Celebrating 10 years! 2007-2017

From solo to biglaw

Any amazing story you heard of? Please share mrlollipop09/07/17
I don't know of that story, but I know of someone who was in notreallyalawyer09/07/17
I did not realize big law did education law. I thought that lolwutjobs09/07/17
I would imagine big law handles major city districts. retard09/07/17
No, I hear ya. I am just saying that I did not realize that lolwutjobs09/07/17
Big law, properly defined, doesn't do routine K through 12 e themapmaster09/07/17
I think it's why she did doc review, it was a super speciali notreallyalawyer09/07/17
Heard a story years ago (not anyone I knew personally) about caj11109/07/17
I wouldn't call solo to big law "amazing." Freedom > bigg lawlyer8209/08/17
"Freedom > bigger salary". This really depends on the perso caj11109/08/17
Maybe in a John Grisham novel. isthisit09/07/17
rare, but possible. Though, the more likely route would be dingbat09/07/17
it's possible but rare - the most likely scenario is a solo williamdrayton09/07/17
I have seen several people go from doc review to big law ass triplesix09/07/17
I heard of guy who went to Thomas Jefferson Law school and d mrlollipop09/07/17
I know of a handful of people who were jobless/volunteering spaghetti09/08/17
Had two patent prosecution partners who were solo/small firm interveningrights09/08/17
If you have a big book of business it'll open up any and all thirdtierlaw09/08/17
for smart attorneys, startup law is about the big payoff in dingbat09/08/17
I have a somewhat similar story. I know guy graduate some ki mrlollipop09/08/17
mrlollipop (Sep 7, 2017 - 12:42 am)

Any amazing story you heard of? Please share

Reply Like (0)
notreallyalawyer (Sep 7, 2017 - 9:08 am)

I don't know of that story, but I know of someone who was in doc review who became an associate in big law. She went to Harvard, so that likely helped. She wanted a very specific field, education law, and got it, despite having done doc review for several years.

Reply Like (0)
lolwutjobs (Sep 7, 2017 - 9:30 am)

I did not realize big law did education law. I thought that the hourly rates for that area were basically the same as any other municipal rate (i.e. low).

Reply Like (0)
retard (Sep 7, 2017 - 9:40 am)

I would imagine big law handles major city districts.

Reply Like (0)
lolwutjobs (Sep 7, 2017 - 10:16 am)

No, I hear ya. I am just saying that I did not realize that a firm could get more than say $200 an hour from any government work. The lowest billable rate I know of in big law is $290.00 an hour. It would seem hard to pay a first year $160k when they are getting billed out at $200.00 an hour.

Reply Like (0)
themapmaster (Sep 7, 2017 - 10:44 pm)

Big law, properly defined, doesn't do routine K through 12 education or routine municipal law. No matter what the size of the public entity.

Of course, notreallyalaywer appears to be a troll so his nonsense should come as no surprise.

Reply Like (0)
notreallyalawyer (Sep 7, 2017 - 10:19 am)

I think it's why she did doc review, it was a super specialized search she did and took a really long time to find it. It's not common what she was looking for, in big law.

Reply Like (0)
caj111 (Sep 7, 2017 - 10:57 am)

Heard a story years ago (not anyone I knew personally) about a solo in the early 90s (a terrible time to graduate from law school as well) just a couple years out of law school who litigated a case against a BigLaw firm. I don't know who actually won the case, but the BigLaw firm was so impressed with him they offered him a job. He took it, because getting a regular paycheck was so much more attractive than having to worry about paying office rent to a landlord - another law firm with extra space that charged him a fixed monthly amount plus 50% of his fees (sounds like a terrible arrangement to me, but maybe that's the only space he could get).

Reply Like (0)
lawlyer82 (Sep 8, 2017 - 3:30 pm)

I wouldn't call solo to big law "amazing."

Freedom > bigger salary

Reply Like (0)
caj111 (Sep 8, 2017 - 9:00 pm)

"Freedom > bigger salary". This really depends on the person, their current situation in life and their priorities. Sure, being a solo might allow you to take more days off and vacations, but if you aren't earning enough money, how do you pay for stuff like this? Furthermore, being self-employed can make it more difficult to get a mortgage and buy the house you want, even if your spouse works a regular job. I wouldn't call this freedom, per se.

Reply Like (0)
isthisit (Sep 7, 2017 - 9:19 am)

Maybe in a John Grisham novel.

Reply Like (0)
dingbat (Sep 7, 2017 - 10:12 am)

rare, but possible. Though, the more likely route would be solo to small law to mid law to big law.
Additionally, the most likely way to get there would be through firm mergers.

The one person I know of who went from solo to biglaw partne was a beast at generating business. Going to larger firms allowed him to generate larger clients. As a solo, it was small potatoes, but enough small potatoes to transition to a small firm after a year or two. Generated more business, and moved up to a larger firm. Later told me exactly how much business generation got him his partnership

Reply Like (0)
williamdrayton (Sep 7, 2017 - 5:02 pm)

it's possible but rare - the most likely scenario is a solo who has a highly specialized niche practice with corporate (or maybe High net worth individiual) clients that can afford to pay biglaw hourly rates

I can see a guy who does High net worth Trusts & estates getting scooped up by biglaw; there's a guy in Philly in does High net worth family law at a biglaw firm

I think more likely is the guy who develops a niche practice at biglaw - eventually goes out on his own, then wants to get back into biglaw at partner level to eliminate/reduce his overhead costs - of course he brings his portable business with him - the last part is a must.

given notreallawyer's flair for the dramatic, I have doubts about his friend the education lawyer going into biglaw. even large urban districts aren't willing to pay more than about $200 per hour - anything above that is rare. I"m thinking that notreallawyer may be mischaracterizing his friend's firm as "biglaw" where hardly anything is billed at less than $300-400 per hour.

Reply Like (0)
triplesix (Sep 7, 2017 - 5:35 pm)

I have seen several people go from doc review to big law associate/substantive staff, they usually had one of: 1) semi elite credentials; 2) language; or 3) prior work experience. If you had few of those you did not stay on the circuit long. This is after 2013, I think before that time jesus could not cut it our sh1t game.


I would not be on getting big law from monkey plantation but it does happen if you got something more than just TP with letters JD written in sh1t on it.

Reply Like (0)
mrlollipop (Sep 7, 2017 - 9:49 pm)

I heard of guy who went to Thomas Jefferson Law school and did entertainment law as a solo. Having a few hollywood actors as client which translate to several million in portable business.

Now he is a biglaw in Skadden. I heard that white & case and Latham is trying to recruit him

Reply Like (0)
spaghetti (Sep 8, 2017 - 1:50 am)

I know of a handful of people who were jobless/volunteering for a year or more, got into some niche small firm, and now are in big law. Having the niche practice is the key. One guy also graduated coif from our middling T30-50 but was just kinda awkward and hard to interact with.

Reply Like (0)
interveningrights (Sep 8, 2017 - 1:53 am)

Had two patent prosecution partners who were solo/small firm transition to big-law. Both had decent books of business.

Reply Like (0)
thirdtierlaw (Sep 8, 2017 - 7:33 am)

If you have a big book of business it'll open up any and all doors.

One of the few law grads from my terrible school working in big law just got lucky. He was college buddies with 2 guys who started up a tech firm. They couldn't afford a "real" attorney when they were starting and they reached out to the guy. So the family law struggling solo started helping them with their incorporation paperwork, software agreements, and tech contracts. Next thing he knew the tech firm took off.

The tech guys also sent other small start ups to him because he did such a great job. He was still doing it for a song.

Eventually a few other of these small start ups were moderately successful. So needing repeating legal work, but not doing well enough to hire general counsel.

The guy was doing extremely well for himself, without really having a clue with what he was doing. When that first tech firm needed to move to a "real firm" they dropped the guys name to the partner trying to get their business. Sort of "we'd love to hire you, but we can't leave our friend behind." The big law firm bought his solo practice and gave him a nice office.

Sorry for being vague, anyone who went to my school knows about this guy. He is practically the school's mascot when they are trying to lure lemmings.

I got lunch with a professor and him after he came to talk to one of my classes. Good guy who knows he just got really lucky and that if that first big tech firm ever leaves, he is almost certainly getting shown the door, even though he has been at the firm for 6 years now.

Reply Like (0)
dingbat (Sep 8, 2017 - 4:38 pm)

for smart attorneys, startup law is about the big payoff in the end game. I knew biglaw start-up attorneys who would give legal services for free if they thought the company had a chance, knowing most of them would never go anywhere, but that one hundred-million acquisition or IPO would more than make up for it

Reply Like (0)
mrlollipop (Sep 8, 2017 - 11:22 pm)

I have a somewhat similar story. I know guy graduate some kind of unaccredited law school in California. He is not a smart guy, but looks laid back. He did a good job of a legal work for a small restaurant owner for free. And this restaurant owner refer him to a startup owner, who is a frequent diner. Now this startup is going to IPO. And the startup owner refers him to some other startups too.

Now this guy is earning 2 million at a biglaw

Reply Like (0)
Post a message in this thread