What Path Should I Take

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What Path Should I Take

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jun 22, 2019 3:43 pm

I am wondering what other people would do in my situation. I am currently studying for the bar and will be working as a patent litigator in BigLaw. I have a low amount of debt--I should be able to pay off my loans after about 3 years of working in BigLaw. I do not anticipate working in BigLaw for my entire career due to the long hours and stress. My father is a lawyer who owns a small firm. His practice area is nothing like patent litigation, and I am much more interested in patent litigation than in the field my father practices in. He makes 700k-800k a year and works 40-50 hours a week. My father wants me to take over for him one day, but he will not pay me anything comparable to BigLaw while he is still at the firm, and I would have to buy him out eventually (I have no idea how much he will want if this situation arises). I believe my father is looking to retire in about a decade. So, I am looking for advice about whether to go work for him and at what point it would make sense to leave BigLaw if I do choose to take over his firm.

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Re: What Path Should I Take

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jun 22, 2019 4:00 pm

My personal advice: don’t enter into that kind of transaction with your dad. If he wants to give you his practice maybe, but I think it’ll be much better for your professional and personal life if he sells his practice when he retires on an arms length basis, and you do what you want to do.

The reality of any business deal with your parent is they are going to still be involved, in a probably annoying way, esp. given the way lawyers are (and particularly the way lawyers who run their own firms are). If you are getting a firm for free from your parents maybe this is worth it, but screw paying for one and having to deal with your old man backseat driving every decision you make for the rest of your career.

Lancair

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Re: What Path Should I Take

Postby Lancair » Sat Jun 22, 2019 4:00 pm

Anonymous User wrote:My personal advice: don’t enter into that kind of transaction with your dad. If he wants to give you his practice maybe, but I think it’ll be much better for your professional and personal life if he sells his practice when he retires on an arms length basis, and you do what you want to do.

The reality of any business deal with your parent is they are going to still be involved, in a probably annoying way, esp. given the way lawyers are (and particularly the way lawyers who run their own firms are). If you are getting a firm for free from your parents maybe this is worth it, but screw paying for one and having to deal with your old man backseat driving every decision you make for the rest of your career.


Accidental anon.

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LaLiLuLeLo

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Re: What Path Should I Take

Postby LaLiLuLeLo » Sat Jun 22, 2019 4:02 pm

In your shoes I think the biggest piece of information I’d need is who his clients are. Repeat clients? One-offs and he needs to market? What are his days like?

If he has an established client base and he doesn’t need to constantly generate business I’d seriously consider going that route at some point in your career.

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Re: What Path Should I Take

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jun 22, 2019 4:14 pm

LaLiLuLeLo wrote:In your shoes I think the biggest piece of information I’d need is who his clients are. Repeat clients? One-offs and he needs to market? What are his days like?

If he has an established client base and he doesn’t need to constantly generate business I’d seriously consider going that route at some point in your career.


My father practices in a specialty litigation area. He has a small number large repeat clients. Think annual revenues in the 8 to 9 figures. I believe that they are responsible for well over half of his income. He also has a number of smaller clients, some of which give him constant work, others that give him sporadic work. He does zero marketing--his new clients come almost exclusively from word-of-mouth from other clients. And he constantly has new clients. He is very well-respected in his niche field.

As for his days, he spends a lot of time negotiating with adverse parties and attending meetings. His office is located about a half hour outside of NYC, and he usually goes to the city 2 or 3 times a week for various meetings and the occasional court appearance. He also drafts a number of letters to opposing parties and occasionally writes briefs. His associates do most of the drafting of things like pleadings and handle discovery. He rarely goes to trial.

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LaLiLuLeLo

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Re: What Path Should I Take

Postby LaLiLuLeLo » Sat Jun 22, 2019 4:23 pm

From a business/work-life perspective that sounds extremely sweet and likely better than most potential outcomes. Agree with the other poster’s concern re: the personal aspect though.

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BeeTeeZ

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Re: What Path Should I Take

Postby BeeTeeZ » Sat Jun 22, 2019 7:27 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I am wondering what other people would do in my situation. I am currently studying for the bar and will be working as a patent litigator in BigLaw. I have a low amount of debt--I should be able to pay off my loans after about 3 years of working in BigLaw. I do not anticipate working in BigLaw for my entire career due to the long hours and stress. My father is a lawyer who owns a small firm. His practice area is nothing like patent litigation, and I am much more interested in patent litigation than in the field my father practices in. He makes 700k-800k a year and works 40-50 hours a week. My father wants me to take over for him one day, but he will not pay me anything comparable to BigLaw while he is still at the firm, and I would have to buy him out eventually (I have no idea how much he will want if this situation arises). I believe my father is looking to retire in about a decade. So, I am looking for advice about whether to go work for him and at what point it would make sense to leave BigLaw if I do choose to take over his firm.


If I were you I'd work in biglaw for 5 years--pay off student loans, save as much as you can, gain valuable experience. Then I'd take the pay-cut to work for your Dad--gain experience in his practice, build relationships with clients/partners. That would give you (ostensibly) 5 years working in the firm, with his parterns and for his clients, and give you the experience/credibility to take over upon your Dad's retirement.

During those 5 years you could (and should) build the firm's book even further. As you're learning your Dad's practice you could also leverage your biglaw experience by providing a service that your Dad's firm (presumably) doesn't currenlty offer. This could lead to getting more work from your Dad's clients, either directly (not sending that work to someone else) or by referring new clients to you (word of mouth).

By the time you take over you could be looking at $1 million a year working 40-50 hours a week. Sounds like a pretty sweet gig to me.

Arad

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Re: What Path Should I Take

Postby Arad » Mon Jun 24, 2019 8:20 am

Parents sell businesses to their kids?



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