Celebrating 10 years! 2007-2017

Should I make the move?

I've been practicing four yrs in-house with one company all cuchoo06/07/18
In short, no. esquirewalletsmatter06/09/18
You're going to lateral into what you describe as a reputabl wutwutwut06/07/18
If I read OP’s statement correctly, the firm is offering a brassica706/09/18
Could be, but I was basing my 130 on "bonus is more or less wutwutwut06/09/18
wutwutwut is correct. I take the 20k bonus to be a given po cuchoo06/09/18
Ya that salary makes no sense lolwutjobs06/07/18
Obviously you do what's best for you, but if you're not sure pisces21306/07/18
Biglaw upgrade or in-house upgrade. I wouldn't move for t superttthero06/08/18
180 credited. In house if you aren’t moving to a bigger co midlaw06/08/18
Making in excess of 6 figures for a cushy job and supreme be hous06/09/18
Have you attempted to negotiate with the firm? jmoney06/08/18
Based on what you said, stay put. Billing hours is a terrib jd4hire06/08/18
Man, do NOT take the job. Although 1700 hours ain't bad, you tcpaul06/08/18
Guys, I really, truly appreciate your input. I am trying cuchoo06/09/18
If you want to work on more challenging / diverse M&A deals, anothernjlawyer06/10/18
Besides the company you're working for, have you made relati jmoney06/10/18
cuchoo (Jun 7, 2018 - 5:57 pm)

I've been practicing four yrs in-house with one company all along. Hours are mostly 9-6, with some busy days (staying past midnight) sprinkled here and there. 125k base and 20k annual bonus (bonus is more or less presumed here). I like the corporate culture and the people I work with, but I think I can do more challenging work. I practice corporate M&A and one company can only do so many deals a year. I want to do all sorts of deals in different industries, to make myself more marketable down the road.

I have a job offer from a mid-size firm. Reputable in my region, staffed with respected attorneys, and seems to do some interesting corporate M&A work. Billable requirement isn't crazy either (1700 ish). I am very drawn to it, but the catch is that the base pay at the firm is about 15k less than my overall package with my current employer. The firm wasn't very clear on bonus structure, and I simply don't know if I will merit any (who knows, 1700 might be tougher than I think). It may take two-three yrs for the firm's base to catch up with my current base (which would have moved up a bit by then as well).

What would JDuers in my position do? Should I just stick with the devil I know, and hope I can continue on till retirement? or move to do more interesting stuff and make myself a better lawyer?

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esquirewalletsmatter (Jun 9, 2018 - 9:54 am)

In short, no.

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wutwutwut (Jun 7, 2018 - 6:09 pm)

You're going to lateral into what you describe as a reputable mid-size at 130K?

That just doesn't sound right. I'd keep looking; particularly if you like in-house work I'd say hang on until you can jump to a larger company.

My guess is that in a firm you get far less exposure to the actual business end of the deal making than you do in-house; sure, you'll shuttle drafts back and forth twice a day, but likely won't participate as much in the DD vetting and the background details.

Also don't forget if you have pension and/or decent 401k matching and funded or partially funded health insurance at your company, this may be lacking at the firm.

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brassica7 (Jun 9, 2018 - 8:58 am)

If I read OP’s statement correctly, the firm is offering a base salary of about $110,000 (15k under his current base of $125k). Also, it’s unclear what bonuses the firm pays. So, the firm deal is even worse than you suggest.

OP, I would stay at your current job. You already have the job associates at that firm want to exit to.

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wutwutwut (Jun 9, 2018 - 12:43 pm)

Could be, but I was basing my 130 on "bonus is more or less presumed here" which sounds like it's pretty much automatic no matter what and "15k less than my overall package with my current employer".

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cuchoo (Jun 9, 2018 - 11:39 pm)

wutwutwut is correct. I take the 20k bonus to be a given portion of my comp. package. The bonus hinges on the letter grade assigned after an annual evaluation, and I've been getting the grades that merits 20k.

But both brassica7 and wutwutwut are correct in that the firm's offer is worse than the ongoing deal. Although I am told the pay increase is lockstep annually at the firm, so my projected earning would likely be higher at the firm after 3~4 yrs from now. Salary increase at the current employer takes place at a longer interval and increased % is somewhat unpredictable.

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lolwutjobs (Jun 7, 2018 - 9:28 pm)

Ya that salary makes no sense

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pisces213 (Jun 7, 2018 - 11:14 pm)

Obviously you do what's best for you, but if you're not sure, go with the flow.

That is, if it is normal for people to leave an in-house position for a mid-sized law firm with a pay cut, go for it. If it is normal for people to leave a mid-sized law firm for better pay at an in-house position, stay put.

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superttthero (Jun 8, 2018 - 12:02 am)

Biglaw upgrade or in-house upgrade.

I wouldn't move for this.

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midlaw (Jun 8, 2018 - 12:18 am)

180 credited. In house if you aren’t moving to a bigger company you’re dying. Fine if you’re 55, terrible idea in your 20s or 30s.

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hous (Jun 9, 2018 - 12:01 am)

Making in excess of 6 figures for a cushy job and supreme bennnies is dying?

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jmoney (Jun 8, 2018 - 12:15 am)

Have you attempted to negotiate with the firm?

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jd4hire (Jun 8, 2018 - 7:35 am)

Based on what you said, stay put. Billing hours is a terrible way to spend a day. If the attorneys are well-respected, the partners will get the face time and have the final say on everything (unless you bring a book of business or you bring in your clients).

I understand the desire for more challenging/ stimulating work, but I wouldn't leave something as nice as you have. This is based on very little information, but I guess I'd ask yourself this - why do Sr. Associates, Jr. Partners and mid-level partners leave firms for jobs like you have?

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tcpaul (Jun 8, 2018 - 10:49 pm)

Man, do NOT take the job. Although 1700 hours ain't bad, you have to realize several things. First, the requirement is likely really only a floor with the expectation that you'll bill more. Second, billing hours is soul crushing. Avoid at all costs. Third, the firm your considering going to cannot be any kind of player in M&A work if that is the salary offer they are making. I was making almost that much in ID. ID!

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cuchoo (Jun 9, 2018 - 11:25 pm)

Guys, I really, truly appreciate your input.

I am trying to negotiate with the firm, but the room for upward adjustment seems pretty limited (~ 140k).

And I do find the notion of billable hours unappealing. Even at my current job, I absolutely hate it when my weekend or after-work hours get interrupted by work. I don't just resent the additional hours worked, but the lingering effect it has on my leisure. Its difficult for me to refocus on having a good time once being forcibly taken out of it.

But I get what Midlaw's saying. Things do feel stagnant here, and in a sense I may be "dying."

I will keep you guys posted. Thanks again.

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anothernjlawyer (Jun 10, 2018 - 12:03 am)

If you want to work on more challenging / diverse M&A deals, use your "in house" experience to look for "in house" jobs with bigger companies.

The problem with working for any law firm is that, ultimately, your value depends not upon your skill, work experience, or work product, but on your ability to generate clients and the accompanying billable hours. Mid-law firms have no interest in your career development or your personal growth beyond what you can generate in billable hours or in new business. If you don't generate new business, the only interest a firm has in you is getting as many billable hours (i.e., working you as close to death) as possible.

If you're a brilliant entrepreneur and you have a written plan to use the mid-law offer as a platform to build your own client base, consider taking the job. If you want to focus on practicing law, either stay where you are, or look to move to a bigger company.

Good luck.

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jmoney (Jun 10, 2018 - 2:56 am)

Besides the company you're working for, have you made relationships with other companies that you could bring into the fold re: new firm? Others are right. Firms need clients. Seems like you have at the very least a good relationship with one good client. Are there others?

When you negotiate with the firm, you should be SELLING SELLING SELLING your contacts.

If you do choose the firm. The first day there you should spend all day calling every possible client you can bring in. HI I'M JOE SCHMOE, 'MEMBER WHEN WE MET AND I HELPED YOU? WELL NOW I'M AT X FIRM. IF YOU EVER NEED ANYTHING, I'M HERE FOR YOU. Question is, how many would that be? What kind of work in $$$ terms would that be?

Lots of variables here. Your negotiation value could rise considerably if you have the goods and you leverage it right.

Don't just sell your experience. You have personal relationships. Call 'em out.

I hope this helps.

Wherever you land, I wish you the best. Either way, you're a catch.

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