Author Topic: Job Opportunity (Lawyer): Triple my Salary, but Long Commute and More Hours  (Read 23984 times)

shawndoggy

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Re: Job Opportunity (Lawyer): Triple my Salary, but Long Commute and More Hours
« Reply #100 on: January 19, 2017, 07:45:01 AM »
I am in Phoenix--

When I was in "BigLaw" here (left in Dec. 2010), base salary was pretty much EXACTLY 25%.  Bonuses were wildly subjective, except at my firm, where they were almost completely based on *collected* billable hours above 1800/year.

Wow, really?  So for a $110k starting salary associates are expected to bring in 440k?  I'd be shocked if that were even possible!

As others have already stated very eloquently here, the best way to actually control your own destiny in the practice of law is to have your own clients (people who call YOU because they want YOU to do the work).  Biglaw is pretty good at making sure that underlings (and this includes many partners) are doled out work from The Man and don't actually own their own practices.  Makes it difficult to go lateral later (what do you have to offer?) and people end up "stuck."  And without clients of your very own, when the poop hits the fan at biglaw, the journeyman mid level lawyers are scrambling.

By the same token, not everyone is cut out to market themselves and be the primary client contact.  In some sense, having an endless pile of work that gets dropped on your desk from above can be a luxury in comparison to those of us who have to generate their own work and have lived through a week of "vacationing at your desk" staring at the phone and willing it to ring.

ormaybemidgets

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Re: Job Opportunity (Lawyer): Triple my Salary, but Long Commute and More Hours
« Reply #101 on: January 19, 2017, 11:09:26 AM »
RSM, I've been following your posts for awhile, because I am also a young attorney, also not happy at work and not making what I would like to. Your posts really resonate with me! That said, I went back and looked at three of your topics here on MMM:

Absolutely No Motivation at Work and Not Sure How to Turn it Around
http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/absolutely-no-motivation-at-work-and-not-sure-how-to-turn-it-around/msg674180/#msg674180

Attention to Detail at Work (Lawyer -- But All Are Welcome)
http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/attention-to-detail-at-work-(lawyer-but-all-are-welcome)/msg1336567/#msg1336567

Stumbled Upon a Corporate Memo Stating I Might Get Fired...Need Some Advice
http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/stumbled-upon-a-corporate-memo-stating-i-might-get-fired-need-some-advice/msg1188492/#msg1188492

I've never worked in BigLaw, but it seems to me that you might not be a good fit for it. Aside from the commute we're talking about here and your potential relationship issues, it's just a lot of... work. It's being thrown into situations you're completely unprepared for, and then getting in trouble when you handle it wrong. It's unrealistic deadlines that you have to make realistic by not wasting time sleeping, eating, or going to the bathroom. It might literally be sleeping on the floor of your office, because the commute to your five-minutes-away studio apartment makes going home not worth it. A friend of mine in BigLaw met his billables, met his bonus billables, and then told me he "almost never works on Saturdays. But I do Sundays" as a BRAG. With your work right now, do you even have to think about it when you go home? I get that you're looking to make more money, and yes, your salary is low in most markets, but I just don't know if the things you've said about yourself so far are conducive to BigLaw practice.

Again, I'm not saying any of this to be mean, but because I SO identify with you.

Laura33

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Re: Job Opportunity (Lawyer): Triple my Salary, but Long Commute and More Hours
« Reply #102 on: January 19, 2017, 11:16:38 AM »

Stumbled Upon a Corporate Memo Stating I Might Get Fired...Need Some Advice
http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/stumbled-upon-a-corporate-memo-stating-i-might-get-fired-need-some-advice/msg1188492/#msg1188492


Wait -- so like 5 months ago you thought you might get fired from the current firm?  If that's the case, then, hell, yes, jump ship and go suck it up at the big firm now so you can sock some cash away -- the small-town life and small-town salary option works only if you have reliable employment there for the rest of your career, which is what the OP suggested. 

Malum Prohibitum

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Re: Job Opportunity (Lawyer): Triple my Salary, but Long Commute and More Hours
« Reply #103 on: January 19, 2017, 11:55:50 AM »
Wow, really?  So for a $110k starting salary associates are expected to bring in 440k?  I'd be shocked if that were even possible!
  Not "bring in," as that would be origination.  Rather, she means billing that much.  For what it's worth, 25% strikes me as really low for most smaller firms.

If you can "bring in" $440k, then there is no reason to join a firm.  Hire some help and get to work.  You have your own firm.

bridget

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Re: Job Opportunity (Lawyer): Triple my Salary, but Long Commute and More Hours
« Reply #104 on: January 19, 2017, 12:14:13 PM »
Wow, really?  So for a $110k starting salary associates are expected to bring in 440k?  I'd be shocked if that were even possible!
  Not "bring in," as that would be origination.  Rather, she means billing that much.  For what it's worth, 25% strikes me as really low for most smaller firms.

If you can "bring in" $440k, then there is no reason to join a firm.  Hire some help and get to work.  You have your own firm.

Definitely possible to bill that much, provided your billing rate is correctly calibrated to your salary.  If I hit my benchmark hours (and if the firm collects on them all - I doubt any associate is at 100% for a variety of reasons outside of their control), the firm grosses $1,082,250.00 in fees.  My salary is $235,000.00 gross (+$60k bonus for hitting my hours) and I'm sure there's a few tens of thousands of dollars in overhead they pay for me (insurance, office space, support staff, bar fees, etc.).  By my estimation, I cost about 1/3 of what I "bring in" in billable work.  LOTS of associates at my firm bill much more than their benchmark hours, making them even more profitable.

ReadySetMillionaire

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Re: Job Opportunity (Lawyer): Triple my Salary, but Long Commute and More Hours
« Reply #105 on: January 19, 2017, 12:21:03 PM »
RSM, I've been following your posts for awhile, because I am also a young attorney, also not happy at work and not making what I would like to. Your posts really resonate with me! That said, I went back and looked at three of your topics here on MMM:

Absolutely No Motivation at Work and Not Sure How to Turn it Around
http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/absolutely-no-motivation-at-work-and-not-sure-how-to-turn-it-around/msg674180/#msg674180

Attention to Detail at Work (Lawyer -- But All Are Welcome)
http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/attention-to-detail-at-work-(lawyer-but-all-are-welcome)/msg1336567/#msg1336567

Stumbled Upon a Corporate Memo Stating I Might Get Fired...Need Some Advice
http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/stumbled-upon-a-corporate-memo-stating-i-might-get-fired-need-some-advice/msg1188492/#msg1188492

I've never worked in BigLaw, but it seems to me that you might not be a good fit for it. Aside from the commute we're talking about here and your potential relationship issues, it's just a lot of... work. It's being thrown into situations you're completely unprepared for, and then getting in trouble when you handle it wrong. It's unrealistic deadlines that you have to make realistic by not wasting time sleeping, eating, or going to the bathroom. It might literally be sleeping on the floor of your office, because the commute to your five-minutes-away studio apartment makes going home not worth it. A friend of mine in BigLaw met his billables, met his bonus billables, and then told me he "almost never works on Saturdays. But I do Sundays" as a BRAG. With your work right now, do you even have to think about it when you go home? I get that you're looking to make more money, and yes, your salary is low in most markets, but I just don't know if the things you've said about yourself so far are conducive to BigLaw practice.

Again, I'm not saying any of this to be mean, but because I SO identify with you.

Thanks for your post. Sorry for my admittedly too long response, but I remember posting all those threads and following them much like I am following this one--constantly, neurotically, and just trying to figure out what is going on with me.

For better or worse, I stopped posting about my work after the "might get fired" thread because I realized venting wasn't helping any. But if you go and read the original posts in each of those threads, you'll see a common theme:

Absolutely No Motivation at Work and Not Sure How to Turn it Around:
I don't know what's gotten into me lately, but I just can't seem to get anything done at work over the last two weeks...

I'm not really sure why this is happening, but my guess is that a month or so ago, I emotionally readied myself to switch jobs. I'm in a small and undesirable market doing rather mundane legal work. It's simply not what I expected it to be and has been draining on me lately. Thus, I want to go to a bigger firm with more complex work.
...
I've only been out of school for less than a year and it scares the shit out of me that I'm already feeling like this. Maybe it's normal, maybe it's not. But I'm just not enjoying the work at my current job, the grass seems a lot greener elsewhere, and I just can't seem to keep my eyes on the here and now.


Attention to Detail at Work (Lawyer -- But All Are Welcome)
I am going on my third year as a lawyer at a civil litigation firm. Partners here do everything from divorce to foreclosure to employment  to personal injury to basically everything.

As the junior associate, weird assignments from seemingly every area of law have been thrown my way. What I'm finding is that I become so obsessed with figuring out the law that I am missing important factual details--constantly.

...

Stumbled Upon a Corporate Memo Stating I Might Get Fired...Need Some Advice
I graduated from law school in 2014 and have been at a well-respected firm since September of 2014. I was hired so a partner could transfer his ERISA practice to me. To make a long story short, he can't delegate work to save his life. And then, because a lot of other attorneys assumed he was giving me work, work dried up for me at the end of last year and I had pretty low billable hours in 2015. This resulted in a "talking to" by the firm's board of directors at the end of last year.

The reason it sounds like I'm pushing towards leaving is because I just don't think I'm satisfied with work.  I was hired with the impression that I would be doing labor and employment work, including ERISA, and that has not panned out. Instead, I'm doing everything--foreclosures, divorce research, will contests, tax litigation before the board of tax appeals, personal injury, bankruptcy proof of sales, on and on and on. My mind is constantly shifting and trying to learn entirely new areas of law.

That just does not fit my skill set. I'm great at narrowing things down and becoming an expert. Having to constantly re-orient myself to not just different files, but completely different areas of law, is what led to those threads--lack of motivation at work, missing minor things, and, as a result of those, eventually maybe getting fired.

Going back and reading my posts, though, I sound bipolar about work. It's like I know all the perks I have, but that's just not enough to keep me mentally engaged. I think the lack of motivation, the threat of being fired, the lack of attention to detail...it's all related to me not being emotionally or mentally "all in."

To have the opportunity to work in Pittsburgh in the firm's labor and employment practice would be AMAZING. Like, I still listen to labor and employment podcasts even though I hardly do any work in L&E. I just like that area of law, it makes sense to me, I know what I'm looking for, etc.

I know the demands are higher, but at this current time--with only a couple clients, with me being young, with me not having kids yet--I just can't help but think making this decision will make me more motivated and goal-oriented at work.

I should have just spilled this all out there in my OP, but threads have a way of making you find your inner reasons for doing things. And I can say after days and days of introspection, my number one thing isn't the increased compensation, it's the ability to work in a practice area that I find engaging, interesting, and fulfilling.

I just received a great PM, and the premise of it was not to view this as a yes or no decision--there are alternatives. I'm wondering whether I could ever have an L&E practice in my small market. I honestly don't know.

But for right now, given where I'm at in life, going to work at a big firm might lead to some future opportunities that will make it all worth it.

That's where I'm at. Others may disagree, but hell, I don't even have an offer yet, which makes it all the more insane of me to be spending this much time worrying about a hypothetical decision I might have to make. Oh well. Cheers.

Laura33

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Re: Job Opportunity (Lawyer): Triple my Salary, but Long Commute and More Hours
« Reply #106 on: January 19, 2017, 12:42:50 PM »
To have the opportunity to work in Pittsburgh in the firm's labor and employment practice would be AMAZING. Like, I still listen to labor and employment podcasts even though I hardly do any work in L&E. I just like that area of law, it makes sense to me, I know what I'm looking for, etc.

. . . . 

And I can say after days and days of introspection, my number one thing isn't the increased compensation, it's the ability to work in a practice area that I find engaging, interesting, and fulfilling.

This is a much, much better reason to take the new job (if offered) than just chasing the money.  Good luck!

Midwest

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Re: Job Opportunity (Lawyer): Triple my Salary, but Long Commute and More Hours
« Reply #107 on: January 19, 2017, 12:55:40 PM »

The reason it sounds like I'm pushing towards leaving is because I just don't think I'm satisfied with work.  I was hired with the impression that I would be doing labor and employment work, including ERISA, and that has not panned out. Instead, I'm doing everything--foreclosures, divorce research, will contests, tax litigation before the board of tax appeals, personal injury, bankruptcy proof of sales, on and on and on. My mind is constantly shifting and trying to learn entirely new areas of law.

That just does not fit my skill set. I'm great at narrowing things down and becoming an expert. Having to constantly re-orient myself to not just different files, but completely different areas of law, is what led to those threads--lack of motivation at work, missing minor things, and, as a result of those, eventually maybe getting fired.

Going back and reading my posts, though, I sound bipolar about work. It's like I know all the perks I have, but that's just not enough to keep me mentally engaged. I think the lack of motivation, the threat of being fired, the lack of attention to detail...it's all related to me not being emotionally or mentally "all in."

To have the opportunity to work in Pittsburgh in the firm's labor and employment practice would be AMAZING. Like, I still listen to labor and employment podcasts even though I hardly do any work in L&E. I just like that area of law, it makes sense to me, I know what I'm looking for, etc.

I just received a great PM, and the premise of it was not to view this as a yes or no decision--there are alternatives. I'm wondering whether I could ever have an L&E practice in my small market. I honestly don't know.


Not a lawyer, but accounting has some similarities to law and I know a lot of attorneys at many levels.  If you want specialized work, you generally need to work in a larger firm.  Specialized work also typically requires a larger metropolitan area.

If you have thoughts of hanging your own shingle in a small town after leaving big law, your work probably won't be specialized.  The specialized work you did in big law may or may not be valuable if/when you decide to move back.  This may or may not be bad, just laying out the landscape.

I run into lots of litigators, M&A/business attorneys, real estate, and divorce people. I've run across a 1 or 2 L&E attorney's, but it doesn't seem nearly as common a practice area (again I'm not an attorney).

Lastly, I'm in the midwest with a lot of contacts in larger law firms.  The lawyers (typically partners or senior  people) at the larger firms are answering me at all times of the day and night.  Their existence is not M-F at all.  I'm in a smaller market than Cleveland or Pittsburgh so I doubt the expectations there would be less than here.

Commuting would suck.  I commuted for 45 minutes to an hour each way for 1 year.  Billable hours were around 2000.  Never so glad to move in my life.

Not trying to discourage, just giving another perspective.  Good luck.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2017, 01:00:31 PM by Midwest »

YTProphet

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Re: Job Opportunity (Lawyer): Triple my Salary, but Long Commute and More Hours
« Reply #108 on: January 19, 2017, 02:08:42 PM »
Try to get the job. And, if you do, get a place as close as possible in the city. You simply can't handle a two hour daily commute with the hours you'll be working.

The resume-building nature of a biglaw job cannot be overstated. Most places I've been (both at firms and in-house) will throw out resumes that don't have good training pedigree (i.e. big or mid law firm experience).

It doesn't have to be as soul sucking as people on here indicate, though. If you get in the office by 8, get militaristic about keeping track of time (don't go home til it's all logged) and don't do self-write offs, and pack a lunch, you can bill 2000+ without staying past 6. 10 hour days are long, sure, but that's what you're paid the big bucks for.

Iplawyer

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Re: Job Opportunity (Lawyer): Triple my Salary, but Long Commute and More Hours
« Reply #109 on: January 19, 2017, 02:18:50 PM »
Try to get the job. And, if you do, get a place as close as possible in the city. You simply can't handle a two hour daily commute with the hours you'll be working.

The resume-building nature of a biglaw job cannot be overstated. Most places I've been (both at firms and in-house) will throw out resumes that don't have good training pedigree (i.e. big or mid law firm experience).

It doesn't have to be as soul sucking as people on here indicate, though. If you get in the office by 8, get militaristic about keeping track of time (don't go home til it's all logged) and don't do self-write offs, and pack a lunch, you can bill 2000+ without staying past 6. 10 hour days are long, sure, but that's what you're paid the big bucks for.

I've been doing this a long time and I still have to work 12 hours to bill 8 hours.  And firms have all kinds of things going on all of the time after work.  And partners want you there until they leave - and after if they give you projects.  It is completely unrealistic to expect to walk into a biglaw law firm and not have insane hour at least the first 2-3 years. 

shawndoggy

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Re: Job Opportunity (Lawyer): Triple my Salary, but Long Commute and More Hours
« Reply #110 on: January 19, 2017, 03:03:51 PM »

If you can "bring in" $440k, then there is no reason to join a firm.  Hire some help and get to work.  You have your own firm.

I'm not talking about client origination, I'm talking about associate-billed hours that actually get paid.  $$$ attributable to that associate actually collected.  Is this a stat that even gets shared with a biglaw associate?


Definitely possible to bill that much, provided your billing rate is correctly calibrated to your salary.  If I hit my benchmark hours (and if the firm collects on them all - I doubt any associate is at 100% for a variety of reasons outside of their control), the firm grosses $1,082,250.00 in fees.  My salary is $235,000.00 gross (+$60k bonus for hitting my hours) and I'm sure there's a few tens of thousands of dollars in overhead they pay for me (insurance, office space, support staff, bar fees, etc.).  By my estimation, I cost about 1/3 of what I "bring in" in billable work.  LOTS of associates at my firm bill much more than their benchmark hours, making them even more profitable.

Right, I understand that the number is higher if every hour billed actually gets paid.  What I'm asking is whether you actually know how many of your hours are being paid?  I understand that different firms share different amounts of information and that this may not be a stat that's shared with associates?

bridget

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Re: Job Opportunity (Lawyer): Triple my Salary, but Long Commute and More Hours
« Reply #111 on: January 19, 2017, 03:20:59 PM »

If you can "bring in" $440k, then there is no reason to join a firm.  Hire some help and get to work.  You have your own firm.

I'm not talking about client origination, I'm talking about associate-billed hours that actually get paid.  $$$ attributable to that associate actually collected.  Is this a stat that even gets shared with a biglaw associate?


Definitely possible to bill that much, provided your billing rate is correctly calibrated to your salary.  If I hit my benchmark hours (and if the firm collects on them all - I doubt any associate is at 100% for a variety of reasons outside of their control), the firm grosses $1,082,250.00 in fees.  My salary is $235,000.00 gross (+$60k bonus for hitting my hours) and I'm sure there's a few tens of thousands of dollars in overhead they pay for me (insurance, office space, support staff, bar fees, etc.).  By my estimation, I cost about 1/3 of what I "bring in" in billable work.  LOTS of associates at my firm bill much more than their benchmark hours, making them even more profitable.

Right, I understand that the number is higher if every hour billed actually gets paid.  What I'm asking is whether you actually know how many of your hours are being paid?  I understand that different firms share different amounts of information and that this may not be a stat that's shared with associates?

Collected revenue matters in some firms, according to anecdata, in that in some firms associates only get credit for collected hours, not billed hours.  This is pretty shitty of those firms, in my opinion, because collectibility issues can come from a million things that have nothing to do with the associate (like a deadbeat client, or a client who is pissed that the partner directed more work than anticipated).  At my firm, I get credit for hours billed, not collected, so it's no skin off my nose if there is an issue after the bills go out.  The exception to this is if the reason it didn't get collected has to do with me - like if the partner thought I was inefficient and wrote off my time, or the client didn't think my billing narrative was specific enough/showed enough value added and so refused to pay.  That's feedback I need to hear, even if I get credit for the hours.

I would run far away from a firm that only gave me credit for revenue.  That's a risk/reward system that partners have, not associates (and in an associate's case, it's all risk, no share in the reward).

Field123

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Re: Job Opportunity (Lawyer): Triple my Salary, but Long Commute and More Hours
« Reply #112 on: January 19, 2017, 03:48:18 PM »
This one is pretty obvious: take the money job!

I've read a number of your posts where it seems like you're very dissatisfied where you are currently and that they may let you go anyway. This one is an absolute no-brainer.

That said, you should also probably move as close to the new job as possible. I don't know how much your wife is making, but if it's much less than $150k then she just needs to get on board with moving and getting a new job.

shawndoggy

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Re: Job Opportunity (Lawyer): Triple my Salary, but Long Commute and More Hours
« Reply #113 on: January 19, 2017, 03:57:20 PM »

Collected revenue matters in some firms, according to anecdata, in that in some firms associates only get credit for collected hours, not billed hours.  This is pretty shitty of those firms, in my opinion, because collectibility issues can come from a million things that have nothing to do with the associate (like a deadbeat client, or a client who is pissed that the partner directed more work than anticipated).  At my firm, I get credit for hours billed, not collected, so it's no skin off my nose if there is an issue after the bills go out.  The exception to this is if the reason it didn't get collected has to do with me - like if the partner thought I was inefficient and wrote off my time, or the client didn't think my billing narrative was specific enough/showed enough value added and so refused to pay.  That's feedback I need to hear, even if I get credit for the hours.

I would run far away from a firm that only gave me credit for revenue.  That's a risk/reward system that partners have, not associates (and in an associate's case, it's all risk, no share in the reward).

I never said that associates should only be compensated on revenue.  But from someone who stands on the other side of the fence (in a medium sized firm in a small city), how much revenue a particular associate generates is definitely a very big factor in how well that associate is doing (especially as they approach partnership).  If you don't know how much revenue you generate, you don't really know what you're "worth".  IMHO YMMV etc.

bridget

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Re: Job Opportunity (Lawyer): Triple my Salary, but Long Commute and More Hours
« Reply #114 on: January 19, 2017, 04:18:46 PM »

Collected revenue matters in some firms, according to anecdata, in that in some firms associates only get credit for collected hours, not billed hours.  This is pretty shitty of those firms, in my opinion, because collectibility issues can come from a million things that have nothing to do with the associate (like a deadbeat client, or a client who is pissed that the partner directed more work than anticipated).  At my firm, I get credit for hours billed, not collected, so it's no skin off my nose if there is an issue after the bills go out.  The exception to this is if the reason it didn't get collected has to do with me - like if the partner thought I was inefficient and wrote off my time, or the client didn't think my billing narrative was specific enough/showed enough value added and so refused to pay.  That's feedback I need to hear, even if I get credit for the hours.

I would run far away from a firm that only gave me credit for revenue.  That's a risk/reward system that partners have, not associates (and in an associate's case, it's all risk, no share in the reward).

I never said that associates should only be compensated on revenue.  But from someone who stands on the other side of the fence (in a medium sized firm in a small city), how much revenue a particular associate generates is definitely a very big factor in how well that associate is doing (especially as they approach partnership).  If you don't know how much revenue you generate, you don't really know what you're "worth".  IMHO YMMV etc.

Hold up, I'm not arguing with anybody or saying that you said anything - just answering the question about what stats are shared with associates at big law firms.  In my experience, collection issues are shared with associates when it's relevant to their work and work quality (such as when it is caused by an associate's inefficiency).  When it's something to do with factors that are unrelated to the associate's work, it seems pretty unfair to penalize them for it.  I could probably ask about those types of collection issues (and sometimes it's unavoidable that I find out about it, like if we fire a deadbeat client), but they're not automatically rolled into my performance numbers or anything.

I'm not saying revenue can't be taken into account at performance time, but some smaller firms make it automatic that an associate doesn't get credit for any work that wasn't collected on, which in my opinion, sucks.  I think associates are so much more insulated from stuff like this at a big law firm rather than a medium firm (I worked at a medium sized firm in a smaller city before this, I get where you're coming from) because they are likewise more insulated from the decisions that get made.  At my small firm, I had way more control over which cases I got on and which I didn't.  If I was wary of a client paying their bills, I'd be more likely to 1) know that was a concern, and 2) be able to control my time on those cases.  I have no such control in biglaw, and am at least three layers away from the people who make those kinds of decisions (and decisions about whether to write off time or negotiate bills down).  So taking revenue into account more for factors out of their control seems as fair as docking a secretary's pay because a client didn't pay.  Associates in big law firms are essentially overhead, at the end of the day.

Shade00

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Re: Job Opportunity (Lawyer): Triple my Salary, but Long Commute and More Hours
« Reply #115 on: January 19, 2017, 04:39:28 PM »
I work in a firm that is considered Biglaw by number of lawyers, but we're a regional firm and don't have the revenue (since we're not in the major markets) to be a true Biglaw. Nonetheless, the firm is very transparent about collections, etc., and collections are one metric in the annual associate review process, but only a small component. For senior associates, though, collections determine bonus potential as well as a significant portion of shareholder advancement potential. As for transparency, I am able at any time to see where my collections, what the firm's target for me is at any time, and so on. For instance, I can see that one client hasn't paid us for work done 6+ months ago, so I have a $16k hole in AR, which will hurt my bonus (if I get one at all - thanks collections!).

As for the OP's situation, there's no harm in considering what could happen here, but until you even have an interview, I'd settle down a bit. I've gotten many a call from many a recruiter, some of which have resulted in interviews and offers, more in interviews and no offers, and even more in nothing at all. This firm will be asking you what is bringing you to Pittsburgh - do you have a story to tell other than "I hate my job and don't get paid enough?" Out-of-market interviews are often very difficult simply because they don't believe you're sincere about moving or really have any reason to move.

shawndoggy

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Re: Job Opportunity (Lawyer): Triple my Salary, but Long Commute and More Hours
« Reply #116 on: January 19, 2017, 07:13:48 PM »
Associates in big law firms are essentially overhead, at the end of the day.

Associates in all law firms better reduce the amount of overhead that each partner needs to cover, at the end of the day.  Associates are just another way that people put their money to work to make more money.

For senior associates, though, collections determine bonus potential as well as a significant portion of shareholder advancement potential.

That's basically my point -- that you need to know what you bring in, in order to really know what you are worth.  Even if the end game is to bail out of biglaw and move to a small firm or go lateral, you are a money generating commodity and you need to know what you can produce in order to know your value.

Iplawyer

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Re: Job Opportunity (Lawyer): Triple my Salary, but Long Commute and More Hours
« Reply #117 on: January 20, 2017, 06:37:39 AM »

Collected revenue matters in some firms, according to anecdata, in that in some firms associates only get credit for collected hours, not billed hours.  This is pretty shitty of those firms, in my opinion, because collectibility issues can come from a million things that have nothing to do with the associate (like a deadbeat client, or a client who is pissed that the partner directed more work than anticipated).  At my firm, I get credit for hours billed, not collected, so it's no skin off my nose if there is an issue after the bills go out.  The exception to this is if the reason it didn't get collected has to do with me - like if the partner thought I was inefficient and wrote off my time, or the client didn't think my billing narrative was specific enough/showed enough value added and so refused to pay.  That's feedback I need to hear, even if I get credit for the hours.

I would run far away from a firm that only gave me credit for revenue.  That's a risk/reward system that partners have, not associates (and in an associate's case, it's all risk, no share in the reward).

I never said that associates should only be compensated on revenue.  But from someone who stands on the other side of the fence (in a medium sized firm in a small city), how much revenue a particular associate generates is definitely a very big factor in how well that associate is doing (especially as they approach partnership).  If you don't know how much revenue you generate, you don't really know what you're "worth".  IMHO YMMV etc.

Hold up, I'm not arguing with anybody or saying that you said anything - just answering the question about what stats are shared with associates at big law firms.  In my experience, collection issues are shared with associates when it's relevant to their work and work quality (such as when it is caused by an associate's inefficiency).  When it's something to do with factors that are unrelated to the associate's work, it seems pretty unfair to penalize them for it.  I could probably ask about those types of collection issues (and sometimes it's unavoidable that I find out about it, like if we fire a deadbeat client), but they're not automatically rolled into my performance numbers or anything.

I'm not saying revenue can't be taken into account at performance time, but some smaller firms make it automatic that an associate doesn't get credit for any work that wasn't collected on, which in my opinion, sucks.  I think associates are so much more insulated from stuff like this at a big law firm rather than a medium firm (I worked at a medium sized firm in a smaller city before this, I get where you're coming from) because they are likewise more insulated from the decisions that get made.  At my small firm, I had way more control over which cases I got on and which I didn't.  If I was wary of a client paying their bills, I'd be more likely to 1) know that was a concern, and 2) be able to control my time on those cases.  I have no such control in biglaw, and am at least three layers away from the people who make those kinds of decisions (and decisions about whether to write off time or negotiate bills down).  So taking revenue into account more for factors out of their control seems as fair as docking a secretary's pay because a client didn't pay.  Associates in big law firms are essentially overhead, at the end of the day.

If you don't bill hours that generate collections that exceed your salary plus what the firm identifies as your overhead - you won't be staying in big law long.  Partners want associates to generate cash for them.  They is how they make money - after an associate bills a certain number of hours - everything after that is profit the firm partners share.  If the associate isn't getting beyond that number - the partners won't carry them long.  So purely disagree with "Associate in big law firms are essentially overhead" completely and totally.

Most firms I've been at have a running tally on how you are doing regarding this.  Most associates look at it daily.  Some are even authorized to discuss the lack of bill payment with clients when they call.

RobinAZ

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Re: Job Opportunity (Lawyer): Triple my Salary, but Long Commute and More Hours
« Reply #118 on: January 23, 2017, 02:06:15 PM »
Wow, really?  So for a $110k starting salary associates are expected to bring in 440k?  I'd be shocked if that were even possible!

- No, not new associates.  And some departments, like Tax and Corporate, had lower expectations.  Laterals and mid-level, at $300+/hour, yes. 

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Re: Job Opportunity (Lawyer): Triple my Salary, but Long Commute and More Hours
« Reply #119 on: January 23, 2017, 05:02:15 PM »
Wow, really?  So for a $110k starting salary associates are expected to bring in 440k?  I'd be shocked if that were even possible!

- No, not new associates.  And some departments, like Tax and Corporate, had lower expectations.  Laterals and mid-level, at $300+/hour, yes.

A third-year associate in a major firm in a major market probably bills at around $700/hour, and collections would generally be approaching 100%. They'd make $260k, so the Phoenix 25% seems pretty good.

Kashmani

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Re: Job Opportunity (Lawyer): Triple my Salary, but Long Commute and More Hours
« Reply #120 on: January 24, 2017, 07:16:23 AM »

If you can "bring in" $440k, then there is no reason to join a firm.  Hire some help and get to work.  You have your own firm.

I'm not talking about client origination, I'm talking about associate-billed hours that actually get paid.  $$$ attributable to that associate actually collected.  Is this a stat that even gets shared with a biglaw associate?


Definitely possible to bill that much, provided your billing rate is correctly calibrated to your salary.  If I hit my benchmark hours (and if the firm collects on them all - I doubt any associate is at 100% for a variety of reasons outside of their control), the firm grosses $1,082,250.00 in fees.  My salary is $235,000.00 gross (+$60k bonus for hitting my hours) and I'm sure there's a few tens of thousands of dollars in overhead they pay for me (insurance, office space, support staff, bar fees, etc.).  By my estimation, I cost about 1/3 of what I "bring in" in billable work.  LOTS of associates at my firm bill much more than their benchmark hours, making them even more profitable.

Right, I understand that the number is higher if every hour billed actually gets paid.  What I'm asking is whether you actually know how many of your hours are being paid?  I understand that different firms share different amounts of information and that this may not be a stat that's shared with associates?

Collected revenue matters in some firms, according to anecdata, in that in some firms associates only get credit for collected hours, not billed hours.  This is pretty shitty of those firms, in my opinion, because collectibility issues can come from a million things that have nothing to do with the associate (like a deadbeat client, or a client who is pissed that the partner directed more work than anticipated).  At my firm, I get credit for hours billed, not collected, so it's no skin off my nose if there is an issue after the bills go out.  The exception to this is if the reason it didn't get collected has to do with me - like if the partner thought I was inefficient and wrote off my time, or the client didn't think my billing narrative was specific enough/showed enough value added and so refused to pay.  That's feedback I need to hear, even if I get credit for the hours.

I would run far away from a firm that only gave me credit for revenue.  That's a risk/reward system that partners have, not associates (and in an associate's case, it's all risk, no share in the reward).

My old firm paid a percentage of revenue collected to associates. I liked this even before I made partner because it forces accountability and a focus on business. I have seen too many associates in big firms that never see the bill or follow up with clients to collect. That leaves them woefully unprepared for partnership or even running their own files. An eye for value and the amount that can realistically be billed is vital.

ReadySetMillionaire

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Re: Job Opportunity (Lawyer): Triple my Salary, but Long Commute and More Hours
« Reply #121 on: February 03, 2017, 12:48:27 PM »
Just a little update here.

Had my interview yesterday and it went pretty well. The office is extremely impressive and in a great area of downtown Pittsburgh.

I was supposed to meet with 6 people, but only met with 3 (two associates, one partner). One of the associates was actually from my hometown, and we had a really good rapport. The other associate was also very nice, and I asked her some very specific questions about articles she had written, and she seemed impressed and enthused by that.

The partner was a nice guy, but holy shit he was intense. He said they have "too much Title VII work" and that they are turning it away, and they would hope I would step in and do almost exclusively that. I'll just say that would be AWESOME for me--I find that area of law very interesting.

But...he said there's so much work that he would expect me to bill 2400 hours. That's a HUGE increase compared to what I have now. He also talked about how there's always a lot of work that is last minute.

So it was good but opened my eyes a bit. 2400 hours is 200 a month, or almost 50 a week. That's...a lot of work.

They said they were only interviewing a couple more applicants, and that they will get back to me early next week.

After all this, still not sure what I'd do if they gave me an offer.

Captain FIRE

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Re: Job Opportunity (Lawyer): Triple my Salary, but Long Commute and More Hours
« Reply #122 on: February 03, 2017, 01:04:32 PM »
So it was good but opened my eyes a bit. 2400 hours is 200 a month, or almost 50 a week. That's...a lot of work.

This is what we've been trying to tell you.  Also keep in mind it's not likely to be 200/month, bc work is quite variable, so you'd need to be prepared for 300+ months tossed in there.  The variability of the amount of work was the biggest surprise for me.

And the last minute work he mentioned again really speaks to needing a local place - at the very least during the work week, but really life would be substantially improved by full time living there.  Driving that distance back and forth frequently is likely not very feasible.

But meeting with only half of the schedule people is not a great sign.  Did they say why?  (Good signs for interviews is when they decide partway through to add more people to your schedule.)

LeRainDrop

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Re: Job Opportunity (Lawyer): Triple my Salary, but Long Commute and More Hours
« Reply #123 on: February 03, 2017, 01:07:22 PM »
Sounds like there's a huge career opportunity for you there, but a $hit-ton of commitment required.  There would be no getting around needing to live close-by the office and having your wife on board that she would basically be sacrificing the pleasure of your company for awhile.  Wishing you luck in having good options!

Oh, and remember, that's 200 billable hours per month on average.  So if you want to take off any holidays, go to doctor or other appointments, or take vacation, you'll have to make up for those hours on other days.
« Last Edit: February 03, 2017, 01:09:42 PM by LeRainDrop »

ReadySetMillionaire

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Re: Job Opportunity (Lawyer): Triple my Salary, but Long Commute and More Hours
« Reply #124 on: February 03, 2017, 01:33:36 PM »
So it was good but opened my eyes a bit. 2400 hours is 200 a month, or almost 50 a week. That's...a lot of work.

This is what we've been trying to tell you.  Also keep in mind it's not likely to be 200/month, bc work is quite variable, so you'd need to be prepared for 300+ months tossed in there.  The variability of the amount of work was the biggest surprise for me.

And the last minute work he mentioned again really speaks to needing a local place - at the very least during the work week, but really life would be substantially improved by full time living there.  Driving that distance back and forth frequently is likely not very feasible.

But meeting with only half of the schedule people is not a great sign.  Did they say why?  (Good signs for interviews is when they decide partway through to add more people to your schedule.)

The other 3 were extremely high ups in the firm that didn't work out of the Pittsburgh office. Apparently they all had scheduling conflicts because something happened with the firm's executive committee.

Malum Prohibitum

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Re: Job Opportunity (Lawyer): Triple my Salary, but Long Commute and More Hours
« Reply #125 on: February 04, 2017, 09:40:11 AM »
But...he said there's so much work that he would expect me to bill 2400 hours. That's a HUGE increase compared to what I have now. He also talked about how there's always a lot of work that is last minute.

So it was good but opened my eyes a bit. 2400 hours is 200 a month, or almost 50 a week. That's...a lot of work.
  I hope you are correct when you say it opened your eyes a bit.  It should probably be more than a bit.  That is going to be a very tough number to hit consistently.

Your health and marriage will definitely suffer.

Commuting"  LOL!  Forget it.

ReadySetMillionaire

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Re: Job Opportunity (Lawyer): Triple my Salary, but Long Commute and More Hours
« Reply #126 on: February 05, 2017, 10:11:33 AM »
I hope you are correct when you say it opened your eyes a bit.  It should probably be more than a bit.  That is going to be a very tough number to hit consistently.

Your health and marriage will definitely suffer.

Commuting"  LOL!  Forget it.

Ya. Commuting daily is out of the question. My fiancee is now open to moving towards the city and then commuting to her job, but I still lean towards me staying in the city Monday night through Thursday night.  Still have a lot to work out, including whether I would even take such a job, but we are obviously putting the cart way ahead of the horse until an offer is on the table.

Also, this has been a bit eye opening in that, taking advice into this thread into account, I'm just going to start being the lawyer I want to be.  I don't need to work in some mega-firm to be a labor and employment lawyer.  I just need to start doing it.

So I've already started doing some things I would have done if I changed jobs. This includes downloading a few more labor and employment podcasts, creating an EEOC and federal civil rules "cheat sheet," creating an RSS feed of Sixth Circuit employment decisions, etc.  I've also already decided that if I don't get this job, I'm going to meet with management and say, "Look, I can do ERISA and workers' comp, and I think rounding out the practice would include me handling the firm's employment cases.  So I'd like to start specializing in that."

Yes, I'm admittedly kind of bipolar about work, but I'm feeling a lot better about everything--no matter what happens.

Iplawyer

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Re: Job Opportunity (Lawyer): Triple my Salary, but Long Commute and More Hours
« Reply #127 on: February 05, 2017, 11:32:28 AM »
Just a little update here.

Had my interview yesterday and it went pretty well. The office is extremely impressive and in a great area of downtown Pittsburgh.

I was supposed to meet with 6 people, but only met with 3 (two associates, one partner). One of the associates was actually from my hometown, and we had a really good rapport. The other associate was also very nice, and I asked her some very specific questions about articles she had written, and she seemed impressed and enthused by that.

The partner was a nice guy, but holy shit he was intense. He said they have "too much Title VII work" and that they are turning it away, and they would hope I would step in and do almost exclusively that. I'll just say that would be AWESOME for me--I find that area of law very interesting.

But...he said there's so much work that he would expect me to bill 2400 hours. That's a HUGE increase compared to what I have now. He also talked about how there's always a lot of work that is last minute.

So it was good but opened my eyes a bit. 2400 hours is 200 a month, or almost 50 a week. That's...a lot of work.

They said they were only interviewing a couple more applicants, and that they will get back to me early next week.

After all this, still not sure what I'd do if they gave me an offer.

Keep in mind that you will have to work at least 250 hours to bill 200 hours.  Trust me - it is a lot.

shawndoggy

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Re: Job Opportunity (Lawyer): Triple my Salary, but Long Commute and More Hours
« Reply #128 on: February 06, 2017, 06:36:08 AM »
My experience is admittedly limited to a larger-firm-for-a-smaller-city (decidedly NOT biglaw, though we do frequently work as local counsel with biglaw firms), so take this with a grain of salt:

everyone I know who has been successful billing those kind of hours has done so at the expense of quality of life.  They start out thinking that they are "doing it for their family," and end up finding that they don't know their children and their spouse wants half of the marital estate in the divorce.

I doubt there are many people who are going to say "man, I wish I'd have billed more hours" on their deathbed.

But there seem to be quite a few biglaw folks on here, so maybe they can tell a different tale.  Like I said, my experience is limited.

KBecks

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Re: Job Opportunity (Lawyer): Triple my Salary, but Long Commute and More Hours
« Reply #129 on: February 06, 2017, 07:14:45 AM »
An hour commute is not that bad.  If that takes traffic into account, and you do not mind driving then I think you should definitely interview and apply and investigate the big city job.  You can listen to podcasts, etc. and do whatever to make your commute more tolerable.  You can even buy a car that you enjoy at this new salary.

Given that your small firm has a lot of partners retiring that is a lot of uncertainty.  Do you have any interest in becoming partner or buying into the firm you are with?

I think $45k for a lawyer is so low. 

Find out exactly how bad your billable hours will be at the big firm.  And figure those in + the commute.

Good luck!!

YTProphet

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Re: Job Opportunity (Lawyer): Triple my Salary, but Long Commute and More Hours
« Reply #130 on: February 06, 2017, 08:59:49 AM »
My experience is admittedly limited to a larger-firm-for-a-smaller-city (decidedly NOT biglaw, though we do frequently work as local counsel with biglaw firms), so take this with a grain of salt:

everyone I know who has been successful billing those kind of hours has done so at the expense of quality of life.  They start out thinking that they are "doing it for their family," and end up finding that they don't know their children and their spouse wants half of the marital estate in the divorce.

I doubt there are many people who are going to say "man, I wish I'd have billed more hours" on their deathbed.

But there seem to be quite a few biglaw folks on here, so maybe they can tell a different tale.  Like I said, my experience is limited.

That's what happens to BigLaw lifers. Doesn't have to happen here. Just do it for 3-5 years, save a ton of money, and move on to something with better work-life balance. Most people get stuck because of the golden handcuffs. I don't think that's as much of an issue for Mustachians.

bridget

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Re: Job Opportunity (Lawyer): Triple my Salary, but Long Commute and More Hours
« Reply #131 on: February 06, 2017, 10:07:13 AM »
I hope you are correct when you say it opened your eyes a bit.  It should probably be more than a bit.  That is going to be a very tough number to hit consistently.

Your health and marriage will definitely suffer.

Commuting"  LOL!  Forget it.

Ya. Commuting daily is out of the question. My fiancee is now open to moving towards the city and then commuting to her job, but I still lean towards me staying in the city Monday night through Thursday night.  Still have a lot to work out, including whether I would even take such a job, but we are obviously putting the cart way ahead of the horse until an offer is on the table.

Also, this has been a bit eye opening in that, taking advice into this thread into account, I'm just going to start being the lawyer I want to be.  I don't need to work in some mega-firm to be a labor and employment lawyer.  I just need to start doing it.

So I've already started doing some things I would have done if I changed jobs. This includes downloading a few more labor and employment podcasts, creating an EEOC and federal civil rules "cheat sheet," creating an RSS feed of Sixth Circuit employment decisions, etc.  I've also already decided that if I don't get this job, I'm going to meet with management and say, "Look, I can do ERISA and workers' comp, and I think rounding out the practice would include me handling the firm's employment cases.  So I'd like to start specializing in that."

Yes, I'm admittedly kind of bipolar about work, but I'm feeling a lot better about everything--no matter what happens.

One of the things that sucks about high salaries in bigger firms is that they are paying you a premium for constant availability. My first three months at the firm I billed every minute I was awake (and some I wasn't, trying to find time to nap on planes). Then I had a slow month (billed about 60% of my target hours) but the infuriating thing is that it was arbitrary whether those hours came during business hours or not. I pulled two all-nighters and worked two full weekends, because the stuff that came up, came up at inopportune times and had a tight turnaround.

Anyway, if you plan to just bill like 11 hour days Monday through Thursday, and then spend your weekend in your other life, you may find that very difficult to actually do a lot of the time.

shawndoggy

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Re: Job Opportunity (Lawyer): Triple my Salary, but Long Commute and More Hours
« Reply #132 on: February 06, 2017, 11:19:03 AM »
Anyway, if you plan to just bill like 11 hour days Monday through Thursday, and then spend your weekend in your other life, you may find that very difficult to actually do a lot of the time.

This is private practice generally, methinks.  All I want is a long steady drink, but half the time it's a firehose and the other half a trickle. 

It's hard to explain to someone in a different career the anxiety of taking a desk vacation (i.e. at work but under-busy).

bridget

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Re: Job Opportunity (Lawyer): Triple my Salary, but Long Commute and More Hours
« Reply #133 on: February 06, 2017, 11:28:33 AM »
Anyway, if you plan to just bill like 11 hour days Monday through Thursday, and then spend your weekend in your other life, you may find that very difficult to actually do a lot of the time.

This is private practice generally, methinks.  All I want is a long steady drink, but half the time it's a firehose and the other half a trickle. 

It's hard to explain to someone in a different career the anxiety of taking a desk vacation (i.e. at work but under-busy).

Dear god, yes. I have run out of plausibly-work-related internet to read, and am worried someone in IT will start to get suspicious of just how many clicks on this forum are happening today. My kindle is in my purse because there's a high likelihood I will have nothing to do other than read my book club novel (although yesterday, a Sunday, I spent about 5 hours on emergency research).

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Re: Job Opportunity (Lawyer): Triple my Salary, but Long Commute and More Hours
« Reply #134 on: February 09, 2017, 10:04:15 PM »
My experience is admittedly limited to a larger-firm-for-a-smaller-city (decidedly NOT biglaw, though we do frequently work as local counsel with biglaw firms), so take this with a grain of salt:

everyone I know who has been successful billing those kind of hours has done so at the expense of quality of life.  They start out thinking that they are "doing it for their family," and end up finding that they don't know their children and their spouse wants half of the marital estate in the divorce.

I doubt there are many people who are going to say "man, I wish I'd have billed more hours" on their deathbed.

But there seem to be quite a few biglaw folks on here, so maybe they can tell a different tale.  Like I said, my experience is limited.

IT is not a death sentence,   putting in extra hours and effort at work for 3-4 years then FIRE is no more straining than having kids under 2 years old in the house.

TravelStache

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Re: Job Opportunity (Lawyer): Triple my Salary, but Long Commute and More Hours
« Reply #135 on: February 14, 2017, 08:39:07 AM »
Any update from the firm?

shawndoggy

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Re: Job Opportunity (Lawyer): Triple my Salary, but Long Commute and More Hours
« Reply #136 on: February 14, 2017, 09:44:02 AM »
IT is not a death sentence,   putting in extra hours and effort at work for 3-4 years then FIRE is no more straining than having kids under 2 years old in the house.

I probably don't disagree except that we're talking about a young guy with a fiance.  kids under 2 years old in the house are probably just around the corner.

ReadySetMillionaire

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ReadySetMillionaire

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Re: Job Opportunity (Lawyer): Triple my Salary, but Long Commute and More Hours
« Reply #138 on: February 16, 2017, 07:06:02 AM »
Update: heard back from the firm today, and they decided to hire someone else. Onward and upward I guess.

Laura33

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Re: Job Opportunity (Lawyer): Triple my Salary, but Long Commute and More Hours
« Reply #139 on: February 16, 2017, 07:44:29 AM »
Update: heard back from the firm today, and they decided to hire someone else. Onward and upward I guess.

I'm sorry.  How disappointing.

But at least it sounds like the experience helped you refocus on the kind of work that energizes you, right?  So go out and make that happen and build the practice and life you want -- and maybe in 10 years they'll be sorry they didn't snatch you up when they had the chance. :-)

FIREby35

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Re: Job Opportunity (Lawyer): Triple my Salary, but Long Commute and More Hours
« Reply #140 on: February 16, 2017, 08:18:09 AM »
Whether or not you believe it, this is the best news you have ever received.

You previously posted that you were starting to take the initiative to develop yourself inside your current firm. Keep at it. Develop your own clients and practice. Develop your own talent. Develop your business acumen. That is the path to freedom.

I'll be anxiously waiting to hear back from you about how your own practice has grown and how much leverage you have in asking for a percentage of your gross receipts next year. It will be much better than the hypothetical post about how much longer you had to stick around the big law firm to protect your resume!

Keep your chin up,

FIREby35

Iplawyer

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Re: Job Opportunity (Lawyer): Triple my Salary, but Long Commute and More Hours
« Reply #141 on: February 16, 2017, 08:31:29 AM »
I'm sorry it did not work out on one hand - on the other I think you have a lot going for you in your present situation that you can make work out better.

shawndoggy

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Re: Job Opportunity (Lawyer): Triple my Salary, but Long Commute and More Hours
« Reply #142 on: February 16, 2017, 12:00:38 PM »
Whether or not you believe it, this is the best news you have ever received.

You previously posted that you were starting to take the initiative to develop yourself inside your current firm. Keep at it. Develop your own clients and practice. Develop your own talent. Develop your business acumen. That is the path to freedom.

I'll be anxiously waiting to hear back from you about how your own practice has grown and how much leverage you have in asking for a percentage of your gross receipts next year. It will be much better than the hypothetical post about how much longer you had to stick around the big law firm to protect your resume!

Keep your chin up,

FIREby35

THIS!

RobinAZ

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Ok, I have been hoping for an update!  Are you giving that big firm a run for its money and getting all that Title VII work they said was out there??  Approach your current firm about labor law??  Was your fiancée happy that you ended up staying put???  :-)

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Leverage the interview and contacts to receive referrals of their overflow work.

ReadySetMillionaire

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Ok, I have been hoping for an update!  Are you giving that big firm a run for its money and getting all that Title VII work they said was out there??  Approach your current firm about labor law??  Was your fiancée happy that you ended up staying put???  :-)

I'm currently awaiting my firm's review, which they apparently conducted via a shareholders' meeting last week.

My fiancee is definitely happy that I'm staying put. I actually received a PM from an associate at the big firm, and when I told him I was interviewing for the labor and employment associate, he said, "Another opening will open soon, that's a mill." So I think I dodged a bullet.

As for now, I'm a little torn on what I'm going to do. I took someone's advice to start practicing how I want to practice, so I've become almost like an independent attorney within the firm. I take on my own clients without asking (pending a conflict check), I network a hell of a lot more, etc. I even do little things like use my own font, remove any and all legalese from all motions, etc.  This has genuinely made working at a firm a bit more tolerable, although constantly having to do other people's work on deadline still gets annoying.

But, I still think I want to start my own firm at some point. I want to make sure I have enough cash on hand before I do so, and I'm torn about whether or not to pursue that this summer. I'm still weighing my options.