progressively more difficult and complex work for you to do over the next 2-4 years?

If the V50 is truly 1800 goal (and if you end up being slightly more, closer to 1900-2000), that's still a very reasonable work-life balance, for 50%+ pay.

Also, a minor consideration, but presumably the V50 pays a clerkship bonus? "Market" bonus for a D. Ct. is $50k, though it may be less given that it sounds like you're in a secondary market. Still, something to factor in.

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nealric

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Re: Big Law Lit. or In-House

Postby nealric » Wed Jun 12, 2019 10:31 am

Comp seems rather low on the in-house job, and it sounds like a dreadfully boring one to boot.

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Re: Big Law Lit. or In-House

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jun 12, 2019 7:10 pm

OP here. Thanks for the advice. The COL is a little above average here but is reasonable. I am definitely interested in hearing about potential career progression from a junior in-house role, especially if I do it without big-law experience. I don't want to pigeonhole myself, but couldn't that potentially happen if I'm doing litigation at a large firm for 3-5 years?

justanotherlurker

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Re: Big Law Lit. or In-House

Postby justanotherlurker » Thu Jun 13, 2019 10:41 am

Anonymous User wrote:OP here. Thanks for the advice. The COL is a little above average here but is reasonable. I am definitely interested in hearing about potential career progression from a junior in-house role, especially if I do it without big-law experience. I don't want to pigeonhole myself, but couldn't that potentially happen if I'm doing litigation at a large firm for 3-5 years?


Some specialization is fine -- don't be the risk-adverse lawyer who's afraid to do any sort of expertise. (In fact, the biggest obvious difference between these two roles is that one is litigation and one is corporate. You might want to do some soul searching about that question first, since it might be hard to switch tracks later on.)

The issue is more about progression. If you're at a large firm, they'll have junior-level work for you when you're a junior. And then, as you gain experience, they'll have more complicated and sophisticated work for you as you progress -- drafting briefs, taking depos, leading discovery issues, managing teams, working with experts, etc. You'll leave the large firm after 3-5 years with a set of experiences and skills that have progressively developed over those years.

The question for the in-house job is whether that is also going to be true there. If you start at the entry level supporting the sales team with contract negotiations, is that all that you'd do in your second year; third year; fourth year there? Or will there be opportunities to assist in negotiations, lead negotiations, manage outside counsel, help structure deals, etc. Will you leave after 3+ years having done progressively more complicated/interesting/challenging work, or will you be still doing entry-level contract review? Will you have opportunities for promotion, salary increases, etc.? If/when you get an offer, these are valid questions to be asking.



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